Here’s something that I think is really cool that’s happening in the veterinary community right now. It’s a group called WisCARES. We realized there were all these people that had pets, but that had trouble accessing the veterinary care they needed. There were reasons why they were having difficulty getting that care, from homelessness to poverty. Under the leadership of Dr. William Gilles, the organization has taken off and is now part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. The focus is now a “one health” initiative, trying to support people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and trying to keep their pets with them. In keeping in touch with these people via their pets, the school is also partnering with the school of social work and the pharmacy school. It’s looking at not only the health of animals, but also people who need help in the community.
A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu was discovered in two dead cats on Saturday, a provincial government official said, marking the first infection of the virus found in mammals in two years. The H5N6 strain of avian influenza (AI) which has infected chickens across the country was found in the bodies of the cats in Pocheon, some 46 kilometers north of Seoul, the official said, citing information from health authorities. The cats were found dead earlier this week some 2 kilometers from a chicken farm where the strain of the virus was first reported last month. It marked the first infection of AI in mammals in South Korea since February 2015 when the country reported the infection of bird flu in a dog.
The trouble with farming has always been that it is cheaper to buy what we produce from other farmers like us than it is to produce those things ourselves. That’s why industries serving agriculture always seem to do better than farmers themselves. For example, Iowa State University published tables of annual average corn and soybean prices and average annual production costs per bushel of corn and soybeans on Iowa’s farms from 1968 to 2016. What the tables clearly show is that it is cheaper to buy those crops than to grow them. That’s why keeping the kids down on the farm is so hard. Unfortunately, while farmers grew corn in 2016 worth $3.44 per bushel, they spent $4.11 to do it. Soybeans are a similar story, costing $10.67 per bushel to grow while only worth $9.24 at the elevator.
Antibiotic-free chicken and pig production news was a popular topic in 2016. These 10 articles drew the most attention from WATT AgNet readers during the past year, ranked by the number of times readers viewed the stories. 1. Tyson eager to meet antibiotic-free chicken demand. The demand for chicken raised with no antibiotics ever (NAE) continues to grow, and Tyson Foods President Tom Hayes says the company is poised to meet that demand.2. 7 antibiotic-free feeding practices beyond additives, Additives are not the only area that require attention when antibiotics are removed from feeds.3. Secrets to antibiotic-free poultry production. If there is a secret to antibiotic-free poultry production, it is that producers are using powerful tools to make their ABF programs successful – in most cases, these tools are old ones just better applied than in the past.4. 3 keys to antibiotic-free poultry production. Removing antibiotics from the equation requires growers to keep a cleaner, more biosecure operation as well as promote positive gut microflora.5. Antibiotic-free livestock reveal production chain flaws. Experts gathered as part of Novus International’s 25th anniversary celebration said removing growth promoting antibiotics requires inspection of every aspect of the operation and much greater cooperation in the industry.6. Adding copper sulfate to antibiotic-free piglet diets. Long before the advent of zinc oxide, another mineral used to dominate piglet feeds: copper sulphate. It was known to reduce or prevent piglet diarrheas and, as such, it improved animal growth rate and feed efficiency.7. Panel discusses impact of antibiotic-free demands on poultry production. There is no magic formula or product that will make removing antibiotics from poultry production easy. It’s a process, and one that requires attention to detail, more communication between growers and flock managers, better hatchery management, a change in culture, plus other subtle changes.8. Gut health vital to antibiotic-free poultry production. Biomin scientist cites studies linking good poultry gut health to reduced risk of necrotic enteritis.9. Video: Veterinarians speak on antibiotic-free poultry production. Veterinarians for Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride and Cargill Turkey Products weighed in on hot topics at WATT Global Media’s panel at IPPE.10. 2016 Nutrition & Feed Survey: Formulating poultry feed for antibiotic-free production. Annual survey reveals alternatives to antimicrobials for growth promotion, feed additive usage trends.
Pilot testing of the new Canadian Pork Excellence program is just a couple weeks away as volunteer farms nationwide will begin participating in the program that the Canadian Pork Council revamped from its on-farm food safety and animal care assurance programs and combined into one. In the first phase, farms will begin keeping required documentation and making necessary adjustments before moving to full validation. In 2018, through the existing validation cycle, Canadian Pork farms due for a “Full Validation” in 2018 will join the Canadian Pork Excellence Platform by completing the Food Safety and Animal Care Programs. Therefore, three years of implementation will take place to allow all producers to join the revised programs.
Environmental regulations coming down the pike for California dairy producers will require significant capital investment and new-era management practices.
A lawsuit filed by two farms against California labor regulators has been revived by a federal appeals court, which ruled it’s plausible the companies were unfairly targeted. The dispute relates to law passed by California lawmakers in 2015 that provided some — but not all — farms with safe harbor against certain labor lawsuits. Farms in the state were facing possible class action litigation after court rulings that piece-rate workers, such as those paid based on harvest amounts, must be paid the minimum wage even for breaks, meals and other “non-productive” periods. Before those rulings, farmers simply ensured that the total amount paid to piece-rate workers for a period of time exceeded the amount they’d be paid by the minimum wage. In response, California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 1513, which shields growers from liability as long as they correct “minimum wage deficiencies” that occurred between mid-2012 and the end of 2015.
European consumers don’t approve of genetically engineered crops, but European farmers are eager to feed them to their livestock, according to a USDA report. As a result, Europe poses an economic opportunity for U.S. farmers while the threat of a consumer-driven trade disruption looms over exports of biotech crops, experts say. “As the global cultivation of GE crops expands, it is increasingly difficult for European importers to source non-biotech soybean products. Their availability is declining and prices are on the rise,” according to the new report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Researchers from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine have received a nearly quarter-million dollar federal grant to improve rural veterinarians’ awareness of endemic, transboundary and emerging diseases of production animals. The $239,656 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture is going to a Kansas State University-based team headed by Brad White, professor of production medicine and interim director of the Beef Cattle Institute. The team will use the grant to conduct organized workshops and create online modules that enhance education and career development for rural veterinarians who work with production animals—livestock raised for food. Another goal of the grant is to enhance career opportunities for rural production animal veterinarians.
The Wildlife Code (HB 4604/ PA 99-0866): Public Hunting Grounds for Game: Changes the name of the fee from "Public Hunting Grounds for Pheasants" to "Public Hunting Grounds for Game Birds." Fish and Aquatic Life Code (HB 5788/PA 99-0867): Adds catfish to the list of aquatic life that may be taken by pitchfork, spear gun or bow and arrow. The Wildlife Code/Youth Trapping License (SB 2410/PA 99-0868): Allows minors to apply for youth trapping licenses with limited privileges. Wildlife/Hunter/Landowner SB 3003/ PA 99-0869): Allows only one application to be submitted for hunters hunting on their own land of over 40. Local Food, Farm and Jobs Act HB 5933/ PA 99-0653): Removes provisions giving the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council responsibility to develop, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, a label and certification program. Department of Agricultural Law of the Civil Code (. (HB 4318/ PA 99-0823): Department of Agriculture may sell at cost, to qualified applicants, signs designating an agribusiness that has been operated for 100 years or more. (HB 4318/ PA 99-0823) Property Tax Code (SB 2160/PA 99-0560): Extends sunset date on valuation of vegetative filter strips to December 31, 2026 (SB 2160/PA 99-0560).