Proposed Rule to Modernize Swine Inspection

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The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced its continued effort to modernize inspection systems through science-based approaches to food safety. USDA is proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), while also requiring additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter establishments.

The proposed rule also allows innovation and flexibility to establishments that are slaughtering market hogs. Market hogs are uniform, healthy, young animals that can be slaughtered and processed in this modernized system more efficiently and effectively with enhanced process control.

For market hog establishments that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline USDA inspection tasks, while continuing 100% FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection. These offline inspection tasks place inspectors in areas of the production process where they can perform critical tasks that have direct impact on food safety.

“FSIS is excited to continue modernizing inspection practices, while allowing opportunities for industry to innovate and streamline food production,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “There is no single technology or process to address the problem of foodborne illness, but when we focus our inspections on food safety-related tasks, we better protect American families.”

“We support the USDA’s decision to advance HIMP as it introduces new pork production efficiencies while encouraging the deployment of new food safety technologies in packing plants,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Illinois. “The pilot program yielded very positive results; expanding the program is another step forward in the industry’s ongoing focus on continuous improvement of food safety and cost efficiency.”

Ag Group, AgWired Animal, NPPC, Pork, Swine, usda

DBMMC Now Officially Edge

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It’s official – Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative is now Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. The formal resolution was passed at the cooperative’s annual business meeting this week during the Dairy Strong conference in Wisconsin.

The co-op’s new name was unveiled in November with the tagline “The voice of milk” and a fresh approach to representing dairy farmer members. Edge provides members with a voice on Capitol Hill in matters critical to their businesses and the broader dairy community. Under the Federal Milk Marketing Orders, the co-op also provides milk testing verification services and market information for its members throughout nine Midwestern states. It is one of the top cooperatives in the country in terms of the amount of milk produced by its members.

Also during the business meeting, members re-elected John Pagel, Todd Doornink and Mitch Davis to the board. Pagel of Kewaunee, Wis. serves as president of the cooperative; Doornink from Baldwin, Wis. is vice president; and Davis, Belle Plaine, Minn., is treasurer.

In an interview with AgWired last month, Pagel said priorities for the cooperative’s members this year include immigration, trade and the 2018 Farm Bill. Listen to that interview here: Interview with John Pagel, Edge

AgWired Animal, Audio, Dairy

New Coalition Advocates For NAFTA Preservation

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More than 30 organizations have joined to form Americans for Farmers & Families (AFF), a coalition dedicated to preserving and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by educating political leaders about its importance to agriculture. The groups represent growers, refiners, producers, transporters, retailers and consumers, including major industry organizations such as American Farm Bureau, Corn Refiners Association, National Corn Growers Association, and National Pork Producers, to name a few.

“Farm Belt voters supported President Trump by a three-to-one margin in the last election and they are counting on President Trump to improve NAFTA in the modernization negotiations,” said John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association and a member of AFF’s leadership committee.

As part of the effort, AFF will be launching an educational campaign to highlight the positive impact NAFTA has had for Americans and lay the groundwork for an updated trade agreement that preserves America’s strong economic standing for decades to come. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, food and agriculture exports have more than quadrupled and account for 25 percent of American exports. One in every 10 acres of American crops is for export to NAFTA partners.

“NAFTA has opened markets for America’s farmers and ranchers, and U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled under the agreement,” said AFBF president Zippy Duvall, also a member of AFF’s leadership committee. “The current negotiations should build on that success.”

AFBF, Ag Group, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, corn, Trade

Cold Tolerant Berseem Clover Provides Frost Seeding Option

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As cold as it has already been this winter in so many areas, Frosty Berseem Clover might be just the ticket for farmers and ranchers implementing frost seeding into their hay and pasture systems.

Grassland Oregon was recently awarded a patent for Frosty Berseem Clover, making it the first cold tolerant berseem clover suitable for frost seeding in the United States and Canada, surviving in trials with temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit and zero snow cover. Extended growing seasons, higher yields, increased establishment rates and convenience are just a few of the benefits to frost seeding, according to Jerry Hall, director of research for Grassland Oregon.

“Frost seeding is the broadcasting of seed onto the frozen surface of the soil. Ideally, it is done at a time when there is either no snow or a minimal amount. The freezing and thawing cycle of the soil surface will allow for the seed to work into the top .25 inches of soil,” Hall explains. “Seeds will then germinate and begin growing as soon as weather conditions become favorable – allowing producers to gain a couple of weeks of growth versus waiting for the soil to firm up enough to drill the seed in.”

