Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday September 16 Ag News

Childproof Your Farm
Debra E. Schroeder, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

Any time can be the right time to child-proof your farm—even if it’s in the middle of the busy time on the farm.  About 300 children die on American farms.  For the most part, deaths can be avoided simply by detecting and eliminating potential hazards. 

Carol Lehtola, Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist at the University of Florida, pulled the following examples from a 2009 Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health report:
·    A 7-year-old girl, playing on the spike of a hay fork stored in the yard of her family home, died when the 300-lb. fork tipped over, pinning her beneath it.
·    A two hour search for a 4-year old ended when she was found pinned under a trailer that had been leaning against a building.
·    Four-year-old twins were playing while their dad filled his truck’s LP gas converter tank.  One of the tykes picked up a cattle prod and zapped the tank, causing an explosion that severely burned both twins.

Simple precautions would have prevented these deaths and injuries. Keeping a tool like the cattle prod out of reach would have prevented the scars the twins will carry for life.  And properly securing the day fork and the trailer would have kept them from toppling onto fragile bodies.

To keep tragedies from occurring, families should conduct a safety audit on their farms.  A farm is a fascinating place for children.  There are barns and sheds to explore, fields to roam and animals to investigate.  Children also are eager to ride with dad on tractors.

“Families should walk through the farmstead, shops and barns, and identify hazardous situations, then change the way equipment and material are handled, with the idea of minimizing dangers to children.”

Analyzing close calls is also good exercise.  “Determine the factors that were responsible for near-miss and learn from the experience.”

Get Down!

Parents and grandparents are reminded that children see the world from a lower vantage point that adults.  “Get down on your hands and knees so you can see hazards that may be apparent when you’re standing.”  As you childproof your farm, keep these suggestions in mind:
·    Horizontal bars invite kids to climb.
·    If an item must be stored by leaning it against a wall, provide anchors and supports.
·    Lock silos and bins.
·    Fence off hazardous areas.
·    Remove keys from equipment and keep them out of reach.
·    Keep hydraulic equipment in a down position.
·    Lock brakes on equipment.
·    Store hand tools and power tools out of reach.
·    Place tires flat on the ground.  If stored upright, be sure they are chained to a wall.  Tractor tires can weigh 1,200 lb. to 1,500 lb.
·    Keep pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic substances in the original containers.  The label has first-aid procedures.
·    Keep chemicals on high shelves in a locked area.
·    Never leave toxic products unattended during use.
·    Never allow children to play in grain, ride in grain wagons or enter bins or hoppers.  A child can be completely covered with grain in 10 to 15 seconds.

Searching for hazards around the farm is only the beginning.  You must correct the dangers you find.

Beef Checkoff Reaches Out to Fitness Professionals

In conjunction with the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention in Anaheim, Calif., the beef checkoff conducted activities for influential fitness professionals who reach older millennial parents and have strong potential to be beef advocates. In August, fitness professionals attended a “Throw Down with Beef” cooking demo challenging Executive Chef Dave Zino to answer their questions about making beef easy, nutritious and delicious for their clients. Chef Dave focused on portion sizes and cooking techniques and the audience was provided with educational materials to reference and to share with clients. Later that day, fitness industry leaders were invited to an exclusive educational reception and beef dinner where they heard from registered dietitian, Leslie Schilling, who spoke on myths/realities tied to beef nutrition in addition to hearing from checkoff funded researcher, Heather Leidy who shared the latest on protein science. The hashtag #KnowYourBeef was used during both the cooking demo and reception so attendees could share their learnings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The project created visibility and presented learning opportunities at the largest national gathering of fitness professionals in the country. The IDEA World Fitness Convention was attended by more than 14,000 fitness professionals from across the U.S.

More than 17,000 impressions were generated on Instagram and between the cooking demo and educational reception, more than 70,000 Twitter impressions were tracked using the #KnowYourBeef hashtag.

Attendees of the educational reception said their opinion of beef as a simple and nutritious source of protein was more positive and that their opinion about beef’s impact on the environment was also more positive.

AFBF Leads Delegation to Reduce Trade Barriers Abroad

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman is leading a delegation of the organization’s leaders to Europe this week to discuss efforts to increase trade through comprehensive agreements that would reduce, if not eliminate, government-imposed barriers to agricultural trade.

“Regulatory barriers, particularly those not grounded in scientific standards, have limited the flow of agricultural trade between the U.S. and EU markets for too long,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said.

