Friday, January 29, 2016
EPA Releases the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees
CONTACT: Cathy Milbourn Milbourn.firstname.lastname@example.org 202-564-7849 202-564-4355 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 6, 2016 EPA Releases the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees First-of-its-kind assessment delivers on President Obama’s National Pollinator Strategy WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA’s assessment, prepared in collaboration with California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators. “Delivering on the President’s National Pollinator Strategy means EPA is committed not only to protecting bees and reversing bee loss, but for the first time assessing the health of the colony for the neonicotinoid pesticides,” said Jim Jones Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Using science as our guide, this preliminary assessment reflects our collaboration with the State of California and Canada to assess the results of the most recent testing required by EPA.” The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, which sets a threshold above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen, and at that level and below which effects are unlikely. These effects include decreases in pollinators as well as less honey produced. . For example, data show that citrus and cotton may have residues of the pesticide in pollen and nectar above the threshold level. Other crops such as corn and leafy vegetables either do not produce nectar or have residues below the EPA identified level. Additional data is being generated on these and other crops to help EPA evaluate whether imidacloprid poses a risk to hives. The imidacloprid assessment is the first of four preliminary pollinator risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for three other neonicotinoids, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, are scheduled to be released for public comment in December 2016. A preliminary risk assessment of all ecological effects for imidacloprid, including a revised pollinator assessment and impacts on other species such as aquatic and terrestrial animals and plants will also be released in December 2016. In addition to working with California, EPA coordinated efforts with Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Canada’s Imidacloprid pollinator-only assessment – also released today – reaches the same preliminary conclusions as EPA’s report. The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register. After the comment period ends, EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received and, if necessary, take action to reduce risks from the insecticide. In 2015, EPA proposed to prohibit the use of pesticides that are toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids, when crops are in bloom and bees are under contract for pollination services. The Agency temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor neonicotinoid pesticide uses until new bee data is submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the imidacloprid docket and sign up for email alerts to be automatically notified when the agency opens the public comment period for the pollinator-only risk assessment. The risk assessment and other supporting documents will be available in the docket today at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;dct=SR;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844. EPA is also planning to hold a webinar on the imidacloprid assessment in early February. The times and details will be posted at: http://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/how-we-assess-risks-pollinators
Insect Repellents Can Protect Against Dengue A recent outbreak of dengue, a mosquito-borne viral illness, in Hawaii has raised questions about the use of insect repellents to protect against the mosquitoes that transmit this disease. EPA has determined that insect repellents we register can be expected to repel these mosquitoes, provided the EPA-approved labeling says the product is for use to protect against mosquitoes in general or against Aedes mosquitoes in particular. EPA approves such labeling only after reviewing acceptable data to support these claims. Find more information about this issue and protection against mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as dengue at www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/using-repellent-products-protect-against-dengue
The latest edition of DroughtScape is out. Several articles deal with aspects of California’s long-term drought: • California drought FAQ: Is it over yet? • The social vulnerability of farmworkers in California to drought • Drought impacts recap, for the fourth quarter and for the year • Drought climate recap for the fourth quarter And, in case you didn’t make it to the workshops, we’ve got features on: • Workshops to help ranchers and foresters at the Tonto National Forest improve drought planning for public lands • Ranch planning resources for the southern Plains, including workshops that wrapped up in Chickasaw, Oklahoma And -- Help Wanted: Geospatial analyst Read DroughtScape, Winter 2016 DroughtScape archive: http://drought.unl.edu/NewsOutreach/DroughtScape.aspx Manage your subscription: http://listserv.unl.edu/signup-anon?LISTNAME=droughtscapelist&LOCKTYPE=list Kelly Helm Smith Communications & Planning Specialist National Drought Mitigation Center 820 Hardin Hall University of Nebraska-Lincoln 402-472-3373 Ksmith2@unl.edu
The fruit grower annual workshop in 2016 is on March 4 from 8:30-2:30 at Santa Fe Fairground Building. Attached is the flier. Please help us distribute it to fruit growers in your county or whoever has interests in this workshop. A light lunch will be provided. We would like to ask attendees to pre-register online at http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/fruitgrowers2016 or call Rio Arriba County Extension Office at 505-685-4523. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thanks! Shengrui ----------------------------------------------------------------- Shengrui Yao, PhD. Assistant Professor/Fruit Specialist Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences Sustainable Agriculture Sciences Center at Alcalde New Mexico State University 371 County Road 40, PO Box 159 Alcalde, NM 87511 Phone: 505-852-4241 Email: email@example.com
EPA Opens Public Comment Period on the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees
EPA Opens Public Comment Period on the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened the 60-day public comment period for its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, in a Federal Register notice published today. After the comment period ends, the EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received and, if necessary, take action to reduce risks from the insecticide. The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen and below which effects are unlikely. These effects may include reduction in numbers of pollinators as well as the amount of honey produced. The imidacloprid assessment is the first of four preliminary pollinator risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for three other neonicotinoids, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, are scheduled to be released for public comment in December 2016. A preliminary risk assessment for all ecological effects for imidacloprid, including a revised pollinator assessment and impacts on other species such as aquatic and terrestrial animals and plants will also be released in December 2016. EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the imidacloprid docket, review the risk assessment and related documents, and submit comments. All comments submitted will be accounted for in our final risk assessment. The risk assessment and other supporting documents are available in the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;dct=SR;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844. EPA is also planning to hold a webinar on the imidacloprid assessment in early February. The times and details will be posted at: http://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/how-we-assess-risks-pollinators
EPA Posts List of Pesticides Registered to Combat Varroa Mites in Bee Hives The EPA has posted a list of pesticides registered for use against Varroa mites to help beekeepers identify products that can help fight this invasive species of bee pest. As part of EPA’s role in the National Pollinator Health Strategy, the Agency has expedited its review of registration applications for new products targeting pests harmful to pollinators. In 2015, EPA expedited the review of applications for oxalic acid and a new biochemical miticide, potassium salts of hops beta acids, to provide more options for beekeepers to combat Varroa mites. More pest control options help avoid the development of resistance toward other products. The list we published today makes it that much easier for beekeepers to identify all products that are registered for use against Varroa and helps advance toward the goals in the National Pollinator Health Strategy. Find out about other EPA efforts to address pollinator loss
USDA Expands Microloans to Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property Producers, Including Beginning and Underserved Farmers, Have a New Option to Gain Access to Land WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2016 — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. "Many producers, especially new and underserved farmers, tell us that access to land is one of the biggest challenges they face in establishing and growing their own farming operation," said Harden. "USDA is making it easier for new farmers to hit the ground running and get access to the land that they need to establish their farms or improve their property." The microloan program, which celebrates its third anniversary this week, has been hugely successful, providing more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers across the country. Microloans have helped farmers and ranchers with operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses since 2013. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers. Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases, and soil and water conservation improvements. FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans to help farmers strengthen their operations. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers, and can be issued to the applicant directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). This microloan announcement is another USDA resource for America's farmers and ranchers to utilize, especially as new and beginning farmers and ranchers look for the assistance they need to get started. To learn more about the FSA microloan program visit www.fsa.usda.gov/microloans, or contact your local FSA office. To find your nearest office location, please visit http://offices.usda.gov. #
Good morning, The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format. Guide B-816: Managing Rangelands and Cattle in Drought-Prone Areas of the Southwest Reviewed by Nick Ashcroft (Extension Range Management Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B816.pdf
The world's first robot-run farm will harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce daily Tech Insider Leanna Garfield The Japanese lettuce production company Spread believes the farmers of the future will be robots. So much so that Spread is creating the world's first farm manned entirely by robots. Instead of relying on human farmers, the indoor Vegetable Factory will employ robots that can harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce every day. Don't expect a bunch of humanoid robots to roam the halls, however; the robots look more like conveyor belts with arms. They'll plant seeds, water plants, and trim lettuce heads after harvest in the Kyoto, Japan farm. "The use of machines and technology has been improving agriculture in this way throughout human history," J.J. Price, a spokesperson at Spread, tells Tech Insider. "With the introduction of plant factories and their controlled environment, we are now able to provide the ideal environment for the crops." The Vegetable Factory follows the growing agricultural trend of vertical farming, where farmers grow crops indoors without natural sunlight. Instead, they rely on LED light and grow crops on racks that stack on top of each other. In addition to increasing production and reducing waste, indoor vertical farming also eliminates runoff from pesticides and herbicides — chemicals used in traditional outdoor farming that can be harmful to the environment. The new farm, set to open in 2017, will be an upgrade to Spread's existing indoor farm, the Kameoka Plant. That farm currently produces about 21,000 heads of lettuce per day with help from a small staff of humans. Spread's new automation technology will not only produce more lettuce, it will also reduce labor costs by 50%, cut energy use by 30%, and recycle 98% of water needed to grow the crops. The resulting increase in revenue and resources could cut costs for consumers, Price says. "Our mission is to help create a sustainable society where future generations will not have to worry about food security and food safety," Price says. "This means that we will have to make it affordable for everyone and begin to grow staple crops and plant protein to make a real difference." Spread is also developing sensors to provide data about how specific type of crops grow. These sensors would alert human workers if a crop is not growing correctly, allowing them to adjust techniques as necessary. Farm robots will certainly eliminate some human jobs, but they could also create new and more interesting jobs for people. Spread's human farmers, for example, will be able to concentrate on developing sustainable farming methods and learning how to produce higher quality vegetables. The Vegetable Factory will open next year, and eventually, Spread hopes to build similar robot farms around the world *****************
