Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Monday May 13 Ag News

Alerts Available for Tracking Soybean Gall Midge
Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

University researchers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota have put out traps for soybean gall midge adults and established an alert system for growers and applicators.

If you would like to be notified when and where first emergence occurs, email Justin McMechan (justin.mcmechan@unl.edu) with your name, cell phone number (for texts), or email. You can also follow McMechan on Twitter at @justinmcmechan to stay informed about soybean gall midge reports in Nebraska. Updates will also be published in CropWatch.

Knowing where this crop pest is emerging can help growers better plan and target insecticide applications. The soybean gall midge is a relatively new pest in Midwest soybeans and researchers are still working to better understand its life cycle and treatment. Extensive trapping this summer will help provide key information.

DNA Confirms It’s a New Species

In 2018 soybean gall midge was identified as a new species of gall midge, Resseliella maxima Gagne, partly based on research in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The soybean gall midge was first found in Nebraska in 2011 in late-season hailed fields and moved into the spotlight in late June 2018 when growers started reporting significant soybean damage and death from a new pest in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Further surveys found the soybean gall midge in 66 counties in four states (including Minnesota). In Nebraska all reports were in the eastern part of the state, extending from counties along the Missouri River westward.

Hoof Rot

Steve Neimeyer, NE Extension Educator

As we continue through an astoundingly wet spring, working to reduce the impact of foot problems in beef cattle is going to be very important.  From a veterinarian’s perspective, the most important piece of advice I can give to cattle producers is to watch animals closely and if lameness is seen, get the animal in, examined and treated as early as possible.  Please consult your own veterinarian for information on how to use specific drugs. 

Let me explain why early treatment is so critical in returning a beef animal to full health.  The lower leg of a cow, calf, or bull is made up primarily of bones, tendons and ligaments.  The tendons are found within tendon sheaths, which are connective tissue coverings that allow the tendon to slide past other tissues with minimal friction.  The hoof is made of several other extremely dense and durable tissues.  The sole and hoof wall meet at what is termed the white line, and underneath they firmly attach to the lamina.  These tissues carry the weight of the animal, and are incredibly strong and tough.  When they are healthy, it is easy to appreciate their strikingly effective design and function.  Of the tissues I have listed, all but skin have limited blood supply.  The cells that fight infection come from the bloodstream, so a beef animal’s ability to fight infection in the foot and lower leg is much less powerful than in areas of the body with more abundant blood supply. 

Trouble arises when these tissues are damaged.  When the skin between the toes is weakened by being wet for days on end or is injured by a pointed object or plant stem, an infection can follow which is called foot rot.   Similarly, abscesses can develop under the toe or sole.  If these types of infections are caught early, prompt treatment often leads to complete healing.  If the infection is severe or if treatment is delayed, bacteria can penetrate through the skin or foot and into joint spaces, tendon sheaths, and between tissue layers.  This means that the bacteria can find places to hide within the foot and lower leg where immune cells from the bloodstream have great difficulty reaching them.  Once this happens, complete healing is unlikely.  Even if the infection can be overcome, which it often cannot, there is lasting damage to the foot which will likely lead to arthritis long-term. 

Similarly, early intervention in the case of wire wrapped around a leg or a nail in a hoof is far more likely to lead to a good outcome for the animal.  The longer a lame animal goes without treatment, the lower its chances of complete recovery. 

Preventing foot issues starts with keeping pens and any other areas where animals congregate as clean as is feasible.  Draining standing water around water tanks, scraping manure, and removing any debris is very important in reducing new cases of foot rot.  Watch for wire and nails, and fence animals away from any areas where they would be more likely to injure feet or legs such as unused farmsteads or around farm equipment such as harrows that are short and can be hidden by tall grass.  Even on wet pastures, if cattle have “escape” areas they can access where their feet can completely dry out, it will help maintain the integrity of the skin between the toes where foot rot begins.  Getting the feet of cattle with overgrown hooves trimmed and culling cows with persistent “screw claw” will also prevent headaches down the road. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the June Hogs and Pigs Survey. The agency will survey pork producers for detailed information on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.

