Agriculture news

Read Pollinator Week

Farmers celebrate National Pollinator Week this week

Pollinator Week shines a spotlight on the vital role of pollinators in our agriculture and ecosystems. This year National Pollinator Week runs from June 21 to 27. Pollinators bring us one in three bites of food, promote ecosystem health, and lay the foundation for a sustainable future. 

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a U.S. Department of Agriculture proclamation to recognize the designation of National Pollinator Week.

Pollinator species — such as birds, bats, bees, and other insects — play an important role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually and are critical to ensuring our diets are plentiful with fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

“The health of these agricultural contributors is critical to the vitality and sustainability of U.S. agriculture, food security, and our nation’s overall economy. Pollinators are also essential for healthy, biodiverse ecosystems across public and private lands, including our agricultural lands and our National Forests and grasslands,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I applaud pollinator conservation efforts happening across our nation. I recognize we have a lot more work to do to protect these important agricultural contributors and creating awareness about the importance of pollinators is a continued step to ensuring pollinators thrive.”

According the Natural Resources Conservation Service, farmers can help pollinators in many ways if the know the principles of farming for crop pollinators.

  • Know the habitat on your farm. Using the illustration as a guide, look for areas on and around your land that can support native bees. Most native bees are solitary or live in small colonies. Bumble, digger, and sweat bees make up the bulk of pollen bees in most parts of the country.
  • Protect flowering plants and nest sites. Once you know where bees are living and foraging, do what you can to protect these resources from disturbance and pesticides.
  • Enhance habitat with flowering plants and additional nest sites. Most bees love sun and prefer to nest in dry places. Nests are created underground, in twigs and debris, and in dead trees or branches. You can add flowers, leave some ground untilled, and provide bee blocks (tunnels drilled into wood) to increase the number of native bees on your farm.
Read Farmland

Farmland celebrates heroes in farming & FFA during tour

Food manufacturer and distributor Farmland is launching its Honoring the Heartland Tour to show appreciation for the honest work and tireless commitment in Midwest farming communities, agriculture industries, and grocery/retail establishments. The 13-week mission will honor the unsung heroes of our agri-food chain and highlight the fundamental role the heartland plays by delivering grab-n-go meals and providing monetary donations to support the National FFA Organization.

The Farmland Honoring The Heartland Tour food truck will complete two to three stops per week at various locations rooted in Midwestern neighborhoods. In addition to distributing meals, the brand will be donating to the National FFA Organization throughout the tour to assist them in their vision to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture at the local, state and national levels.

The tour kicked off this past weekend with a $25,000 donation to FFA’s “Living to Serve” platform, a program that empowers students to make a positive impact in their community through service engagement, and a $5,000 donation to the Missouri FFA Association.

“We are thankful for Farmland’s ongoing support of the National FFA Organization’s mission,” said Molly Ball, chief marketing officer for National FFA Organization and president for the National FFA Foundation. “We’re happy to join in honoring the unsung heroes of farming and agriculture, many of whom are former FFA members.”

As part of the donation event in Gladstone, Missouri, the Farmland food truck also supplied lunches to essential grocery store employees — a token of the brand’s gratitude for courageously working during this past year to ensure neighbors still had access to fresh food.

“Localized farming and agricultural communities are the backbone of our nation’s food supply, and Farmland’s safe, affordable, and quality products made from pork raised on American farms are a testament to the hard work and outputs from our partners in this industry,” said Erin Thacker, brand manager for Farmland.

Read PAUSE Act

Colorado Supreme Court unanimously agrees PAUSE Act can’t advance

Colorado’s anti-animal-agriculture proposal known as Initiative 16, originally called the Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation (PAUSE) Act, just received a devastating legal blow — one that farmers and ranchers are celebrating. In a 7-0 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled today that the State Title Board incorrectly gave a green light to Initiative 2020-21 #16, an unprecedented measure that would have criminalized farming and ranching practices across the state.

The proposed initiative sought to criminalize accepted veterinary and animal husbandry practices — such as artificial insemination and pregnancy checks — that would have effectively destroyed the $5 billion livestock production and agriculture industry in Colorado. However, after today’s ruling, Colorado ranchers and veterinarians are able to continue proven animal health practices — at least for now.