USDA to fund wetland mitigation banking for farmers Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc By Whitney Forman-Cook USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Thursday it will offer $9 million in resources to states, local governments and third parties that establish or expand wetland mitigation banks for farmers to utilize. “Over the past seven years, USDA has worked with private landowners to enroll a record number of acres in conservation practices, and we are seeing significant reductions in nutrient runoff and greenhouse gas emissions,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release. “Wetland mitigation banks will give farmers and ranchers more conservation options so they can find the best solution for their land and circumstances, and produce even more results.” These wetland mitigation banks will allow farmers who have drained wetlands to mitigate the loss of the environmental benefits generated by those wetlands, either by creating new wetlands on-site, or by purchasing wetland credits from producers who have restored or built wetlands off-site. Vilsack told reporters on a call Thursday morning that the “goal post” for this program is to have the mitigation banks generating credits that are available to farmers within two years of being awarded USDA funds. In the past, Vilsack continued, producers have used wetland mitigation banks to stay in compliance with the swamp-buster provisions of previous farm bills. But “unfortunately, producers don't get the (full) benefit of traditional mitigation banks, because bigger developers have advantages over individual producers,” Vilsack noted. This program, on the other hand, is specifically designed so that farmers and ranchers can maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Congress instructed USDA to create the wetland mitigation banking program in the 2014 farm bill. Applicants may be awarded up to $1 million to develop, operate and manage the banks with technical oversight from NRCS. The funding will be prioritized for the following locations: the Prairie Pothole region, areas near California's Vernal Pools, the Nebraska Rainwater Basin, and other areas that have significant numbers of wetlands compliance requests. States, local governments and qualified third parties that are interested in participating may tune in to a USDA-hosted webinar on Feb. 10 for more information about the application process. Proposals are due to NRCS before 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 28. Ariel Wiegard, director of agriculture and private lands for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a sportsmen's group, told Agri-Pulse Thursday that her group “support(s) producers having the ability and option to mitigate unavoidable impacts to wetlands on private lands.” “Although we consider the first line of defense against wetlands loss to be preventing wetland conversion in the first place, well-managed mitigation banks can compensate for some of the fish and wildlife habitat lost to agriculture,” Wiegard continued. “We're eager to finally see this money put into action two years into the current farm bill.”
Court rules EPA cannot vacate Enlist Duo label; may review it By Colleen Scherer, managing editor January 28, 2016 | 7:32 am EST
Last fall, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a petition to vacate the label for Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo herbicide, which contains 2,4-D choline and glyphosate. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA’s motion to vacate the herbicide’s registration. Instead, the court ruled that the EPA can review whether it was right in approving the controversial herbicide. Enlist Duo is a herbicide that was developed by Dow AgroSciences to help farmers combat weeds resistant to glyphosate, which has become a significant problem for farmers in the United States. Garry Hamlin, a spokesman for Dow AgroSciences, said, “Dow AgroSciences will continue to work cooperatively with the U.S. EPA concerning Enlist Duo.” It was considered unusual for EPA to ask the court to cancel its own approval of a herbicide last November. EPA claimed it was concerned that the combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate may have “potential synergistic effects between the two ingredients on non-target plants.” As a result, farmers can still use and ag retailers can still sell Enlist Duo for the upcoming growing season. The label was never pulled and while the case was being decided, the product was never removed from the market. Dow AgroSciences is currently still awaiting import approval from China for Enlist corn, which is engineered to withstand Enlist Duo. Currently, Enlist Duo is registered in 15 states, including, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Although the company introduced Enlist cotton earlier this year, EPA has not approved the use of Enlist Duo on cotton.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
USDA Seeks Fellowship Applications for Future Agricultural Scientists, Science Educators Nearly $19 Million Available to Students and Educators for Fellowships to Address Challenges in Nutrition, Food Security, Climate Change, and Other Agricultural Areas WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $18.9 million in competitive grants to support fellowships and other higher education training projects in food, nutrition, natural resources and agriculture fields. These fellowships are administered through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and will support pre- and post-doctoral fellowships, undergraduate fellowships, and professional development for secondary school teachers and educational professionals. "Highly motivated, talented and creative workers in the food, agriculture and natural resources fields will only become more valuable on a global scale as we face a growing population and tougher climate obstacles in the next few decades," said Vilsack. "Investing in innovation and growing a strong knowledge base now is critical to bolstering food security, health, and economic viability for the next generation." Grants are available through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Literacy Initiative. Past AFRI Education and Literacy Initiative fellowships include an assessment by Virginia Commonwealth University of how climate change influences population dynamics of agricultural and forest insect pests; research at the University of Wisconsin to identify traits governing bacterial population in freshwater lakes; work by the University of California-Berkeley to give farmers and land managers a framework for restoring hedgerows to stabilize pollinator communities; and more. Funded fellowships will span the six challenge areas identified by AFRI: childhood obesity prevention, climate change, food safety, food security, sustainable bioenergy and water. The fellowship program also will fund projects that contain well-developed and highly-engaged mentoring and training activities. NIFA will fund single-function and multi-function research, education or extension projects. Webinars for more information about these grants are available on the NIFA website. Pre- and post-doctoral fellowships will serve as a conduit for new scientists and professionals to enter research, education and extension fields within the food, agricultural, natural resources and human sciences. Applications for pre- and post-doctoral fellowships are due February 11, 2016. Undergraduate fellows will obtain hands-on experience and training and receive strong mentoring to assist them in joining the workforce or for pursuing graduate studies. Additionally, the undergraduate fellowships will provide opportunities for students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups at minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities to partner with larger universities and USDA laboratories. Applications for undergraduate fellowships are due March 24, 2016. Grants for colleges and universities to develop training programs for secondary school teachers and education professionals, such as counselors and administrators, aim to provide immersive learning experiences for the grantees to create and replicate best practices to improve student success within the food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences. Applications for these professional development grants are due March 18, 2016. AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. AFRI supports work in six priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; bioenergy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts. #
Low commodity prices testing producer safety net programs Southwest Farm Press By Joe L. Outlaw The downturn in prices over the past few years for major program crops —corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, rice, and peanuts — has provided an early test for the 2014 farm bill’s producer safety net. In most cases, market prices have declined by more than one-third from where they were when the farm bill was being debated. Lower producer prices have resulted in declining net incomes and greater financial stress. The government safety net was designed to alleviate at least some of this financial stress. Regardless of a producer’s program choice, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), marketing year prices for each crop are used to determine whether payments are triggered. Marketing years do not begin until harvest for the current year’s crop (fall 2015) and end at the next harvest (fall 2016). Consequently, producers began receiving program payments for their 2014 crop in October 2015. Since payments for the first year of the 5-year farm bill have started dispersing to producers, this is a good time to reflect on how well the safety net has performed. COUNTER-CYCLICAL PAYMENTS Implementation of the new farm bill programs by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) moved at a relatively quick pace, and 2014 crop year payments have been made on time. The payments are counter-cyclical, meaning they provide help when help is needed, and less help when prices rise. In this regard, the safety net programs are working as planned. Thus far, most of the negatives expressed by producers in the Southwest region have been associated with implementation of the ARC county program. Local disparities in county yields used by FSA for the ARC program have created a situation where a producer in one county may receive a significant ARC payment for a crop, while a producer farming the same crop in a neighboring county receives considerably less or nothing. Producers, commodity groups, and others are all wondering exactly how these yields were determined and where the data came from. These potential problems were discussed at length during the education process across the region. Now that actual payments are being made, the discrepancies are more obvious. A second problem arises from the choice, or selection, of the FSA administrative county by the producer. While FSA has recently provided some relief in this regard, there is still a significant chance of receiving a lower safety net payment than would have been calculated if payments were based entirely on the county where a producer’s farms are located rather than administrative counties. SUFFICIENT SAFETY NET? Any time there are significant changes to farm programs there are opportunities for producers to feel they are not getting a fair deal — this farm bill is no different. What is likely to be more concerning over the next few years is the adequacy of safety net payments relative to the reduction in crop receipts. This is a significant issue due to the projection of persistently low prices for commodities over the next few years. The reality of the 2014 Farm Bill being developed with lower spending levels than previous bills means that the safety net, while substantial, may not be sufficient to prevent major financial problems for many Southwest crop producers. Another concern with ARC county is the possibility of declining support levels over time. Two or more years of low prices and/or yields will result in lower revenue guarantees. So, following two difficult years for producers, the safety net declines at a time when producers may be in serious financial distress. This prospect will be realized with another year of low prices in 2016
Sunland Park suspends racing for 14 days The Daily Racing Form By Mary Rampellini Sunland Park in New Mexico has suspended racing for 14 days starting Saturday after five horses tested positive for the equine herpesvirus in the past week, the track announced. Sunland is conducting a mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that opened in December and continues into April. Sunland raced on Friday. “In the interest of equine safety, Sunland Park Racetrack is postponing racing for an initial period of 14 days,” Rick Baugh, general manager of Sunland, said in a release issued late Friday. “I’d like to thank all the agencies involved, as well as our horsemen, for their cooperation and support as we take a proactive approach to protect our horses and make a quick return to live racing.” Sunland officials are working with the New Mexico Livestock Board and the New Mexico Racing Commission to limit the spread of equine herpesvirus. The strain that has been confirmed is EHV-1. It was first thought to be EHV-4. Sunland announced on Thursday that a 5-year-old Thoroughbred mare had tested positive and was later euthanized. There are a number of barns under quarantine at Sunland. “It’s mandatory that, twice a day, the temperature of every horse on the grounds is taken, logged, and reported to both Sunland Park and to the racing commission,” said Dan Fick, acting director of the New Mexico Racing Commission. A disinfection program is ongoing at Sunland, as equine herpesvirus is contagious among horses. There are also samples being taken of animals suspected to have the virus, according to a release from Sunland. The samples are being sent to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s diagnostic lab in Albuquerque. Sunland’s suspension of racing is until further notice, and officials hope it will be completed in two weeks, according to track spokeswoman Molly Jo Rosen. She said in an email that the suspension period “resets to a new 14 days every time there is a positive test.” Sunland will not make up lost race dates or lost stakes, according to Rosen. The track has established a special training schedule to accommodate quarantined horses.
