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Agribusiness

State’s produce offers new value to gleaners

An organization ready to harvest and distribute quality food to the hungry always looks for new farms to glean and more hands to help with the work. The Mississippi Gleaning Network exists to link agricultural endeavors with organizations that distribute food to the needy. It is operated under the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian nonprofit, nationwide organization that supplies ...

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Support for repealing USDA inspection of catfish imports gaining strength

By JACK WEATHERLY Legislation that could have an immense impact on America’s catfish industry has gained strong support in the U.S. House. One hundred and eighty members of the House have signed a letter that has been sent to  House leadership calling for taking up a measure to halt the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of imported catfish. Among the ...

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2016 season began with small shrimp, low prices

Selling directly to the public takes longer, but it allows fishermen to make some profit from a shrimp season that has been below average so far this year in Mississippi. Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shrimp landed in Mississippi have been small through mid-June. “Shrimp season opened June 6, and ...

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Rice crop is well underway in state

It was clear by early June that spring’s wet, cool weather caused few issues for Mississippi’s rice crop, as growers got it planted on time and the emerged crop  looks good overall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that as of June 5, the crop was 99 percent planted and 97 percent emerged. Of that acreage, 78 percent was in ...

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Fate of imported catfish inspections rests in the House

By JACK WEATHERLY  In the past decade, the U.S. catfish industry has been stood on its head. In 2006, domestic producers had two-thirds of the market. Imports were the other third. Now it’s the reverse, as importers account for more than 70 percent of the market. Hopes were raised when the U.S. industry succeeded in getting the 2008 and 2014 ...

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Senate votes to scrap catfish inspection program

WASHINGTON — The Senate has voted to scrap a new catfish inspection program that critics have argued is wasteful and unnecessary. The recent vote came just after President Barack Obama visited Vietnam, a major exporter of catfish to the United States that has criticized the program. The Senate has approved by 55-43 a resolution that would void the regulations, if the House agrees and Obama ...

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AGRIBUSINESS — Surplus drives down dairy farmer profits

An abundance of cool-season grasses and legumes means plenty of forage for Mississippi dairy cows, but increased nationwide milk production is driving down profits for the state’s producers. Producers are receiving $12.75 per hundredweight, or about $1.10 per gallon of milk. A year ago, they were being paid just under $20 per hundredweight. Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the ...

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Low sales prices drive Sanderson earnings down in second quarter

By JACK WEATHERLY Sanderson Farms’ earnings dipped to $47.6 million, or $2.11 per share, in the second fiscal quarter ending April 30, compared with $71.2 million, or $3.13 per share a year earlier. The Laurel-based poultry producer said in a release Thursday that earnings were hurt by sales prices – down by 11.4 percent per pound — though volume was up ...

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Report takes processors to task, but Sanderson Farms denies worker abuse

By JACK WEATHERLY  Four major poultry processing companies don’t give line workers time for restroom breaks – forcing some to wear diapers if they have to wait too long or are denied a break, according to a report from Oxfam America. Those companies – Laurel-based Sanderson Farms, Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Pilgrim’s Pride – force their workers to endure ...

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Mississippi casts net across state lines to catch metal thieves

By JACK WEATHERLY Mississippi is casting its net wider to catch those who plunder isolated irrigation systems and other rural infrastructure for copper. Copper wiring became a major target for thieves during the real estate collapse where houses and other structures were left vacant and unattended. The metal that is preferred wiring for electricity rose to about $600 a ton ...

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