“With the data gathered in the quarterly Hogs and Pigs surveys, NASS measures and reports trends in the U.S. pork industry over the course of the year,” said Nicholas Streff, Deputy Director of the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office.

The information is used by all sectors of the industry to help make sound and timely business decisions.

NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in late May. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct telephone and personal interviews.

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on June 27. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/. For more information, call the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office at (800) 582-6443.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Was your alfalfa damaged by a freeze or frost last week?  Frozen alfalfa usually needs some time to recover before damage can be estimated.

               To assess the extent of the damage, don’t just look for frozen or wilting leaves.  You need to determine if the growing point was killed.  This growing point, also called the apical meristem, is where all new leaves, stems, and branches initially develop on alfalfa.  It is located inside the dense cluster of unfolded leaves at the top of the main stem.

               Because it is inside a cluster of leaves, the growing point is somewhat protected from cold injury.  Exposed leaves and stems all around it can be frozen, wilted, and dying while the growing point cluster survives, waiting for warm weather before continuing to grow.  If the growing points in your alfalfa survived the freeze, just wait for growth to begin again.

               If the growing point was killed, however, growth will cease on that stem.  Any new growth must come from new crown shoots or from lower branches.  While the existing plant remains intact, regrowth often is delayed.  But you don’t have to harvest this damaged growth; plants will begin to grow again on their own although it might take a little longer.  Cutting off damaged plants often hastens development of regrowth from good, healthy fields.  But cutting also adds extra stress to the plants so if you do cut the damaged plants, before you take your next cutting, wait until plants get a little more mature.  I suggest cutting now only if there is enough growth to justify the time and expense of harvest, which is unlikely for most fields.

               Check your alfalfa plants to truly see if the tops and growing point are dead or if recovery has begun.  Then decide whether to harvest or just wait for growth to renew naturally.

Four Students Receive Nebraska Division of Midwest Dairy Educational Awards

The Nebraska Division of Midwest Dairy has awarded four educational scholarships to college students enrolled in programs that emphasize dairy and who demonstrate dairy leadership.

The Nebraska Division of Midwest Dairy awarded one $1,500 scholarship, one $1,000 scholarship, and two $500 scholarships to individuals who strive to be leaders not only in the dairy industry but in their communities as well.

The four scholarship winners are:
-    Seth Racicky of Mason City, Neb. Attending Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, majoring in Diversified Agriculture Management;
-    Jessilyn Sayers of Clarkson, Neb. Attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Animal Science, minoring in Grazing Livestock Systems, and is a Dairy Ambassador;
-    Dawn Klabenes of Chambers, Neb. Attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Animal Science, minoring in Leadership & Communication, and is a Dairy Ambassador; and
-    Sarah Lammers of Hartington, Neb. Attending Briar Cliff University, majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in English.

College sophomores through seniors with a future career in dairy are eligible for the $1,500 and $1,000 awards. Students pursing any college major or degree are eligible for one of five $500 awards. Applicants are evaluated on contributions to and involvement in the dairy industry, leadership, career plans and academic standing.

How Clean is Your Sprayer? Study Participants Needed

Greg Kruger - Weed Science and Application Technology Specialist

We are currently looking for 30 Nebraska spray applicators for a sprayer cleanout study. The United Soybean Board along with universities across the nation are teaming up to study the effectiveness of sprayer cleanout when applying dicamba.

The sampling procedure is simple and collection cups will be provided. The goal is to collect basic information about the sprayer, the applicator’s rinsate procedure for dicamba (and other products mixed in the tank), and the subsequent herbicide load.  Participants need to take two 40 ml samples and complete a brief one-page questionnaire. When sampling is finished, we will make arrangements with the applicator to pick up the samples.