USDA Renews Agricultural Air Quality Task Force, Appoints Members WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the renewal of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of its members for the 2016-2018 term. The task force is composed of representatives from agriculture, industry, academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other agricultural and environmental experts. "The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is another example of USDA's continued commitment to developing science-based solutions and conservation measures that not only reduce the agriculture industry's environmental impact, but in many ways enhance our natural resources through improved agricultural practices," said Vilsack. "Bringing together a variety of perspectives and scientific insights to this task force will help reach solutions to resolve air quality challenges." The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality. It also helps better coordinate activities and resources among USDA agencies and other federal partners such as the Environmental Protection Agency. The task force advises the Secretary of Agriculture on air quality and its relationship to agriculture based on sound scientific findings; Reviews research on agricultural air quality supported by federal agencies; promotes intergovernmental (federal, state, local and tribal) coordination in establishing agricultural air quality policy to avoid duplication of efforts; and ensures that air quality conservation practices supported by USDA are based on peer reviewed research and are economically feasible for agricultural producers. The task force was formed in 1996 at the direction of Congress to address agricultural air quality issues. Chaired by Jason Weller, chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, this is the ninth task force since the first was assembled in 1997. Members of the 2016-2018 task force are: Arizona Marguerite Tan, LLC Farm Operations California Kevin Abernathy, Milk Producers Council Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau Federation Manuel F. Cunha, Jr., Nisei Farmers League Samir Sheikh, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Colorado Jeff Collett, Colorado State University Jon Slutsky, Producer Idaho April Leytem, USDA Agricultural Research Service Illinois Juan Tricarico, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Clifford Zhang, University of Illinois Iowa Chris Petersen, Producer Charles Stanier, University of Iowa Kentucky Clint Quarles, Kentucky Dept. Agriculture Phil Silva, USDA Agricultural Research Service Louisiana Annette Sharp, Louisiana Dept. Environmental Quality Maryland Lara Moody, The Fertilizer Institute Ana Rule, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Michigan Gerry May, Producer Minnesota Larry Jacobson, University of Minnesota Missouri Terry Spence, Producer New York Hal Kreher, Producer Patrick McCormick, Producer North Carolina Sally Shaver, Shaver Consulting Inc. Lingjuan Wang Li, North Carolina State University North Dakota Shafiqur Rahman, North Dakota State University Oregon Merlyn Hough, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency Pennsylvania William Angstadt, Angstadt Consulting Tennessee William Norman, National Cotton Council Texas Brock Faulkner, Texas A&M University Kelley Green, Texas Cotton Ginners' Association Anissa Purswell, Enviro-Ag Engineering Bryan Shaw, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Association Washington Brian Cochrane, Producer Nichole Embertson, Whatcom Conservation District The first meeting of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is planned for the spring of 2016. For more information visit the AAQTF web page. #
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
As we draw closer to the spring, work on the farm changes dramatically. The busy fall harvest is behind us and it is time to prepare for winter. Now is the time for maintenance work, preparing for winter weather, and getting ready to plant again in the spring. Whenever working on the farm it is vitally important to be mindful of safe digging practice. Fence building and repair, deep ripping, removing stumps, repairing drain tile, soil contouring, road maintenance, and other activities can impact pipelines and other buried facilities on the right-of-way. Land owners and lease holders need to call 811 and communicate with facility owners to ensure the safety of themselves, their land, and their families. 811 Myths In a recent survey, fewer than one in five farmers and ranchers with a pipeline on their property have ever called or contacted the pipeline operator prior to beginning a digging project. There are a number of reasons they fail to take the first step toward safe digging. Here are just a few myths about 811 and calling before digging: Myth - I know where the pipeline is and there are pipeline signs, I don't need to call before digging. Fact - Pipeline markers are there to alert people of the presence of a pipeline and provide quick access to emergency contact information. They do NOT show the exact location of a pipeline. Relying on memory and second-hand information as to the exact location of a pipeline is dangerous. I don't know about you, but I can barely remember where I put my keys most mornings. Don't risk it, call 811 before any project. Myth - Farming is tough business and I don't need permits. I can't afford delays or to pay to have lines located on my property. Fact - Calling 811 is fast and free. Research shows that over 95% of all digging projects are planned at least a couple of days in advance. A free call to 811 will alert pipeline operators of your plans to dig, and the lines will be located in 2-3 days. If there is a pipeline located in the area of the planned project, a representative from the company will come out to the location at no charge and make sure everyone goes home safe. Myth - I'm not digging, I'm farming and I have an exemption so I don't need to call. The pipeline is too deep for me to hit. Fact - Many states do offer a very limited exemption to One-Call laws for "normal agricultural activities". Deep ripping, soil sampling, fence building, and ditch cleaning may seem like "normal" farming, but without a call to 811 prior to digging, these and other excavating activities can impact pipelines. Pipeline depths can change over time. Erosion, contouring, prior digging projects, and other factors can affect pipeline depth. Don't risk a catastrophic incident by cutting corners. ALWAYS call 811 and follow safe excavation practices. After You Make the Call Calling 811 before starting any excavating project is the first step in the safe digging process. Here is what happens next: When a call is received and the area of work is noted, the local 811 Center, using mapping technology, will identify all buried utilities registered with the center. *IMPORTANT NOTE – Private facilities like electric or gas lines feeding out-buildings are not registered with the call center and will NOT be located. Private facility locators like my friends at Baker-Peterson must be contacted. http://baker-peterson.com/ An email will go out to the pipeline operator and any utility within a set distance of the work area. For natural gas transmission lines for example, whenever work is scheduled within 300 feet of the pipeline, they will dispatch qualified personnel to locate the pipeline within 2-3 business days. Individual state laws vary, click here to see notification requirements in your state: http://call811.com/811-your-state When the technician dispatched by the pipeline operator arrives, he will use equipment designed to locate the pipeline and identify the line with yellow paint and flags. The flag will include the name of the pipeline operator as well as a contact phone number. Technicians will also arrive and locate water lines, telecommunication cables, and any other buried utility. These techs will use orange flags and paint for the communications cables, blue for water, red for electric. For a complete list of colors click here: http://www.gopherstateonecall.org/color-code-chart After waiting the full 2-3 days, work can begin! NEW PASA Website www.PipelineAgSafetyAlliance.com Pipeline Info www.pipeline101.com Call Before You Dig Info www.call811.com Excavation Safety http://www.excavationsafetyguide.com/ National Pipeline Mapping System https://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/PublicViewer/ Simply reply to this email with any questions or give us a call. We are always looking for feedback and are eager to help! VIDEOS Field Tile Testimonial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe-iknpYzF8 811 Process https://vimeo.com/120007377 5 Steps to Safer Digging https://vimeo.com/29501568
NMSU peanut expert reports good season despite excess rainfall for New Mexico growers DATE: 01/25/2016 WRITER: Darrell J. Pehr, 575-646-3223, firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT: Naveen Puppala , 575-985-2292, email@example.com Abundant rainfall across New Mexico during the spring and summer of 2015 meant healthier mountain forests, fuller lakes and rivers and more reliable municipal water supplies. The rainfall also gave a boost to New Mexico’s peanut growers … until harvest, when too much of a good thing proved to be a problem. New Mexico State University peanut breeder Naveen Puppala said the volume of the rain was especially beneficial during the growing season. A 2015 growing season rainfall of 30 inches far surpassed the average 18-inch annual total, and more than tripled the amount of rainfall from recent growing seasons: 8.02 inches in 2013 and 9.45 inches in 2012. In October 2015, areas in Eastern New Mexico received 8.0 inches of rainfall, which was the wettest month of the year. “This year, we had a very fantastic cropping season,” Puppala said. “The growing season went very well.” Based at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis, Puppala has conducted research on New Mexico’s peanut crop for more than 15 years. He spends a lot of time working with peanut producers during the growing season, and visited fields during the harvest near Lingo, New Mexico, and other locations. Puppala said New Mexico’s peanut crop is primarily grown in Roosevelt, Curry and Lea counties on the eastern side of the state. The NMSU expert said about 15,000 acres of peanuts were contracted this year by New Mexico processing plants. Farmers encountered a challenge at the beginning of this year’s growing season, when abundant rain made it more difficult to get into the fields for planting in May, due to muddy conditions. Weather during the growing season went well, and farmers who harvested early had no trouble. But big rainfall at harvest this fall has hindered the operation of threshing and drying the peanuts. Puppala explained that rain can be a factor in the harvest of the peanuts. That’s because of the two-step process of harvesting peanuts, which are first dug up and laid out on the ground, then allowed to dry out. After drying about a week on the ground, the peanuts are usually ready to be threshed from the peanut plant and then delivered to a processing plant. If rainstorms are unseasonably heavy during the harvest season, though, it may delay the second part of the process. For those growers who dug and harvested the peanuts by the end of September, the weather was ideal. By planting early in the season, they were in a better position as they escaped the abundant rainfall in the fall. Those growers who planted late in the season had problems with heavy rainfall at harvest, which resulted in discoloration of the peanuts. Fortunately, the discoloration does not significantly affect yield or grade of the crop. “Untimely rainfall during the harvest has resulted in discoloration without hampering the yield and grade,” Puppala said. “In-shell Valencia peanuts are paid a premium of $50 per ton if they are bright-colored. It has been an unusual year for peanuts like this.” Puppala said he anticipates a moderate year, with the peanut crop generating an average yield of about 3,200 pounds per acre As a result, Puppala expects this year’s peanut crop to generate $30 million to $40 million in economic impact for the state’s producers. Eastern New Mexico and West Texas are favorable places for organic peanut crops due to the relatively modest rainfall and abundant sunshine when compared to other areas where peanuts are grown, like Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina. New Mexico is the number one grower of organic peanuts in the United States. Puppala said farmers in New Mexico grow Valencia peanuts, which are known for their reddish seed color and sweet taste. The three- to four-seeded pods are often sold to the consumer as an in-shell peanut.
