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EPA rule exempts farms from emissions reporting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule exempting livestock farmers from reporting to state and local authorities the routine emissions from their farms.

“The rule announced today is the final piece in the implementation of the FARM Act, which passed Congress earlier this year and which eliminated the need for livestock farmers to estimate and report to the federal government emissions from the natural breakdown of manure,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “That bipartisan measure was approved because it was unnecessary and impractical for farmers to waste their time and resources alerting government agencies that there are livestock on farms.”

The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM, Act fixed a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

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Dairy aid helps, but not enough

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) needs to better reflect the dairy-farm incomes lost to tariff retaliation when it calculates its next round of trade mitigation payments, the said today.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, National Milk Producers Federation Chairman and dairy farmer Randy Mooney cited four studies illustrating that milk producers have experienced more than $1 billion in lost income since May, when the retaliatory tariffs were first placed on dairy goods in response to U.S. levies on foreign products. In contrast, the first round of USDA trade mitigation payments, announced in August, allocated only $127 million to dairy farmers.

“We are ever-grateful for your advocacy on agricultural trade, which is crucial to the economic health of our industry,” wrote Mooney, who operates Mooney Dairy in Rogersville, Missouri, with his wife, Jan. “However, our members are greatly concerned about the level of aid that was provided in the initial effort.”

The letter details four analyses, including two independent studies using sophisticated economic modeling, that each show losses to dairy producers far above USDA’s initial payment level.

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Key facts about African swine fever

Despite the Chinese government’s control efforts, the spread of African swine fever (ASF) continues in China. The official reports from the World Health Organization (OIE) now say there have been more than 40 cases confirmed in 11 provinces, including one in the far south of the country. Despite this geographic advance, some pig movement has been allowed to help with China’s domestic demand for pork.

And, according to a recent Global Disease Monitoring Report by the Swine Health Information Center, Brazil has reported a case of classical swine fever (CSF) in their country. The Brazilian case, which was reported earlier this month, was in the country’s far north, which is not in a major pig-producing area. This part of Brazil was already not considered to be free of CSF.

U.S. pork is not affected by the ASF outbreaks in other countries and is safe to eat.

  • ASF does not affect humans and therefore is not a public health threat.
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Ag applauds work to deepen Philippine trade relations

The U.S. Trade Representative announced progress in talks with the Philippines under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). U.S. dairy producers and processors appreciate the Administration’s work to preserve and deepen market access ties with a country that purchased $243 million in U.S. dairy products last year.

In a joint statement released about the recent achievements in resolving trade issues under the TIFA, both governments agreed that they should work together to benefit agriculture. This is viewed as a promising development given Southeast Asia’s growing market for dairy products.

U.S. officials noted that the Philippines has been handling geographical indications (GIs) in a fair manner that preserves the use of common names and welcomed their commitment to “discuss ways to ensure that Philippine laws, regulations, and policies do not restrict or prohibit entry of U.S. products in the Philippine market.”

To further that goal, the Philippines confirmed that “it will not provide automatic GI protection, including to terms exchanged as part of a trade agreement.” Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S.

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USDA temporarily halts pork imports from Poland

The U.S. Department of Agriculture to temporarily stopped shipments to the United States of pork from Poland.

The USDA has suspended entry of imports of fresh and frozen pork and pork products from Poland while it completes a review of that country’s export protocols. According to the USDA, “As part of a routine review of ongoing operations, it came to our attention that one Polish facility exporting pork to the U.S. has done so in contravention of the stringent requirements in place to prevent the spread of serious diseases of livestock, like ASF.”

USDA’s action was taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the United States remains free of African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly contagious, trade-limiting pig disease with no cure. USDA has been closely monitoring ASF’s spread in Eastern Europe — parts of Poland have the disease — and in Asia. The disease underscores the need for the United States to be better prepared to address foreign animal diseases, including by establishing a more robust vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), another trade-limiting disease endemic in many parts of the world.

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Trade news offers some optimism for pork producers

News on the trade front is getting better for U.S. pork producers as the Trump administration announced it wants to negotiate trade agreements with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom. The National Pork Producers Council commended the administration for its ambitious trade agenda.

The administration recently updated agreements with Canada and Mexico and with South Korea that maintained the U.S. pork industry’s zero-tariff access to those important markets, three of the top five destinations for U.S. pork exports.

“We’ve got the momentum on trade headed in the right direction now,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Producers are hurting because of retaliatory tariffs on pork, which were prompted by the administration’s efforts to realign U.S. trade policy. But producers have been patient, and now that patience is starting to pay off, particularly if we get a trade deal with Japan.”

Since Trump took office in January 2017, NPPC has been urging the White House to begin trade talks with countries in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, beginning with Japan, the U.S.

