Here are a few items that came to our attention from Ohio sources and the National Farmers Union:
Justices Will Hear Arguments on Whether State Should Pay for Flooded Farms
from The Hannah Report
The Ohio Supreme Court moved this month to schedule oral arguments in a dispute between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and farmers near Grand Lake St. Marys who say they should be compensated because the department’s flood-management practices frequently put their lands under water and constitute an unlawful taking.
Justices granted the request from plaintiffs in State ex. rel. Wayne T. Doner et al v. Ohio Department of Natural Resources for oral arguments at the same time it approved their motion to file evidence of flooding from this past spring as further justification for their case. Oral argument is scheduled for Sept. 20.
The plaintiffs, who have farmed along Beaver Creek and the Wabash river for decades, say the thousands of acres in Mercer County they collectively own have frequently flooded since ODNR installed a new 500-foot spillway at the lake in 1997, and they argue that the state is thus compelled to buy their lands and compensate them for losses. …
Algae alert issued at Lake Alma
A bloom of toxic, blue-green algae at Lake Alma has prompted officials to post health warnings at two public beaches at the state park in southeastern Ohio.
The new alerts come after signs were removed Friday from Brooks Beach at Buckeye Lake, where they were first put up in early June.
Two weeks of water tests found low concentrations of a liver toxin and the algae there appear to be dying off, said Heidi Griesmer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
That leaves 60-acre Lake Alma in Vinton County and Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio as the only bodies of water with warnings. Harmful algae have posed problems at 13,000-acre Grand Lake each summer since 2009. …
Cattle Herd Shrinks to Smallest Since 1973 as Drought Scorches U.S. South
The U.S. cattle inventory on July 1 shrank to the smallest since at least 1973 as producers reduced herds amid a prolonged drought in the Southwest and rising feed costs.
Beef and dairy farmers held 100 million head of cattle as the month began, down 1.1 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a semiannual report. Nine analysts in a Bloomberg News survey forecast a 1.4 percent drop, on average. “The U.S. cattle herd continues to liquidate due mainly to drought conditions in the southern half of the country,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage in Chicago, said in an e-mail before the report.
Despite fears more genetically modified crops on the way
In a way, the old science-fiction movies were right. Genetically engineered crops have taken over the world – but not because mutant plants went on a rampage.
Fifteen years after the biotech revolution first hit rural America, farmers overwhelmingly choose to grow genetically modified (GM) varieties of corn and soybeans. In Minnesota this year, a record 95 percent of the soybeans are GM varieties. For corn, it’s 93 percent. A similar trend is unfolding around the world.
“Everybody thinks it’s just a U.S. thing, and that’s far from the case now,” said David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds, which has its U.S. headquarters in Minnetonka. “With the exception of Europe, it’s pretty well adopted around the world.”
More than 80 percent of the world’s soybeans are GM varieties, industry data show. So is nearly two-thirds of the world’s cotton. That brisk adoption rate is welcomed by developers of biotech seeds, including Syngenta, which ranks No. 3 behind Monsanto and Pioneer. …