Senate passes Farm Bill
Farm Bill Debate turns to House
Lyons, Nebraska - On Monday, June 10, the U.S. Senate passed their version of the 2013 Farm Bill by a vote of 66 to 27. The House of Representatives is now likely to take up the Farm Bill as early as next week.
“While there are a number of good provisions in the Senate Farm Bill worthy of note, the question of setting rural priorities that efficiently invest public dollars in farm and rural programs that have a positive impact on rural America is still in question,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Policy Director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “Continuing to provide unlimited crop insurance premium subsidies to megafarms while failing to increase our investments in things like conservation and rural development is not good public policy. We can do better than this.”
We applaud the Senate for passing a Farm Bill that for the first time in a generation closes the gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of farm program payment limitations, said Bruckner. And we thank Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) for their tireless advocacy for reducing the subsidies that mega-farms use to drive family farmers out of business.
According to Bruckner, the Farm Bill that passed the Senate Farm Bill does put back some funding for beginning farmer and rancher training, rural small business loans and assistance, grants and loans for small town water and sewer systems, renewable energy and value-added enterprise grants for family farmers and ranchers. These investments are vitally important steps forward for rural America.
Bruckner went on to praise the efforts of Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for leading a bipartisan group of Senators that secured a sodsaver provision in the Senate Farm Bill that prohibits federal commodity payments on newly broken native sod, and reduces the federal subsidy for crop and revenue insurance by fifty percent on native grass and prairie lands. It also requires that newly broken sod be isolated from other crop acres when calculating insurable yields.
“The sodsaver provision is common-sense legislation that will preserve grazing lands, protect hunting opportunities and conserve vital soil resources,” said Bruckner.
Bruckner indicated that the Farm Bill could come to the floor for debate by the full House of Representatives soon, perhaps as early as next week.
“While timing is never certain, we are encouraged by several forward steps taken in the Senate Farm Bill. The bill isn’t perfect and we have a long row to hoe in the House, but we will continue to work to make greater strides as the Farm Bill moves toward conference committee,” continued Bruckner. “We also look forward to Representative Fortenberry (R-NE) offering an amendment similar to the farm program payment limitations provision offered by Senator Grassley for the Senate Farm Bill. And we hope there are opportunities to cap crop insurance premium subsidies as well as retain the Sodsaver and conservation compliance crop insurance reforms contained in the Senate Farm Bill.”
Regarding his introduction of farm payment limitation legislation, Rep. Fortenberry previously commented, “For the good of all Americans, it is critical that sound public policies create the conditions for continued agricultural prosperity and innovation. While respecting the federal government’s severe budgetary constraints, we need a new farm bill that provides our nation’s farmers adequate protection options, tightens payment limitations, promotes good conservation practices, embraces new domestic and international market opportunities, and helps young and beginning farmers set up agricultural businesses.”
Source: Press Release: Center for Rural Affairs
Washington, DC – USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that the deadline for producer applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to June 14, 2013.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) will provide nearly $175 million in funding for enrollment of up to 12.6 million additional acres in the program this year.
“The Conservation Stewardship Program is different than other USDA financial assistance programs,” said Vilsack. “CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It’s about conservation activities on the entire operation focusing on multiple resource concerns.”
“We applaud Secretary Vilsack for proceeding quickly to enroll these additional 12 million acres of farm and ranch land this year,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs. “Although the timeline is tight during this already delayed planting season, we encourage farmers and ranchers who have considered applying to CSP to take an hour out of their busy schedules to look at CSP again and consider making an application.”
“We hope more farmers and ranchers will take advantage of this extension for the CSP application deadline. To meet this deadline, they just need to submit the basic application form to their local NRCS office,” commented Bruckner.
Moreover, resources are available to help producers consider the program and make their applications, Bruckner added. Producers can contact the Center’s Farm Bill Helpline for additional assistance in navigating the application process and, of course, application materials and information are available through USDA’s website and your local NRCS office.
CSP resources for farmers and ranchers:
USDA’s CSP website – http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp/
Center for Rural Affairs Helpline – (402) 687-2100 or email@example.com
USDA Service Center locator – http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app
(to locate local NRCS offices)
“We welcome the announcement of this application round and are also encouraged by the extension of the deadline because there are farmers and ranchers who have been waiting to sign up for this program and each year there are twice as many, or more, applying than can receive contracts under available funding,” Bruckner continued. “And with the busy and delayed planting season in some parts of the country, the extended deadline means more farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to apply.
