All of us owe a debt of gratitude to our friends at Successful Farming. Every year their Pork Powerhouses® issue reports on the 20 largest U.S. pork producers.

Smithfield, having fully digested Premium Standard Farms, reigns supreme in vertically integrated pork production with 1,227,000 sows. Long ago people referred to Chicago as the “hog butcher to the world.” With over one million sows in the U.S., 96,000 in Mexico, 76,000 in Poland, and 51,000 in Romania, that title belongs to Smithfield.

Nebraska Rural Businesses Capture More than $680,000 in Federal Grants

Eight Nebraska rural businesses will receive over $680,000 combined in Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG). USDA announced grant recipients last month – 162 in all, from 40 states and Puerto Rico.

The total amount awarded nationally was $22.7 million. At over $3 million, Wisconsin received the most, with 15 recipients. Alaska was lowest, with one recipient receiving $31,500.

Seventh Annual Iowa Organic Conference

Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Iowa Organic Conference to be held Nov. 19, 2007, at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The conference will take place at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus.

The Iowa Organic Conference’s reputation is growing. Martin Kleinschmit, the Center’s organic transition specialist and an organic farmer, said, “This is a very good conference, with workshops that fit the needs of those thinking about or beginning the transition to organic production.”

Deadline Set for Conservation Funds Applications

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that Dec. 14, 2007, will be the cutoff date for funding applications in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP will provide an incentive payment ranging from $30 to $70 per acre for the conversion from a conventional cropping system to an organic cropping system. The cost share rate is dependent on geographical area and whether the cropland is dryland or irrigated.


Organic Agriculture a Better Soil Builder – Emerging from a nine-year study, John Teasdale, a plant physiologist with Agricultural Research Service Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., and colleagues find organic agriculture systems research plots show higher levels of carbon and nitrogen – “soil builders” – compared to no till, cover crop based no-till system, and no-till crown vetch living mulch system.


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