Dairy FARM Program Celebrates #EarthDay

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The National Dairy FARM Program released its Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Released in celebration of Earth Day, the guide provides a comprehensive suite of on-farm management practices to reduce a farm’s environmental footprint and improve its profitability.

The manual features strategies to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions in various areas of farm management, including feed, manure, energy, forage and animal health.

“FARM Environmental Stewardship helps us tell our story in a measurable, science-based way while providing business value that is both financially and environmentally beneficial,” said Mike McCloskey, Chairman of the NMPF Environmental Committee, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Environmental Stewardship Committee and co-founder of fairlife, LLC.

Ag Group, Cattle, Dairy, environment

Enviro Stewardship on Poultry, Egg Farms – #EarthDay

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

In observance of Earth Day, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is highlighting two videos from its series emphasizing environmental stewardship on poultry and egg farms and on poultry companies with exemplary performance at water reclamation.

Riverhill Farms, Port Republic, Va., is a recipient of USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award, which recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farms engaged in poultry and egg production. Simmons Foods, Southwest City, Mo., is a recipient of USPOULTRY’s Clean Water Award, which recognizes exemplary performance at water reclamation facilities serving the poultry industry.

Ag Group, Eggs, environment, Poultry, Waste Management, Water

Dr. Grandin to Speak at Sterling College Butchery Course

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Dr. Grandin photoed here in 2015 when she was awarded the American Farm Bureau Federation distinguished service to agriculture award.

The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is offering the course “Ethical Slaughter and Butchery” for those looking to explore how to safely, ethically, and humanely bring livestock from the field to the table. This five-day course, held June 19-23, 2017, will combine dialogue, presentations, and debate with observational slaughter and hands-on butchery of several species of livestock.

A single half-day master class with Dr. Temple Grandin, animal scientist, researcher, and award-winning author will also take place. Grandin will apply her groundbreaking approach to decoding animal behavior to small farms, identifying and addressing the special needs and challenges of these livestock operations.

“Animal abuse is inherent in modern factory farming, so it is up to the small and mid-size farmer to incorporate respectful, ethical ways to raise animals for consumption,” says Dr. Alan Goldberg, one of the instructors in the course. Goldberg is a professor of toxicology at Johns Hopkins University and the Founding Director (emeritus) of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. Starting in 2007, Dr. Goldberg served as a Pew Commissioner on the study of the impact of U.S. industrial farm animal production, on issues of public health, environment, animal welfare, and social justice. “Animals need freedom from distress, pain, and fear, as well as the ability on the farm to express natural behaviors.”

Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Education, Livestock

Water Markets 101

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Mammoth Trading’s President, Richael Young sat on a panel during the 2017 Water for Food Global Conference called, “Drought, Water Risk and the Context for Water Markets.” Drought risk management was positioned as a focal point as panelists discussed the water transaction outlook, water policy trends and the role of public versus private investment in water markets.

Mammoth Trading develops and operates market-based solutions to water resource challenges. Many places have active water markets but they are often decentralized and informal. Richael said they come in and help to reduce search and transaction costs for individuals.

“Mammoth Trading creates Smart Markets or electronic clearing houses that help automate the process of matching individuals who are interested in buying and selling water rights and automating the process of regulatory compliance,” Richael said.

There are a number of transactions people can make around water including: water leases, permanent transactions, pooling, rotational agreements, inter-annual water exchanges, etc. During the panel, Richael shared how farmers have been utilizing water markets over decades and how we are just shedding light on the extent of those occurrences.

“Water markets have emerged informally as a tool for farmers and communities to share water resources. If you can give communities the tools to move water resources to when and where they are needed, a wealth of risk management is provided,” Richael said.

The future of water rights was also discussed. Richael said more and more we are trending towards ways to give individuals the flexibility to use their water resources to best fit their needs. “We are also looking at ways to develop water markets that work well for communities. It’s not about taking water from one basin and exporting it to another. This is about how we can use water locally in a way that works best for that community,” Richael said.

Listen to my complete chat with Richael to learn more about the water market history, some misconceptions and more on the future: Interview with Richael Young, Mammoth Trading

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 Water for Food Global Conference Photos

Agribusiness, Audio, Land, Water

USFRA Offers Animal Welfare Earth Day Resources

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

USA Today, which reaches about 750,000 readers in print, and more digitally, is releasing a story for Earth Day that alleges livestock agriculture is damaging the planet, using too many resources and is rife with animal abuse. According to the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), the article will talk about how animals are “raised purely for profit, without regard to proper stewardship or health.”

In response to the article, USFRA has prepared a toolkit for farmers and ranchers and other agribusiness folks to access links to content, blog posts, infographics and videos which can be viewed and shared on websites and social channels that helps to educate the public on how the modern science of food production is better for the environment.

USFRA encourages their affiliates and industry partners to participate and direct users to the newly created landing page to learn more about sustainability, animal welfare and what farmers and ranchers are doing to preserve the habitat, soil, air and water.

Ag Group, Animal Welfare, Communications, USFRA

Kubota Introduces a New Entry-Level Hay & Cattle Tractor

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Meet Kubota Tractor’s latest member of the M-Series, the M6S-111 diesel tractor. The M6S-111 is an ideal solution for cattle producers seeking a single tractor suited for the full range of cattle and hay operations, loader work, mowing and more.

