Agriculture

New Bird Flu Strain Has Poultry Farmers Scrambling

A dangerous new bird flu strain has affected poultry flocks in Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. That's sending experts and farmers scrambling to determine how it arrived - and to stop it from spreading.

Some SD Producers Raising Pricey Japanese Cattle

A few South Dakota producers are giving expensive Japanese cattle a try.    Some producers in the state are raising specialty Wagyu (wa-goo) cattle.    Farmer Reid Jensen first got his hand on Wagyu cattle in 2010. He now has 70 cows and a couple of breeding bulls in his pastures in Burbank. Jensen says he started his herd for a pricey $5,000 a head. Most of his beef goes to high-end hotels and restaurants.    The best-known breed is the black breed that comes from a region near Kobe, Japan. Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu.    A Wagyu steak can go for more than $100. The meet is lower in cholesterol. Most of the Wagyu cattle in the U.S. are in Texas and New Mexico.

Unlikely Technology At Farm Show To Help Farmers

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman! Actually, it's a drone and the unmanned, battery operated aircrafts are quickly making their way from recreational use to agricultural use."They're finding that this is a good, useful thing for agriculture. In cattle, finding displaced cattle, finding cyotoes that are causing trouble on those farms or irrigation pivots that are losing copper heads," explained Adam Shaw, vice president of Maverick Drone Systems. Maverick Drone Systems is a distribution company based out of Savage, Minnesota.With the average farm being bigger than four football fields, it's difficult to monitor such an expanse of land.  But with drones, it's getting a little easier for farmers like Austin Hillestad of Volga, who says he would also like to use them for other business purposes."I'd also like to film some of our equipment as we're going through the field, I think that'd be fun to see. We also do some custom work and I'd also think that it'd be good advertisement."Whether they're for recreational or commercial use, there's still fear surrounding drones. The fear of being spied on or flying in restricted airspaces has people scared. But Adam believes that educating people on the aircrafts will help calm those fears."We feel we can be a drone pilot training academy to support them in getting people certified the right way. Putting them behind maybe 20 hours or 30 hours of flight. Maybe creating that program that doesn't exist today."

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