According to Bruckner, USDA’s proceeding with enrolling over 12 million acres of farm and ranch land this year will bring the program to a grand total of over 62 million acres by year’s end. The Congressional funding error that jeopardized the 2013 CSP sign-up was fixed by a bill that provides continuing funding for the federal government for the next six months – the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year.
“We’ve pressed for this result since last October when the first government funding bill accidentally shut off CSP enrollment for 2013, so we want to celebrate this,” added Bruckner. “And we’re going to continue working with farmers and ranchers who want to apply to the program.”
Bruckner encouraged potential applicants to find the time to move their applications forward, before the 2013 deadline. While CSP is a continuous signup program and producers can apply to enroll at any time of the year, USDA applies a cut-off date for applications to be considered during a particular fiscal year. Once the cut-off date is past, producers may continue to apply for the program, but they will not be considered for entry until the spring of the following year, in this case spring of 2014.
“CSP is one of the most popular conservation programs at NRCS, enrolling nearly 39,000 farmers and ranchers operating 50 million acres of farm and ranch land through 2012 under five-year CSP conservation contracts worth $3.5 billion,” Bruckner explained. “That’s why we want farmers, ranchers and others to call the Center for Rural Affairs’ Farm Bill Helpline with questions about the application process and to share their experiences, both positive and negative, both to provide assistance and to continue to advocate for ways to improve the program and application process.”
Source: Press Release – Center for Rural Affairs
With Final Senate Vote Days Away, Chairwoman Stabenow Joins Michigan Agriculture and Conservation Leaders to Call for Passage of Bipartisan Senate Farm Bill in Frankenmuth
Farm Bill Represents Major Reform, Yields $24 Billion in Spending Cuts
Frankenmuth – With a final vote in the Senate expected next week, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today joined Michigan agriculture and conservation leaders by the Cass River in Frankenmuth to call for passage of her 2013 Farm Bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee passed Stabenow’s Farm Bill on May 14 by a strong bipartisan vote, 15-5.
Chairwoman Stabenow said: “When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Agriculture supports nearly one in four Michigan jobs and 16 million jobs nationwide. The 2013 Farm Bill will reform agriculture programs to save taxpayers billions of dollars while helping Michigan farmers and small businesses create jobs. I’m proud that the Agriculture Committee was once again able to work across the aisle to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill, and it’s time for Congress to do the same.”
Bill Zehnder, President of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant said: “Every family across Michigan wants to enjoy clean lakes, rivers, and streams. I thank Senator Stabenow for once again authoring a bipartisan Farm Bill that strengthens effective conservation practices to protect the water quality of the Cass River and other waterways across the country.”
Gildo Tori, Director of Public Policy for Duck Unlimited said: “Ducks Unlimited is pleased with the conservation provisions contained in the Farm Bill, including the recoupling of conservation compliance and crop insurance. Senator Stabenow and her committee members did a great job of saving taxpayer dollars and improving conservation delivery while still providing an excellent suite of programs that ensure conservation of our soil, water and wildlife resources.”
Rich Bowman, Government Relations Director for the Nature Conservancy said: “The Farm Bill is the most important legislation for conserving private lands in America. It provides incentives to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners that result in cleaner water, improved soul conservation, enhanced wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities, increased flood control and stronger local communities and rural economies. We would like to commend the exemplary work of Senator Stabenow and her fellow committee members forging this bipartisan legislation and we believe that the 2013 Farm Bill will continue to meet vital needs of our nation.”
Dennis Engelhard, Local Bean Farmer said: “Senator Stabenow always listens to Michigan farmers and knows how to get things done. I want to thank her for once again working across the aisle and writing a bipartisan Farm Bill that is good for Michigan agriculture and good for American taxpayers.”
Gail Frahm, Executive Director of the Michigan Soybean Association said: “Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation and our agriculture sector has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years. This farm bill will give Michigan soybean farmers the certainty we need to invest in the future and take advantage of new opportunities to continue that growth. This farm bill is one more example of Senator Stabenow’s ongoing commitment to Michigan agriculture.”
