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Agriculture briefs

Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 7:35 p.m.

Egg producers seek new bill in Congress

Egg producers will try once more to win congressional approval for national standards that would regulate the size of cages for laying hens.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is sponsoring legislation to codify an agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States. A similar bill died last year after cattlemen and other farmers objected to federal standards on animal treatment.

California farmers, who under Proposition 2 must stop using standard-size cages by 2015, support the bill.

“We desperately need this legislation so our state’s egg farmers can effectively compete,” said Petaluma egg farmer Arnie Riebli, president of the Association of California Egg Farmers.

The bill already has drawn opposition from the Humane Farming Association and other animal protection groups who say voters in each state should be allowed to keep banning cages.

Farm Bureau offers first aid classes

Farmers and workers can learn CPR, first aid and the use of an automated external defibrillator at classes next month sponsored by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

The classes, designed for responding to accidents and other medical emergencies, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2, 8 and 28. The first two sessions will be presented in English, with the May 28 session given in Spanish.

All classes will be held at the farm bureau office, 970 Piner Road in Santa Rosa.

Cost is $70 for farm bureau members and $90 for non-members. Advanced registration is required. To register, contact Anita Hawkins at 544-5575 or info@sonomafb.org.

Rains bring floods, drought relief to midwest farmers

Recent heavy rains have caused flooding but also brought drought relief to the upper Midwest, western Corn Belt and central portions of the Plains.

Farmers may be thankful the land is no longer parched, but it’s too wet to plant in corn country. As well, freezing temperatures and lingering snow have ruined for many the winter wheat crop.

“Right now, we’re wishing it would dry up so we can get in the field,” said 74-year-old farmer Jerry Main, who plants corn and soybeans in southeast Iowa.

Aside from being too wet to plant, it’s also been too cold for seed to germinate.

Farmers can utilize corn varieties that mature faster, nearly 30 days quicker in some cases. But the shorter the time to maturity, the lower the yield.

— Staff and wire reports. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com

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