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7 ag stories you might have missed this week - April 5, 2019

Presidential candidates gather for forum in Iowa, corn cob pipe factory celebrates 150 years and Ag Economy Barometer released.

Need a quick catch-up on the news? Here are seven ag stories you might have missed this week.

1. President Trump said Thursday a deal to end the trade war with China isn’t ready yet, but an agreement could be announced in a month. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said “the last mile of the marathon is actually the longest and the hardest.” – Farm Futures

2. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., re-introduced the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act on March 28. The bill aims to bring transparency and accountability to the federal checkoff programs. – American Agriculturalist

3. Increasing concerns about future economic conditions drove the Ag Economy  Barometer down three points from 136 in February to 133 in March. However, the Large Farm Investment Index rebounded, and only 22% of farms surveyed expect to have a larger operating loan in 2019 than in 2018. – Farm Futures

4. Democrats gathered in Storm Lake, Iowa, for a rural issues forum on March 30. Democrats are eager to make inroads in rural America, which has been a reliable Trump stronghold. Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and agriculture secretary under President Obama, said Democrats need to show up and articulate their vision of rural America. – Wallaces Farmer

5. A study published in Nature Sustainability modeled how the production of corn contributes to air pollution In the United States. Researchers found ammonia from fertilizer application was the largest contributor to corn’s air pollution footprint. The study estimates “4.300 premature deaths can be attributed to corn production.”  - NPR

6. Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are working to enhance the human disease-fighting properties of herbs and they also hope to help growers adapt to changing climates by studying how crops grow under different conditions. – MIT News

7. With the 2018 Farm Bill making hemp a commodity, there’s a lot happening with the crop. Farmers in Illinois grew hemp for the first time in 2018 under the oversight of Western Illinois University. The director of Western Illinois University’s Alternative Crops Research Program said about 80% of farmers’ interest is in growing cannabinoids. In Florida, members of the House and Senate are trying to take advantage of a 2018 federal law that legalized industrial hemp as an agricultural product. The Oregon State Police are having a hard time determining who is growing hemp and who is growing marijuana. In Minnesota, 370 growers have applied to grow 5,700 acres in 2019. – Prairie Farmer, Fox13news.com, KDRV.com, The Farmer

Your bonus is from Missouri this week.

Have you ever smoked a corn-cob pipe? Missouri Meerschaum is the nation’s first, last and oldest corn-cob pipe factory and it’s celebrating 150 years this year. It employs 35 people and produces more than 30 styles of corn-cob pipes. The corn cobs come from a white hybrid corn developed by the University of Missouri. – St. Louis Public Radio

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