Friday, July 24, 2015
The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format. Circular 597, "Chemical Weed and Brush Control for New Mexico Rangelands,” revised by Keith W. Duncan and Kirk C. McDaniel http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/CR597.pdf
Thursday, July 23, 2015
NMSU motorcycle tour in northern New Mexico offers chance to learn about 4-H DATE: 07/20/2015 WRITER: Darrell J. Pehr, 575-646-3223, email@example.com CONTACT: Jon C. Boren, 575-646-3015, firstname.lastname@example.org The rugged landscape of northern New Mexico will provide a dramatic backdrop for riders in the third annual Ride for the 4-H Clover motorcycle tour Aug. 28-30. Along with the chance to ride among towering peaks and across the famous Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the tour will include stops at New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station locations to build awareness for NMSU extension and outreach activities. Ride for the 4-H Clover is an awareness-building campaign first envisioned by NMSU Regents Chair Mike Cheney as a way for people to learn about the many opportunities New Mexico’s youth can experience through the Cooperative Extension Service 4-H program. Cheney and NMSU President Garrey Carruthers invite motorcycle riders and non-riders alike to participate in the ride. On Aug. 28, riders and other participants will get together for an opening reception from 6-7:30 p.m. at El Zocalo Event Center in Bernalillo. On Aug. 29, the group will gather again for a light breakfast and opening ceremony from 7:30-8:30 a.m., also at El Zocalo in Bernalillo. The tour will follow U.S. 550 from Bernalillo to N.M. 4. Riders will pass through Jemez Pueblo and the Jemez Mountains before stopping for a break at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. At 11 a.m., they’ll continue to Los Alamos for a fuel stop, then on to Espanola for lunch at the Rio Arriba County Cooperative Extension Service office and a program at the nearby Rural Event Center in Abiquiu. At 2 p.m., the group will get back on the road, bound for Taos, crossing the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge along the way. Participants may continue on an optional 83-mile Enchanted Circle Ride at 4 p.m., which will give riders a chance to see Questa, Red River, Eagle Nest and other scenic locations as they encircle Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain. The group will stay at the Sagebrush Inn, where they’ll reconvene for dinner from 6-8 p.m. On Aug. 30, participants will have a second chance to ride the Enchanted Circle Tour from 7-9 a.m. The group will depart Taos at 9 a.m., headed for the Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center, where they’ll stop for a program from 10-11 a.m. Then, it’s on to Santa Fe, where the tour will conclude at Santa Fe Harley-Davidson with a fuel stop, lunch, program and closing remarks. All proceeds benefit Cooperative Extension Service 4-H youth programs. Registration fee of $75 includes reception on Friday evening, lunches along the route, dinner at the Taos County Extension Office, breaks and commemorative pin. Hotel arrangements in Taos can be viewed at ridefortheclover.nmsu.edu. For additional information call 505-983-4615. For more information or to register for the ride, visit ridefortheclover.nmsu.edu or call 505-983-4615.
USDA Broadens Crop Insurance Options for Fruit and Nut Producers SCO and APH Yield Exclusion Expand Beginning with 2016 Crop Year WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are now available to cover fresh fruit and nuts in select counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. "USDA remains committed to making new crop insurance options outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill available to as many types of producers as possible. Providing these options for our producers of fresh fruit and nuts gives them the stronger safety net they need to continue farming, even after particularly bad years," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA will continue to work toward implementing risk management provisions from the Farm Bill as quickly as possible so that producers can plan for the future and protect their businesses." SCO will now be available in select counties for almonds, apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts for the 2016 crop year. Grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will be eligible for coverage beginning with the 2017 crop year. This is in addition to the alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, and rye that were recently made available for 2016 as well. Currently, SCO covers corn, cotton, cottonseed, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties. SCO is an area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy. USDA's Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, has posted information on the expanded program, including where SCO is available by crop and county. Visit www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/sco/index.html to learn more. Producers of apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year. Producers of grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2017 crop year. Alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, oats, onions, rye and winter wheat are also eligible in certain counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. These are in addition to barley, canola, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, popcorn, rice, soybeans, sunflowers and spring wheat, which were offered beginning in the 2015 crop year. The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50 percent below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program. Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the Risk Management Agency's agent locator. Growers can use the agency's cost estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Visit the Risk Management Agency at www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/aphye/index.html to learn more about SCO and APH Yield Exclusion. APH Yield Exclusion and SCO are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill. #
Friday, July 17, 2015
The following AES publication is now available online in PDF format. Research Report 788, "Hops Virus Testing: Significance and Implications for Establishing Hop Production in New Mexico and Southwest Colorado,” by Kevin A. Lombard, Beth LaShell, Franklin J. Thomas, Jason French, and Todd Bates http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/research/horticulture/RR788.pdf
Two workshops will examine livestock nutrition at NMSU’s Corona Research Center DATE: 07/10/2015 WRITER: Darrell J. Pehr, 575-646-3223, email@example.com CONTACT: Shad Cox, 575-849-1015, firstname.lastname@example.org CORONA, N.M. – Production of cattle, sheep and goats makes up a significant portion of New Mexico’s agricultural industry. Ensuring these ruminant animals receive the proper nutrition they need is a goal of ranchers and the focus of an upcoming two-part series. Ruminant nutrition will be the topic of a Beyond the Roundtable seminar July 22 at New Mexico State University’s Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability in Corona. “This is Nutrition I and will deal with the basic nutritional function of the rumen, rumen bacteria and what is known today about the rumen requirements,” said Shad Cox, superintendent of NMSU’s Corona Range and Livestock Research Center. “Nutrition II will be a month later in August and will build on this knowledge and is geared to the actual nutrients such as protein, energy, minerals, etc. and the complexity of balancing the diet for range ruminants.” The July 22 program will begin at 10 a.m. with a presentation on rumen kinetics and digestion by Eric Scholljegerdes, NMSU ruminant nutritionist. At 11 a.m., a presentation will be given on rumen bacteria and effective changes by Shanna Ivey, NMSU rumen microbiologist. Lunch will be provided at noon. At 1 p.m., NMSU ruminant nutritionist Clint Loest will discuss requirements and balancing nutrients. At 2 p.m., Scholljegerdes will lead “Bringing It All In Perspective.” The seminar will continue at 3 p.m. with a general nutrition roundtable discussion that will include presenters and industry representatives. Registration is free but limited to the first 45 participants. Register online at www.corona.nmsu.edu. For more information, contact Shad Cox at 575-849-1015 or email@example.com. For directions to the center, visit the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center’s website at www.coronasc.nmsu.edu.