The Farm Bill represents major reform of agriculture programs, yielding a total of $24 billion in spending cuts eliminating unnecessary direct payments to farmers, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse. These reforms save taxpayer dollars overall while allowing for increased investments in initiatives that help Michigan’s farmers and small businesses create jobs. Nearly one-in-four jobs in Michigan are supported by agriculture.
The Farm Bill sets the nation’s agriculture policy and expires every five years. If the House of Representatives fails to pass the Farm Bill by September 30th, the U.S. reverts back to 1940s agriculture policy, an antiquated patchwork of costly subsidies and other badly outdated programs.
For a summary of the 2013 Farm Bill, click here.
For a summary of statements from Senate colleagues on both sides of aisle praising the 2013 Farm Bill, click here.
From the Center for Rural Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (cell)
Lyons, Nebraska – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry amended and passed their 2013 Farm Bill by a vote of 15 to 5. The legislation will now move to the floor of the Senate for debate and amendment.
“We applaud the Senate Ag Committee for renewing their commitment to passing a Farm Bill that for the first time in a generation closes the gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of farm program payment limitations,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “And we thank Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) for their tireless advocacy for reducing the subsidies that mega-farms use to drive family farms out of business.”
This marks the second time in little more than a year that the Senate Ag Committee has demonstrated their commitment to reforming farm program payment limitations, noted Hassebrook.
“And the Farm Bill that passed the Senate Ag Committee today funds beginning farmer and rancher training, rural small business loans and assistance, grants and loans for small town water and sewer systems and value-added enterprise grants for family farmers and ranchers,” said Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs. “These are also vitally important steps forward for rural America.”
Hassebrook went on to praise the efforts of Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for leading a bipartisan group Senators that secured a sodsaver provision in the Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill that prohibits federal commodity payments on newly broken native sod, and reduces the federal subsidy for crop and revenue insurance by fifty percent on native grass and prairie lands. It also requires that newly broken sod be isolated from other crop acres when calculating insurable yields.
“The sodsaver provision is common-sense legislation that will preserve grazing land, protect hunting opportunities and conserve vital soil resources,” said Hassebrook.
Additionally, these key accomplishments would not have been possible without Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who demonstrated leadership on these issues by including them in the draft Farm Bill she presented to the Committee and provided the support necessary to move them forward.
According to Hassebrook, the Farm Bill could come to the floor for debate by the full Senate soon, perhaps as early as next week. The Agriculture Committee in the House of Representatives is also poised to begin debating their Farm Bill draft tomorrow.
“While timing is never certain, we are encouraged by the product of this first, crucial step in the Farm Bill process. The bill isn’t perfect and we look forward to opportunities to make more strides forward in the coming weeks,” added Hassebrook.
Lyons, NE – The Center for Rural Affairs submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in support of a proposed administrative rule that would dramatically strengthen U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) rules for beef, pork, lamb and a number of other food products.
“People still have a little time left to comment on the new COOL rule. Comments must be submitted on or before April 11, 2013, however, so the comment window is closing rapidly.”
John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs
The Center’s comments can be viewed or downloaded at
According to Crabtree, COOL requires retailers to provide consumers information about the country where beef, pork, lamb, goat, fish, shellfish, and certain other agricultural products are produced. However, last June, the World Trade Organization found that US COOL rules for meat discriminate against Canadian and Mexican imports. After a WTO appellate panel upheld their own decision, a deadline of May 23, 2013 was issued to the United States to come into compliance with the WTO decision and subsequent rulings.
“Fortunately, on March 8th, USDA issued a proposed rule that both strengthens COOL rules and comes into compliance with prior WTO decisions,” Crabtree continued. “The new rule would do away with commingling of muscle cuts, eliminate the vague “mixed origin” label, and require that all cuts of meat display information on the label about where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.”
The Center for Rural Affairs applauds USDA’s new COOL rule. The “born, raised, and slaughtered” standard is especially encouraging. We’ve worked for nearly two decades in support of the “born, raised and slaughtered” labeling standard. First to get the COOL law passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and then nearly a decade to see it implemented. And now, finally, we are poised to see the “born, raised and slaughtered” standard become the foundation of America’s country of origin labeling rules, Crabtree explained.
