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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

June 3, 2013

Emergency Food and Water Supply —
Is Your Family Prepared?

For those that have ever experienced the inconvenience of a power outage, you understand the challenges associated with preparing a meal for your family. Families that have had to deal with a power outage that lasts more than 24 hours or an emergency situation, such as an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm or other natural disaster, understand how important it is to have access to safe food and water.

Even though it’s unlikely that an emergency would cut-off your food supply for an extended period of time, families should consider maintaining a food and water supply that will last at least two weeks.

The publication, Food and Water in an Emergency provides the following recommendations when preparing an emergency food supply:

It’s important not to forget about water. Access to clean, drinkable water should be your number one priority in an emergency situation. The safest and most reliable source of water is commercially bottled water. Make sure to keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you are ready to use it.

For more information from Michigan State University Extension, please view the full release here.

Statement on the Proposed Chinese
Acquisition of Smithfield Foods

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the purchase of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International Holdings, China’s largest pork producer:

“NFU opposes the proposed purchase of Smithfield, the largest processor of pork in the world, by Shaunghui, a Chinese company. With the arrival of this news, it’s worth considering the impact of increased consolidation of agricultural markets.

“With its vertical integration system of production, Smithfield was particularly attractive for purchase by a foreign company. Now, in one fell swoop, 26% of U.S. pork processing and 15% of domestic hog production will be controlled by a foreign company. It’s likely that the U.S. pork market will feel additional downward pressure in prices, as Smithfield seeks to supply the Chinese market with cheap pork.

“Consolidation in agricultural markets makes it easier for interests in other countries to control large portions of our food supply. Further study and understanding of concentration of markets is needed, along with enhanced enforcement of anti-trust laws. Independent family farmers and ranchers cannot succeed in the absence of protection from unfair, anti-competitive business practices by those who control the marketplace.”

It Is Never Too Early to Begin Estate Planning

College students and young families generally spend their days focused on enjoying life, but it is never too early to start the estate planning process.

Estate planning involves making important decisions for the people you love, said Eileen St. Pierre, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension personal finance specialist.

“For college students and young adults, even if your property will pass to your parents, that process is sped up — and cheaper — with a simple will,” she said. “Filling out an Advance Directive for Health Care is a good idea for any adult, regardless of your level of assets.”

People without an estate plan die intestate, which means the inheritance laws in the state dictate how their property is passed on to their heirs. While that is a strong argument for putting things in order, what is the rush for younger people who, in theory, still have their whole lives in front of them?

One important consideration for people with minor kids is the need to appoint guardians for those children, and the only way to do that is through a will, St. Pierre said.

The cost of creating a will depends mostly on the complexity of the estate. For a single person with no kids and few assets, a simple will could run $500 to $1,000 depending on the state.

“If you go the do-it-yourself route, make sure you print out the will and have it notarized,” St. Pierre said. “You will need the signatures of two witnesses and be prepared to pay a notary fee, usually at least $15.”

Every adult over the age of 18 also should complete an Advance Directive for Health Care, which includes a living will, appointment of a health care proxy, organ donation and general provisions.

For more information from Oklahoma State University Extension, please view the full release here.

Topsoil Lost to Rainfall Costs Farmers Money

As rainfall increases, the amount of topsoil decreases, so does the amount of grain the land can produce.

April’s pounding rains likely took tons of topsoil from some Missouri farmlands, according to University of Missouri (MU) Extension plant sciences specialist Peter Scharf.

That loss is essentially permanent, said MU corn specialist Brent Myers. One field Myers studied is estimated to have lost an average of 7.7 inches of topsoil in 120 years of production history.

Scharf calculates that this is a loss of $107 per acre annually. “We could grow a lot more on these fields if we still had the original topsoil,” he said. “Topsoil holds and delivers water to the crop so much better than subsoil.”

In late April, MU plant sciences staff inspected farms in the Novelty and Monroe City areas for signs of topsoil erosion after 4-inch rains were recorded by weather stations operated by MU’s Extension Commercial Agriculture Program.

Rainfall averaged 6.2 inches statewide in April, making it the fourth consecutive month with above-average precipitation.

“Erosion is worse on poorly drained and sloping farm ground where water is more likely to run off, carrying topsoil with it,” Myers said. “Missouri really is a nexus of soil erosion risk. Marginal soils with reduced productivity are most at risk because crop residues are also reduced, leaving soil less protected from detachment by raindrops.”

Soils with medium textures, such as those in northeastern Missouri, are particularly susceptible to erosion.

Scharf said Missouri’s waning topsoil depth concerns him. “We’re on a course to lose all of our topsoil,” Scharf said. “It’s not what happens in one year. It’s what happens over 100 years.”

For more information from University of Missouri Extension, please view the full release here.


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