Home 5 Ag Stories 4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, August 19

4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, August 19

Researchers find Iowa feed bins carried deadly swine virus

Findings from researchers at South Dakota State University suggest Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) could be passed along through animal feed.

The researchers tested feed bins that had held feed suspected of contaminating pigs on three Iowa farms with PEDV. Although the farms used biosecurity measures, the feed bins in the study had been used on an emergency basis and were outside the farms’ normal biosecurity area. The feed residue still in the bins was found to be contaminated. Earlier studies had looked into whether blood plasma that is used in pig feed could also be responsible for spreading the virus; subsequent tests could not confirm a link.

On Monday, the American Feed Industry Association released a statement fully supporting research into PEDV, but the Association reminded producers while feed may be a carrier of the virus, it is not the source of the virus. PEDV is particularly deadly to piglets and has already cost hog farmers millions of dollars since its discovery in the United States in May of last year.

Tyson Plans to Find Other Export Markets after China Bans

Tyson Foods plans on seeking other export markets for pork products that were recently banned from China because of ractopamine use.

Last week, USDA announced China was barring future imports of pork from six U.S. processing plants and six cold storage facilities due to the use of the feed additive. Tyson announced the company is seeking other export markets, but would not disclose what those markets could be. Tyson spokesperson Gary Mickelson told Reutershis company is “confident about the safety and quality of our pork and will work with the USDA to try to resolve China’s concerns.” How long the Chinese ban on pork from these plants will remain in place is not known.

Exports of pork to China last year was valued at $645.2 million, and this year’s exports totals for U.S. pork are expected to break records. Reuters speculated China may be trying to slow pork imports down because their domestic supply has grown this year. Three Tyson facilities were named in the ban announced last week along with a Hormel Foods plant, Quality Pork Processors of Minnesota and Triumph Foods in Missouri. Two of the banned Tyson facilities were in Perry and Storm Lake, Iowa, respectively.

USDA Updates Cost of Raising a Child

A child born last year will cost a middle-income family more than $200,000 to raise, according to a USDA report released Monday. USDA’s Expenditures on Children and Families report projected the cost to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18 at $245,340. The breakdown of cost shows food as the third highest cost followed by education and housing. While the cost of raising a child has increased since 2012, USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said “The good news is the cost increased only 1.8 percent.”

The data within the report is based on the federal government’s report on household expenses, known as the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Education and childcare increased the most from last year’s report. Data in the report is used by states for determining child-support payments., among other things. The annual expenses per child for a middle-income and two-parent family were between $12,800 and $14,970, according to the report. The report shows that where the family lives affects the price of raising a child and as more children are born into the family, the expense per child decreases. The first report in 1960 suggested the price to raise a child was just more than $25,000.

AFBF Court Filling Seeks to Stop EPA Privacy Abuses.

The American Farm Bureau Federation argued in federal court last week that the Environmental Protection Agency is breaking federal law by the public release of farmers and ranchers personal information. AFBF officials in a Minnesota Federal Court Friday argued the release violates basic tenets of federal law. EPA released personal information early last year to environmental groups that requested the data under the Freedom of Information Act. The database included the names of farmers, ranchers and sometimes other family members, home addresses, GPS coordinates, telephone numbers and emails. AFBF President Bob Stallman stated the “EPA believes that if information about you can be found somewhere on the Internet, or if you own a closely held family corporation, you have no interest in protecting your personal information. All citizens should be worried about that, not just farmers and ranchers.”

AFBF’s court filing argues that privacy interests are particularly strong for farming and ranching families, who typically have multiple generations living and working on the farm. The lawsuit cites a Freedom of Information Act exemption aimed at preventing federal agencies from publicly releasing personal information held in agency files. AFBF, joined by the National Pork Producers Council, filed the lawsuit last July to block EPA from responding to new FOIA requests seeking information about farmers and ranchers in six additional states. EPA agreed not to release further information pending the court’s decision in this lawsuit. AFBF’s latest filing asks the court for a permanent order preventing future disclosures of farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information in response to similar requests.

The above stories are provided courtesy of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters New Service, powered by the American Farm Bureau Federation.