Farm Forum The Green Sheet: Where we grow. Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:23:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 State confirms bovine TB in another South Dakota beef herd Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:23:16 +0000
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Authorities have confirmed bovine tuberculosis in another South Dakota beef herd.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said Friday that inspectors found an infected cow during routine inspections at a Texas slaughterhouse last month. Records linked that cow to a beef herd in Tripp County of southwestern South Dakota. Tests found additional infected animals in the herd.

The discovery followed the detection of bovine TB in Harding County of northwestern South Dakota in February, the first appearance of the disease in South Dakota in six years.

Oedekoven says bovine TB is not a food safety threat, thanks to milk pasteurization and meat inspection programs. But he says his office is working closely with area herd owners and veterinarians, and with agriculture and wildlife officials, to determine the extent of the disease.

Farmers now have another option for health insurance Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:26:07 +0000 http://ffimp-19632614 By Heather J. Carlson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Rochester, Minn. — Frustrated by rising health insurance premiums, Pat Kreidermacher is among those pleased to see farmers will have another option next year.

A new law allows health insurance co-ops to offer health insurance to members. Kreidermacher — a dairy farmer from Altura — said she and two other families that run the farm have a group insurance plan. They divvy up a monthly $5,000 premium and have continued to see their costs go up each year.

“It’s pretty expensive, so we’re looking to try and see if we can’t cut those costs a little bit and/or increase the benefits,” she said.

Minnesota lawmakers concerned about rising health insurance costs passed a bill last session allowing agricultural co-ops to offer “self-insurance” plans — something most large businesses provide to employees. Farm groups, including the Minnesota Farmers Union, lobbied for the change.

The group’s lobbyist, Thom Petersen, said farmers often tell him their spouse has to work off the farm so the family can have affordable health insurance.

“If you need to be on the farm, that’s when you have to go on the individual market. And that’s why we’re heard just time and time again how expensive it is to obtain health care and how it takes such a big bite out of people’s wallets,” Petersen said.

To be eligible to buy the co-op health insurance, the law requires that individuals are actively involved in production agriculture or provide direct services to production agriculture. Individuals are also required to stay in the plans for at least three years.

Two co-ops moving ahead

So far two co-ops are moving ahead to offer plans. BuyPoint Insurance Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, has launched a pilot program in Minnesota this year. The company is offering eight different medical plans to members of 11 co-ops in Minnesota — including All American Co-op in Stewartville. Pam Grove, president of BuyPoint Insurance Solutions, said they expect a total of 12,000 farmers to be eligible to buy the insurance. The goal is to provide farmers with a more affordable health insurance option.

“Our goal was to be on average 20 percent lower than what they could find either direct or on the exchange,” Grove said.

Based on how the pilot goes, the hope is to expand the program. If changes are made to allow insurance to be sold across state lines, that would allow the plan to be sold to Land O’ Lakes co-op members in other states. So far, Grove said interest has been high.

“Our co-ops have said to me that they are already getting tons of calls from their membership. We’re even getting some that want to be new members just because of this plan with certain co-ops,” Grove said.

On a recent weekday, a small group of farmers sipped on coffee as they listened to a detailed PowerPoint presentation about the health insurance plan at the Rochester Eagles Club. BuyPoint Insurance Solutions has partnered with Gravie — a company with licensed advisors available to advise farmers on different plan options. That can include plans within the program or other offerings, including those on the state-based exchange MNsure.

Another option for farmers is 40 Square Cooperative Solutions. The group was founded by Cooperative Network — the Minnesota and Wisconsin state trade association for cooperatives — and United Farmers Cooperative, an agricultural supply cooperative based in Winthrop, Minn. Farmers must meet certain criteria to sign up, including having at least one common-law employee on the farm who is issued a W-2. That could include a spouse that does bookkeeping for the farm.

To be eligible, farmers must also buy $100 of voting stock and $1,000 worth of common stock during the first year. There are six health insurance plans being offered. 40 Square’s Project Manager Char Vrieze said in order for the co-op insurance plan to move ahead, they need 500 families to sign up. So far, she said the response has been strong.

“Farmers are so happy that there is an additional option out there,” she said.

The co-op has already held 17 town hall around the state and has another 11 planned. As of Friday, just under 100 families had signed up for insurance on the plan.

Less regulation

Vrieze added that while the plan can be a great option for some farmers, it’s important to know it may not work for everyone. Individuals will need to fill out a questionnaire about their health history. If they have major health problems, they would be faced with paying higher premiums. Minnesota Farmers Union is partnering with 40 Square and purchasing shares in the co-op. The union’s insurance agents will also write health policies for farmers through the co-op.

Lynn Blewett, professor of health policy at the University of Minnesota, said it is important to realize that states have very little authority over these self-insured plans. That allows more flexibility in what the plans can offer, but it can also mean potentially less coverage due to less regulation. She said it is important to find out what conditions are covered and whether there are lifetime coverage caps.

So how big of an impact will these new health insurance offerings for farmers have on the individual market in Minnesota?

If the new plans’ premiums are considerably less expensive, they could entice more healthy people to leave the state’s individual market, Blewett said. More sicker people in the individual market would lead to higher prices. However, if the plans’ premiums are not substantially different from those offered in the individual market, the impact could be minimal.

She added, “It could be a disaster for the individual market or it could be another offering that provides some flexibility and good choices for rural areas and good prices.”

Hydroponic histrionics? Organic purists assail designation Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:26:06 +0000 http://ffimp-19632516 By LISA RATHKE
Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Can you call a tomato grown in a nutrient solution instead of dirt “organic”? Some purists don’t think so.

The National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture, voted this month against a proposal to exclude hydroponics and aquaponics — the raising of plants without soil and fish using the same water — from the USDA’s organic certification program.

Many traditional organic farmers and their supporters say allowing hydroponic farms to be certified organic erodes the integrity of the $16 billion U.S. organic produce industry.

To them, organic farming is about far more than not using toxic pesticides; it’s rooted in enhancing the fertility of soils, a concept developed in the early 20th century by pioneering organic farmers. Organic farmers worked hard to create the National Organic Program in 2000, an achievement they say is now being watered down by allowing hydroponic farms to be part of it.

“Unfortunately those very things that it was created to do, which I think in the beginning it did do, is now really damaging because they’re certifying things that none of us believe are organic,” said Dave Chapman, of Long Wind Farm in East Thetford, Vermont.

Traditional organic farmers “feel like this is a complete slap in the face,” said Andrianna Natsoulas, executive director of Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. “They feel that organic now is a complete joke and it means absolutely nothing, and their years of working and their dedication and their commitment is for naught.”

The Organic Trade Association said it did not support the proposal to prohibit hydroponics because of the way it was written.

Marianne Cufone, executive director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, which represents hydroponic and aquaponic farmers, said the law left room for the meaning of organic to expand. She said she was shocked that so many people opposed hydroponic and aquaporin farming from being labeled as such.

“I thought it was an absolute no-brainer that hydroponics and aquaporin, when done well, can meet organic standard and why wouldn’t anyone want that included,” she said. “They’re excellent on water reduction. They’re excellent on space use. They’re excellent on intensive production, so we’re using less resources and creating more food. That just seems smart.”

Many such farms are interested in becoming certified organic because it’s a growing market, she said. “And it essentially puts this style of farming at a premium as well,” she said.

That leaves traditional organic farmers really concerned about the competition they’ll face in the marketplace, Natsoulas said.

Diane Nancekivell, of Middlebury, Vermont, typically pays that premium to get organic produce. While shopping at Healthy Living Market & Cafe in South Burlington, Vermont, she said she was excited to get hydroponic fruits and vegetables in the winter and has no problem with them not being grown in soil.

Fellow shopper Chrysanne Chotis, of South Burlington, Vermont, said she didn’t find the flavor of hydroponic produce as interesting as other produce she buys.

Some farmers are going to start working on finding an alternative to USDA certification that represents “real organic farmers,” Chapman said.

“It’s a tough thing. Nobody wants to do it … but what else can we do? If you believe in it, what else can you do?”

Harvesters find wet corn, better yield than expected Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:26:02 +0000 http://ffimp-19632266 #td_uid_1_5a11525e6a831 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_5a11525e6a831 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

By Shannon Marvel

Corn harvest is going better — and wetter — than expected for farmers in the northeastern region of the state.

Lannie Meilke wrapped up harvest for the year on Nov. 13 on his farm near Brentford in Spink County.

Corn yields were better than expected and “probably better than it should’ve been,” Meilke said.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. It wasn’t any longer than normal, but we didn’t get an early start getting to the beans. Things went well, the weather was good,” he said.

Meilke said the moisture content of the majority of his corn crop stayed between 17 to 17.5 percent.

“We could find some of it up to 20 percent that we ended up running the dryer on,” he added.

“None of it ever got truly dry. We did make a big pile, and I felt it was dry enough. We were fairly fortunate,” Meilke said.

Cornfields farther east weren’t as lucky, Meilke said.

“I just came from Clark — there’s lots of corn when you get into that country. Probably half of it or better is still standing. But in this area, everybody is just winding down,” he said.

Lee Bohling, manager for Wheat Growers in Frederick, said corn yields are averaging 150 bushels per acre in the Brown County area.

Soybean yields in the area were between 50 and 60 bushels per acre, he said.

“Yields farther west were a little drier and a little lower there. We’re averaging about 150 bushels per acre. Right around our area, all the corn is pretty much gone. It was a little wet,” Bohling said.

Bohling said moisture content of corn in the Frederick area has been around 14 percent.

Roberts County farmer Brian Renelt said things are a little wetter for farmers in South Dakota’s far northeastern corner.

“Our moisture in our corn is not going down just due to the weather. It’s been running around between 17 and 20 percent depending on the hybrid of corn,” Renelt said.

“The hybrids have different maturities. Some corns only take 92 days to reach maturity with normal growing degree units throughout the year. When you don’t get enough growing degree units to finish the corn off, what will happen is it will hold a little moisture,” he said.

Many grain elevators have dryers on site for wet corn, and some farmers, like Renelt, have their own dryers.

“It really depends but I would say roughly most years it costs me around 8 to 10 cents a bushel,” Renelt said.

The dryer runs off of propane fuel, which Renelt stocked up on in August.

“A lot of times if you buy it that year it’s a lot cheaper than buying it right now,” Renelt said.

