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News Update

August 6, 2012

Congress Goes on August Recess Without Farm Bill

Members of Congress are returning to their districts and constituents for August recess without a clear path for passing a five-year farm bill before the current law expires Sept. 30.

The recess is scheduled to be five weeks, encompassing both major party conventions and allowing members to spend significant time in their districts prior to upcoming elections.

The Senate completed its farm bill work on June 21, and the House Agriculture Committee finalized its version of a 2012 farm and food policy proposal in the early hours of July 12.

House Leadership has declined to announce a timeline for taking up that bill, which is controversial even within the Republican caucus.

An attempt to push off the issue with a one-year extension of existing farm law was rebuffed this week in the House, leaving the full chamber having passed no legislation that could be formally conferenced with the Senate-passed bill.

It is widely expected farm bill negotiations will continue throughout the August recess.

Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course Aug. 6-8

A look at the future of the beef industry will be one of several featured topics at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course scheduled Aug. 6-8 in College Station.

The annual event, conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will take place at various locations on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station. The event usually attracts more than 1,300 cattle producers from throughout the state and nation.

"Our topics will fit right into what Texas beef producers are going through right now with changes in the industry and what to expect in the coming months," said Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension Service beef specialist and conference coordinator.

The following are program highlights:

For a complete schedule, click here. Additionally, blog updates will be posted throughout the event by clicking here and Twitter at #beefCSC12.

Nebraska Updated Information Order for Livestock Entering from States with Confirmed Cases of Vesicular Stomatitis

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture today updated an importation order that was originally put in place in May. The updated order adds Colorado to the list of states with confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS). The original order was for animals from New Mexico.

"Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska's livestock herd is of utmost importance," said State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes. "Producers should follow importation requirements and remain vigilant in looking for signs and symptoms of vesicular stomatitis in their own herds."

According to Hughes the disease resembles foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that is characterized by fever and the formation of vesicles (blisters) in the mouth, nostrils, hooves and teats. When blisters break, there is usually salivation, nasal discharge and anorexia. In three to four days, the animal will recover. The disease primarily affects horses, cattle, swine and occasionally sheep and goats.

Producers who are considering moving livestock from another state into Nebraska need to contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) state veterinarian's office to learn about specific import requirements. Staff can be reached by calling 402-471-2351. Import regulations and orders also can be reviewed online at It also is advised that producers moving livestock from Nebraska into another state contact the destination state to learn its latest import requirements.

Mexico Makes Largest U.S. Corn Purchase in Decades

Mexico raided the U.S. corn market by making the biggest one-day purchase in more than two decades last week, the first clear sign of global anxiety over the decimated U.S. crop. According to Reuters, Mexico, the second-largest importer of U.S. corn after Japan, bought 1.516 million tonnes, a move traders said could touch off a frenzy of buying by other countries that have been caught flat-footed by the worst U.S. drought in 56 years.

The deal comes at a time when global consumers are on high alert for a repeat of the 2008 buying spree that many blame for exacerbating the surge in food costs.

Mexico is particularly sensitive about corn. It is used there to make tortillas, a food staple, the price of which has already risen nearly 18% since January, according to Mexico's economy ministry. Riots broke out over surging tortilla prices in 2008.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Nevada County Approves $175 Million Meat Plant

Officials in Lyon County, Nev., voted to allow Walker River Meat Processing Inc. to build a $175 million meat processing plant in the town of Wabuska, Nev., according to a report by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The plant is expected to process as many as 3,500 sheep, cattle and hogs daily and employ 600 when fully operational, the newspaper reported.

Walker River Meat will operate three separate processing plants for each species, each built to USDA and European Union standards for domestic and international sales, according to the report.

The plans also include water treatment plants, a geothermal plant and a hydroponics facility.

Groundbreaking will begin in four to six months. Construction is expected to take 18 months, with hopes of an opening in late 2014, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Ranch Management University to Address Forage,
Livestock Management After Drought

Restocking after a drought can be a difficult call. Is the drought over? Is there enough forage to sustain cattle? What makes the most economic sense?

The answers to these and other questions will be discussed at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service's Ranch Management University scheduled Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at the G. Rollie White Visitor's Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

"Ranch Management University is an intensive four-day event that targets new or inexperienced ranchers and landowners. It covers the fundamentals of soils and soil fertility, forage establishment, pasture management and utilization by livestock," said Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist. "These are the key elements to surviving a drought and maintaining a ranch program."

Registration is $500 and attendance is limited to the first 50 people who enroll. To register online and to obtain additional information, please go to and enter "ranch management" as a keyword.

For the full release, click here.

Brazil's Ag Inspectors Threaten Strike, Could Halt Meat Exports

Inspectors for Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture will go on strike beginning Monday if their demands for salary increases, vocational school benefits and changes to how they're assigned jobs aren't met this week by the federal government.

Brazil's federal agricultural inspectors are responsible for monitoring the transit of ag-related products in ports, airports and across borders, along with the use of crop pesticides. There are currently 3,246 inspectors for all of Brazil, a woefully inadequate number, according to the inspectors' union, which has asked for the immediate hiring of 1,500 more inspectors, as well.

A strike could almost immediately halt the export of a wide variety of meat products that require inspector approval, said Francisco Victer, president of the National Meat Industries Union, or Uniec.

Without inspectors on hand to confirm meat shipments for their often mandated international health certificate, "exports of meat and offal will be immediately suspended," Victer said Wednesday, in a letter to Minister of Agriculture Mendes Ribeiro Filho. "Not exporting will generate a product surplus in cold storage, which will prevent new slaughter and fresh supply."

For the full statement, click here.

Tax Consequences to Drought

It's been a few years since we've had to deal with the drought-related tax laws, but with the recent drought conditions across the Midwest, it's a good time to review them.

A one-year deferral is available for all types of livestock (draft, dairy breeding and feeding) if you qualify for the following:

What's your "normal" business practice? If you "normally" sell your calf crop in January, but are forced to sell at weaning in 2012, you can elect to recognize the gain on your 2013 tax return. This is an election that must be filed with your 2012 tax return and a calculation to determine your "normal" sale amount based on a three-year average must be made.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Farmers with CRP, WRP Land Can List
on Hay & Straw Directory

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that farmers who have Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) lands available for harvesting can now be included in the Iowa hay and straw directory. The change is in response to the USDA announcement that both of these programs can now be used for haying and grazing in response to the drought conditions.

"The drought has severely impacted the amount of forage available, so it is good news that USDA has made CRP and WRP lands available for emergency haying and grazing. We hope the directory helps connect farmers that have CRP or WRP lands with those that have livestock and need the feed," Northey said. "It is important that any farmer interested in the emergency haying program should contact their local FSA or NRCS office before proceeding."

The authorization for haying and grazing of CRP and WRP became effective Aug. 2 and haying activities must be completed by Aug. 31. For more information on haying CRP land farmers can contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or visit FSA online at For information on haying WRP land farmers can contact their local USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office or click here.

For the full release, click here.


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