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USDA releases acreage forecast, farmer protests continue in India and winter storm wrecks havoc across farm country.

Janet Kubat Willette, E-Content Editor

February 19, 2021

2 Min Read
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Missed some agricultural news this week? Here's seven stories to catch you up.

1. Cattle in Oklahoma are calving on frozen ground and poultry barn roofs in Mississippi have collapsed as a winter deep-freeze spread across the nation. The winter storm disrupted grain flows across the country as extreme cold and snow-blocked roads reduced travel. The storm left almost five million Americans without power and curbed ethanol production. – Farm Futures

2. More than one-third of the Corn Belt has completely lost its carbon-rich topsoil, according to a University of Massachusetts Amherst study. Their research suggests switching from intensive conventional agriculture practices to soil-regenerative practices has the potential to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while restoring soil productivity. –

3. USDA forecasts U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn in 2021 and 90 million acres of soybeans – the largest ever combined acreage for both crops. – Farm Futures

4. Bill Gates is creating headlines by suggesting that citizens of rich nations should give up beef to tackle climate change. But Amanda Radke says, "these headlines underscore the importance of sharing our story, of getting folks to fall in love with beef again and again and of countering the attacks and negative headlines that seek to strip meat, dairy and eggs off the dinner table and livestock producers off the land." – BEEF

5. In Oregon, the Farm Bureau seeks to overturn state regulations intended to protect agricultural workers from COVID-19 while a farmworkers' group says the regulations have made working conditions safer. Farmworkers have been at particular risk during the pandemic because of challenges around social distancing, unreliable access to personal protective equipment, testing and information on support services. – The Oregonian

6. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are showing the potential to help close the gap in anticipated food needs for an additional 2 billion people worldwide by 2050. Farmers, co-ops and agriculture development companies are expanding the scope and scale of how they use AI and machine learning to improve yields. - Forbes

7. In India, the stand-off between farmers and Prime Minister Modi grinds on. Modi refuses to change his mind, even as mass protests continue. On Thursday, trains were blockaded for four hours by farmers. Eleven rounds of talks have failed and both sides have dug in. – South China Morning Post

And your bonus.

Former House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson reflects on his tenure in Congress and admits he's not sure what's next. For now, his office desk and a few other items from his Washington, D.C., office have been moved to a temporary museum exhibit at the Becker County Museum. - InForum

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