He estimated that propane cost him $1 per gallon in August.

“Between the winter corn and the mud, you just end up using a little more fuel running your combine and tillage equipment through the mud. This definitely puts more of a financial strain on a guy. It’s costing a little more,” Renelt added.

Renelt’s neighbors in the region are wrapping up harvesting their corn crops now, but he noted there’s a lot of tillage left in the fields.

“There’s a lot of tillage up here that didn’t get done. But the neighbors are waiting for it to get warmer — the ground is a little frozen right now.”

Roslyn farmer Ryan Wagner still has a ways to go before harvest is complete.

“Last year we finished up in the first part of November. I was hoping to get done by Thanksgiving and I guess that’s still the goal,” he said.

“The closer you get to Aberdeen the more people have got done. Up here in the hills in Day County and Marshall County, there’s a lot of guys that have corn left. Then you get east of us into Sisseton and Minnesota where they had a cool fall and they were so wet down there that that’s kind of held them off.”

Wagner said harvest got off to a late start because his soybeans were late to mature.

“We’re just a little bit over halfway done with harvest right now,” Wagner said. “The corn has been a little bit wetter than it has in previous years. There was a cool finish into harvest. We’re running every bushel through our dryer right now and it’s a slow grind because with the cold air it’s taking more energy and heat to dry that corn.”

He said he was taking a break from drying corn on Nov. 14 due to the cold temperatures.

“We’re taking today off because it’s just too cold out, and it’s kind of risky. They ice up and we can have problems that way.” he said.

Wagner’s crop yields are looking to be average at 175 bushels per acre for corn.

“Our yields have been OK I guess, considering the type of year we had. We were pretty dry up until the first part of August,” he said.

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State confirms bovine TB in another South Dakota beef herd Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:30:06 +0000 PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Authorities have confirmed bovine tuberculosis in another South Dakota beef herd.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said on Nov. 17 that inspectors found an infected cow during routine inspections at a Texas slaughterhouse last month. Records linked that cow to a beef herd in Tripp County of southwestern South Dakota. Tests found additional infected animals in the herd.

The discovery followed the detection of bovine TB in Harding County of northwestern South Dakota in February, the first appearance of the disease in South Dakota in six years.

Oedekoven says bovine TB is not a food safety threat, thanks to milk pasteurization and meat inspection programs. But he says his office is working closely with area herd owners and veterinarians, and with agriculture and wildlife officials, to determine the extent of the disease.

NESDEC offers grants to landlords for rental property improvements Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:56:02 +0000 http://ffimp-19629189 GROW South Dakota

Whether it is for a new roof or a new bathroom, landlords looking to improve their properties have a great opportunity. Rental property owners can receive up to $15,000 in matching funds to renovate their single family properties under a program operated by the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC). The financial support will be in the form of a forgivable loan.

The program requires that property owners supply funds at least equal to NESDEC funding for a proposed project. The minimum total cost of a project is $6,000 ($3,000 from the owner and $3,000 from NESDEC). NESDEC’s maximum contribution may not exceed $15,000. If all requirements are met, the loan is forgiven and converted to a grant, and the owner need not repay any of the NESDEC funding. Some requirements include that tenants in the property must meet income guidelines, the owner must pledge to limit rent during the loan period of five years, and the property must meet habitability standards. Other requirements also apply. NESDEC will work with owners to inspect the property, assess plans, obtain estimates, and oversee renovations.

Funding for the Single-family Rental Home Improvement program comes from the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund through the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. Individual project funding is dependent on funding availability and service area priority

For more information about GROW South Dakota’s housing and business development programs and services, please visit our website at or call (605) 698-7654.

Mother Nature, mother cows and marbling Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:14 +0000 http://ffimp-19628419 By Miranda Reiman
Certified Angus Beef LLC

No farmer or rancher is immune from the challenges of nature, but some cow herds are better at adapting than others.

Paul Bennett, Red House, Va.; Brian McCulloh of Viroqua, Wis.; and Manny Encinias, Clayton, N.M., shared their stories of selecting cows that fit unique production scenarios, while also keeping the end product top of mind. They were part of an Angus University panel discussion at the Angus Convention, Nov. 4 to 6, in Fort Worth, Texas.

All cattle ultimately face one consistent challenge: “the consumer’s plate,” said Justin Sexten, moderator and supply development director for the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand. Panelists began by naming their diverse issues, from poor forage quality to short growing seasons to lack of rain.

Complicated grass, good cattle

Fescue is Bennett’s No. 1 challenge and opportunity. Some cows thrive on it despite the toxicity. “Those cattle tend to work really well and adapt to other environments extremely well,” he said.

They focus on cows that “slick off” quicker, as if those self-identify to stay in the herd.

“We need to let Mother Nature help us in our selection process and I’ll contend that, as seedstock producers, it’s extremely important that we not try to manage problems out of our cattle—let our environment sort cattle for us,” he said.

Then it’s using the available data to make smart selections for customers.

“For them, if the cattle aren’t adapted to the environment then really nothing else matters,” Bennett said. Given that, “we still have the opportunity to put a very high level of pressure on end-product merit.”

Short season success

With 34 inches of rain in a year, Wisconsin might seem like paradise for cattlemen.

“Because it grows grass and grows feed we’re going to capitalize on that,” said McCulloh. “I guess you would call our operation one that is intensively managed.”

Throw in 71 days with more than an inch of snow on the ground, along with delivering stored feed from Nov. 1 to May 1, and that paradise gets a dose of reality.

“Too often I’ve heard that you can’t have cattle that will feed and [deliver] marbling and yield grade and make good cows out of them,” he said, noting that’s just not true. His cows are in the top 50% for all but one of the traits tracked by the American Angus Association. All 385 head are in the top 20 percent of the breed for weaning weight, yearling weight, weaning value ($W) and beef value ($B).

“We can still hit the mark on weaning weight, yearling weight and marbling. I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive to select cattle that’ll kind of cover all the bases,” McCulloh said.

Piloting quality in the desert

“Most of my life, I felt sorry for myself. We lived in a desert,” Encinias said. So, for his Ph.D. work, he went to North Dakota, discovering, “You can grow green grass in a lot of different places, but I found out they have their own production challenges.”

When he returned to New Mexico to join his family Angus operation and start a consulting business, he “embraced” the environmental pressures. They include raising cattle in a state of varied elevations and temperature that averages 11.5 inches of rain per year and spends two-thirds of its years in drought.

“’I’m a big believer we can take high-end, curve-bender genetics and make them work in our environment if we manage the little things,” he said. Those include more available trace minerals and aggressive deworming to “keep that gut as efficient as possible,” to do well on low quality or limited water and feed.

Seedstock suppliers must help customers understand the cow’s requirements, Encinias added.

“I think we need to be able to provide customers with an owner’s manual, kind of like those with a pilot’s license. They know how to fly a Cessna but you’re walking into a 747 jet,” he said. “By gosh, you might be able to get it off the ground, but landing may be a different monster. I think that’s a lot what we’re dealing with in New Mexico with high-performing cattle.”

The breeders agreed: no matter how their commercial customers are marketing calves, it’s part of their job to consider what will work for the whole beef community. “It’s pretty easy to continue to select for cattle with added marbling while keeping other traits in balance and perspective,” Bennett said.

Honda’s ‘Harley-like’ cruiser: Shadow Phantom Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:12 +0000 http://ffimp-19628366 BY JOE MICHAUD
Motor Matters

In the early 1980s, Honda motorcycles wanted space in the cruiser market. At the time, cruisers were defined by Harley-Davidson’s ubiquitous silhouette and distinctive sound, so early attempts by Big Red in 1983 were lukewarm at best. Honda stayed with the program through many iterations and displacements, rode out the market fluctuations and the Shadow earned a loyal foothold.

The Shadow line is a continuing series of V-twin, water-cooled, shaft-drive bikes with displacements ranging from a diminutive 125cc up to 1100.

Honda has always tailored the bikes as “Harley-ish” as possible considering the varying displacements and physical size. And the new Shadow VT750C2B doesn’t stray far from the proven path. Wire wheels with black rims, bobbed fenders, matte-black highlights play up the new look; there’s a minimum of fanciness with chrome only being lavished on the gas cap, wheel spokes, a few bolts, and the gorgeous 2-into-2 Sportster style exhaust.

The look may be classic but the motor is Honda efficient. The SOHC cylinder heads are three-valve, dual plug designs that breathe well enough for adequate cruiser torque and power, making the midsize, 52-degree V-twin 750cc motor a good fit for its intended market. The exhaust is a classic design that looks and sounds the part.

The five-speed wide-ratio gearbox fit my urban environment perfectly. The motor is a “square” bore/stroke design coupled up to a heavy alternator that provides a large reciprocating mass, this design enhances the seat-of-the-pants torque feel. The torque works well in the slow bits and in the twisty two-lanes. It’s fun to stand the bike up with the throttle rolling out of corners. Top gear pulls the freeway fine up to cruiser velocity.

Horsepower peaks at 5,500 rpm and torque peaks at 3,500 rpm so there’s less need to use higher revs. There’s no tachometer to judge the numbers, but urgent acceleration drops off at upper freeway speed. Keep it real and the Phantom is fun. Wanna blast across the desert slab at nearly triple digits? Well, the Phantom may not be your ride.

The shaft drive is clean and carefree. The headlight is excellent, wide and bright with a high beam that projects out further than most. The mirrors are excellent, one of the few bikes that gives a blur-free image without having to twist shoulders and arms like a gymnast. Well done, Honda.

The Gunfighter-style seat fit well — I rode 180-mile days without significant butt burn. Electronic mannerisms? None. There’s also no fuel gauge, no slipper clutch, no ABS, no gear indicator. However, there are dual trip meters and a low fuel light.

The rear suspension is a budget setup with no tuning for compression or rebound. Pre-load is controlled by a five-position cam ring/rear spring. Short sharp thumps were best avoided. On a standard frame design, a portion of rider weight can be taken with the legs which keeps the weight transferred to the frame, like standing in the stirrups.

With the Shadow’s foot-forward design and 25-inch seat height, I had to pull myself up with the bars; this allowed the now-unweighted frame to slap me with the seat. I learned to compensate for hard dips. However, cornering on smooth asphalt was great fun. The foot-forward design allowed me to drag my boot heels at will on corners.