Feds sued over massive water-rule power grab Claiming control over 'every pond, stream and ditch' in country A massive new power grab by bureaucrats in Washington that would give them control of “practically every pond, stream and ditch in the country” and the lands where they are is being challenged in court by a legal team that already has taken on – and defeated – federal efforts to run roughshod over Americans with water rules. The newest fight is against the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and others for their announcement, at the end of June, to vastly expand the jurisdictional term “waters of the United States” under the clean Water Act. A lawsuit was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation because, as its principal attorney, M. Reed Hopper, explained, “This new regulation is an open-ended license for federal bureaucrats to assert control over nearly all of the nation’s water, and much of the property, from coast to coast.” Have a retention pond in a park? Could be subject the new regulation. A low area where rain runoff from your neighborhood drains? Same thing. Isolated puddles in a cow pasture? Look out. In fact, Hopper said, “Under its vague and limitless terms, the only waters that are clearly not subject to federal regulatory power are a few that are expressly excluded in the Clean Water Act, including artificial reflective pools, ornamental waters, some ground water, and gullies.” Plaintiffs include the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Wool Growers Inc., New Mexico Federal Lands Council, Duarte Nursery Inc., Pierce Investment Co.’ LPF Properties and Hawks Co. The Sacramento-based legal team said the Washington rule “could bring virtually all the nation’s water and much of the land under direct federal regulatory control” because “it sets no limit on the CWA’s reach.” It explicitly expands federal control to waters that the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled “off-limits,” the team said. The Clean Water Act, originally designated to protect “navigable” waters such as rivers, lakes and oceans, would now include “tributaries” no matter how small or remote, “neighboring” water without any connections, and “even isolated waters that the Supreme Court has held to be beyond CWA coverage.” “In short, the administration is engaged in a sweeping power grab,” Hopper said. “Property owners around the country will be faced with the prospect of being micro-managed by federal bureaucrats. This turns our federal system on its head. Under our constitutional framework, the states and localities are charged with the primary role in land use regulation and local water-quality protection. “The Obama administration’s sweeping new rule usurps the authority and responsibility of the states, and empowers bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., to act as zoning and land use czars for the entire nation.” Billy Gatlin, of the California Cattlemen’s Association, said the rule is vague and creates confusion over what ranching activities might, or might now, now be allowed. Jose Varela of the new Mexico Cattle Growers Association noted his family has been on his land for 14 generations. “I believe we have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency,” he said. The complaint seeks declaratory judgments that the EPA’s expansive claims to control of all tributaries, adjacent waters, interstate waters, isolated waters and more is contrary to law and invalid. It explains that the Supreme Court already has ruled that the agencies can regulate some wetlands adjacent to navigable waters, but they cannot take control of isolated water bodies or certain tributaries. The EPA proposed the rule change in 2014, and made it final on June 29, 2015. If the rule change stands, the complaint explains, “landowners” will be required to seek a federal permit, at a significant cost perhaps of tens of thousands of dollars, to use their own property. Lawsuits also have been filed over the past few days by 27 states challenging the EPA plan because it violates the Clean Water Act, Supreme Court precedent and state rules in its action. “The results of this rule will carry a tremendous cost to our state, our economy, and our families,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement. “The EPA’s proposed expansion would bring many roadside ditches, small ponds on family farms, water features on golf courses, and storm water systems under extremely burdensome federal regulation.” States involved include South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah, Wisconsin, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The Pacific Legal Foundation has taken on Washington’s bureaucrats directly in the past, most notably in the Sackett case from Priest Lake, Idaho. There a couple bought some land and, with building permissions, started work on their dream home. Along came the Environmental Protection Agency with a determination that the parcel contained “wetlands” and gave the couple the options to abandon their land, seek a prohibitively expensive permit or face millions of dollars in fines. The federal agency also contended the couple was not allowed to seek a judicial review of its decision. But in a case assembled by the foundation, the Supreme Court ruled the EPA cannot issue a “drive-by” decision regarding wetlands and then prohibit the owner from using the property or challenging the decision. The Supreme Court said the EPA must provide a process through which a challenge to its decision can be addressed in a meaningful way. The case was called a “precedent-setting victory for the rights of all property owners.” A legal team spokesman said at the time: “The justices have made it clear that EPA bureaucrats are answerable to the law and the courts just like the rest of us. EPA can’t try to micromanage people and their property – it can’t order property owners to dance like marionettes – while denying them any meaningful right to appeal to the courts. It can’t threaten property owners with financial ruin and not have to justify its threats to a judge. And it can’t issue lazy, drive-by ‘wetlands’ edicts about private property.” WND reported earlier on the looming rule change, when the PLF submitted comments to Washington warning of the dangers. “On its face, the proposed rule covers virtually every water in the nation,” the team told the government in a comment procedure in advance of any final decision on the plan. “Under this rule, a prudent legal practitioner would have to advise his client that the only waters not covered are those few that are expressly exempt.” The legal team warned, “If a water body isn’t a ‘traditional navigable water,’ it is a ‘tributary.’ If it isn’t a ‘tributary,’ it is an ‘adjacent water.’ If it isn’t an ‘adjacent water,’ it is an ‘other water.’ All of which are subject to onerous federal regulation. “If it isn’t a water at all, it is still covered by the fine print in Footnote 3 of the proposed rule that states the terms ‘waters’ and ‘water bodies’ ‘do not refer solely to the water contained in these aquatic systems, but to the system as a whole including associated chemical, physical and biological features.’” Pacific Legal said the “seemingly innocuous language is troubling because it can be interpreted to include runoff, dry land, man-made structures, and flora and fauna.” Press Release Pacific Legal Foundation http://www.pacificlegal.org/releases/release-7-15-15-wotus-1-1407
Mid Day Cattle Comment July 17, 2015 Live Cattle: August gold set a new contract low today and spot gold came to within $3.00 of the weekly low from the August of '11 high. Crude oil is $1.54 from its contract low and all but one or two commodities are down this morning. Deflation is upon us. Consumers are not increasing discretionary spending. The consumer price index was up two tenths of a percent excluding food and energy. It was up 3 tenths total. Therefore one tenth of one percent was the change for food and energy. Beef, as the commodity closest to its historical high than any other commodity out there, sure looks vulnerable in comparison to all other commodities and competing proteins especially. The loss of massive open interest is perceived a demonstrative statement that participants feel price fluctuation for beef will be limited in respects to the amount of capital that may need to be invested and the return potential. Downside objective remains the April low per respective contract month. What the chart formation looks like if this materializes will help to calculate the next most probable move. Feeder Cattle: Feeder cattle are the only other commodity at such a close proximity to their historical high. Not only that, as a raw product, the cost to manufacture to a finished product is calculated to reflect a negative profit margin for the processor. This suggests that feeder cattle prices could be subject to a lack of demand due to such extreme calculated losses. I anticipate feeder cattle to move lower going into late summer. My guess is that on July 24th, the USDA will increase the herd expansion to a level greater than what most in the industry will anticipate. The price structure of feeder cattle remains positive at the front and negative in the back. The faster you move inventory now, the higher price you will secure. At present the futures market suggests you will receive less for your product the longer you hold on to it. I recommend reviewing this and make applicable decisions based upon your risk assumed. Corn: Corn is moving lower. What is perceived as a wave 4 correction continues to play out. I anticipate upon completion of the wave 4 that December corn will move to $4.80&1/4 to complete a 5 wave sequence.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Is that fancy tractor really yours? Well, maybe, kinda, sorta Jul 14, 2015by Hembree Brandon in Farm Press Blog The U.S. Copyright Office is expected to issue a ruling this month clarifying what you can or can’t do with things you buy that are operated by software — which nowadays includes just about everything from the coffeemaker in your kitchen to your pickup or that fancy new tractor or combine. Clarification not exactly being a concept widely practiced in a town dominated by lawyers, lobbyists, and bureaucrats, the decision will be yet another waypoint in the ever more complicated issue of property rights spawned by the digital age. The tech magazine Wired created a stir in April with an article by Kyle Wiens, “We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership” (http://wrd.cm/1DA5jGT), positing that although you pay a hundred grand or more for a new tractor or $50k for a new GM car, you don’t really own that tractor or car because the company owns and controls the software that makes it do all the things it does. The article notes that over the last two decades manufacturers have used the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act to argue that buyers don’t own the software that powers the products they’ve bought, that they have only an implied use license, which doesn’t include the right to alter software. Modifying tractors and other farm equipment has long been something of a badge of pride for many farmers, who have put creativity and ingenuity to work to make machines fit specific needs manufacturers didn’t envision. But, that has become more challenging as equipment functions are increasingly software controlled. GM, Deere, and others contend that, sans copyright protection, there could be pirating of valuable intellectual property, as well as safety/environmental issues if altered software were responsible for an accident, increased emissions, or poor performance. Deere says it, like other manufacturers, simply seeks to protect the software for which it has spent a lot of time and money developing, that it doesn’t want people tinkering with how their equipment is designed to operate. So, it pretty much comes down to this: Yes, you own the tractor or GM car or toaster or fridge, but the software — every single line of computer code that makes it run — is not yours.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
USDA predicts higher meat and soybean, lower corn production in latest WASDE Agri-Pulse Communications By Agri-Pulse staff The Department of Agriculture released the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) today, projecting mixed returns in the grain sector but increased total meat production for the remainder of 2015 and the start of 2016. This month's WASDE estimates an increase in wheat and soybean production, but lower corn, rice, sugar, and cotton production from 2015 to 2016. While its projection for total beef and turkey production for 2015 is lower, those losses are offset by projected increases in pork and broiler production. Milk production is also projected to increase. USDA expects a 100 million bushel drop in corn production based on the June 30 USDA Acreage Report that found planted and harvested acreage for corn was down. Corn use is also projected to lower as a result of a 25 million bushel reduction in feed and residual use, higher expected supplies of distillers grains, and a higher price outlook. Exports of corn are expected to drop 25 million bushels due to increased competition from Brazil. Ethanol use is expected to climb 25 million bushels, according to the Energy Information Administration's higher forecasts for 2015 and 2016 gasoline consumption. Corn ending stocks for 2015-2016 are projected to drop 172 million bushels, potentially pushing prices up 25 cents per bushel. Soybean production is projected at 3.8 billion bushels - an increase of 35 million bushels - based on an increase in harvested acreage. Although production is projected to increase, soybean supplies are reduced 40 million bushels due to lower beginning stocks; ending stocks are projected at 425 million bushels, down 50 million. The soybean price is projected to be between $8.50 and $10.00 per bushel, a 25 cent jump on both the high and low end of the spectrum. The forecasts for total meat production for 2015 and 2016 are raised from last month. Beef production for 2015 is expected to be lower due to a reduction in second quarter feed cattle slaughter. In addition, relatively good forage conditions and higher feed prices are expected to slow the pace of placements until later in 2015, reducing available supplies of fed cattle for slaughter in late 2015. The pork production forecast for 2015 is up, which supports a higher third-quarter 2015 slaughter forecast, according to the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. Broiler production for 2015 and 2016 is raised based on hatchery data and continued increases in bird weights. Turkey and egg production are both reduced for 2015. Prices for the majority of the protein sector are mixed. The report projects higher prices for hogs, turkeys and eggs, but decreased prices for cattle and broilers. The next WASDE report is scheduled to be released August 12. That report will be the first using 2015 production forecasts based on farmer surveys.
