News Update
March 28, 2011

Ag Secretary in Saint Louis to Highlight Strong Farm Trade,
Encourage Passage of Korean Trade Agreement

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke today, March 28, on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Louis about the importance of sustaining the record-breaking productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers. From the waterway that handles two-thirds of the nation’s grain traffic — much of it destined for export markets around the world — Vilsack encouraged an audience of agriculture leaders from Missouri to focus on trade opportunities outside of our borders, as 95% of consumers live in foreign countries.

Vilsack pointed to the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, which needs congressional ratification as a means of sustaining the growth of the U.S. ag sector. Strong trade will be a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and outcompete the rest of the world.

“Within 500 miles of Saint Louis, farmers are producing more than three-quarters of the nation’s corn and soybean crops, injecting $75 billion into the global economy and supporting 265,000 jobs for this region,” said Vilsack. “At the heart of the nation’s farm economy, Saint Louis and this region are pumping life into the national economy. Farm exports alone will support more than 1 million jobs in America this year. And every dollar in exports generates another $1.31 in economic activity. Congress can help U.S. farmers and ranchers sustain their record growth by passing smart trade deals like the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, which will increase exports and support job creation here at home.”

President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), a program intended to coordinate federal efforts to double U.S. exports by 2014 and create several million new jobs, is providing support to businesses big and small to reach more of the world’s consumers, said Vilsack. Some of the world’s most noteworthy agribusinesses call Saint Louis home, employing 20% of the workforce within a 500-mile radius of the city. On-farm employment represents just one-tenth of all agriculture-related employment, as opportunities in research, education, food processing, and trade are abundant in the area. At the same time, Missouri farm exports have doubled in value during the past five years, giving farm income and on-farm jobs a boost.

Vilsack pointed out that economic output is estimated to grow more under the U.S.-Korea agreement than from the United States’ last nine trade agreements combined. That type of growth would bring additional jobs to agriculture-focused areas like the ports and infrastructure along the Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, said Vilsack. USDA recently reported that grain barge traffic on the Mississippi near Saint Louis was up 126% compared to last year.

Vilsack discussed how the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, will add tens of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy, especially in major agriculture-producing states like Missouri. The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement would eliminate tariffs on a variety of American goods — including ag products like soybeans, feed grains and beef — while adding tens of thousands of jobs to our economy.

Exports of U.S. farm goods in fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011) are projected to surpass previous records by $20 billion. The agricultural trade balance — a balance of U.S. exports vs. foreign imports — is also projected to set a record surplus of $47.5 billion in 2011. In his remarks, Vilsack noted that every $1 billion in farm exports supports roughly 8,400 jobs in the United States.

— Release by USDA.

View the Latest Edition of ‘The Angus Report’

The March 25 edition of “The Angus Report,” available at, focuses on the devastation in Japan and its effect on U.S. beef; how breeders can get their latest expected progeny differences (EPDs), now updated weekly, to potential buyers before the sale; and how to get the most out of your genetic investments.

The American Angus Association’s online news program offers cattlemen opportunity to catch up on important industry issues while learning more about management tools and value-added marketing opportunities. The weekly web-based news program covers a variety of topics in a traditional television news format. Watch for reports posted each Friday.

— Release by American Angus Association.

Wyoming Agri-Women to Meet April 16

The growing need to be proactive about agriculture messages has led to the formation of Wyoming Agri-Women (WAW), a women’s organization passionate about advocating for agriculture. Affiliated with American Agri-Women, the purpose of the organization is to influence positive perceptions of agriculture.

“American Agri-Women is energetic, it has fresh ideas and it is very active in current agricultural issues,” WAW Founder Kari Bousman said. “This empowered me as a Wyoming woman to do the same for our local agricultural industry.”

Bousman was inspired to rally Wyoming women to spread truthful messages about agriculture due to an increase in misleading information about the industry.

“WAW provides an opportunity for women to address agriculture issues in a positive way through education, public relations and legislation. Together we will form a strong voice to build and strengthen alliances to influence positive perceptions of the industry,” she said.

WAW will hold its founding meeting April 16 at 1 p.m. in the Pinedale Library. The organization is open to all women who support agriculture, even those who’ve never set foot on a ranch or farm.

“Our future depends on agriculture and Wyoming Agri-Women will work with other groups and individuals to share true messages about food production,” Bousman said.

For those traveling, hotel rooms are available at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Pinedale. Call 307-367-8300 and mention American Agri-Women for a discounted rate.

Those not able to attend the founding meeting can join by contacting Bousman at 307-537-5222, 307-360-6150. Wyoming Agri-Women is also on Facebook.

— Release by Wyoming Agri-Women.

Russia Reopens to JBS Beef Plant in Grand Island, Neb.’s Tom Johnston reported today that Russia re-listed a number of U.S. beef, pork and poultry facilities — including JBS USA’s Grand Island, Neb., beef plant — as eligible exporters. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Friday the plant, after having undergone export verification for Russia by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), got the nod to ship product produced on or after March 23.

The updates for Russia are available on the FSIS website for beef, pork and poultry plants.

State Designates Two Potential High-Risk Areas in Northeast Lower Michigan

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) March 24 announced the establishment of a “Potential High Risk Area” around a Cheboygan County deer taken during the 2010 hunting season. The free-ranging white-tailed deer was recently confirmed to be bovine tuberculosis (TB) positive. As a result, any cattle, bison and cervid farms within a 10-mile radius around where the deer was harvested must complete testing for bovine TB in the next six months. The 10-mile circle falls within both Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties.

In addition, a second 10-mile circle includes six farms on the border between Iosco and Ogemaw counties. Those farms will also have to be tested because a free-ranging white-tailed deer was taken in Alcona County during the 2010 season and found to be bovine TB positive.

“This is a routine practice when a white-tailed deer is determined to be bovine TB positive and is not cause for concern,” said MDARD’s State Veterinarian Steven Halstead. “We want to confirm the disease has not spread to cattle in these areas, so we conduct surveillance testing.”

MDARD will be contacting producers to schedule whole-herd bovine TB tests when calving is over and before the animals go out on spring pasture.

“In 2010, we had three 10-mile radius surveillance circles. Surveillance testing is complete and we are pleased to announce the orders for a Potential High Risk Area designation in Cheboygan County and the two Special Surveillance Areas established in Emmet County have been lifted,” said Halstead.

Since the bovine TB eradication effort began, the state’s one million cattle have been tested for the disease. MDARD has submitted a request to move 57 counties in the Lower Peninsula to TB-Free Status and to shrink the Modified Accredited Zone to areas with the highest risk of bovine TB in cattle. To date, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has tested more than 188,000 free-ranging white-tailed deer, with 687 testing positive for bovine TB. Strategies adopted by the DNR to reduce bovine TB in free-ranging white-tailed deer have reduced the prevalence rate of the disease from the high in 1995 of 4.9% to 1.8% in Deer Management Unit 452 for 2010.

— Release by Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

— Compiled by Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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