Hall says Frosty Berseem Clover is excellent for frost seeding into declining alfalfa fields and also blends nicely with alfalfa due to its similar quality and appearance.

Learn more.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, ASTA, cover crops, Hay

Agri-Pulse Launches Breeding Edge Editorial Series

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Agri-Pulse has launched a new seven-part editorial series, “The Breeding Edge,” focused on new scientific discoveries, genetic research, and systems for precision breeding for producing food, protecting the environment, and improving animal health.

“Animal and plant breeders are trying out a set of powerful new tools which have the potential to revolutionize agricultural practices and provide consumers with more healthy and safe food options,” says Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant. “But few people truly understand how these new innovations can help farmers and ranchers and ultimately improve human health. And that’s a big risk when you consider how some previous agricultural innovations have been accepted by consumers.”

“In addition to being more efficient and economical, newer breeding methods hold tremendous potential for both public and commercial plant breeders in developed and developing countries, and can be used across all crops, including food, feed, fiber and fuel crops,” explained Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). “To ensure the full potential of new and emerging breeding tools, it’s critical that we have a policy environment, both domestically and internationally, that allows for, and encourages, continued innovation.”

ASTA is one of the sponsors of the new series, together with Genus, Syngenta Seeds, National Pork Board, Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer, United Soybean Board, and the National Corn Growers Association. New innovations in agricultural technology will also be discussed at the Agri-Pulse Ag & Food Policy Summit, scheduled for March 21 in Washington, D.C.

Agri-Pulse, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, ASTA

NCBA Hosts ARC Internship

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The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) is entering year two of its internship program and the 2018 Intern will be hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), under the mentorship of Daren Williams, NCBA’s senior executive director, issues management and media relations, and past ARC president.

Students interested in a career in agricultural public relations are encouraged to apply for the valuable internship. The winning student will spend the summer in Denver, Colorado working on projects for the beef checkoff issues management and media relations team. The student will participate in daily issues monitoring and assist in responding on behalf of the beef industry, and will attend the 2018 Annual ARC Meeting June 20-21 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The internship is unique in ag communications in that it is a collaboration of the organization (ARC) and the host company. The ARC portion of the funding comes from a grant from Gardner & Gardner Communications to the ARC Foundation. The internship is worth a total of $5,000 — $4,000 stipend and $1,000 to be used to attend the ARC meeting and the intern will spend 80% of his/her time on host organization projects and 20% to support and attend the ARC annual meeting. The internship will be 10-12 weeks long.

Students interested in applying for the ARC Internship should fill out the 2018 ARC Intern Candidate Application and submit it to by Feb. 28, 2018.

AgWired Animal, ARC, Internship, NCBA

Cattlemen Kick Off Campaign to Prevent Regulation

jamie johansen Leave a Comment

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) kicked off a media campaign aimed at spotlighting and correcting a recent court decision that will require livestock producers to comply with laws that are only meant to apply to highly toxic Superfund sites.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted to provide for cleanup of the worst industrial chemical toxic waste dumps and spills, such as oil spills and chemical tank explosions. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was enacted to ensure that parties who emit hazardous chemicals submit reports to their local emergency responders to allow for more effective planning for chemical emergencies. Both of these laws include reporting requirements connected to the events at hand.

Neither of these laws was ever intended to govern agricultural operations, for whom emissions from livestock are a part of everyday life. To make this clear, in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to clarify that farms were exempt from CERCLA reporting and small farms, in particular, were exempt from EPCRA reporting, given that low-level livestock emissions are not the kind of “releases” that Congress intended to manage with these laws.

“This is just another example of radical environmental groups using the courts to wildly distort the original Congressional intent behind legislation,” said NCBA President and Nebraska cattleman Craig Uden. “Unless this ridiculous situation is fixed, agricultural producers will soon have their operations treated like toxic Superfund sites, and government agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard will be inundated with unnecessary questions and reports.”


Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Beef, environment, EPA, NCBA

Animal Ag Bites 1/15

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  • The American Angus Association announces the addition of Kathy LaScala as Angus Productions Inc. corporate sales manager. LaScala began her role Jan. 3 and will be overseeing industry sales operations to ensure profit maximization and realization of sales targets.
  • The Missouri Department of Agriculture is spearheading an initiative to get more beef in schools across the state, with support from local beef producers, meat processors, Opaa Food Management, and the Missouri Beef Industry Council. MoBeef for MoKids connects local schools with area producers and processors that donate beef products to be used in the school lunch program.
  • Two men who dedicated their lives to furthering the American wool industry have been chosen as 2018 recipients of the Wool Excellence Award. Mark Kent and Dr. Carl Menzies were selected for the annual honor by the Wool Roundtable and will be recognized at the 2018 ASI Annual Convention in San Antonio. Kent will be honored posthumously as he died unexpectedly at age 55 on Sept. 24, 2017. He became President of Kent Manufacturing Co. at age 29 and was the fifth generation in his family to lead Kentwool. Menzies served as director of research at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo from its opening in 1971 until his retirement in 1996.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Proud Part of the Cattle Community? Attend #CattleCon18

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There is no question cattlemen and women across the country are in need of some sunshine. I fit into that mix and know where we all can get some in just a few weeks. Let’s all Blaze a Trail to Phoenix, AZ for the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show January 31 – February 2. Beleive it or not, it’s not too late to register. We just spoke with NCBA’s ‎Senior Vice President, Industry and Member Services, Marvin Kokes, to get all the details.

Prior to the actual kickoff of the event will be the 25th Anniversary of Cattlemen’s College. “We have sessions that really help producers learn from experts across the industry. Topics include everything from genetics to managing calves to forage production. People can take home really practical information and that is what we really pride ourselves on,” said Kokes.

Attendees will also be treated to the Pioneer Women, Ree Drummond, who is the opening general session speaker. (Who do I need to talk to for a chance to interview her?…wink, wink)

“CattleFax will be doing a three-hour outlook session on Thursday morning, helping people really understand what is going on in this market, what are some of the things cattle producers can look forward to in the coming months,” Kokes said. Attendees will also hear from former MLB Pitcher, Jim Abbott, who will share his motivating story of success, despite having been born without a right hand.

To engage cattle producers, NCBA has held a couple of contests over the course of the year. One was the National Anthem Contest where a young lady from Western Kansas won. She will be singing it a couple times during the convention. A Cowboy Poet Contest ties into the Comedy Club taking place Friday night and I believe voting is still taking place for members to vote for their favorite.

Business also takes place. Committees meet on all topics including environmental issues, taxes, and the international market. Kokes reminds us those meetings are open and anyone can attend and stay up-to-date on the beef community.

Many aspects to the event draw different attendees, but they all make a point to visit the trade show a number of times during the three-day event. Kokes said space has actually been sold out for over six months, over seven acres in size. Still wondering if the trade show deserves your attention? Here are 40 reasons NCBA thinks you should stop by!

Join us in Phoenix as we bring you the official Virtual Ag Newsroom for #CattleCon18 and listen to Chuck’s complete chat with Marvin here: Interview with Marvin Kokes, NCBA

Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Animal Agriculture, Audio, Beef, Beef Board, Beef Checkoff, Cattle Industry Conference, NCBA, NCBA Convention

Public Lands Council Offers Solution to Cure Patagonia Shame

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The Public Lands Council launched a new campaign to support rural communities and raise awareness of critical facts in the national monuments debate.

The move responds to the profit-driven marketing efforts of multinational retail corporation Patagonia, which promoted false claims about national monuments in the wake of the recent decision to appropriately scale Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante. The PLC campaign features the distribution of iron-on clothing patches designed to cover the logo on Patagonia merchandise and cure “Patagonia Shame,” retail for $3.00 and can be purchased through the PLC website.

“Patagonia’s actions are a pure marketing play disguised as concern for western landscapes,” said Ethan Lane, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council. “Many Patagonia customers would be ashamed to learn the corporation prioritized its own profits over the wishes of local communities who were harmed by national monument designations.”

Patagonia’s public opposition to the national monument modifications – which included a pop-up banner on the corporate website titled “The President Stole Your Land” – led to an invitation for the founder to testify in front of the House Natural Resources Committee. Patagonia refused.

“Patagonia should do us all a favor and keep selling coats, not a political agenda,” added Lane. “Where were they for the last 150 years when ranchers were protecting these resources?”

Ag Group, Land, PLC, Video