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Avian flu: Public forum at 3 p.m. Saturday in Willmar with Dayton, other lawmakers

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Livestock producers should document losses for potential claims

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR — Below-normal temperatures and continual episodes of snow, rain and ice made April an extremely stressful month for livestock — especially for herds confined to feedlots or open pasture. Since early spring is a primary calving season, the added weather stresses may have resulted in increased cases of pneumonia or even death.

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By Wes Nelson USDA Farm Service Agency

WILLMAR — Below-normal temperatures and continual episodes of snow, rain and ice made April an extremely stressful month for livestock — especially for herds confined to feedlots or open pasture. Since early spring is a primary calving season, the added weather stresses may have resulted in increased cases of pneumonia or even death.

Livestock producers are reminded that when Congress approved legislation that authorized a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, it also reauthorized several Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, which provides assistance to livestock producers who have had higher-than-normal livestock mortality losses due to adverse weather conditions.

At the current time, no funding has been provided for any of the Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs. However, in the event Congress does provide future funding, livestock producers should be thoroughly documenting, and keeping any and all receipts or records that will verify livestock losses.

The documentation must clearly identify the number and type of livestock that died, the date that they died, and an approximate weight of each animal at the time of death.

Any and all rendering receipts should be kept on file. For those who compost or otherwise dispose of their animals by other means, pictures should be taken of the deceased animals, with the date of the picture clearly identified on the photo.

Another means of documenting death losses would be to request Measurement Service, upon which a Farm Service Agency representative would visit the premises to document the livestock losses.

Livestock producers should note that while it is important to thoroughly document all livestock losses, such documentation does not necessarily guarantee eligibility for benefits in the event funding is provided in the future.

USDA and DuPont collaboration promotes cellulosic ethanol production

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a new federal-private collaboration agreement with DuPont that will safeguard natural resources on private lands used to supply bio-based feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol production.

The agreement between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and DuPont aims to set voluntary standards for the sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues for renewable fuel that will not only preserve natural resources and maintain land productivity, but also provide additional income for farmers while promoting the development of bio-based energy.

Under the agreement, USDA will provide written conservation plans that will ensure sustainable harvest of corn crop residues for farmers who supply bio-based feedstocks to bio-refineries as the industry begins to commercialize. In addition, DuPont will develop a process to work with cooperating farms on sustainable harvest practices that will help reduce soil erosion, promote healthier soils, reduce flooding through increased infiltration rates, and provide efficient use of nutrients.

The first plant involved in this national agreement is located northeast of Des Moines, Iowa, near the town of Nevada, where DuPont is building a 30 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic facility. The plant will use harvested residues within a 30-mile radius of the facility.

USDA donates swine fever vaccine to Guatemala

In late March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it was transferring 1 million doses of classical swine fever vaccine to Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Safety. The donated vaccines were in response to a request for assistance from the Guatemalan Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Humberto Maldonado, to help control the spread of classical swine fever in Guatemala.

A team of animal disease experts from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was sent to Guatemala to first assess the situation. The team concluded that the use of the much needed vaccine was warranted.

The vaccines will help control and limit the spread of the disease in Guatemala and neighboring countries, including Mexico, which is currently working to control and eradicate the disease. The vaccines will also help safeguard swine in the United States, which has been free of classical swine fever for more than 30 years.

The 1 million vaccines were part of the National Veterinary Stockpile, established in 2004 by a presidential directive, to help protect our nation’s food supply by quickly providing necessary resources during an animal disease outbreak.

Organic and specialty crop growers should utilize Driftwatch

Growers of organic and other sensitive crops should consider utilizing the Driftwatch registry offered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

By registering with Driftwatch, growers identify the locations of their sensitive crops, using the point and click features of Google Maps. Commercial fertilizer and pesticide applicators can then check the database and take special care to avoid organic land and other sensitive crops when they are applying chemicals in the vicinity.

In Minnesota, growers may register grapes and other fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, and certified organic crops and pasture. However, the program is not intended for homeowners as participants must have at least one-half acre of a certified organic or other qualifying crop in commercial production.

Driftwatch is a free and voluntary program that is offered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in partnership with Purdue University. For more information or to register land, go to www.driftwatch.org.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.

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