Monday, 31 December 2012

A Way Forward in achieving Food Security for our Livestock

In last 65 years Pakistan managed to increase its population of large animals from 12 million to 65 million as per latest survey of animal population in the country. However in terms of per Animal production we observe a declining trend which was 10 liter/head in 1950 and now its 6.1 liter in cattle while around 6.9 liters in buffaloes/head. This is totally against the world animal production trend where no of animals are decreasing while production/animal is increasing. The main reasons for such pattern in Pakistan are as follows;

1. Farmers especially small scale or land less never considered their animals as tools of production but kept them as financial security

2. Large scale farmer concentrated his efforts towards cash crops and ignored livestock potential just keeping enough for his personal use and for his prestige

3. Traditional livestock farmers kept a few elite animals for just winning annual competition and never bothered about cost of production and further breeding and maintaining their offspring of such elite animals

4. As a result we got such trends mentioned above and livestock production sector could not become viable in economical terms and remained as financial security for land less and small farmers while for big land lords, just as a matter of prestige

As a result of strong focus on cash crops by the farmers, the following scenario is observed

1. Area under fodder production decreased from 17% down to 13% while population of animals kept on increasing

2. Fertile land around the city kept on shrinking due to expansion of urban development

3. Seasonal variation in fodder production also played its role in erratic supply of fodder for ever increasing population of our livestock thus decreasing production/head

As a result our animals by large remained underfed therefore were never able to show their God given potential due to erratic feed supply which was never enough to feed them properly and remained bigger cause of keep0ing the animals underfed.

Scientists related to this field kept on trying to find different ways to improve this situation by suggesting so many alternatives such as

1 Increased use of crop residues such as wheat/paddy straws etc

2 Value addition of such crop residues by adding urea , molasses, CSL etc

3 Introducing high yielding fodder varieties

4 Introduction of industrial bye products like maize gluten and different meals etc

5 Preservation of fodder in the shape of hay and silage in pits or bunkers

However recently two factors played an important role to see this sector purely in business terms and the factors are as follows

1. Increase in unemployment both in rural and urban youth thus creating poverty in the productive society

2. Induction of corporate sector in this business

To run this sector as business purely in economic terms it required to increase the productive potential of existing stock. Therefore even new farms being established even on smaller scale, priority is being given to purchase only to higher yielding animals both in buffalo and cattle available at the moment in the country.

Corporate sector initially started with local cross bred animals but ultimately a trend started to import exotic cows from abroad due to non availability of productive animals in big number from one place. They were fed up of buying animals one by one from market to market and they were afraid of introducing disease carriers’ animals by mistake in the stock which they had already collected.

Punjab Government realizing the potential of this sector decided to address the issues related to this emerging but having huge potential of this sector.

PLDDB took the lead in addressing the basic issue of this sector which is to assure food security for the animals meant for business. Therefore the idea of producing baled silage production was introduced which will ensure quality feed in packed bales form having longer shelf life and can be easily transported in any part of the province to assure sustainability of this business.

This is the introduction of third generation of silage after the trench and bunker technique. It is produced by harvesting and chopping of standing maize crop from the field with the help of harvesters at app.65% moisture level and then packing of this chopped fodder in polythene sheet with the help of latest type of baler. Before packing this fodder is inoculated with proper inoculants which shortens the ensiling process. As a result of this project many other private investors have started investing in this business of silage making on commercial basis and as a result of this revolutionary step following benefits to the dairy farmers and maize crop producers are listed below.

1-Baled silage is very easy to use for dairy farmers as it needs very less labor for handling and feeding to animals as compared to cut and carry system.

2-It is also very economical as the baled silage in spite of being full of nutrition will be available to livestock farmers almost at the same price which currently they are paying for the purchase of wheat straw.

3-For large scale farmers it serves as food security to maintain productivity level of their animals throughout the year which always remain a limiting factor for the success of livestock sector.

1- Maize grower by growing crop for silage gets cash for his crop almost one month earlier than the grain producers while selling his crop to the silage producers.

2- As the crop is harvested at approximately 65% moisture level for silage making the farmer saves extra expenses on at least 2 irrigations, expenses for harvesting and de shelling of his crop as well as gets rid of transportation charges for taking his crop to the market. The grower at the same time gets his land free one month earlier and can prepare his land easily and effectively for next crop to be planted.

3- The maize grower was always at the mercy of stakeholders in the market regarding the price of his produce which was always exploited based on supply and demand of the final product in the markets.

The baled silage technology has made the dairy farming an easy and economical business. The nutrition costs 75% of the total cost of animal production and the baled silage minimizes the expenses of the farmers in terms of huge labor for harvesting of fodder manually.

It is a matter of satisfaction that the response of the livestock farmers in purchasing and using these bales at their farms is very much encouraging which gives an indication that in future this sector will grow further as it proves to be economical ,sustainable and profitable. It is expected as our livestock farmers will continue to adopt modern technologies to run their farms, we will soon enter in international market in dairy products inshallah

Agriculture Secy on gun control: This could be a unifying conversation and Lord knows we need to be unified.

Highlight from Interview– Secy. Vilsack

VILSACK: I mean, when the Speaker of the House basically says, look, we can't talk about the fiscal cliff and the farm bill at the same time because it's a 1,000-page bill. It's not 1,000-page bill, first and foremost. It is a bill that could easily be attached to our hurricane relief bill or a fiscal cliff resolution bill, easily attached to either one of those, if he had the will, if it was a priority.


Here's how I view this. I view when the conversation starts, as this conversation started, with a respect for the 2nd Amendment and a recognition that there is a value system attached to it that is important, and it starts with the recognition that people do hunt and that that's important to them - 38 percent of America either hunts or fishes. So you know, it's a big part of the population. It's a much deeper conversation.

And it's a good one to have for this country. It's a - it's potentially a unifying conversation. The problem is that these conversations are always couched in the terms of dividing us. This could be a unifying conversation and Lord knows we need to be unified.
Original Article Here

Agriculture briefs


The Sonoma County Farm Bureau will hold a seminar for agricultural employers on Jan. 22 on how to comply with California law.

