Applications open for Certified Livestock Producer program

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Certified Livestock Producer Program.

Kimmi Devaney, ISDA livestock program manager says the program recognizes outstanding livestock producers for their farm management practices.  “That includes following environmental regulations to taking good care of our animals,” she says.  “It also means having a sound biosecurity plan and being a good neighbor to the community.”

The Certified Livestock Producer Program provides training and other resources to help Hoosier livestock producers.  “Most farmers do the right thing, take care of their animals, and follow environmental regulations,” she says.  “This just fine tunes everything a little more, especially as far as biosecurity.  Farmers also have to have an emergency plan.  With the emergency planning section they have it verified with their local fire department.”

Applications are due May 30.  Indiana livestock producers interested in participating in the program should contact ISDA Livestock Program Manager Kimmi Devaney at KDevaney@isda.in.gov.

To apply, please send applications to ISDA C/O Certified Livestock Producer Program, One North Capitol, Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

BOAH rolls out new online pre-permitting

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health is making permitting cattle and/or swine coming into Indiana easier with its new online pre-entry form.  Pre-entry permits and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection are required for all cattle and swine brought into the state of Indiana, even for exhibitions.

Information may now be submitted via BOAH’s website.  After the form is completed, the user will be issued on-screen instructions for nothing the import permit number.  That number must then appear on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

Animals moving directly to a slaughter facility or approved livestock market are exempt, as are animals passing through the state without off-loading.

A link to the website can be found HERE.

USDA fund to seek private funds for rural business

The USDA has begun a new $150 Million investment fund to grow small businesses in rural areas and create more jobs using public AND private funding.   Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) – involves pledges from eight Farm Credit institutions* and will be managed by Advantage Capital Partners, “The bottom line here is about a new way to do business for government where we facilitate and bridge and leverage as opposed to solely relying on government financing to do it all.”

Vilsack says the fund will allow investments and job growth in rural businesses such as advanced energy production, food systems, bio-manufacturing and more by engaging private equity firms.

AUDIO: Radio Iowa’s Kay Henderson with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack (3:00 mp3)

EPA proposals jeopardize affordable power supplies

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations for new coal-fired power plants that could put reliable and affordable electric supplies in jeopardy.

Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association says these proposals would essentially take coal-fired electricity generation out of the mix of options available to the electric grid.  “The EPA’s regulations would Number 1 – require the building of any new coal-fired power plants to utilize technology that doesn’t exist commercially today,” she says.  “In essence it says no more coal-fired power plants.”

That, is just EPA’s first proposal.  Emerson tells Brownfield they’re expecting another proposal in early June that would target coal-fired plants already in existence.  All of us will be subject to these new targets,” she says.  “It will be done on a state-by-state basis.  For coal-fired power plants that exist today, it could be that it is too expensive to retrofit them to meet the targets set for them by the EPA.  If that is the case, the utility may decide to close that power plant down.”

Which, could put added pressure on Rural America.  “The communities that we serve in Rural America are generally poorer,” she says.  “They are around 11 percent poorer than the national average.  We have a lot of senior citizens living on fixed incomes and we represent all of the persistent poverty counties in the United States.”

If the proposed regulations are allowed, she says it is expected electric bills could rise by around 20 percent to as much as 50 percent in areas (like Indiana and Missouri) that are more dependent coal-fired electricity.

USDA requires PEDv reporting

The USDA is now requiring the reporting of PEDv cases.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agency is taking the action to further enhance the biosecurity and health of the U.S. swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the U.S.

In addition to requiring reporting of the PED virus, USDA will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises.  However, Vilsack stressed that movements would still be allowed.

Vilsack also announced that USDA’s Farm Loan Programs is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans.  He says it will be similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota.

Link to PDF detailing USDA’s plan

Report discusses corn trade disruptions

Losses to the U.S. agricultural industry resulting from China’s rejection of corn shipments containing the MIR 162 trait could be as high as 2.9 billion dollars.

That’s according to a report released by the National Grain and Feed Association.  NGFA says the bulk of that loss is in an estimated 11-cent per bushel lower average price paid to farmers for their corn.  The estimate also includes losses to corn exporters and sellers of DDGs, as well as China’s rejection of several soybean shipments which it claims contained the banned corn variety.

In the U.S., the MIR 162 variety is marketed by Syngenta as Agrisure Viptera.  The report warns that more trade disruptions and economic losses are possible in the next marketing year due to the introduction of another Syngenta biotech variety into the supply chain.  That product, called Agrisure Duracade, is being planted in the U.S. for the first time this spring.

