Home 5 Ag Stories 4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, June 24

4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, June 24

New Threats for the Pork Industry

DES MOINES, Iowa – PEDv has spread to 30 states and killed 8-million pigs, approximately 10 percent of the U.S. pig population, since it was first reported last year, according to Farm Futures.

As of this month, more than 7,200 positive accessions have been reported, according to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Accessions have declined heading into summer, but National Pork Board Vice President of Science and Technology Dr. Paul Sundberg says the pork industry must be realistic in its expectations based on the virus’s similarities to TGE, which goes down during the summer and comes back during the winter. If PEDv is going to come back, Sundberg says the objective is to keep the peaks down to a lower level than it was last fall and winter.

Still, PEDv isn’t the only threat on the horizon, as the porcine deltacoronavirus has made its way into the U.S. along with the second strain of PEDv this past year. Sundberg says this illustrates the importance of laboratory work, more investigation and more diagnostic activity to better understand if and how the viruses are changing – or if new viruses are being developed.

Supreme Court Grants EPA Most of What it Wants to Cut Carbon Emissions

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the Supreme Court said the Environmental Protection Agency could not rewrite specific standards for power plant and factory emissions of greenhouse gases written into the law, according to the Washington Post, but the justices agreed there’s another way for EPA to carry out its proposed program.

Justice Antonin Scalia said EPA sought to regulate sources that it said were responsible for 86 percent of all the greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources nationwide, and under the Supreme Court’s holdings, the agency will be able to regulate sources responsible for 83 percent of those emissions. Scalia says EPA can impose greenhouse gas regulations on facilities already regulated under the EPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration program, which requires facilities to install the best available technology to control emissions from all regulated pollutants.

The court also reinforced its view that the Clean Air Act gives EPA the ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

Congress Worried About Dietary Guidelines Committee Focus

WASHINGTON – Since 1980 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture have jointly published the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years.

As the 2015 guidelines are being drafted, Agri-Pulse reports there is a question of whether the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee should continue to focus their review and recommendations on scientific advances in nutrition and diet, or if they should venture into issues surrounding sustainability and what the term includes.

This time around, the advisory committee has a Food Sustainability and Safety subcommittee, and Congress has taken notice. During its look at the Fiscal Year 2015 Ag Appropriations bill, the House Appropriations Committee voiced its concern that the advisory committee for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines is considering issues outside of the nutritional focus of the panel, specifically naming sustainability, climate change and other environmental factors and production practices. The appropriations committee directed the Secretary to ensure the advisory committee only focuses on nutrient and dietary recommendations based upon sound nutrition science, not to pursue an environmental agenda.

The Dietary Goals, first released by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition in 1977, were intended to provide guides to individual consumers to reduce health costs and maximize the quality of life for all Americans, not address ag production procedures or environmental issues.

USDA Announces Policy Changes and Unveils New Website for Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

WASHINGTON – New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture, according to U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.

The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, which is why Harden says it’s important to help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong ag economy. As part of this effort, Harden announced implementation of new farm bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers Monday, along with a new website to serve as a one-stop shop for beginning farmers and ranchers.

The website provides new farmers and ranchers with in-depth information on how to increase access to land and capital, build new market opportunities, participate in conservation opportunities, select and use the right risk management tools and access USDA education and technical support programs, all of which are top priorities for new farmers and ranchers.

As for new policy measures, Harden has announced service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program have been waived for the 2014 crop year. Also, payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program have been eliminated. Payment rates under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program have been increased as well. USDA will soon announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers.

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