LATEST UPDATE ON EHV-1 VIRUS AT SUNLAND PARK RACETRACK 1/26/2016 (SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) - To date, 18 horses have been diagnosed as positive for EHV-1 on nasal swab and/or whole blood. These horses are from 13 different barns within Sunland Park racetrack; at present, horses in surrounding areas have tested negative. Of these 18, one horse has been euthanized for neurologic symptoms. No movement of horses is being allowed in or out of Sunland Park. Officials with the Livestock Board, Racing Commission and Sunland Park will continue to work together to resolve the issue. This is a fluid and rapidly changing situation, so we will update this post regularly. Please check back often, or use the link on the right to sign up for our e-mail blasts. The article below is from the American Association of Equine Practioners in Q&A format providing lots of useful information regarding the EHV virus. We have also linked to the original Dept of Ag press release, though the information above may be considered a later update.. Original Department of Ag press release January 22, 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners FAQ for EHV If you would like to be taken off of this mailing list Click Here and your email address will be removed from our list.
Monday, January 25, 2016
The brochure below is available from USDA. It is well written and covers most of the key points for the situation right now in a simple Q&A format. I would think that NMDA or NMLB should have many of these to post or hand out. I figure Hanosh or the acting state vet will assess the situation and make the recommendation on whether to vaccinate with existing EHV vaccines in the face of an outbreak or not. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/equine_herpesvirus_brochure_2009.pdf This next link is the only place I could currently find the USDA equine bio security brochure in Spanish. It is a USDA pub, but it is not accessible from their website write now. It is not EHV-specific, but it covers standard bio security practices. http://esc.rutgers.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/bro_keep_horses_healthy_sp.pdf I don't have any other good, vetted resources to share right now. I hope this helps. Jason Turner NMSU Extension Horse Specialist
Livestock Board, Racing Commission working with Sunland Park Racetrack to control virus found in five racehorses
Livestock Board, Racing Commission working with Sunland Park Racetrack to control virus found in five racehorses (SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) – The New Mexico Livestock Board and the New Mexico Racing Commission are working with officials at Sunland Park Racetrack to ensure that a horse-specific virus is limited to just the few racehorses confirmed positive this week. Several barns at Sunland Park Racetrack are under quarantine following confirmation of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV), specifically EHV-1. The Livestock Board is taking extra precautions by restricting horse movement to and from the area that includes Sunland Park Racetrack, as well as local horse-training centers Frontera, Jovi, and Lazy S. There are several strains of EHV; none of them are transmissible to humans. Early reports suggesting the strain was EHV-4 – which produces mainly respiratory problems – were erroneous. The strain confirmed in the five horses at Sunland Park was the neurotropic form of EHV-1, which can cause severe neurological problems in horses. The first confirmation was made Thursday. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, EHV-1 is contagious and spread through contact: either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly via human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack, and trailers. Biosecurity measures being taken include isolating horses confirmed to have EHV-1; cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces or items horses may come into contact with; controlling foot traffic within the racetrack; providing plastic boot covers for personnel whose movement around the premises is essential; and sanitizing footwear and clothing. “It’s mandatory that, twice a day, the temperature of every horse on the grounds is taken, logged, and reported to both Sunland Park and to the Racing Commission,” said Dan Fick, acting director of the New Mexico Racing Commission. Fever is a major indicator of EHV-1. Samples are being taken from horses suspected of having the virus. Those samples are being submitted for testing at New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s (NMDA) Veterinary Diagnostic Services laboratory in Albuquerque. In addition to state government’s regulatory measures, Sunland Park is taking its own steps to control the potential spread of the virus. “In the interest of equine safety, Sunland Park Racetrack is postponing racing for an initial period of 14 days,” Rick Baugh, general manager of Sunland Park Racetrack, said. “I’d like to thank all the agencies involved, as well as our horsemen, for their cooperation and support as we take a proactive approach to protect our horses and make a quick return to live racing.” Horsemen who have recently had horses at Sunland Park Racetrack are advised to contact their veterinarian for medical questions and to contact the Livestock Board for quarantine questions. Officials with the Livestock Board, Racing Commission, and Sunland Park Racetrack will continue to work together to resolve the issue. ###
If a room full of agricultural journalists can obtain BQA certification, so can you. And through November 20, you can do so at no cost, thanks to a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. (BIVI). The journalists received their Beef Quality Assurance training during a media conference sponsored by BIVI in mid-October. Kansas State University veterinarian and director of the Beef Cattle Institute Dan Thomson, DVM, PhD, led the session. Thomson notes that the BQA program serves as a cornerstone in the industry’s efforts to ensure consumer trust and document good management practices. In addition to protecting beef quality, the BQA program provides a framework for ensuring and documenting animal welfare. Increasingly, activist groups target retailers and food-service companies, pressuring them to mandate beef-production standards on their suppliers. BQA is the industry’s best tool for showing retailers we already have sound, science-based standards for beef quality, food safety and animal well-being, and that we continuously work toward further improvements. Thomson outlined how BQA standards address the internationally accepted “Five Freedoms” of animal care. The Five Freedoms include: 1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor. 2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. 4. Freedom to express (most) normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind. 5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. In discussing the Five Freedoms, Thomson outlined how BQA includes guidelines and assessments include protocols for providing feed and water, ensuring cattle comfort, preventing injuries and disease and caring for injured or sick cattle, maintaining a good living environment and using animal-handling practices that minimize stress and prohibit all forms of abuse. BQA training has never been so accessible, with online training and documents available through BQA.org and the BIVI sponsorship allowing no-cost certification. Visit BQA.org to learn more and get started. WOODS NOTE: IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A BQA WORKSHOP HERE IN EDDY COUNTY E MAIL ME OR CALL firstname.lastname@example.org
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) this week issued its fourth progress report outlining its actions promoting judicious use of antimicrobials in livestock.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) this week issued its fourth progress report outlining its actions promoting judicious use of antimicrobials in livestock. The FDA’s efforts in this area have focused on reducing the use of medically important antimicrobials administered through feed, particularly those used to improve animal performance, and to bring other uses of those products under the oversight of veterinarians. To address those goals, the FDA issued its Guidance for Industry 213 in December of 2013. That guidance calls on drug sponsors, by December 2016, to voluntarily remove indications for use related to growth promotion from product labels of medically important feed-grade antimicrobials. According to the FDA/CVM, there were 293 applications initially affected by Guidance 213. All of the affected drug sponsors have indicated they intend to comply with the voluntary guidance by the December deadline, and some already have begun implementing the recommended changes. Three applications have been converted from over-the-counter to prescription dispensing status, production indications have been withdrawn from one application and 35 affected applications have been completely withdrawn. Also, in June 2015, the agency issued its final veterinary feed directive (VFD) rule, which places the use of medically important antimicrobials, used in feed for prevention, control or treatment of disease, under the oversight of veterinarians. Many of those products have been available for over-the-counter purchase. Once the changes recommended by Guidance 213 are fully implemented, medically important antimicrobials intended for use in animal feed will be limited to use under a VFD order issued by a licensed veterinarian. The rule also specifies that veterinarians can issue VFD orders only in the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). In December 2015, FDA another document, draft Guidance for Industry #233, which is titled “Veterinary Feed Directive Common Format Questions and Answers.” The draft guidance is intended to help drug sponsors meet certain requirements for VFD drug approval. FDA began accepting public comments on draft Guidance 233 on December 1, 2015, and the comment period will continue until January 30. To electronically submit comments to the docket, visit regulations.gov and type FDA-2010-N-0155 in the search box. For these efforts to provide much value to the public, the FDA and other agencies will need to quantify their effects on antimicrobial use and, ultimately, on antimicrobial-resistance trends. Toward that goal, in May 2015 the agency proposed revisions to its annual reporting requirements for drug sponsors of antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals in order to obtain estimates of sales broken out by major food-producing species. Also the FDA, USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to develop and implement a plan to collect additional data on estimated antibiotic use in food-producing animals. The agencies held a public meeting in September 2015, and intend to finalize this data collection plan in 2016.
