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FARM FILE: Sonny’s big adventure

Those Wisconsin dairy cows at the center of another trade kettle now boiling between the United States and Canada, a friend suggests, aren’t really black-and-white Holsteins.They’re tiny, yellow canaries, he opines, and their tweets—not President Donald J. Trump’s—are a warning that America’s reign as the world’s ag export superpower is fading and U.S. farmers and ranchers are ill-prepared for what comes next.

First cloned cat ‘like any other’ 15 years later

At the end of a long gravel road in East College Station, the world's first cloned cat -- now 15 years old -- lives in what longtime Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science researcher Duane Kraemer describes affectionately as a "kitty barn." CC, also known as Copy Cat, was born in December 2001, the result of the 87th attempt at cloning a cat by Kraemer's lab at Texas A&M after several years of trying.Kraemer, who recently retired from the university, said the success was simply the product of his team's work in pushing the boundaries of what is possible to accomplish.

Cornell Researchers Set to Use GMO Moths to Control Pests

Researchers at Cornell University hope to tackle a small pest and a big problem that has plagued agriculture since the 1800s: controlling the destructive diamondback moth through genetic engineering. The diamondback moth is a small creature, about the length of two grains of rice, but they are capable of inflicting billions of dollars of damage on cabbage and broccoli crops every year. In fact, the moth is Enemy No. 1 when it comes to the cabbage and broccoli family.

Florida teacher accused of calling ag students ‘murderers’

A Florida teacher stands to lose his job after school officials said he bullied and harassed Future Farmers of America students who are raising livestock to be sold for slaughter. Middle school teacher Thomas Roger Allison Jr., 53, has been placed on unpaid leave from Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks near Ocala for calling the students who are raising livestock “murderers,” according to a Marion County school district letter documenting the case. Allison is also accused of harassing the group’s teacher adviser and encouraging his honors science students to harass FAA members.

Antibiotic resistance a problem but economics dictate use

Antimicrobial resistance is a global issue affecting public, animal and plant health.  Before the 1960s, antibiotics were expensive and were not widely used in livestock production, said Wondwossen Gebreyes, executive director of Global One Health Initiative at Ohio State University. However, there are economic benefits to using antibiotics in livestock production. A study from the University of Kentucky found the total benefit per pig was $3.98. “There is huge incentive to use antibiotics and when you withdraw them there are huge consequences,” he said. 

HPAI like fighting a war in Tennessee

Dr. Charles Hatcher, the Tennessee State Veterinarian, was at the center of the recent flurry of activity with avian influenza when the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was discovered in a commercial facility in the state. “The state of Tennessee benefitted from the previous states going through the outbreak in 2015. The lessons learned there were critical for what we did,” Hatcher said at yesterday’s National Institute for Animal Agriculture meeting in Columbus.

Ag and Food Law Consortium to Host Webinar on GM Salmon and Other GMO Reg Issues

The Agricultural and Food Law Consortium will host a webinar will provide an overview of legal issues surrounding genetically engineered and genetically modified products in aquaculture, as well as an overview of GMO regulatory issues, including labeling. The presentations will discuss the AquAdvantage salmon case study and recent legal developments.The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 12noon – 3pm (EST).

Family Dairies Applauded for Placing Caps on Dairy Production

The leader of the Wisconsin Farmers Union is praising the Madison-based Family Dairies USA for being pro-active and working with farmers to limit the milk that comes in, rather than dumping it or selling it for below-market prices after the fact. WFU President Darin Von Ruden said he also commends the cooperative for asking all of their members to shoulder a little of the burden of managing over-supply.

Who is paying for defense of Des Moines Water Works lawsuit?

About $1 million in invoices were paid to Des Moines and Washington, DC, law firms until March, and the supervisors claim not to know who gave them the money. That’s stunning. The Agribusiness Association of Iowa organized a fund that paid those bills, but it reportedly refuses to tell the counties who the donors were. The supervisors believe that they cannot look a gift horse in the mouth to see who planted the bit. We have just learned that the supervisors, not AAI, severed their relationship in April because we wanted to know who those donors were.


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