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News Update

June 28, 2012

Federal Partners Continue to Support State and Local Partners as They Fight Wildfires

As the federal family continues to aggressively respond to the wildfires in the Western states, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Department of the Interior (DOI), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today, June 28, announced additional resources have been deployed to support state and local partners. In light of the severity of current fire activity, the National Interagency Fire Center has raised the national preparedness level to level 4, on a scale of 1-5. Preparedness Level 4 (PL 4) triggers increased planning for additional resources and greater oversight of resource allocations in order to achieve the most effective deployment. PL 4 calls for additional restrictions on the practice of prescribed fire application or managing fires for multiple objectives to ensure resources are being deployed to the highest priorities.

Seventeen air tankers have cycled in and out of firefighting action during the last 48 hours across the western states, and more than 8,400 personnel, 578 fire engines and 79 helicopters are operating on wildfires around the United States. Approximately half of active federal wildfire-fighting resources are currently staged in Colorado. More than 760 federal, state and local firefighters and six helicopters are fighting the aggressive Waldo Canyon fire today in the hillsides west of Colorado Springs. Additionally, a total of nine large air tankers, including four military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, are currently in Colorado working on the Waldo Canyon and other fires, in support of local officials leading the fight against the wildfire.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Poll: Farmers Value Conservation Programs, Reject Cutting Farm Bill Conservation Funding

American farmers believe conservation programs and environmental stewardship are key components of the Farm Bill and critical to their bottom line, according to a poll released today by National Farmers Union (NFU).

The bipartisan poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (a Democratic polling firm) and Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican polling firm), surveyed 502 American farmers across 13 Midwestern and Great Plains states on their views regarding Farm Bill conservation programs. The results show that farmers view conservation programs and environmental stewardship as key components to the Farm Bill and critical to their future and bottom line.

"The findings of this survey demonstrate the deep commitment to conservation that farmers have across the heartland," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "As Congress moves forward crafting the Farm Bill, we would emphasize the importance conservation programs play for farmers both for environmental stewardship and continued productivity."
Last week the Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill. The House is expected to begin markup on their bill in the second week of July.

The survey was conducted in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

For the full release click here.

Producers Must Watch Cattle Closely as High Heat Predicted

The heat situation for cattle will be in the 'danger' and 'emergency' areas for three days this week, according to the USDA's Meat Animal Research Center (MARC). The estimates of heat stress are based on four specific weather factors: temperature, wind speed, humidity and solar radiation.

"It's clear that we will have temperatures near 100° F on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," says Matt Deppe, the CEO for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "This will clearly put all cattle at risk. Compared to other animals, cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool down. Wind and cool nights can help, but when temperatures are this high, producers must also consider other ways to keep their livestock comfortable," he said.

For more information and the full release, click here.

DATCP Clarifies Licensing Requirements for Animal Dealers

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced a clarification concerning license requirements for commissioned animal dealers working as agents on behalf of slaughter facilities or other businesses.

State Veterinarian Bob Ehlenfeldt says DATCP has been in discussions with the industry as to whether or not a commission buyer needs a license as a dealer to engage in the business of buying animals for slaughter as an agent of a different business. He says a closer review of the definition of an animal dealer put forth in statute indicates that the term animal dealer refers to a 'person who, as principal or agent, engages in the business of buying for resale or for slaughter, selling or exchanging livestock or wild animals.'

For more information and the full release, click here.

Kurns Named Editorial Content Director

Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, announced that David Kurns has been named editorial content director of the Successful Farming brand, effective Aug. 1. He will replace Loren Kruse, who is retiring after 36 years with Meredith.

"Dave brings impeccable journalism credentials and expansive experience in creating content across multiple platforms," said Successful Farming Group Publisher Scott Mortimer. "This is extremely important because today's farmers have led the charge in the adoption of digital, mobile and new media technologies. The need for engaging information will grow even more in importance given the increasingly complex business decisions farmers face today."

For more information and the full release, click here.

French River Cattle Co. Bids $9,000 to Purchase the American Angus Auxiliary Heifer

Support of Angus youth is a main priority of the American Angus Auxiliary, and thanks to French River Cattle Co. of Ontario, Canada, the purchaser of the 2012 American Angus Auxiliary Heifer, that support of youth scholarships and awards continues. The heifer was purchased for $9,000 at the All-American Angus Breeders' Futurity in Louisville, Ky., June 17. Tom McGinnis of Heritage Farm, Shelbyville, Ky., was the contending bidder.

