Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Land values in our area are continuing to hold steady, but how can we expect these to change going forward?“In the next 12 months land values are projected to show nominal levels of change with no major fluctuations,” said Dennis Badger, Vice President of Collateral Risk Management, Farm Credit Mid-America. “Specifically, our four-state region expected to show an average decrease of 0.9 percent from 2016 to 2017, though this predicted drop should still be considered part of the natural market correction following 2010 to 2012.”A gentle, downward trend since the last reporting period (July 2014 to June 2015) was expected as the land value hikes from 2010 through 2012 continue to force market corrections.While land typically represents one of the largest fixed expenses for a farming operation, it also represents one of the largest asset categories on a farmer’s balance sheet and serves as a long-term investment.“Long-term investments are intended to withstand market fluctuations like the region is currently experiencing,” said Badger. “Current land values may be dipping slightly instead of increasing due to economic conditions, which shouldn’t be viewed as abnormal.”Farmers should continue to monitor their bottom line carefully but know they can still move if an opportunity presents itself and if they are in a good financial position.AUDIO: The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins visits with Badger about buying land as a long term investment.Farm Credit Mid America Full Interview Dennis Badger 10.17.16For more financial tips, insights and perspectives from Farm Credit Mid-America visit e-farmcredit.com.
In an open letter published in The Times (London) newspaper and promoted through a digital billboard at Waterloo station, American celebrities Susan Sarandon, Daryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy Jr joined US NGOs, trade groups and businesses such as Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club, the Rachel Carson Council, Friends of the Earth, the Organic Consumers Association, Dr Bronner’s and NYR Organic to warn British citizens of the dangers of growing GM crops and urge them to speak out before it’s too late.The warning comes at a critical time as the European Parliament will vote in January whether member states can decide for themselves to grow GM crops or not. If this legislation is passed, the UK could see the planting of commercial GM crops within the next six to eighteen months.The letter, which highlights the problems and challenges which American farmers, consumers and others have faced over nearly two decades of growing and eating GM crops, was delivered to Downing Street by a delegation which included fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actor Jeremy Irons and chef Val Warner and MPs, Zac Goldsmith and Michael Meacher. It also included the two campaigners from the US who helped drive the letter, Pamm Larry and Diana Reeves, as well as Beyond GM Director, Pat Thomas, who coordinated the effort in the UK.The fully referenced letter, signed by groups and individuals representing some 57 million members and supporters, argues that GM crops have never delivered on their promises to increase yields and profits or to decrease pesticide use. In fact, they have done the opposite with the cost of growing GM crops now greater than conventional crops in the US and pesticide use 24% higher amongst GM farmers than non-GM farmers planting the same crops.The environmental harm caused by this increased herbicide has also led to the destruction of vital insect and bee populations. The population of the Monarch butterfly, for example, has dropped by over 80% in some parts of the US as the herbicide, Roundup, kills milkweed – the Monarch’s key food source. It also damages soil structure and makes essential micronutrients unavailable to the plant and therefore our food.The Americans warn that after nearly 20 years of use, GM ingredients are now everywhere in their food chain – over 70% of all processed foods in the US contain them. As a result, traces of glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – have been found in high levels in the breast milk and urine of American mothers as well as in their drinking water. The levels in the breast milk were around 1,600 times higher than what is currently allowable in European drinking water.The American signatories believe their experience of using what they call a “failing agricultural technology” serves as a warning to other countries about to journey down the same road. They conclude that GM food “has never really been about public good, or feeding the hungry, or supporting farmers. Nor is it about consumer choice. Instead it’s about private, corporate control of the food system.”Susan Sarandon says: “Instead of bringing certainty and security, GMOs have raised more and more worrying questions about their effectiveness, their necessity, and even their safety. Polls show that the majority of US citizens – and in fact citizens everywhere – either want them labelled or taken out of the food system altogether.”Activist attorney Robert Kennedy Jr says: “An informed and engaged public is one of our greatest weapons against widespread threats to health and environmental justice. Initiatives like The Letter from America highlight clearly the problems we have faced in the US in the 17 years we have been planting and eating GMOs.”Vivienne Westwood, who was one of the British celebrities who helped deliver the petition to Downing Street this morning says: “GMOs are a democratic issue. They are a massive, unethical experiment in human and environmental health. People are voicing legitimate concerns about how they and their families will be affected by eating them, how planting them will affect the environment and biodiversity, how forcing them on developing countries will disempower and impoverish farmers there and most of all why, if so many unanswered question remain about GMOs, our government is continuing to try and force them on the British public.”Pat Thomas, the campaign director for Beyond GM says: “The American experience of GMOs shines a light on how our own food future will unfold if we continue to race pell-mell down the road to a genetically modified Britain. It also can teach us about the importance and effectiveness of public engagement. Biotech companies have spent a lot of time and money sidelining public opinion, and turning the GM debate into an abstract and academic affair. It’s time the public was brought back into the ‘public debate’ about what they eat, and what they feed their children, and it’s time politicians and regulators started listening.”For the full version of the Letter from America please visit: www.theletterfromamerica.org.
OSU then-sophomore Taylor White (21) makes a catch during a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Lantern file photoThe Ohio State softball team (15-7) opens Big Ten play this weekend with a road series against Maryland (7-20-1).The Buckeyes enter conference play battle tested after a 22-game nonconference schedule, which included seven games against current top-25 teams. OSU saw victory in just one of those games — a 10-2 win over No. 25 North Carolina — but the difficult schedule will help the team in the long run, sophomore outfielder Bri Betschel said.“I think it helps us know the ability we have with our team,” she said. “We’ve not always come out with what we’ve wanted, but at the end of the game we know that we can compete with these teams and that we can win the big games.”Though the Buckeyes are just 1-6 against ranked teams this season, they have taken care of business against inferior opponents thus far, losing just once to an unranked team with that lone loss coming to Louisville, which received votes in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.The same cannot be said of Maryland. The Terrapins lost 20 of their first 28 games, and 14 of those losses were against unranked opponents.Despite its lackluster record and bad losses, Maryland has proven itself dangerous, even to the nation’s top teams. Earlier this season, the Terrapins handed top-ranked Florida its only loss of the season on its home field.Since it’s a conference matchup, the Buckeyes will face off against Maryland in a three-game series this weekend, which is a change of pace from what OSU has seen so far this season. Previously, the Buckeyes have played each team just once.“Weekend series definitely have a different feel,” OSU coach Kelly Schoenly said. “It’s a little bit more of a chess match and paying attention to the small details you might be able to exploit.”Maryland is just the first of eight series the Buckeyes face as part of their Big Ten conference slate. Though OSU is not slated to face No. 8 Minnesota or No. 21 Wisconsin during the regular season, the team does have one ranked opponent left on its schedule: No. 18 Michigan.Obviously, OSU wanted to do well during nonconference play, but now that Big Ten play is beginning and conference records and standings will start to count, there’s a little more to play for.“I think every game is important to us as a team,” Betschel said. “But going into Big Tens, it’s a little bit more intense.”The Buckeyes will look to channel that intensity into wins this weekend before playing at home for the first time on Wednesday when they host Wright State.
Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.