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7 ag stories you might have missed

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The weekend is here and the week was busy, here are 7 stories to catch up on while you have a minute.

North Dakota cattlemen still feeling hit from drought

 Farmers and ranchers across North Dakota have felt the impact of the drought. Many ranchers have had to face the reality of selling off some or all of their cattle herds, leaving places like the Rugby Livestock Auction full of cattle and potential buyers.

As the auctioneer reads off prices, many of these ranchers remain quiet. They look on as their cattle is sold off.

“The people with the smaller herds that must sell, they have nothing. The ones that have a big enough herd can cut back and get back in, they’ll probably be better off in a few years, but right now, what are they going to do for the summer,” said Larry Haman, a rancher selling some of his heifers.

Sellers from across the Midwest have come to cattle auctions like this one in Rugby to grow their own herd, understanding the hardship.

I think if anyone has any kind of sympathy toward a lifestyle as they do, they work hard, they put a lot of time and effort into it and to see those cattle go, it’s part of their life that’s leaving when they sell those cattle,” said Keith Eichler, a livestock buyer from South Dakota.

Head after head of cattle shuffle in, and bids are placed.

More than 2,000 cattle were up for sale at auction, one of the highest numbers the auction has seen.

“We’ve got three complete herd dispersions today, cow-calf pairs, plus a lot of guys who are cutting back 40 to 50 pairs, hoping to have enough grass to keep some cattle,” said Ron Gorgerson, an auctioneer.

In the dairy world, Carnation makes a splash.

Nestlé USA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy today announced that Trinkler Dairy Farm, a Carnation supplier, is the first partner farm of the Dairy Scale for Good pilot within the Net Zero Initiative, a first-of-its-kind industry effort helping U.S. dairy farms of all sizes and geographies adopt new technologies and economically viable practices.

As part of this industry effort, Trinkler Dairy Farm is the first U.S. dairy farm to pilot new technologies and implement sustainable farming practices to demonstrate the economic viability of achieving net zero emissions within the next five years.

This initiative is a key milestone in Nestlé's $10 million investment and multi-year partnership with the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative. It aims to scale access to environmental practices and resources on farms.

 

A major Mississippi chicken farm may go on the sales list.

Sanderson Farms is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, as demand for chicken products rises. The enterprise is estimated to be worth around $3.5 million and a sale would have to top that.

Demand for chicken breasts, wings and other products has increased as pandemic restrictions lift and restaurants reopen, boosting sales and prices. At the same time, consumers have continued spending more on groceries as many are still working from home. The cost of boneless, skinless chicken breast has more than doubled since the beginning of the year and wing prices have hit records.

 

We all know bees are what helps to feed us. However, a survey has some scary results.

An annual survey of beekeepers shows honey bees continue to die at high rates.

Between April 2020 and this April, losses across the country averaged 45.5 percent according to preliminary data from the Bee Informed Partnership, a collaboration of researchers that has conducted the annual bee loss survey for 15 years.

Bee mortality reported by 3,347 beekeepers, representing about seven percent of all honey bee colonies across the country, was the second-highest since the survey began in 2006.

Researchers say the high losses were in part because more bees die throughout the year.

 

Plus, Vermont should be very proud.

Elle Purrier St. Pierre, a Vermont dairy farmer turned world-renowned track star, has punched her ticket to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympic Games hosted in Tokyo, according to NBC News. During the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials, Purrier took first place in the final 1,500-meter race, running a time of 3:58:03.

 

And The former Easterday Ranch has a new owner

Bill Gates lost out on bidding the Easterday Farm in eastern Washington.

Instead, a company connected to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints gave the winning big for the ranch once owned by Cody Easterday, according to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court. AN investment company owned by Bill Gates was the second highest bidder.

Easterday pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud for defrauding Tyson Foods and another unnamed company $244 million in costs for buying and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that didn't exist.

 

And here is something you don’t read about often, especially in Los Angeles, California.

Forty cows escaped a slaughterhouse and ended up in a Los Angeles suburb where one was killed after charging a family, authorities said Wednesday.

The cows were reported running loose on the streets of Pico Rivera around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday after a gate at a meat packing facility was accidentally left open, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

The herd made its way to a neighborhood about a mile away and one cow charged at four members of a family, knocking them to the ground. They suffered minor injuries.

The sheriff’s department says 38 cattle were located; one was shot and one can’t be found.

 

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