Heartland embraces precision agriculture practices
Half of the farmers in the biggest corn, soybean, and wheat states employ precision agriculture in their operations — from GPS guidance of tractors and combines to deploying drones to scout fields or monitor livestock — twice the national average, said a USDA report on computer usage on Wednesday. Far more farms have a cellular internet connection than broadband; 18 percent have no internet access at all.
EPA to ban agricultural use of chlorpyrifos
Ending 14 years of regulatory and court battles, the EPA announced on Wednesday that it would ban agricultural use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to learning disorders and can cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. Regulators ended residential use of the pesticide, which works by attacking the nervous systems of insects, two decades ago.
Today’s Quick Hits
Superweed crisis: Weeds such as Palmer amaranth, which can grow three inches a day, are developing resistance to herbicides faster than chemical companies can create new weedkillers, posing a threat to global food production built around mechanized cultivation and herbicides. (New York Times Magazine)
Futures group eyes acquisition: The world’s largest operator of futures exchanges, the CME Group, has reportedly offered $16 billion to acquire CBOE Global Markets in a deal that would “bring together two of the most important names in global financial derivatives.” (Financial Times)
Modern-day Noah’s Ark: As drought, heat, and wildfires batter California, scientists are working to save the state’s most endangered plant and animal species from extinction through emergency translocations, captive breeding programs, and seed banks. (Los Angeles Times)
New price-fixing plaintiff: Fast-food giant McDonald’s Corp. has joined a lawsuit that accuses major poultry processors of conspiring to fix prices for broiler chickens sold to the foodservice industry. (Meat and Poultry)
Drought punishes almonds: California’s almond boom has run into the second major drought in a decade, and growers without reliable irrigation may have to abandon their thirsty orchards. (Associated Press)