A single 34mm throttle-body meters fuel efficiently and gave the 549-pound wet-weight Phantom an honest 50 mpg over 400 miles. Honda gave the bike an old-school drum rear brake and a single 296mm front disc with a twin-pot caliper. Use both brakes if you’re traveling briskly or riding two-up. Passenger accommodation looks spartan and I did not test it.

The price is $7,699 and dealer costs, markup, tax, plus license will add to the mix. Genuine Honda accessories abound including bags, windshield, leather front bag, tank belt, backrest; there are enough cruiser add-ons to make the ride your own.

1981 Chrysler Cordoba: Low miles sealed the deal Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:12 +0000 http://ffimp-19628381 By Vern Parker
Motor Matters

Ryland Tedeton’s fondness of cars built by Chrysler was nurtured by his father, who favored Chrysler vehicles. Over the years, Tedeton has had his fair share of Chrysler products. And, he is always alert for attractive, low-mileage antique Chryslers for sale.

About a decade ago he was looking through a publication devoted to the sale of antique automobiles when he spotted an ad for a 1981 Chrysler Cordoba. After telephoning the seller, he learned the original owner had been the current owner’s neighbor. Upon the death of the first owner, the Chrysler spent several years in a garage before being sold to the neighbor who now was offering the 1981 vehicle for sale.

After hearing the history of the Chrysler, Tedeton convinced his brother, Tim, to accompany him to Pennsylvania, where the car was located. When Tedeton first saw the Cordoba he was amazed at its remarkable condition, both inside and outside.

The original dark brown paint was highlighted by the gold pinstripes across the length of the sides of the car as well as across the trunk at the rear.

Observing that the odometer had counted only 44,000 miles convinced Tedeton to buy the handsome car on the spot. With his brother following behind, Tedeton drove his new purchase an uneventful 200 miles to his home in Virginia.

As is often the case with cars that have not been driven regularly, this one was performing better at the end of the journey. “It needed a good tune-up,” Tedeton says.

The durable 225-cubic-inch slant-six-cylinder engine develops 85 horsepower and was standard equipment on the Cordoba. The original owner did not opt for the optional 318-cubic-inch V-8 engine.

Tedeton reports that the slant-six engine has no trouble keeping up with traffic. “It has no problem at all,” the owner says.

Although the front seat is a bench seat, the upholstery is designed to appear as bucket seats. In the years he has owned the Cordoba, Tedeton has replaced the light tan headliner to match the crushed velour light tan upholstery.

Cruising in the car is comfortable thanks to the 112.7-inch wheelbase on which the car rides. The power-assisted steering is effortless and stopping chores are made easy by the front disc brakes. Sound from the AM/FM cassette tape player floods the cabin from front and rear speakers.

Earlier this year Tedeton had the air conditioner recharged and updated. The tinted glass helps the air conditioner keep the temperature in the cabin under control.

A single-barrel carburetor feeds fuel to the engine at the rate of 21 to 22 miles per gallon according to the owner. Tedeton says the odometer has now counted 58,000 miles and his Cordoba continues to provide good service.

“Everything on the car works,” Tedeton says proudly.

For your car to become the subject of the Classic Classics column, e-mail us your .jpeg image, plus brief details and phone number. Type “Classic Classics” in subject box and send to Or, send a photo (frontal 3/4 view) plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Drive, Vienna, VA 22181.

The chronic wasting disease map keeps enlarging Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:11 +0000 http://ffimp-19628094 By Russ Daly
Special to the Farm Forum

Lately I’ve been noticing one particular animal disease popping up more frequently and over widening areas in the U.S. – chronic wasting disease.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fascinating animal disease. It shares similarities with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “Mad Cow” disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases are caused by the most vexing of all pathogens – the prion. Prions are more basic than the simplest germs. They are simply protein molecules folded in a certain configuration. When pathogenic prions get into an animal, they interact with similar normal proteins, transforming them into the disease-causing version. Much of this takes place in the animal’s brain, spinal cord, and nerve tissue. After enough prions accumulate there, they create “holes” in those organs. Not a good thing to have happen in a brain!

The structure of prions makes them incredibly hard to inactivate. They survive rendering, disinfection, and surgical sterilization processes. This makes CWD control and prevention extremely challenging compared to other animal diseases.

Chronic wasting disease only affects deer and elk (and an occasional moose). It has shown up in free-ranging animals as well as those raised in captivity. Unlike BSE and scrapie prions, which are only found in brain and nerve tissue in their target species, CWD prions can be also found in an infected animal’s saliva, manure, and urine. Their hardiness in the environment means they can stay around a long time to possibly infect another animal. Deer or elk probably become infected when they lick or otherwise ingest contaminated feed sources or soil in their environments.

The U.S. geography of CWD is expanding. Even though testing’s been carried out for roughly 20 years now, CWD has just now been found in Montana, and is spreading in areas of southeastern Minnesota and southern Wisconsin, among other areas. In South Dakota so far, CWD has only been found in free-ranging deer and elk in the Black Hills (we’ve had a few captive herds with it, but they have long been cleaned up).

The signs of CWD progress slowly in an infected deer or elk and are usually only seen in adults. Those signs can be very subtle and are not unique to CWD: progressive weight loss, separation from the rest of the herd, listlessness, excessive salivation, and teeth grinding. In elk, hyperexcitability and nervousness have been noted. These are all due to the slowly progressing but relentless effects of the prion on the brain. There is no cure for CWD – it’s always fatal.

Because it’s a prion disease like BSE, CWD has caused worry about people becoming ill from eating deer or elk meat from infected animals. There’s no evidence that people have ever been affected with CWD. An experiment reported this past summer, however, revealed that monkeys fed meat from a CWD deer over a long period of time developed problems with CWD. Does that mean we should worry about our own health if we eat deer or elk meat?

A definite answer to that question hasn’t been determined yet. One would have to say the possibility is there. But we should consider all the facts at hand.

Remember that CWD is still very rare in the U.S. deer and elk population. While we’ll never do enough testing to find every CWD case, we know that it’s more prevalent in certain parts of the country than others. Accordingly, South Dakota deer outside of the Black Hills would appear to present a very low risk.

Also, just like any disease, the numbers of germs (prions in this case) are tremendously higher in sick animals compared to animals who may be exposed, but still act healthy. Therefore, the common sense notion of not eating meat from an animal that was acting “off” or in poor condition should prevail. Similarly, because we know the prion prefers nerve tissue, care should be taken to make sure that meat is boned out and that brain, spinal cord, and similar tissues aren’t consumed.

Chronic wasting disease appears to be expanding its geography as a threat to deer and elk. So far that threat hasn’t extended to people, but we all would be better served by more research into the disease, and more importantly, how its spread can be prevented.

Russ Daly, DVM, is the Extension veterinarian at South Dakota State University. He can be reached via e-mail at or at 605-688-5171.

2018 is the Year of the Tulip Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:07 +0000 http://ffimp-19628056 #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item5 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_2_5a11525e6fb73 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item6 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }

By David Graper
SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist

Reprinted from the National Garden Bureau,

Tulips say “spring” like no other flowers. Their vivid, paint-box colors are a feast for winter-weary eyes. These members of the lily family (thus, a relative of onions) typically grow a single stem and flower from teardrop-shaped bulbs that are planted in fall for spring flowers. Tulip bulbs require a dormancy period with cool, winter-like temperatures. During this time, the bulbs sprout roots and the embryonic leaves and flowers inside the bulb begin to develop.

Tulips are native to southern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia. Works of art depicting their distinctive shape date back to the 10th century. They have been cultivated in earnest for at least 400 years. By leveraging the tulip’s natural tendency toward diversity, generations of breeders and tulip collectors, have brought forth a mind-boggling array of flower forms, heights, colors and bloom times. Today, Holland produces most of the world’s annual tulip crop, which exceeds 4 billion bulbs annually.

It’s been said that various colors of tulips have significant meaning when gifted: Red means love, white means I’m sorry and purple represents loyalty.

Garden how-to’s

Purchase tulip bulbs that are large, firm and heavy. Store the bulbs in a cool, dark place until planting time.

Plant tulips in mid to late fall, when you are raking leaves and doing other fall clean up chores. Soil temperature should be 55°F or cooler. Choose a planting location with full to part day sun, where the soil is well drained and easy to dig (never soggy). Loosen the soil to a depth of 10”.

Tulips look best when they are planted in informal groups of 12 or more bulbs. Space the bulbs approximately 3 to 4” on center and plant them 6 to 7” deep. Use a garden trowel to plant individual bulbs or remove the soil from the planting area, place the bulbs and then refill the hole.

Tulips are at their best the first spring after planting. For this reason, the bulbs are usually treated as annuals and dug out when they finish blooming. Under ideal growing conditions (sharply drained soil, cold winters, cool springs, hot, dry summers) some tulips will return to bloom again another year. The best candidates are Darwin hybrids and Species tulips. To encourage re-blooming, cut off the spent flowers as soon as they fade and allow the foliage to continue growing until it is yellow and dry.