According to the Colorado Livestock Association, “The Title Board must decide if a proposed initiative consists of just one subject and, if it does, set a fair and accurate ballot title. The Court held that Initiative #16 contained multiple subject and, given its complexity, could mislead voters when they cast their ballots. The Court vacated the title and remanded to the Board with instructions to return the Initiative to its proponents for lack of jurisdiction because the single subject requirement was not satisfied.”

Colorado Farm Bureau said, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling on Initiative 16 is not only a massive win for the members of Coloradans for Animal Care but the entire state, as well. Initiative 16 was one of the most radical ballot initiatives this state has ever seen. Had it passed, it would have ended animal agriculture, rodeos, dog shows, and much more.

“This sends a strong message to the supporters of this measure that multiple subjects and inflammatory language will not be accepted. The coalition will continue to monitor any new initiatives filed by the proponents of this measure. We are hopeful that these kinds of extreme initiatives stop here.”

Colorado’s Cattlemen Association said, “Great job Coloradans for Animal Care. We are proud of our team and counsel. In a 7-0 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court decided today that Initiative #16 violates the single subject requirement by combining together the treatment of livestock and changing the laws relating to sexual abuse of all animals.

“If the proponents want to try again, they’ll have to redraft their measure, submit it to legislative council, wait 2 weeks for their hearing, submit the new measure to Title Board, wait about another 2 weeks for a Title Board hearing, etc. etc.”

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2021 Amazon Prime Day deals for farmers and rural residents

For those of us who live well outside the city limits, having access to Amazon’s speedy delivery service is a wonderful perk of the modern world. My family has had a Prime membership for several years now, which means free shipping and two-day delivery on most anything we could want. It saves us time and money in the long run. So whenever the annual Prime Day deals roll around (think Black Friday-like discounts, but going on right now!), it’s habit to start scouring the list for things that are great fits for farmers and others of us who love rural life. We do our best to pull together the best Amazon Prime Day deals for farmers and other rural residents.

This shopping holiday has grown year after year, and for good reason: You can expect discounts on more than 2 million products, including many that fit perfectly into rural and farm lifestyles. If you don’t have a Amazon Prime membership, you can get one here.

Usually this sale event takes place in July, but this year’s event is June 21 and 22 (yes, Prime “Day” is actually a two-day event!), Amazon’s earliest ever. This comes after 2020’s Prime Day, which was held in October and was the latest ever due to the pandemic.

Just like last year, Amazon is offering a way for shoppers to get a $10 credit: Prime members who spend $10 on items sold by more than 300,000 small and medium sellers prior to Prime Day will get $10 bonus to use on Prime Day itself. The number of eligible sellers is more than double last year’s total, so the opportunity is greater. 

Now that Prime Day has arrived, we’re highlighting some of the best Prime Day deals. Because Amazon will be rolling out some of its deals gradually (and other deals called Lighting Deals are only available for a small time frame), not all of the event’s deals are in place immediately. Be sure to check back to this page often!

Here are our picks for the best 2021 Amazon Prime Day deals for farmers, ranchers, and anyone else in rural communities (deals are subject to change):

Up to 50% off — Everything Levi’s

The Levi’s brand name has been a go-to for decades for farmers. And true to form, Levi’s still makes a great-fitting and durable pair of blue jeans, especially with some of their Regular-Fit jeans, which are 50 percent off right now for Prime Day! Other styles, including Original Fit and women’s shorts, as well as accessories like wallets, bandannas, and belts are mostly in the 30 percent to 40 percent off range. That’s still a great deal for these kinds of staple clothing items, which we’ve noticed has gotten more and more expensive over the years.


Black & Decker 20 Volt MAX

29% off — BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Cordless Drill

The BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Lithium Drill/Driver with 30 accessories comes with the 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery. These batteries are always ready, holding a charge for up to 18 months. This BLACK+DECKER drill provides an extra level of control with a 24 position clutch that helps to prevent stripping and overdriving screws. It has a soft grip handle that provides added comfort during use and a light weight to prevent user fatigue. This drill is ideal for drilling and screwdriving through wood, metal, and plastic. The set includes:

