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News Update

September 4, 2012

Out-of-state Hay May Harbor Red Imported Fire Ants

If you buy hay from some parts of the southern United States, you might get stung — not just once but many times — by red imported fire ants.

An Ozark County farmer recently learned that lesson the hard way while unloading hay he'd bought from a farmer in Florida. Unlike most ants, which usually flee when disturbed, these bugs went on the attack.

Drought has left many Missouri cattle producers short on feed and forage, prompting some to buy hay from out of state, including from sellers in Florida and other southern states that are home to burgeoning populations of red imported fire ants.

An aggressive, stinging insect native to South America, the red imported fire ant (RIFA) is a significant pest throughout much of the southern United States, infesting several hundred million acres in more than a dozen states, according to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The ants can spread to new locations as stowaways in bales of hay, nursery stock and other products that contain or have been in contact with soil, said Richard Houseman, University of Missouri Extension state entomologist.

Under USDA regulations, hay in areas with established RIFA populations must be inspected and certified before being shipped out of a quarantine zone.

But many hay buyers are unaware of the risk and do not realize that a seller may have skirted federal regulations, said Stacy Hambelton, MU Extension agriculture business specialist in Ozark County.

"I don't think this is an isolated case," he said. "There are literally hundreds of truckloads coming in with the possibility of fire ants."

"Farmers should consider purchasing hay from northern parts of the country where fire ants don't exist," Houseman said. If that's not possible, then make sure the hay has the required certificate from APHIS indicating that it has been inspected. As a further precaution, inspect the hay yourself upon arrival.

Beginning Farmer Grant to Support Women in Iowa, Nebraska

Aspiring and beginning women farmers in Iowa and Nebraska will get support and training during the next three years from Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) as they turn their farming dreams into reality.

WFAN is one of 40 organizations that received a 2012 USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant (BFRDG), announced last week by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

The grant of $401,802 will support beginning and aspiring women farmers in Iowa and Nebraska during the next three years by providing them with business planning assistance, networking them with other beginners, and providing them with mentoring relationships with established women farmers in the region.

The grant will also take the mentoring program one step farther, by providing mentor farmers with training in risk management and best practices in educating mentees.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Judge Rules Against PETA in Happy Cows Case

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently lost a lawsuit challenging a California dairy industry "happy cows" ad campaign.

The Monterey County Herald reports that PETA attempted to sue because they felt marketing claims made by the dairy industry violated state rules by misrepresenting the health and well-being of dairy cows.

However, a Sacramento Superior Court Judge found the California Milk Advisory Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) provided sufficient evidence to support their claim that dairy cows in the state are comfortable, safe and happy.

The judge's ruling relied heavily on testimony from CDFA officials, including veterinarians and other personnel in the Animal Health and Food Safety Services Division, as well as advisory board officials, many of whom are farmers.

Take Steps to Avoid Harvest Fire Hazards

While many areas of Nebraska received some rain the past couple of weeks, it wasn't enough to significantly reduce the extent of drought or fire hazard across the state. On Thursday, Aug. 30, the National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for almost all of Nebraska, indicating a high risk of fires. With an early harvest season just beginning, growers are encouraged to reduce their fire risk by cleaning and maintaining their equipment and being prepared in the event a fire does develop.

Identify and monitor potential hazards on the combine.

Clean debris from your combine before and at regular intervals during harvest.

Take precautionary measures and be prepared to respond if a fire does occur.

If a fire does occur, remember your personal safety is the most important thing. Don't put yourself or others in any unnecessary risk. Always call 911 as soon as you notice a fire, then try to put it out.

For the full release, click here.

Beltway Beef Audio News

Congress comes back to Washington, D.C., Sept. 10, for only eight days. What will they get done when it comes to the 2012 Farm Bill? NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall discusses the importance of having Congress move forward with the 2012 Farm Bill and also talks about disaster relief programs in the Sept. 4, 2012, edition of Beltway Beef Audio. Click here to listen.

Argentina Requests WTO Help on U.S. Meat Restrictions

Argentina has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) for consultations on the United States' restrictions on imports of Argentine meat products, the WTO said in a news release on its website. Argentina contends that the U.S. restrictions, applied on sanitary grounds, do not have scientific justification and violate WTO agreements between the two countries.