USDA Announces Conservation Incentives for Working Grass, Range and Pasture Lands 07/15/2015 12:25 PM EDT USDA Announces Conservation Incentives for Working Grass, Range and Pasture Lands WASHINGTON, July 15, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that beginning Sept. 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to help conserve working grasslands, rangeland and pastureland while maintaining the areas as livestock grazing lands. The initiative is part of the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a federally funded program that for 30 years has assisted agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. In return, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. CRP has helped farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester 43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8 million cars off the road. “A record 400 million acres and 600,000 producers and landowners are currently enrolled in USDA’s conservation programs. The Conservation Reserve Program has been one of the most successful conservation programs in the history of the country, and we are pleased to begin these grasslands incentives as we celebrate the program’s 30th year,” said Vilsack. “This is another great example of how agricultural production can work hand in hand with efforts to improve the environment and increase wildlife habitat.” The CRP-Grasslands initiative will provide participants who establish long-term, resource-conserving covers with annual rental payments up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land. Cost-share assistance also is available for up to 50 percent of the covers and other practices, such as cross fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. Participants may still conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed production, conduct fire rehabilitation, and construct firebreaks and fences. With the publication of the CRP regulation today, the Farm Service Agency will accept applications on an ongoing basis beginning Sept. 1, 2015, with those applications scored against published ranking criteria, and approved based on the competiveness of the offer. The ranking period will occur at least once per year and be announced at least 30 days prior to its start. The end of the first ranking period will be Nov. 20, 2015. Later this week, USDA will also announce state-by-state allotments for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). Through SAFE, also a CRP initiative, up to 400,000 acres of additional agricultural land across 37 states will be eligible for wildlife habitat restoration funding. The additional acres are part of an earlier CRP wildlife habitat announcement made by Secretary Vilsack. Currently, more than 1 million acres, representing 98 projects, are enrolled in SAFE. To learn more about participating in CRP-Grasslands or SAFE, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp or consult with the local Farm Service Agency county office. To locate a nearby Farm Service Agency office, visit http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more about the 30th anniversary of CRP, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/CRPis30 or follow on Twitter using #CRPis30. The CRP-Grasslands program was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
WHAT TO DO ABOUT GRASS-BURS Well it is close to the Eddy County fair and about this time every year I get calls on field sand bur or grass burs. Some people forgot to put a pre-emergent herbicide down in January and April has the biggest problem. Some people who did the pre-emergent down late in March or April may still have a problem with the sand bur but not as bad as it could be. Then there are those who just missed a small area or so. Field sandbur (grass-bur) is a summer annual grassy weed that can be found in home lawns, sports fields, alfalfa fields, parks and along roadsides. This weed is especially adapted to dry, sandy soils but can be found growing in other types of soils as well. The big problem with this weed is the sharp, spiny burs that are part of the inflorescence or flower. These burs can be painful and are difficult to remove from clothing material and pets. Field sandburs (grass-burs) generally start germinating from February to May in Eddy County and will continue to germinate until late summer or early fall months. This weed will continue to grow until the first hard frost or freeze occurs in the fall. Most preemergent herbicides are only good for 60 to 90 days. For post-emergent field sandbur (grass bur) control, we used to use MSMA or DSMA. The use of these products is prohibited after December 31 2013 so these products are no longer on the market. But there are some alternatives: Dimension – dithiopyr (pyridine, Group 3) Drive XLR8 – quinclorac (quinolinecarboxylic acid, Group 4 (26 for monocots)) Dismiss – sulfentrazone (aryl triazolinone, Group 14) Tenacity – mesotrione (triketone, Group 27) Sedgehammer – halosulfuron (sulfonylurea, Group 2) Monument – trifloxysulfuron-sodium (sulfonylurea, Group 2) Revolver – foramsulfuron (sulfonylurea, Group 2) Certainty – sulfosulfuron (sulfonylurea, Group 2) Celsius - iodosulfuronmethyl-sodium and thiencarbazone-methyl (triazinylsulfonylurea, triazolone, Group 2) These products will do a good job of controlling the field sandbur (grass-bur) when it is young. Remember, not all herbicides can be used on St. Augustine or Centipede lawns. Consult the label before using on these turf types, you will have to rely on the use of a pre-emergent herbicide. Because it is an annual you do not have to pull them up and get the roots, you can just clip off the tops. Do not lay them on the ground put them in the trash or you will just reseed them. We will be at the Eddy County fair all next week so if you have questions come on by and ask. Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.
Is Feedlot Beef Bad for the Environment? Robert Martin says the pollution spreads for miles; Jude L. Capper says the beef industry keeps things safe Wall Street Journal Contributing Editors Feedlots play a huge but controversial role in the raising of beef cattle in the U.S., which produced an estimated 24.3 billion pounds of beef last year, down slightly from an average of 26 billion for the previous five years. The overwhelming majority of beef cattle spend their last months with hundreds if not thousands of other cows in feedlots, where they are fattened before being slaughtered. But while feedlots help provide large amounts of protein in Americans’ diets, there are growing concerns about what they also do to the environment. Feedlots concentrate animal waste and other hazardous substances that can pollute the air and the water with their runoff. Finishing cattle in this way also consumes huge amounts of grain and water. The industry is regulated and says it follows environmental safety standards. But critics see a system that must be reformed. Robert Martin, director of the Food System Policy Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, says beef feedlots spread pollution for miles. Jude L. Capper, a livestock-sustainability consultant based in Britain who has worked with animal-health organizations and meat-industry groups, says feedlots are an efficient use of resources. YES: The Industrial Model Hurts Health and the Environment By Robert Martin In the 1950s, beef cattle, dairy cows and swine were rotated on fallow ground or fields planted with cover crops. The animals’ manure helped build nutrients for row crops in succeeding rotations. Beef cattle were pasture-raised but finished for slaughter on-site or at a small, nearby feeder operation. In the industrial model today, animals are segregated from the crop-production cycle. Their waste, once a benefit, is now an environmental hazard because of its enormous volumes and concentrations. While “Big Meat” projects an image of traditional farmers, people are increasingly aware that the industrial production of meat—which requires vast amounts of grain and water—affects their health and hurts the environment. Ammonia threat Feedlot waste releases harmful gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as much as 85% of total man-made ammonia volatilization in the U.S. comes from animal agriculture. Airborne ammonia contributes to haze and poses serious health threats, including respiratory distress, early death, cardiovascular disease and lung diseases. Ammonia emissions from feedlots in the Midwest may contribute to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA says. Other airborne dangers include antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as a recent study by Texas Tech researchers found in particulate matter downwind from feedlots in Texas. Dry, windy conditions, typical not only of Texas but Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado—all of which feature many feedlots—can increase this problem. Another pollution concern is feedlot runoff. A 2007 study by scientists at North Carolina State found that “generally accepted livestock waste management practices do not adequately or effectively protect water resources from contamination with excessive nutrients, microbial pathogens, and pharmaceuticals present in the waste.” Excessive nutrient runoff contributes to water eutrophication in western Lake Erie, Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Feedlot supporters may claim that beef producers work hand-in-hand with the EPA to protect the environment, but the cattle industry opposes oversight and regulation by the EPA through several advocacy groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which currently is one of several groups fighting the agency’s proposal to extend the reach of the Clean Water Act. And while breeders may be able to point to efficiency gains in their operations over the years, using 12% less water still means that it still takes approximately 1,760 gallons of water to produce each