This study will help us as application educators know if the information we are sharing is getting to the applicator and proper cleanouts are being done.  We will gladly share the results with the applicator and/or company at no cost later this year. If you would be interested in helping us, we would appreciate it.

To participate, please contact Chandra Hawley at the university's West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte at 308-696-6741 or chandra.hawley@unl.edu.

Welcome Jeremy Milander, New Northeast Crops Educator

A new Nebraska Extension Educator for cropping systems will be taking on a unique role in northeast Nebraska. Jeremy Milander will be working with four natural resource districts to develop an educational program focused on stabilizing nitrate concentrations in the groundwater of the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA).  The BGMA includes parts of Antelope, Knox and Pierce counties and is in the Lower Niobrara, Lewis and Clark, Upper Elkhorn, and Lower Elkhorn NRDs.

"I will be working with a stakeholder group to implement on-farm field demonstrations funded by a
Nebraska Environmental Trust grant.  These demonstrations will have irrigation management, nitrogen management, soil health, cover crops and nitrogen inhibitors, and cropping systems components.  We hope to use these demonstration sites to research and teach best management practices for reducing nitrate leaching."

The new position feeds two of Milander's passions: working with farmers and helping protect one of the state's most valuable natural resources, water.

Milander, who grew up on his family’s corn and soybean farm near Coleridge, received his BS and MS degrees in agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His MS specialization was in crop production physiology and ecology and his research and thesis addressed how plant population and environment influenced corn yield components.

After graduate school he worked at two university research sites as a research technologist. At the Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center near Grant he worked on collaborative wheat management studies with Monsanto and assisted faculty at the West Central Research and Extension Center with farm research projects. At the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord he worked with Soils Specialist Charles Shapiro on soil fertility, tillage, and cover crops studies.

Milander's office will be at the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District, 1508 Square Turn Blvd., Norfolk, Nebr. 68701. The LENRD phone is (402) 371-7313 and his email is jmilander2@unl.edu.

Soy Growers Are Fed Up with Tariffs

U.S. soybean farmers remain frustrated by the lack of progress between the U.S. and China in resolving the trade war, which continues to immediately threaten soy prices and, if not resolved, farmers’ ability to stay in business. The American Soybean Association (ASA) has consistently opposed using unilateral tariffs to address U.S. trade deficits with China and other countries. Instead, ASA supports the negotiation of trade agreements and other measures that can increase U.S. agricultural exports, including soybeans.

“The U.S. has been at the table with China 11 times now and still has not closed the deal. What that means for soybean growers is that we’re losing. Losing a valuable market, losing stable pricing, losing an opportunity to support our families and our communities. These trade negotiations are serious for us. Farming is our livelihood,” said Davie Stephens, soy grower from Clinton, Ky., and ASA president.

The soybean industry realizes the Administration’s reasons for trying to force China to make structural changes to its predatory economic policies, including forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, and subsidies to state-owned enterprises. Yet, ASA has and continues to recommend that the U.S. achieve these goals through coordinated actions with like-minded developed countries.

“We’ve been understanding during this negotiation process, but we cannot withstand another year in which our most important foreign market continues to slip away and soybean prices are 20 to 25 percent, or even more, below pre-tariff levels,” said John Heisdorffer, ASA Chairman and Keota, Iowa, soy grower. “The sentiment out in farm country is getting grimmer by the day. Our patience is waning, our finances are suffering, and the stress from months of living with the consequences of these tariffs is mounting.”

The Administration decided on May 10 to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10 to 25 percent, in order to increase pressure on China to make structural changes to its economic policies, and is also taking steps to impose a 25 percent tariff on the remaining $325 billion in annual imports from China. In turn, China has announced plans to retaliate. With this further escalation in trade tensions and no end in sight, the situation for U.S. growers is dire.

