19 Stories

Why Pigs Don't Have Sex Anymore

Artificial insemination is better and faster for farmers

(Newser) - Pity the modern boar: He roams the pen for a sow that's ready to breed and when he's about to, er, take action, a farmer appears with a catheter in his hands. The poor guy has been replaced by artificial insemination. That's because nearly 90% of today'... More »

New in Factory Farming: Exploding Poop Foam

One blast killed 1.5K hogs, but can be treated with an antibiotic

(Newser) - The latest thing out of industrial agriculture isn't too appetizing: Burbling up from the manure pits beneath factory hog farms is an oozing substance that's charmingly being dubbed "poop foam"—and it's un-charmingly explosive, reports Mother Jones . The ooze is wreaking havoc on large hog... More »

Get Ready for the Biggest Corn Crop Since 1936

2012 drought sent prices soaring

(Newser) - Last year's drought sent corn prices soaring, and this year, US farmers are looking to take advantage of it. They're set to plant the biggest corn crop the country has seen since 1936, USA Today reports, sowing some 97.3 million acres of the commodity. Right now, corn... More »

UK Youths Don't Know Where Bacon Comes From?

They're not so good with milk or butter, either, at least according to survey

(Newser) - Either young people in Britain are comically ignorant about where food comes from or young people in Britain like to goof on survey-takers. Or maybe something in between. Whichever, British papers are aghast at the results. Some highlights of the poll of 2,000 youths, ages 16 to 23, from... More »

Farming's Future: No More Plows?

'No-till' agriculture is eco-friendly and rising in popularity

(Newser) - A transformation in farming may be under way, one that leaves plows in the dust. It's called "no-till" farming, and the AFP (via Raw Story ) catches up with the growing trend in Indiana. The idea is that a plow—or on a smaller scale, a garden shovel—... More »

Farms See Record Number of Grain Bin Deaths

OSHA has increased inspections

(Newser) - Grain bins are innocuous-seeming, necessary parts of big agriculture—but they're proving deadly for a record number of farm workers, and OSHA is taking notice. A worker trying to clear damp clots of corn or soy beans can quickly find himself in a sinkhole, his chest compressed by hundreds of... More »

Dioxin Scare Shuts German Farms

Contaminated egg products exported

(Newser) - Nearly 5,000 farms in Germany have been forced to close after the carcinogen dioxin was found in large amounts of pig and chicken feed. Thousands of hens were culled after a feed manufacturer was found to have used contaminated fats, the BBC reports. Officials are now scrambling to trace... More »

Haunted Houses Are Saving Family Farms

Farming revenue is down, but fright revenue is up

(Newser) - With only 45% of the nation’s farms showing income from farming, it’s not agriculture keeping many family farms alive these days: It’s “agritourism.” Farmers who used to be scared of losing their business are putting those fears to use by creating “agri-tainment” operations that... More »

FDA Finds Maggots, Manure, Rodents in Hen Houses

Iowa egg farms suspected in salmonella outbreak

(Newser) - You might want to skip the omelet for breakfast this morning: Federal inspectors recently found live mice, pigeons, and eight-foot piles of manure inside the hen houses of two massive Iowa egg farms suspected of causing a nationwide outbreak of salmonella . At one of the farms they also found "... More »

'Hobby Farms' Cropping Up

USDA says small farms are becoming more popular even as large farms grow

(Newser) - Most evenings, Gary Mithoefer can be found at the end of a long gravel driveway off a busy highway, tending two garden plots filled with white sweet potatoes, squash, cabbages, and a dozen other vegetables still thriving in early fall. The 62-year-old, who gardens after his workday ends at his... More »

Farmers Raise a Stink Over Fees for Flatulence

EPA brands livestock odor air pollution

(Newser) - Farmers' noses are out of joint over proposed regulations that would fine them for their  livestock's flatulence, reports AP. Operations with herds over a certain size would be charged per animal to offset the amount of greenhouse gasses contained in their rather voluminous belching and farting, according to the EPA... More »

PETA Video Shows W.Va. Workers Abusing Turkeys

Animal-rights org files criminal complaint; W.Va. company vows to punish workers

(Newser) - Just ahead of Thanksgiving, workers at a West Virginia farm are shown stomping turkeys and twisting their necks to kill them in an undercover video released by PETA, AP reports. The employee who filmed the stomach-turning scenes says the birds are kept in overcrowded barns and that employees brag about... More »

Vermont Begins Push to Save Historic Barns

Historical preservation effort counts every chicken coop and corn crib

(Newser) - To Vermonters, the aging barns dotting their landscape are as important to the state's character—and tourism—as maple syrup or skiing. But the cost of maintaining them and the decline in family farms have taken a heavy toll, the Boston Globe reports. Now the state is conducting a "... More »

Midwest Fights Weeds With Bugs

Biological control takes a food-chain approach to invasive plants

(Newser) - Officials in the Midwest are returning to a tried-and-true technique to fight invasive plants, the Chicago Tribune reports. Biological control uses natural enemies to rein in pests, and importing a tiny brown beetle in the 1990s brought under control a fast-spreading European weed, known as loosestrife, that was terrorizing agriculture.... More »

House Passes Farm Bill With Veto-Proof Margin

It now goes to Senate and is expected to become law

(Newser) - The House today passed a $300 billion farm bill by a lopsided vote of 318-106, more than enough to override a threatened veto from President Bush, the New York Times reports. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass with even stronger support. Bush has... More »

Opposition Rejects Recount in Zimbabwe

High court to rule on election results tomorrow

(Newser) - Zimbabwe’s opposition leader today rejected a demand by President Robert Mugabe for a vote recount, the BBC reports. Morgan Tsvangirai, who has accused Mugabe of plotting a violence to maintain power, called a recount “illegal” and “impractical.” Meanwhile, a high court said it will rule tomorrow... More »

Straw Goes Green

Eco-friendly building material branches out beyond fairy tales

(Newser) - The newest surprise climate-saving tool is straw walls, and the Big Bad Wolf may have underestimated the First Little Pig’s shelter, the Washington Post reports. Instead of drywall or insulation, contractors stack the farm waste around buildings’ skeletons and then coat it with plaster. The eco-friendly result looks like... More »

Foot-and-Mouth Turns Up at Second Farm

New suspicions that virus may have spread in floodwaters

(Newser) - England is culling a second herd of cattle feared to have foot-and-mouth disease. The animals were showing symptoms on an unidentified farm within a restricted zone around the area southwest of London where the first outbreak occurred. Investigators were considering the possibility that a flood in July may have spread... More »

Police Nab 'Ninja' in Italy

Black-cloaked, bow-wielding bandit preyed on farmers 14th-century-style

(Newser) - A weeks-long manhunt in northern Italy for an elusive "ninja"-styled thief ended yesterday after cops pursued the robber as he fled through cornfields on a bicycle, the BBC reports. The culprit, his head wrapped in a black bandanna, had stolen onto several isolated farms at night and robbed... More »

19 Stories