Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
Agri Leader

Ag News in brief

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New oyster farming technique approved

TALLAHASSEE - Commissioner of Agriculture Adam. H. Putnam and the Florida Cabinet voted last Tuesday to approve expansion of aquaculture leases in Franklin County that will enable Spring Creek Oyster Company to use the full water column to grow oysters, the first enterprise of its kind in an area where the wild oyster industry is struggling.

"This new oyster farming technique could be one of the keys to saving the oyster industry in Florida," Putnam said. "We're hopeful it will increase productivity, create jobs and supplement traditional oyster harvests."

Franklin County's wild oyster industry in the Apalachicola Bay has declined substantially in recent years. Spring Creek Oyster Company recently began experimenting with the cultivation of oysters in cages to serve at its Spring Creek Restaurant in Crawfordville. The oysters were farmed on the company's current submerged land leases used for clams in Alligator Harbor.

Spring Creek Oyster Company requested approval of the Florida Cabinet for use of the full water column to suspend oyster cages. This places the oysters in the most nutrient-rich part of the water, which reduces predators, shortens the grow-out time and improves survival rates.

The two leases modified are 1.5 acres each in the Alligator Harbor Aquaculture Use Zone near St. Teresa Beach in Franklin County.

Monsanto sued again over wheat

WICHITA, Kan. - Another lawsuit has been filed against seed giant Monsanto over last month's discovery of an isolated field of genetically engineered wheat in Oregon.

Kansas wheat farmer Dan Brown sued Monsanto last Tuesday on behalf of himself and potentially thousands of other growers. The Seward County resident's lawsuit is seeking class-action status.

It's at least the third lawsuit filed against St. Louis-based Monsanto this month over the release of the experimental wheat. Kansas farmer Ernest Brown individually sued the company, and a class action lawsuit was filed in Washington on behalf of growers of soft white wheat.

Monsanto reiterated last Tuesday that none of the genetically modified wheat entered the commercial market. The company says that given the care undertaken no legal liability exists and it vowed to present a vigorous defense.

Minn. regulators: Ag raising nitrate levels

MINNEAPOLIS - State regulators are pointing the finger at agriculture for rising nitrate levels in the surface waters of southern Minnesota.

The study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency finds that more than 70 percent of the nitrates in the surface water in intensively farmed southern Minnesota come from cropland. And it says the increasing use of drain tiles - the perforated pipes farmers install a few feet under the surface of their land to carry away excess precipitation - provides the top pathway by which nitrates travel from cropland to streams.

MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine says he believes Minnesota farmers are committed to water quality protection. But he says too much nitrate is ending up in streams and rivers.

Ala. agriculture has $70.4B impact in state

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Agriculture, forestry and related industries have an annual economic impact in Alabama of $70.4 billion, according to new statistics prepared for counties in the state.

The study was conducted by Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The data includes the number of jobs created that are related to the agriculture and forestry industries. The report also includes the number of farmers in each county and the acreage farmed.

The executive director of the Alabama Agribusiness Council, Leigha Cauthen, said the report shows how critical industries related to agriculture are to local economies in Alabama. She said agriculture and related industries account for more than half of the jobs in some counties.

The Associated Press

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