“The soybean market in China took us more than 40 years to build, and as this confrontation continues, it will become increasingly difficult to recover. With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war,” said Stephens.

While we support the Administration's overall goals in these negotiations, ASA cannot support continuing and escalating the use of tariffs to achieve them. Farming is too vulnerable a business to tolerate this much uncertainty over a prolonged period. We call on the Administration to conclude an agreement focused on significantly reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China, including restoring and increasing our agricultural exports and eliminating China's 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. We would support the use of other tactics to pursue the structural changes the U.S. is seeking in China's economic policies, including working with like-minded countries.

Cash Rents Again Mostly Steady in 2019

Randy Dickhut, Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Co.

Cash rent terms are one of the most popular items of discussion in farm country today. As more farm leases switched from a crop share lease to a cash rent lease, both farmers and landowners paid attention to the rates or the rental amount paid each year. As farm incomes climbed dramatically earlier in this decade, rents followed the trend up. Now that we are in the sixth year of lower farm income, cash rental rates have declined, but not as much as some would assume given lower commodity prices and farm incomes.

For the 2019 crop season, Farmers National Company saw cash rental rates remain fairly steady with only a minor drift lower overall. Farmer interest in rental land remained strong enough in most areas to support cash rent prices. In those areas that experienced lower yields in the past year or more and in the northern plains states which are experiencing the lowest grain prices, there were additional issues in establishing cash rents. Despite continued pressure on farm incomes and working capital, Farmers National Company had an excellent experience collecting rental payments on their client's managed farms. Proper due diligence and management experience help Farmers National Company collect each year's rent when due.

Land rents are usually a bit slower to go up as land values and farm incomes increase while rents are slower to decline when farm incomes go down as in recent years. This has several reasons. Landowner costs in many states have not changed in recent years and in some states, property taxes saw large increases which have not moderated much over the last couple of years. With fixed or increasing landowner costs, it is more difficult to see rents or the owner's income move lower. On the farmer side of the rental equation, most operators want to farm more land to spread out their fixed cost of equipment or they at least do not want to shrink their acreage base. Therefore, most farmers will be willing to maintain current rents or offer only slightly lower rents so that they can still rent the land. Therefore, cash rents remained fairly steady for 2019.

Looking ahead, there are many uncertainties that could cloud the farm rental market for 2020. Resolution of trade issues, lasting effects of trade disruptions, weather during the 2019 growing season, 2019 yields, demand for US crops, and whether there will be additional USDA support payments triggered by the continuing trade losses. As the 2019 season moves along, we will begin to see how these issues play out and affect farm income, producer finances, and the 2020 rental market.

USDA Press Release on LLP

The Ministers of Agriculture from Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States on Saturday highlighted that food demand is rising while agricultural production faces significant constraints, such as limited access to arable land and fresh water. In this regard, they agreed that agricultural innovation, such as biotechnology, including precision biotechnology, will continue to play a substantial role in addressing such challenges and can improve farmers’ productivity in a safe and sustainable manner.

These Ministers recognized that the number of biotechnology crops being developed and cultivated worldwide is increasing annually. Yet, despite two decades of experience in the safe use of these products, regulatory processes in many jurisdictions create time gaps in their authorization. This leads to an increasing risk of trade disruptions resulting from occurrences of low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology crops that are approved in growing countries, but not yet approved in importing countries.

LLP occurs when a small amount of a biotechnology crop that has been assessed as safe in one or more countries according to international standards, is unintentionally present in a shipment to a country where the product has not yet been approved. This may lead to unnecessary trade disruptions, which can affect food security, prices and attitudes toward innovation in both the exporting and importing countries.

The extent of unnecessary asynchronous product approvals worldwide is increasing and requires further actions to address the risk of trade disruption, avoid its negative effects to importing and exporting countries alike, and promote global food security.

