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Agriculture News

Poultry farms aren’t small independent businesses, says the agency that funds them

The New Food Economy | Posted on March 13, 2018

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on Tuesday announced in a new report that most chicken growers may no longer qualify as independent, small businesses. And that means they won’t qualify for small business loans. It’s a finding that could signal a significant loss in support: Between 2012 and 2016, SBA loaned about $1.8 billion to poultry growers. In 2016, poultry companies received more than three-quarters of all the SBA loans that went to agricultural businesses.

Bayer Feed A Bee program funds 20 new projects

PR Newswire | Posted on March 13, 2018

Less than one year after launching the Feed a Bee 50-state forage grant program, the Bayer Bee Care Program revealed the list of 20 new organizations that have received funding for important forage initiatives around the country, bringing the total number of projects funded to more than 100. After a rigorous review and evaluation process by the Feed a Bee steering committee, 20 organizations were chosen in the latest round of review to receive awards ranging from $1,000 - $5,000. This brings the total for the program to 112 funded projects in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

Canadian egg farmers disappointed with new TPP agreement

Canadian Poultry Magazine | Posted on March 13, 2018

Egg Farmers of Canada has weighed in on Tuesday’s Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) announcement. In a press release, the organization said it was disappointed with the deal, describing it as a failure to protect the future of Canada's egg farms.EFC added it also represents a hit on Canadian consumers.“The outcome of the CPTPP agreement means difficult challenges for Canada's egg farmers, their communities and many farms and businesses they support,” EFC chairman Roger Pelissero said.Once fully implemented, Canadian egg farmers will have lost the right to produce close to 291 million dozen eggs, with an additional 19 million dozen eggs added each year after the implementation phase.

Qatar Is Shipping In 3,000 Cows From California, Arizona and Wisconsin

Bloomberg | Posted on March 13, 2018

The nine-month Saudi-led embargo of Qatar has an undisputed mascot for Doha’s defiance: the cud-chewing American cow. Thousands of airlifted dairy cows landed in Qatar in the first months of the boycott that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt established against the country in June. The airborne bovines created a spectacle that highlighted the gas-rich sheikdom’s ability to overcome sanctions and provide fresh milk to its 2.7 million residents.The herd settled at Baladna Farms, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Doha.

States consider blocking pesticides after EPA flips

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on March 13, 2018

A month after Scott Pruitt began leading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the former Oklahoma attorney general rejected an Obama-era recommendation from agency scientists to ban a widely used pesticide from use on food crops. That means farmers can continue to spray chlorpyrifos on crops ranging from corn to cranberries. The change was welcomed by farm groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which said farmers need access to the chemical to stop infestations. But environmentalists, who had been working for years to get the Obama administration to crack down on the pesticide, were outraged. And officials in several states — all led by Democrats — now say that if the federal government won’t force the pesticide off their lands, they will. Seven states have sued the EPA over Pruitt’s decision. In at least four states, legislators have filed bills to ban the product.

Immigrants say working at Kansas ranch was 'like slavery'

Yahoo News | Posted on March 13, 2018

Immigrants working on a remote Kansas ranch toil long days in a type of servitude to work off loans from the company for the cost of smuggling them into the country, according to five people who worked there. There are no holidays, health insurance benefits or overtime pay at Fullmer Cattle Co., which raises calves for dairies in four states. The immigrants must buy their own safety gear such as goggles.One worker spent eight months cleaning out calf pens, laying down cement and doing other construction work. Esteban Cornejo, a Mexican citizen who is in the U.S. illegally, left Kansas in November after paying off debt, which he figures was nearly $7,000. The pay stub Cornejo shared with The Associated Press shows he worked 182.5 hours at $10 an hour over two weeks — an average of 15 hours a day with Sundays off. His pay was $1,828.34 before taxes. Also deducted was a $1,300 "cash advance repayment" that he said was a company loan for bringing him into the country. His take-home pay was $207.46, the pay stub shows, or just over $1 an hour 

Robotics companies look to fill gaps for struggling dairy farmers

edairynews | Posted on March 13, 2018

“Right now, some of the toughest we’ve had in my 35 years,” says Daniel Pearson, an organic dairy farmer in River Falls. “It’s definitely a time to more than tighten your belt, but really look at expenses and really look at doing as much as you can to market everything that you have.” Now, robotics companies are hoping to fill gaps in the industry. Pearson says the labor shortage and low milk prices are factors in the tough market. So how is the problem being addressed? Enter: farm robots.

AVMA working group helps navigate opioid abuse epidemic

AVMA | Posted on March 8, 2018

An AVMA working group has taken up the task of providing needed information to help veterinary professionals contribute productively to the national response to human opioid addiction. Veterinarians prescribe or dispense opioids for very limited uses, and do so relatively infrequently; however, it is critical for certain animals to receive these medications. Opioids are used primarily to treat pain in veterinary medicine and are an important tool for veterinarians because they can be used with minimal risks to very sick patients.Just like everyone else, veterinarians are very concerned about the human opioid drug crisis. Though our animal patients are not the ones struggling with opioid addiction, the practices we already follow when it comes to the responsible use of opioids  help us address opioid abuse in humans. These thoughtful steps include meticulous record-keeping and control of opioids, as well as a multi-modal approach to patient care that uses not only pharmaceuticals, but also other interventions to effectively manage pain.

USDA looking for veterinarians to practice in shortage areas

AVMA | Posted on March 8, 2018

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced 2018 veterinary shortage areas for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). In total, NIFA has designated 187 areas across the country as having inadequate access to livestock and public health veterinarians. Now, NIFA is accepting applications for veterinarians who want to apply for a VMLRP award to serve in one of these areas. AVMA worked closely with Congress and USDA to establish the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which provides a total of $75,000 in student loan repayments to qualified livestock and public health veterinarians who serve at least three years in designated shortage areas. This program helps relieve the student debt burden of veterinarians and enables them to pursue rural practice without sacrificing financial stability.

Alaska state veterinarian warns of emerging disease

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on March 8, 2018

Diseases that afflict livestock and wildlife are increasingly emerging in Alaska, said Bob Gerlach, DVM, state veterinarian.  Other diseases are increasing in northern-tier states and Canada due to climate change, increase in human population, and worldwide movement of agricultural products. Alaska’s cool climate and isolation has for millennia helped protect wildlife and the people who subsist on it from many of the diseases that thrive in warmer, lower latitudes, according to Dr. Gerlach. But that’s changing, as Alaska is no longer isolated from what’s happening globally, he said.