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Top reads of 2020, so far

The first half of 2020 has been filled with news. A global pandemic has disrupted every sector of the economy. Farmers are eager to read about the latest machinery and technology innovation. The corn and soybean growing season is in full swing. Here are farmers' top reads for the first six months of 2020.

1. Meat prices spike, cattle prices fall, and ranchers and lawmakers see market manipulation

This March 2020 article detailed why lawmakers from both parties are calling on the USDA to take more immediate action and for the Department of Justice to open an antitrust investigation of meatpackers.

2. As meat plants slow, U.S. will help growers kill livestock

In April, coronavirus swept through the nation's meat packing plants and temporarily closed many. Some farmers were forced to depopulate and dispose of mature livestock. The government offered to help livestock producers locate contractors skilled in killing herds or flocks of animals and to provide cost-share funding for their disposal.

3. Six possible impacts of COVID-19 on farming

As state shutdowns began in mid-March Mark Stephenson and John Shutske with the University of Wisconsin-Madison explained six specific things farmers, farm families, ag employers, and employees need to be aware of and plan for.

4. Shortage of truck drivers means opportunities for farmers

Iowa farmer Erik Oberbroeckling starting trucking because of a need, but now the family's trucking business is more profitable than farming. He shared his experience, and the opportunities he sees for fellow farmers with editor Betsy Freese in early February.

Rear view of John Deere's 1745 MaxEmerge 5 planter
Photo credit: John Deere

5. John Deere makes 4 announcements ahead of 2020 National Farm Machinery Show

Before COVID-19 shutdown large events and travel plans, thousands of farmers flocked to Louisville, Kentucky for the National Farm Machinery Show in February. This year John Deere revealed four machinery announcements, including the introduction of the 1745 MaxEmerge 5 planter.

6. Bunge to sell 35 U.S. grain elevators to Zen-Noh Grain

Toward the end of April Bunge announced plans to dramatically reduce their grain origination network in the United States. The company will sell 35 of its interior U.S. grain elevators to Zen-Noh Grain Corporation.

Ferguson 30 - Roossinck

7. A tractor named Sue is up for sale

This Ferguson has been restored with fresh rubber all the way around, and is up for sale on Sir Edmund Hillary had three similar tractors in Antarctica in 1958. Hillary and his team called one of those tractors “Sue.”

8. Zero-turn mower depreciation

Zero-turn mowers lose a third of their value in the first year of use, says David Davidson of Iron Solutions. Check out first-year depreciation rates by manufacturer in this article.

9. JBS tells 6,000 beef workers to self-quarantine

Our Mid-April article detailing JBS' decision to close its cattle slaughter plant in Greeley, Colorado, until April 24 while its 6,000 employees self-quarantined in an effort to eradicate a coronavirus outbreak was widely read by farmers. Several similar articles featured the details of closures in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

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