Archive for the ‘Animal Ag’ Category

Farmers Prevail in Court Decision on EPA Livestock Rules

In a major court victory for AFBF and other farm organizations, a unanimous federal court of appeals has ruled that EPA cannot require livestock farmers to apply for Clean Water Act permits unless their farms actually discharge manure into U.S. waters.

The ruling was welcomed by Farm Bureau, the National Pork Producers Council and several other agriculture groups that filed suit against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

“For the second time, a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that EPA’s authority is limited by the Clean Water Act to jurisdiction over only actual discharges to navigable waters, not potential discharges,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We are pleased that the federal courts have again reined in EPA’s unlawful regulation of livestock operations under the Clean Water Act. The court has affirmed that EPA, like other federal agencies, can only regulate where it has been authorized by Congress to do so.”

In the ruling issued Tuesday, the 5th Circuit concluded: “The CWA provides a comprehensive liability scheme and the EPA’s attempt to supplement this scheme is in excess of its statutory authority.”

Washington Egg Bills Aim to Short-circuit HSUS Initiative

Egg producers in Washington are working to prempt HSUS and its planned ballot measure to limit the food choice of citizens in the state. Two bills which carry bipartisan support are working their way through the Washington legislature would establish minimum standards for egg laying hen farms.

The bills would codify the United Egg Producer production and housing standards into Washington law. The program addresses such issues as hen space requirements, air quality, handling standards, hen treatment and facility requirements.

Kiasa Kuykendall, of Stiebrs Farms in Yelm, Wash., told the senators the HSUS asked her farm to go 100 percent cage-free. About 5 percent of her farm’s eggs are from cage-free hens.

“The proposed ban (on cages) would go against the customers. We would not survive,” she said.

(Image: Offbeat Photography)

El Paso County FB Sponsors Animal Disease Workshop

A workshop entitled “CORRALing a Foreign Animal Disease” will help inform cattlemen on the implications of a foreign animal disease outbreak and what the response efforts by state and local authorities might look like. The workshop is also intended to help better prepare cattlemen for responding to and preventing a disease or other emergency incident.

The workshop is sponsored by the El Paso County Farm Bureau and CSU Extension along with Calhan Veterinary Clinic and El Paso Soil Conservation. Speakers will include officials from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Rapid Response for Agriculture and Livestock (CORRAL) system.

The event will take place on February 5th at 10:00 am at the El Paso County Fairgrounds. Please RSVP to the Calhan Vet Clinic by Feb. 3rd. Call 719-347-2702.

Another CFB Member Appointed to AFBF Committee

Jason and his wife Rachel farm south of Limon where they raise wheat, sunflowers, proso, sorghum feed, grass hay, cattle and show pigs.

Jason Vermillion, Vice President of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors, has been appointed to the AFBF Swine Commodity Advisory Committee by AFBF President Bob Stallman. Vermillion, a fifth generation farmer, will represent the interests of hog producers in the western region of the United States throughout his two year term.

He and his wife, Rachel, recently won the Excellence in Agriculture award and will travel to the AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, in January to represent Colorado Farm Bureau in the national Excellence in Agriculture competition.

Vermillion is the second Colorado Farm Bureau YF&R members to be appointed to an AFBF Committee. Nathan Weathers was appointed to the AFBF YF&R Committee earlier this month.

Scientists Make Foot-and-Mouth Disease Breakthrough

Scientists with the Agriculture Department’s Agriculture Research Service have identified the primary site where the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease begins infection in cattle.

The discovery could lead to development of new vaccines to control and potentially eradicate FMD, a highly contagious and sometimes fatal viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals that is considered the most economically devastating livestock disease in the world.

The discovery was made by scientists at the ARS Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center at Orient Point, N.Y. Researchers found that after just six hours of exposure to the FMD virus through the cow’s nasal passages, the virus selectively infects epithelial cells in the nasopharynx, a specific region of the back of the throat.

USDA to Move Forward with Cost-Benefit Analysis of GIPSA Rule

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told poultry and meat industry representatives on Monday that USDA will conduct a more thorough cost benefit analysis of new livestock marketing rules proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

Vilsack declined to speculate how long the review process would take, but said the rule as published June 22 was a draft and could be extensively changed before being finalized.

Industry groups weighed in extensively with their concerns about the proposals during an extended comment period which ended Nov. 22, including criticizing the lack of an adequate economic analysis in the proposed rule.

“A serious and robust analysis of the economic impact of the proposed GIPSA rule is long overdue,” said NCC Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Bill Roenigk.  “The rule will have a profound, far-reaching and costly impact on the poultry and livestock industries, and it should not have been put forth without an appropriate analysis of its impact on farmers and ranchers, industry, and consumers.”

Nebraska governor on HSUS: ‘We’re going to beat them’

The governor of Nebraska is sending a strong message to the Humane Society of the United States—if the animal rights group goes after the state’s livestock industry, it’s in for a fight.

“The Humane Society of the United States is anti-agriculture and they’re out to destroy animal agriculture—and if they want to come to Nebraska, we’re going to fight them and we’re going to beat them,” Heineman says. “Agriculture is the number one industry in this state.  It’s what makes our economy so strong.  I’m going to stand tall and this is a fight we won’t shy away from.”

In an interview with Brownfield after his speech to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s group in Kearney, Heineman made it clear that compromise is not an option.

“In Nebraska, no deal, no compromise—we’re going to stand up, we’re going to beat them,” he says. “They’d be better off going somewhere else because they’re going to lose if they stay in Nebraska.”

HSUS has recently become more active in Nebraska, hiring a state director and holding a town hall meeting in Lincoln.

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