The seminar will cover mandates ranging from the office to the field, including wages, hours, work weeks, meal and rest periods, exemptions, payroll documentation, housing and transportation, occupational safety and health programs, equipment and prevention standards, and more.

The seminar also will include regulation from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I-9 form completion, document verification, E-Verify, audit procedures and investigation expectations.

Experts from Barsamian and Moody Law Firm and Farm Employers Labor Service will present.

The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The fee is $25 for Farm Bureau members and $55 for non-members. Non-members joining Farm Bureau can attend this first seminar free. Seating is limited, so please make reservations by Jan. 11. For reservations, please contact Anita Hawkins: 544-5575 or
USDA seeks census forms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service is urging farmers to complete and return their 2012 Census of Agriculture form.

Conducted once every five years, the census provides a snapshot of the agriculture industry in every county of the state, including land use and ownership, production practices and expenditures. The information can affect policy decisions and community growth and development.
Original Article Here

Senate, House agriculture committees in deal to avert milk price spike

By Jim Wolf
Farm-state lawmakers have agreed to a one-year extension of the expiring U.S. farm law that, if enacted, would head off a possible doubling of retail milk prices to $7 or more a gallon in early 2013.

The extension would end a 32-month attempt to update farm subsidies dating from the Depression era, when farmers were crushed by low prices and huge crop surpluses, to meet today's high-wire challenges of tight food supplies, high operating costs and volatile markets.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, said on Sunday he hoped the legislation would be passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama by Tuesday to avoid higher prices for milk in grocery stores.

The bill was listed among measures that could be called for a vote on Monday in the House of Representatives although action was not guaranteed.

Despite consensus on the need to extend the farm bill, lawmakers continue to discuss how long the extension should be.

Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, told reporters late on Sunday a nine-month farm bill extension was being considered as part of deal being crafted in the Senate to stave off the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that begin kicking in on January 1.

"There's good chance that if there is a package out of the Senate, it will include something on the farm bill. The easiest thing to get done would be nine months of current law," Cole said.

A second Republican, Representative Steven LaTourette, said a nine-month extension could be part of the fiscal cliff package or could move separately if the fiscal talks fail.

House Republican leaders refused to call a vote during the fall on a full-scale, $500 billion farm bill on grounds it might fail because it did not cut spending enough.

Grain, soybean and cotton growers would get another round of the $5 billion "direct payment" subsidy that all sides agreed to kill in a new farm bill. The payments are made regardless of need. Reformers say the payments are unjustified when crop prices and farm income are at near-record levels.


Also in the extension, lawmakers would revive agricultural disaster-relief programs that ran out of money a year ago and create a new dairy subsidy program. It would compensate dairy farmers whenever milk prices are low and feed prices are high. The so-called margin protection program would require farmers to limit production to avert a long run of low dairy prices.

Traditionally, the dairy program sets a minimum price for milk through government purchase of butter, cheese and dry milk. If Congress does not act, the dairy support price will revert on Tuesday to the level dictated by an outmoded 1949 law and which is roughly double the price now paid to farmers.

The potential retail milk price has been estimated at $6 to $8 a gallon versus current levels near $3.50.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, during an interview broadcast by CNN, said higher milk prices - if it comes to that - would ripple throughout all commodities "if this thing goes on for an extended period of time."

Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the "responsible short-term farm bill extension ... not only stops milk prices from spiking, but also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy."


House Republican leaders readied two alternatives, if needed, to the one-year extension. One was a one-month extension of the now-expired 2008 farm law without disaster funds or the new dairy program and the other was a one-month suspension of the dairy provisions of the 1949 law.

It was not clear which bill would be called for debate, a farm lobbyist said on Sunday. A small-farm activist said any package passed by Congress must include rural economic development funds and money for soil conservation on "working lands," the largest of USDA's conservation programs.

"If a new farm bill doesn't pass this Congress, we'll soon hold another mark-up and just keep working until one is enacted next year," said Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.

It would be the first time on record that Congress began drafting a farm bill during a two-year session and had to carry it into the following session, congressional researchers said. Hearings on the new farm bill began April 21, 2010.


While dairy producers generally support the so-called margin-protection program as the answer to high feed costs, processors and foodmakers oppose it. They say it is wrong-minded in its premise of curtailing production when prices are low, and it will destroy a healthy export market for dairy products.

The rejuvenated disaster programs would cover losses from this year's widespread drought, especially for livestock producers, although tree farmers, honey bees and farm-raised fish are also covered. Maximum payment would be $100,000.

Senators passed a farm bill in June estimated to save $23 billion over 10 years, with most of the cuts in crop subsidies and conservation programs. The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill with $35 billion in cuts in July, half of it in food stamps for the poor - the biggest cut in food stamps in a generation.

Fiscally conservative House Republicans have called for larger cuts in farm subsidies and food stamps while some House Democrats opposed any food stamp cuts.

(Additional reporting by Charles Abbott, David Lawder and Richard Cowan; Editing by Ros Krasny, Maureen Bavdek, Jan Paschal and Eric Walsh)
Original Article Here

Agriculture In Review

By Lacy Gray,

While the drought in the midwest will certainly take the number one spot on the nation’s top agriculture news list for 2012, here in Washington state it was an overall good year for agriculture. Commodities such as cherries, apples, milk, hay, potatoes, and wheat continued to have record or near record high production value. Though most crops did fairly well across the board, labor shortage was still an issue for a lot of producers, putting immigration issues front and center for Washington state once again.

The summer of 2012 will long be remembered for devastating wildfires across much of central Washington. The cost for battling the four largest of these fires was estimated at $67.5 million. Mike Louisell with the Washington State Department of Agriculture says that even with the ups and downs agriculture remains a bright spot for Washington state economy.