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Lepley Farms finds balance in growing herd and compliance with new barn

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

For a few years now, Dave Lepley has been contemplating expanding his Huron County cattle herd. He knew he wanted to grow the number of head on his farm, but if he was going to take a big step in that direction, he wanted to do it the right way.

“We had a bed-pack dry lot with about 300 head and as we did research for expansion we came across the idea for this new cattle barn,” Lepley said. “We wanted to comply with a lot of different things. We had to have cattle comfort, we had to have compliance with EPA rules because of our proximity to Lake Erie so we wanted to be sure that as we built our herd size we could house them all in one facility.”

The result is a 101-foot by 321-foot by16-foot indoor feedlot facility in Bellevue permitted to hold 1,000 head of cattle.

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Beef Industry Update Meeting to be held in Williams County

A Beef Industry Update meeting hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will take place in Williams County. Beef producers from Williams and surrounding counties are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Williams County Fairgrounds — 619 E. Main Street, Montpelier, OH 43543.

At the meeting, OCA staff will discuss OCA events and policy updates. A complimentary dinner will be sponsored by OCA Allied Industry Council (AIC) members Farm Credit Mid-America and Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. and door prizes will be provided. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Farm Credit Mid-America and Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. representatives on keeping their cattle in production and profitable.

The 2018 Beef Industry Update producer education partner is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association.

Contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or email cattle@ohiocattle.org for more information about the beef industry update meetings.

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Livestock groups petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service flexibility

Organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country recently submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.

“We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips,” the organizations wrote.

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It’s time to grow forage, take inventory, and use it efficiently

By Victor Shelton, NRCS state agronomist/grazing specialist

Fall is here and it means that our perennial forages are starting to think about taking a siesta. You will want to do three things this time of year: grow as much forage as you can prior to plants going dormant, be as efficient as you can with what you have to graze, and take inventory on how much winter feed you have on hand.

There are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that can and will continue to grow for a while, especially forages that will stockpile like tall fescue.

Tall fescue stockpiles better than almost any other forage in the midwest. I would rather that not be old Kentucky 31 endophyte-infected fescue, but even KY 31 makes some really good feed in the winter time, especially after going through a few hard freezes.

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Livestock diseases a global threat worth monitoring

By Don “Doc” Sanders

This month’s column is more serious than most. If you’re looking for entertainment and my usual wild stories, you may want to skip this one. But this column is a must-read, if you raise livestock and/or care about the American food supply (and if you’re like me, you like to eat). Livestock disease outbreaks are occurring every day somewhere in the world. These diseases, if not contained, could threaten our food supply and lifestyle in a way that most Americans are too naïve to fathom.

It will pay you to be aware of this situation, so you can be prepared. For starters, here are a few facts that escape most Americans.

  • Many diseases are zoonotic. This means they can spread from animals to humans, or vice versa.
  • An example is avian influenza, which can pass from birds to humans. Remember the avian flu outbreak a couple years ago?
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Asian trade mission offers pork market insights

A recent trade mission to Asia by the National Pork Board International Marketing Committee built lasting relationships with international customers and elevated U.S. pork as the global protein of choice. The Pork Checkoff team toured Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, meeting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, importers and traders, as well as in-country staff responsible for promoting U.S. pork in the region.

“Pork is the No. 1 most-consumed protein in the world, and that was obvious on this mission,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee. “As the committee allocates Pork Checkoff dollars to international marketing, it is important to see how these dollars are working today and how we might better target producer resources in emerging markets in the future.”

With U.S. pork production again breaking records in 2018, the Pork Checkoff is committed to growing pork demand both domestically and in international markets.

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Calaway Classic beef show honors memories and creates new ones

By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporter

When the farming community loses one of their own, everyone comes together to remember the life that was lost.

On Sept. 30, the Meigs County Calaway Classic beef show was held in memory of Joann Calaway, who passed away unexpectedly in November of 2017. Calaway was a 4-H advisor in the county for 44 years known for her commitment to all of the youth.

“She ruled the barn with an iron fist and a soft heart,” wrote Anita Morrissey and Patty Aldridge, Calaway’s niece and sister.

Calaway enjoyed watching her sons Rob and Jeromee show cattle and then her granddaughter, Maddy. With several grand and reserve champions, the family has been successful with cattle from their family farm. Maddy competed in the Calaway Classic.

The Meigs County Beef Show was in conjunction with the Southern Ohio Showdown Circuit, which consists of 10 shows in different counties in southern Ohio.

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NCBA calls for flexibility on Hours of Service rules

At a public listening session hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today called for additional flexibility on Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. NCBA President Kevin Kester and Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera delivered the group’s message at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington.

The comments emphasized the need for a regulatory framework that encourages drivers to rest when they are tired. Under the status quo, drivers are incentivized to “push through” fatigue due to overly-restrictive Hours of Service rules.