The American Farm Bureau Trade Advisory Committee, chaired by Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap, will meet with World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo, as well as with the WTO director of agriculture and commodities, and trade ambassadors from Brazil, Japan, Australia, India, China and Canada.

Following the meeting in Geneva, the group will travel to Brussels to meet with EU officials to discuss the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. The TTIP negotiations aim to expand the world’s largest commercial relationship with $1 trillion of trade in goods and services annually and $3.7 trillion in two-way direct investment between the United States and EU member nations. The U.S. exported $12 billion in agricultural products to the EU in 2013 while the EU exported $17.3 billion in agricultural products to the U.S.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers are ready for commitments that result in real actions to open market access and limit trade disruptions,” Stallman said. Before the U.S. considers reductions in or limitations on domestic support for U.S. agriculture, negotiations must yield an important net gain for U.S. farmers and ranchers through commitments on market access and on trade-distorting policies by our trading partners.

Other members of the Farm Bureau trade delegation include: Nevada Farm Bureau President Hank Combs, Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke, Montana Farm Bureau President Bob Hanson, Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Perry Livingston and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach.

NCGA Testifies on Importance of Biotechnology at GMO Hearing

Ohio corn grower John Linder, a member of the National Corn Growers Association's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, testified before  a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) on the importance of innovation and biotechnology to agricultural production during  a hearing Monday. The hearing, which was held in Washington, was part of a broader review of crop biotechnology.

"Farmers take pride in producing food not only for American families but also for our own," Linder testified. "Modern biotechnology provides American farmers with safe and sustainable ways to protect our crops, allowing us to continue producing the safest, most reliable food supply in the world."

Linder, who grows both genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops, spoke with committee members about the impact he had personally witnessed growing biotech crops on his farm.

"We are dry land farmers. I can say with confidence that my dad would be shocked at the production we get in years where we have minimal rainfall," Linder explained.  "Genetics and biotechnology have had a big impact on water usage and the use of herbicides. We really do practice sustainability."

Linder was the only farmer to provide testimony. Other speakers voiced concern about the need for an independent government review of GMO crops, weed and insect resistance to GMO crops, cross-contamination of GMO and non-GMO fields, and consolidation of global seed supply.

Linder noted that biotechnology will play a significant role in feeding the growing world population.

"If we really are going to have the population growth expected, we need these products to get us there so that we can meet the world's needs. I think biotech is going to be key to that."

The NRC is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, a Congressionally-chartered nonprofit providing science, technology and health policy advice to the government. The GMO study is partially sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be completed in 2016.

Committee members working on the study include scientists specializing in ecology, genetics and crop health from several public universities, as well as experts from nongovernmental organizations including the International Food Policy Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy.

NCGA Finds Progress on CARB Corn Ethanol Scores, But Room for Improvement Remains

The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments on the updated carbon intensity (CI) scores being considered for the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program to the California Air Resources Board this week. The comments, which related specifically to the direct CI scores, follow comments NCGA submitted in March pertaining to the preliminary indirect CI scores assigned to corn ethanol.

In a short letter from NCGA President Martin Barbre, the association explained that, while it was pleased to see the preliminary scores ethanol received for carbon intensity using the new lifecycle analysis model, much scientific data supporting the benefits of ethanol has yet to be incorporated.

"We are pleased to see the preliminary CI scores from the new GREET have decreased for corn ethanol," Barbre said in the letter. "However, we feel there is much scientific data that has been collected and peer-reviewed and should be reflected in these calculations. Without having the actual model available to evaluate, namely, CA-GREET 2.0, it is difficult to delineate our suggestions."

Notably, the preliminary scores CARB presented during an August 22 meeting for ethanol made with the co-products of dry and wet distillers grains showed a 15 and 16 percent reduction respectively. At the same time, the preliminary scores assigned to many other fuels, such as compressed natural gas, increased.

The comments noted that NCGA looks forward to CARB's release of the new model and to providing input on the assumptions and data used in the calculation of corn ethanol scores.

Chinese Crushing Companies Agree to Buy $2.3 Billion of Beans

Chinese soybean crushing companies signed agreements to purchase 4.8 million metric tons of soybeans, or 176 million bushels, for a total of $2.3 billion dollars on Monday afternoon.

Ten Chinese crushing companies signed 21 purchasing contracts and agreements with eight U.S. grain companies during a contract signing ceremony that helped open the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, a joint annual meeting of the U.S. Soybean Export Council and Midwest Shippers Association being held this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Two other high-profile conferences will focus on export markets and relationships over the next six weeks, including one hosted by the U.S. Grains Council and another by HighQuest Partners.