LOUISELL: I think we have benefited from a higher recognition that the value of agriculture and food industries in our state basically is the cornerstone of Washington state’s economy. We have agriculture all across the state - benefiting small scale farmers in some counties and larger scale farm operations in other areas.

Louisell says that while he can’t predict what the total agriculture statistics will be for 2012, based on 2011 figures the WSDA can estimate the total value of agriculture and food production in Washington state.

LOUISELL: To put the value of agriculture into perspective, the state receives some $46 billion dollars contributed by the food and agriculture industry, about 13 percent of the state’s economy.

Other Washington commodities that have significant value on the national market are hops, mint, lentils, and livestock,
Original Article Here

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack: Rural America ready for national conversation on gun control

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Newtown school shootings have changed the gun control debate and that rural America is ready to be part of a national conversation that he believes could bring people together.

Vilsack says the debate has to start with respect for the Second Amendment right to bear arms and a recognition that hunting is a way of life for millions of Americans.

But Vilsack said that the nation has reached "a different circumstance" in the gun control debate. It will take time, but it's now "potentially a unifying conversation," he said. President Barack Obama recognizes that changes to gun laws can't just be decreed from Washington but must come from the "grassroots up."

Vilsack was interviewed Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Original Article Here

Donation benefits animal science graduate students

WOOSTER, Ohio — A former faculty member of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has established a new fund to support graduate students.

Earle W. Klosterman established the Earle and Ann Klosterman Endowed Graduate Award with a $200,000 gift to Ohio State’s Department of Animal Sciences. The annual distribution from this award will help support departmental graduate students conducting research with beef cattle at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Klosterman is native of South Dakota. He earned a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University in 1942 and a doctorate from Cornell University in 1946.

His wife, Ann, obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree from Cornell University. Ann taught home economics at Wooster High School and the Wayne County Vocational School for a total of 23 years.

Earle held faculty positions at South Dakota State University and North Dakota State University before joining the faculty of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and The Ohio State University in 1952, where he conducted beef cattle research until his retirement in 1980.

He served as associate chair of the Department of Animal Science from 1967 to 1980 and designed and oversaw the construction of the 400-head capacity OARDC Beef Center feedlot in 1968.
Original Article Here

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Africa: Agriculture Gets Increased U.S. Support in 2012


Washington — During 2012, the United States bolstered its commitment to agriculture and economic growth around the world with new systems that monitor the effectiveness of assistance efforts, new agreements with public and private sector partners and more resources for agricultural research.

The United States also integrated its short-term humanitarian assistance with its longer-term development aid with the aim of building resilience in communities vulnerable to recurrent crises.

Progress began early in the year. In February, the U.S. Feed the Future program, the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative of Oxford University launched a Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index.

The index is the first tool to measure how much women are included in agriculture production, control how family income is used and are leaders in their communities. It is used to evaluate how Feed the Future programs support women's role in reducing hunger and advancing prosperity.

President Obama established Feed the Future in 2009 following a pledge by leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to invest more in country-driven efforts to form long-term solutions to chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.

February also saw the introduction of a system to record how U.S. agencies perform against key Feed the Future indicators, the first time multiple agencies have reported to a common food-security monitoring system. In October, Feed the Future released its evaluations of information captured from May 2009 through May 2012 and concluded: "By improving the way we do development, Feed the Future is already making a difference." The system helps planners make decisions about future programming and spending.

On the eve of the 2012 G8 Summit in May, President Obama announced that the group's leaders, African leaders and leaders of nearly 50 companies agreed to commit new resources to a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022 through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth. The private sector partners promised collectively to invest $3 billion in Africa's agriculture sector, while African leaders promised to adopt policies to improve investment opportunities and to drive their countries' food-security plans.
Original Article Here

USDA launches agriculture census

By Mike Bush

Tis the season to be counted, or so reads a headline from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is about to launch its Census of Agriculture, which happens once every five years.

In other words, in good old Uncle Sam fashion, the USDA wants farmers and ranchers to participate in the 2012 census by filling out and sending back forms that it is mailing out this week. Farmers and ranchers can also complete the form online.

Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate, but smaller farms and ranches are also urged to join in the effort. The USDA defines a farm as “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.”

The comprehensive survey is designed to count all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It “looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures,” the agency says. “For America’s farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future and their responsibility.”

According to its website, Torrance County is one of the nation’s “most productive agricultural counties.” The same could easily be said about much of central New Mexico in general, which is added reason for local ranchers and farmers to fill out and send in the census forms promptly.

The census is important because it is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. The data are used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities, including agri-businesses, trade associations, chambers of commerce, and federal, state and local governments.

According to the USDA:

“Companies and cooperatives use the facts and figures to determine the locations of facilities that will serve agricultural producers.

“Community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents.

“Legislators use the numbers from the census when shaping farm policies and programs.

“Farmers and ranchers can use census data to help make informed decisions about the future of their own operations.”

All individual information, by law, must be kept confidential. Data are used only for statistical purposes. The census report cannot be used for taxation, investigation or regulation.

Farmers and ranchers are asked to respond by Feb. 4, 2013. The results will be released in early 2014, according to a spokesman for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the arm of the USDA conducting the census. Detailed reports will be published for all counties, states and the nation as a whole.

The last census, conducted in 2007, found that the number of farms in the United States had grown 4 percent and the operators of those farms had become more diverse during the previous five years.

