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PED virus reporting required by USDA in order to slow spread

By Wes Nelson

Farm Service Agency

WILLMAR — In an effort to enhance biosecurity and the health of the U.S. swine herd, but still allow the movement of pigs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an order that will require mandatory reporting of all herds diagnosed with the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus to slow the spread of this disease.

Producers with infected herds will be required to both identify themselves and provide location information. In addition, producers will be required to track the movement of pigs, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises.

Producers with infected herds will also be required to participate in a monitoring and control program, the specifics of which are being developed by USDA in collaboration with state animal health officials, pork producers and veterinarians.

While the PED virus is not a reportable disease under international standards, the new reporting requirements are being implemented by USDA because of the devastating effect the disease is having on swine health and the swine industry.

The presence of the PED virus in the United States was initially confirmed by USDA on May 16, 2013. As of April 5, more than 5,500 additional cases have been confirmed in 28 states.

The USDA continues to work with industry partners and producers who have experienced PED virus outbreaks by increasing assistance in areas such as disease surveillance and herd monitoring, while also providing epidemiological and technical support.

As the name implies, the PED virus causes severe diarrhea and occasional vomiting, resulting in severe dehydration that often results in the death of little pigs.

Scientists have determined that fecal-oral transmission is the main, and perhaps only, mode of transmission. Contaminated personnel and equipment can also transmit and introduce PED into a susceptible herd.

Scientists have also confirmed that PED is not transmissible to humans and therefore poses no danger to human health. In addition, there is no health risk in eating pork or pork products.

Soybean request for referendum being conducted

The Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act requires that a request for referendum be held every five years. Since the most previous request was held in 2009, another request for referendum will be held from May 5 to 30, at local Farm Service Agency offices.

A request for referendum is an opportunity for soybean producers to voice if they would like to be offered a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order. If the results of the request for referendum indicate that there are not enough producers wanting a referendum, a referendum will not be held.

Participating in the request for referendum is voluntary. However, only eligible soybean producers wishing to have a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order will want to participate. Those who do not want a referendum on the Order should not participate.

For the purposes of the 2014 soybean request for referendum, the total number of eligible soybean producers identified by FSA acreage reports for the 2011 and 2012 crop years is 569,998 nationwide.

An actual referendum can be held only if at least 10 percent of all eligible soybean producers, but no more than one-fifth of which may be from any one state, request a referendum.

Eligible producers participating in the request for referendum must certify that they, or the entity they are authorized to represent, paid an assessment some time during the period of Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2013.

The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act was passed as part of the 1990 farm bill, which authorized the establishment of a national soybean promotion, research and consumer information program, more commonly known as the soybean check-off program.

The soybean check-off program became effective on July 9, 1991, and assessment collections began on Sept. 1, 1991.

The 70-member United Soybean Board administers a coordinated soybean promotion and research program designed to expand the use of soybeans and soybean products in both domestic and foreign markets.

Vaccinating grazing animals for anthrax is encouraged

While there was only one reported case of anthrax in Minnesota in 2013, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is again encouraging livestock producers to vaccinate their grazing animals for anthrax. Vaccination has proven to be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent anthrax.

Anthrax is a naturally occurring disease caused by bacteria that can lie dormant in the soil for years. Infected livestock die quickly, often exhibiting no symptoms until just before they die.

Any unexpected death in a grazing herd should be considered anthrax-related until the disease can be ruled out by a veterinarian. Suspect carcasses should not be cut open, as it could further spread the bacteria.

In the last decade, all documented cases of anthrax in Minnesota have occurred in the northwestern part of the state. Therefore, livestock grazing on pastures in northwestern Minnesota could be at an increased risk of anthrax.

Minnesota dry edible bean production down 25 percent in 2013

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota produced 2.34 million hundredweight of dry edible beans in 2013, down 25 percent from 2012. The statewide average yield in 2013 was 1,950 pounds per acre, down 50 pounds from the previous year.

Polk County was Minnesota’s largest dry edible bean-producing county in 2013. Stevens and Swift counties were second and third, respectively.

The county with the highest 2013 average yield was Chippewa, with a yield of 2,510 pounds per acre. Swift and Renville counties had the next two highest average yields, with 2,440 and 2,310 pounds per acre, respectively.

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