Basic types of tulips

There are over 150 species of tulips with 3,000+ different varieties classified into Divisions by type:

Division 1: Single Early. Medium size blossoms with a classic tulip shape. Short, sturdy stems with an overall height of 10-14”. Often fragrant. Flair, Purple Prince, Bestseller, Apricot Beauty

Division 2: Double Early. Extra petals give these flowers a very full look. Shorter than most other tulips, most are about 12” tall. Lovely cut flowers. Abba, Monsella, Foxtrot, Monte Orange

Division 3: Triumph. This class offers the widest range of tulip colors. Triumphs are midseason bloomers and stand 15 to 20”. Barcelona, Bastogne, Jimmy, Princess Irene, Ronaldo

Division 4: Darwin Hybrid. Strong plants with large flowers. Bulbs often return and bloom for several years. Mid- Spring. 22” tall. Ad Rem, Apricot Impression, Banja Luka, Pink Impression

Division 5: Single Late. Tall, egg-shaped flowers are large and long-lasting. Regal presence in the landscape. Heat tolerant. 22” tall. La Courtine, Menton, Dordogne, Violet Beauty

Division 6: Lily-Flowered. Long, narrow cups with pointed petals that flare out at the top. Excellent for cutting. 12-20” tall. Elegant Lady, Marilyn, Merlot, Pieter de Leur, Sapporo

Division 7: Fringed. The top edge of each petal is whiskered and often slightly paler in color. Bloom time is mid to late spring. Overall height 20”. Carousel, Fancy Frills, Lambada, Red Wing

Division 8: Viridiflora. Streaks of green give these tulips a distinctive look. Most cultivars bloom mid to late spring. Long-lasting cut flowers. 20” tall. Groenland, Spring Green, Flaming Spring Green, Artist

Division 9: Rembrandt. Petals display exotic markings and color breaks. Resemble the tulips in 17th century paintings. 20-24” tall. Rembrandt Mix

Division 10: Parrot. Ruffled, puckered and fringed petals twist as they mature. Excellent cut flowers. Heights vary from 14-22”. Black Parrot, Estella Rijnveld, Silver Parrot, Texas Flame

Division 11: Double Late. Plush, peony-like flowers are long-lasting in the garden or in a vase. Many cultivars are fragrant. 15-22” tall. Angelique, Carnaval De Nice, Upstar, Yellow Pomponette

Division 12: Kaufmanniana. Early bloomers with a tall, narrow cup and pointed petals. Blossoms open out flat in the sun. 8-10” tall. Johann Strauss, Scarlet Baby, Stresa, Heart’s Delight

Division 13: Fosteriana. Also known as Emperor tulips. Big flowers are 4-5” tall and open wide on sunny days. Early spring. 18” tall. Albert Heijn, Orange Emperor, Purissima, Red Emperor

Division 14: Greigii. Decorative foliage adds to the appeal of these flowers. Some cultivars have two to four flowers per stem. 12” tall. Mary Ann, Quebec, Red Riding Hood, Toronto

Division 15: Species. Wild or wild-like cultivars with relatively small flowers on slender stems. Good naturalizers. 4- 10” tall. Lilac Wonder, Lady Jane, Peppermint Stick

Division 16: Multiflowering. Sometimes called “bouquet” tulips. Three to five flowers per stem extends bloom time and impact. 14-20” tall. Candy Club, Flaming Club, Happy Family

The National Garden Bureau recognizes and thanks Kathy Laliberte from Longfield Gardens as author and contributor to this fact sheet. This fact sheet is provided as an educational service of the National Garden Bureau.

Please consider our NGB member companies as authoritative sources for information. Click on the Member Directory at for details about our members. Gardeners looking for seed and plant sources may click on this link:

Christmas cactus potting soil

Q I transplanted some Christmas cactus plants in cactus potting soil but it doesn’t seem to be the correct soil. I thought the mix would contain some gravel to keep the soil well drained. Would Miracle Grow potting soil work for Christmas cactus?

A Christmas cactus are not the same type of cactus as the type of cactus one would associate with a hot, dry environment. They are actually sometimes called “jungle cacti” referring to their native environment which has much more moisture but but the plants still need a well-drained growing media. So, I think this mix might work ok, you will just have to water more often. Miracle Grow potting soil could also work fine, but I would maybe add some additional perlite to improve aeration.

Grass ID

Q Could you help me identify this grass? (See photo). Would you know where I might get some for my landscaping?

A This looks to be Chinese Silver Grass or Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis). There are quite a few different cultivars of this popular ornamental grass available. It seems to grow well and is hardy enough for the much of the southeastern part of South Dakota but may have difficulty surviving in areas further north or west. But, it may also do well in the Rapid City area. They have an excellent collection of many of the different cultivars at the MN Landscape Arboretum. This past spring, a new ornamental grass collection was planted at McCrory Gardens. It will be interesting to see how many of the Miscanthus cultivars and other grasses perform in the Brookings area.

Mark your calendars

The annual Music and Mistletoe at McCrory Gardens will be held Friday, December 1, from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m., 631 22nd Ave., at Brookings, S.D.

Join them for a classic holiday evening, igniting the lights and spirit for the season of Garden Glow. Support the Gardens through the purchase of raffle tickets and have the opportunity to win through our Chance-to-Choice Auction – purchase the number of chances you would like – place them in the container of the item(s) of your choice. Winners drawn the night of the event.

Support the Gardens with a Giving Garland Sponsorships – for those that want to support the gardens’ specific needs. We’ll have our wish list ready! Come join us at our one-of-a-kind venue to kick off the season in nostalgic style.

• 7-8:30 p.m. – Hors d’ouerves buffet featuring a “Twist on Tradition” with a cash bar.

• 8:30 p.m. – Grand lighting of Garden Glow 2017 – the biggest show yet!

• 9:00 p.m. – Dessert, coffee and caroling, and a photo-booth – It’s selfie time! Goofy hats, silly ‘staches, maybe even a grass skirt. You know what to do.

Tickets for Music & Mistletoe are $35. Purchase your tickets by calling the welcome desk at (605) 688-6707.

American Angus Association recognizes top showring winners Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:06 +0000 http://ffimp-19620176 by Sarah Hill
Angus Media

Many Angus breeders aspire to take home the coveted win in the show ring—grand champion of the show. The sires of those cattle are also a key part of the equation. The American Angus Association offers their Roll of Victory (ROV) Show Program to recognize show-winning animals and their sires and dams.

Outstanding Angus cattle and their breeders/owners who were winners during the 2016-2017 show season were recognized at the 2017 Angus Convention, Nov. 4-6, in Fort Worth, Texas.

“These cattle are the best of the best in the show ring,” said Allen Moczygemba, Association CEO. “They are the trend setters that will influence the types of herd bulls and females that other Angus breeders will look to buy in the coming months.”

The ROV Show Heifer of the Year award was presented to Conley Sandy 5104, owned by David Smith, Boulder, Colorado, and Conley Cattle, Sulphur, Oklahoma.

DAJS Special Effects 044 was awarded the ROV Show Bull of the Year award. Special Effects is owned by Doug Satree Angus, Montague, Texas.

Express Ranches, Yukon, Oklahoma, took top honors as the ROV Breeder of the Year.

The ROV show season runs from June 1 through May 31, and points are accumulated on an annual basis.

The program includes 19 shows, including six super point shows and 13 recognition point shows.

For more information about the Association ROV program, visit

Sec. Perdue: U.S. farm exports hit 3rd highest level on record Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:05 +0000 http://ffimp-19620156 U.S. Department of Agriculture

WASHINGTON – U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on Nov. 16. As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion.

“U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said. “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy. If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.”

China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by Canada at $20.4 billion. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico reached $18.6 billion, a six-percent gain from last year, while exports to Japan grew 12 percent, to $11.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 markets were the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong ($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion).

U.S. bulk commodity exports set a volume record at 159 million metric tons, up 11 percent from FY 2016, while their value rose 16 percent to $51.4 billion. The surge was led by soybean exports, which reached a record 60 million metric tons, valued at $24 billion. Exports of corn, wheat and cotton all grew as well, with the value of cotton exports climbing 70 percent, to $5.9 billion, wheat exports up 21 percent, to $6.2 billion, and corn exports up six percent, to $9.7 billion.

A number of other products saw significant export increases as well. U.S. dairy exports grew 17 percent to $5.3 billion, beef exports were up 16 percent to $7.1 billion, and pork exports rose 14 percent to $6.4 billion. Overall, horticultural product exports increased three percent to nearly $33.9 billion, largely driven by an eight-percent increase in exports of tree nuts, which reached $8.1 billion, the second-highest total on record. Processed food and beverage exports rose two percent to $39.2 billion.

Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. USDA continues to work to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade.

Complete FY 2017 (Oct. 2016-Sept. 2017) agricultural export data are available from the Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) database:

Tumbling bumblebee populations linked to fungicides Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:05 +0000 http://ffimp-19620158 Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y. – When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides.

Instead, they found a shocker: fungicides, commonly thought to have no impact.

“Insecticides work; they kill insects. Fungicides have been largely overlooked because they are not targeted for insects, but fungicides may not be quite as benign – toward bumblebees – as we once thought. This surprised us,” said Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology and the lead author of a new study, “Landscape Predictors of Pathogen Prevalence and Range Contractions in United States Bumblebees,” published Nov. 15 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

This new work shows how fungicides – particularly chlorothalonil, a general-use fungicide often found in bumblebee and honeybee hives – may negatively affect bee health, said McArt, a fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Building on a large data set collected by Sydney Cameron, professor of entomology at the University of Illinois, the scientists discovered what they call “landscape-scale” connections between fungicide usage, pathogen prevalence and declines of endangered United States bumblebees.

While fungicides control plant pathogens in crops, the bees pick up their residue when foraging for pollen and nectar. As farms use both insecticides and fungicides, the scientists worry about synergy. “While most fungicides are relatively nontoxic to bees, many are known to interact synergistically with insecticides, greatly increasing their toxicity to the bees,” McArt said.

Chlorothalonil has been linked to stunted colony growth in bumblebees and an increased vulnerability to Nosema, a fatal gut infection in bumblebees and honeybees.

“Nosema can be devastating to bumblebees and honeybees,” said McArt. “Since fungicide exposure can increase susceptibility of bees to Nosema, this may be the reason we’re seeing links between fungicide exposure, Nosema prevalence and bumblebee declines across the United States in this data set.”

For domestic and global agriculture, bumblebees are a key component due to their ability to use “buzz pollination” that vibrates and shakes pollen loose from flowers. In the United States, bees contribute more than $15 billion to the economy and $170 billion to global agribusiness, according to global economic research and a 2012 Cornell study. While half of crop pollination work is done by commercially managed honeybees in the U.S., the other half is done by bumblebees and wild bees. In New York, pollination services contribute $500 million to the state’s agricultural economy.

McArt and his Cornell colleagues will continue to investigate fungicide-insecticide synergisms and fungicide-pathogen interactions under the New York State Pollinator Protection Plan and a new grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

BeefTalk: Beef growth performance continues to be stable Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:04 +0000 http://ffimp-19619925 By Kris Ringwall
NDSU Extension Service Beef Specialist

Beef cattle performance growth trends, as calculated through the Cow Herd Appraisal of Performance Software (CHAPS), are very stable.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service and North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA) collect and analyze the CHAPS data to produce meaningful annual benchmarks. The current growth benchmark for actual weaning weight is 554 pounds at 192 days of age, with an average daily gain of 2.5 pounds. These calves are a 5.2 frame score.