pound of ground beef. Water footprint To fully understand the environmental impact of feedlots, it’s important to look at the entire production system, not just locations of feedlots. An exorbitant amount of water is required to produce the grain for feedlots. The U.S. produces about 14.2 billion bushels (795.2 billion pounds) of corn annually, 70% of which is fed to livestock. As it takes 858 trillion gallons of water to produce this much corn, we can estimate that 600 trillion gallons of water are used for corn in feedlot production annually. The average water footprint per calorie of beef is 20 times as large as it is for cereals and starchy roots. And if beef-feedlot advocates want to argue that corn represents only a small part of feedlot cattle’s diet, that suggests they’re using a lot of other grains, hay and additives, which require water and other resources as well. Given the known pollution and soil degradation, the health threats and the high use of limited resources that are inherently part of the feedlot system, it is clear this production model harms the environment and demands reform. Mr. Martin is director of the Food System Policy Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. NO: Producers Have Made Great Strides In Recent Years By Jude L. Capper As an animal scientist, sustainability researcher and mother of a highly active toddler, I believe that we should eat safe, affordable, high-quality food that minimizes negative impacts on the environment. Feedlot beef is my choice for my family. Feedlot cattle spend 70% to 80% of their lives on pasture, and only the last four or five months in a feedlot, where they eat grains, legumes, forage and byproducts from human feed and fiber production. The healthy, well-cared-for cattle I have seen in feedlots from the U.S. and Europe to Australia and South Africa don’t fit the “factory farm” label. A feedlot is not utopia, but neither is a grass pasture in the midst of a six-month drought. Reduced carbon footprint American beef producers have continually improved how they breed, feed and care for cattle while maintaining the high safety, quality and taste standards for which U.S. beef is renowned. In 2007, each pound of beef produced required 19% less feed, 33% less land, 12% less water and 9% less fossil fuels than equivalent production in 1977, and was associated with 19% less manure and a 16% decrease in the carbon footprint. That’s from a peer-reviewed study I published in 2011 largely based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These are huge achievements for an industry often incorrectly described as an environmental villain. If feedlot critics would have us return cattle production to pastures alone, they are not considering the environmental impact. Based on my peer-reviewed, published research, to keep producing 26 billion pounds of U.S. beef each year from grass-fed systems would require 135 million additional acres of land, 468 billion more gallons of water and an increase in carbon emissions equivalent to adding 27 million cars to the road. Put simply, feedlot beef is not a waste of water. Cereal crops use less water per pound, but they don't provide the same range of nutrients as beef, nor can they be produced on low-quality pasture and rangeland. Claims, meanwhile, that 70% of U.S. corn production goes to feeding livestock are wildly inaccurate, as are estimates based on that figure of how much water is used in raising feedlot cattle. Only 9% of total U.S. corn production last year was grown for beef cattle feed. Beef producers do everything they can to preserve the land, water and air on which they rely. The EPA regulates potential pollution through nutrient management plans, permits and annual reporting. More than 60% of beef feedlots regularly test groundwater for environmental quality; 75% test the nutrient content of cattle manure; and 93% test soil nutrient levels to make sure they don’t overapply manure onto cropland. Unfortunately, ammonia is emitted from the breakdown of nitrogen in manure from all animals, farmed or wild, but nitrogen in cattle feed is being reduced. Fewer antibiotics As for antibiotics, all sectors of the livestock industry are taking steps to reduce and replace them while maintaining animal health and food safety. Critics often claim that the majority of antibiotics used in the U.S. are for livestock, yet according to 2011 antibiotic reports from the Food and Drug Administration, 30% of these have no equivalent in human medicine and thus don't contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans. And the major antibiotic used in animals (tetracycline, 41%) makes up only 4% of human antibiotic sales. Sustainable food production means making the best use of resources, including raising beef cattle in the most efficient manner. That means raising the animals in pastures and finishing them in feedlots. Dr. Capper is a livestock-sustainability consultant based in Britain who has worked with animal-health organizations and meat-industry groups. Write to her at email@example.com.
GMO bill altered to restrict milk labeling, regulate 'natural foods' Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc By Philip Brasher A GMO regulation bill set for approval in a House committee Wednesday has been changed to ensure that milk could only be certified as non-GMO if the cows are fed non-biotech grain. The latest draft of the bill that the House Agriculture Committee will consider also would require the Food and Drug Administration to write definitions for labeling foods as “natural.” The regulations for natural foods were included in the original bill introduced this spring but were dropped from a second version circulated in June. FDA would decide whether the definition of "natural" would include genetically engineered crops. The Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act (HR 1599) would bar states from requiring the labeling of food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and would set up a new certification process at USDA for foods labeled as non-GMO. The bill also would alter the review process for new biotech crops. Developers would be required get FDA's safety approval for a new genetically engineered crop before the Agriculture Department could OK it for commercial use. The FDA review process is now voluntary. The bill could go to the House floor before the end of the month. The requirement for the use of non-biotech feed in non-GMO milk was the result of negotiations with the organic industry, said Chuck Conner, president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “We have attempted to get the broadest possible interest in food and agriculture behind us as we possibly can," he said. The requirement for non-biotech feed would also apply to meat labeled as non-GMO. The latest version of the bill also would allow state departments of agriculture to serve as certifying agents for non-GMO and GMO crops. The legislation, which currently has 68 cosponsors, including 14 Democrats, is becoming increasingly urgent for farmers, the biotech industry and food companies with Vermont's state labeling law set to take effect in 2016 unless a court strikes it down. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees FDA, has joint jurisdiction with House Agriculture on the bill, but Energy and Commerce could waive its right to consider the measure, speeding its path to the floor. The path forward in the Senate remains unclear. Supporters have struggled to find a Senate Democrat who will agree to co-sponsor a bill, but Conner said many Senate Democrats have privately expressed support for the legislation. They agree that allowing states to regulate GMO labeling “would be a disaster,” he said. NOTE FROM WOODS: this would include round up ready Alfalfa and Cotton meal from GMO crops and gin trash.
More than 400 youth, adults getting on the road to annual 4-H State Conference NMSU Press Release Jocelyn N. Apodaca This year 4-Hers are taking the scenic route to New Mexico State University for the annual 4-H State Conference, July 13-16. “The theme is referring to 4-H having many different routes and roads a person can take because of the opportunities the program provide,” said Amy Zemler, 4-H youth activities specialist. With an expected turnout of more than 400 guests, the conference provides many entertaining features along with the educational elements throughout the week. The four-day conference includes competitions, a guest speaker, dances, activities, officer elections and more. Keynote speaker is Miss New Mexico Jessica Burson, of Roswell. She is a fifth-year agriculturist and her platform for the Miss USA pageant was, “Planting the seeds of a better tomorrow.” “I have been surrounded by 4-H since day one; one of my first memories was making sand castles in the show-ring,” Burson said. “I hope the 4Hers walk away fueled up to make a difference. 4-H is important to me because it is a safe environment that allows kids to grow and reach their full potential, while also allowing them to explore the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. I am proud to be a product of 4-H and will continue to invest myself into this amazing opportunity for young people.” This year the state conference will host a workshop by the visiting 4-H state leadership team from Colorado. Participants in the conference will compete in events on topics such as public speaking, horticulture, entomology and range management, to name a few. An awards ceremony and themed dances will follow. Friends of and honorary 4-H member recipients will be recognized during the awards session on Thursday morning, July 16. Recipients are chosen by nominations submitted by coworkers, agents or fellow 4-H volunteers. “4-H provides life-long lessons that youth apply to goals they have set,” Zemler said. “For State 4-H Conference, they are applied to wanting to win contests or be elected in to a leadership position.”