“The M6S-111 tractor is designed for the small to mid-sized producer who values those important ‘big tractor’ luxuries and features, like the Kubota Swing Shift that delivers multiple speeds controlled by a single lever,” said Kent Brown, Kubota senior product manager, ag tractors. “This new tractor fits perfectly into Kubota’s M-Series line of tractors; it is flexible enough for any job in the hayfield or pasture.”

The M6S-111 features technology-driven Kubota diesel engines matched with transmissions equipped with Kubota’s exclusive Swing Shift feature, providing easy shifting from the ergonomic operator station. High-performance hydraulics makes the M6S-111 ready to accept implements requiring multiple valves. The M6S is offered in the four-wheel drive M6S-111SHDC and M6S-111SDSC and the two-wheel drive M6S-111SHC. The M6S-111 replaces the M108S in the series.

Agribusiness, Equipment

Survey Yields Cow/calf & Vet Perspectives

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KG MarketSense surveyed over 800 cow/calf producers with more than 200 mature cows and 200 vets to learn their perspectives on various business and animal health issues.

“The survey results reflect the uncertainty and some of the challenges of securing profits in this market,” says David Soorholtz, president of KG MarketSense. “Not surprisingly, most cow/calf producers, as well as veterinarians, anticipate their business will stay the same size as they look to the next three years.”

48% of producers anticipate 2017 will be as profitability as 2016. A quarter of producers surveyed expect a more profitable year while 27% say it will be less. Vets expressed similar expectations for their business with just more than half anticipating their business to be the same profitability wise in 2017.

Cattle prices were a #1 concern along with weather, input costs, the veterinary feed directive. 70% of producers say their operation will stay the same size and over half of the vets said it would stay the same and one third plan to expand.

Read More

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Cattle, Survey, Veterinary

NMPF Thanks Capitol Hill for Attention on Dairy Workforce

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked members of both the House and Senate for working to address the unique labor challenges that have long faced the dairy community.

“We welcome these bipartisan efforts to shine a light on an issue so critical to dairy producers,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Dairy farming is a physically demanding, 24-7, 365-day job. Without the help of foreign labor, many American dairy operations face the threat of closure. We appreciate that members of both parties are building awareness of the need for action on this challenge.”

Two bills introduced recently would modify the existing H-2A agricultural visa program to make it easier for dairy farmers to hire the foreign labor they need to run their operations. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Chris Collins (R-NY) co-authored the Farm Family Relief Act in January. Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) introduced the Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round (DAIRY) Act this month.

During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to confirm the next USDA Secretary, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) questioned nominee Sonny Perdue about finding a solution to the industry’s immigration concerns. Perdue said he supports an exemption to the H-2A program so that dairy farms can hire workers year-round.

In addition to working closely with these and other members of Congress, NMPF remains engaged on the issue of immigration through its leadership in the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC).

Ag Group, Dairy, Government, National Milk, Policy

Dairy FARM Program Updated Drug Residue Manual

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The National Dairy FARM Program has released the 2017 edition of its Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual, the primary educational tool for dairy managers about the judicious, responsible use of antibiotics and how to prevent drug residues in milk and meat.

The 2017 edition now identifies drugs subject to the newly implemented Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), and contains updated industry data on the declining presence of antibiotic residues found in milk. It also contains newly approved products released in calendar year 2016. A Spanish version and smaller, pocket-size version will be released in summer 2017.

“In the last two decades, the stewardship efforts of farmers and veterinarians is demonstrated by the continuing decline in traces of antibiotic residues in milk leaving the farm,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “This data demonstrates the dairy industry’s never-ending commitment to producing safe, abundant, and affordable milk and dairy beef, due in part to efforts like FARM.”

“The responsible use of antibiotics has a positive impact on animal health while maintaining a safe milk supply for the public,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s vice president of sustainability and scientific affairs. “The 2017 manual is another step in the U.S. dairy industry’s continued commitment to the judicious use of antimicrobials.”

Sponsors of the 2017 manual include: Merck Animal Health, Elanco, Zoetis, Merial and Charm Sciences.

Ag Group, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Dairy, VFD

Animal Ag Bites

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  • Alltech has announced the expansion of the South Dakota regional team with the addition of on-farm dairy specialist Jeff Johnson. His duties will include working with dairy operations to help manage and prevent health challenges in addition to conducting audits and educating producers on milk quality and procedures.
  • The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announced that Dr. Malinda Colwell, Dr. Kevin Myers, Declan Troy, and Dr. Mindy Brashears will be the featured speakers at the AMSA 70th Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) Food Security – A Meat Science Story Symposium, on Monday, June 19, in College Station, Texas. The speakers in this symposium will discuss the need for animal-based protein sources around the world and how we as an industry can help address these needs.
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) will be hosting a Poultry Handling and Transportation “Train the Trainer” Workshop for poultry companies that handle or transport chickens, turkeys, etc. on Thursday, June 29. It was developed by a team of poultry scientists and veterinarians from Pennsylvania State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and transportation industry professionals.
  • The American Sheep Industry (ASI) will host an informative webinar on lamb meat quality led by Dr. Travis Hoffman on April 25 beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
  • Animal Bites