The NDBCIA uses the CHAPS program to calculate five-year rolling benchmark values for average herd performance, which have been quite consistent. Let’s look closer at the average actual weaning weight benchmark.

Historically (10-plus years ago), the benchmark was 558 pounds for 2003, 556 pounds for 2004, 558 pounds for 2005, 562 pounds for 2006 and 561 pounds for 2007. In 2008, the benchmark was 560 pounds, and it was 567 pounds in 2009, 565 pounds in 2010, 563 pounds in 2011 and 563 pounds in 2012. More recently, the benchmark was 558 pounds in 2013, 556 pounds in 2014, 555 pounds in 2015 and 553 pounds in 2016. The 2017 benchmark is 554 pounds.

Not much has changed in commercial beef production in terms of fall weaning weights. The benchmark for age at weaning has fluctuated a little. Historically (10-plus years ago), the benchmark was 196 days of age for 2003, 194 days of age for 2004, 192 days of age for 2005, 191 days of age for 2006 and 189 days of age for 2007.

The weaning age benchmark remained at 189 days for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and increased to 190 days of age for 2012 and 2013, 192 days of age for 2014 and 2015, and 193 days of age for 2016. The 2017 benchmark is back at 192 days of age at weaning.

This translates into fairly consistent average daily gain (ADG) benchmarks, starting at 2.3 pounds per day in 2003 and 2.4 pounds per day in 2004. Remarkably, the ADG benchmark has been 2.5 pounds per day from 2005 through 2017. Interesting.

The frame score benchmark, although not a growth number, is indicative of the calf’s frame size and has been quite consistent as well. Historically (10-plus years ago), the benchmark was 5.4 for 2003, 2004 and 2005, and 5.5 for 2006 and 2007. The benchmark for 2008 increased to 5.8 and remained at 5.8 for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

In 2012 and 2013, the annual frame score benchmark declined to 5.7. It declined to 5.5 in 2014 and to 5.4 in 2015, and further declined to 5.2 in 2016. The 2017 frame score benchmark is still at 5.2.

Perhaps the commercial beef cattle business could be called mature, at least for growth on the cow-calf side of the business.

A producer needs to decide what level of performance is expected and how much one is willing to expend to get that performance. Performance is really herd output, a function of age and growth. The benchmarks provide a tool for herd evaluation, a review of growth annual trends and a number on which to base future goals for the operation.

Interestingly, producers continue to market cattle with considerable growth potential, based on current trends for expected progeny difference (EPDs) within available herd sires offered for sale. But they’re actually selling calves at historical weights, thus allowing the feeding industry to capture the additional growth potential bred into the cattle.

Historical marketing brings comfort to established cow-calf programs, but – yes, there is a “but.” Historical marketing programs apparently do not allow for expression and payback for the growth potential that is hidden within the phenotypes of the calves brought for sale.

Ironically, the heifer mates to these cattle are retained at the home place. The heifers grow into cows and their mature weight naturally would be similar only to the steers that were sent to the feedlot.

They have gotten bigger. So producers face some challenges: growth genetics that are not being captured as the progeny are marketed and subsequent larger mother cows that cost more to keep. The real answer to the management of growth genetics needs to return to where it started, which is sound breeding systems combined with more flexibility in the marketing of the offspring.

Historically, breeding systems were intended to allow producers to maintain the most efficient maternal cow at home, purchase good terminal-type sires and produce a terminal offspring that was intended for the feed yard. At some point, another breeding system would be utilized to produce the replacement maternal cow; thus, the best of both worlds.

Cattle breeding systems with additional marketing options may well be the better answer. Producers need to implement terminal and maternal breeding systems with additional marketing flexibility.

May you find all your ear tags.

For more information, contact your local NDSU Extension Service agent ( or Ringwall at the Dickinson Research Extension Center, 1041 State Ave., Dickinson, ND 58601; 701-456-1103; or

Make good use of leftovers this holiday season Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:04 +0000 http://ffimp-19620090 By Julie Garden-Robinson
Food and Nutrition Specialist NDSU Extension Service

As I peered in our refrigerator the other day, I noticed some small containers with dabs of leftovers that had just reached their “time to toss” phase. I always feel guilty when we throw away food in our home.

To help use any extra servings, I eat leftovers almost every day at work. Unfortunately, sometimes a few odds and ends of food hide behind the milk carton and eventually need to be discarded.

Illness-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and mold can grow and/or produce toxins in leftover food. Unfortunately, you cannot see, smell or taste most microorganisms. We have to be guided by storage time and temperature to help avoid foodborne illness.

I am sure we do not toss one-third of our food in my house. That’s the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Unfortunately, we are entering the prime food-wasting season: the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas. During this time, the amount of food wasted increases by 25 percent. We all can take steps to avoid food waste.

As we enter the holiday season, we might want to embark on some early resolutions that can prevent excess food waste and save us some money in the process. We also might preserve our waistlines with some of the strategies.

If you plan to have guests during the holidays, simplify your menu and the number of different cookies, dips and side dishes that you make. Focus on your family’s favorite recipes instead of making a large number.

Perhaps a full batch of casserole is too much. You might need to need to trim the size of your recipes. Many recipes are easy to cut in half.

Think about potential food waste as you shop at the grocery store. You might be tempted to buy the bargain-sized container of mayonnaise because it has a lower price per ounce. However, if you only need a cup of mayonnaise to make your famous artichoke dip, the remaining mayonnaise eventually outlives its shelf life. It’s not a bargain after all.

As you plan meals, spread the effort. Make holiday meals an opportunity for sharing food. Try a “theme potluck,” such as all healthy appetizers, build your own meal in a bowl or make a personalized pizza buffet. Everyone could bring a part of the menu. At the end of the meal, your guests can share the leftover food and have easy meal preparation the next day.

You can help your guests maintain their weight with a few savvy serving ideas. Use smaller plates and provide smaller serving spoons in the containers. People take less food on a smaller plate, and they serve themselves less food with a smaller serving spoon, according to researchers.

You might even want to try a little trick someone mentioned to me recently: Put a stack of “tasting spoons” on the buffet (along with a container to discard the used ones). Allow people to try the food before serving themselves a full portion.

Keep food temperature-controlled during service, or replenish containers regularly. If the party will go on more than two hours, set out smaller amounts of food and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Replace the serving containers as needed. Keep salads, cut fruit and vegetables, and meat and cheese trays cold by nesting the bowls or platters in containers of ice.

Keep warm foods, such as hot wings and warm dips, in slow cookers. If you do not have small slow cookers, set out a smaller amount of food and keep the remaining food warm in the oven or on the stove.

If you know you are not going to be able to use the refrigerated leftovers within three to four days, freeze immediately in meal-sized amounts. Be sure to use appropriate freezer containers and label with the contents and date. Keep an inventory of food that’s in your freezer so you do not forget that it’s there.

If the idea of “leftovers” is not appetizing, create something completely new. Think of the remaining food as “planned-overs.” How about using leftover turkey in soup, stir-fry, casseroles or sandwiches? Extra mashed potatoes can become potato soup.

Learn to create your own casserole or soup with the “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” handouts at Click on “Food Preparation.” Also click on “The Family Table” for dozens of ways to savor family mealtimes during the holidays and any day.

Here’s a tasty way to use leftover roasted turkey courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association.

Cranberry Turkey Wrap

4 (7-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas

8 slices turkey breast (about 1 1/2 ounces per serving)

4 slices cheddar cheese (4 ounces), cut into thirds

1/3 c. dried cranberries

8 leaves parsley or fresh basil (optional)

Alternate a slice of turkey, one-third of a slice of cheddar cheese and another slice of turkey breast down the center. Sprinkle one-fourth of the dried cranberries on top of turkey and top with cheese. Fold tortilla into thirds. Place seam side down on microwave-safe serving plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place a piece of cheese on top of each sandwich and microwave each tortilla on high for 30 seconds to one minute (until cheese melts). Cool slightly and slice in half. Place two or three dried cranberries and a sprig of parsley or basil on both halves.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 330 calories, 13 grams (g) fat, 18 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 750 milligrams sodium.

Chicken processor settles water pollution suit in Florida Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:03 +0000 http://ffimp-19615923 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A major chicken processing plant that has been cited for polluting the Suwannee River settled a lawsuit on Nov. 15 that was brought by environmental groups in Florida.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. settled the suit with Environment Florida and the Sierra Club, agreeing to pay $1.4 million and to upgrade equipment to help reduce the plant’s waste.

The settlement still requires approval from a federal judge.

The plant, which cuts up and packages chickens for retail sale, is in the north Florida town of Live Oak.

Pilgrim’s Pride is the second largest chicken producer in the world, and supplies chicken to fast-food restaurants and supermarkets.

The company was cited multiple times by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection for violating limits on the amount of wastewater it was legally permitted to discharge into the river. The most recent violation was in June of this year, for failing to meet deadline required by a 2015 violations.

It was a pollution pattern that the environmental groups claimed was not being stopped by Florida’s enforcement.

So the groups filed suit in federal court last year, claiming the plant was still illegally polluting the Suwannee.

“Pilgrim’s Pride wasn’t complying with their permits, and the (state) wasn’t holding the company accountable, so Environment Florida and citizen members stepped in to get them to clean up their act” said Jennifer Rubiello, state director of the group.

Under the settlement agreement, Pilgrim’s Pride will make equipment upgrades, including to its wastewater treatment plant, study how to eliminate wastewater discharges into the river and create a sustainable farming fund.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TransCanada: Oil leak clean up will take several weeks Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:16:50 +0000 by Shannon Marvel,

Cleaning up a 210,000-gallon oil leak from the Keystone Pipeline in Marshall County will take at least several weeks.

Robynn Tysver, spokeswoman for TransCanada, said about 60 state, local and federal officials are at the site of the leak southeast of Amherst in Marshall County.

“We will not leave this site until it’s clean. Obviously, it’s going to take several weeks if not longer,” Tysver said.

Click here to read more.

Application of nitrogen fertilizer in soybeans Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:08 +0000 http://ffimp-19616342 By David Karki
Watertown Regional Extension Center

South Dakota is a major soybean producing state in the US. During the 2016 growing season, 5.17 million acres of South Dakota (SD) cropland had soybean harvested. Producers generally rotate soybeans with corn or occasionally wheat crops and nitrogen fertilizer management is usually performed on the corn or wheat prior to or succeeding the soybean crop.