Census forms and results of earlier surveys are available online at
Original Article Here

Agriculture dominates middle months of 2012

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three part series that will review the events of 2012 that had an impact on residents of western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming.
During the month of May, Scottsbluff High School students were pledging not to text and drive and the preparation for the first ever marathon for the Panhandle, the Monument Marathon, was being planned.
The GOP thinned its ranks, choosing Deb Fischer to run against Bob Kerrey for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Nelson. The political arena, much like the state, was only beginning to heat up.
Unseasonably warm and dry weather in May, June, July and August, made the Panhandle and Goshen County, Wyo., prime targets for fires.
The Nebraska National Guard helped to fight fires in Colorado in June and fires blazed in Guernsey where smoke could be seen in the Panhandle. Locally, fires popped up in grasslands, creating problems for ranchers, as they looked toward the winter with little forage for their cattle.
In July, a wildfire consumed trees and blackened grassland in about 300 acres of the northwest corner of Nebraska. Fires continued in August, closing schools in Chadron and putting a damper on Labor Day events and camping sites.
While politicians argued the health care bill and economics, the agricultural community began to feel the bite of the lingering hot dry weather.
The wheat crop suffered, and by June, many forecasted it would not reach projected yields. In July, many began to say the drought was going to be the worst since the 1930s.
When the storms finally came, they came with a vengeance bringing hail and tornadoes to many areas of the Panhandle and Goshen County. Hailstorms in June battered trees, fields and homes.
The crops damaged from the June storm ran from Nebraska to Wyoming along Highway 92. In Wyoming, around 300 acres of sugar beets were damaged by the hail, and in Nebraska it was estimated that more than 4,000 acres were damaged.
In July, the dry weather caused the state Department of Natural Resources to limit the water available to junior water rights holders. Reservoir levels in Wyoming dropped and many hoped for a wet winter.
Agriculture wasn’t the only events in the news.
In May, District Judge Randall Lippstreu ruled and granted partial summary judgment and motion for temporary injunction sought by Scotts Bluff County against Western Engineering Inc. Mining operations on the Summerville property were shut down.
Torrington, Wyo., native Lexxie Madden won the title of Miss Wyoming in June and the Scottsbluff Elks celebrated 100 years in May.
In June, the town of Alliance hit national news with a hostage situation at Theile Gift and Pharmacy downtown. The daylong event ended with pharmacist Charles Lierk escaping with a gunshot to his shoulder from Andres Gonzalez. It was revealed later that Gonzalez had also killed Josh Bullock, who had been missing for several months.
On an up note, in August, the Gering Platte Valley Companies senior legion baseball team won the Class B Championship title in Wahoo. The celebration was 30 years in the making since this team was only the third Gering team to accomplish the monumental feat. The Gering Senior Legion teams from 1953 and 1982 also won championships.
Original Article Here

Agriculture took a massive blow in 2012

Hayley Rhodes, of Primrose Hill Farm, Wragby, works in trials. She writes - Welcome to 2013, and goodbye and good riddance to 2012. It will certainly be remembered for the awful weather and the wettest summer on record. Also agriculture has taken a massive blow this year with below average yields, appalling drilling conditions, falling milk prices, rising feed prices and high input costs, there is no wonder that farmer confidence has been badly knocked.

For some farmers it will be hard to get back up again as you can only keep getting knocked down so many times and you will start to question if it’s worth it all. Though the industry certainly has a future and always will, everyone needs fresh produce and meat. For some parts of the industry it needs to be made more viable with sensible feed prices, input costs and good end produce price. The problem is supermarkets are one of the main culprits for controlling the price and they certainly are not taking into account the cost of producing most produce. More needs to be done to stop supermarkets ripping farmers and growers off and a little appreciation won’t go amiss either.

In December we had a short cold snap with night temperatures falling below -5 degrees and day time temperatures struggling to get above 2 degrees. This was a very short respite from the ever destroying slugs and actually allowed some the opportunity to get onto the land and do a little bit of drilling, or something along those lines in a fashion. Unsurprisingly there is still a bit of drilling to do but the drilling window is getting smaller and smaller and the chances of getting a decent winter crop are starting to diminish. Spring cropping is certainly going to be the next option for many farmers who still have fields that need filling with something. Some of the later drilled crops have struggled to emerge with the saturated grounds and the risk of being attacked by the slug.

Much of the earlier wheat that was drilled will hopefully nearly be at the growth stage where the slugs can’t do much more damage.
Original Article Here

Haiti - Agriculture : The agricultural recovery, priority 2013

A few days before the new year, the President Michel Martelly announced that agriculture and the environment will be the main priorities for 2013 and affirmed, that the launch of the agricultural recovery plan of Government, will enable the country to achieve 70% of food self sufficiency by 2016.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) and the Agency for the Development of the Artibonite Valley (ODVA), anticipate producing in 2013, in the Artibonite Valley, 100,000 metric tons of rice, an objective that would meet 25% of local needs.

According to Jacques Thomas, Minister of Agriculture, the Government has allocated several million Gourdes, which allowed in less than 3 months, to clean out 45 km of drains, to rehabilitate 18 km of irrigation canals and build 13 kilometers of road to make reachable certain regions. In addition, significant efforts have been made for the conversion of 6,000 hectares of uncultivated land, into productive land.

With its 32 000 hectares, the land of the Artibonite valley, once enhanced, would be able to produce nearly 80% of the rice consumed in Haiti. Kénel Francique, Director of ODVA, pointed out that this is by multiplying the irrigation works, that it will be possible to increase the area of rice fields and achieve food self-sufficiency.
Original Article Here

Agriculture attracts record foreign capital

The foreign direct investments (FDI) in Turkey’s agriculture and food sectors have been vacuuming international companies over the last decade, according to impressive figures provided by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker. 

“The FDI in the food and agriculture sector was $14 million in 2002 and it reached $2.1 billion in the first 10 months in 2012,” Eker said during a breakfast in Ankara, where he hosted a group of journalists. “The investments in the agriculture sector are on the rise,” he said, adding it was “both domestic investments and foreign investments.”

Agriculture is still one of the engine powers of the Turkish economy as one third of the working population is employed in the sector. Eker said this figure stood at a mere 4 percent in European Union member nations on the average. 

The minister said a decrease in the agricultural employment should be considered as normal.

Agriculture generates $62 billion annualy

Some 6.2 million people work in Turkish agricultural fields of 24 million hectares. The sector generated $62 billion of gross domestic products last year. The national income was $774 billion the same year. 
International food organizations are foreseeing inflation in food prices until 2021, Eker said, telling that Turkey had some specific global suggestions to fight back. Support for small and medium sized enterprises is a leading one.

