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NLPA News Brief
May 16, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Livestock Sectors Prepare for FMD

Brownfield Ag News, 05/10/18—Thirteen states are partaking in a national emergency response training for a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak this week.

Emergency management coordinator Brad Deacon with the Michigan Department of Agriculture tells Brownfield a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the U.S. is just as threatening as terrorism and cyber disruptions and a matter of national security. "When we talk about what are horrible things that could happen that we need to plan for and practice, and be as prepared as possible—Foot and Mouth Disease on that list"

He says Foot and Mouth Disease is not a food safety issue for consumers but has huge economic ramifications. "When you think about beef, dairy, pork, as well as feed, and all the products that are associated—slowing down this sector of the economy would have major economic impacts and ripple effects throughout the entire national economy."

Listen to 9:35 interview HERE.

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Subcutaneous Fitbits? These Cows Are Modeling the Tracking Technology of the Future

By Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review, 05/15/18—Somewhere on a dairy farm in Wellsville, Utah, are three cyborg cows, indistinguishable from the rest of the herd.

Just like the other cows, they eat, drink, and chew their cud. Occasionally, they walk over to a big, spinning red–and–black brush, suspended at bovine back height, for a scratch. But while the rest of the cows just get their scratch and move on, these cows deliver data. Trackers implanted in their bodies use low–energy Bluetooth to ping a nearby base station and transfer information about the cows' chewing frequency, temperature, and general rambling around the farm.

For now, they're just going about their normal lives, unintentionally providing data that helps train an artificial neural network. The hope is that in the near future, this AI will help farmers figure out quickly and easily how well cows and other livestock are eating, whether they're getting sick or about to give birth—things that are typically done today just by watching and waiting but are difficult to spot when you've got hundreds or thousands of animals to keep an eye on.

USDA to Terminate Organic Checkoff Rulemaking

By Spencer Chase, Agri–Pulse, 05/14/18—The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is set to terminate its rulemaking for the organic checkoff, stopping a process that officially began almost exactly three years ago.

The order came by way of a Federal Register notice, and the termination will be effective on Tuesday. In the notice, AMS cited "uncertain industry support" and "outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program" as its reasons for termination. With the rulemaking terminated, communication restrictions are lifted, which AMS says will allow USDA "to engage fully with all interested parties to discuss and consider the future needs of the industry."

NPPC Supports New Swine Inspection Program

Wisconsin Ag Connection, 05/14/18—The National Pork Producers Council last week submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System rule, which would give packing plant personnel greater responsibility for food safety tasks and allow USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service employees to do more focused inspection.

In its comments, NPPC expressed support for expansion and improvement of the current Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)–based Inspection Models Project pilot program that has been in place at five pork plants for almost 20 years. The NSIS, said NPPC, will enhance food safety, humane handling and better utilize FSIS and industry resources.

The organization did recommend some technical changes to the rule, and that plants operating under NSIS be exempt from current line speed limits. Plants should have flexibility with line speeds and plant layouts as they relate to sorting and inspection practices, said NPPC.

Reminder: Register Your Livestock Premises

Wallaces Farmer, 05/11/18—The Iowa Department of Agriculture has announced that during May the final round of letters will be sent to farmers who have previously registered a livestock premises, as an effort to update the Iowa Premises Registration database. All information in the database is confidential and only used to contact producers in case of an animal disease outbreak. Farmers are asked to respond to the letter, and either confirm the information is correct or respond with their updated information.

"Being able to quickly identify any and all premises during an animal disease outbreak is a vitally important step as we work to stop the spread of the disease and then eliminate it," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "We've had a very good response from farmers to this effort, and we encourage anyone who gets a letter this month, or has received one previously and hasn't yet responded to take the time to contact our department and make sure all their information is up to date."

Researchers Awarded USDA Grant to Study The Effects Of Diet on Cattle Fertility

By Jenny Lavey, Farm Forum, 05/11/18—How much a cow eats while she's pregnant can impact the development of her calf's brain, as well as the calf's future ability to reproduce, according to two Montana State University animal physiologists.

Jennifer Thorson, MSU research scientist, and Ligia Prezotto, MSU assistant professor, both in the Nutritional and Reproductive Physiology Laboratory at the Northern Agricultural Research Center in Havre, were awarded a $400,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The NARC is part of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and the MSU College of Agriculture.

How much a pregnant cow eats and the timing of what she eats during the period when the fetal brain and blood–brain barrier develop, can influence the health and performance of the calf, Thorson said.

"The nutritional environment of the calf during pregnancy affects how the calf's blood–brain barrier develops, thus programing the blood–brain barrier's ability to transfer signals between the brain and the rest of the body," she said.

Global Livestock News

Following Record–Breaking Year, Taiwan's Demand For U.S. Beef Still Sizzling

BEEF Magazine, 05/10/18—Despite having a population of just 23 million, Taiwan consistently ranks as one of the leading destinations for U.S. beef. In 2017, Taiwan was the U.S. beef industry's sixth–largest value market, with exports reaching a record $409.7 million.

Federation of State Beef Councils Helps Promote Beef to International Audience At World Meat Congress May 31

By Walt Barnhart, KNEB Radio, 05/11/18—Already an international hit, beef will be in the global spotlight May 31 when the Federation of State Beef Councils helps sponsor a special dinner and appetizers for participants of the 22nd World Meat Congress in Dallas, Texas.

The WMC is held biennially and allows international experts in the beef, pork, lamb and veal industries to discuss issues affecting livestock and meat production around the globe. This year the event is being hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. It is the first time the WMC has been held in the United States in more than 20 years.

Global Livestock News

Banks Introduces Amendment to Repeal WOTUS Rule in Farm Bill

Hoosier Ag Today, 05/13/18—Congressman Jim Banks (IN–03) today announced that he has introduced an amendment to the 2018 farm bill that would permanently repeal the Obama–era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The House is expected to debate the farm bill next week.

"WOTUS has been a burden not only to Hoosier farmers and agriculture producers but also to our state's economy as a whole," said Banks. "While I applaud the EPA's efforts to delay this damaging Obama–era rule, it is time to repeal it once and for all."

NLPA News Brief

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