Animal Ag Bites 9/3

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  • Amy Kyllo, a 19-year-old college student from Byron, Minn. representing Olmsted County, was crowned the 66th Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Aug. 21.
  • A team of food science students from Utah State University won the 2019 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product competition Aug. 10. They not only earned some serious bragging rights, but $10,000, too, at IMPA’s annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, for their grand-prize-winning new product idea — Moogets, a delectable meatless chicken nugget substitute made with breaded, deep-fried paneer cheese. Supported by Dairy West and judged by leading dairy farmers and industry experts, the annual contest challenges universities with strong nutrition and food science programs to create the most promising new food product containing at least 50 percent dairy ingredients.
  • The global outbreak of African swine fever, a disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks, is growing, with new cases appearing throughout Southeast Asia and China. While there are no reported cases in the U.S., a grant recently awarded to the Swine Health Information Center, with active support from the National Pork Producers Council, aims to start a dialogue between the two regions, sharing veterinary knowledge and ways to prevent the disease from further spreading.
  • Since the installation of its first system in 2002 at Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic in Kent, U.K., the mission of Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging has been to improve the safety, accuracy and availability of MRI diagnostics for the care of recreational and performance horses around the world. Almost two decades later, the world’s first manufacturer of MRI for the standing, sedated horse has installed its 100th system, with more than 100,000 horses scanned at private practices, universities, racetracks and research centers around the world.
  • Industry safety professionals recently gathered in Destin, Florida, to discuss best practices and challenges facing those involved in poultry production and processing. The National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry, held Aug. 12-14, meets on an annual basis and is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the Agriculture Technology Research Program at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston issued the following statement regarding U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s call for an investigation into cattle markets following the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas. “Today’s announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas. We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in this investigation. We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women.”
  • The American Dairy Coalition sent a letter to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler requesting he submit a flawed and damaging 2013 EPA nitrate report to attain the science review it never received. The ADC is concerned for the farmers that have already been severely affected by this so called scientific research study report and believes EPA must stop a dangerous precedence from being set which could impact other farmers throughout the U.S. Director Wheeler was also urged to remove the study from further enforcement action and litigation pending the review.

ZimmCast 624 – #FPS19

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It was a busy Farm Progress Show this year with great weather and lots to talk about. Happy to have a long weekend to recover from our labor!

In this edition of the ZimmCast, you will hear from some of the many voices at #FPS19, including Show Manager Matt Jungmann, BASF External Communications Manager Casey Allen, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, President Donald J. Trump, National Corn Growers Association 1st VP Kevin Ross, and National Hemp Association executive director Erica Stark.

Links to lots more content can be found on the 2019 Farm Progress Show virtual newsroom. Special thanks to Syngenta, GROWMARK, and Bayer for their support in helping us bring you the sights and sounds of #FPS19.

Listen to the ZimmCast here:
ZimmCast 624 – #FPS19

2019 Farm Progress Show photo album

Subscribe to the ZimmCast by clicking here.

USDA Secretary Addresses Ag Issues at #FPS19

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spent a full day at Farm Progress Show in just a few hours. After listening to farmers’ concerns during an Ag Policy Forum across the street, the secretary drove a tractor in the ride and drive, took a call from President Trump during a live show on stage with Max Armstrong, and then answered questions from a few dozen reporters gathered in the BASF Media Tent.

Listen to the press conference with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue here: FPS19 USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Press Conference

2019 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Secretary Perdue at Illinois Ag Policy Forum

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told those gathered at an ag policy forum during the 2019 Farm Progress Show that he expects President Trump to announce small refinery waiver mitigation efforts soon. Perdue declined to provide further details about the coming announcement.

Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation including Rep. Rodney Davis, Rep. John Shimkus, Rep. Mike Bost and Rep. Darin LaHood hosted the forum, where they and Secretary Perdue answered questions from farmers and agribusiness leaders on trade and tariffs, biosecurity, renewable fuels and hemp production among other topics.

