Michigan Orders Tests On Ag Migrant Workers After Outbreaks

10 hours ago

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has ordered coronavirus testing of agricultural and migrant workers, citing 11 outbreaks at farms and food-processing plants in recent weeks. Under Monday's emergency order from the state Department of Health and Human Services, migrant housing camp operators must do initial baseline testing of all residents age 18 and older. New residents must be tested within 48 hours of their arrival. Agricultural operations with more than 20 workers on site at a time must also ensure testing. The requirement applies to meat, poultry and egg processing plants; greenhouses; and employers hiring migrant or seasonal workers who don't live on site.

(Justin Hicks/ IPB News)

The new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada went into effect Wednesday. The new agreement doesn’t drastically impact Indiana agriculture, but it is still welcome news to farmers. 

The new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is expected to help Hoosier farmers by expanding exports for poultry producers and giving American dairy farmers more access to the Canadian market.

Indiana Farm Bureau president Randy Kron said the USMCA gives farmers some certainty during a time when COVID-19 has hurt supply chains.

Photo courtesy of Indiana Agriculture and Technology school

An agricultural-focused charter school is under scrutiny from the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE), because according to the board's legal counsel the school is operating like a virtual charter school when state law says it shouldn't be.

The Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corporation (NHJ) authorized a farm-focused charter school last year. 

Two Bills Aim To Stop Dicamba, Pesticide Misuse

Feb 12, 2020
Courtesy of Purdue University

Two bills working their way through the Indiana legislature would increase penalties for farmers and others who misuse pesticides. One aim of the legislation is to stop a controversial weed killer from drifting off of fields and killing neighboring crops. 

The state has gotten so many complaints about dicamba drift that farmers must stop applying certain dicamba products on soybeans starting June 20.

Samantha Horton/IPB News

Indiana farmers can expect to see a plateau in farm income over the next decade, according to one agriculture expert.

With thin profit margins expected to continue into the coming decade, farmers may choose to consolidate farms or diversify their crops and livestock. Some may even take off-farm jobs, as have done in the past when the farm economy has been stagnant.

Interim Study Committee Discusses Farmland Preservation

Sep 12, 2019
Samantha Horton/IPB News

Indiana lawmakers continue to talk about the state’s involvement in farmland preservation. The complex issue comes at a time when farmers are struggling.

The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is looking at ways to protect Hoosier farmland while also encouraging economic growth. The committee was formed last session through a bill that was introduced on the topic.  

Samantha Horton/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb asked the United States Department of Agriculture Friday to designate 88 counties as disaster zones. To be able to request a county be designated an agricultural disaster area, at least 30 percent of a single crop must be damaged or lost.

Many farmers across the state were only able to plant a portion of their crops after a wet planting season caused fields to flood.

Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron says he applauds the governor’s effort to help Hoosier farmers.

Rains Leave Many Indiana Farmers Well Behind In Planting

May 30, 2019
Samantha Horton/IPB News

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Persistent wet weather has put many Indiana farmers well behind in getting their crops in the fields and has some wondering whether to even plant corn because it requires a longer growing season to reach maturity.

Farmers' Economic Optimism Drops In Lastet Survey

May 13, 2019

Farmers' confidence in the economy tumbled last month, according to the latest Ag Economy Barometer reading. The April survey had the fourth largest sentiment index drop since it began in 2015.

President Donald Trump boosted tariffs Friday on Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent. As trade talks continue, U.S. businesses warn the increase will hurt them and consumers.

Farmers For Free Trade Motorcade Stops In Indiana

Apr 17, 2019
Samantha Horton

A bipartisan farming group is touring the country to build support for the newly proposed trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The motorcade rolled into west central Indiana Wednesday to talk with farmers, industry leaders and lawmakers.

House Amends Hemp Bill, Restructures Advisory Committee

Apr 5, 2019

A House committee has restructured the membership of a hemp advisory committee – if growing the crop is legalized in the state.

Pence Visits Indiana, Talks Trade With Hoosier Farmers

Apr 4, 2019
Samantha Horton

Vice President Mike Pence made a visit to Indiana Thursday afternoon to chat with farmers affected by the Trump administration’s policies – trade was the key topic.

Pence Returns To Indiana To Promote Trade Agreement

Apr 4, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence spent part of Thursday afternoon in his home state of Indiana to talk with farmers about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

More than 25 farmers of corn, soybeans and livestock joined Pence at Lamb Farms in Lebanon to talk about concerns they have with their commodities.

Pence’s visit comes as President Donald Trump pushes Congress to ratify the USMCA deal.

Debt Could Cast Cloud On Long-Term Health Of Farmers

Mar 12, 2019

  The United States Department of Agriculture’s latest report predicts farm incomes will increase this year, but it’s not enough to offset the debt many farmers have. 

The report projects corn price increases, which may sound like good news for Indiana farmers.