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Wildlife habitat becomes battleground in crop insurance fight

A new study of agriculture’s effects on land use indicates that millions of acres of grasslands, wetlands, and other non-cropland -- land critically important to wildlife -- have given way to the plow in recent years. The authors are using the findings to support a conservation-compliance provision in the farm bill.

From 2008 to 2012, 1.9 million acres of wetlands and nearby habitat were converted to cropland, and another 5.3 million acres of highly erodible lands were plowed up to plant row crops, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

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Bees in beans: Q&A with Matt O'Neal

Dr. Matt O'Neal, an Iowa State University entomologist, has focused his research mainly on developing insect pest management programs for soybean production.

In studying soybean aphids, and being aware of the crisis in U.S. pollinator populations, O'Neal has taken an interest in the role of honeybees and native bees in Midwest crops. He spoke at the Bayer Bee Conference in Ames, Iowa, last spring, telling attendees that bees appear to play a big role in pollinating soybeans, and that more native bees are being found in crop fields than ever expected. 

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Bee health a focus of Pollinator Week

Farmers and other landowners can make a big contribution in solving a major crisis in agriculture by participating in Pollinator Week, June 17-23, 2013. 

The global event was established in 2007, and has drawn support from governors, mayors, and other leaders across the U.S. This year's Pollinator Week proclamation was signed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell.

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Derecho a threat to new crops?

The threat of a derecho type of storm system could further hamper field operations and crop development this week, as well as endanger lives and property in large parts of the U.S. Midwest, observers say.  On Wednesday the National Weather Service Storm Prediction center warned of “widespread damaging winds and a few strong tornadoes” from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Upper Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes area this afternoon and tonight.

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No Smoking Gun in Bee Health Crisis

No single source, or “smoking gun,” can be blamed for the major decline in honey bee health, according to a new comprehensive report on the pollinators released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Experts instead cited multiple factors for the decline in honey bee colony numbers, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure.

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Field data is the farmer's, says Deere

John Deere’s stance on the ownership of field data was reaffirmed today during a press conference at the Commodity Classic in Florida.

During a briefing on additions to the company’s FarmSight precision agriculture solutions, Deere representative Nicholas Shafter stated, “We have a really clear message. Our customers are in control of their data. It's their information. And Deere is going to be transparent with what we are going to do with that information.”

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Secure the farm

More and more often, farmers are finding their own ways to fend off intruders.

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