• Sarah Everhart

Weekly News Update for October 9th

Updated: Jul 23

By Sarah Everhart

Field with a cloudy sky (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Delaware farmers take precautions against avian flu. As waterfowl begin their migration south, poultry farmers say they’re hopeful the journey doesn’t include a Delmarva pit stop, keeping the industry free from the highly pathogenic strain of the avian flu that has decimated 48 million birds to the west. But they’re preparing just in case. In Delaware, the Department of Agriculture is working in conjunction with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the private sector to both monitor other states and provide resources for growers and processors, including an online information center. “Delaware is fully prepared if it is detected here,” said Dan Shortridge, director of communications and marketing at the Delaware Department of Agriculture. “We don’t have a crystal ball – no one does – so we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” For the full article click here: http://www.delawarebusinesstimes.com/delaware-farmers-precautions-against-avian-flu/


Lawsuit takes on Indiana’s right-to-farm laws. The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pair of Hendricks County families who say they face “intolerable living conditions” created by odors coming from a nearby 8,000-hog farm that opened two years ago. The law suit deals with an individual case, but will be used as a launching pad for the HEC to challenge the constitutionality of Indiana’s “Right to Farm” laws through the legal system. Here is the link to the full story: http://www.ibj.com/articles/55222-lawsuit-takes-on-indianas-right-to-farm-laws


Agricultural loss in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin. As South Carolina residents begin returning to their homes after Hurricane Joaquin, many face severe water damage due to extreme rainfall and heavy flooding. Full damage assessments have not yet been conducted, but US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) estimated the cleanup may cost $1 billion. South Carolina’s Agricultural Commissioner Hugh Weathers estimates the state may have lost more than $300 million in crops alone. He also stressed that this number is a conservative initial estimate, so the number may rise. The estimate is primarily based on aerial surveys conducted over the past few days. The crops affected include peanuts, cotton, fall vegetables, and some timber. This is an especially difficult loss as South Carolina farmers experienced an exceptionally dry growing season this year. For the full story go here: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2015/1008/South-Carolina-residents-return-home-as-the-state-takes-stock-of-its-losses


The bad news about the Organic industry. By all appearances, Kathy Evans would seem the ideal organic farmer. The fourth-generation proprietor of Evans Knob Farm, in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, she has never used chemical pesticides or growth hormones. Her poultry—45 laying hens, 250 broiler chickens, 50 turkeys, and 22 ducks—is free-range; her Romney and Hampshire sheep, grass-fed. In 2003, when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) first bestowed organic certification on Evans’s operation, which supplies farmers markets and a CSA, the annual processing fees totaled $200. By the time she opted out, in 2013, they had risen 350 percent, to $900. Though diversification is an important aspect of sustainable agriculture, the government “rewards” the practice with a separate form for each crop and animal. To read the full story click here: http://modernfarmer.com/2015/10/the-bad-news-about-organic-industry/


Montgomery County becomes first major locality to ban cosmetic pesticides from lawns. Montgomery County became the country’s first major locality Tuesday to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns, concluding that the time-honored right of suburbanites to maintain pristine green, weed-free yards was superseded by a body of scientific evidence linking the widely-used products to cancer. After three hours of sometimes emotional debate, which included members recounting their own personal and family experiences with cancer, the County Council voted 6-to-3 to impose the ban on the chemicals–all deemed safe by the EPA when used appropriately–effective at the beginning of 2018. The measure excludes agricultural land, gardens and golf courses and does not prohibit the sale of lawn pesticides within the county. For the full story go here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/moco-becomes-first-major-locality-to-ban-cosmetic-pesticides-from-lawns/2015/10/06/ccb5df9a-6c55-11e5-b31c-d80d62b53e28_story.html


Southern Maryland Farm Estate Planning Workshop on October 27th at the American Legion Hall-Hughesville, MD: Having an up-to-date succession and estate plan is an important part of any farm operation. The workshop will cover the features of the formation of a succession and estate plan, tax considerations and what you need to consider before developing the plan starting with family communications. The workshop will include strategies for including non-farming beneficiaries into the family succession and estate plan. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Maryland Crop Insurance Education Program and the Agriculture Law Education Initiative. To register online, go to https://eventbrite.com/event/17659154005/

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