USDA proposes standards to provide healthy food options in school

New "Smart Snacks in School" proposal to ensure vending machines, snack bars include healthy choices. FULL STORY »

Low Mississippi River may take money out of your pocket

Lower water levels along the United States’ major inland river system affects food and feed costs which can add to the cost of many commodities already magnified by months of drought. FULL STORY »

Access to land, capital biggest obstacle for beginning farmers

“Beginning farmers are a key to twenty-first-century agriculture,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These new agricultural entrepreneurs are the cornerstone to a vibrant rural America and to the future of all agriculture.” FULL STORY »

Hillshire Brands raises 2013 outlook

Hillshire Brands Co raised its full-year outlook on Thursday after stronger-than-expected first-half performance that benefited from easing commodity costs. FULL STORY »

U.S. farm loans by private banks jump in late 2012

Farm lending by U.S. commercial banks soared during the fourth quarter of 2012 as farmers borrowed at low interest rates to buy costly livestock feed, new machinery, and fuel for harvest as well as to pre-pay for seed and fertilizer for the 2013 crop season. FULL STORY »

Mississippi River barge backup tops 1,000 after oil spill

More than 1,000 barges were backed up on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss., on Wednesday after a weekend barge accident and oil spill forced the closure of the major shipping artery, the U.S. Coast Guard said. FULL STORY »

Animal rights groups exploit “gap of knowledge”

Animal rights groups have changed their tactics in recent years. Rather than run inflammatory ads in newspapers, or throw pies at pork queens, they’re determined to build business-to-business relationships with food companies. FULL STORY »

January rain nearly wipes out remaining drought in Indiana

A week of rain and unseasonable warmth in January replenished the ground with enough water to eliminate dry conditions across Indiana except for the far northern part of the state. FULL STORY »

Stuck in the mud? Publication helps farmers extract machinery

Pulling farm machinery, fertilizer and spray applicators and trucks out of soft soil or ditches is best done by a professional, says a Purdue University specialist. Although discussion of this topic seems far from necessary with the continuing drought in some areas, rain will arrive someday and wet roads and fields have actually been a problem in the South already. FULL STORY »

Ethanol has its challenges for 2013 and 2014

The ethanol industry is facing some significant challenges this year. High corn prices have significantly reduced ethanol production margins and some plants have shut down. FULL STORY »

New tax law increases direct expense deduction for 2012 and 2013

The recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 increased direct expensing for certain depreciable assets to $500,000. FULL STORY »

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