CWT Assists with 2.1 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Michigan Milk Producers Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 692,252 pounds (314 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese and 1.422 million pounds (645 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered September 2014 through March 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 86.203 million pounds of cheese, 48.188 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.122 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

SYNOVEX CHOICE Approved for Heifers

Implant for beef cattle helps improve feedlot performance

Zoetis announced that SYNOVEX CHOICE® is approved for use in feedlot heifers. The implant helps increase average daily gain and improve feed efficiency in heifers, and it helps increase gain in feedlot steers.

For more than 12 years, SYNOVEX CHOICE has helped optimize weight gain in feedlot steers through the 10:1 ratio of trenbolone acetate (TBA) to estradiol-17B (E2).1 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in heifers means feedlot managers can use the same implant for all cattle.

“SYNOVEX CHOICE helps simplify feedlot implant programs because it is approved for steers and heifers and can be used in calf-fed or yearling cattle,” said Blaine Corners, PhD, beef cattle nutritionist with Zoetis. “Now, processing crews no longer have to worry about keeping separate inventory for males and females. They also do not need to manage two guns chute-side — the SX10 applicator is all they will need, so it is more convenient to work cattle.”

The SX10 applicator — which can be used to administer all SYNOVEX® implant formulations — features an exclusive retractable needle that helps ensure consistent, accurate administration of SYNOVEX CHOICE. Preventing crushed, bunched or dropped implants can help maximize the return of implanted cattle.

“Feedlot managers are seeing unprecedented cattle prices so they are looking at every opportunity to maximize performance while those animals are in the feedlot,” Corners explained. “SYNOVEX CHOICE can help feedlots add even more value — $60 to $68 per head in steers and $52 per head in heifers.”

SYNOVEX CHOICE is the first beef-cattle implant to face additional scrutiny by the FDA about its impact on the environment. Through research and in-depth environmental modeling, Zoetis examined exposure to and the direct impact of TBA, estradiol benzoate and their metabolites. After reviewing results of those studies, the FDA concluded that SYNOVEX CHOICE is not expected to have a significant impact on the environment, including waterways, air, plants or aquatic species, when used according to label directions.

Smithfield Foods Launches Three-Part 'Sustainability Stories'

Those interested in how a multibillion-dollar company became a global leader in sustainable food production will want to check out Smithfield's new series of sustainability stories. The first of three web-based stories was launched today on SmithfieldCommitments.com, the company announced.

Through these multimedia sustainability stories, Smithfield invites visitors to meet the some of the architects of the company's sustainability program, including Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

This first module includes Pope's candid insights and stories regarding the importance of sustainability to the company. Through a video interview, Pope reminds viewers that sustainability is nothing new to Smithfield.

"Smithfield Foods now is well into the second decade of incorporating sustainability throughout every aspect of our business," Pope said. "It is ingrained in our culture."

The story also features Dennis Treacy, the company's chief sustainability officer who shares how Smithfield Foods makes decisions every day that work toward protecting the environment, caring for animals, the safety and quality of Smithfield's products, the company's employees, and the communities where the company operates.

One of the more unique characteristics of Smithfield Foods is the strong tie the company still holds to Smithfield, Virginia--the community in which the company was founded and still calls home.

"Our reach may be global, but we still behave like a small company from a small town," Pope said. He also pointed out that Smithfield Foods is committed to being a member of every community it touches, from Smithfield, Va., to its facilities around the world.

In addition, the company has grown its commitment towards employees, food safety, animal care, the environment and value creation over the years, reporting its challenges and progress. It was acknowledged recently by CorporateRegister.com as the first place winner in the "Openness & Honesty" category for its integrated reporting.

The second story, scheduled to launch in October, will highlight Ashley DeDecker, Ph.D., who works at Murphy-Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. Currently serving as the assistant director of production research, Ashley has dedicated her career to animal care and welfare and has received several awards for her efforts, including the National Pork Board Swine Innovation Award in 2011.

The third story, scheduled to launch in December, features Kinesha Allen, environmental manager for Smithfield-Farmland. Her role consists of a broad range of environmental responsibilities with specific emphases on Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and facility inspections. She even has designed award-winning environmental community outreach programs.

Smithfield believes that sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and corporations must continually strive to exceed what is expected of them. This belief is ingrained in the culture and operations at Smithfield Foods. These sustainability stories help share Smithfield's journey, introduce the people who create this culture and further their commitment to transparent and engaging communication.

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