Monsanto sues California agency to stop listing of glyphosate as carcinogen Agri-Pulse Communications By Stephen Davies Monsanto has fired a pre-emptive strike in an attempt to stop the state of California from adding glyphosate, aka Roundup, to its list of chemicals “known . . . to cause cancer.” The placement of the world's most widely used herbicide on the Proposition 65 list, the company said in a complaint filed Jan. 21 in the Superior Court of California for Fresno County, “would cause irreparable injury to Monsanto and the public (and) would adversely affect Monsanto's reputation for manufacturing safe and reliable herbicides; would potentially result in lost sales due to consumer deselection of glyphosate-based herbicides; and would require Monsanto to spend significant sums of money to re-label and re-shelf its products.” The state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) wrongly relied on a determination in March by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, Monsanto said. IARC is an arm of the U.N.'s World Health Organization. But OEHHA contends that it doesn't have to make its own scientific determination. In fact, it said when it proposed to place glyphosate, parathion and malathion on the list in September that under its own regulations, it “cannot consider scientific arguments concerning the weight or quality of the evidence considered by IARC when it identified these chemicals and will not respond to such comments if they are submitted.” Monsanto contends that by proposing to place glyphosate on the Prop 65 list, “OEHHA effectively elevated the determination of an ad hoc committee of an unelected, foreign body, which answers to no United States official (let alone any California state official), over the conclusions of its own scientific experts.” In a news release, Monsanto alleged that “the members of the ad hoc IARC working group were hand-picked and conducted their assessment in a non-transparent process.” Further, it said that “unlike regulatory risk assessments, the IARC classification process followed non-standard procedures and selectively included and interpreted only a subset of the data actually available on glyphosate.” OEHHA had reached the opposite conclusion on glyphosate in 2007 when it conducted a review of the same studies as part of the process of establishing a Public Health Goal for drinking water, Monsanto said. “Based on the weight of evidence, glyphosate is judged unlikely to pose a cancer hazard to humans,” OEHHA said then. The lawsuit alleges that the Prop 65 listing process violates provisions of the U.S. and California constitutions guaranteeing due process and free speech, “If glyphosate is added to the Proposition 65 list, Monsanto will be required to provide a ‘clear and reasonable warning' on its glyphosate-based products that states that (they) contain a chemical ‘known to the state to cause cancer.' However, OEHHA's scientific experts in fact reached the opposite conclusion -- namely, that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a cancer hazard to humans.” As such, the Proposition 65 warning requirement, as applied to glyphosate, would compel Monsanto to affix false and/or misleading statements to its products. Such compelled commercial speech does not advance any legitimate or substantial government interest.”
Sunland Park Racetrack shuts down after virus found in horses KFOX 14 By Jessica Gonzalez Sunland Park Racetrack was shut down Friday after at least five horses were found to have the equine herpes virus, Sunland Park Racetrack officials said. The racetrack is expected to be closed for at least two weeks, according to officials. The casino will remain open. The strain found in the horses was EHV-1, which is not transmissible to humans. Officials said the first confirmation of the virus was made Thursday. The Livestock Board restricted horse movement to and from certain areas, which include the racetrack as well as training centers Frontera, Jovi and Lazy S. The horses affected are being isolated and the areas the horses may have come in contact with are being cleaned thoroughly and disinfected. The strain found in the horses is said to cause severe neurological problems in horses. EVH-1 is contagious and spread through contact, either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly via human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack and trailers, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. “It’s mandatory that, twice a day, the temperature of every horse on the grounds is taken, logged and reported to both Sunland Park and to the Racing Commission,” said Dan Fick, acting director of the New Mexico Racing Commission. Fever is a major indicator of EHV-1. Samples are being taken from horses suspected of having the virus. Those samples are being submitted for testing at New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Diagnostic Services laboratory in Albuquerque. In addition to state government’s regulatory measures, Sunland Park is taking its own steps to control the potential spread of the virus. “In the interest of equine safety, Sunland Park Racetrack is postponing racing for an initial period of 14 days,” Rick Baugh, general manager of Sunland Park Racetrack, said. Horsemen who had horses at Sunland Park Racetrack are advised to contact their veterinarian if they have questions.
Art, cowboy culture and a sense of community all come together in Hobbs Deep in the heart of southeast New Mexico, Hobbs is the land where high school basketball coach Ralph Tasker became a legend. But there’s more to the little town than a coach of hoop renown. As a matter of fact, the Western Heritage Museum Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame (nmjc.edu/museum) “is one of the really good reasons to come to Hobbs,” museum director Darrell Beauchamp said. The institution serves three different purposes in one site on the New Mexico Junior College campus, he said. There’s the hall of fame, which honors the 100 (and growing) rodeo superstars and others important to the sport who have called Lea County home, then there’s the museum that recognizes the long ranching heritage in the area, and finally there’s the exhibit hall that features an eclectic range of displays. It started in 1978 as a tribute to the many world champion rodeo performers because “Lea County has more world champion rodeo cowboys than anywhere in the country,” Beauchamp said. In addition to photos of each hall of fame member, the displays include personal memorabilia like saddles or boots or championship buckles. “And from there it just grew,” he said. The museum exhibits such items as Western buckles, boots, saddles, spurs, butter churns, wagons, tack and other horse gear and photographs of pioneers. The exhibit area is dedicated to traveling displays on a variety of topics. The ongoing display, “Wicked Plants,” through May 1, highlights the world’s most diabolical botanicals, without the risk of pain, poisoning, dismemberment or death. “These are the evil plants of the world,” Beauchamp said. “And living in the desert we have many plants that can be evil.”...more Posted by Frank DuBois at 3:06 AM No comments: Permalink Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: New Mexico, The West
Friday, January 22, 2016
Obama Vetoes Clean Water Rule Takedown By Sara Jerome @sarmje President Obama vetoed a congressional measure that would have overturned federal clean water regulations, issuing the ninth veto of his presidency on Tuesday. "Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable," Obama said, per USA Today. "Pollution from upstream sources ends up in the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters near which most Americans live and on which they depend for their drinking water, recreation, and economic development." Congress had passed legislation striking down water regulations passed by the U.S. EPA. “Congressional Republicans tried to use a rarely invoked law known as the Congressional Review Act to overturn the regulation. But they're far short of the two-thirds vote necessary in each chamber to overturn the veto. It passed 53 to 44 in the Senate and 253 to 166 in the House,” the report said. The federal Clean Water Rule expands the number of U.S. waterways regulated by the federal government. The EPA argues that the rule is necessary to protect waterways and because Supreme Court decisions make it unclear what the agency may regulate under the Clean Water Act. Opponents, including congressional Republicans and the agriculture industry, say the EPA overstepped its bounds in rolling out the new regulation. But even with Obama’s veto, the rules remain in jeopardy. Court challenges make it unclear whether the rules will become fully implemented. This courtroom battle is just one of several major water fights expected in 2016. That’s because agricultural interests out West are fighting federal enforcement of existing regulations as well as the implementation of new rules, Capital Press reported. A few of the most important legal battles, as described by Capital Press: • In California, the Duarte Nursery is seeking to overturn a finding by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that switching from spring to winter wheat resulted in plowing activities that affected wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act. • In Wyoming, farmer Andy Johnson is challenging a finding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that construction of a stock pond unlawfully discharged pollutants into a stream without a Clean Water Act permit. • Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a case in which landowners want the right to contest a federal determination that their property is subject to Clean Water Act regulations. For the latest Clean Water Act developments, visit Water Online’s Source Water Solutions Center.