“The current Hours of Service framework is incompatible with the realities of livestock hauling,” Kester said. “Drivers of our livestock need to be alert and safe, while also cognizant of the welfare of the animals they are hauling. We want them to rest as needed, instead of racing against the clock.”

Current rules require a livestock hauler to rest for 10 consecutive hours once they reach their maximum on-duty drive time of 11 hours.

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Holding time for feedstuffs may reduce swine disease risk

The ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in China, Belgium and elsewhere, have crystallized the U.S. pork industry’s focus and collaboration on finding new ways to help protect the domestic herd from costly foreign animal diseases (FADs). One new practice designed to reduce disease transmission risk involves knowing exactly how long certain feed ingredients have been securely stored before allowing their use on pig farms.

As modeling in peer-reviewed research has made clear, it’s possible for swine disease viruses to survive in shipments of certain feed ingredients during transoceanic shipping to U.S. ports and even to inland points of feed manufacture. Based on this current research, a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing to prevent additional contamination (“born on date”) for amino acids, minerals or vitamins will degrade 99.99% of viral contamination. The holding time extends to 286 days for soybean meal to allow for similar viral degradation, once shipped to prevent additional contamination.

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August beef exports soar to new heights while pork exports still under pressure

U.S. beef exports set new records in August with export value topping $750 million for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). August pork exports were fairly steady with last year’s volume, but retaliatory duties in key markets continued to pressure pork export value.

August beef exports totaled 119,850 metric tons (mt), up 7% from a year ago, valued at $751.7 million — up 11% year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9% from a year ago, while value climbed 18% to $5.51 billion.

For the third consecutive month, beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in August at 95,181 mt (up 9% from a year ago), valued at $679.6 million (up 13%). Through August, muscle cut exports were 14% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (692,234 mt) and 21% higher in value ($4.93 billion).

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What path will you choose for this cattle cycle?

By John F. Grimes, Ohio State University Extension Beef Coordinator

Based on reports from USDA and industry analysts such as Cattle Fax, it appears that the aggressive expansion of the U.S. beef cowherd will peak in 2019 and level off in the early part of the next decade. From the time the most recent herd expansion began in 2014, producers will have added over 3 million beef cows to the nation’s herd. Our primary protein competitors, pork and poultry, have also been in expansion mode recently which adds more competition for the consumer’s food dollars.

For all of my adult life, I have heard agricultural economists talk about the “cattle cycle”. The cycle is often reported in approximately 10-year increments and a wide variety of economic, environmental, and political effects can greatly influence each cycle. Current and future cattle cycles will face increasingly varied and complex factors that affect the economic health of the beef industry.

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Tom Vilsack talks trade and dairy exports under USMCA

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A conversation with…

Tom Vilsack — Former U.S. Ag Secretary and president, CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council on USMCA

Interview with Joel Penhorwood

 

OCJ: What is your take on the new NAFTA, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)?

Tom: I think it’s good news from the perspective that we now know that there is likely to be a tri-lateral relationship between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. I think there was some uncertainty as to whether or not the U.S. would either leave NAFTA or whether they would simply provide an agreement with Mexico and leave Canada out. I think now we know that we’re going to have a trilateral agreement which should stabilize and strengthen our dairy markets. We now know we’re going to be able to preserve that Mexican market, which is incredibly important to the dairy industry — our No. 1 market — with potential opportunities for additional access to the Canadian market.

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Dairy farmers ask Trump Administration to provide needed compensation for lost trade

U.S. dairy farmers at their annual meeting here this week asked President Donald Trump to recognize the significant economic losses milk producers are suffering because of the administration’s implementation of Section 232 and 301 tariffs.

The duties have resulted in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy exports, particularly in Mexico and China. They continue to cause severe economic harm to U.S. dairy farmers, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), as its board of directors adopted a resolution calling for aid commensurate to that damage.

“In light of the administration’s decision to establish a program to compensate farmers for the damage caused by these retaliatory tariffs, we call on the president to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide assistance to dairy producers at a level that reflects the damage they have caused,” milk producers resolved at their meeting, held Oct. 28-31 in Phoenix. Farmer losses will exceed $1 billion this year, according to four separate estimates cited by NMPF.

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NCBA contest seeks singer for National Anthem at 2019 convention in New Orleans

If you’re a singer from the cattle industry who can perform the National Anthem with precision, and if you would like a free trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association would like to hear from you. The organization is conducting its fifth annual National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook. Any member of NCBA, the American National CattleWomen, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, or their children are eligible to participate in the contest.

This year there is no age limit for entry. Contest winner will perform the Star Spangled Banner at the convention’s Opening General Session Jan. 30, as well as the Cowboy Concert Series Friday Night Event Feb. 1. They will receive round trip airfare for two to New Orleans for the convention, a hotel room for four nights, free convention registration for two, plus a pair of boots, pair of jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson.

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