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NLPA News Brief
April 19, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

California Ag Leader Decries 'Grow Food, Go to Jail Sentiment'

By Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, 04/17/17—Former California ag secretary A.G. Kawamura says he is "saddened" by the way agriculture is being treated in the U.S.

"How different groups attack agriculture. How so many folks looks at agriculture as if we're some entity that is conspiring to make things worse, whether it's with the environment, whether it's with food safety, whether it's with the amount of water we use," Kawamura says.

Kawamura, who was California's ag secretary from 2003 to 2010, is a third generation fruit and vegetable grower. He says the attacks are especially harsh in his home state.

"In California currently, there seems to be almost a 'grow food, go to jail' sentiment," he says. "I say that with all seriousness. It's amazing how the farming community is being attacked."

Kawamura says those attacks on agriculture would not be happening if not for the abundance of food produced by U.S. agriculture. He calls it the "the luxury of abundance".

"It allows everybody to have their opinion on what kind of food you should have and what kind of food you should not eat. Or what kind of system should be producing it," he says. "Because of the great job we've done, it's created this kind of sense of privilege on the part of the consumers who think food is a right.

GIPSA NEWS: No New Posts This Week

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Large–Scale Animal Farms Must Report Waste Releases

By Perry Cooper, Bloomberg BNA, 04/14/17—Large animal farms will be required to report more air pollution from animal waste after the D.C. Circuit April 11 vacated an Environmental Protection Agency rule ( Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA , 2017 BL 117866, D.C. Cir., No. 09–1017, 4/11/17 ).

The agency's Reporting Exemption Rule, finalized in December 2008, exempted owners of concentrated animal feeding operations from some federal air reporting requirements tied to such hazardous substances as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.

The decision will affect the 15,500 CAFOs operating in the U.S., according to numbers from the EPA. A CAFO is a farm that confines more than a certain number of animals—for example, over 1,000 cattle, 2,500 hogs, or 125,000 chickens. The rule exempted CAFOs from reporting air emissions to the federal government but they were required to continue to report those releases to state and local authorities.

Use Written Plan to Handle Disease Outbreaks in Livestock

By David Burton, Springfield News Leader, 04/16/17—A written plan to respond to disease outbreaks for your livestock operation is like insurance. You hope you never need it. You may never need it. But if there is an outbreak, the economic survival of your livestock operation might depend on having that plan.

Planning and prevention are the best insurance against an outbreak, says University of Missouri Extension Economist Ray Massey. Disease in a livestock operation spreads quickly. Animal and economic losses can be catastrophic. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation estimated losses in that state from a 2015 avian flu outbreak at $1.2 billion, including 8,400 lost jobs.

When viruses such as avian flu or PEDV strike, livestock operations lose productivity for about six months. "This means that the livestock operator might be without income. Animals have died or been quarantined," said Massey. Worse yet, operators may incur extra expenses for veterinary bills, installation of new biosecurity systems, composting dead animals and carcass removal.

If you need a line of credit during this period, a written disease–outbreak plan helps present your case to the bank for a loan extension or new loan. "Have a plan for the worst–case scenario," said Massey. "The plan tells your banker that you want to stay in business. The bank is more likely to see you as a wise businessman who has shown foresight."

Livestock Producers Receive Help with Controlling Predators

By Janelle Atyeo, Tri–State Neighbor, 04/18/17—New calves and lambs are on the ground across South Dakota, and hunters are busy responding to calls about issues with predator coyotes.

State programs and private hunters help ranchers protect their livelihood by keeping the number of coyotes in check. In South Dakota, it's open season on coyote year–round, and there are no limits.

In the first week of April, Jan Davis of Colton in eastern South Dakota got calls from a couple of neighbors. One near Hartford had lost two calves. Another northeast of Montrose who has goats had heard howling nearby.

Davis and his dog tracked down a male coyote one day, and the next morning bagged the female, mangy and pregnant with six pups. "They're ghosts. You don't necessarily know they're around until they start causing you a little grief," Davis said.

Davis doesn't charge for his services. It's something he enjoys doing, and his schedule allows for it in the winter months when he's not doing concrete work through his contracting business. Producers don't always have the time to devote to tracking down a coyote, and not everyone has the skill it takes to shoot one.

"They're not easy to hunt," Davis said.

New Business Provides New Avenue for Livestock Sales

By Jenny Schlecht, AgWeek, 04/18/17—A Bismarck, N.D., woman hopes her new business will give livestock producers another option for marketing their animals.

Katie Kringstad launched Legendary Livestock in March, and the site's full capabilities will be available sometime in May. The site will allow sellers to set a starting bid, and they pay $7 per head for every lot with a successful bid above the starting price. If the lot doesn't sell, the seller doesn't owe anything.

The website does not handle any funds, and no financial assurances are given to either party. The website offers users the ability to create their own production sale events for free that highlight their operation or choose a more general auction format for feeder cattle. If a user does not want to use an auction format, a traditional "for sale" listing is available. The website also includes interactive pricing information and calculators to assist buyers and sellers for no additional cost.

Legendary Livestock is a dedicated online program to market their cattle to buyers around the U.S. for a very low per–head fee. Sellers can use photos, videos, documents and other tools to maximize their listings.