The minister also projected that energy prices and meat consumption would hike and fish growing would replace fish hunting in the given period. 

Turkey’s net trade surplus in agriculture is $3.5 billion on an annual basis. 

When it comes to imports in the sector, Eker said some raw materials, which are also used in other industries, were also accounted as agricultural purchases. These goods are mainly rubber, textiles fabric, and cellulose, the minister said, that the volume of such imports stand somewhere between $6.5 billion and $7 billion. 

Turkey’s agriculture sector steadily grew for 14 quarters in a row and the figures had been positive since 2003, with an exception in 2007, a year of drought. 

The government has provided 7.4 billion liras in grants for farmers so far this year, the minister noted. The figure will rise to 9 billion liras in 2013, he said. 

He also said 2,500 new employees would be added to the ministry’s ranks as of 2013. The new cadre will basically be employed in rural areas. 

Fake product makers announced 

Commenting on a new procedure of publicly announcing food firms that sell fake products, the minister said 50 such companies have been declared. 

Developing countries have been consuming grains rather than rice, which plays a role in building agricultural policies, he also said. 

The current output of global agriculture sector was enough to meet the demand by all the people living on earth, he said. “The problem lies in trade policies, and lack of justice, sympathy and love.” 

The hunger problem was also posing security risks, he said. “If 1 billion people out of 7 billion are hungry, the world cannot be a safe place for the remaining 6 billion.”
Original Article Here

Agriculture Ministry getting the job done

Tasks assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Water Resource Management are well under way. 

This was disclosed by head of that Ministry, Dr. David Estwick, recently when he gave an account of some of the major projects and programmes undertaken during his two-year stewardship. 

He revealed that since having ministerial responsibility for the portfolio, his department had been tasked with five major projects.

“We were tasked with getting the new headquarters for the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) started and it is going up. 

“We were tasked with providing three million gallons of water to St. Philip and Christ Church and we have done that. The contract has been awarded to Potable Water Supply and they will find three million gallons of water, ensuring that all the developments in the south and east of the country are sorted out,” he told the media.

Dr. Estwick went on to point out that his Ministry was tasked with creating molasses storage facilities to sustain the rum industry, and this is being done. He also acknowledged that the 2010 budget spoke to the Tractor Cultivation Scheme, and that is currently in progress with the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC).

The Agriculture Minister further indicated that the last major task to be undertaken is the transformation of the sugar industry to a sugar cane industry.

“That process is very far advanced, and we are working with a Chinese company known as CMEC, which is the sixth largest Chinese state corporation, and they are going to be dealing with the engineering aspects. We are also working with a regional and local consortium because the way the Chinese Import Export Bank works is that they would have one of their state corporations come to them for the funding and then the Chinese corporation would then deal with the engineering aspects. You also must have a domestic component and that is now being put together and we should have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by this week. So, hopefully early in the new year we will be dealing with that operation down at Andrews Sugar Factory,” Dr. Estwick said.

He added that for the first time they will be producing 150 000 megawatts of electricity into the grid and they will also be able to produce ‘A’ and ‘B’ Strike Molasses for the rum industry.

“The other aspect of that sugar cane transformation is to make sure that we go back to the production of fancy molasses, and we are going to be producing bulk sugar for domestic and local consumption,” Dr. Estwick revealed. (TL)
Original Article here

Pair talks agriculture to community

By Tammie Gitt The Sentinel 
Last year, a farming family lost its silo. No one called the family to ask what they could do to help. Neighboring farmers just showed up and did what needed to be done, said Jason Nailor of Mechanicsburg.

“It happens like that a lot,” his wife, Sherisa, said. “It‘s a testament to the profession and industry itself.”

It‘s a testament to the Nailors‘ love of the farming community and their efforts to promote it that earned them the 2012 Young Farmer and Rancher “Excellence in Ag” Award from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

“For us, it was an easy decision to get involved,” Sherisa said. “The thought of raising our kids in farming life was attractive.”

Though Jason grew up on a farm, Sherisa came to the farming community through high school agricultural science classes.

“That‘s where I met Jason,” she said. “It was always his dream to have a dairy farm, so when we had the chance, that‘s what we did.”

Jason operates a 100-cow dairy farm, where he grows 40 acres of corn and 25 acres of hay to feed his cows. He is active in the Cumberland County Farm Bureau, serving on the board of directors, Young Farmer and Rancher Committee and the Local Affairs Committee. Like Sherisa, he is active with the FFA Alumni.

Sherisa is an agricultural science teacher at Big Spring High School who worked to broaden the program and increase the number of students participating in FFA. In the past six years, enrollment in the agricultural science classes increased by 35 percent and FFA membership at the school nearly doubled.

She credits growth in the program to the variety of skills taught by its teachers. Students appreciate offerings that include mechanics, masonry, welding and biotechnology, among others.

“Once they‘re hooked on agriculture, they‘re hooked,” Sherisa said. “There‘s so much out there that they don‘t know that everything seems to spark their interest.”

Big Spring School District is largely rural but nationwide, this is becoming less of the case as students are further removed from farms that produce their food.

“I think that kids get involved in FFA for the leadership, and what they learn about agriculture and food supply is a secondary bonus,” Sherisa said.

Some students are the second, third or fourth generation removed from farming, she said. Many know the farm makes food but don‘t understand the consequences of farmland decreasing as the population expands.

That‘s where Jason‘s work with the farm bureau comes in. Many of the meetings discuss ways to grow more food on less acreage, he said.

Agriculture remains Pennsylvania‘s number one industry and Cumberland County has a strong base of young producers who want to do better than the generation before them, Sherisa said. They‘re alert to what is happening in the legislature with farming issues.

Jason finds the mind-set of younger farmers broader and more accepting of technology that enables them to do twice as much as before.

One problem with attracting money to farming programs is that so many programs fall under the Department of Agriculture. The department regulates everything from dog registrations to puppy mills to gas pumps — even casinos.

