Federation lists 2014’s top agriculture stories in Alabama
MADISON – Alabama Farmers Federation has cited the Top Six stories for Alabama agriculture during 2014.
The farm bill ranked as 2014’s No. 1 newsmaker. “More than three-fourths of farm bill spending goes to nutrition programs like food stamps,” director of news services Mary Johnson said.
The five-year farm bill cuts government spending by $23 billion over the next 10 years and eliminates direct payments to row-crop farmers. (AlabamaFarmBill.com)
At no. 2, row-crop farmers grew high yields but received low prices for commodities. Corn, soybeans and cotton traded at their lowest points in more than four years.
In a November report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted a record yield of 156 bushels per acre for corn. Cotton production is expected at 650,000 bales. Alabama farmers produced 499 million pounds of peanuts and 20.6 million pounds of soybeans.
Beef farmers enjoyed the highest prices ever, due low supply, record-breaking exports, consumer demand and lower feed costs. “Farmers who managed to hold on to their herds while weathering droughts and high feed costs for a few years were finally rewarded,” Johnson said.
The story ranked no. 4 deals with drones. “Farmers eager to catapult into Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology, commonly called drones, had their wings clipped by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),” Johnson said.
The FAA declared model aircraft exceptions were allowed only for hobbyists. Many farmers want to use drones in managing crops and livestock.
The fifth-ranked story concerns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. The proposal would allow the EPA to regulate areas where water flows intermittently, such as.
Alabama farmers contested the rule and received support from Bentley, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and Alabama congressmen.
To finish the Top Six stories of 2014, Alabama poultry farmers will long remember the record-setting cold temperatures during winter 2014. “Many farmers ran low on propane to keep chickens warm and paid high prices for the gas when they found it,” Johnson said.
For more information visit alfafarmers.org or Facebook/AlabamaFarmers.