Home 5 Ag Stories 4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, September 8

4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, September 8

Utah Farm Confirms PEDv

Beaver Co., Utah – Utah’s largest swine operation and one of the biggest hog farms in the country has confirmed a case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv). A Utah television station reported that state agriculture officials confirmed the case at a Beaver County, Utah facility.

Acting State Veterinarian Dr. Warren Hess told USDA he is advising Utah hog and pig producers to “remain vigilant regarding their animal bio-security practices on their farms.” Since the disease was first reported in the U.S. 16 months ago, officials estimate thousands of cases in as many as now 30 states.

Earlier this year, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food issued an emergency order intended to protect Utah’s $200 million swine industry by placing restrictions on livestock shows with hogs and pigs. Officials said the order required any fair or show to be a terminal show, sending the animal directly to slaughter after the show and therefore reduce the threat of spreading any disease.

The order also applies to the Utah State Fair, which is taking place this month.

Stakeholders call for Federal Help in Real Car Shortages

Fargo, N.D. – A wide spectrum of agriculture industry leaders have called on the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to take action regarding a rail car shortage.

During a public hearing last week in Fargo, North Dakota, the group asked the Board to insure that BNSF and the Canadian Pacific railroads provide rail cars to ship commodities from the Upper Plains this fall, according to the Hagstrom Report. The group claimed failure to do so could lead to the region losing its reputation as a reliable supplier of agricultural products.

STB Chairman Daniel Elliott said that the STB has broad powers to act in the case of emergency, but said he does not want to take actions that could make the situation worse.

The backlog has shortened, but with a huge crop being harvested, farmers are worried that the problem has not been solved. North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp said after the hearing that BNSF Railway has outlined steps in the right direction, but Canadian Pacific has not. She stated that “unlike Burlington Northern, I think CP thinks this is cyclical. That this is temporary.”

The American Soybean Association says many elevators are still full of 2013-crop grain ahead of a looming 2014 harvest. This backlog negatively affects basis levels and cash bids, and could create a grain storage crisis as a new crop harvest begins. Director Lance Peterson of Minnesota testified that his lost income would likely exceed $100,000 as one producer. Peterson also said knowing the movement, velocity and turn-around time of the grain cars is helpful, but not enough. He requested fuller reporting of rail service, asking the STB to require railroads to submit metrics showing past dues, average days late, and turnaround times for agricultural customers versus crude oil customers and others.

Colorado Voting Guide Suggest GMO Labeling will Raise Food Prices

Henderson, Colo. – A guide published for voters in Colorado suggest that required labeling of genetically engineered products will raise food prices and cost consumers.

Food Safety news reports those comments were published in the Blue Book, a voting guide published by the state. The guide covers Colorado’s GMO labeling proposition, which was approved for the ballot last month after a last-minute paid signature gathering drive by the Right to Know Colorado GMO Committee. Roughly 130 signature gatherers, who together obtained checks totaling about $50,000, were able to qualify the initiative for the November ballot when about three out of four signatures submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State were found to be valid.

The Right to Know Colorado GMO campaign has raised $192,442 since its inception last year and has just under $40,000 on hand. The opposition Coalition Against Misleading Labeling Initiative has raised a little less than $200,000, and recently had a negative fund balance of $28,282. GMO labeling initiatives so far have failed in both California and Washington. In those states, the initiatives started out with huge leads but support eventually collapsed.

Oregon voters will also vote on a GMO labeling ballot measure in November.

Meat Export Volumes Drop, Values at Record Pace

DENVER, Colo. – July meat exports have slowed in volume, but values remain at a record pace.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation announced Friday that U.S. meat exports remain on a strong pace despite recent drops: total beef exports fell 15 percent in volume to 101,799 metric tons while the value of those exports held steady at near $622 million. Pork export volume was down 3 percent in July, while establishing a record in terms of value; for the first time, pork exports reach value of $4 billion before August.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng stated “demand for U.S. beef in Asian markets has continued to strengthen this year, adding further value to cuts that are popular there and underutilized domestically.” As for pork exports, he explained they “have overcome some severe price disadvantages this year, especially in Asian markets where we compete head-to-head with European pork.”

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