Viptera and Duracade have both been approved for use in the U.S., but have not received Chinese approval.

Texan to be inducted in to Saddle & Sirloin Gallery

The Saddle and Sirloin Portrait Gallery inductee for 2014 has been named.

Minnie Lou Bradley of Childress County Texas will enter the livestock industry’s hall of fame in November during the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Kentucky.

Minnie Lou’s career began in 1949 when she became the first woman to major in Animal Husbandry at Oklahoma A&M. She became the first woman to win the High Individual Overall award at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest and in 2005 Minnie Lou served as the first female President of the American Angus Association.

Started by Minnie Lou and her husband Bill in 1955, the Bradley 3 Ranch was named Seedstock Producer of the Year Award by the Beef Improvement Federation in 2013.

Housed at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery collection includes more than 350 oil paintings, dating back to the turn of the last century.

 

Farmland reaction surprises filmmaker

Director James Moll says he’s pleasantly surprised by the public reaction so far to the film Farmland. Moll talked about the Atlanta premier of the feature-length documentary that follows the lives of young farmers and ranchers.

“We had a Q&A afterward; everybody stayed for it and they asked a lot of questions and they wanted to know more about each one of the farmers,” said Moll, during a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. “And for me, that’s a good sign; that means that I did my job and I was able to introduce people to farmers in a way that they haven’t been introduced to in the past.”

Just before Farmland was screened at New York’s TriBeCa Film Festival, Georgia poultry producer Leighton Cooley told reporters he welcomed the opportunity to be part of the movie because, he says, the movie tells the famers’ story “in a way that had never been done before.”

“We can tell our story, but the opportunity to show our story, to actually allow people to see firsthand each of our farms to people, basically that wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to do that was just a neat project,” he said.

Farmland was made with support from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance using extensive footage and interviews with a half dozen farmers from all over the U.S. It was released this spring and the film’s website lists 105 venues nationally in which it’s scheduled to be shown.

The documentary grew into much more than Cooley said he envisioned in the beginning. “After seeing the film and the way that James just captured the farms, and the farmers, and the personalities, and our lives, and the way that we interact, and do, and think, and work,” said Cooley. “I love the way that Farmland tells the story of American agriculture through our eyes and through our hearts.”

AUDIO: Farmland film conference call (35 min. MP3)

Senators question methane reduction plan

A group of U.S. Senators is questioning the Obama Administration’s plan to reduce methane emissions from cattle.

They say the methane reduction strategy released in March could cost medium-sized dairy farms upwards of 22-thousand dollars a year.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is among those expressing concern.

“Iowans I talk to remain very skeptical about the concept of regulating greenhouse gases, until it is done through global treaty,” Grassley says, “and it’s especially difficult to do this on farms.”

The administration maintains that agriculture’s role in methane reduction will be voluntary, but Grassley isn’t convinced.

“It’s hard to forget, only a couple years ago, this administration was trying to push cap-and-trade through Congress.  It seems only right to be suspicious about the administration’s intentions.”

The administration’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from agriculture by 25 percent by 2020.

AUDIO: Chuck Grassley (1:37 MP3)

Officials promote disaster assistance

Top USDA officials have been crisscrossing the country this week promoting the start of sign-up for USDA’s livestock disaster assistance programs.

During a stop at a cow-calf operation near Waverly, Nebraska, deputy secretary of agriculture Krysta Harden said the programs will help livestock producers who have suffered losses due to natural disasters.

“It’s not going to make anybody whole, obviously,” Harden said, “but this will help producers stay on their ranch—stay on their farm—by helping them cover some of the costs that they incurred due to these terrific losses.”

AUDIO: Krysta Harden-questions from media (6:02 MP3)

Nebraska FSA state director Dan Steinkruger says the programs will reimburse eligible producers for a percentage of their losses.

“The livestock forage program is designed to provide 60 percent of the cost of feeding during the grazing period,” Steinkruger says. “The livestock indemnity program is designed to provide 75 percent of the value for that animal that was lost due to a natural disaster.”

AUDIO: Dan Steinkruger (2:52 MP3)

Cattle producer Tom Peterson of Waverly tells Brownfield he intends to sign up for the livestock forage program for losses related to the drought of 2012.

“We’ll make an application and see what comes,” Peterson says. “If I understand it correctly, there will be some determination on acres of grass you had.  Quantifying things is a little tough as far as to quantify what your loss was of grass.  But you know we ran short—everybody did.”

AUDIO: Tom Peterson (2:02 MP3)

To be eligible for assistance, losses must have occurred on or after October 1, 2011.