AG Rural News

More than 120 members of Congress are asking the Health and Human Services Secretary in a letter to immediately provide financial relief to rural hospitals, saying many are just days away from going broke. Emergency funding for rural hospitals is part of the CARES act passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. The lawmakers say many rural hospitals have stopped performing elective procedures and are no longer seeing non-urgent patients because of the  COVID-19 emergency but those actions threaten rural hospitals’ financial viability. ...
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Mike Drinnin is a cattle feeder from Clarks, Nebraska and immediate past president of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s organization. In this interview with Brownfield, Drinnin discusses challenges facing his operation, and the cattle industry in general, in light of recent events. Audio: Mike Drinnin ...
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Covid-19 has been dominating all of the news channels, but there have been questions about how the virus could impact the ag sector. Dr. Jim Lowe is a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois and is an expert on infectious disease management for animals. He says while there is no direct threat to animal health, there are concerns for the entire agriculture sector. Following a recent farmdoc webinar, Dr. ...
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The digital divide is causing headaches for rural workers required to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Jeff Johnston, lead economist with CoBank, tells Brownfield the increased daily demand for broadband is causing some carriers to slow data speeds which hampers video calls, for example.  Big carriers like Verizon can invest more capital to increase capacity, says Johnston, “But for small, rural operators that are already working in thin margins to begin with and need a lot of government support in order to even make that business model work could be very problematic.” And then, Johnston says there are rural workers who...
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Ag News

The USDA is projecting increased planted acreage for a number of crops, including corn and soybeans, but that will depend on weather and other factors. 2020 corn acreage is estimated at 96.990 million acres, up 8% from 2019, which saw historic planting delays in many key U.S. growing areas because of extremely wet weather. Soybeans are seen at 83.510 million acres, 10% higher than a year ago, which was also impacted by weather. ...
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A relapse in farm income is expected this year as COVID-19 continues to rattle the ag sector. Pat Westhoff with the University of Missouri’s Food and Ag Policy Research Institute tells Brownfield there has been a sharp decline in prices for a wide variety of commodities. “If those lower prices persist for the rest of the year, we are going to have much lower receipts for both crop and livestock producers than we would have guessed earlier. ...
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