agriculture

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

Missouri House members have voted to reject a tax plan that would increase property taxes for the best farms.

Property taxes for farms are based on the land's "productive value." Farms are divided into eight groups based on land quality, with the best in Grade 1 and the worst in Grade 8. The Missouri Tax Commission has recommended increasing productive values for the four highest grades.

The property tax changes for 2013 and 2014 take effect unless the Legislature approves a resolution to reject them. House members voted 117-39 on Tuesday to reject the tax proposal.

(photo via Facebook/State Rep. Bob Flider)

Reporting from Jim Meadows was used in this story.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has named a former Democratic state representative from central Illinois to be the state's new Director of Agriculture.

If he's confirmed by the state Senate, Bob Flider will take over at a department that hasn't had a permanent director since October.

(Ken Light)

Michael Pollan thinks of himself as a writer, professor…and eater.  But many people would call him a food activist. The author of controversial books like The Ominvore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Pollan is known for his vivid critiques of industrial agriculture and the modern American diet.

Pollan is in St. Louis today for the St. Louis Speakers Series presented by Maryville University. He recently spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra about his views on food and agriculture – starting with what he sees as a healthy diet.

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

Updated 5:09 p.m.

Argentina's tax agency has accused a Monsanto contractor of what it calls slave-like conditions among workers in its cornfields.

The Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP) says Rural Power SA hired all its farmhands illegally, restricted them from leaving the building where they were housed, and withheld their salaries.

The 65 workers had to de-tassel corn 14 hours a day and buy their food at inflated prices from the company store.

(via Flickr/The Consumerist)

If you've noticed your grocery bill has gotten higher lately, you're not imagining things.

Food prices in Missouri rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau's year-end Marketbasket Survey.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri will sell around $4.4 billion worth of agricultural products to China, in a trade agreement announced today by Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Speaking to reporters via conference call from Beijing, Nixon said exports from Missouri will increase by more than a billion dollars between 2012 and 2014.

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a disaster declaration for farmers in 23 Missouri counties, including several in the St. Louis area, hit by floods and heavy rain since May 1.

Friday's declaration allows farmers in those counties and 26 neighboring counties to seek federal assistance for losses caused by the severe weather. Gov. Jay Nixon had requested the declaration last month.

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers whose crops wilted this summer amid high temperatures and a lack of rain in much of the state.

On Thursday, Nixon asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to designate 101 Missouri counties (full list of counties below) as primary disaster areas. That would allow eligible farmers to get emergency loans and other federal help.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 1:10 with assistance deadline.

Gov. Jay Nixon is asking federal agriculture officials to declare 23 Missouri counties a disaster area to allow aid for farmers who have lost crops or property.

(via Flickr/Benimoto)

The Japanese beetle has been striking Missouri and Illinois with full force, eating its way through rose bushes and tomato plants and threatening major crops like corn and soybeans.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the beetle has been an urban problem for years. But now, farmers in both Missouri and Illinois say the bugs are moving into corn and soybean fields - crops vital to both states.

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