Listen to the entire Ag Policy Forum here: FPS19 Ag Policy Forum

2019 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

#FPS19 Day Two Underway

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Day two of the 2019 Farm Progress Show is underway with plenty of sunshine and a full line up of events, including a visit from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Show Manager Matt Jungmann said late planting for many farmers this year means they are not yet in the field and as a result the crowds are turning out for the event.

“It appears that the optimism of the American farmer means that we’re going to have a great year in 2020 and we’re going to make plans, so we’re going to go to the Farm Progress Show, start the planning process, take step one to put 2019 behind us, and go to work,” said Jungmann, who is National Events Director for Farm Progress.

Jungmann said visitors to the show are enjoying perfect weather after rains came through during set up for the event. New exhibits this year include an area focused on hemp production and the demonstration of a mock pipeline strike with a tiling machine.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Matt here: Interview with Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress

2019 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Bayer Commits Funding to 4-H and FFA

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At the 2019 Farm Progress Show, Bayer announced a $6 million gift over the next five years to support 4-H and FFA youth programs.

“It’s no secret that U.S. agriculture is facing a lot of challenges right now, but there is no better time to invest in the future than now,” said Lisa Safarian, Head of Crop Science, North America. “A landscape of completely new opportunities are developing right now in agriculture, and its youth is going to guide this landscape. Tomorrow’s farmers and leaders are going to be instrumental in advancements in digital technologies and data science that will unlock greater value and enable farmers to continue their efforts to sustainably produce food to feed the world.”

Safarian said these groups cultivate the desire and knowledge to advance agriculture through hands-on activities that strengthen STEM skills, engage with communities and develop strong leadership skills.

“Having this kind of a long-term partnership really does give us the chance at 4-H to plan, and to look ahead as we invest in the future of the agriculture and science workforce of our country to help build our economy,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “We know that our youth are going to play a critical role in the future of agriculture innovation, and 4-H is uniquely prepared to respond to these needs, not only because of our roots in agriculture, but because of our reach and the diversity of the young people we serve today.”

Echoing the thanks to Bayer for this investment in young people was Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization.

“We recognize that in order for us to grow the 8,600 FFA chapters around the country, we have to continue to invest in teachers – both recruitment of teachers as well as retention of those teachers that are already in the classroom. These funds help us do that,” said Poeschl. “We also believe we have to be the voice of agriculture. We have to teach our young people how to be advocates for agriculture. So advocacy and ag literacy – a second pillar of FFA’s strategic plan – will also be a critical part of the investment that we continue to make in our members around the country.”

Listen to the entire news conference here: Bayer Commits to 4-H and FFA News Conference

2019 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Rep. Davis Visits Farm Progress Show

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Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) spent time Tuesday in his own 13th District, visiting the Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Davis said the event is a great place to see farmers and agricultural companies alike, and recognized a level of displeasure in the agriculture industry when it comes to trade. He said a vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is critical and would help farmers to get what they’re looking for, and that’s a market for their products.

“It’s crucial for Illinois because 40 percent of our Illinois ag products are exported to Canada and Mexico, and it has given China leverage to walk away from the table,” said Davis. “It could be the lynchpin. It gives America leverage over countries like China who have been trading unfairly, and it gives us a starting point to be able to get a deal on the floor of the House. I think it opens the floodgates.”

Davis also realizes the ethanol industry is unhappy with recent refinery waivers and said those need to be limited to small refiners in the future.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Rep. Davis here: Interview with Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL 13th District