Soybean and nitrogen

Nitrogen (N) is one of the primary nutrients that crops require for optimal growth and grain production. Soybean seeds are high in protein (~40%) and have relatively high nitrogen requirement to produce the high-protein grain and stover. Nitrogen is added from external source/s on other major crops such as corn, wheat, etc. However, since soybeans are a legume plant and they possess the capability to fix their own N from atmosphere through symbiotic relationship with rhizobium bacteria. Soybean nitrogen requirement can reach almost 325 lb./a for a 70 bu/a yield with about 50-60% of the N coming from nitrogen fixation. The remaining N requirement (120-150 lb./a) must come from either soil inorganic N, mineralization of soil organic matter or breakdown of previous years residue. Producers and scientific community are generating questions concerning the ability of soybean to fix adequate nitrogen in high yield environments, especially above 70 bu/a. Other researchers have shown that increased level of nitrate-N in the soil can inhibit the N fixation process that is physiologically high energy demanding.

We conducted a study in 2016 growing season at five Eastern South Dakota (SD) sites to evaluate the effects of added N fertilizer (as urea) on soybean yield performance. The urea at 500 lbs/a N rate was applied at two leaf (early season) and pod set (late season) stages and compared with ‘check’ plots that did not receive any N fertilizer. The study was established at the SDSU Northeast Research Farm and four on-farm cooperators’ fields in Clark, Kingsbury, and Minnehaha (2 sites) counties. At each site, the ‘check’ and the two fertilizer rate treatments were arranged in a Randomized design with four replications. Plot size at all sites was 10’ x 20’.

Grain yield analyses did not show any significant statistical differences between the treatments at any site, which suggested that the plots without N fertilizer were able to fix adequate N to produce grain yields comparable to plots that received N. Numerically, treatment plots that received late-season N yielded the highest at three of the five sites. Likewise, check plot yields were lowest at four out of five test sites. Even though we did not see any statistical trend/s from the treatments tested in 2016 growing season, we see the need to investigate this research topic more in terms of different N rates at applied at different growth stages to effectively confirm the relationship between added N fertilizer and overall soybean grain yield performance.

Suggested reading

Gelderman, R. 2013. Late-Season Nitrogen for Soybean? South Dakota State University Extension. Available at:

Schmidt, J.P. Nitrogen Fertilizer for Soybean? DuPont Pioneer. Available at:

Teen creates wearable app to prevent farm worker deaths from heat illness Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:07 +0000 http://ffimp-19616127 PRNewswire

SHAFTER, Calif. — Fighting to reduce the high numbers of heat illness and deaths among farm workers in her beloved Central Valley, a concerned California teen has created an app to connect farmers, contractors and farm workers through Apple watches that provides instant health data and critical heat alerts. Now, she seeks funding to bring the app to the fields via a “Start Some Good” crowdsourced campaign.

To help, donate now at to bring the summer 2018 pilot to hundreds of farmer workers.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are experiencing an increased number of extreme-heat days due to climate change. Nowhere is the impact felt more directly than California’s already sizzling agricultural fields. Faith Florez, a 17-year old senior in high school and the granddaughter of farm workers, created the app Calor to help protect farm workers from death and heat illness, by providing them with timely alerts and data.

“I want to prove that technology to protect farm workers in times of excessive heat can be applied as easily as the Amber Alert notifications we already receive, with life-saving data sent straight to their wrists as they toil to put food on our tables,” said Florez. “My mission is to change the statement “work or health” to ‘work and health.'”

To get the project started, Florez’s original proposal for the farm work heat stress protection app was selected by graduate coding students at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering in 2016. Calor—the first-ever farm worker heat notification web-based application—is the final product of nearly a year of work and intense meetings with farmers, contractors, farm workers and state regulators.

California farmers and contractors have agreed to provide Apple Watches to farm workers at the beginning of the harvest job, as part of the summer 2018 pilot. In the future, Florez believes farmers will benefit from anticipated reductions in workers compensation insurance rates due to the risk mitigation offered by Calor.

Initial funds raised will help fund the development costs and to boost the number of farm workers participating in the program. All donations are tax-deductible.

The effort is sponsored by the Latina Legacy Foundation. Early funds for the project were awarded by a Grant from the HERlead Fellowship Program sponsored by partnership between Vital Voices, the preeminent non-governmental organization whose mission is to invest in women leaders who improve the world, and ANN INC., parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey.

Alltech launches startup accelerator for second year Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:07 +0000 http://ffimp-19616212 Alltech

DUNBOYNE, Ireland – Following a highly successful first year, Alltech will select another cohort from across the world to participate in The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, a unique global accelerator backed by Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons. The three-month program will be hosted at Ireland’s leading startup hub, Dogpatch Labs, and will conclude on the main stage at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where startups will have the unique opportunity to present to more than 4,000 attendees and some of the premier thought leaders in the world.

Last year’s startups collectively added $50 million in new qualified sales leads across 28 international markets by the end of the accelerator. Last month, seven of the 10 startups were featured by CB Insights in “Agtech: 100+ Technology Companies Changing The Farm,” illustrating the quality of the startups involved. The accelerator was described as “by far streets ahead of any ag-tech accelerator out there,” according to Gary Wickham, CEO of MagGrow, one of the participants in the 2017 accelerator. Since completing the accelerator last year, Hargol FoodTech won WeWork’s The Creator Award, six international innovation competitions as well as closing a $2.5M round of funding.

Activity in ag-tech continues to grow, with startups raising more than $4.4 billion in the first half of 2017 alone, according to the AgFunder AgriFood Tech Investing Report, in no small part due to an ever-increasing global population. The latest forecast from the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts that between now and the close of the century, our global population will increase from 7.6 billion to more than 11 billion people. The question of where our food comes from and how we produce it is becoming more and more pressing.

“Alltech’s roots are in entrepreneurial innovation, and as a global industry leader, we are well-positioned to open doors for the next generation of industry disruptors,” said Dr. Lyons. “It is essential to empower the next generation of ag-tech entrepreneurs who are pioneering for a sustainable future.”

In its first year, The Pearse Lyons Accelerator received 183 applications from 38 countries across six continents, and the startups selected for the 2017 cohort hailed from eight different countries with an average funding of $3.5 million each and $35 million collectively.

The startups had direct access to the founder and management of Alltech as well as the ability to drive business development through Alltech’s global network. The program culminated at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where the startups pitched to leading agri-business leaders, high-profile investors and the press. The startups shared the stage with thought leaders such as Peter Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation and co-founder of Singularity University, and George Blankenship, former executive at Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc.

A clear route to market remains a challenge in the industry, and this programme seeks to accelerate startups’ access to this global market, with a comprehensive package of support to help them navigate the challenge of scaling their operations to service large corporate customers.

“Last year saw some amazing outcomes for the participating startups,” said Patrick Walsh, managing director of Dogpatch Labs. “We’re excited to welcome a new cohort from across the world. This program focuses on a unique environment for the accelerator applicants to drive sales and secure investment as well as mentoring and resources for founders through our connection to the startup ecosystem.”

The deadline for applications to The Pearse Lyons Accelerator program will close on Dec. 22, 2017.

Agricultural groups challenge California weed-killer warning Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:06 +0000 http://ffimp-19615878 By DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press

A coalition of a dozen national and Midwestern agricultural groups sued on Nov. 15 to overturn a California decision that could force the popular weed-killer Roundup to carry warning labels that it can cause cancer.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Sacramento seeks an injunction barring the state from enforcing what the suit describes as a “false” and “misleading” warning.

It claims California’s decision violates constitutional due-process and free-speech rights and should be superseded by federal regulations.

Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and has been used widely since 1974 to kill weeds while leaving crops and other plants alive.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, has classified it as a “probable human carcinogen.” That prompted the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to add glyphosate this summer to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The listing could lead to a requirement for warning labels on the product.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the national wheat and corn growers associations, state agriculture and business organizations in Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota, and a regional group representing herbicide sellers in California, Arizona and Hawaii. The plaintiffs also include St. Louis-based Monsanto Co., which makes Roundup.

The lawsuit contends that California’s “false warning” has harmed Monsanto’s reputation and its investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in the herbicide and glyphosate-tolerant seeds.

The suit also alleges a ripple-effect on food production across the country. It says entities that process crops for food products sold in California would have to stop using glyphosate-treated crops, add warning labels that could diminish demand for their products or engage in costly tests to show that any glyphosate residue is at safe levels.

California’s cancer warning “would result in higher food costs, crushing blows to state and agricultural economies and lost revenue up and down the entire supply chain,” Gordon Stoner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said in a written statement.

Sam Delson, a spokesman for the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, said the agency hadn’t yet reviewed the new filing but is confident its rules are legal.

In March, a California state court judge dismissed a separate lawsuit by Monsanto challenging California’s cancer warning.

Midwestern states and interest groups also have challenged other California agricultural policies.

A federal appeals court panel ruled last year that six states — Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa — lacked the legal right to challenge a California law barring the sale of eggs from chickens not raised in accordance with California’s roomier cage-space requirements. The U.S. Supreme Court declined this year to hear an appeal.

Feedstuff inventory: Quality and quantity Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:05 +0000 http://ffimp-19606972 Karla A. Hernandez, PhD
SDSU Extension Forages Field Specialist

Hay inventories for the upcoming winter feeding could fall a bit short in some areas across the state, while other areas have an abundant quantity, but may not have the quality. The wet and cool temperatures could also affect the quality and quantity of corn silage. As these issues factor into planning options, several questions come to mind including, “What management decisions need to be made to best utilize available feed resources?”; “How much needs to be purchased now and what might be available later in the season?”; and “Do we have enough stored feed supplies to make it through winter, especially if it is colder than normal?”.

A simple cattle and feed inventory is valuable when planning this fall and winter’s livestock feeding program. Things to take into consideration are: (1) estimate total feed needs for the herd size; (2) determine available feed supply, type and quantity; and (3) determine how to adjust for excess or deficiencies, based on prices.

In order to get a rough estimate of cow hay needs, take the average weight of cows multiplied by 3%. This is an approximate amount of feed per cow per day. Take this figure multiplied by the number of head and number of days on feed to determine the total need. Waste needs to be calculated in because no matter what type of processing, there will be some loss. For hay, this should be calculated at 10-20%.