In addition to providing for many Angus youth through her auction proceeds, the elite female, GAR Progress M381, donated by Gardiner Angus Ranch of Ashland, Kan., also will serve as a start for a young girl's very own Angus herd. The heifer will be transferred to 11-year-old Selena Stronach and her farm, Daisy Springs, also in Ontario. Selena's father, Andy Stronach, and George McGaffin own French River Cattle Co.

For the full release, click here.

Hot, Dry Weather Continues as Corn Begins Pollination

With much of the state's corn crop either beginning to or preparing to enter pollination, the weather continues to be hot and dry.

According to the June 25 Kentucky Weekly Crop and Weather Report, 29% of the state's corn crop has entered the silking stage and 50% has reached tasseling.

"While a single corn plant produces more pollen than the plant ever needs, the pollen is sensitive to hot, dry weather," said Chad Lee, extension grain crops specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "Silks also need good moist conditions to capture and transport pollen to fertilize the plant's ovules."

Fortunately, corn plants drop the majority of their pollen during the early mornings and late evenings when temperatures are not at their midday highs. However, midday temperatures in the 90s and above could cause pollination problems.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Experts: Texas Cattle Deaths Due to Prussic Acid
'isolated incident'

Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts said Tuesday the deaths of 15 cattle in Bastrop County recently were likely an isolated event and that no further problems are anticipated.

"There's a lot of information and misinformation that continues to circulate about this recent isolated case of cattle dying after consuming a Bermuda grass hybrid known as Tifton 85," said Ron Gill, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist. "It should be known that there is not a widespread problem or concern related to this forage or its use for grazing livestock or the production of hay for livestock consumption."

The single incident occurred when 15 cattle died with clinical signs and preliminary diagnostic results consistent with prussic acid poisoning, said Tom Hairgrove, AgriLife Extension animal health specialist. The cattle were in a pure field of Tifton 85 Bermuda grass.

For more information and the full release, click here.

NFU Commends Court for Upholding ACA

The National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement today in support of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

"Farmers, ranchers and rural residents face significant barriers to obtaining accessible, affordable health care. The ACA contains significant, necessary reforms that help all Americans, including those who are self-employed and purchasing expensive care from the individual market, afford insurance and the preventive care they need; provides resources to rural health care providers and incentives to physicians serving in rural areas; bars health care companies from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions; and closes the Medicare prescription drug coverage 'donut hole.'"

USDA Ordered to Justify Claim that Satisfied Injunction Awarded to R-CALF USA & Others

The legal battle concerning opening the border to Canadian cattle has been reignited, according to Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA).

In 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota (the Court) granted R-CALF USA, consumer groups, other cattle groups and individual ranchers an injunction against USDA's final rule issued Sept. 18, 2007, that reopened the U.S. border to Canadian cattle older than 30 months of age and Canadian beef from cattle of any age.
The Court found that USDA had violated its own rulemaking process in issuing the 2007 final rule and remanded the rule to USDA. The Court ordered the agency to provide the public proper notice and comment period, to file quarterly progress reports with the Court, and to make any changes to the final rule the agency deemed necessary after reviewing public comments.

An R-CALF release stated that for nearly four years USDA drug its feet and though it initiated some of the Court's directives, it refused to fully comply with the injunction. In March 2012, USDA issued a new proposed rule that alters the 2007 final rule and proposes to open U.S. borders to imports from countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Entwined within USDA's new proposal was a section purporting to comply with the Court's injunction. In March USDA sent a notice to the Court stating it had fulfilled the Court's 2008 order. R-CALF USA replied to USDA's notice and objected to its claim.

R-CALF USA urged the Court to stay the lawsuit and continue requiring quarterly reports from USDA pending the agency's completion of its new rulemaking process and the completion of the agency's investigation into the cow in California recently detected to have an atypical strain of BSE.

On June 27, the Court, among other things, ordered USDA to state when the new rulemaking is expected to be final, and to justify its claim that it had fulfilled the Court's 2008 order.


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