Wildlife vs “Wild” Horses Submitted by Ted Williams on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 13:33. By Becky Lisle Reminiscent of a spaghetti western, the tale of mustangs in the West is all too often told with the horses as underdogs engaged in an epic battle with domestic stock grazing public lands. Pitting wild—or feral, depending upon whom you ask--horses against “greedy cattle barons” certainly garners sympathy and donations for horse advocacy groups, who are known in conservationist circles as the “horse mafia.” However, the typical spin conveniently omits an elemental piece of the rangeland ecosystem puzzle: native wildlife. In what has been referred to as a “wild horse apocalypse” looming over the west, current on-range mustang populations are estimated to be 14,000 over established appropriate management levels (AML), according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) figures. The true number of horses on the range will most likely never be known. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences determined that the BLM does not utilize “scientifically valid methodologies to make their estimates, or make an actual, accurate inventory, erring on the side of grossly undercounting horses.” This is not a new or original finding. The same conclusion was reached by the National Research Council in the early 1980s, and by the Government Accountability Office in 2008. Nevertheless, mustang advocacy groups embrace the mantra that horses are being managed to extinction and are seeking protection for the animals as an endangered species. Despite the multiple-use mandate for public lands, the number of cattle and sheep allowed on long-established grazing permits has been drastically reduced and in some cases eliminated due to the West’s on-going drought. In one instance, cattle were completely removed while the mustang population remained at about 1200% of the AML. So what does this mean for native wildlife? Ted Williams is a longtime columnist for the renowned wildlife and conservation magazine, Audubon. He received the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award; he won the Federal Wildlife Officers Association Award; he was recognized by the Outdoor Writers Association with their highest honor; and he was named Conservationist of the Year by the Coastal Conservation Association of New York. He contemptuously—and accurately—refers to wild horses as “feral equids.” Despite the determination of mustang advocacy groups to classify the horses as “wild and native” to further their cause, science supports Williams’ terminology. Pre-historic horses did exist on the North American continent, before dying out completely and being absent for thousands of years until a much further evolved equine was introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Williams stated: “The argument that equids are “native” to this continent because their progenitors were present during the Pleistocene —a mantra from the wild-horse lobby—makes as much sense as claiming that elephants are native because woolly mammoths were here during the same period.” Further, researchers have found that descendants of the Spanish Andalusians only numbered in the hundreds and have long-since been removed. Director of bird conservation for Audubon Arizona, Tice Supplee, refers to the mustang lobby’s Spanish-bloodline propaganda as “revisionist history promoted by horse lovers to give mustangs historic status.” Williams once interviewed retired 30-year BLM biologist, Erick Campbell, who offered his own definition of the pure-mustang-blood platform: “pure, unadulterated BS.” What remains on the range today is what Williams refers to as “mongrels—a genetic morass of breeds issuing mostly from recently escaped or discarded livestock.” Campbell stated, “We managed everything from workhorses to Shetland ponies. Your daughter’s horse gets old or she stops liking it. So you turn it loose. Prior to World War II ranchers were basically managing these herds for sale to the Army. And to keep the quality up the Army would give the ranchers studs to release.” One researcher compared blood samples from 975 free-roaming horses in the Great Basin with samples from 16 domestic horse breeds, and found no discernable differences, concluding that indeed the “wild” horses of the Great Basin originated from Iberian, American saddle horse, and draft-horse breeds--hence the scientific designation of the horses as feral and the consequent stance of prominent wildlife and conservation groups toward them. Semantics aside, the impact of the horses on native wildlife is undeniable. Of the “wild” horses, Campbell stated: “They’re worse than cows,” They do incredible damage. When the grass between the shrubs is gone a cow is out of luck, but a horse or burro will stomp that plant to death to get that one last blade. When cows run out of forage the cowboys move them or take them home, but horses and burros are out there all year. They’re not fenced; they can go anywhere. BLM exacerbates the problem by hauling water to them. Instead of just letting them die, we keep them going. There are even horses in Las Vegas, which is obscene. In the desert! The horse groups have tremendous power with Congress. They only care about horses; they couldn’t give a damn about all the wildlife that’s adversely affected.” There is a great deal of difference between the interactions of horses with native wildlife and the interactions of cattle and native wildlife. Research suggests that the body size, speed, and strength of horses make them socially dominant. In fact, the Nevada Department of Wildlife has received numerous complaints about feral horses running wildlife away from water resources. Horses’ digestive systems and movement patterns affect native wildlife on a broader scale, as well. They are the only ungulate in North America with solid hooves and meshing teeth. According to research, horses are one of the least-selective grazers in North America, utilizing a larger range of plant types and requiring 20 to 65% more forage than would a cow of comparable size. Also, because of the shape of their heads, teeth, and lips, horses can crop plants closer to the ground than cattle do, and impair plant recovery. Horses utilize higher and steeper ground than cattle do, which directly competes with native deer and bighorn sheep. In Nevada’s Calico Complex Herd Management Area, increasing numbers of horses have resulted in reduced numbers of bighorn sheep lambs. Horse gathers in the complex have been supported by wildlife groups such as the Sierra Club, which “recognizes that habitat simplification, fragmentation, degradation, and elimination pose the greatest threats to the continued well-being of healthy and diverse wildlife and plant ecosystems and biodiversity.” The problem is so significantly affecting bighorn sheep that Nevada Bighorns Unlimited has joined the Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, and Crawford Cattle in a lawsuit filed against the BLM by regarding the management of feral horses. In an interview with Ted Williams, Nevada Department of Wildlife habitat bureau chief Dave Pulliam stated, “In desert country, seeps and springs are the most important habitats for a whole myriad of species…and they’re absolutely beat to mud holes. Riparian habitat has disappeared. Water tables have dropped. Horse use is excessive to the point of rendering this habitat unavailable to wildlife.” While the vast majority of feral horses and the associated issues are in Nevada, the problems are not limited to the Silver State, or to BLM managed, publically “owned” horses. The most recent wildlife surveys on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington State, which has thousands of feral horses, show vast swaths of land devoid of any deer and elk; areas where they were plentiful a decade ago. Yakama efforts at reintroducing native sage grouse and pronghorn have been stymied by the aggressive nature of feral horses, the lack of grasses and the total range degradation caused by what is legitimately an invasive species. Since feral horse populations increase by 20% every year, the environmental and ecosystem damage on a growing number of western Indian reservations is increasing in alarming numbers. Feral horses also trample stream beds and lands bereft of vegetation silt in creeks further complicating tribal efforts at restoring salmon runs. By ignoring the damage done to lands the US holds in trust for tribes, the Federal government may well be setting itself up for yet another law suit by tribes insisting that the Trustee act to protect its fiduciary responsibilities. In the Arizona desert, many native animals are dependent upon desert trees for sustenance and shelter. Supplee saw firsthand the habitat destruction caused by feral horses and burros. “They broke off the branches, stripped the bark, and killed the trees,” she said. The Grand Canyon National Park has suffered an ongoing struggle with feral burros. Former park biologist Elaine Leslie said to Williams, “You can find burros or burro evidence in the vast majority of Grand Canyon springs or seeps. They spread exotic grasses, contaminate water, trample wetland species, remove vegetation, and eliminate small mammals, birds, and amphibians.” Wyoming’s Audubon director Brian Rutledge has been greatly concerned about the feral horses’ impact on the sage grouse. He stated, “Sage grouse fed the eastward movement of the Native Americans and the westward movement of European Americans. Now we expect them to tolerate our fragmentation of their ecosystem and the decimation of its plant life by a feral domestic animal. Sadly, we have become a culture that longs to make decisions without information.” The 575,000 acre Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada was established in 1931 to preserve native wildlife, and is the largest remaining intact tract of the Great Basin ecosystem. It has endured great problems caused by “feral equids” despite the past removal of over half the population. In the summer of 2014, gathers began to eventually remove all feral horses and burros from the refuge, with the goal being to have the area clean by 2017. Megan Nagel is a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Portland regional office. She stated, “The once-domestic feral horses and burros, which some people call wild horses and burros, cause significant damage to the refuge’s fragile landscape. If feral horses and burros are not removed from Sheldon, the Service will be unable to restore and conserve habitat conditions for native, fish, wildlife and plants that depend on the refuge. Removing feral horses and burros is critical to conserve and protect the native habitat and wildlife that depend on the refuge.” Nagel also said that studies indicate feral horses and burros have degraded almost half of the streams and 80 percent of the refuge’s springs and other riparian areas, such as wet meadows, ephemeral wetlands, and emergent marshes. “The horses are turning our riparian areas and springs into mud holes…We have Lahontan cutthroats, a federally threatened species, and the horses silt up the creeks and cover up the spawning gravel. They eat the meadows down to dirt,“ said refuge manager, Brian Day. While the Sheldon’s designation as a refuge makes it possible to protect resident native species by removing horses, efforts by wild horse advocates ensure that no such consideration is made for native wildlife in the greater high desert country of Nevada. On the Fish Creek HMA near Eureka, the ongoing, extreme drought has resulted in ranchers’ grazing permits being cut by over 80%, and in February 2015, 424 feral horses were gathered from the area. The gather’s contracted helicopter pilots estimated that there were at least that many left on the range, and 180 were turned back out after the more adoptable animals were sorted off. Then, despite an appeal filed by a rancher with the Interior Board of Land Appeals to keep the rest of the gathered horses off of the already barren range, another 186 were re-released in April due to pressure from the horse mafia. Uncounted, on-range horses notwithstanding, the most recent release brought the official, on-record count to more than double the legally established appropriate management level of 170. As Brian Day stated: “There are a lot of sensible people who like these horses. And then there are the other types who don’t let the truth stand in their way.” Becky Lisle is a freelance writer and 5th generation native Nevadan.
