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Successful Farming March 2018

Successful Farming magazine serves the diverse business, production, and family information needs of families who make farming and ranching their business. Get Successful Farming digital magazine subscription today and learn how to make money, save time, and grow your satisfaction in the farming business. True to its name, Successful Farming magazine is all about success. Every issue is packed with ideas readers can take right to the field, barn, shop, and office to increase their profit and to position their farming business for growth and success in the competitive and global industry of agriculture.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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13 Issues


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a labor problem

The employment statistics in agriculture are pretty stark. There are two open jobs for every applicant in agriculture today. In California, the problem is even more acute: four jobs for every seeker. With even more farm automation, consolidation, and the urbanization of America over the next decades, the labor shortage on the farm could impact every operation: row crop, dairy, ranching, fruits and vegetables, livestock, and specialty crops. (See our story, “Help Wanted,” on pages 24-28.) We’ve seen this trend before. America has been faced with a shortage of labor – only to solve it with technology. When? During and after World War I, albeit for different reasons. Here are excerpts of a Successful Farming magazine column from February 1918: That two-hundred million men have been withdrawn from their normal occupations by the…

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PLANTING PEANUTS 1 acre yields about 4,000 pounds of peanuts. WISE WORDS “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”– Native American proverb THE SWEETEST STATE NORTH DAKOTA IS THE NO. 1 PRODUCER OF HONEY IN THE U.S. #1 AG IMPORT Over 44% of U.S. ag imports are horticultural products, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and wine. DUTCH TIP If you love growing crops but don’t like selling them, find someone to sell them for you. Farmers who love growing crops are usually too optimistic to be good marketers.…

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aidan connolly

In the last few years, Alltech has tripled in size, and 2017, says Aidan Connolly, was probably when it all culminated. “We’re very active not only in feed additives but also in premix, high-value feed solutions,” he says. Headquartered in Kentucky, Alltech further expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Keenan, an equipment company that provides feeding and mixing solutions for cattle producers. It has also developed Alltech E-CO2, an initiative that delivers and promotes sustainability programs to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. As the company stretches into fields that give it access to new customer interactions, Connolly shares how the global leader is accelerating disruption. SF: We are constantly hearing that agriculture is ripe for disruption. In your point of view, what defines meaningful disruption? AC: It’s been said that innovation is doing…

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round one

The leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees were polite and coolly dismissive of a White House proposal to slash the crop insurance program by one third at the same time they write the new farm bill. “We are committed to maintaining a strong safety net for agriculture producers during these times of low prices and uncertain markets and to continuing to improve our nation’s nutrition programs,” said Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX) in an icy rebuttal. “This budget … will not prevent us from doing that job.” Crop insurance was a lightning rod in the 2014 farm bill, and critics are lined up for another chance this year. The biggest target is the Harvest Price Option; three fourths of policies include it. The White House…

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a twofer in the budget package for dairy, cotton

After years of complaining about shortcomings of the 2014 farm law, cotton and dairy producers got a double benefit in a budget bill enacted in early February. They get larger federal support this year, which ripples through arcane congressional budget rules to become a larger baseline for the commodities in the 2018 farm bill. “The safety net and risk-management opportunities for dairy farmers are greatly enhanced now, due to these changes,” says chief executive Jim Mulhern of the National Milk Producers Federation. Although their programs were different, producers had a similar gripe. The insurance-like programs created in the farm bill provided little shelter from low market prices. Participation in the STAX for cotton and Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy was low. When USDA gave dairy farmers the opportunity last fall to drop…

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a record: crop insurance covers 311 million acres

Farmers bought crop insurance policies covering a record 311.5 million acres in 2017, topping the previous mark of 295.9 million acres in 2015, according to the USDA. Coverage has topped 290 million acres annually since 2013, when enrollment jumped by 13 million acres following the devastating 2012 drought. A record $17.5 billion in indemnities were paid for crop losses that year and $12 billion for 2013 losses. “Today, crop insurance protects around 90% of insurable land and more than 130 different kinds of crops,” says the trade group National Crop Insurance Services. At an industry convention in Arizona, the NCIS “encouraged agriculture to work hand-in-hand during the farm bill to defend farmers’ primary risk-management tool.” Crop insurance is expected to be the biggest target for farm-program reformers in the 2018 farm…