For this purpose we, Ministers of Agriculture from Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States, commit to heighten collaborative work with third-party countries in 2019, and continue advocating for global approaches for the management of LLP that are practical, science-based, predictable and transparent. These efforts will include the universal use of international science-based guidelines.

Joint Statement of Western Hemisphere Agriculture Leaders

Western Hemisphere agriculture leaders met Sunday on the margins of the G-20 Agricultural Ministerial in Niigata, Japan, affirming their intent to work together to champion global food security and agricultural trade on the basis of sound science and risk analysis principles. Following the meeting, top agricultural officials from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States issued the following statement.

“Together, we stand to work in partnership, and jointly with additional countries, to support regulatory approaches that are risk- and science-based, predictable, consistent, and transparent. Our five nations recognize that innovations in the agriculture sector contribute to improved productivity, including by smallholder and young farmers, and rural women, in a safe and sustainable manner, and to our countries’ ability to meet the ever-growing global demand for food. With the world’s population projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, science and innovation will play a key role in enabling agriculture producers to safely feed everyone.

“As Western Hemisphere agricultural leaders, we affirm our intent to work together to champion global agricultural trade based on sound science and risk analysis principles. We also affirm our intent to allow farmers and ranchers access to the tools needed to: increase productivity; reduce food loss and waste; protect soil, water and biodiversity; and produce safe, nutritious, affordable food products year-round, to the benefit of the world population.”

Participating in the meeting were: Argentine Secretary of Agroindustry Luis MiguelEtchevehere; Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply Tereza Cristina Dias; Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau; Mexican Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos; and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Farm Bureau, Farmers Union Unite on Bankruptcy Bill

The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 (S.897, H.R. 2336) will help more family farmers avoid liquidation or foreclosure, allowing them to stay in operation, the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union said in a joint letter to congressional lawmakers. The legislation would raise the Chapter 12 operating debt cap from $4.1 million to $10 million.

“Our farmer members have experienced several consecutive years of weak commodity prices and the low profitability and poor farm income that follow. As a result, farmers and ranchers are watching their equity erode as their debt-to-asset ratios climb and debt financing reaches a 30-year high,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall and NFU President Roger Johnson wrote in the letter.

The tremendous challenge of record nominal farm debt and poor economic conditions has led many farmers to seek Chapter 12 bankruptcy as a debt relief and restructuring option. In the Midwest alone, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies were at the highest level in over a decade. Though Chapter 12 has been a help to many family farmers, its $4.1 million debt limit kept many more from using it.

“Lifting the liability cap will expand access to the restructuring and seasonal repayment flexibility that many farmers need in today’s lagging farm economy, which is being further affected by trade disputes, projections for below average farm income over the next decade and rising interest rates,” Duvall and Johnson said, encouraging lawmakers to cosponsor the legislation and pledging to work with them for quick passage.

Speakers discuss how to turn challenges into opportunities at 2019 Summit

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit, themed “A Seat At The Table,” armed a record-setting 335 attendees with new ways to engage with their customers and protect animal agriculture from damaging blows of misinformation and animal rights activists. Tyne Morgan, host of U.S. Farm Report and Summit moderator, wrapped up the event saying, “We all have a seat at the table, we just need to pull up a chair.” Recordings from Summit sessions will be posted on the Alliance’s YouTube channel within the next few weeks.

To kick off the “Engage” portion of the program, a panel of experts shared personal experiences, tips and lessons learned from influencer farm tours and other tactics to help attendees plan their own influencer engagement. “I would love to engage with consumers and go down the grocery aisle and tell everyone buying milk, ‘thank you,’ but we can’t do everything as farmers,” said Adriane Heins of Heins Family Farms. “We’d like to link arms with people who are good storytellers.”

Hana Bieliauskas, digital practice lead at Inspire PR Group helps link farmers with influencers. “The power of influencers is huge and will continue to grow.” She added that influencer engagement is a “third-party validation to the information being shared.” Lauren Lane, owner and blogger of Lauren Lane Culinarian, is an online influencer who has worked with food and agriculture stakeholders to help share their message and be a third-party validation. She shared how full transparency and authenticity is key when connecting with potential clients.