  • LD120 20V MAX Lithium Cordless Power Drill/Driver
  • LB20 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery
  • LCS20 Charger
  • 6 Brad Point Drill Bits
  • 10 1-Inch Screwdriving Bits
  • 9 2-Inch Screwdriving Bits
  • 4 Nut Drivers
  • Magnetic Bit Tip Holder


56% off — DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Kit

Yes, another drill. Because if you want a different set, as well as a bigger discount, DEWALT has some really cool deals going on during Prime Day. Their whole page is filled with discounts, as you can see here. The 20V MAX Lithium Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit is lightweight and compact for working in tight spaces for long periods of time. High-speed transmission delivers 2-speed variations allowing users to choose the level of performance needed for various applications. It features:

  • Compact, lightweight design fits into tight areas
  • High performance motor delivers 300 unit watts out (UWO) of power ability completing a wide range of applications
  • High speed transmission delivers two speeds (0-450 & 1,500 rpm) for a range of fastening and drilling applications
  • 1/2″ single sleeve ratcheting chuck provides tight bit gripping strength
  • Ergonomic handle delivers comfort and control


25% off — Saker Contour Gauge Profile Tool

If you’re into building things — and, really, who isn’t out here in rural America?! — then this is a very handy tool to have. The Saker Contour Gauge can duplicate any shape instantly — no matter if it’s in woodworking, auto body, auto metal sheet, or stainless steel. This profile gauge creates an instant template for curved and odd shaped profiles simply and easily. Never transfer profiles to paper or cardboard again. The contour gauge, which can be purchased in 5-inch or 10-inch sizes, makes measuring and cutting easy. It’s made of high quality ABS plastic, high strength, rustproof and durable.


Lightning Deal 41% off — Cremax Magnetic Screwdriver Set

This is one of Amazon’s short-term deals: This screwdriver set will be on a deep discount from 9:55 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. PDT on Monday. The upgraded CREMAX screwdriver has a strong magnetic force to help you strengthen and loosen precision parts. It also has three kinds of tips and 14 different sizes, and is suitable for a variety of projects such as work around the shop, or fixing electronic products and computers. The set includes:

  • 2 in 1 magnetization/demagnetization tool
  • 5 slotted, 5 phillips & 4 torex
  • PP+TPR material non-slip handle
  • Durable alloy steel screwdriver bar
  • Strong magnetic black oxide tips
  • Portable box design
  • Suitable for a variety of projects


20% off — Rechargeable Handheld LED Searchlight

When the cows get out in the middle of the night, what’s one of the things you reach for? Yeah, you’re likely going to need a good (and powerful!) flashlight, and at 6,100 lumens, this handheld searchlight will do the trick. Plus it doesn’t shy away from rain or other hazardous weather conditions. It also has impact-resistant ABS and rubber waterproof plug to protect the system from scratches, drops, bumps, and splashes. The spotlight is made with a long-lasting, rechargeable 4.3 volt 18650 Lithium-Ion battery with large capacity (9600 mAh),lasting 50% longer than any other last generation spotlights.


21% off — HANDLANDY Utility Work Gloves for Women

We’ve highlighted our picks for the best women’s work gloves, and these had made our list. Now that they’re on sale for Prime Day, all the better! These work gloves are fit especially for women — no more extra material in the fingers like when we have to wear men’s gloves. With three touch screen compatible fingers, these gloves give women who work with technology and with their hands the ease of not having to take off the gloves during the work day.


30% off — Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 10.4-inch 32GB

There’s no question that our farms are becoming more and more connected, even if broadband internet access is slow to reach many rural areas. There are lots of apps that will help you manage your farm and utilize your data to get the best in-field results, not to mention help you troubleshoot any problems you may be having. Or maybe you just want to watch YouTube videos on a quality screen while the combine is harvesting. Samsung has great tablets, and it’s not often you can get them at this kind of discount.


30% off — Jackery Portable Power Station

I don’t know about you, but my rural area isn’t often a priority for the power company after a harsh storm and widespread outages. There just aren’t enough homes near me to make it worthwhile, compared with urban and suburban areas within an hour’s drive. Having a backup battery like this is vital, and to be perfectly frank, this is the first product I’m going to buy for Prime Day (our portable battery died on us a couple of weeks ago). And these kinds of batteries aren’t cheap at full price!

