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News Update

September 28, 2011

More than $150 Million Goes up in Smoke This Year in Agriculture

Since January, Texas agriculture has seen more than $150 million in agricultural losses due to wildfire, and experts say those figures are expected to continue to roll upward like the smoke pillars that dot the blackened landscape.

Andy Vestal, Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialist and director for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Programs, said structures, equipment, livestock, fences, pasture and timber continue to be lost on a daily basis, as fires continue to break out during this prolonged drought.

David Anderson, AgriLife Extension economist for livestock and food products marketing, estimated the loss at $152.1 million in agricultural financial losses through Sept. 19.
The Riley Road fire that started in early September 2011 left tens of thousands of forested acres burned.

Anderson said damage to ranch and industry infrastructure represents the largest portion of fire losses. This infrastructure includes fences and agricultural buildings.

Almost 6,000 miles of fence are estimated to have been destroyed, he said. A recent survey by AgriLife Extension reported four- to six-wire fences with steel posts cost an average of $10,000 per mile to build.

Lost grazing for the year is the second largest non-timber financial loss category, Anderson reported, with almost 3 million acres burned through Sept. 19.

More than 1,500 cattle, horses, sheep and goats have been reported killed by this year’s fires, Vestal said. Livestock losses are estimated using market values. Livestock losses are likely underestimated due to later death loss from injuries incurred from the fires.

Another major contributor to the economic losses from the fires in East Texas — the Bearing, Dyer, Powerline, Bear Creek, Angelina and Riley Road fires — has been timber.

From Nov. 15, start of the current fire season, through Sept. 16, an estimated 2,151 wildfires have burned 207,763 acres in East Texas, according to the report. The estimated volume of timber lost is 175 million cubic feet (ft.) with a stumpage or uncut value of $97 million, Vestal said.

This volume could have produced $1.6 billion worth of forest products, which would have resulted in $3.4 billion in total economic activity in East Texas, he said.

Listed is detailed information on 2011 year-to-date agricultural losses due to major wildfires, 2,500 acres or greater in size, through Sept. 18. Additional assessment continues across the state.

- Agriculture structures, 198.
- Agriculture equipment, 21.
- Cattle, 1,133 head.
- Calves, 142 head.
- Sheep, 19 head.
- Horses, 20 head.
- Goats, 210 head.
- Fence from fires of 2,500 acres or greater, 5,965 miles.
- Pasture from fires 500 acres or greater, 2,953,510 acres.

Texas wildfire maps and additional home, family and landowner/producer educational resources are available on the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network website at under the “Hot Topics” tab.

2011-2012 Certified Livestock Manager Training Workshops

The 2011-2012 Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) Training Workshop dates have been set with the first workshop scheduled for Dec. 7 in Bloomington, Ill. Eleven additional CLM training workshops, sponsored by University of Illinois (U of I) Extension, have been scheduled throughout the state from January through early March. The Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act, passed in 1996, requires producers with more than 300 animal units in their operation to be certified in livestock manure management. Certification issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture is valid for three years and then must be renewed.

According to Dale Baird, U of I Extension specialist with the CLM program, the focus of the CLM training workshops is to share techniques and new research in manure management with Illinois livestock producers.

“Topics to be presented at this winter’s workshops include winter manure storage and management under adverse weather conditions, problems and solutions concerning feed storage runoff control and manure application in no-till systems,” said Baird. “Additional discussion topics will include manure pit storage foaming issues, carcass composting, nitrogen management of livestock manure and planning tools for manure management.”

All workshops will be presented by U of I Extension specialists, and Brad Beaver, manager of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) Livestock Facilities Program, will discuss regulations and rules in the Livestock Management Facilities Act. The IDOA Certified Livestock Manager exam will be offered at the conclusion of the training program.

Workshop preregistration is strongly encouraged, as seating may be limited. To register or purchase a CLM Training Manual or CD, call 1-800-345-6087. Registration and manual prices are listed below and producers can register via credit card. If producers have a 2003 CLM manual or newer, they will not need to purchase a new manual. The IDOA certification exam is based on the CLM manual.

CLM Training Workshop Registration: $30 per person; same farm registration $30 for the first person and $20 for each additional individual if registered at the same time.

- CLM Manual Only: $55 plus $7.50 postage and handling, limited quantities available.

- CLM CD Only: $25 plus $7.50 postage and handling

- CLM Manual and CD: $80 plus $7.50 postage and handling

- Workshop Walk-Ins: $45 per person

The complete 2011-2012 CLM Training Workshops brochure is available at For additional information contact Dale Baird, extension specialist, Certified Livestock Training Program at or call 815-978-2844.

Workshop dates and locations are as follows:

- Dec. 7, 2011, in Bloomington, Ill.

- Jan. 11, 2012, in Simpson, Ill.

- Jan. 26, 2012, in Quincy, Ill.

- Feb. 8, 2012, in Breese, Ill.

- Feb. 9, 2012, in Effingham, Ill.

- Feb. 20, 2012, in Sycamore, Ill.

- Feb. 22, 2012, in Freeport, Ill.

- March 7, 2012, in Springfield, Ill.

Please refer to the Angus Productions Inc. (API) Virtual Library Calendar of Events ( for specific workshop times and contents.

Tyson Recalls Ground Beef From Emporia, Kan., Plant

Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., an Emporia, Kan., establishment, is recalling approximately 131,300 pounds (lb.) of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The following products are subject to recall:

- 5-lb. chubs of Kroger-brand “Ground Beef 73% Lean - 27% Fat,” packed in 40-lb. cases containing eight chubs. Cases bear an identifying product code of “D-0211 QW.” These products were produced on Aug. 23, 2011, and were shipped to distribution centers in Indiana and Tennessee for retail sale.

- 3-lb. chubs of Butcher’s Brand “Ground Beef 73% Lean - 27% Fat,” packed in 36-lb. cases each containing 12 chubs. Cases bear an identifying product code of “D-0211 LWIF.” These products were produced on Aug. 23, 2011, and were shipped to distribution centers in North Carolina and South Carolina for retail sale.

- 3-lb. chubs of a generic label “Ground Beef 73% Lean - 27% Fat,” packed in 36-lb. cases each containing 12 chubs. Cases bear an identifying product code of “D-0211 LWI.” These products were produced on Aug. 23, 2011, and were shipped to distribution centers in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin for retail sale.

The products subject to recall have a Best Before Or Freeze By” date of Sept. 12, 2011, and the establishment number “245D” ink jetted along the package seam. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ website at

Ranchers Who Lost Fences in Wildfires Should Apply for Assistance Before Rebuilding

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is reminding ranchers whose fences were lost or damaged in the wildfires to apply for the USDA Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

Although some ranchers may have already started rebuilding, those who haven’t should apply immediately, before any rebuilding begins — or risk forfeiting program eligibility. USDA Texas FSA Acting Executive Director James Douglass says that producers should still submit an application at their local FSA office even though there is a current backlog of ECP funds. FSA district directors can waive the start date for beginning reconstructive work on a case-by-case basis, allowing producers to start repairing fences before funds are secured without jeopardizing program eligibility.

Conservation problems that existed before the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance. ECP program participants can receive financial assistance for up to 75% of the cost to implement approved emergency conservation practices.

To find out if your county is accepting ECP applications or to request a start date waiver, contact your local FSA office.


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