NM Delegation Welcomes BLM's Draft Rule on Reducing Natural Gas Loss, Fighting Climate Change In letter, delegation urges EPA to strengthen proposed standards and establish new rule WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham welcomed the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) draft rules for curbing natural gas waste. New Mexico is the nation's leading producer of oil from onshore federal land, and second for natural gas production. Yet too much of the state's natural gas goes to waste through venting, flaring and leaks - causing dangerous methane pollution over the San Juan Basin. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide within the first 20 years after it is emitted. A NASA study has identified a methane hot spot the size of Delaware over the San Juan Basin - the highest concentration in the nation. In July, the New Mexico lawmakers called for prompt action on the federal standards to protect public health, fight climate change and ensure taxpayers receive fair compensation for mineral production on federal lands. “New Mexico's natural resources provide jobs and royalty payments and are an important part of our state's economy. But over $100 million worth of those natural gas resources are being wasted each year due to outdated requirements, costing the state of New Mexico $43 million in lost royalties since 2009," the lawmakers said in a joint statement. "The waste is a serious health issue and contributes to smog and climate change." "The new methane waste-reduction rules announced today are an important step toward better management of public resources," the lawmakers' statement continued. "They will help ensure producers reduce venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas production sites. Every molecule of natural gas that is captured is a molecule that can be sold and put to good use and increase state and federal royalties — and that will help ensure New Mexicans have clean air generations into the future.” Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. The Department of the Interior plans to hold a series of public meetings on the proposed rule in February and March. In praising the BLM's proposed rules, the lawmakers also urged the administration to take further steps to rein in methane pollution. In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which — like the BLM — is in the process of drafting new policies to address waste and pollution from oil and gas operations, the lawmakers asked EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to strengthen the EPA's proposed rules. Specifically, the lawmakers asked McCarthy to strengthen and finalize the EPA's proposed standards to control methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas operations. They also recommended that the EPA next consider a rule governing methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations. "We strongly support many features of the proposed standard," the lawmakers wrote of the EPA's draft rules. "The proposal would require for the first time the capture of methane and VOC emissions from hydraulically fractured oil wells, a major source of pollution. The proposed rule also contains common-sense standards for important sources of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and equipment." "However, we believe there may be room for improvement as we understand that several critical sources of methane emissions were omitted from EPA’s proposal. We would strongly encourage EPA to review additional sources and rigorous leak detection and repair standards to ensure the rule successfully incorporates best practices. By finalizing a strong new and modified rule, EPA will be well prepared to pursue a successful existing source rule as well," they concluded. The letter is available HERE and below. January 22, 2016 The Honorable Gina McCarthy Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20460 Dear Administrator McCarthy: We write with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed standards to control methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas operations. We are pleased that EPA is moving forward and urge the agency to finalize the new and modified rule. In addition, we also recommend that EPA next consider an existing source rule for methane emissions. Tackling methane is an integral part of avoiding the most serious human health and environmental consequences associated with climate change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide within the first 20 years after it is emitted. The oil and gas industry alone accounts for more than 7 million tons of methane emissions annually. Curbing methane emissions will provide significant co-benefits by reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that contribute to soot and smog —a serious air pollution problem that contributes to premature deaths and increased rates of asthma attacks – as well as toxic pollutants like benzene. By damaging the respiratory system, we know that smog harms some of our most vulnerable populations. In addition, wasted methane gas equals an enormous amount of wasted revenue for both state and tribal governments. A recent report from the business consulting firm ICF International found that venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas sites on federal and tribal land in New Mexico wasted $101 million worth of gas in 2013. New Mexico ranked highest in the nation for natural gas waste on public lands at 33.7 billion cubic feet. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it represents lost royalties to taxpayers totaling more than $42.7 million in forgone royalty revenue since 2009. Oil and gas production is a major sector of New Mexico’s economy, but we believe this development benefits our state and the nation most when it is done in an environmentally responsible way. Fortunately, the technology and know-how to minimize emissions from oil and gas facilities is readily available and affordable. EPA’s final rule should take advantage of the ingenuity and availability of new technology and promote its use throughout the oil and gas system. We strongly support many features of the proposed standard. The proposal would require for the first time the capture of methane and VOC emissions from hydraulically fractured oil wells, a major source of pollution. The proposed rule also contains common-sense standards for important sources of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and equipment. However, we believe there may be room for improvement as we understand that several critical sources of methane emissions were omitted from EPA’s proposal. We would strongly encourage EPA to review additional sources and rigorous leak detection and repair standards to ensure the rule successfully incorporates best practices. By finalizing a strong new and modified rule, EPA will be well prepared to pursue a successful existing source rule as well. We thank you for your attention to this important issue and look forward to working with you to achieve the strongest feasible standards to minimize methane emissions from new and existing sources in the nation’s oil and gas sector. Sincerely, Tom Udall, United States Senator Martin Heinrich, United States Senator Ben Ray Luján, United States Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, United States Representative
Thursday, January 21, 2016
EPA Announces 2014 Toxics Release Inventory Report WASHINGTON - Washington--In 2014, 84% of the 25 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste managed at the nation's industrial facilities was not released into the environment due to the use of preferred waste management practices like recycling, energy recovery and treatment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The remaining 16% was released to the air, water or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm. The 2014 TRI data show a 6 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases to the environment from 2013 to 2014. Notably, air releases from industrial facilities decreased by 4 percent during this period, mainly due to decreases from chemical manufacturing facilities and electric utilities. Air releases have decreased 55% since 2003. "2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Toxics Release Inventory, a program that has given people unprecedented access to information about what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their neighborhoods, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” said Ann Dunkin, EPA’s Chief Information Officer. “TRI data continue to be an essential part of informed decision-making by citizens, communities, industries, and local governments.” TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior year to EPA by July 1 of each year. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities related to TRI chemicals. This year, the TRI report is available on its own dedicated website, giving users easier access to key information, including analyses and interactive maps showing data at a state, county, city, and zip code level. Other new features of this year’s analysis include integrated demographic information, profiles of federal facilities and the automotive manufacturing sector, and a discussion forum where users can share feedback about the report. To access the 2014 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis Information on facility efforts to reduce toxic chemical releases is available at www.epa.gov/tri/p2
Friday, January 15, 2016
Coming soon to a field near you: NMSU’s newly released NuMex Sandia Select chile pepper DATE: 01/14/2016
WRITER: Justin Bannister, 575-646-5981, email@example.com CONTACT: Danise Coon, 575-646-3028, firstname.lastname@example.org Chile lovers rejoice. A new chile pepper variety is now available for growers. For the first time, New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute has released NuMex Sandia Select chile seed. This new Sandia cultivar allows the traditionally red chile pepper to be used as a green chile pepper. “It’s good. It’s real good,” said Jimmy Lytle, a renowned third-generation Hatch chile farmer who grew the NuMex Sandia Select last summer as part of the university’s research and trial process. “First, it’s got a good flavor. It also has a nice, green color and the production is great. I think it’s going to be a really good variety.” Sandia chile peppers, grown around the Mesilla Valley and up into Hatch, were originally released in 1956. Like most New Mexico chiles, Sandia starts out as green in the field. Unfortunately, Sandia chile peppers are usually shorter and have thinner fruit walls when compared to their relatives normally used for green chile. That’s why growers in the region traditionally allow Sandia chile peppers to ripen into red pods before they are harvested. Then the pods are processed and used in red chile powder and in chile flakes. “New Mexico growers asked for a thicker-walled Sandia, so they could use it as a green chile,” said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. “This is something we’ve been working on since 2001.” Researchers at the Chile Pepper Institute began to see if they could select for plant traits that would make Sandia useful as a green chile pepper. The process started with 15 different chile lines, and each was evaluated for taste, yield, disease resistance, pod structure and other plant habits. Each year a few of the most desirable lines were kept. Eventually, a winner emerged – NuMex Sandia Select. The new variety has a long, straight pod and a firm fruit wall, which Bosland said is perfect for use as a green chile. NuMex Sandia Select seeds are available to growers through Biad Chili and the Chile Pepper Institute. Growers seeking less than 10 pounds of seed should contact the Chile Pepper Institute at 575-646-3028. Growers needing 10 pounds of seed or more should contact Biad Chili at 575-525-0034. Flame-roasted green NuMex Sandia Select packaged into one-pound resealable bags is also available at the Chile Pepper Institute in Gerald Thomas Hall, Room 265. For more information, visit www.chilepepperinsitute.org. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nmsunews Follow NMSU News on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NMSUNews
NM Delegation Presses for Disaster Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers Recovering from December Storms
