Missed some ag news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.
1. JBS has resumed most meatpacking operations following a weekend cyberattack. The FBI said REvil, a Russian-speaking gang, was behind the attack. The gang has said it intends to target the agriculture sector. All of the company's meatpacking facilities in the United States experienced some disruption to operations following the hack. President Biden directed his administration to do whatever it could to mitigate the impact of the disruption on the meat supply. – NPR, USA Today, Seattle Times
2. Interest in purchasing agricultural land has grown and farmers are bidding more aggressively as commodity prices have risen and large government payments pushed farm incomes higher. Randy Dickhut of Farmers National Company says farmland sale prices are up 5% to 15% in the past six months. – Wallaces Farmer
3. Wisconsin has lost a third of its dairy farms in the last seven years. There are no dairy farms left in Oneida, Vilas, Forest and Florence counties. Over the last few years, the state has lost a farm a day, on average. Workforce challenges, fluctuating milk prices and financial stress have pushed dairy farmers to quit. Still, the state is producing more milk than ever before. Wisconsin's governor is mulling relief for dairy producers. – WXPR
4. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell 20 points in May, which is the lowest since September 2020. Producers were less optimistic about both current conditions and the future of the agricultural economy. Producers remain bullish on cash rental rates. – Farm Futures
5. The issue of line speeds at pork processing plants continues to move through the courts. On April 1, 2021, a federal judge in St. Paul ruled that USDA violated the federal Administrative Procedures Act by failing to consider if higher line speeds would harm workers. The judge delayed the implementation of her order for 90 days. Clemens Food Group, Quality Pork Producers and Wholestone Farms Cooperation intervened in the St. Paul case and asked for a review by the Circuit Court in St. Louis. Clemens, Quality Pork, and Wholestone have also asked for a continued stay pending appeal. The court is deciding that issue without a hearing on June 9. – Food Safety News
6. Organic Valley's Gen-O program targets young farmers from coast to coast. The program is designed to help the cooperative's young farmers connect with the public and become brand ambassadors. – American Agriculturalist
7. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants USDA to restore support to dairy farmers that was removed from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Gillibrand is chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security and a critic of the federal milk pricing system. – North Country Public Radio
And your bonus.
If Andy Buttles had his way, he would have a barn full of cows just like Stone-Front Leader Hilda, his 15-year-old registered Holstein that recently set the lifetime milk record for a Holstein cow. Hilda, who died in 2020 about two months after setting the national record, produced 460,720 pounds of milk during her lifetime on Buttles’ Grant County, Wis., farm. – Wisconsin Agriculturalist