“Of course the meatpackers and their allies are scurrying for cover,” Crabtree added. “Retaining the strength of the rule will require support from family farmers, ranchers, rural organizations, and other concerned citizens. Which is why we are urging everyone to offer your comments on and your support for the proposed COOL rule by April 11th in order to make sure your voice is heard at USDA.”
Comments to USDA on the proposed COOL rule must be received on or before April 11, 2013. The Center for Rural Affairs has additional information provided for those who wish to comment made available at www.cfra.org/cool.
Source: Press Release – Center for Rural Affairs
ASHLAND, Wis. – Northland College will host the 7th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit Feb.1-2. The focus of the 2013 summit is “Common Ground: Everyone Eats!” The Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN) is sponsoring the event.
The Wisconsin Local Food Network chose the Chequamegon Bay region as the location for this year’s summit because of the area’s commitment to growing a local foods economy. Nathan Engstrom, regional sustainability coordinator at Northland College, will share information about its Local Foods Initiative. The initiative seeks to increase the presence of foods from growers in the Chequamegon Bay area on campus through a regional partnership.
“It’s great to come together and hear other people’s success stories, hear what challenges they’ve faced,” said Engstrom. “This is a particularly compelling moment for the summit because there’s a lot of good work happening in the Chequamegon Bay region and state where new farms are being launched and existing operations are expanding.”
Mary Pat Carlson is the executive director of Algoma, Wis., nonprofit The Farm Market Kitchen. She will present on food processing models being used by her group and others to enhance local foods systems.
“The ones that I provide the most assistance to are community-based or small-scale food processing facilities that have an impact on community-based economic development,” she said. “They tend to be shared facilities where a number of different food processors contract for time and services.”
The experiences that will be shared at the summit serve to support projects that grow local foods economies, according to summit presenter Jason Fischbach, agriculture agent for UW-Extension in Ashland and Bayfield counties.
“A whole lot of learning is the main goal here,” said Fischbach. “The folks that are involved in local food development work in our region will hopefully come away with some good ideas that we can implement locally. Hopefully, we’ll see some new projects and ideas launched.”
Keynote speakers for the 7th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit include Mike Wiggins, Jr., chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Wiggins will provide insight into Ojibwe harvesting methods and how treaty rights play a role in the tribe’s cultural food system. Sharon Adams, program director and co-founder of Walnut Way Conservation Corporation, also will offer a keynote address on her experiences with organizing initiatives that promote healthier, sustainable communities.
Those interested in learning about the Wisconsin Local Food Summit can contact Jane Hansen at (715) 339-5345. Information on how to register early is available online at www.wilocalfood.wordpress.com/summits.
Spring is quickly approaching, and so is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bird Health Awareness Week. Bird Health Awareness Week, February 24 through March 2, 2013, helps promote healthy practices for raising backyard birds. More and more people, from urban neighborhoods to the countryside, are raising their own backyard flocks.
Since spring ushers in chicks’ season, the time when baby chicks and other baby birds begin hatching from their shells, the 2013 Bird Health Awareness Week will focus on these new additions to the country’s backyard flocks. Whether you are new to backyard poultry or are adding to your flock, USDA is celebrating Bird Health Awareness Week with a free webinar to help you learn more about raising healthy chicks.
The webinar, Growing Chicks into Healthy Chickens, is an hour-long, online presentation by three poultry experts. They will share information and answer questions about buying and raising healthy poultry, and how to keep them free from disease and predators. The webinar will take place on Thursday, February 28 from 2 – 3 p.m. EST. To guarantee your place at the webinar register now at https://healthychickens.webex.com and then enter the password: Chickens.
Hosting the webinar are: Andy Schneider, also known as “The Chicken Whisperer®,” a national radio personality who serves as the Biosecurity For Birds campaign spokesperson; Dr. Claudia Dunkley, a poultry scientist at the University of Georgia and Dr. Martin Smeltzer, a USDA poultry veterinarian.
No stranger to bird owners across the U.S., Schneider has become the go-to guy for information on raising and keeping backyard poultry safe from disease. In his third year as spokesperson for the BFB public awareness campaign, he is the author of, The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens. He is the founder of the Atlanta Backyard Poultry Meetup group, which has grown to over 2,000 members and conducts poultry owner workshops nationwide. He is host of the Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer radio show. Schneider has been featured on CNN, HLN, CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, and in Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, USA Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and many other publications.