Secretary Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week WASHINGTON, July 14, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared Aug. 2 through 8, 2015, as "National Farmers Market Week." The declaration was made official by proclamation signed by Secretary Vilsack. This year marks the 16th annual National Farmers Market Week in honor of the important role that farmers markets play in local economies. Throughout the week, USDA will celebrate thousands of our nation's farmers markets, the farmers and ranchers who make them possible and the communities that host them. "National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for farmers markets across the country to host special events to showcase all the tremendous services they provide," said Secretary Vilsack. "Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support farmers and help grow rural economies. They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms and providing Americans with fresh, healthy food." Throughout the week, USDA officials will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. On Saturday, Aug. 1, Anne Alonzo, the Administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – which conducts research, provides technical assistance, and awards grants to support farmers markets – will kick off the week at the Santa Fe Farmers Market in New Mexico. The Santa Fe Farmers Market is the oldest in New Mexico and is ranked as one of the top ten farmers markets nationwide. Farmers markets provide consumers with fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthy products from local producers. With support from USDA, more farmers markets offer customers the opportunity to make purchases with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program; and the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs. Supporting farmers markets is a part of the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department's policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified strengthening local food systems as one of the Four Pillars of Agriculture and Rural Economic Development. #
House Agriculture Committee approves H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act Today, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. First introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), the legislation has evolved through bipartisan discussions between the Agriculture Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. The amendment in the nature of a substitute, offered by Rep. Davis (R-IL), for H.R. 1599 will provide clarity and stability in the marketplace through national uniformity regarding marketing claims for products grown using the latest agricultural production technologies. “I appreciate the collaborative efforts of the Energy and Commerce Committee in getting this bipartisan legislation completed and approved today. H.R. 1599 is the solution to an urgent and growing problem. The current patchwork system of varied labels interferes with the free flow of goods across the country, posing a real threat to interstate commerce and typically results in inconsistent and confusing information for consumers. Creating a uniform national policy regarding biotechnology labeling is the free market solution that will allow consumers access to meaningful information, create market opportunities for those on the production and processing side, and will facilitate future innovation,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway. “Consumers increasingly want to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. I think H.R. 1599 satisfies that demand while also recognizing what we know about the safety of the foods that our farmers produce. The bill is a workable solution that will alleviate the potential mess of 50 states with 50 different labeling schemes,” said Ranking Member Peterson. "As a parent, I believe it is important to have national and reliable food labels and this bill does that by allowing for an effective, uniform labeling system that consumers can trust. Without a national standard, we risk the spread of misinformation and increased food costs. Just as consumers can go to the grocery store and identify organic products, this bill will allow them to do the same with GMO-free products. I want to thank Chairman Conaway and Congressman Pompeo for their work on this bipartisan bill to protect consumers and promote transparency," said Rep. Rodney Davis, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. Click here for more information, including the text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute, Chairman Conaway's opening statement, and the archived webcast. ###
Monday, July 13, 2015
On Thrusday July 2, 2015 UDDA in the federal Rigster 7CFR part 986 notice of public hearing. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5111857 July 20 through July 21, 2015, Las Cruces, New Mexico. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 22. : Notice of public hearing on proposed marketing agreement and order. SUMMARY : Notice is hereby given of a public hearing to consider a proposed marketing agreement and order under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 to cover pecans grown in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the pecan industry by the American Pecan Board, the proponent group which is comprised of pecan growers and handlers from across the proposed production area. The proposed order would provide authority to collect industry data and to conduct research and promotion activities. In addition, the order would provide authority for the industry to recommend grade, quality and size regulation, as well as pack and container regulation, subject to approval by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program would be financed by assessments on pecan handlers and would be locally administered, under USDA oversight, by a council of seventeen growers and shellers (handlers) nominated by the industry and appointed by USDA. DATES : The hearing dates are: 1. July 20 through July 21, 2015, Las Cruces, New Mexico. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 22. 2. July 23 through July 24, 2015, Dallas, Texas. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 25. 3. July 27 through July 29, 2015, Tifton, Georgia. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 30, 2015. All hearing sessions are scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at 5:00 p.m., or any other time as determined by the presiding administrative law judge with the exception of the hearing session potentially held on July 22 and 25, which will conclude at noon. ADDRESSES : The hearing locations are: 1. New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Rio Hondo Room and Auditorium, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88011. 2. Hilton Double Tree, Azalea Room, 1981 North Central Expressway, Richardson, Texas 75080. 3. Hilton Garden Inn, Magnolia Room, 201 Boo Drive, Tifton, Georgia, 31793. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT : Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Post Office Box 1035, Moab, UT 84532, telephone: (202) 557–4783, fax: (435) 259–1502; or Michelle P. Sharrow, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; telephone: (202) 720–2491, fax: (202) 720–8938. Small businesses may request information on this proceeding by contacting Jeff Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; telephone: (202) 720–2491, fax: (202) 720–8938. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION : This administrative action is instituted pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The proposed marketing order is authorized under section 8(c) of the Act. This action is governed by the provisions of sections 556 and 557 of title 5 of the United States Code and, therefore, is excluded from the requirements of Executive Order 12866. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ) seeks to ensure that within the statutory authority of a program, the regulatory and informational requirements are tailored to the size and nature of small businesses. Interested persons are invited to present evidence at the hearing on the possible regulatory and informational impacts of the proposal on small businesses. The marketing agreement and order proposed herein have been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. They are not intended to have retroactive effect
New Mexico Department of Health Warns Residents about Tularemia Los Alamos County Man Recovering (Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health announced today a laboratory confirmed case of tularemia in a 51-year-old man from Los Alamos County. The case was confirmed at the Department’s Scientific Laboratory Division. The man was hospitalized but has recovered and gone home. There have also been 33 cases of tularemia this year in pet dogs and cats from Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, and Torrance Counties. “Tularemia can cause serious illness in both people and pets. I encourage people around the state to follow the same precautions they would to avoid contracting plague, which includes not handling sick or dead animals,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH. “People can get tularemia if they handle infected animals such as rabbits or rodents or if they are bitten by infected ticks or deer flies.” Tularemia is a potentially serious illness in people that occurs in many parts of the United States. It is caused by a bacteria found in animals, especially rodents, rabbits and hares. Tularemia can also make dogs and cats sick and they can give the disease to people. Other possible, but much less likely, exposures are through contact with infected soil or water or by inhaling the bacteria. Symptoms of tularemia in people usually develop 3 to 5 days after exposure but onset can vary from 1 to 14 days. Tularemia symptoms are similar to plague infection including sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscles aches and joint pain. Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was exposed to the tularemia bacteria and can include pneumonia and chest pain, ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat. “Many areas of the state have seen a large increase in the rabbit population this year and a lot of them have been getting sick and dying from tularemia,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department of Health’s public health veterinarian. “Oftentimes when there is a rabbit or rodent die off in an area due to tularemia, deer flies or ticks can become infected from these animals and then pass it on to pets or people when they bite them.” To avoid exposure to tularemia: • Wear gloves while gardening or landscaping, and wash your hands after these activities. • Avoid mowing over dead animals when cutting the grass, etc. as this can potentially aerosolize the bacteria. • Do not go barefoot while gardening, mowing or landscaping. • Dispose of animal carcasses by using a long-handled shovel and either bury them 2-3 feet deep (if allowed) or double bag them in garbage bags and dispose in the trash. • Wear an insect repellent effective against ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes when hiking, camping or working outdoors. Effective repellants include: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. • Do not drink unpurified water from streams or lakes or allow your pets to drink surface waters. • Prevent pets from hunting or eating wild animals. Contact a veterinarian if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes. In 2014 there were 5 human cases of tularemia in New Mexico, a 65-year-old woman from Bernalillo County, a 78-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman both from San Juan County, a 66-year-old man from Lincoln County and a 69-year-old woman from Sandoval County. All 5 human cases were hospitalized and all recovered. For more information about tularemia visit http://www.cdc.gov/tularemia/.