• Example: 1350 lb cow * 3%=40.5 lbs feed/day *150 head * 180 days * 120% (20% for waste) /2000 lbs per ton=656 ton needed

Forage quality is an important aspect to consider on determining the needed hay supply. This is the main reason to test hay before feeding it to livestock. In general terms, feeding livestock with good quality hay will increase production and animal performance. Cheaper hay that is low forage quality is generally more mature and provides a lower nutrient dense feed than expensive hay that is higher quality. However it may be more cost effective to utilize the cheaper, low quality forage and a protein supplement than to purchase expensive hay. The question becomes what resources are available on the operation and how can they be utilized, versus what needs to be purchased.

For feedstuff inventory it is important to consider hay storage and feeding methods. Most of the hay losses will occur when the hay is left outside without protection. Storing hay in a barn or under tarps will save around 20% more than hay stored outside. Evaluating the hay feeding system before winter begins will help minimize feeding losses and reduce number of bales of hay needed.

Partnership to deliver on-demand aerial imagery data to farmers Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:04 +0000 http://ffimp-19606796 Monsanto Company

SAN FRANCISCO AND TORONTO — Recently, The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced a partnership with Deveron UAS Corp., that will deliver farmers advanced aerial imagery data combined with powerfulanalytics through The Climate Corporation’s industry-leading Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The addition of Deveron supports Climate’s commitment to deliver a true digital ag ecosystem where farmers can access a broad, interconnected set of tools, services and data to optimize all of their farm management decisions.

“As remote sensing through advanced imagery continues its fast-paced development, drones are increasingly playing an important role to help farmers gain deeper insights into crop performance at scale,” said Mark Young, chief technology officer for The Climate Corporation. “Deveron has built a broad network of drones and sensors across North America to provide farmers with more data solutions to manage field variability, and we look forward to working with them to equip more farmers with data-rich imagery insights to make the best decisions for their operations.”

Based in Canada, Deveron is a leading full-service enterprise drone data company with a growing fleet of drones that can each conduct five to eight flights per day to collect, analyze and deliver farmers data-driven insights to help them make more informed decisions, reduce costs and increase yields. Deveron services are currently offered to farmers across core growing regions of Canada, and the company will be expanding its capabilities to the U.S. Corn Belt in the near-term.

During the 2017 growing season, Deveron and Climate completed a successful pilot program in Ontario, allowing farmers to visualize Deveron imagery within their Climate FieldView account. For the 2018 growing season, this partnership will enable aerial imagery data to seamlessly flow into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account at the farmer’s request, allowing them to experience deeper analysis of how their crops are performing in-season, alongside important field data layers such as planting and yield data. Recently, Climate announced the expansion of the Climate FieldView platform into Western Canada, with the platform on nearly one million acres in Eastern Canada.

“The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView platform aligns closely with our mission of delivering farmers a simple data collection solution, coupled with advanced analytics, to help farmers more precisely monitor their crops,” said David MacMillan, president and chief executive officer for Deveron. “Partnering with the Climate FieldView platform will further our ability to bring low cost, high-resolution imagery to more farmers so they can zero in on exactly what’s happening in their fields and gain actionable insights to help them achieve the highest return on investment.”

The Climate FieldView platform already offers advanced satellite imagery tools to help farmers protect their crops by identifying issues in the field before they impact yield. Innovative aerial imagery technologies like Deveron can provide farmers imagery at a higher resolution and frequency than satellite imagery, delivering on-demand information that can be used in digital ag tools to help farmers make more informed, data-driven agronomic decisions.

In 2016, The Climate Corporation announced the extension of the Climate FieldView platform and has since announced a variety of partnerships, including several advanced aerial imagery providers. Climate’s platform strategy unlocks a stronger and quicker path to market for third-party ag innovators, simplifying the complex digital ag landscape for farmers and making it easier for other innovators to bring valuable new technologies to farmers faster.

Launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 120 million acres with more than 100,000 users across the United States, Brazil and Canada. It has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and continues to expand into new global regions. Earlier this week, the company announced the pre-commercial launch of the Climate FieldView platform into regions of Europe.

As innovation in the digital agriculture space continues to accelerate rapidly around the globe, Climate continues to explore partnership opportunities to provide farmers with the insights they need to improve their productivity. If you are interested in partnering with The Climate Corporation, please visit

For more information about the Climate FieldView platform in Canada, contact Climate Support at 1.888.924.7475 or visit For more information about Deveron, visit

Resource for caregivers of Native American elders Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:03 +0000 http://ffimp-19605062 SDSU Extension

BROOKINGS — Native Americans have a rich culture that is important when addressing aging and caregiving. When working with Native American elders, Leacey E. Brown, SDSU Extension gerontology field specialist encourages caregivers to review resources developed by Native People for Native people.

Some of these resources can be found at the National Resource Center on Native American Aging.

“This group works to identify Native elder health and social issues and works to support community-based solutions,” Brown explained.

Through the Resource Center, caregivers can access education, training and technical assistance. Their website, also provides access a variety of resources, including a needs assessment tool, newsletters, exercise curriculum, and caregiver curriculum. Please visit the National Resource Center on Native American Aging to learn more.

Organic-food purists assail the designation for hydroponics Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:06:02 +0000 http://ffimp-19604978 By LISA RATHKE
Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Can a tomato grown in a nutrient solution instead of dirt be called “organic”? Some purists don’t think so.

The National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture, voted this month against a proposal to exclude hydroponics and aquaponics — the raising of plants without soil and fish using the same water — from the USDA’s organic certification program.

Many traditional organic farmers and their supporters say allowing hydroponic farms to be certified organic erodes the integrity of the $16 billion U.S. organic produce industry.

To them, organic farming is about far more than not using toxic pesticides; it’s rooted in enhancing the fertility of soils, a concept developed in the early 20th century by pioneering organic farmers. Organic farmers worked hard to create the National Organic Program in 2000, an achievement they say is now being watered down by allowing hydroponic farms to be part of it.

“Unfortunately those very things that it was created to do, which I think in the beginning it did do, is now really damaging because they’re certifying things that none of us believe are organic,” said Dave Chapman, of Long Wind Farm in East Thetford, Vermont.

Traditional organic farmers “feel like this is a complete slap in the face,” said Andrianna Natsoulas, executive director of Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. “They feel that organic now is a complete joke and it means absolutely nothing, and their years of working and their dedication and their commitment is for naught.”

The Organic Trade Association said it did not support the proposal to prohibit hydroponics because of the way it was written.

Marianne Cufone, executive director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, which represents hydroponic and aquaponic farmers, said the law left room for the meaning of organic to expand. She said she was shocked that so many people opposed hydroponic and aquaporin farming from being labeled as such.

“I thought it was an absolute no-brainer that hydroponics and aquaporin, when done well, can meet organic standard and why wouldn’t anyone want that included,” she said. “They’re excellent on water reduction. They’re excellent on space use. They’re excellent on intensive production, so we’re using less resources and creating more food. That just seems smart.”

Many such farms are interested in becoming certified organic because it’s a growing market, she said. “And it essentially puts this style of farming at a premium as well,” she said.

That leaves traditional organic farmers really concerned about the competition they’ll face in the marketplace, Natsoulas said.

Diane Nancekivell, of Middlebury, Vermont, typically pays that premium to get organic produce. While shopping at Healthy Living Market & Cafe in South Burlington, Vermont, she said she was excited to get hydroponic fruits and vegetables in the winter and has no problem with them not being grown in soil.

Fellow shopper Chrysanne Chotis, of South Burlington, Vermont, said she didn’t find the flavor of hydroponic produce as interesting as other produce she buys.

Some farmers are going to start working on finding an alternative to USDA certification that represents “real organic farmers,” Chapman said.

“It’s a tough thing. Nobody wants to do it … but what else can we do? If you believe in it, what else can you do?”

A picture is worth a thousand words and a trip to Alltech conference Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-19592845 #td_uid_3_5a11525e7e82f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_3_5a11525e7e82f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_3_5a11525e7e82f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_3_5a11525e7e82f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Alltech #PicMeONE18 Facebook contest offered U.S. producers the opportunity to submit their favorite farm photo for a chance to win a trip to ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE18), held in Lexington, Kentucky, May 20-23, 2018. The top 20 photos were selected by an external panel and then posted on Alltech’s Facebook page for public voting. The two photos with the highest number of Facebook likes, the one photo that received the most points (see the contest rules for details), and the Alltech Crop Science photo submission with the most Facebook likes determined the four U.S. winners.

The winners of the Alltech #PicMeONE18 photo contest with the most Facebook likes are:

• Tammy Wiedenbeck of Lancaster, Wis.

• Rachel Sickler of Monroeville, N.J.

The photo that received the most points in the Alltech #PicMeONE18 photo contest is:

• Ryan Kanode of Haxtun, Colo.

The Alltech Crop Science winner of the #PicMeONE18 photo contest is:

• Ross Parish of Tifton, Ga.

Winners and a guest will receive free registration to ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference and $2,000 for travel expenses.

Registration is now open for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, from May 20–23, 2018. The annual international conference draws 4,000 attendees from nearly 80 countries to network and discuss world-changing ideas. For more information or to register, visit Join the conversation online with #ONE18.

Keystone Pipeline leaks 5,000 barrels of crude oil in Marshall County Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:32:24 +0000

The TransCanada-Keystone Pipeline has leaked an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil in Marshall County, according to a report by the American News in Aberdeen, South Dakota. That’s 210,000 gallons of oil.

According to reports by Shannon Marvel, who was on the scene, the spill site was blocked off as of 3:50 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

“We are seeing emergency vehicles blocking off approaches to the general area, which is in a field,” Marvel wrote on Twitter. “I can only spot one vehicle inside the spill area.”

Click here to read more. 

Kevin Schultz elected AHA president Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:26:03 +0000 http://ffimp-19618769 American Hereford Association

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kevin Schultz, Haviland, Kan., was announced as the new president of the American Hereford Association (AHA) during the Annual Meeting and Conference Oct. 28 in Kansas City, Mo.

Schultz, along with his wife Vera, owns and operates Sandhill Farms, Haviland, Kan. Sandhill Farms is a seven-generation, diversified farming and cattle operation with 300 cows.

The family has fed out its steers at commercial feedlots for the past 15-20 years. Feedlot performance data, as well as individual carcass data, have been collected and tracked.