NM Delegation Presses for Disaster Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers Recovering from December Storms WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to quickly approve the State of New Mexico’s request for disaster assistance following December’s catastrophic winter storm. The storm hurt farmers and ranchers across 18 New Mexico counties, and a secretarial disaster designation would allow them to access Farm Service Agency emergency loans. These loans can be used for many different purposes, including helping farmers and ranchers replace livestock, pay family living expenses or reorganize farm operations. “The agricultural sector is vital to New Mexico, and is the backbone of the rural economy,” the delegation wrote in a letter to Secretary Vilsack. “The livestock mortalities in these counties will have a detrimental effect on the dairy, beef, and sheep within New Mexico. Future damages and losses to farms, ranches and dairies are likely to be significant.” Among other losses, thousands of dairy cows were killed in Eastern New Mexico alone. New Mexico is the ninth-largest dairy producing state in the country, and dairy is a crucial part of the state’s economy. In addition to dairy production, thousands of New Mexico jobs depend on cattle growing, farming and livestock. “Recovering from this storm will require a full and coordinated approach,” the letter continues. “We greatly appreciate the work already done by New Mexico-based USDA employees to assess damages and provide information about USDA programs. Given the wide-spread geographic area of this disaster, and more expected storms in coming weeks, we request speedy action on this request in order to get assistance to impacted communities as quickly as possible.” Farmers and ranchers affected by the storms may already be eligible for assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). LIP was permanently authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock as determined by the Secretary. The livestock must have been maintained for commercial use as part of a farming operation. LIP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA). For more information about eligibility and disaster assistance deadlines, New Mexicans should contact their local U.S. Department of Agriculture FSA office as soon as possible, or visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Disaster Assistance Program page. The lawmakers' letter is available HERE and below: The Honorable Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 200 Washington, D.C. 20250 Dear Secretary Vilsack: We respectfully request that you take prompt action on Governor Susana Martinez’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration as a result of a catastrophic winter storm that swept through New Mexico in December 2015. The storm resulted in wide-spread damage to the agricultural sector in the following counties: Colfax, Union, Harding, Mora, San Miguel, Quay, Guadalupe, Torrance, De Baca, Roosevelt, Curry, Lincoln, Chaves, Lea, Eddy, Otero, Socorro, and Santa Fe. A Secretarial disaster designation will immediately trigger the availability of low-interest Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans to eligible producers in all primary and contiguous counties. The agricultural sector is vital to New Mexico, and is the backbone of the rural economy. The livestock mortalities in these counties will have a detrimental effect on the dairy, beef, and sheep within New Mexico. Future damages and losses to farms, ranches and dairies are likely to be significant. Recovering from this storm will require a full and coordinated approach. We greatly appreciate the work already done by New Mexico-based USDA employees to assess damages and provide information about USDA programs. Given the wide-spread geographic area of this disaster, and more expected storms in coming weeks, we request speedy action on this request in order to get assistance to impacted communities as quickly as possible. We appreciate your past responsiveness to the State of New Mexico when our communities have sought federal disaster assistance, and thank you for your attention to and consideration of this important request. Sincerely, U.S. Senator Tom Udall U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich U.S. Representative Steve Pearce U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham ### Contacts: Jennifer Talhelm (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Whitney Potter (Heinrich) 202.228.1578 / Megan Wells (Pearce) 202.225.2365 / Monica Sanchez (Luján) 202.355.3353 / Gilbert Gallegos
EPA Opens Public Comment Period on the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened the 60-day public comment period for its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, in a Federal Register notice published today. After the comment period ends, the EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received and, if necessary, take action to reduce risks from the insecticide. The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen and below which effects are unlikely. These effects may include reduction in numbers of pollinators as well as the amount of honey produced. The imidacloprid assessment is the first of four preliminary pollinator risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for three other neonicotinoids, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, are scheduled to be released for public comment in December 2016. A preliminary risk assessment for all ecological effects for imidacloprid, including a revised pollinator assessment and impacts on other species such as aquatic and terrestrial animals and plants will also be released in December 2016. EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the imidacloprid docket, review the risk assessment and related documents, and submit comments. All comments submitted will be accounted for in our final risk assessment. The risk assessment and other supporting documents are available in the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;dct=SR;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844. EPA is also planning to hold a webinar on the imidacloprid assessment in early February. The times and details
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Wednesday, January 13th 1 – 5 pm - Exhibit Setup 5:00 pm – NMHA Board of Directors Meeting, Lodge at Sierra Blanca Hotel Lobby 6:30 pm – Premier Sponsor Appreciation/Board of Directors Dinner, Texas Club Steakhouse Thursday Morning, January 14th 8:00 am - Trade Show Floor Opens – Coffee and Donuts available 8:00 am – Registration Opens 9:20 am – Welcome Joel Klein, NMHA President – Opening Remarks – Mark Marsalis, NMSU Ext. Forage Specialist 9:30 am – Rodent Control in Alfalfa – Dr. Sam Smallidge, NMSU 10:15 am – Organic Hay Production & Marketing – Ramon Alvarez, Organic Producer, Las Cruces, NM 10:45 am – Alfalfa-Corn Rotation Considerations – Dr. Earl Creech, Utah State Univ. 11:15 am – Roundup Ready Alfalfa: Weed Resistance – Dr. Leslie Beck, NMSU 12:00 noon - Buffet Lunch Thursday Afternoon, January 14th 1:00 pm – Legislative Update – Zach Riley, Farm Bureau of NM 1:30 pm – Alfalfa Planting Dates – Leonard Lauriault, NMSU-Tucumcari 2:00 pm – Industry Updates 2:20 pm – Coffee Break / Booth Visitation 2:45 pm – Workers’ Comp/OSHA Regulation Update – Erica Moncayo, New Mexico Mutual 3:15 pm – Panel: Agricultural Water Use in New Mexico – David Gensler – Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District - Gary Esslinger – Elephant Butte Irrigation District - Aron Balok – Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District 4:30 pm – New Mexico Hay Assn. Annual Business Meeting – Joel Klein, Justin Boswell, and Cassie Sterrett - Caucus to nominate new directors - Other Annual Business and Discussion Business Meeting Recess 5:00 pm – Social Hour 6:00 pm – Dinner 6:45 pm – After Dinner Entertainment Dr. Charles Petty, Humorous Motivational Speaker 8:00 pm – Music & Dance Friday, January 15th 8:00 am – Trade Show Floor Opens – Coffee and Donuts Available 8:30 am – Registration Re-opens 8:30 am – Livestock & Hay Markets – Jessica Sampson, Livestock Marketing Information Center 9:15 am - Sugarcane Aphid: A New Pest in New Mexico – Dr. Pat Porter, Texas AgriLife Extension 10:00 am – Coffee Break / Booth Visitation 10:15 am – Industry Updates cont. 10:45 am – Entomology Update – Dr. Jane Pierce, NMSU-Artesia 11:30 am – Opportunities to Improve Alfalfa's Drought Resilience – Dr. Ian Ray, NMSU 12:00 pm – Adjourn / CEUs Awarded 12:30 pm – NMHA Annual Business Meeting Reconvenes – Joel Klein, Justin Boswell, and Cassie Sterrett *********************************** 5 NM Pesticide Applicator CEUs have been approved for this meeting. *********************************** 2016 Southwest Hay & Forage Conference
Exploring Policy Alternatives for Controlling Nitrate Pollution from New Mexico’s Dairies by Jingjing Wang and Janak Raj Joshi, University of New Mexico New Mexico has ranked at the top in the average stocking density of large dairy farms (with 500 or more milk cows) since 2002 and the state’s average stocking density was up to 3,000 milk cows per farm in 2012. However, this significantly large average fails to reflect the magnitude of the mega-farms in the highly concentrated industry, subject to economies of scale. For example, in 2012, the average stocking density on dairy farms that accounted for 10% of total milk sales in New Mexico was 10,200 milk cows, and the average stocking density on dairy farms that accounted for 25% of total milk sales in New Mexico was 5,410 milk cows. Another characteristic of the dairy sector in New Mexico is that most cows are spatially concentrated in a small agricultural area. The dairy sector has been an economic development driver in parts of eastern and southern New Mexico and has a significant economic impact on the rural economies of these regions. However, large dairy farms in New Mexico lead to challenges in proper manure management. In this study, we used a combination of life-cycle assessment (LCA), cost-benefit analysis (CBA), and sensitivity analysis to investigate policies for controlling nitrogen pollution from large dairy farms in New Mexico. We first constructed an integrated farm-level model that is suitable to investigate alternative policies for controlling nitrate pollution from a stylized, typical large dairy farm in New Mexico. Based on this typical dairy farm, we then conducted the LCA and CBA analyses of dairy manure management under three cases: direct land application of dairy manure (DLA), anaerobic digestion of dairy manure (AD), and anaerobic digestion of dairy manure coupled with microalgae cultivation (ADMC). Four environmental impacts (energy balance, water balance, eutrophication potential, and global warming potential) of the alternative manure management cases are assessed in the LCA analysis and net benefits of each case were evaluated in the CBA analysis under a baseline scenario and different incentive-based policy scenarios. We also conducted sensitivity analysis of cropland availability, rangeland availability, and policy strength to check the robustness of our results. Our results suggest that nutrients (especially nitrogen) in dairy manure on large dairy farms of New Mexico can potentially be converted into various valuable products (e.g., nutrient supplement and renewable energy) while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. We recommend incentive-based policies including subsidies, tax credits, nutrient credits, and carbon credits for controlling nitrate pollution from large dairy farms in order to achieve the lowest environmental-compliance cost to the dairy industry in New Mexico. Education and outreach programs on alternative best manure management practices are also recommended. Given the ongoing consolidation in the dairy industry both within and beyond New Mexico’s borders, our results can inform local, state, and federal policymakers working on water quality management programs. A comprehensive summary report of this NM WRRI funded project has been published as Technical Completion Report No. 369 and can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here. Project funding was made available by the New Mexico State Legislature in 2014.
