Tag Archives: crops

The Department of Agriculture’s 2019 Organic Survey released Thursday finds total sales of $9.93 billion in organic products, an increase of $2.37 billion, or 31 percent, from 2016.

Released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the report shows there were 16,500 certified organic farms, a 17 percent increase from 2016, which accounted for 5.5 million certified acres, an increase of nine percent over 2016. California continued to lead the nation in certified organic sales with $3.6 billion, which is 36 percent of the U.S. total and four times that of any other state. Top organic commodities include livestock and poultry products, milk, vegetables and fruit.

The survey also asked producers about plans for future production. Twenty-nine percent of farms plan to increase their level of organic production. More than 1,800 certified organic farms have 255,000 additional acres in the three-year transition period required for land to become certified as organic.

An additional 710 farms not currently certified reported 61,000 acres of land transitioning to organic production.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – It may sound like a common refrain in farm country, but we sure could use some rain around here.

Kansas State University northeast area agronomist Stu Duncan talks weekly with extension agents across the state and many are sending the same message: The fall crop harvest has gone well, and much of next spring’s wheat crop is in the ground.

“But it is dry,” Duncan said. “It’s great weather for harvest, but not so good for seeding wheat. It’s going to take rain to get most of the later-seeded wheat up right now. And the ground is hard. That’s what we’re dealing with right now.”

Mary Knapp, the assistant state climatologist at K-State, said producers have “hopeful eyes” on a measure called the Quantitative Precipitation Forecast, which gives a picture of how much moisture might be received in the next seven days.

“The latest forecast (from Oct. 21) has a significant amount of rain falling in the eastern third of the state,” Knapp said. “The heaviest is in the southeast, where 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches might accumulate.”

She said the amount of rainfall expected through the end of October tapers off in the  north and west. “Further west, generally less than a quarter of an inch is expected,” Knapp said.

“Amounts less than a quarter of an inch will do little to improve conditions. One-quarter to 1 ½ inches will provide short-term relief, maybe enough to get wheat or other fall crops started.”

Unfortunately for farmers, Knapp said, a three month outlook beginning in November is for conditions that are warmer and drier than normal.

“What I can tell producers is that they should plan for a normal year, though I’m still not sure what a normal one is,” Duncan said. “As a farmer, you go for the norm, plan for success, but then be ready to pivot if you have to.”

In addition to satisfying their crops, farmers could use a little rain to help in restoring farm ponds or other supplies of water, and to anchor down some of the dry soil that is at risk for erosion. Duncan said the extension agents also are telling him that some farmers are getting a bit anxious about having enough feed to get livestock through the winter months.

An interview with Duncan is available online on the weekday radio program, Agriculture Today. Farmers can also get weekly updates from K-State Research and Extension in the Agronomy eUpdate, published by the Department of Agronomy.

More information on weather conditions, forecasts and other weather-related data in Kansas is available online from Kansas Mesonet.

Corteva warns farmers current drought conditions in the Corn Belt could cause herbicide carryover in 2021.

The concentration of herbicide remaining in the soil at next season’s planting may be too high if dry conditions persist. This will depend on herbicide chemical properties, soil characteristics and the weather, according to Pioneer Field Agronomist Bob Berkevich. Additionally, while this season’s crop may be well-suited to tolerating the herbicide used, a rotational crop may be susceptible to injury.

Emerging plants are more likely to show injury to residual herbicide levels if other stressors, such as compaction or cold, wet soils are also present. Berkevich says farmers cannot do much to change the concentration of herbicides present in the soil. But there are several steps they can take to help reduce the risk of carryover injury, such as reviewing spray records for each field to see what restrictions are indicated or even going so far as delaying planting.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has been awarded $331,846 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Funds for the program are presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Marketing Service to increase opportunities for specialty crops. According to the USDA, specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” KDA has selected other recipients to further utilize the funds.

The following is a list of Kansas projects that will be funded by the grant:

  • Prairieland Market, Increasing Specialty Crops in Prepared Foods and Retail Sales at Prairieland Market, $42,655 (Saline County) — Through increased marketing, this project will expand community awareness of prepared foods and retail opportunities to consume local specialty crops that Prairieland Market in Salina will source from more than 12 local growers.
  • Extension Education Foundation, Promoting Specialty Crops in South Central Kansas through Growing Growers Learning Network, $68,312 (Sedgwick County) — The foundation will build upon previous successes of the Growing Growers program and create a Growing Growers Learning Network to provide quality learning experiences for new, beginning, and socially disadvantaged producers related to recommended business practices, best food safety practices, and developing quality sustainable business.
  • Kansas State University, Building Capacity for Education and Research Opportunities at K-State’s Willow Farm, $55,692 (Riley County) — K-State will establish the Willow Lake Student Farm as the premier small- to mid-scale diversified farm research and training center in the Midwest by improving the farm’s infrastructure for hosting and teaching for-credit courses, workshops, field days, short courses, internships, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Kansas Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crop Conference Education Support, $35,732 (statewide) — KDA will financially assist Kansas specialty crop growers to attend a recognized conference on specialty crop growing techniques and industry to increase their knowledge base and develop a plan of action to implement new ideas into their operations.
  • Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association, Growing and Sustaining the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association, $61,744 (statewide) — KSCGA will work to grow the reach of the association by: improving communication for specialty crop growers across the state, evaluating the current online/alternative marketing channels for specialty crops, upgrading the KSCGA member directory, and building a statewide Specialty Crop Growers Support Bureau.
  • Children First: CEO Kansas, Fresh Food Matters, $55,995 (Sedgwick County) — Children First: CEO Kansas will educate area students about the importance of growing and eating specialty crops through experiential learning in four learning gardens throughout the area. Further programs will include teaching adults how to prepare specialty crops in a teaching kitchen, as well as distribution of information cards throughout the area.