Southwest Ranchers Find Benefits in Wildfire Bill McDonald's family has owned the grazing rights for Sycamore Ranch for more than a century. The ranch sits on 21,000 acres in the Peloncillo Mountains, a range that straddles the Arizona-New Mexico state line. It's about 50 miles north of the border, and Border Patrol often travel up and down the area. In June, about a tenth of the land was singed as a controlled wildfire moved across it. “The Hog Fire was about 1,350 acres," said McDonald. "And the other one was about 500 acres on my allotment.” That made McDonald Happy. “If you don’t burn in this country, you are going to lose your grass over time,” McDonald said. McDonald is one of many ranchers in this area that believe fire is helping restore their allotted lands. They banded together in 1992, along with environmentalists and academics to form the Malpai Borderlands Group. Fire was, and still is, one of the main issues that brought them together. “We came together over many meetings, mainly having to do with this issue of fire,” said McDonald. Each year, as the weather warms up and fire season draw near, the group talks with those who manage the public lands they use for grazing in order to make their wishes for the land known. That includes a map of who owns rights to which allotments, and if they'd like that land have a controlled fire burn over it if the chance arises. “When we found out we had a fire in this location, the first thing we do is try and figure out who’s going to be most affected by it, and who do we need to talk to, who do we need to see what their preferences might be,” said Kevin Warner, the district ranger for the Coronado National Forest's Douglas District. When two fires started on Douglas District land in July, Warner did exactly that. He found out it was McDonald's land, and McDonald quickly new the answer. “I got a call from the district, and they said, ‘what would you like us to do?’" McDonald said. "I said, ‘well, I’d kind of like it to burn. It’s in a good place.’ Because it had started on my allotment. That’s what they did.” The fires were managed, and consumed about 14,000 acres total...more
By Mark Haney The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a textbook example of government overreach. It's a regulatory proposal called Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that has riled farmers and many other businesses from coast to coast. At last count, more than 230 organizations are on record in opposition, plus close to 30 states, including Kentucky, are involved in lawsuits to strike this down. What the furor is all about is an attempt to expand regulatory authority under the federal Clean Water Act. WOTUS is a technical document defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under jurisdiction of EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Problem is, the proposal gives them wide latitude to use "case specific" discretion in judging whether water has a "significant nexus" with tributaries covered by EPA water-quality standards. By that standard, a farm pond that is little more than a muddy pool during dry summer months and overflows with snow melt in the winter and runs into the creek during a thaw could be a target. Ditto for ditches, prairie potholes and so on. What is a "water of the U.S."? Only the agencies can say, and their word is final. Under the new rule, just about any patch of land might be found to be "waters of the U.S." You don't have to see water flowing there, or even spot signs of flow. The rule gives EPA and the corps the trump card: the power to use remote "desktop tools" to identify and regulate a so-called "tributary" on your land — or even just places where a "tributary" used to be — whether or not you can see anything that looks like a water feature. What's more, the rule automatically regulates other waters within certain distances of any such invisible or historical tributary. READ ENTIRE COLUMN Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/07/13/3942430/epas-new-water-rule-is-clear-federal.html#storylink=cpy
Friday, July 10, 2015
Department of Health Announces Tuberculosis Test Results (Clovis, N.M.) – The New Mexico Department of Health has received test results for 85 people who were exposed to a man with active, infectious tuberculosis (TB) in Clovis. Five individuals tested positive for non-contagious TB infection. The Department of Health will offer those individuals treatment. Due to patient privacy laws, the Department cannot release any more information about the people who tested positive. The five positive test results represent six percent of those tested in this contact investigation. The CDC reports that during TB investigations such as this one, an average of 20 to 30 percent of individuals test positive. Tuberculosis is treatable and curable once the individual is given the correct antibiotics and the transmission risk subsides once this happens. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease caused by germs that are spread through the air from person to person when an infectious person coughs, talks, laughs or sings. There are two TB related conditions: active infectious TB disease and non-contagious TB infection. Active infectious TB disease is contagious and may be potentially transmitted to others. This will be the final update involving this investigation This important to Dairy in the area.
Two workshops will examine livestock nutrition at NMSU’s Corona Research Center DATE: 07/10/2015 WRITER: Darrell J. Pehr, 575-646-3223, firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT: Shad Cox, 575-849-1015, email@example.com CORONA, N.M. – Production of cattle, sheep and goats makes up a significant portion of New Mexico’s agricultural industry. Ensuring these ruminant animals receive the proper nutrition they need is a goal of ranchers and the focus of an upcoming two-part series. Ruminant nutrition will be the topic of a Beyond the Roundtable seminar July 22 at New Mexico State University’s Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability in Corona. “This is Nutrition I and will deal with the basic nutritional function of the rumen, rumen bacteria and what is known today about the rumen requirements,” said Shad Cox, superintendent of NMSU’s Corona Range and Livestock Research Center. “Nutrition II will be a month later in August and will build on this knowledge and is geared to the actual nutrients such as protein, energy, minerals, etc. and the complexity of balancing the diet for range ruminants.” The July 22 program will begin at 10 a.m. with a presentation on rumen kinetics and digestion by Eric Scholljegerdes, NMSU ruminant nutritionist. At 11 a.m., a presentation will be given on rumen bacteria and effective changes by Shanna Ivey, NMSU rumen microbiologist. Lunch will be provided at noon. At 1 p.m., NMSU ruminant nutritionist Clint Loest will discuss requirements and balancing nutrients. At 2 p.m., Scholljegerdes will lead “Bringing It All In Perspective.” The seminar will continue at 3 p.m. with a general nutrition roundtable discussion that will include presenters and industry representatives. Registration is free but limited to the first 45 participants. Register online at www.corona.nmsu.edu. For more information, contact Shad Cox at 575-849-1015 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions to the center, visit the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center’s website at www.coronasc.nmsu.edu. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nmsunews Follow NMSU News on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NMSUNews
Record Number of Farmers and Ranchers Certified Under 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Compliance Overwhelming Number of Farmers and Ranchers Certify to Follow Conservation Compliance Guidelines, Building on Long-Standing Participation through Other USDA Programs WASHINGTON, July 10, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that over 98.2 percent of producers have met the 2014 Farm Bill requirement to certify conservation compliance to qualify for crop insurance premium support payments. Implementing the 2014 Farm Bill provisions for conservation compliance is expected to extend conservation provisions for an additional 1.5 million acres of highly erodible lands and 1.1 million acres of wetlands, which will reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality, and create wildlife habitat. "This overwhelming response is a product of USDA's extensive outreach and the commitment of America's farmers to be stewards of the land," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "By investing in both American farmers and the health of our productive lands, we are ensuring future generations have access to fertile soil, healthy food supplies, and a strong rural economy." USDA has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that every impacted producer knew of the June 1, 2015 deadline to certify their conservation compliance. For example, all 2015 crop insurance contracts included conservation compliance notifications. USDA has sent out more than 50,000 reminder letters and postcards to individual producers, made over 25,000 phone calls, conducted informational meetings and training sessions for nearly 6,000 stakeholders across the country, including in major specialty crop producing states with affected commodity groups, and more. Since December 2014, USDA collaborated with crop insurers to ensure they had updated lists for agents to continue contacting producers to also remind them of the filing deadline. Of the small number of producers who have not certified their conservation compliance, USDA records suggest the majority are no longer farming or may have filed forms with discrepancies that can still be reconciled. The Farm Service Agency is proactively reaching back out to all of these producers before their sales closing date and working with individuals facing extenuating circumstances who have not filed the form in order to assist them with certifying compliance. "I've asked the agencies to contact the producers again before their sales closing date," said Vilsack. "I want to ensure that every producer that turned in an AD-1026 by June 1, 2015, knows they can still make corrections and remain eligible for premium support." USDA is providing additional flexibility to help the newly insured producers to certify their conservation compliance. For example, producers, who began farming or ranching after June 1, or producers who have not participated in USDA programs prior to June 1, can file an exemption to the conservation compliance certification for reinsurance year 2016 and still be eligible for the crop insurance premium support. The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) is available at local USDA Service Centers or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/AD1026form. Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has implemented many provisions of this critical legislation, providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill. #
Thursday, July 9, 2015
