R-CALF sues Vilsack over state beef council promotions

The cattlemen’s group R-CALF USA filed suit Monday against U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to stop what the group says is checkoff promotion of beef whether it’s U.S.-produced or imported.  R-CALF is going after the half of the $1-per-head checkoff spent by state beef councils in the states where the money’s collected.  R-CALF CEO Bill… Read more »

Nebraska ag director supports proposed chicken plant

Nebraska director of agriculture Greg Ibach supports Costco’s plan to build a chicken processing facility in eastern Nebraska. Ibach says the plant will allow Nebraska to diversify its livestock industry. “We’re used to being a national leader in beef and pork—and now we’re going to be able to grow in the poultry industry,” Ibach says…. Read more »

Indiana receives avian influenza-free status

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has lifted the final quarantine associated with the January outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Dubois County.  After logging 90 consecutive days with no new cases of the disease, the state is now declared avian influenza-free. USDA defines when a state can be declared virus-free, which is… Read more »

Ag industry says goodbye to Dr. Ritchie

A man many in the cattle industry say transformed beef production has died. Dr. Harlan Ritchie spent almost 50 years at Michigan State University.  During his time as the coordinator of the Michigan Purebred Beef unit and as a livestock judge in the 1960s, Ritchie saw the need for leaner, larger beef animals.  As his… Read more »

Pilgrim’s Pride wants to lead organic production

Pilgrim’s Pride company officials say they are expanding into the organic chicken market with the aim of leading that market.  The Colorado-based and Brazilian owned processor says it plans to convert one of its plants into a USDA certified organic facility. The announcement follows the company’s plans to grow is antibiotic-free business with the goal… Read more »

AgriLabs enters vaccine manufacturing business

AgriLabs, the largest U.S. animal health marketing and distribution business, is entering the vaccine manufacturing business with a new USDA-licensed facility in Lincoln, Nebraska. AgriLabs’ CEO Steve Schram says the swine market will be the first target for the new facilities. “That’s where our focus is initially, is to develop some vaccines that are needed… Read more »

RMA says crop insurance system strong

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Despite threats on Capitol Hill to cut crop insurance – USDA’s Risk Management Agency says the system will most likely remain strong. Tim Gannon, the RMA’s associate administrator, says the 2014 Farm Bill established expanded crop insurance products and coverage levels. And, Gannon says, with crop insurance, producers themselves are invested, “Congress has kind of… Read more »

NRCS reports huge results from conservation programs

The Natural Resources Conservation Service says investments in conservation systems by farmers and ranchers is making a difference for wildlife. NRCS Chief Jason Weller told farm broadcasters Tuesday the past 18 months has been historic for the country’s wildlife.  “We’re starting to see huge changes in the landscape in terms of wildlife populations, in particularly for… Read more »

Request for early port labor talks ‘encouraging’

The president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Phil Seng, says he’s encouraged by news that West Coast port operators want to begin early negotiations on a contract extension with the longshoremen’s union. “I’m encouraged by the fact that they want to start talking now—and I think this is something that we need… Read more »

Texas farmers assess flood damage

Farmers in north, central and southeast Texas are assessing varying degrees of damage from heavy rain a week ago.  Extension Agent Corrie Bowen in Wharton County southwest of Houston says neither the San Bernard River nor the Colorado River could handle all of the rain that fell. “Nine, twelve, fifteen inches; that all came south… Read more »