“Everything is underfunded and understaffed,” Sherisa said. “Everyone wants a piece of the budget.”

Even if students don‘t enter agriculture-related fields, they will become educated consumers, knowing the steps food takes from farm to table and understanding how the cost is determined.

“A lot of the last food (price) increases we saw were due to the fuel,” Jason said.
Original Article Here

Officials worry that agriculture community will bear burden of water shortages

Global warming and increased demand for water by urban and municipal users make shortages of the Colorado River inevitable, according to a recently-released study by the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven Colorado River Basin states. 

Population growth in the study area, expected to increase from about 40 million to anywhere between 49.3 million and 76.3 million, is expected to drive the projected increase in demand for water by the municipal and industrial sectors. The publication of the report preceded the water leaders and policy makers’ annual meeting of the Colorado River Water Users Association in Las Vegas. While the report outlines various methods that address shortfalls on the Colorado River — from desalination to conservation to water banking — some worry that the agricultural community will be expected to bear most of the burden imposed by shortages.

“You are pitting (urban) populations against agriculture,” said Imperial Irrigation District Director Matt Dessert, when asked what he took away from the conference. Anticipated water shortages make the agricultural community’s pool of water increasingly attractive, he added.

“They’re going to continue to look at ag areas and areas that have water to be squeezed (for more water),” he said.

IID Director Steve Benson echoed Dessert’s sentiments.

With the agriculture sector using some 70 to 90 percent of the Colorado River’s water, he said, the agricultural community is going to have to come up with a big portion of water (for other users).

“It’s important that farmers work on conservation based on current contracts with the QSA,” he added. “It’s not perfect but it lays out a clear plan. If we show we’re working under the guidelines of conservation as farmers, it does a lot to protect the future of farming.”

Minute 319, the U.S.-Mexico water pact signed in November, was a focal point at the conference, Dessert said.

The five-year pilot project ties Mexico’s delivery of Colorado River water to environmental conditions like surplus and droughts. It also allows American entities to invest in Mexico’s earthquake-damaged water infrastructure and conservation measures in return for some of its water. Voicing its disapproval with a resolution that did not offer the IID some of this water — as well as other concerns — the IID Board of Directors deadlocked on the vote, keeping the district out of the deal. 

However, representatives of the federal government and the IID are still speaking.

IID officials met with officials from the Department of the Interior at the conference, said IID Director Norma Sierra Galindo.

“They prefaced the meeting by saying that Minute 319 is not a static document. It can be revisited and revised,” she said. But how the IID can be involved is not yet clear, she added.

Benson said that, ultimately, the IID will have to be involved in the pact. 

“We’re going to be a part (of Minute 319) whether we like it or not because of the All-American Canal,” he said.

Minute 319 stipulates the construction of a turn-out on the All-American Canal which will direct water to Mexico. The IID operates the canal. The district also has the largest apportionment of the Colorado River’s water, and it borders Mexico. It is paramount, he added, to ensure the district gets a fair share of Mexico’s intentionally-created surplus water, water that will be available through the binational pact. 

The CRWUA conference was, ultimately, just one conference. Most of the real work will be conducted in meetings, boardrooms, and sometimes through litigation. But between what was said and left unsaid, and the stark message of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, the message that IID officials may be taking away is that they need to be protective of the district’s resources.

“The issue with water is paramount,” Galindo said. “Is there going to be a shortage? Absolutely. I want to ensure our farmers and cities are heard, that they are the key players.”

Staff writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or

Friday, 28 December 2012

A four-pronged approach that addresses three types of farms and their complementarities is proposed.

1. Small scale subsistence farmers are chronically poor and risk-averse smallholders and wage labourers. They mainly produce for their own subsistence. Policies should help move them to higher-risk/higher-return activities through insurance programmes, input subsidies and improved regulations to protect wage labourers.

2. Small investor farmers have better access to assets, are less restricted by their production environment and produce for the market as well as for their own consumption. Policies should facilitate these farmers to engage more in high value agriculture through the expansion of local and regional markets; they should empower farmers’ organizations, provide training in new technologies and improve access to finance.

3. Large scale farmers have access to assets, are situated in a favourable production environment and produce mainly for the market. Policies should ensure that the wealth created by these farms is widely shared. This means ensuring that investors’ proposals are consistent with local visions, that local land rights, particularly those of women, are secured, that land suitable for these farms is mapped together with local actors, that land acquisitions are transparent, that local governments can tax this land, that human rights are respected during land acquisition and that labour standards and sensible environmental safeguards are in place.

4. Policies should moreover build on the complementarities between large and small scale farms through for example inclusive out-grower schemes.

“The key question is whether large and small farms can build on complementarities instead of one displacing the other.” This is a good starting point for further debate, as well as for building new practical experience in inclusive agricultural development.
by Hadi Laghair 

Extremely hard clay & saline soil Reclamation

Addition of Silt & Press Mud followed by deep plowing...........& some chemical amendments like Gypsum

Desertification in Pakistan

By Hadi Laghari 
The first formal recognition of desertification issue was highlighted soon after the famine in Ethiopia during 1992 Rio Earth Summit held under the auspices of the UNEP. Consequently, the UN convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994 and came into force on December 26, 1996. About 193 countries and the EU are the signatories to the convention till January 2012. Pakistan ratified the convention in 1996 and became part of the 193 countries that commemorate the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on June 17, each year," 

A recent report has revealed that as much as 80 per cent of Pakistan’s land is arid. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification defines the term desertification as land degradation in dry lands. This news is troubling, given that the country is largely dependent on agriculture and reduction in the area of arable land may lead to food insecurity. The irony here, however, is that intensification of agriculture is actually one of the reasons behind desertification. Others include population pressure, water logging and salinity — the latter two of which have the capacity to rapidly destroy agriculture in the country. Here, too, it must be considered that an increase in population — which translates into an increase in the demand for foodstuffs — leads to an expansion of settlements and other urban infrastructure into arable land.