2019 Farm Progress Show photo album

Animal Ag Bites 8/26

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  • Seven food writers recently participated in a food and farm excursion to see first-hand how veal calves are raised. The North American Meat Institute, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, hosted the tour which included visiting multiple veal farms in Pennsylvania and Indiana. The writers visited with farmers, animal nutritionists, veterinarians, feed representatives and chefs to learn more about the transformation that has occurred in how veal is raised today.
  • A new book, “What Would Jesus Really Eat? The Biblical Case for Eating Meat,” is now available to help arm farmers, ranchers and others in the animal agriculture industry with the information they need to have informed conversations about the complex subject of religion and eating meat. Copies of the book can be purchased exclusively from the Animal Agriculture Alliance at a discounted rate for a limited time. Additional discounts are available for bulk orders. Click here to order your copy today.
  • September 28 and 29, alpaca business owners throughout North America will celebrate the 12th annual National Alpaca Farm Days. Alpaca Owners Association, Inc. invites you to visit participating member farms and ranches during this fun-filled family event. For a complete list of participating farms and ranches, visit
  • University of Florida scientists believe they can develop new antimicrobials that will benefit dairy cattle and, eventually, humans by treating bacteria that normally resist antiobiotics. KC Jeong, an associate professor of animal sciences at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, plans to use a nearly $460,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to make cattle bacteria less resistant to antibiotics; therefore, more treatable. Humans also may benefit from Jeong’s research because many bacteria in our bodies also resist antibiotic treatments.
  • On July 12-13, 2019, the 8th International Poultry Forum China was held at Hilton Hotel Yantai, Shandong, China. More than 400 industry professionals, entrepreneurs and executives attended the forum representing all areas of the poultry meat and egg industry chain. The International Poultry Forum China was organized by Poultry International China and LyJa Media, in cooperation with WATT Global Media and supported by World’s Poultry Science Association, National Poultry Industry Branch CAAA and Shandong Poultry Industry Association.
  • Marek’s disease—a highly contagious viral disease caused by a herpesvirus—is a constant threat to poultry worldwide. To help improve the control of Marek’s disease, veterinary medical officer John Dunn and his team at the Agricultural Research Service Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, Michigan, analyzed Marek’s disease genomes to find out which genes are mostly associated with virulence. The study was published recently in the Journal of General Virology.

US and Japan Shake on Trade Deal

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During the G-7 summit in France Sunday, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shook hands on a deal “in principle” that involves agricultural products.

“(We) have excess corn in various parts of our country, with our farmers, because China did not do what they said they were going to do,” said President Trump. “And Prime Minister Abe, on behalf of Japan, they’re going to be buying all of that corn. And that’s a very big transaction. They’re going to be buying it from our farmers.”

Prime Minister Abe said there is a demand for some agricultural products right now in Japan because they are experiencing some insect pest issues. “And there is a need for us to buy certain amount of agricultural products. And this will be done by the Japanese private sector. That means that Japanese corporations will need to buy additional agricultural products.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the deal “will be a major benefit for beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, ethanol, and a variety of other products.”

Listen to remarks by Pres. Trump, PM Abe (translated), and USTR Lighthizer.

US-Japan trade deal announcement

GROWMARK Foundation to Provide FFA Jackets

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After the unexpected passing of GROWMARK vice president and long-time employee Mike Builta in April 2019, the GROWMARK Foundation is helping his family to honor his memory by providing FFA jackets to FFA members in Illinois.

“In the weeks and the days after his passing, his wife approached us and asked if the GROWMARK Foundation could become a place to funnel memorial funds through, and also to come up with some ideas of appropriate ways to honor his memory,” said Karen Jones, GROWMARK Youth and Young Producer Specialist.

More than $12,000 was collected in Builta’s memory. Part of that money will go towards providing 25 Illinois FFA members with FFA jackets for the next four years, for a total of 100 jackets. Interested students will fill out an online application including two short answer questions about what the FFA jacket means to them, and the main goal they wish to accomplish as an FFA member.

The application is available at and is due September 30.

Builta was raised on a family farm near Bellflower, Illinois. He was an active FFA member and lifelong supporter of agricultural education. He held GROWMARK System management roles at Christian County Farmers Supply Company in Taylorville, Illinois and GRAINCO FS in Ottawa, Illinois, before becoming GROWMARK vice president of Energy and Logistics in 2018.

Listen to Carrie’s interview with Karen here: Interview with Karen Jones, GROWMARK