In this installment of 5 Agriculture stories to read, there are outlooks for soybean aphids and farm incomes. The USDA is offering funding for farmers who establish new bee habitats. Help bust GMO myths by sharing a gallery showing what is not, and what is, a GMO. And have a little fun learning what a farmer says with a YouTube video.
1. Soybean aphids in 2014? Experts at Ohio State University are expecting low aphid populations in 2014 for a couple of reasons. One: due to the every-other-year population peak, experts suggest that 2014 should be a low year.
Two, very minimal soybean aphids were found on buckthorn (the aphid’s overwintering host) based on a multi-state survey. Observations agreed with the lack of aphids found during surveys of buckthorn across Ohio. Of course, a lot can happen between now and late July-early August when soybean aphids would appear, and we will keep you updated if aphids do arrive.
2. 2014 grain farm income prospects. Income levels in 2014 are likely to be significantly lower than 2013. Gary Schnitkey, ag economist at University of Illinois, says that to just meet 2013 levels, yields would have to be above average and prices near $4.80.
Corn prices in the low $4.00 range likely will result in incomes below $50,000. Corn prices in the high $4.00 range will result in average incomes above $100,000. If corn prices average around $4.50 over the next several years, average incomes likely will be in the above range for the next several years. Lower incomes are possible with corn prices below $4.00 per bushel.
3. Bee population help from USDA. The USDA has committed $8 million to help boost the declining honey bee population. Farmers and ranchers in Michigan, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin can received funds to establish habitats for the existing bee populations.
The CRP pollinator initiative, administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), takes advantage of the new pollinator seed mixes developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. FSA also recently announced the restart of continuous enrollments in CRP, including its Pollinator Habitat Initiative to enroll 100,000 acres of longer lasting meadows of high-quality native wildflowers that support honey bees, pollinators and other wildlife populations.
4. Busting GMO myths. GMO Answers recently released several images that help dispel common GMO myths, including “GMO tomatoes” and other misinformation. Reminding consumers there is no fish DNA in food, strawberries aren’t GMO and neither are seedless watermelons, the images show what is, and is not, a GMO product. See the images and share them, and get more information from GMOAnswers.com.
5. What does the farmer say? For a little fun today, check out this YouTube video from Farmer Derek, offering a farmer take on the popular song, “What does the fox say?”