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NLPA News Brief
August 27, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Livestock Producers Could Be Eligible for Drought Compensation

Rolla Daily News, 08/20/14—Livestock producers may be eligible for funds to cover their grazing losses during the drought of 2012. Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill included authorization of the Livestock Forage Disaster Assistant Program and provides retroactive authority to cover grazing losses back to Oct. 1, 2011.

People who owned livestock during this time may be eligible for payment through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. Drought compensation payments are equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost for up to five months. Livestock Forage Disaster Assistant Program payments are based on head of eligible livestock owned or leased at the time of the drought or by the carrying capacity of the grazing land.

Eligible livestock include beef and dairy cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine that would have been grazing during the drought.

GIPSA NEWS: 08/20/2014

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Researchers Closing In On The Genetics of Bovine Respiratory Disease

By Burt Rutherford, BEEF Magazine, 08/20/14—It's not only a significant animal health problem for U.S. cattle producers, but bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the most common infectious disease in cattle worldwide, says Holly Neibergs, a University of Washington geneticist. And in spite of intensive efforts to prevent and treat the cattle disease, respiratory problems still challenge cattlemen.

There is some evidence, based on research done at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and elsewhere, that BRD has some genetic underfooting. Once the genetic connection is more fully understood, Neibergs says that information can be used as cattlemen make their genetic selection decisions. And if the heritability estimates hold true, it's possible that the number of BRD cases can be whittled down.

Conversion through Conversation

By Ken Schulz, National Hog Farmer, 08/22/14—Reaching common ground is imperative to having a good discussion when attempting to bridge the knowledge gap between agriculture and the general populace.

Wanda Patsche, Welcome, MN, has been able to break the challenge of reaching a non–agricultural audience down into that basic premise while speaking out for agriculture and pork production. The advent of social media has helped her step up her game, as it has for those who are not so knowledgeable about agriculture. Patsche has taken her learned passion for agriculture and mixed in her computer background — she worked in the IT department for Weigh–Tronix in her nearby hometown of Fairmont and ran her own computer business — to help spread the word about the pork industry.

Cargill Issues Corporate Responsibility Report

By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork, 08/20/14—Cargill this week released its fiscal 2014 corporate responsibility report entitled "Delivering Responsibly in the Global Food System." In the report, Cargill said it is committed to ensuring that the supply chains it operates respect people and human rights; produce safe and wholesome food; treat animals humanely; promote responsible agricultural practices; and reduce environmental impacts.

The report characterizes Cargill's commitment to corporate responsibility as being based on four pillars:

  • Operating responsible supply chains
  • Working to feed the world
  • Enriching our communities
  • Conducting business with integrity
Recount Requested on Missouri Right to Farm

By David A. Lieb, Kansas City Star, 08/25/14—Election officials across Missouri will conduct a recount of the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm, as opponents of the measure seek to reverse the results. The recount on Constitutional Amendment 1 is expected to begin in the coming days. The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri's Aug. 5 primary elections.

Those results show that voters approved the right–to–farm amendment by a margin of 2,490 votes out of nearly 1 million cast, a victory of one–quarter of a percentage point. Missouri law allows the losers to request a recount whenever the margin of victory is less than one–half of a percentage point. The amendment makes farming and ranching official constitutional rights, similar to existing protections for the freedoms of speech and religion. Missouri is just the second state, after North Dakota, to adopt such a measure.

Environmental Political Group Sues to Block Livestock Vote

By Donnelle Eller, The Des Moines Register, 08/20/14—The political arm of an environmental group seeks to block a vote on rules that would govern about 9,300 livestock farms in Iowa. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund claims in a lawsuit filed today in federal court that Tuesday's vote is illegal because five members of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission have "a direct financial stake in the factory farm industry and should have recused themselves from the vote."

"Governor Branstad, for far too long now, has let industry insiders and big money donors run all facets of our government. We are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to clean water for all Iowans," said Barb Kalbach, president of the Iowa CCI Action Fund.

Economist Still Opposes Renewable Fuel Standard Despite Livestock Recovery

By Andy Eubank, Hoosier Ag Today, 08/19/14—Despite the fact that livestock margins have made a dramatic recovery in the past few years as availability of feed has increased and prices have decreased, a leading livestock economist still opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). "We've thrown billions of dollars at this industry already and it ought to have to stand on its own," said Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, during an interview last week at an event for pork producers.

The tide has turned dramatically to the point where demand and prices for livestock and poultry are riding high and there is almost record high feed availability with manageable prices. Despite that, Meyer thinks the RFS needs to go away.

Nestle Tightens Pledge on Animal Welfare

By Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News, 08/21/14—The Nestle food and beverage company has announced an animal welfare agreement with World Animal Protection, a non–governmental organization.

The Swiss company says it will require its more than 7–thousand suppliers of animal products, from milk to meat to eggs, to adhere to stricter animal welfare practices. The company says an independent auditor will conduct on–farm checks and those farms that don't work to come into compliance "will no longer supply Nestle."

The agreement is part of Nestle's Responsible Sourcing program. Nestle is working with World Animal Protection to "tighten and improve the company's responsible sourcing guidelines."

Global Livestock News

WTO Rules against U.S. in Meat Label Fight: Report

Reuters, 08/22/14—A World Trade Organization panel has ruled against the United States in a trade dispute over meat labels with Canada and Mexico, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The newspaper, citing anonymous sources familiar with the findings, said on Thursday that the United States lost its case before a panel set up to determine whether its revised labeling rules complied with an earlier WTO ruling. On Friday, Jeff English, a spokesman for Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, declined to confirm the WTO panel decision and said Canada will only speak about it once it becomes public.

Consumer Tracking Reveals Beef Concerns

By Catherine Miller, Stock Journal, 08/25/14—Quality, freshness and price remain the most important concerns for Australian beef consumers, but welfare issues concerned with provenance and the environment are slowly becoming very important.

The latest survey results show there is a good level of trust for Australian sheep and cattle producers: at 52 per cent saying they are ethical and trustworthy and 42 per cent neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Sixty–six per cent of those surveyed believed farmers made a positive contribution to society and 29 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed. The proportion of the population who are eating less red meat because of environmental or animal welfare concerns has also remained stable – less than 5 per cent.

Global Livestock News

USDA and the Ag War for Trade Policy Leadership

KTIC Radio, Nebraska, 08/25/14—One of the provisions of the new farm bill is a requirement that USDA establish a new position of Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, which is to take the lead in a reorganization of the international trade functions within USDA. Further, the law requires the Secretary, in proposing the reorganization and creating the Under Secretary position, consider how the new post "would serve as a multi–agency coordinator of sanitary and phytosanitary issues and nontariff trade barriers" in agricultural trade.

While it is not clear just how all of the aspects of the new position and the reorganization will be developed, it is clear that this effort is a continuation of the decades–long fight between agricultural interests and the rest of government. In general, the aggies have long believed that the stripy pants guys at the State Department do not look after US ag interests well––and, they are not much more impressed with the performance of the US Trade Representative.

USDA Announces $25 Million for Agricultural Entrepreneurs to Turn Commodities into Value–Added Products

USDA News Release, 08/19/14—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the importance of rural entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy and announced investments to help rural businesses grow, diversify and create jobs. USDA is investing $25 million to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market, Secretary Vilsack said today during a visit to Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., a recipient of one of the grants.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Value–Added Producer Grant program. The program helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value–added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products.

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