West Virginia governor joins'Your World' to discuss relief bill and some states loosening COVID restrictions The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that President Biden is set to sign includes billions of dollars in debt relief and other assistance for farmers of color. But the incorporation of race-based criteria for that relief is leaving other farmers scratching their heads. "Just because you're a certain color you don't have to pay back money? I don't care if you're purple, black, yellow, white, gray, if you borrow money you have to pay it back," Kelly Griggs, who runs her 1,800-acre farm with her husband in Humboldt, Tennessee, told Fox News in an interview. "My reaction is, Where did common sense go?" Griggs said.
"You almost need a Securicor escort to move a load of straw up the motorway these days," says farmer Michael Oakes. His dairy farm, in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, has suffered much from this winter's poor weather, as have many farms in the country. The poor weather has prompted a spike in demand for straw, while last year's weather conditions severely curtailed straw production. The combination has pushed the price of both wheat and barley straw to record levels. In February, the average barley straw price in England and Wales was £90 a tonne, 73% from a year earlier, while wheat straw was £81 a tonne, up 62%.
The US has unveiled a $12bn (£9.1bn) plan aimed at helping US farmers hurt by the intensifying trade war. The aid is intended to protect the industry as countries raise taxes on US products such as soybeans in response to new Trump administration tariffs. The US plans to provide subsidies to farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures. Donald Trump had promised the aid after fierce criticism from farmers, an important part of his support base. Mr Trump has said his tariffs - which he earlier described in a tweet as "the greatest" - are intended to pressure countries to change their policies toward US exports.
At least five farmers were shot dead and four others injured at a protest in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, according to local media reports. The spokesperson of a farming union said police had fired on the protestors in Mandasur city, marking an escalation of violence as a rural strike demanding debt relief spread. "Police started firing to disperse the crowd. Farmers were not carrying weapons," Gajendra Tokas of the National Farm Workers' Union, which has called for a state-wide strike on Wednesday, told Reuters news agency. However, the state's home minister, Bhupendra Singh denied the allegations by the farming union, claiming that bullets were shot by "anti-social elements".
As agriculture becomes more high tech, a growing number of farmers are using GPS-equipped machinery supported by platforms that collect data on plants, soil, and weather. Termed "precision agriculture," these technologies help them identify and manage variability within fields. New technologies allow farmers to harness data in order to increase their land's productivity. Most begin the cycle by collecting information about their crop yields. GPS-equipped combines, used for harvesting crops, are outfitted with yield monitors that collect geo-referenced data, revealing variations within each field.