Armed with a 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack, the Explorer 300 features 2 Pure Sine Wave AC outlets that deliver stable and safe 300W power. The portable power station weighs only 7.1 pounds. You can simply rest assured in off-grid activities.


40% off — Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker

Yes, yes, we’re well past the whole new year’s resolutions of health and fitness. But it’s not too late to start keeping an eye on your health, and a Fitbit is one of the best ways to do that. From your steps and other activity to keeping a close eye on your sleep patterns, the Inspire 2 is great to get your health on track. Plus, it has 10 days of battery life — it’s hard to argue with that, when you don’t have to worry about charging it all the time!


Lightning Deal 45% off — Magnetic Phone Dashboard Mount

This is one of Amazon’s short-term deals: This phone mount will be on a deep discount from 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. PDT on Tuesday. Whenever you’re in the tractor or hitting those bumpy roads to the Back 40, it’s great to have a secure place to attach your phone so you can still see the maps or listen to your favorite farm podcast. This phone mount safely and quickly secure a mobile device to most flat surfaces (except leather, vinyl, and soft surface) with the sticky gel on the base of the suction cup. This phone holder is compatible with all smartphones, and the patented industrial-strength suction cup base provides a strong, secure hold power on the dashboards, windshields, countertops, desks, tables and other surfaces.


Beyond Prime Day

If you didn’t see anything you wanted or needed above for Prime Day, take a peek at these other great items for farmers, ranchers, and other country dwellers. And if you’re really jazzed for deal shopping right now, you can check out what’s being featured on Deals Forum.

Gerber Center-Drive Plus Multi-Tool with Bit Set

Gerber’s Center-Drive Plus is an innovative multitool that has scores of applications around the farm, and we’ve even gotten a chance to play with it some.

New to the Center-Drive Plus are:

  • The spring-loaded scissors
  • The partially serrated 3.25-inch blade
  • The tools are tumble finished for a sleek, polished aesthetic that doesn’t sacrifice performance
  • The American made, Berry-compliant full leather sheath has a snap closure to ensure secure stowage as well reliable performance

The purposeful one-thumb opening design remains for quick deployment to the tools you depend on most: the spring-loaded pliers, the full size blade, and the full size, center axis screwdriver. That screwdriver, especially, seems so obvious for a tool like this, but, until now, Gerber says no multi-tool has ever offered such a feature on the center axis with a standard bit.


 

agriculture degree mug

Do Not Confuse Your Google Search With My Agriculture Degree Stainless Steel Mug

This is our new go-to coffee mug! Who among us isn’t tired of the army of “keyboard farmers” on social media? This travel mug sums things up nicely, and is a perfect gift for anyone heading off to college or who has wrapped up their ag education. Just a heads up, though, this isn’t part of Amazon Prime, so expect delivery to take longer than a couple of days.


 

Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Rigby Double Front Pant

This is one of Carhartt’s newest items, and we’ve been testing it out for the past few weeks. Absolutely love it! It’s darn-near replaced most of our other farm pants. They sport a mid-weight canvas blend, which isn’t too hot in the warmer months, with the perfect amount of stretch for easy movement. And they’ve got all the traditional jean pockets — plus a secure right thigh phone pocket and a left thigh utility pocket for your knife.

While the Hickory color (in the pic above) is our fav, these pants are also available in Shadow and Tarmac colors.


 

Dovetail Workwear

Dovetail Freshley Overall in Black Stretch Denim

These are not repurposed, boxy men’s overalls. They’re intentionally designed to complement a woman’s frame, without sacrificing the functionality of men’s overalls. There are deep pockets galore. Accessible — and functional — pockets! There’s even one on the breast of the overalls. A large cellphone (Samsung Note 8) fits securely in nearly every one of the pockets. There’s plenty of room to accommodate its size, and the stretch in the denim keeps it from flopping around. There’s a zippered pocket on the rear leg that’s great for holding valuables such as keys, your ID, and credit cards. 

The Freshley has a slightly stretchy fabric — the overalls move with your body: while stacking hay, trimming my goats’ hooves, whatever — and yet the reinforced knee panels mean the fabric stays strong despite the abuse of farm or construction work. 

Some super cool features: There’s a small round hole in the front bib pocket, perfect for earbuds cord or even some twine. Not to be outdone — there’s also a secret zipper in that pocket on the side.

 

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