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Farming Is New Hope as Droughts Erase Truffles

Already rare wild truffles are becoming harder to find, driving up prices

(Newser) - If you thought wild truffles were already an indulgence, climate change is expected to make the fungal delicacy even harder to obtain. However, the newer practice of farming truffles may save the industry, Modern Farmer reports. In terms of the problem, "the climate's no good," Italian truffle...

For These New Tractors, No Driver Is Needed

Farmers are going high-tech

(Newser) - For years Americans have been told that driverless vehicles were just around the corner. Finally they’re here, but to catch a glimpse, you'll need to go to a farm rather than a city street, per the AP . Beginning this fall, 14-ton tractors that can plow day or night...

The Pine Needles Are Brown. They Might as Well Be Gold

Inside a $200M industry

(Newser) - They're brown, not gold. But fallen needles from the longleaf pine, which is native to the Southeast, might as well be the latter. The Washington Post reports pine needles are a $200 million industry, and of the trio of pine needles that are collected and sold, the longleaf's...

Something Is Rapidly Killing America's Apple Trees

The syndrome is called RAD, and it's a head-scratcher

(Newser) - The why is still very much unknown. The what is painfully clear: Something is rapidly killing apple trees that initially appear to be perfectly healthy. That rapid part is now part of the syndrome's name: rapid apple decline (RAD), with one apple farmer telling the Counter that some of...

US Officials Warn About 'Mystery Packets' From China

Is it a simple business scam, or something worse?

(Newser) - All 50 states are warning Americans about mysterious seed packages sent unsolicited to their doorsteps—mostly from China, USA Today reports. The US Dept. of Agriculture suspects a simple business scam, but some officials say it could be a poison pill to damage crops: "I've had people describe...

The 'Toughest Pill' From Farm Belt Flooding

Farmers were storing corn and soybeans, waiting for price to rise another 10 cents or so

(Newser) - Flooding has killed at least four people, plus livestock, and destroyed millions of dollars worth of grain supplies in Farm Belt states across the Missouri River Basin . Meanwhile, Southern states are apparently in for a brutal spring in terms of flooding. Details:
  • Farm Belt: There's more than $1.3

Researchers See Controversial Way to Help Planet

It involves getting rid of meat and dairy agriculture, or at least reducing

(Newser) - A comprehensive new study finds that more than 75% of the world's farmland—an area the size of the US, EU, China, and Australia combined—could be freed up for new uses and the world still wouldn't go hungry. The big catch: Humans would have to stop consuming...

3-Year-Old Rescued From Quicksand-Like Manure Pit

Boy is OK after falling into pit inside a barn in Pennsylvania

(Newser) - Officials say emergency crews rescued a 3-year-old boy who fell into a manure pit on a farm near Philadelphia. Emergency responders were called to the Honey Brook Township farm about 6:30pm Saturday after the child fell into the six- to 10-foot pit inside a large barn. Fire crews tried...

Farmer Faces $2.8M Fine for Plowing Field
Farmer Faces $2.8M Fine
for Plowing Field

Farmer Faces $2.8M Fine for Plowing Field

John Duarte is accused of disturbing California wetlands

(Newser) - California farmer John Duarte could be facing a $2.8 million fine—and may be ordered to pay millions more in wetlands mitigation—for an offense he describes thusly: "Planting wheat in a wheat field," something he says had been done many times previously. Duarte has been fighting...

Matt Damon Was Right: Potatoes Can Grow on Mars
Matt Damon Was Right:
Potatoes Can Grow on Mars
new study

Matt Damon Was Right: Potatoes Can Grow on Mars

Which could also have implications for our changing climate

(Newser) - If you've seen The Martian, you might think it's totally possible to grow potatoes on Mars. You just might be right. In the film, Matt Damon plays fictional NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a stranded botanist who survives on the Red Planet by growing the hardy tubers. Now, real-life...

Exotic Spice May Become Cash Crop—in Vermont

Experiments with saffron show promise

(Newser) - For someone who has a passing familiarity with the spice saffron, a few words might come to mind: expensive, exotic, Mideast. Now researchers want to add another, more unlikely one: Vermont. As the Boston Globe reports, Dr. Margaret Skinner of the University of Vermont has been working with test crops...

3M Years Before Humans, Ants Were Farmers

Fijian ants have long built farming cities to plant and harvest fruit crops

(Newser) - If the emergence of agrarian practices is seen as a mark of intelligence in humans, then ants can boast some serious smarts. Not only have researchers discovered a highly organized type of farming in Fiji ants—who plant the seeds of fruit trees, fertilize and protect them, harvest the resulting...

A Very Different Kind of Farm Grows in Newark

AeroFarms employs aeroponics technology to grow greens in vertical stacks of beds without soil or water

(Newser) - The proposal might sound unlikely: Take an abandoned steel mill in Newark, NJ, and build a so-called vertical farm, the world's largest. In so doing, revive a rundown area, produce more crops in less space far faster than in a field, use fewer resources, and pack in more nutrients...

Farmers Fight for Right to Repair Own Tractors

It all comes down to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act

(Newser) - Farmers in Nebraska, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and New York are staging something of a mechanical revolt. They're attempting to get legislation passed in their states that would enable them, for the first time since the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to repair their own tractors or get an independent mechanic...

3 Young Sisters Killed in Freak Farming Accident

The girls were buried in canola seed on family farm

(Newser) - Three young sisters died Tuesday in a freak accident on a family farm in rural Canada, the Edmonton Journal reports. The girls—11-year-old twins Dara and Jana and 13-year-old Catie—were smothered by canola seed in the back of a truck, though the details of their deaths remain hazy. A...

A Tiny Fly Is Wreaking Havoc on Florida's Fruit

85 square miles quarantined over Oriental fruit fly

(Newser) - A $1.6 billion agriculture industry in Florida's Miami-Dade County is essentially at a standstill thanks to a swarm of hungry insects. About 159 Oriental fruit flies have been caught in the area in the last few weeks and agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam tells the Miami Herald it's...

Filthy Air Kills 3.3M a Year—and That May Double

Farming is surprise culprit of smog and soot in industrial nations

(Newser) - Air pollution is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide, according to a new study that includes this surprise: Farming plays a large role in smog and soot deaths in industrial nations. Scientists from Harvard and in Germany, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia used health statistics and computer models for...

Texas Commune Sues After SWAT Raid Gone Very Wrong
Texas Commune Sues After SWAT Raid Gone Very Wrong

Texas Commune Sues After SWAT Raid Gone Very Wrong

You know the old lyric: You say tomato, police say illegal marijuana grow-op

(Newser) - A commune in Arlington, Texas, is suing the city two years after a no-knock SWAT raid resulted in handcuffed residents, an eight-hour search, and absolutely nothing illegal, specifically the guns and marijuana police believed were there, the Houston Chronicle reports. The lawsuit , filed by Garden of Eden residents last month,...

This Methane-Run Tractor Could Be a Gamechanger

New Holland T6 could significantly cut costs and pollution

(Newser) - Luca Remmert's dream of running a self-sustainable farm is within sight. He produces energy from corn and grain near the northern Italian city of Turin and hopes in the not too distant future to run all of his eight tractors on methane generated at the farm. Remmert's 1,...

Father, Son Lose Lives to Manure Pit's Deadly Gases

The son was overcome by the fumes and the father tried to rescue him

(Newser) - An Iowa father and son are dead after tangling with a deadly aspect of hog farming: their manure pit. Typically situated below a barn, the manure's noxious fumes don't escape easily, and the hydrogen sulfide—along with methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide—can be a deadly mix. Unfortunately...

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