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Farm & Livestock

Farm & Livestock

Agriculture Strategic Plan Meetings Set for October

The Free Press WV

A five-year strategic plan to move West Virginia’s Agriculture industry forward is in the works. Now the public has another opportunity to offer their input into the process.

The steering committee of the West Virginia Agriculture Advisory Board, made up of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), WV Farm Bureau, WV Conservation Agency, WVU Extension Service, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and West Virginia State University Extension Service, is holding 14 community meetings across the state during the month of October.

“This is a chance for West Virginians to have a say in the future of our agriculture economy,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We are inviting agriculture business owners and stakeholders to participate in a hands-on process to identify specific strategies for how we can help move the industry forward and what direction we need to take.”

More than 500 people completed a survey earlier this summer narrowing down the issues that most impact West Virginia agriculture.

That is the stepping off point for the community meetings. Producers and agriculture stakeholders are urged to attend one of the 14 events and offer their input.

The community meetings are being held in Charleston, New Martinsville, Ghent, Sutton, Martinsburg, Moorefield, Parkersburg, Philippi, Core, Lewisburg, Tridelphia, Wayne, Point Pleasant and Mt. Clare.

In order to take part, participants must register ahead of time.

To locate an event near you and to register, log on HERE

Gilmer County winter grazing field day

The Free Press WV

The Natural Resources Conservation Service, in cooperation with the West Virginia University Extension Service, will co-host a Field Day to discuss stockpiling and winter grazing.

The Field Day will discuss different aspects of stockpiling forage such as winter feeding nutrient management, adding legumes, fencing, and water requirements.

The Field Day will be held at 6 p.m. September 18 at the Westfall Farm in Gilmer County. The farm is located just outside of Glenville.

For more information and directions, contact Zomarys Dumeng at 304.269.8431 ext. 3 or Daisy F. Bailey at 304.462.7061.

Scientists Trying a Cow Trick: Adding Seaweed to Feed

The Free Press WV

University of California researchers are feeding seaweed to dairy cows in an attempt to make cattle more climate-friendly, per the AP. UC Davis is studying whether adding small amounts of seaweed to cattle feed can help reduce their emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s released when cattle burp, pass gas, or make manure. Livestock operations are a major source of methane emissions. In a study this past spring, researchers found methane emissions were reduced by more than 30% in a dozen Holstein cows that ate the ocean algae, which was mixed into their feed and sweetened with molasses to disguise the salty taste.

“I was extremely surprised when I saw the results,“ said Ermias Kebreab, the UC Davis animal scientist who led the study. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that dramatic with a small amount of seaweed.“ Kebreab says his team plans to conduct a six-month study of a seaweed-infused diet in beef cattle starting in October. Researchers worldwide have searched for ways to reduce cattle emissions with various food additives such as garlic, oregano, cinnamon, and even curry—with mixed results. If successful, adding seaweed to cattle feed could help California dairy farms comply with a state law requiring livestock operators to cut emissions by 40% from 2013 levels by 2030.

Bayer Gets 8K Lawsuits With Monsanto Deal

The Free Press WV

When German drugmaker Bayer acquired agribusiness Monsanto for $66 billion in June, the deal came with more than 5,000 lawsuits centered on claims that the latter’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, such as Roundup, cause cancer. As of the end of July, the number of lawsuits was about 8,000, Reuters reports. In a Thursday conference call Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said, “These numbers may rise or fall over time, but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiff’s cases”—even after a recent $289 million jury award to California groundskeeper dying of cancer allegedly connected to his use of glyphosate. Baumann said the company will appeal that decision, which he called “wrong” and “inconsistent with the robust science-based conclusions of regulators and health authorities worldwide,“ according to Bloomberg.

Still, since the Aug. 10 verdict in California, Bayer shares have reportedly lost more than 10%. And analysts say that the glyphosate cases could cost the company some $5 billion. Nonetheless, the herbicide is still in demand, Liam Condon of Bayer’s agriculture unit tells Bloomberg, saying, “Demand for glyphosate depends on the growing conditions, and not a jury decision in California.“ Following the verdict, however, some California cities say they will no longer use glyphosate products. The cities of Benicia and Novato are going glyphosate-free, KGO-TV reports. The same goes for Santa Rosa, according to the Press Democrat.

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