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Agribusiness

USDA delays decision on catfish inspections

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department has delayed a decision on a new catfish inspection program that threatens to derail U.S. trade relations with Vietnam. The agency released a proposed rule Friday seeking more comment on the key question of whether Asian catfish will be subject to a new inspection regime that Congress passed in 2008 and that Asian producers say ...

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USDA declares two counties disaster areas

DESOTO COUNTY and MARSHALL COUNTY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated counties in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia and North Carolina as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought and excessive heat that began June 1, 2010, and continues. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “these conditions caused severe damage to corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, ...

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NOAA sets guidelines for offshore fish farming

GULF OF MEXICO — President Barack Obama’s administration said yesterday it supports the farming of fish in federal waters, but that the practice needs to be done in a safe and scientifically sound manner. In the Gulf of Mexico, businesses have proposed growing fish on unused oil and natural gas platforms. Farming fish along the coast and even far out ...

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Senators pushing for continued duties on imported shrimp

WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) recently testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that existing antidumping duties must be extended to promote an even playing field for U.S. shrimpers “besieged by unfair foreign imports.” The ITC is in the process of determining whether conditions within the U.S. shrimp industry warrant the continuation or ...

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Beef plant conspirator awarded reduced sentence

OAKLAND — A federal judge has reduced the sentence of a key figure in the Mississippi beef plant scandal. Richard Hall, of Clarksville, Tenn., was sentenced in 2006 to eight years in prison for his role in the failure of the plant. The beef plant, backed by the Mississippi Legislature and two state agencies, ran into trouble soon after Hall ...

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Southern AgCredit issues largest dividend in history

RIDGELAND — The Southern AgCredit board of directors recently approved a patronage dividend for borrowers based on the financing cooperative’s 2010 earnings. Checks will be mailed to customers in mid-February. Southern AgCredit customers will receive a check for their portion of the $3.47-million cash patronage, plus a statement detailing their portion of an $8.03-million allocation that is eligible for future ...

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Hyde-Smith announces candidacy for ag commissioner

BROOKHAVEN — Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Brookhaven, announced that she will seek the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce position. Hyde-Smith and her husband, Mike, are the fourth generation of their family to raise cattle, farm and operate a cattle market auction near Brookhaven. Hyde-Smith noted that the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce position is a large job with many statewide ...

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State Senate mulling deer breeding farms

JACKSON — A bill pending before the state Senate would authorize the raising of genetically enhanced deer on breeding farms in Mississippi. The bill, approved last week by the Senate Wildlife Committee, would allow the import and export of farm-raised white tail deer, it’s semen, ova and embryos. Sen. , a Republican from Biloxi, tells WLBT-TV in Jackson that the ...

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Cochran pushing USDA for livestock warranty program

WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cooperate with livestock industry officials in Mississippi to create and implement a warranty program that would help protect livestock producers after their herds are affected by disease. Cochran, along with fellow senators from Alabama and Georgia, has written Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to encourage him to ...

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DREC expanding with new 220-acre farm

STONEVILLE — Mississippi State University is expanding its Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville with plans to demonstrate ongoing agricultural research on the additional acreage. According to a piece written by rice specialist Nathan Buehrig in the 2010 Rice Research Report, the 220-acre farm, which is located southwest of DREC’s headquarters, was obtained through a long-term l6th Section lease. ...

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