The Schultz family also sells commercial open heifers and customer-owned black baldie heifers each year in the sale. Sandhill genetics have been part of the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) and the Circle A Ranch heterosis project. Schultz uses these programs to increase the accuracy and predictability of his bulls and to identify outliers that will help move the breed in the desired direction. Sandhill Farms is a Gold TPR™ (Total Performance Record)Breeder; the family has been whole-herd reporting since the beginning of its registered cattle program.

“Transparency is vitally important for the success of the members, the Association, board and staff,” Schultz said. “I want to continue with open communication of goals and ideas between the Association and the members. I also want to support the staff in implementing the programs that have been initiated, such as the new genetic evaluation and indexes and the new ideas and programs that will be used to implement the strategic plan.”

Atkins selected vice president

Selected to serve as the 2018 vice president was Pete Atkins, Tea, S.D. Atkins and his wife, Laura, and three sons, Scott, Craig and Paul, own and operate Atkins Herefords, Tea, S.D.

Pete was raised on a diversified cattle, hog and crop farming operation in southeastern South Dakota, where he and his wife live today. The Atkins family started collecting and reporting performance data in 1975 and have used artificial insemination (AI) since the late 1970s and embryo transfer (ET) for the past nine years.

Atkins Herefords’ goal is to produce high-performing cattle with moderate birth weights that have eye appeal and will work for the commercial cattleman. Emphasis is placed on raising sound, trouble-free cattle, and udder quality in the cow herd is stressed heavily. Pete thinks it is important to use a balance of all tools available when selecting breeding stock.

Today, Atkins Herefords consists of a base herd of 25 registered cows, and it produces an additional 20 to 50 ET calves each year. Together with their good friends and partners, the Jerry Delaney family, the Atkins’ market bulls through a bull sale each year, and every other year they market females through a fall production sale. Atkins Herefords consigns bulls and females to the Mile High Night Sale and exhibits carloads of bulls and pens of heifers with the Delaneys each year in Denver.

Directors elected

Delegates elected three new directors during the membership meeting. Nate Frederickson, Spearfish, S.D.; Mark St. Pierre, El Nido, Calif.; and Joe Waggoner, Carthage, Miss., will serve four-year terms on the 12-member Board. Completing their terms on the AHA Board were outgoing president Terri Barber, Channing, Texas; Dave Bielema, Ada, Mich.; and Joe Van Newkirk, Oshkosh, Neb.

Nate Frederickson

Cattleman Nate Frederickson, Spearfish, S.D., is co-owner and operator of Frederickson Ranch in the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota.

Nate, along with his wife, Jayna, two young sons, Teegan and Tiernan, and his parents, Mark and Mary Kay, run 450-500 head of registered Hereford, Angus and commercial cows, which are used in their ET program.

Frederickson Ranch markets bulls through a private limited liability company called Pyramid Beef, which was created seven years ago as a marketing outlet for the ranch’s bulls and commercial females. Pyramid Beef has two outside partners and markets 150 bulls a year through the annual production sale, hosted at the bull development center on the ranch.

Frederickson Ranch strives to provide its customers efficient, low-maintenance genetics along with exceptional customer service and avenues to help them add value to their bottom line.

Prior to ranching full-time, Nate spent 14 years in the animal health industry working with veterinarians, distribution companies, feedlots and cow-calf operations.

Nate is currently serving on the board of directors for the South Dakota Hereford Association and is a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spearfish.

Mark St. Pierre

Mark St. Pierre is the beef manager at Pedretti Ranches in El Nido, Calif. He is a member of the Pedretti family, and has worked in the family business for 36 years.

At Pedretti Ranches, Mark manages the Hereford herd, which consists of 200 registered cows with 100 calving in the spring and 100 calving in the fall.

The Pedrettis have long emphasized performance data in their Hereford herd with performance records dating back to the 1950s. While the ranch received recognition in the showring in the ’70s and early ’80s, including cattle shown on the Hill and in the carloads at the NWSS, the Pedrettis’ goal has always been to produce cattle that work for the commercial cattlemen in California. Pedretti Ranches raises approximately 80 bulls each year, which are marketed by private treaty sales. With two calving seasons six months apart, the ranch always has the next set of bulls on test. Both Mark and his father-in-law, Gino Pedretti, work with commercial customers. Pedretti Ranches focuses on sound cattle with balance EPDs, good disposition and udder quality.

Mark manages the day-to-day work including addressing herd health issues, vaccination schedules, feeding, pasture management, breeding and calving. He also works in the farming operation, which involves growing cotton, corn and hay, and has some limited duty on the family dairy.

Mark has served as a California-Nevada Hereford Association board member and has hosted numerous tours. He has been a Merced-Mariposa County Cattlemen’s Association director, a member of the Chowchilla High School FFA ag advisory committee, a 4-H leader and a volunteer fireman. Mark has also served as a deacon and elder in his local church.

Mark and his wife, Kim, have two children — a daughter, Christy, and a son, Matt, and his wife, Leah — and one granddaughter.

Joe Waggoner

Hereford breeder Joe Waggoner, Carthage, Miss., has been raising cattle all of his life.

Joe’s youth was shaped by experiences in both beef and dairy judging and exhibiting livestock. He learned the business from his father, and now, 55 years after purchasing his first Hereford calf, he manages the seedstock division of his family’s fourth-generation farm in central Mississippi — Waggoner Cattle Co. LLC. The family farm consists of a 150-head Hereford herd, a commercial herd and timber production.

The purebred cattle are marketed regionally in the Southeast with partnerships for bull development and sales in Kansas while females are marketed private treaty. Joe works to improve herd genetics and performance through participation in the Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association (MBCIA), AHA Whole Herd TPR and genomic testing.

Joe’s father also influenced his decision to obtain degrees in civil engineering and law. In 1976 Joe and his wife, Allison, founded a civil engineering and management business in Jackson, Miss. For the last 40 years, growing this firm and expanding the family cattle business have formed Joe’s professional career.

Joe joined the American Polled Hereford Association in 1964 and became a member of the AHA following the merger of the polled and horned organizations. He has served as president, secretary and a board member of the Mississippi Polled Hereford Association and has sponsored field days at the farm.

He is a member of the MBCIA, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Beef Improvement Federation. Joe is also involved in chambers of commerce, economic development districts, state and national bar associations, the Society of International Business Fellows, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies and Habitat for Humanity. Joe and Allison have two grown daughters — Alex Ayres and Olivia Claire.

On $1.20 cattle and $25 tenderloins Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:16:03 +0000 http://ffimp-19616684 By Laura Conaway
Certified Angus Beef LLC

It’s an honest mindset: cattle prices go up, beef prices go up; cattle prices go down, beef prices… stay where they are?

“What gives?” a producer may ask.

“Don’t always assume that retail price is driven off of the price of goods,” Mark McCully said. The vice president of production for the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand commented on the disconnect between ranch and retail, breaking it down at Angus University during the Angus Convention, Nov. 4-6 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Encompassing the entire supply chain, the world’s largest beef brand draws insight from all angles. McCully said one common question from the ranch is why retail beef prices differ so much from what producers get for their cattle. The answer is essential for cattlemen making decisions about genetics and what traits to emphasize.

“Producers will walk into a grocery store and see a price per pound that’s significantly higher than the price they sold those fed cattle for to the packer,” he said, “so it begs the question, ‘why?’”

To answer, he began with a finished steer sold at $1.21 per pound (/lb.), before breaking down costs along the way that go into retail pricing.

A 1,400-lb. steer at that price costs the packer nearly $1,700. From there, the 866-lb chilled carcass is applied to the comprehensive cutout of $2.08/ lb. Applying a drop credit for hide and offal of $0.12/ lb. or $161 provides a gross profit of $265/head.

“Year-to-date, it’s good to be a packer,” McCully said, but there’re costs associated with marketing and sales, processing and packaging. There’s an average of $20/head just in bag and box cost, he said. Assuming about $200/head in total processing costs, that moves gross profit to a net of only $65/head.

So what about that tenderloin sold in the grocery store for nearly $25/lb.? McCully broke it down further.

On a 900-lb. carcass, only 14 lb. make up two prized tenderloins. That’s 1.6% of the carcass weight that commands 7.2% of its entire value, McCully said, making it the most expensive cut on the carcass.

Selling wholesale at $9.70/ lb. and applying a 30% margin adds up to that subprimal cost of approximately $175.28.

“Cattlemen have a bit of a struggle accepting margin,” McCully said, “because that isn’t how we get to work. “We don’t get to determine our cost, throw a 30% gross margin on and say ‘this is what we’re selling our calves for,’ but when you get to the other side of this, that’s how their business attempts to work.”

They have a store to run, meat cutters to pay, he said. Not to mention, there’s a chunk of business between the packer and retail store that producers aren’t always aware of.

“We want to make sure we don’t just skip over that because there’s cost involved, complexities that are really important in terms of the logistics, the flow to get our high-quality product from the packer, ultimately to the consumer.”

Holding that $175.28 cost associated with the tenderloins, McCully subtracted $44 in credit from trim and lesser value items to end up with $130.59. Dividing that number by the 5.3 average pounds of center cut filets brings a price per pound of $24.64.

“Those are just some of the pricing mechanics that ultimately come into play in these costs producers see,” McCully said.

From there, he said, it’s important to determine the quality of the product in question. “Is it Select, is it Prime, because there’s added value when you get up to the higher quality grades,” he said.

With an average Choice/CAB spread of $9.23 per hundredweight, there’s roughly $83 of value attributed to a 900-lb. carcass that qualifies for CAB over Choice.

“As a farm kid, this has been a straight up and down learning curve,” McCully said of nearly 17 years with the brand. “Understanding how retailers think, how they price products, all the math and things they go through to price their meat case.”

Once you’ve determined the value of the product, then it helps to know that every retailer has a specific approach to pricing. Perhaps it’s an every-day-low-price model, a high-low model or a premium experience.

Everything in the store is not priced with equal margins, McCully said. In fact, the meat case is often where those margins are the lowest, designed to differentiate the store from others, drive traffic and hope to make up for it when the customer purchases other goods.

“They all may be paying the same for their meat, but they’re going to price it differently based on the cost to run their business,” he said. Retailers have goals, both of sales and gross profits, that must be met.

It’s a part of the industry working together in tandem.