Water Bank Workshop Summarized An Executive Summary of the November 12, 2015 workshop held in Las Cruces entitled, Workshop on Water Banking in the Lower Rio Grande, Southern New Mexico is posted on the NM WRRI website at: http://waterbank.nmsu.edu/executive_summary/. The workshop was sponsored by several Lower Rio Grande water user groups and brought together over 100 participants to discuss the benefits, limitations, best practices, implementation methods, and future development needs related to the potential establishment of a water bank in the Lower Rio Grande.
Gold King Mine Spill and Other Mine Waste Issues to Highlight May 2016 Conference by Catherine Ortega Klett, Program Manager The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) will host a three-day conference in May 2016 at San Juan College in Farmington, NM to facilitate the exchange of data and ideas among four states, two Tribes, and numerous local and municipal agencies and public water systems. The conference will bring together an estimated 200 participants to gain a better understanding of the theme of the conference, Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with Emphasis on Gold King Mine and other Mine Waste Issues. Sponsors include: NM WRRI, New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, City of Farmington, San Juan County, City of Aztec, San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District, and the San Juan Watershed Group. The goal of the conference is to disseminate information and results from monitoring and research efforts in the Animas and San Juan watersheds. The conference will support the activities outlined in the Long-Term Monitoring Plan: Evaluating the Effects of the Gold King Mine Wastewater Spill in Northern New Mexico, prepared by the State of New Mexico’s Long-Term Impact Review Team. The draft report was issued on October 20, 2015 and can be viewed here. The conference will bring together academics, agencies, representatives, and community members and provide a forum for addressing concerns and questions over the Gold King Mine spill and the continuing monitoring efforts.
Cattlemen should check animals carefully for cold injury following blizzard Jan 5, 2016 Kay Ledbetter, Texas AgriLife
As the snow melts away from Winter Storm Goliath and cattle are gathered back into pens and pastures, cow-calf producers should continue to watch their animals for after-effects, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist. “There is some potential for latent effects of the sustained low windchill temperatures during the recent blizzard conditions,” said Dr. Ted McCollum, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in Amarillo. McCollum said the bitter cold may have frozen the ears and tails of cattle and other animals, so partial loss may occur over the next few weeks. “This may present some concern to the owners, but it is not a threat to the long-term wellbeing of the cattle,” he said. The wind and low temperatures also could have resulted in frozen teats and sensitive udders, McCollum said. The udders of cows nursing calves may be sensitive, which could affect milk consumption by the calf for a few days. If the teats were impaired by frostbite, then there may be some mastitis and/or partial loss of udder function, he said, advising those tending to the cattle to watch the calves and check the udders. “Also, cows that will be calving later this year could have been affected, but the effects may not be apparent until calving time and lactation,” McCollum said. “Again, observe the calves and the udders after calving.” He said the extreme temperatures and frozen surfaces could have impaired the prepuce and penis of the bulls as well as the scrotum and testicular function. Bulls should undergo a full breeding-soundness examination well in advance of the time they are expected to service cows. Bulls that are with fall-calving cows now should be checked immediately, McCollum said. The breeding soundness exam will not only check for damage to the organs but also evaluate semen production and quality. Fall-calving cows that are currently with bulls may have delayed pregnancy, he said. The extreme cold may have caused the cows to go into anestrus. Estrus activity will return to normal in a week to two weeks, barring any other insults. “It is the producer’s decision, but extending the breeding season a couple of weeks might be a consideration,” McCollum said. He advised that cow body condition continually be monitored. “The extreme cold during the blizzard and the lack of significant warm-up since was a tax on body energy reserves,” McCollum said. “It may be necessary to increase supplemental feed for the remainder of the pregnancy period to offset the loss in body condition. And, winter is not over yet.”
Volunteers brave harsh winter conditions to round-up neighbors’ cattle Jan 4, 2016 Ron Smith and Shelia Grissom | Southwest Farm Press
Woods note: This story is true with every agriculture community including EDDY County Agriculture has to be one of the most unpredictable occupations in the country. Things happen. Markets fluctuate; diseases strike crops and livestock; drought destroys production; hail wipes out a year’s work in a matter of minutes. Accidents cause serious injury to farmers and ranchers. And much of the uncertainty that’s endemic to agriculture is beyond human control. No one expected, for instance, that a late December blizzard would dump nearly a foot of snow on the Texas High Plains and scatter cattle across the region. Some estimates put wandering cattle numbers in the thousands of head. Many perished in the harsh winter weather. But not nearly as many died as would have had it not been for one thing that is as predictable among farm and ranch families as the certainty of tomorrow’s sunrise. When word got out that cattle were missing folks saddled up, literally saddled up, and started looking for strays, rounding them up and moving them to safe pens until they could be returned to their owners. Those of us who work with farmers and ranchers on a regular basis are not the least bit surprised. It’s part of the culture. When a farmer is sick or injured at harvest time, his neighbors bring in the crop. When the cows are out, they round them up and bring them home. When people need a hand, hands are available. hey don’t it for praise; they don’t do it to build up favors; they certainly don’t do it in hopes of getting paid. They do it because it’s right. It’s who they are. My good friend Shelia Grissom, Seminole, Texas, posted a few photos on Facebook recently, and explained how her daughter Chloe and several other friends and neighbors saw some cattle that had strayed near their home. So they saddled their horses and began a cattle drive that lasted several days, is likely still in process in some areas. She shared these photos and her description of what happened over the next week. “Ron, these were not even our cattle,” Shelia says. “We were fortunate that ours stayed in. We found about 30 head across the street from our house at the shop. We started trying to find out who they belonged to. From there it just got larger and larger. Chloe has been helping every day on horseback. Most of these days it has not gotten above freezing. They have been relentless looking for these cattle. Ages of the riders range from the teens on up. “People who did not know each other banded together to search and rescue someone else's cattle. It has been a week today (Monday). They have been in the saddle from sunup to past dark. Many of these days we had no sun. Wind chills are almost unbearable with freezing fog, snow and drizzle. They have ridden through snow drifts 3 to 4 feet high. Horses have fallen through the snow into gopher holes, coming up injured and bleeding. They go on.” She says cattle probably scattered because of damage from “the relentless storm. Fences gave way, snow drifts got high. The cattle instinct is to seek shelter. The volunteers have rounded up cattle all over Gaines County. “At one time there were six or seven different bunches on horseback. People were so generous to open their pens to hold cattle. They would bring these cattle down the county roads, meet up with another bunch and take them to a holding pen. At one time the Sheriff’s Department assisted while they gathered some from Gaines County Park.” Shelia says she, her husband Jimbo, and son Jeramie helped by blocking county roads so they could move cattle. “Dogs would chase them and the cattle would take off and they would start over. “We brought riders coffee, donuts and kaloches. The food would be cold by the time we got to them, but they did not care. They were so, so cold and so thankful. Many days they went without anything until day’s end. “We had reports that one man was missing 2,000 head and another 4,000. One day I believe they rounded up 60—one day about 200 and another day about 700.” She says one neighbor had many strays and found seven “leaned up against a cotton module frozen. Day before yesterday they brought in a helicopter to search. “I guess if there is anything I could share having witnessed this and being an American farmer is that this is the story of America's backbone that is never heard. Farmers, dairy farmers and ranchers are being forced out of business at alarming speeds and there is no one to tell these stories. These are the people who feed and clothe the very ones who are either taking us down or ridiculing us. They are just not getting it! I know I am not telling you anything you don't already know.”