Dr. Dunkley is an extension poultry scientist/specialist in the Department of Poultry Science at The University of Georgia. She conducts backyard educational programs in biosecurity and flock management, is involved in youth programs on the state and national levels for 4H poultry judging competitions and FFA poultry judging contests and contributes to programs that assist and educate county extension personnel. Dr. Dunkley is responsible for the grower/integrator education programs in Nutrient Management Planning, Agro/Bio- security seminars and grower training in mortality compost management. She has a PhD. in Poultry Science from Texas A&M University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science from Prairie View A&M University.
Dr Smeltzer is a poultry veterinarian working with the USDA Veterinary Service offices in Georgia. He has worked in the poultry industry since 1984 in multiple positions, from a primary poultry breeder to a diagnostician with a state poultry diagnostic system and as a USDA regional poultry epidemiologist. He is a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia and a Diplomat American College of Poultry Veterinarians.
The Biosecurity For Birds campaign works to educate the growing population of backyard poultry owners on how to keep their flocks healthy and free from such diseases as Avian Influenza (AI) and Exotic Newcastle Disease (END).
For more information about Biosecurity For Birds, please visit the Biosecurity For Birds website, http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov .
US Forest Service Report Forecasts Natural Resource Management Trends And Challenges For Next 50 Years
WASHINGTON, December, 2012 —A comprehensive U.S. Forest Service report released examines the ways expanding populations, increased urbanization, and changing land-use patterns could profoundly impact natural resources, including water supplies, nationwide during the next 50 years.
Significantly, the study shows the potential for significant loss of privately-owned forests to development and fragmentation, which could substantially reduce benefits from forests that the public now enjoys including clean water, wildlife habitat, forest products and others.
“We should all be concerned by the projected decline in our nation’s forests and the corresponding loss of the many critical services they provide such as clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, wood products and outdoor recreation,” said Agriculture Under Secretary Harris Sherman. “Today’s report offers a sobering perspective on what is at stake and the need to maintain our commitment to conserve these critical assets.”
U.S Forest Service scientists and partners at universities, non-profits and other agencies found urban and developed land areas in the U.S. will increase 41 percent by 2060. Forested areas will be most impacted by this growth, with losses ranging from 16 to 34 million acres in the lower 48 states. The study also examines the effect of climate change on forests and the services forests provide.
Most importantly, over the long-term, climate change could have significant effects on water availability, making the US potentially more vulnerable to water shortages, especially in the Southwest and Great Plains. Population growth in more arid regions will require more drinking water. Recent trends in agricultural irrigation and landscaping techniques also will boost water demands.
“Our nation’s forests and grasslands are facing significant challenges. This assessment strengthens our commitment to accelerate restoration efforts that will improve forest resiliency and conservation of vitally important natural resources,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.
The assessment’s projections are influenced by a set of scenarios with varying assumptions about U.S. population and economic growth, global population and economic growth, global wood energy consumption and U.S. land use change from 2010 to 2060. Using those scenarios, the report forecasts the following key trends:
- Forest areas will decline as a result of development, particularly in the South, where population is projected to grow the most;
- Timber prices are expected to remain relatively flat;
- Rangeland area is expected to continue its slow decline but rangeland productivity is stable with forage sufficient to meet expected livestock grazing demands;
- Biodiversity may continue to erode because projected loss of forestland will impact the variety of forest species;
- Recreation use is expected to trend upward.
Additionally, the report stresses the need to develop forest and rangeland policies, which are flexible enough to be effective under a wide range of future socioeconomic and ecological conditions such as climate change. The Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 requires the Forest Service to produce an assessment of natural resource trends every 10 years.
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.
Center for Rural Affairs hosting webinar and virtual farm tours to help Veterans return home to farm and ranch
Lyons, NE – In the last decade, almost a million of our military’s servicemen and servicewomen have come from rural communities. As they return home, they bring along an opportunity to employ their passion, discipline, and sense of service to revitalize America’s small farms, ranches and rural communities.
That’s why the Center for Rural Affairs along with partnering organizations will host a Farm Training Webinar on Friday, November 16th. The webinar will include several virtual farm tours and other information for U.S military veterans interested in taking up a career in a rural community and starting their own farms or ranches. The web-based training will allow people to participate wherever they are, including those deployed overseas.
