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Rabies Vaccination Recommended

The High Plains Journal reported Colorado State University veterinarians’ recommendation to vaccinate livestock and horses against rabies due to an increased number of infected skunks in the state.

Increased infected wildlife is creating concern and imposing a need for precaution. Although bats have spread the disease for years, the increase in other wildlife infections is cause for preventative actions to be taken. The High Plains Journal reported the increased skunk infection has lead to additional livestock cases as well as a significantly increased risk rate.

CSU veterinarians recommend horses and livestock, particularly pet livestock such as llamas and alpacas, be vaccinated once a year, and also recommend vaccination of commercial production livestock in locations where there is high skunk activity. CSU veterinarians also strongly encourage all companion pet owners to vaccinate their cats and dogs. All warm-blooded animals, including humans, can be infected with rabies.

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HSUS Strikes Again

Agriculture awareness is becoming an ever critical component of our daily lives. Unfortunately, there some organizations are out to portray the most negative image of agriculture possible. The Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video today showing alleged animal abuse and food safety problems at Cal-Marine Foods, the nation’s largest egg producer.

For 28 days concluding this month, an HSUS undercover investigator was employed at one of Cal-Maine’s two egg farms in Waelder, Texas. The HSUS report details brutalities and conditions that would make anyone shudder. The Texas Farm Bureau commented, “the small number of producers who abuse the privilege of raising and caring for food animals give a black eye to those who do it right. There is no excuse for animal cruelty. Individual producers should adopt a zero tolerance policy and work to get those who abuse animals out of business.”

It is because of these blatant attempts to bully the agriculture industry that we as agriculturists must stand together and share our story.  Sites like Conversation Care and Feedstuffs (to name a few) are taking a step in sharing the heartfelt stories of how we as agriculturists really care. Here at the Farm Bureau, we are dedicated to protecting and advocating agriculture. Now, we need you. Take a minute and write a letter to your editor, comment on a blog post or visit with someone at the gas station in town. Let’s stand together and share the real image of agriculture: an industry that cares and works hard for the consumer.

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USDA urges support for National Broadband Plan

USDA has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission to support development of the National Broadband Plan based on USDA’s considerable experience in financing broadband projects in rural areas. The FCC is implementing the plan to guide broadband deployment nationwide.

“Robust economic growth and job creation in rural America depend on the quality and reach of broadband networks, where distance and density restrain economic activity,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Broadband networks create economic opportunity and open unparalleled access to health care, educational, cultural and public safety services essential for over 50 million Americans who live in rural areas.”

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EPA under suit for Ethanol Blend Decisiod

Agriculture Resumes its Infighting

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the American Meat Institute joined other groups in filing a lawsuit Tuesday against EPA to overturn the agency’s decision to allow a higher ethanol blend in gasoline. The groups said EPA overstepped its authority in allowing cars built in 2007 and later to burn E15 or gasoline with a blend of 15 percent ethanol.

In its filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals, the groups said EPA “clearly exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act” and “the agency has a legal obligation to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Clean Air Act and, in this case, has failed to do so.”

The American Farm Bureau is a proponent of the blend increase ruling. “Ethanol is a clean-burning, home-grown renewable fuel. Increasing the percentage of ethanol in the domestic gasoline supply moves our nation one step closer to greater energy independence,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “It also promotes job creation in rural America.”

Proposition 2 Could be Declared Unconstitutional

The California Supreme Court could be requested to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s ballot initiative process. It’s highly unlikely, but if the court were to rule that the process is unconstitutional, all ballot initiatives adopted over the last 100 years could be declared invalid, including the 2008 ballot initiative on animal housing, Proposition 2, better known as “Prop 2.” Prop 2 requires that all farm animals in California, “for all or the majority of any day,” not be confined or tethered in a manner that prevents them from lying down, standing up, turning around or fully extending their limbs without touching another animal or an enclosure such as a cage or stall.

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Farm Bureau Asks Senate to Oppose Federal Water Control Bill

Farmers and ranchers would face burdensome federal regulatory control if provisions of a restrictive Senate water bill make it through the “lame duck” session of Congress, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF and a coalition of other groups are vowing to oppose any effort to attach the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) to any bill that might be addressed during the lame duck session.

“While carrying a title that suggests it is limited in scope, provisions of this bill would have drastic negative impacts on agriculture,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The bill makes sweeping changes to the Clean Water Act and sets adverse water policy precedents that would impact watersheds throughout the nation.”

According to Stallman, the bill strips state and local governments within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed of their authority under the Clean Water Act and grants it instead to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Bigger federal government and expanded federal authority is not in the best interest of our nation,” Stallman said. “By granting EPA the authority to issue what are called Total Maximum Daily Loads without allowing states the opportunity to address water issues, this bill would give EPA greater control over land-use decisions that should be made at the local level.”

Medicaid Expansion will Bankrupt States

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is expected to add up to 16 million more Medicaid enrollees and expand eligibility for families. Although the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of the newly eligible, newly enrolled populations and 95 percent of the costs through 2019, hidden costs will strain already tight state budgets.

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