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Cool, wet spring may ease western Plains drought
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:05

altNORA HERTEL
Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. - A spring forecast of above-average rainfall in parts of the Plains region is raising hopes for a break in drought conditions plaguing much of the area.

"It looks pretty good for conditions to improve into the early summer," said Sioux Falls-based National Weather Service hydrologist Mike Gillispie about predictions for precipitation in parts of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.

Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb., also expects extra precipitation through April in the central and northern Plains.

But while some drought relief might be on the way, representatives from the agriculture industry and municipal water departments are still wary.

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Heineman signs Neb. water sustainability bill
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:37

GRANT SCHULTE
Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. - Gov. Dave Heineman signed a bill Wednesday designed to help Nebraska prepare for floods, water shortages and water quality problems.

Budget bills approved this year are expected to generate $32 million to help pay for projects related to water management and quality, flood control, and compliance with interstate compacts by mid-2015. After that, the measure will provide about $11 million annually.

The bill by Sen. Tom Carlson, of Holdrege, comes in the midst of recent drought years and legal fights with Kansas over access to the Republican River, which runs through southern Nebraska.

"This is a difficult and challenging issue, and this legislation is aimed at planning for better future water use in our state," Heineman said. "... Preserving and managing our water resources is important to Nebraskans, especially those who work in our No. 1 industry — agriculture."

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Farmers off to slow start planting corn crop
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:55

altJIM SUHR
AP Business Writer

ST. LOUIS - Most years about this time, northern Illinois farmer Monty Whipple, like so many Midwest growers, would be riding high in his monstrous planter, kicking up dust while sowing corn in hundreds of acres. But this spring has kept him sidelined, and he's anything but alone.

Spring planting across much of the nation's Corn Belt is sputtering, foiled by rainy and chilly conditions that in broad stretches have left the ground either too soggy or too cold for effective seeding.

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Beef prices reach highest level since 1987
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:50
altBETSY BLANEY
Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas - The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn't likely anytime soon.
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Mid-April freeze threatens fruit trees
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:43
JIM SALTER
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - The winter that just won't quit has one more punch for the nation's Heartland — a cold front bringing a brief return to sub-freezing weather, creating concerns for growers of apples, peaches, grapes and other fruit.
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Conservationists claim victory on new farm bill
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Thursday, 10 April 2014 11:13

altSTEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - Wildlife and environmental groups are claiming victory for conservation practices in the new farm bill, where two of their top priorities made it into law.

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US bacon prices rise after virus kills baby pigs
Ag News - Regional Ag News
Thursday, 10 April 2014 07:40

M.L. JOHNSON
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it's threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.
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