For more information including past recipients, visit the KDA Specialty Crop Block Grant web page at www.agriculture.ks.gov/SpecialtyCrop.

LINCOLN, NEB. – As we move into the fall of 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic still upon us, it is a year we won’t soon forget. Students may or may not be back in the classroom and we all may be either working from home or may be back at the office. But farmers and ranchers are working to move cattle and to start on harvest.

As the uncertainty of 2020 lingers through the year, this is a time when we especially need to slow down and pay more attention on farms, ranches, and on roads and highways.

Here are a few tips to remember as we see, large slow-moving machines on our roads coming in and out of fields across the state.

  1. Farmers: Get plenty of rest and slow down to avoid accidents on the farm. Don’t hurry through equipment repairs, take your time with backing up large pieces of machinery, keep your hands away and don’t wear loose clothing around moving auger parts.

  1. Drivers: Drive without distractions. We hear it all the time: Don’t text or check your smartphone while driving. But distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of vehicular accident and during harvest time it could be especially dangerous as there may be more slow-moving vehicles on our roads and highways.

  1. Farmers: If you’re driving farm equipment on public roads, it’s especially important that you’re clearly marked so motorists can see you in time to slow down — considering you’re probably driving less than 25 MPH. Make sure your lights are working and that all reflecting tape and slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems are properly placed. Remember to wipe down some of these safety features if your equipment is dusty to ensure they can be seen. Also use flashers on public roads.

  1. Drivers: If you are following behind a slow-moving vehicle, please play it safe and wait to safely pass and remember slow moving vehicles usually go from one field or pasture to another and turning may take extra time, so be patient. Most farmers will do their best to create space so you can pass, but awareness of where you’re driving and patience on everybody’s part is the best way to keep the roads safe during harvest season.

In the fall, harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry. Remember, we share our roads and highways and in 2020 if we work together, we can keep everyone safe.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — EPA announced the interim decision for atrazine, marking the end of the registration review process and clearing the way for continued use of a key herbicide for Kansas farmers. The Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) is a founding member of the Triazine Network, a coalition of organizations from a variety of crops across the nation that advocates for science-based regulatory decisions for the triazine herbicides. KCGA CEO Greg Krissek said today’s announcement is a positive step forward for atrazine, a product that provides needed weed control and is a valued tool in conservation tillage practices like no-till farming. Krissek and Missouri Corn CEO Gary Marshall, who are co-chairs of the Triazine Network, participated in a round table with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler today near Springfield, MO.

“We were pleased with the announcement at today’s round table discussion with Administrator Wheeler which affirmed the continued use of atrazine as well as simazine and propazine. This is a culmination of years of work,” Krissek said. “The next step for atrazine is the Endangered Species Act review, and we will continue to work with EPA as the agency prepares its biological evaluation for the ESA review that is expected to be published with a comment period this fall. Our organizations will remain closely involved in these regulatory actions surrounding atrazine and the triazine herbicides.”

The registration review has been underway since 2013, and this decision is a positive outcome for growers.

“Today’s news provides much needed regulatory certainty for farmers during a time when few things are certain,” said Triazine Network Co-Chair Gary Marshall. “We appreciate today’s announcement from EPA Administrator Wheeler. We thank the agency on behalf of the farmers who rely on atrazine to fight problematic weeds and employ conservation tillage methods to reduce soil erosion and improve water and wildlife habitat. “

Atrazine ranks second in widely used herbicides that help farmers control weeds that rob crops of water and nutrients. Utilized for over 60 years, atrazine is the most researched herbicide in history and has a proven safety record. Today’s announcement concludes the registration review process where EPA is required to periodically re-evaluate existing pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The next step for the triazines is a draft biological evaluation required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which is expected to be published in October.

“This isn’t the last review of atrazine. In fact, the Endangered Species Act review will be key to the future of atrazine as well as other crop protection tools. Moving forward, we remain vigilant in ensuring the agencies involved utilize high-quality, scientific studies,” stated Marshall. “The EPA has said they will utilize the best available research, first in a letter the Triazine Network in 2019 and again today. Our stance has always been sound, credible science must win. We appreciate these commitments, and EPA must hold true to them in the ESA evaluation.”

Approved for use 1958, atrazine has been extensively reviewed by EPA and others over the decades and across administrations. The final ESA assessment is slated to be released in 2021.