Going by the results quoted in this report, it would be safe to assume that the environment in general and the agriculture sector in particular have been mismanaged in the country. We need to ensure that we use the correct methods for agriculture, such as not overusing the land and soil, rotating crops frequently, irrigating land wisely and using the appropriate, preferably organic, fertilisers. True, the nation has other extremely pressing problems as well, but at the end of the day, the land we live in and fight for must be tended to.
Under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Pakistan has committed to increasing its forest cover from an existing 5.2 per cent to six per cent by 2015. But efforts must be taken to make sure that tangible steps, such as breaking the hold of the timber mafia, are taken. It is time that the environment was made a priority and not the slightest deterioration was tolerated. Steps should be taken to review and set in place proper drainage systems, and efforts made to reclaim land lost to water logging and salinity, or, in some areas, to reduce the impact of the salts. Steps should also be taken to control population growth in the country and planners should take care not to extend cities to arable land.


By R. Thangavelu and M.M. Mustaffa

National Research Centre for Banana, Trichirapalli, India:
Fungus can be controlled by Other Friendly Fungus;
- Several reports indicate that Trichoderma species can effectively suppress Fusarium wilt pathogens.
- Several studies have investigated the ability of P. fluorescens to suppress Fusarium wilt disease of banana.
- Banana plantlets inoculated with KY-21 showed significantly reduced development of disease as compared to the control.
- Inoculation Banana plants with non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporium.

Frost Bite Protection

Bittergourds, onion bulbs for seed, cotton sticks hedge from North "Frost Bite Protection", & Mango trees....................all in one.....don't get bothered cotton plants were thoroughly washed with insecticides

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Mechanicsburg couple aims to educate students, community on agriculture

Last year, a farming family lost its silo. No one called the family to ask what they could do to help. Neighboring farmers just showed up and did what needed to be done, said Jason Nailor of Mechanicsburg.

"It happens like that a lot," his wife, Sherisa, said. "It’s a testament to the profession and industry itself."

It’s a testament to the Nailors’ love of the farming community and their efforts to promote it that has earned them the 2012 Young Farmer and Rancher “Excellence in Ag” Award from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

“For us, it was an easy decision to get involved,” Sherisa said. “The thought of raising our kids in farming life was attractive.”

While Jason was born and raised on a farm, Sherisa came to the farming community through high school agricultural science classes.

“That’s where I met Jason,” she said. “It was always his dream to have a dairy farm, so when we had the chance, that’s what we did.”

Jason operates a 100-cow dairy farm, where he also grows 40 acres of corn and 25 acres of hay to feed his cows. He is also active in the Cumberland County Farm Bureau, serving on the board of directors, Young Farmer and Rancher Committee and the Local Affairs Committee. Like Sherisa, he is active with the FFA Alumni.


Sherisa is an agricultural science teacher at Big Spring High School who was worked to broaden the program and increase the number of students participating in FFA. In the past six years, enrollment in the agricultural science classes has increased by 35 percent while the FFA membership at the school has nearly doubled.

Sherisa credits the growth in the program to the variety of skills taught by its teachers. Students appreciate the variety of offerings that include mechanics, masonry, welding and biotechnology, among others.

“Once they’re hooked on agriculture, they’re hooked,” Sherisa said. “There’s so much out there that they don’t know that everything seems to spark their interest.”

Big Spring School District is still largely rural, but nationwide, this is becoming less and less of the case as students are further removed from the farms that produce their food.

“I think that kids get involved in FFA for the leadership, and what they learn about agriculture and food supply is a secondary bonus,” Sherisa said.

Some of the students now are the second, third or fourth generation removed from farming, she said. Many of them appreciate that the farm makes food, but don’t have an understanding about the consequences of farmland decreasing as the population expands.


That’s where Jason’s work with the farm bureau comes in. Many of the meetings discuss ways to grow more food on less acreage, he said.

Agriculture is still the number one industry in the state and, compared to other counties, Cumberland County has a strong base of young producers who want to do better than the generation before them, Sherisa said. These young farmers are also alert to what is happening in the legislature with farming issues.

Jason agreed, adding that the mindset of the younger farmers is broader and more accepting of the technology that allows them to do twice as much as before.

“We are going to need help in the future if we’re going to continue to feed the world,” Sherisa said.

One of the problems with attracting funding to farming programs is that so many different programs fall under the realm of the Department of Agriculture. Everything from dog registrations to puppy mills to gas pumps are regulated by the department. Even casinos fall under its purview.

“Everything is underfunded and understaffed,” Sherisa said. “Everyone wants a piece of the budget.”

Even if Sherisa’s students don’t go into agriculture-related fields, they will become educated consumers, knowing the steps food takes from the farm to the table and understanding how the cost is determined. Eighty percent of the cost of food comes after leaving the producer, Sherisa said.

“A lot of the last food (price) increases we saw were due to the fuel,” Jason said.


That’s not to say the producer doesn’t confront high costs. Recently, agricultural preservation funding came under scrutiny during the Cumberland County budget debate. The program protects land from being used for non-agricultural purchases, keeping prices down.

Jason warned against removing such funding from the budget.

“You will see farms disappear right and left in Cumberland County,” Jason said.

Jason said he was recently looking at land priced between $25,000 and $30,000 an acre.

“You’d never get out of the mortgage,” he said.

Plus there’s the equipment cost. When a friend told him that he bought a house for $200,000, Jason told him that amount wouldn’t even buy a combine.

Still, Jason and Sherisa are willing to help those interested in getting into the business.

“We want to help people get back into it,” Jason said. “If you have the love for it, it’s rewarding.”

They aren’t the only ones. A lot of farmers are willing help new farmers strategize and share equipment.

“We just need a better way to connect them with those who will help or pass on the torch,” Sherisa said.
Original Article Here

Wheat MSP raised to Rs. 1,350 a quintal

More than two months into the rabi sowing season, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a hike of Rs. 65 a quintal in the minimum support price of wheat and allowed an additional export of 2.5 million tonnes to liquidate stocks. Wheat MSP will now be Rs. 1,350.

