The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service – MOSES – will present a new award category at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. The award will recognize “changemakers” who remove barriers and empower others to farm in ways that are environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable, the organization stated. Earning 2020 Changemaker awards will be Steve Acheson, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Loretta Livingston and Joy Schelble.

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Editor's note: This article is part of a series of articles featuring members of the Soil Sisters, an official program of Renewing the Countryside. The community of women farmers advocate for family farming and locally produced food.

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WAUSAU, Wis. – Dave Fierek is on a mission. He’s a Hatley, Wisconsin, hemp farmer who wants to help people experience the benefits of hemp and cannabidiol oil through product offerings and educational conversations. He brought together those interested in a recent conversational event in Wausau.

MACEDONIA, Iowa — Bruce and Ruby Bentley look at each other and smile as they are asked about their wedding day. Their eyes meet as they offer advice for a long and successful marriage. They giggle when talking about their first kiss.

Livestock producers will be monitoring the nutritional needs of their animals through the cold days of February. University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Gene Schmitz, based in Pettis County, advises farmers to watch body condition this time of year.

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2019 was a challenging year for farmers. Trade wars affected markets and commodity prices, hardships where faced during planting and harvest, and many farmers rounded out the year with poor yields. Despite the challenges, 2020 came around just the same and as winter melts into spring, farmers must now look ahead to planting decisions.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Relief that trade wars seem to have found peace tempered with concern about potential foreign animal diseases peppered the speeches and conversations among pig farmers, politicians and exhibitors at the Illinois Pork Expo in Springfield Feb. 4-5.

Iowa State University researchers, with funding from the soybean checkoff through the United Soybean Board and Iowa Soybean Association, have confirmed that over 70 isolates of the pathogen Cercospora sojina (cause of frogeye leaf spot in soybeans in Iowa) are resistant to quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) fungicides.

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One attribute of nearly all farmers is their innate ability to fix things. It’s ingrained into farmers as much as the dirt that runs through their veins.

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Uncertainties regarding the potential trade deal and the coronavirus outbreak remain as negative forces for commodity markets. But corn prices came through the difficulty relatively well during the past couple of weeks. March corn-futures prices have continued to bounce around in a range between $3.75 and $3.95 since mid-December. During that same period consumption in some key use categories for corn increased substantially and corn basis remains strong.

The Vaccine Group in the United Kingdom recently received funding to accelerate development and expand the range of vaccines used for combating zoonotic diseases such as avian flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome – SARs. The company also is working on vaccines to fight diseases that affect livestock such as bovine tuberculosis and African swine fever.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently decided to vacate small-refinery exemption waivers granted by the U.S. EPA to three refineries. The refineries are owned by CVR Energy and HollyFrontier. The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against the EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and the National Farmers Union.

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RED CLIFF, Wis. – Imagine talking to folks about a business venture in a growing field of agribusiness. Say they had about a century of experience and had done a lot of research. They would not be selling anything, just giving accurate information to help producers make informed decisions. They would have experience with equipment, setup, cost analysis and livestock health.

The Croatan Institute has joined “Mercoterra,” a Mercaris initiative to compare certified organic-farmland values to comparable conventional-farmland values. Croatan Institute is a non-profit research program focused on ecological resilience and related subjects.

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WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – China, Mexico and Canada have been and will likely continue to be the largest export markets for U.S. soybeans, corn and pork. But U.S. commodity groups aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket – or even in three baskets. Representatives from three industry organizations recently discussed market potential, meeting at the Wisconsin Corn and Soy Expo.

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OPINION  This past summer I worked hard to designate funds in the state budget for local rural roads. I originally sought $133 million, which was then compromised to $90 million to be divided among towns, counties, cities and villages for local road maintenance and repairs. That’s the package the legislature passed in the Wisconsin state budget.

A pilot program developed to reward farmers for improving soil health recently was launched in Kansas. The project will test Ecosystem Services Market Consortium processes to measure and reward beneficial agricultural management in an ecosystem-services market. The consortium's program will in turn pay farmers for increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases, and improved water quantity and water-use efficiency.

Agricultural producers interested in enrolling in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program must do so by Feb. 28. The general signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term.

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Editor's note: This article is part of a series featuring members of the Soil Sisters, an official program of Renewing the Countryside. The community of women farmers advocate for family farming and locally produced food.