U.S. Organic Industry Praises U.S.-Switzerland Partnership in Organic Trade WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 – Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the United States and Switzerland formed a partnership that will recognize the two countries' organic programs as equivalent for organic products and streamline access to each other's markets. The organic equivalency arrangement between the two nations will streamline organic trade, strengthen organic agriculture, benefit the growing organic community, and support jobs and businesses on a global scale. "This partnership reflects the strength of the USDA organic standards, allowing American stakeholders to access the Swiss organic market," said Anne Alonzo, Administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees the National Organic Program. "The trade arrangements that we've achieved are a significant indicator of the strength of the National Organic Program and the value of the USDA organic label." USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has helped farmers and businesses create an industry that today encompasses over 19,000 organic businesses in the United States and accounts for $39 billion annually in U.S. retail sales. Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the United State has signed five organic equivalency arrangements. Through our arrangements with Canada, the European Union, Japan, and Korea, U.S. organic farmers and businesses have streamlined access to over $35 billion international organic markets. When combined with the $39 billion U.S. organic market, these arrangements have doubled the organic market share for U.S. organic farmers and businesses. Representatives from the U.S. organic industry – including trade associations and organic producers – praised the U.S.-Switzerland partnership. "This new arrangement has been three years in the making, and we thank and congratulate the officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their successful collaborative efforts. Swiss consumers put a high value on food quality and nutrition, and they've made organic a part of their daily diets. Now they will enjoy greater access to the high-quality organic products from the U.S." - Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO, Organic Trade Association "Our company applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their hard work in achieving the final step in opening the big European market to the U.S. organic industry. We have been selling organic products to Switzerland for years, and the paperwork for import has always been difficult. The new arrangement will help us grow our market and provide healthy and sustainable food to our customers." - Rusty Brown, President, Fine Dried Foods International "All of us at Amy's Kitchen welcome this news. We are encouraged that the larger shared values and practices relative to organic and sustainable food production between us are no longer overshadowed by minor, technical differences. Amy's is excited to pursue new market opportunities for our organic products in Switzerland made possible by this arrangement." - Paul Schiefer, Director of International Operations, Amy's Kitchen "The Swiss are among the most dedicated organic food buyers in the world with some of the toughest quality standards in the world. The U.S./Switzerland organic equivalency arrangement helps open the door to more USA export business. More importantly, it recognizes the high and disciplined quality standards of both countries. I thank the negotiators." - Lynn Clarkson, President, Clarkson Grain "This important equivalency arrangement, coupled with the historic U.S./EU equivalence arrangement, facilitates access to much of continental Europe's strong organic marketplaces. This arrangement will eliminate burdens for U.S. certified producers and manufactures, creating jobs and opportunity for the U.S. organic food and farming sector. It will provide benefits to both countries to help alleviate supply constrains in organic markets." - Melody Meyer, Vice President Policy & Industry Relations, United NFI "The arrangement opens Switzerland for U.S. organic farmers, ranchers and food makers. Equally important, coupled with the historic U.S./EU organic equivalency arrangement, it creates streamlined access to continental Europe's strong organic marketplaces, and promotes mutually beneficial flows of organic ingredients between Switzerland, Europe and the U.S." - Robert Anderson, Principal, Sustainable Strategies LLC, Senior Trade Advisor, Organic Trade Association #
Farmers to Receive Documentation of USDA Services Local Offices Issue Receipts for Services Provided (Albuquerque, NM), July 9, 2015 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Molly Manzanares reminds agricultural producers that FSA provides a receipt to customers who request or receive assistance or information on FSA programs. “If you visit our office, you’ll receive documentation of services requested and provided,” said Manzanares. “It’s part of our mission to provide enhanced customer service for producers. From December through June, FSA issued more than 327,000 electronic receipts.” The 2014 Farm Bill requires a receipt to be issued for any agricultural program assistance requested from FSA, the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development (RD). Receipts include the date, summary of the visit and any agricultural information, program and/or loan assistance provided to an individual or entity. In some cases, a form or document – such as a completed and signed program enrollment form –serve as the customer receipt instead of a printed or electronic receipt. A service is any information, program or loan assistance provided whether through a visit, email, fax or letter. Today's announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill. To learn more about FSA, visit www.fsa.usda.gov or to find your local USDA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov. # USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Forage crops a driver of state agriculture Albuquerque Journal By Jane Moorman Forages comprise the greatest amount of crop acres in the state and the overall crop value is second to none. Without forage, the $3.16 billion beef cattle and cow milk industry could not feed its animals. Of all the forages grown in New Mexico, alfalfa is by far the most economically important, comprising more than 220,000 acres, worth more than $280 million. New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ forage team strives to help farmers meet the state’s forage needs. The team consists of Cooperative Extension specialists and agricultural research faculty. Besides conducting research, the team presents the latest research-based information at conferences and workshops. During the first National Forage Week, June 21-27, promoted by the American Forage & Grassland Council, Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist, reflected on the importance of forage and the work NMSU is doing. “The impact of forage goes well beyond the direct value of the marketed product. The ripple effect of a hay, pasture or silage feed is far-reaching and impacts our daily lives in many different ways that many people may not realize,” Marsalis said. “Forages contribute a significant amount to New Mexico’s economy through support-industry job creation; beef, dairy and wool operations; horse, goat and alpaca industries; and even honey production; in addition to providing environmental benefits, such as soil protection and improvement of wildlife habitat.” Forage crops in New Mexico include alfalfa and other hay, wheat for pasture, and corn, sorghum and small grain silages. These crops are not only grown as stored feeds, but also are used for livestock pastures that are frequently visited by big game, migratory birds and other wildlife. “Hay acreage remains fairly constant from one year to the next in the state and the value of New Mexico’s hay per ton is usually higher than the national average,” Marsalis said. “We have the perfect climate in New Mexico to grow excellent, high-quality hay – that is, as long as we have irrigation to do so.” However, dwindling irrigation supplies and recent droughts have severely hindered the producers’ ability to grow alfalfa and other forage crops. It is this urgency of water shortage and future sustainability that drives much of the research conducted by NMSU’s forage team. The research being conducted at NMSU’s facilities includes a wide array of projects that focus on forage species that are either currently raised in the state, such as alfalfa, or alternative species that show promise or are underutilized. “One such species being investigated is perennial cereal rye,” Marsalis said. “This crop, which was developed in Canada, is very similar to the traditionally grown annual cereal rye without the annual input costs and soil disturbance associated with other small grains, such as wheat. It can persist for three or more years and may provide a short-lived perennial pasture for grazing operations.” It may also have higher forage quality than many of the perennial species used currently for pasture. “It is uncertain if it will persist under New Mexico’s growing conditions, so it is being studied at both NMSU’s Agricultural Science Centers at Los Lunas and Tucumcari for persistence and growth characteristics,” he said. Other nontraditional forages are being studied for potential utilization in the challenging environment of New Mexico. These include teff, guar, canola and forage kochia. “It is important to consider other crops to see if they have a fit in the different forage-based systems throughout New Mexico,” Marsalis said. “It is especially critical to identify those species that may be a better fit in severely water-limited conditions or those that diversify an operation to provide greater drought mitigation and economic stability.” NMSU is also doing several research projects that focus on New Mexico’s number one cash crop, alfalfa. These include alfalfa planting-date and irrigation-timing studies, insect and weed pest control, and variety performance trials at several of the science centers. Other forage variety performance tests are conducted on corn, sorghum and small grain silage crops.
Monday, July 6, 2015
NMSU researcher finds disease-causing bacteria in pistachio trees DATE: 07/06/2015 WRITER: Angela Simental, 575-646-6861, email@example.com CONTACT: Jennifer Randall, 575-646-2920, firstname.lastname@example.org In November 2013, Jennifer Randall, New Mexico State University plant pathology professor, was contacted by pistachio growers in California and Arizona wanting her to look at their oddly shaped trees. Randall traveled to California to inspect the pistachio trees. Instead of growing lean and tall, they were stunted and bushy with twisted roots, which in Arizona, resulted in three-year-old trees being lifted by the wind. “These trees were abnormal. We used the term ‘Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome’ to describe these trees,” Randall said. Funded by the California Pistachio Research Board and the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station, Randall’s laboratory investigated the cause of these abnormal trees. The lab identified two bacteria, called Rhodococcus, which usually distresses ornamental plants, not trees, but instead has affected more than 20,000 acres of California’s pistachio industry. “In the lab, we put the Rhodococcus bacteria onto healthy pistachio trees and the trees developed the same symptoms that were in the affected pistachio orchards,” Randall said. “The trees without the bacteria grew normally. This proved the bacteria caused the problem. “One of the main issues with these trees was that the budding efficiency was reduced; only 30 percent of the trees were successfully budded. However, trees that were budded typically developed huge bark-cracking areas where normally they have a smooth surface. This meant that the top of the tree was not stable and if grown to harvest it is possible that the trees may not survive the shakers commercial growers use.” Many of the affected pistachio trees were removed and growers must decide whether to plant their new trees in the same holes. “My collaborator, Dr. Elizabeth Fichtner in California, is testing the soil to determine if a newly planted tree root might be contaminated by the bacteria from the previous tree,” Randall said. “We have also encouraged growers to disinfect their tools.” Rhodococcus bacteria can live on leaf surfaces for months without causing any symptoms, but once it appears on the plant’s surface, the bacteria infiltrate the tree, altering the hormones that control growth and development, Randall explained. “The problem for pistachio growers is that it takes seven years to produce a significant crop,” Randall said. “Now, they will not have the amount of production they projected because they had to take out the contaminated trees and plant new ones.” Randall explained this issue would also affect consumers in a few years as demand for pistachios grows. Although continuous testing has been done in the lab, Randall and her team don’t have a treatment for these bacteria. “These two bacteria work together and affect a wide range of plants,” she said. “This bacteria has caused problems in nursery settings, but this is the first time it has been a problem for trees. One pistachio orchard in New Mexico was found to be infected, and in New Mexico the concern is that we need to understand this and make sure it doesn’t affect our regionally important crops, such as pecan trees or chile.” Randall and her team are trying to find an easier and faster way to detect the bacteria, especially for those growers who are replanting. “Our research will also focus on ways to treat it because it is a different type of pathogen,” she said. “There are pathogens that kill plants and this one is different because it doesn’t kill the plant, but changes how the plant grows.” The next step of her lab research is to experiment, in a controlled setting, how it might affect pecan trees, given that pecans are one of the largest industries in New Mexico. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nmsunews Follow NMSU News on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NMSUNews