Producers save on transportation, shrink loss due to animal stress and high costs associated with traditional marketing methods. Buyers can quickly find cattle that fit their current needs without having to compromise or travel to various sales around the region.

Sixty–Three Indicted in Brazilian Meat Scandal

By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News, 04/18/17—The Federal Police in Brazil has indicted 63 people for their role in the Brazilian meat scandal and the corruption within the Ministry of Agriculture. According to the plus55, a Brazilian news website, federal auditors took bribes in exchange for fraudulent sanitary permits.

Police also charged the suspects with falsifying medical records and certificates, tampering with food products, conspiracy and corruption. Producers are reportedly under investigation for using ascorbic acid and other chemical ingredients above the legally permitted amount in order to "disguise the physical aspect or smell of rotten meat".

In an interview with Bloomberg, Brazil's agriculture minister said the meat scandal could cost Brazilian meatpackers $1.5 billion in exports this year.

Global Livestock News

Simplistic Anti–Meat Mantra Hurts Third World

By Andrew Marshall, Queensland Country Life, 04/17/17—Kenyan–based livestock research chief, Dr Jimmy Smith, says producing more meat and making it more available to international markets will be critical to helping the economic and nutritional health of developing countries and their small scale farmers.

While some in developed societies keenly promoted meat–reduced or meat–free lifestyles, he said it was unfair to impose such broad–brush views on countries where diets already lacked enough animal–sourced nutrition.

Dr Smith said some simplistic solutions for global sustainability and health which were frequently promoted in developed economies were misguided in targeting the livestock sector and livestock producers.

There was no moral equivalence between those making bad food choices and consuming too much meat, and the many hungry people who had no food choices at all and consumed far too little.

U.S. Producers Still Well–Positioned Globally

By JoAnn Alumbaugh, PORK Network, 04/14/17—Despite challenges, U.S. producers are in a good position to capitalize on efficiencies and market opportunities, says Aidan Connolly, Chief Innovation Officer & Vice President, Corporate Accounts for Alltech, Inc. "U.S. producers are in a good place," says Connolly. " I was concerned initially how the Veterinary Feed Directive would play out, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how proactive people have been in implementing the rules.

Particularly, the larger producers were well prepared for the VFDs and clearly poultry and pork producers were the most proactive. I think producers are quick to take on new ideas and new technologies, and that puts the U.S. back in the leadership position. I think it will be harder for countries in Asia to do the same thing.

"Given this is the way consumers globally are moving, I think it's something U.S. producers can be very proud of and long term, it will create competitive advantages."

Global Livestock News

Proposed USDA Cut: Get Rid of Packers and Stockyards Act

By Chris Clayton, DTN, Progressive Farmer, 04/13/17—Ag groups have been busy writing letters asking President Donald Trump to protect agricultural trade, protect the Renewable Fuels Standard, deal with mergers, or protect the country from the impacts of climate change.

Nobody, however, is coming forward and offering many ways to cut costs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, despite the White House pitching for as much as $4.7 billion in cuts at USDA.

And yet, it's also clear that several of the livestock industry's most influential organizations have heartburn for what they see as onerous regulatory burdens and market interference they could face if the 96–year–old Packers & Stockyards Act is retooled. These fights over livestock rules have dragged on since 2008, and really much farther back than that. They reflect conflict over how the federal government clashes with free enterprise.

As some leading livestock organizations have reiterated time and again, there is no justification for changing the law so the federal courts could recognize that driving an individual farmer into bankruptcy is an unfair market practice. There's no rationale for trying to prove that producers with the same quality of cattle should get the same prices. After all, one guy may be much better at marketing than the next guy down the line. And there's no reason to interfere with the tournament system for poultry because it would hinder the opportunity for the pork and beef industries to create the same kind of efficient production strategy.

Groups Ask USDA to Cancel Animal ID Meetings

Feedstuffs, 04/13/17—In a joint letter addressed to President Donald Trump and acting secretary of agriculture Michael Young, four groups are asking for the cancellation of the seven upcoming meetings the U.S. Department of Agriculture has scheduled to discuss the agency's plans to expand its Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule.

Specifically, the groups are asking that USDA immediately halt any further action toward expansion of the existing ADT program, cancel the public meetings scheduled for April and May and extend the comment period to allow a minimum of 120 days for producers to provide written comments on the effectiveness of the existing ADT program.

The groups raised concerns that USDA is attempting to expand the ADT program to more closely resemble the agency's previously abandoned National Animal Identification System (NAIS), stating, "USDA received a clear message from United States cattle producers that the NAIS program –– which this expanded ADT plan appears to mimic –– was not acceptable. We do not see any changes in the cost/benefit to producers, and we do not see evidence that producers' feelings towards an expanded ADT program has changed in any way."

The agency had announced the all–day meetings not even 30 days before they were scheduled to begin in April. The groups stated that the USDA meetings were hastily planned, that cattle producers were not given timely or adequate notice and that, because the meetings are scheduled during the time of year when many cattle producers are busy calving, branding, artificial inseminating and moving to summer pastures, many producers will be unable to attend.

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