The move by Buenos Aires comes a week after the United States and Japan filed WTO complaints against Argentina, calling the country's import licensing rules protectionist and discriminatory against foreign goods.

'Embryos for Education' to Benefit the Angus Foundation

Phil Trowbridge of Trowbridge Angus, Ghent, N.Y., and his family, are believers in the future of the Angus breed through youth, education and research, and have used many avenues to support the Angus Foundation. The latest support effort, 'Embryos for Education,' allows other Angus breeders to join the Trowbridge family and give back to the Angus Foundation while taking part in the new Angus online auction,

Nineteen lots of embryos are listed on the online auction by Trowbridge Angus, and all proceeds from the sale of these embryos will benefit Angus youth scholarships and activities, educational programs for junior and adult Association members, and current and future research projects at universities across the country — all of which are funded by the Angus Foundation.

"On multiple occasions, Phil Trowbridge has taken the lead by making personal financial commitments to help foster the advancement of a newly implemented fundraising initiative, along with help secure the commitments necessary to bring a fundraising drive to successful completion," says Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation president. "This generous commitment of donating the sale proceeds from these embryos is another illustration of Phil and his family's unselfish ongoing commitment to giving back to the Angus breed that has meant so much to them and their family."

Trowbridge has also served the Angus Foundation as a former chairman of the Angus Foundation Board of Directors. Jenkins says his enthusiasm and advocacy of the Angus Foundation's value to the Angus breed and members across the country has been an inspiration to all in the Angus breed over the years.

"The Angus Foundation is in place to support the future of the Angus breed, and donating all of the proceeds from the sale of these embryos to the Foundation is just one way we can provide more opportunities to support Angus breeders and our youth," Trowbridge says. "My family and I believe in the future of Angus, which is why we invest in the Angus Foundation."

To place your bids on these embryos, go to and create an account. Make sure to place your bids before Sept. 25.

Beef Bash Offers Hands-on Learning

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association will host Beef Bash 2012, a unique field day for Kentucky beef cattle producers, Sept. 27 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

This is the third Beef Bash event, with 500 people and more than 30 commercial exhibitors attending previous successful offerings in 2008 and 2010.

"Beef Bash is a great resource for Kentucky cattle producers to learn the most current information about beef cattle," said Roy Burris, UK extension beef specialist. "Many of the educational opportunities will be hands-on, and producers will get a chance to network with each other and with others in the industry."

Demonstrations and educational exhibits will include beef cutting, animal composting, cattle age determination, pasture weed control, feeding after drought, genomics in selection and management, grazing wheat, MAG 60 marketing/pre-conditioning, managing around fescue endophyte, nutrigenomics research, reducing hay loss with feeding structures, simplified ration balancing and trailer safety. Participants may also go on a forages tour and learn about sampling, testing and feeding.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Nebraskans Indicted for Selling Non-inspected Meat to Schools

A federal grand jury in Nebraska has charged two people in a six-count indictment alleging they sold misbranded and/or non-inspected meat to the Omaha Public School system in 2011, Deborah Gilg, U.S. District Attorney for Nebraska, announced.

If convicted, Paul Rosberg, 61, and Kelly Rosberg, 44, each face three to five years and fines from $10,000 to $250,000 on each count. The Wasua, Neb., residents also would have requirements that any release be supervised and that they pay fees.

The first count charges the Rosbergs, who own Nebraska's Finest Meats, with intent to defraud. The second count charges the pair with selling some 2,600 pounds (lb.) of misbranded ground beef by labeling it as USDA-inspected when it was not.

The third count charges them with selling 2,600 lb. of ground beef that was not USDA-inspected. Count four alleges the Rosbergs represented that 2,600 lb. of ground beef had been inspected and passed by the USDA, when, in fact, the ground beef had not been inspected.

Counts five and six charges Paul Rosberg and Kelly Rosberg, respectively, with submitting a false statement to USDA's Food Services Inspection Service (FSIS).

FSIS's Office of Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review and the Inspector General served a search warrant at Nebraska's Finest Meats, which led to the confiscation of records, labels, equipment and other evidence.

The company's operations have been suspended, the agency said.

Omaha Public Schools, which enrolls about 46,000 students, is the largest school district in Nebraska.


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