In the next session, titled “Bring the Food Chain to the Table,” a panel of leading retail, restaurant and foodservice brands talked about how their companies make decisions that impact animal agriculture, such as animal welfare, antibiotic use and sustainability. David Guilhaus, senior manager of food safety at Publix, said “we don’t set deadlines to miss them,” but is unsure if everyone will be able to meet the upcoming cage-free commitments with just 10 percent of customers buying cage-free eggs.

Judy Panayos, senior director of sustainability and supply management at Sodexo said, “sometimes the answer is – we don’t have a solution today. The pressures we are getting from the market are too much and we make a commitment then talk with our suppliers to figure things out.” Mark Smith, chief procurement officer at Centralized Supply Chain Services said restaurants making sourcing commitments “creates angst, but opportunity as well” and is confident that producers will help companies meet their goals.

In a presentation titled “The Power of Positive Marketing,” Bill Gutrich, director of global food industry engagement at Elanco Animal Health, challenged attendees to market their products positively. “Great marketing talks about the consumers connecting to that emotional ‘why,’” said Gutrich. “Good marketing talks about the buyer, not the product.”

To discuss if the grocery cart matches the online conversation around food, Leah McGrath, registered dietitian with BuildUP Dietitians, shared how “social media promotes loud, fearmongering voices,” but less than one percent of people are vegan. To better reach people online, Kim Kirchherr, registered dietitian and supermarket consultant, argued the word “consumer” loses the sense of individuality and challenged attendees to instead use “customer” as it is more inclusive while still describing a big group. “Agriculture is not inherent knowledge anymore like it used to be. So, how do we make sure we are resonating?” asked Kirchherr. “Relationships make facts make sense.”

To continue the conversation about some of those hot issues, Jane Andrews, a retail nutrition consultant, Christine McCracken, executive director of animal protein at Rabobank and Andy Brudtkuhl, director of emerging technology at National Pork Board got the “Protect” portion of the agenda started by talking about gene editing, alternative proteins and blockchain technology.

Andrews, who consults for Wegmans and Food Marketing Institute, described gene editing as “an evolution, not a revolution.” While new technology can help make foods more nutritious and sustainable, Andrews said retailers must “have an intelligent dialogue about why farmers choose these products.”

McCracken explained how there is not much growth in packaged products at grocery stores, but alternative proteins are “hot and exciting.” She shared how companies developing plant-based proteins are not developing meat products, but want to be meat. “You’ve got a bullseye on your back,” McCracken told the attendees. “These are highly processed products that are not natural. Animal agriculture has the edge – use it.”

Blockchain technology can assist with provenance, traceability, trust and efficiency. “They’re not anything fancy, they’re just encrypted data,” said Brudtkuhl. “In most cases blockchain is not going to solve your problem, but there are specific cases where it can help.”

Next, Jim Rovers and Sophie Cranley of AFIMAC shared how farmers and ranchers can make sure they aren’t a “soft target” for animal rights activists. “They don’t like going after hard targets,” said Rovers. “Do a better job to make it harder for activists to get in.” The duo suggested producers use fencing, lighting and locks to make themselves harder targets. Cranley urged attendees to take animal rights activism seriously and report any losses to law enforcement.

Michelle Pardo, partner at Duane Morris LLP echoed Cranley’s advice as she discussed how animal rights activists are increasingly targeting producers through litigation. “Animal activists do not like labels that give consumers comfort when buying animal products,” said Pardo. She also shared how activist groups “want a case where animals have the same rights as people.”

Andy Curliss, president of North Carolina Pork Council closed the Summit program by discussing the coordinated strategy, funding and litigation against hog farmers in his state. Although the lawsuits are currently targeting the pork industry, Curliss warned attendees that their industry might be next. “It puts a lot of people out of business and takes a lot of food off the table,” said Curliss.