Web-based Farm Training Webinar
- Friday, November 16
- 7:00-8:30pm CST
- To join the webinar, visit: https://connect.cis.ksu.edu/ veteranfarmer, log in as “guest” with no need to preregister. For more information visit: www.cfra.org/veteran_farmers_ project.
“America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities are aging, and not enough new farmers and ranchers are getting started,” said Wyatt Fraas with the Center for Rural Affairs. “By returning to their farming and ranching roots, veterans can carry on the proud tradition of America’s family farms and ranches.”
Fraas further explained that while some veterans return home to jobs, many are returning to rural areas where jobs can be scarce. The Center for Rural Affairs’ Veteran Farmers Project provides veterans with the knowledge to become successful farmers and ranchers. By creating sound farm and ranch businesses that tap into high value markets, returning veterans can reintegrate gracefully and fruitfully into America’s rural communities.
“It’s important to thank veterans for their service. And helping returning vets transition from the military back into the workforce and into their post-military careers is equally important,” concluded Fraas.
The free-of-charge webinar features video farm tours and discussion with several farmers and ranchers: Evrett Lunquist and Ruth Chantry of Common Good Farm will describe direct marketing of produce and livestock products; and veteran Garrett Dwyer will explain his cattle operation. The 90 minute program will also focus on financing and land access options, disability assistance, Farm Service Agency loan programs, and other resources for veterans.
“It can be difficult to get started in the world of agriculture,” said Dwyer, a beginning rancher and former Marine infantryman from Bartlett, NE. “Skyrocketing costs of buying or renting land make entry into farming and ranching a daunting task.”
According to Dwyer, more beginning farmers and ranchers are needed because without a new generation of beginners, the land will concentrate in large farms. “And that will cause the permanent loss of opportunity for family farms, ranches, and rural communities and squander the chance to shift to a more sustainable system of agriculture,” explained Dwyer.
Major funding for this project is provided by USDA Risk Management Agency. Partner organizations include the Center for Rural Affairs, Farmer-Veteran Coalition, Nebraska Farmers Union, Kansas Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Kansas AgrAbility Project, Nebraska AgrAbility Project and Missouri AgrAbility Project.
|Source: Press Release -|
|Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.|
|Read the magazine story to find out more.|
ARS physiologist Jeffrey Vallet has developed a way for producers to quickly measure a newborn piglet’s nursing ability and likelihood of mortality so that there is an opportunity to save at-risk piglets. Click the image for more information about it.
By Sandra Avant
October 11, 2012
To help increase the survival of newborn piglets, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new method that predicts animals’ mortality and nursing ability.
Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., call the measuring technique the “immunocrit,” which determines whether preweaning piglets receive adequate colostrum from the sow. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
Preweaning mortality costs the U.S. swine industry an estimated $1.6 billion each year, and one of the contributing factors is deficient colostrum intake by piglets. The colostrum produced by a sow after giving birth contains immunoglobulins, or antibodies, which help build immunity against bacteria, viruses and other foreign elements. Piglets that fail to nurse and receive enough colostrum from their mother within the first 24 hours after birth usually die.
The immunocrit measures newborn piglet serum immunoglobulin in blood samples. These measurements indicate piglets’ mortality and nursing ability, according to Vallet, research leader of USMARC’s Reproduction Unit. Immunocrit results also show that the average measurement of piglets in a litter reflects the sow’s ability to produce colostrum.
In addition, scientists have found a connection between immunocrit measurements, piglets’ weight and mortality. Pigs that weighed more were more likely to survive the challenge of not getting colostrum within the critical timeframe, as opposed to those that weighed less.
Because test results are obtained so quickly, it is possible to identify compromised piglets while they’re still alive, according to Vallet. The immunocrit recognizes piglets within a litter that have not eaten or had the chance to nurse. This provides an opportunity to save at-risk piglets by using intervention strategies.
The new technique, which also works with cattle, can be used by swine producers to test management practices such as split suckling, according to Vallet. A labor-intensive method, split suckling is designed to improve colostrum intake for piglets born last by giving them uninhibited access to the sow. Using the immunocrit, blood samples can be taken 24 hours after the split suckling procedure to determine if colostrum intake has increased in these piglets.
Read more about this research in the October 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine