agriculture

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US to Start Paying Farmers $4.7B for Trade War Losses

Soybean growers will get the most relief

(Newser) - Starting next week, farmers who have taken a financial hit because of trade disputes between the US and other countries can apply for government assistance. The White House will dole out $4.7 billion in direct aid to help make up for their reduced profits, reports Bloomberg . Most of that,... More »

Trump to Give Farmers Aid, but Farmers Aren't Thrilled

'They want trade, not aid,' says lawmaker of $12B in emergency relief amid tariff disputes

(Newser) - President Trump showed off a new campaign hat on Monday—it's green with yellow letters, reminiscent of the John Deere logo, and it reads "Make Our Farmers Great Again," notes Politico . (See Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sporting one here .) The message is a calculated one as... More »

China Cancels US Orders, Buys Russian Soy

Beijing calls off investigation of US sorghum

(Newser) - The US-China trade dispute is excellent news for farmers—in Russia. Amid uncertainty over future US tariffs, China has canceled several shipments from American soybean producers and tripled the amount it is buying from Russia, Bloomberg reports. According to the Russian government's latest statistics, Russia sold 850,000 metric... More »

Doomsday Vault Hits the 1M Mark

As the Global Seed Vault turns 10

(Newser) - Monday was a "really significant" day for the so-called Doomsday Vault—and not just because it was its 10th birthday. The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, has since 2008 stored seeds within a mountain on a Norwegian island 800 miles from the North Pole, and on Monday the... More »

Company Develops 'World's Tiniest Tomato'

'It's clean, it's nice, it's sexy,' chef says

(Newser) - They say bigger is better, but in the succulent world of cherry tomatoes, one Israeli company is going smaller than ever before. The "drop tomato" is about the size of a blueberry, and the Kedma company in the country's southern Arava desert says it is the smallest one... More »

They Flew Across the World on a Failed Quest for a Banana

Inside the search for the Cavendish banana's successor

(Newser) - The Cavendish banana—that's the kind sitting in your kitchen right now—is "almost perfect," a scientist with Dole Food Co. tells the Wall Street Journal . Well, "laments," is the word the paper uses. That's because, as has been reported for the past couple... More »

New Hope Against Hunger: These 'Super Beans'

Early signs of success in Africa

(Newser) - The so-called "super bean," a fast-maturing, high-yield variety, is being promoted by Uganda's government and agriculture experts amid efforts to feed hunger-prone parts of Africa, the AP reports. It's also a step toward the next goal: the "super, super bean" that researchers hope can be... More »

Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone Is Now Bigger Than Ever

Heavy rains in Midwest increased agricultural runoff this year

(Newser) - In 2014, the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico was found to have shrunk to the size of Connecticut. To the ire of environmentalists, it has since ballooned to its largest size since mapping began in 1985, says NOAA . Covering 8,776 square miles—that's the size... More »

Farmer Faces $2.8M Fine for Plowing Field

John Duarte is accused of disturbing California wetlands

(Newser) - California farmer John Duarte could be facing a $2.8 million fine—and may be ordered to pay millions more in wetlands mitigation—for an offense he describes thusly: "Planting wheat in a wheat field," something he says had been done many times previously. Duarte has been fighting... More »

After Attempt to Save Bees, a Superweed Thrives Instead

Pigweed inadvertently spread in seed mix, could take years to eradicate

(Newser) - A herbicide-resistant weed strong enough to damage farm equipment has been spread on acres of conservation land in states like Ohio, Texas, Indiana, and Illinois under government programs, reports Illinois Farmer Today . Palmer amaranth, or pigweed—which the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes is "one of the most prolific and... More »

'War on Gardens' Flares in Mo. Town

New ordinance restricts front yard gardens; guy says it's targeting only him

(Newser) - Score one for lovers of the lawn in Sugar Creek, Mo. The city has passed new restrictions on front-yard vegetable gardens, KSHB reports. One man, Nathan Athans, says he's the sole target of the new rules that prohibit growing food within 30 feet of the street. "We are... More »

A Tiny Fly Is Wreaking Havoc on Florida's Fruit

85 square miles quarantined over Oriental fruit fly

(Newser) - A $1.6 billion agriculture industry in Florida's Miami-Dade County is essentially at a standstill thanks to a swarm of hungry insects. About 159 Oriental fruit flies have been caught in the area in the last few weeks and agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam tells the Miami Herald it's... More »

Filthy Air Kills 3.3M a Year—and That May Double

Farming is surprise culprit of smog and soot in industrial nations

(Newser) - Air pollution is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide, according to a new study that includes this surprise: Farming plays a large role in smog and soot deaths in industrial nations. Scientists from Harvard and in Germany, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia used health statistics and computer models for... More »

Bad News, Pistachio Lovers: Nuts Are 'Blanking'

This year's California crop will probably be way down

(Newser) - If you're a fan of noshing on pistachios, news out of California might be more than a little depressing. It's harvest time, and early reports suggest that this year's crop might be down as much as 70%, reports Western Farm Press . The main problem seems to be... More »

This Methane-Run Tractor Could Be a Gamechanger

New Holland T6 could significantly cut costs and pollution

(Newser) - Luca Remmert's dream of running a self-sustainable farm is within sight. He produces energy from corn and grain near the northern Italian city of Turin and hopes in the not too distant future to run all of his eight tractors on methane generated at the farm. Remmert's 1,... More »

200-Pound Drone Gets OK to Spray Pesticides

FAA approves Yamaha's RMAX

(Newser) - A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the US, officials say. The drone, called the RMAX, is a remotely piloted helicopter that weighs 207 pounds, according to Steve Markofski of Yamaha, which developed the aircraft.... More »

Ancient Global Cooling Could Explain Tibet Mystery

Temperatures may have led to a civilization's downfall

(Newser) - Civilization at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau fell apart—or at least changed very suddenly—4,000 years ago, and now, researchers believe they can explain why. In fact, it has to do with climate change, though not the way we currently think of it, Science 2.0 notes.... More »

US May Have to Stop Taking Farmers' Raisins

Supreme Court sounds skeptical about old agriculture rule

(Newser) - A post-World War II-era program that forces raisin producers to give part of their annual crop to the government could soon be a relic of history. Several Supreme Court justices expressed doubts this week that federal officials can legally take raisins away from farmers without full payment even if the... More »

Parchment Itself Holds Clues to Past

Researchers investigate DNA of writing surface

(Newser) - Plenty of historical knowledge comes from writings on parchment—but now, researchers are learning about the past using the parchment itself. DNA analysis of the writing surface is revealing genetic information about the animals used to make it, and how their genomes differ from similar animals today, according to research... More »

Scientists Pinpoint Worst Drought in 1K Years

Dust Bowl of 1934 was 30% more intense than the runner-up drought of 1580

(Newser) - If you've lately found yourself wondering when the worst drought North America has suffered occurred, here's your answer: 1934. At least, as far as the last millennium goes. In a new NASA study, scientists say that a combination of atmospheric conditions (a high pressure ridge off the West... More »

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