A full report of Summit highlights will be posted on the Alliance website. Key takeaways from the “Connect” portion of the program are available here: https://www.animalagalliance.org/resourcelibrary/results.cfm?ID=1280. The 2020 Summit is set for May 7-8 at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Stay tuned to summit.animalagalliance.org and #AAA2020 for event updates.

Thank you to our 2019 Summit sponsors for helping to make this event possible: Watt Global Media, Farm Journal, Meatingplace, National Provisioner, American Feed Industry Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Board, Smithfield, United Soybean Board, Elanco, National Turkey Federation, Country Folks, Dairy MAX, Farm Credit, National Biodiesel Board, Summit Livestock Facilities, United Egg Producers, Cobb-Vantress, Inc., Council for Biotechnology Information, Protect the Harvest, Agri Beef, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Veal Association, Empirical, Progressive Dairyman, Kemin, National Chicken Council, Live Oak Bank, North Carolina Farm Bureau, O + B | P, Phileo Lesaffre Animal Care, Vivayic, Eggland’s Best, Brakke Consulting, Inc., Food Industry Environmental Network, Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybean.

The Alliance also thanks the following members for their continued support of Summit and other Alliance programs: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Zoetis, Merck Animal Health, Charleston|Orwig, Diamond V, Alltech, Inc., Aviagen Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cattle Empire, LLC, Dairy Farmers of America, Genus PLC - PIC/ABS, Hendrix Genetics, Hy-Line North America LLC, Iowa Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy, Nutrien, Provimi North America, Inc. and Seaboard Foods LLC.

Trial Lawyers Are Once Again Coming For U.S. Farmers and Dairy Producers

Laurie Fischer, CEO, The American Dairy Coalition

It isn’t often that US farmers and dairy producers’ side with the EPA. However, in the case of a growing number of suits targeted at farming practices, and one ingredient in particular, US farmers and dairy producers are supporting the EPA and its science-based approval system as it links to glyphosate. Glyphosate, or what many commonly refer to as RoundUp as it is the main active ingredient in the product, is under fire in California where cases are underway claiming a cause and effect of the weedkiller and cancer.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture, and as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated, “If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate”. US farmers and ranchers utilize weed killer to maximize the output on their farms and maintain healthy crops and forage, for both consumers and their herds. Glyphosate has been used for years across the country and users must follow strict guidelines and application practices. New guidelines are even now being integrated as the industry looks to decrease any “drift” from the product and its potential effect on pollinators.

This past April, the EPA reaffirmed its previous findings that glyphosate is not a cancer risk to users, nor is it a risk to children or expectant mothers. The EPA has repeated its claims that products such as RoundUp are safe for use on backyards and areas where children play.

It’s no surprise though that organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have come out against the EPA’s findings and are in support of the erroneous claims against the product. EWG and trial lawyers across the country are now turning their backs on science and turning the issue into a fiscal opportunity at farmers’ expense, lining their own pocketbooks with frivolous litigation.

The cases filed in California state a direct link between the use of glyphosate-based products and cancer. Disregarding all available science, one case was initially ruled in favor of the plaintiff and millions of dollars were to be awarded to a groundskeeper who blamed the regular use of RoundUp on his cancer. Following the initial ruling, such activist groups as EWG jumped at the opportunity to skew public perception and promote anti-science based claims against the product and US agriculture.

This issue is yet another example of trial lawyers using US agriculture as an easy target for frivolous lawsuits. Farmers and ranchers rely on science-based information and research to ensure they are utilizing best practices, and to safeguard against erroneous claims like those noted above. We must support the continued use and reliance on best-science to guide our management practices, and to protect our industry against those seeking an “easy win”. In this case, US farmers and dairy producers support the EPA and its reaffirmation of the safety of glyphosate.

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