The announcement of the MSP has been delayed, impacting the area under wheat, which is lower than the coverage in the corresponding period last year. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) earlier recommended a freeze on wheat MSP, and said stocks should be reduced to create space for the new harvest. After the Cabinet asked it to review its decision, the CACP suggested a bonus of Rs. 40 per quintal but in a fresh view, the Agriculture Ministry proposed a hike of Rs. 100. However, CCEA on Wednesday approved an increase of Rs. 65.

“The CCEA has decided to keep wheat MSP at Rs. 1,350 per quintal for the 2013-14 marketing year, which is higher by Rs. 65 than last year,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists after a Cabinet meeting. It is learnt that the Finance Ministry was not in favour of a steep hike, as it would fuel inflation as well as enhance the food subsidy bill.
Original Article Here

Success in agriculture

At its annual meeting earlier this month, the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture presented its fourth annual “Ag Person of the Year” and “Ag Business of the Year” Awards.

LaDonna Burgess, who wrote the stories she presented, is past Chamber President as well as an ongoing Ag Committee Chairperson.

She explained why the Chamber honors area agriculture with the Ag awards.

“Our Chamber is unique because Agriculture is part of our name,” said Burgess, adding,” A mission of our Chamber has always been to bring recognition, support and educate people in our area on the importance of agriculture.”

“It is a main economic engine not only for Willcox, but our whole Sulphur Springs Valley, county, state and nation,” she said.

“There always have been and are today challenges to conquer and succeed in agriculture.”

“I understand, appreciate and love agriculture because of my roots,” Burgess said.

She explained that her grandfather homesteaded in South Dakota; and “my Dad worked his entire life to own and operate our farm and ranch, where I was acquired their same love and passion.”

Burgess said that her other grandfather lost his life in an auto accident while working in the Midwest and Canada on a threshing crew.

She went on to explain that she also “worked closely with our farmers during my 31 years at Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC).”

“The people we honor with our Chamber’s Ag awards know -- volatile markets, hail storms, high temperatures, early freezes, high fuel costs, diminishing water supplies, endless regulations and near impossible financing,” Burgess said.

“They produce food and fiber to feed a hungry world while being good stewards of the land for future generations.”

“Their job description is so long, diverse and technical it would take a day to read,” she added.

The 2012 Ag Business of the Year is Curry Farms and Curry Seed & Chili Company – Ed Curry.

Noel and his wife Anna moved to Southeastern Arizona in 1952 to escape a terrible drought that swept Oklahoma farmers, Burgess said.

“They were attracted to our area because of the plentiful ground water and our local SSVEC that provided rural power for irrigation pumps,” she told the audience.

The couple had a son, Ed, and a daughter, Helen Barnard, said Burgess, adding, “Ed became the farmer and his sister became the cowgirl of the family.”

“Tonight we honor Ed Curry -- a legend in the professional agricultural world,” she said.

“His Dad said Ed never did like anything else,” said Burgess, adding, “Maybe that’s how Curry Seed became an international business -- the best in the world selling seed to South Africa, Mexico, Israel, Peru, Australia, and soon to India and Ethiopia.”

She said that Curry “can certainly be called just a dirt farmer.”

“You may not know and appreciate that he works continuously to genetically improve seeds to grow not just here, but in climates around the world,” Burgess said.

He holds a “Guinness Book of World Record” for the “World’s Heaviest Pepper,” she said.

“Agriculture to him is the race car of life, the sun in his sunshine,” Burgess said.

Explaining why Curry likes seeds, Burgess said that when he was about six years old, Noel had a friend fly the two of them to Hatch to get certified New Mexico 6 chili seed.

“Only was floor sweepin’ seed was commonly used,” she explained.

“When you took a load of red chili to the chili dehydrator in McNeal, the seeds fell out on the truck floor and that was swept up and used for seed.”

Phil Villa, who was chili breeder for better quality, inspired Curry when he was 14 years old.

Noel was asked to grow some special seed plots for him and “that’s where Ed’s interest in seeds was planted,” she said.

Curry’s mother always tried to encourage her son to try to do a better job of farming and be aggressive to improve, Burgess said.

Ed and Jeanette, whom Burgess called “his very supportive wife, have eight children. 

She said that Curry does much for his community.

“If he doesn’t have time to help himself he sends his workers, loans tractors, does so much, and is very humble and quiet about it,” said Burgess, adding “He really cares about people in his community.”

She gave the example of the time “a lady in the area was ill with cancer and was hungry for watermelon. It wasn’t in season. Ed sent one of his workers to Nogales to get melons and take them to her home.”

Burgess said that while Curry “works tirelessly,” he does take time away from work to officiate many weddings and funerals.

He also does school programs, career days from Elfrida to Tucson; puts on FFA Field Days, and contributes to different school projects, she said.

Ed has been on Pearce School Board for more than 30 years, and is currently its President. 

“A very humble man -- a true Christian -- he just wants people to learn and love mankind and agriculture,” Burgess said.

“Ed Curry can be called just a dirt farmer, but add to that his extreme acceleration in Ag Science. He is a master in the world of genetics,” she said.

Burgess said that like his Mom and Dad, “we are very proud to this year’s Chamber Ag Business, Curry Seed & Chile and Curry Farms. The man responsible is Ed Curry.”

When it came his turn to speak, Curry said, “I have a wonderful mother and father…Mom always wanted me to improve things.”

Talking about genetics, Curry said, “there are a little over three billion characters in human genes.”

Addressing his comments to Baker, he said, “Alan, you’re a minister. The more I study genetics, the more I believe in God.”

“God made it so that we as humans are diverse,” Curry added.

As to his own genetic work with chilis, he said, “If you buy a can of green chilies, by the grace of God, that seed comes from our farm. It’s fun to know that can of green chilies came from me.”

Curry said that he was born in Douglas, and plans “on finishing my life right here in this valley.”

Original Article Here


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