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October 25, 2013
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Plains Ag Notebook: 2,200 Neb. cattle lost in blizzard, ag group attacks Chipotle's 'Scarecrow'

2,200 Neb. cattle lost in blizzard

Northwest Nebraska lost more than 2,200 cattle in the early October blizzard that swept through the region.

The loss totals in Sioux and Dawes counties were released Monday by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s extension office in Chadron.

The cattle deaths came little more than a year after wildfires damaged more than 900 miles of fence line and reduced the region’s cattle population to less than 45 percent of its normal number.

Scott Cotton, an extension educator, says the numbers are not yet definitive.

NRCS providing help to Neb. ranchers for blizzard recovery

Livestock producers affected by the devastating blizzard that hit northwest Nebraska are encouraged to apply for assistance through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Craig Derickson, NRCS State Conservationist in Nebraska.

This Initiative is available to producers in the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District, which includes Sioux, Box Butte, Dawes and Sheridan counties in northwest Nebraska.

“Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved. But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal burial prior to having their EQIP contract approved,” Derickson said.

Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard – such as damaged fencing, water sources or windbreak losses – may also seek assistance from NRCS through General EQIP funding. The sign up period for General EQIP also runs through Nov. 15, 2013.

Nine Nebraska cooperatives ranked among the top 100 in U.S.

The National Cooperative Bank’s list ranks the top 100 co-ops in the country based on revenue.

Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha was the largest co-op domiciled in Nebraska, and the seventh largest in the country, with 2012 revenue of $4.92 billion, up from $4.36 billion in 2011.

Affiliated Foods Midwest, a grocery co-op based in Norfolk came in No. 33. It was the only nonagriculture-related Nebraska co-op on the list.

Other Nebraska co-ops on the NCB Top 100 list were: Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co, 52nd; Cooperative Producers Inc. of Hastings, 54th; Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester, 61st; FCS of America of Omaha, 66th; Central Valley Ag Cooperative of Oakland, 81st; Frenchman Valley Farmers Co-op of Imperial, 88th; and United Farmers Cooperative of York, 90th.

USDA Issues CRP Rental Payments, Direct Payments and ACRE Payments

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that USDA has begun distributing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments to participants across the country.

USDA also will distribute 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election program payments beginning Oct. 24.

Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in Federal funding.

Producers will receive payments on almost 700,000 CRP contracts on 390,000 farms covering 26.8 million acres.

Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s programs.

Nebraska ag group attacks Chipotle’s ‘Scarecrow’

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation says Chipotle Mexican Grill’s video called “The Scarecrow” is an attack on farmers and ranchers that feeds misconceptions about agricultural producers and their methods.

Chipotle has joined other restaurant groups in seeking more humane treatment of livestock and what industry leaders see as enlightened grain and livestock goals, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Grain and meat producers have been criticized for their use of pesticides and antibiotics and how they treat animals during gestation, weaning, growth and slaughter.

Chipotle spokeswoman Danielle Winslow told the newspaper that “The Scarecrow” offers a way to educate the public on agricultural trends.

USDA announces availability of funding to develop advanced biofuels projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced the availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels.

“This financing will expand the number of commercial biorefineries in operation in the U.S. that are producing advanced biofuels from non-food sources,” Vilsack said. “USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program is yet another way USDA is helping to carry out the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to develop every possible source of American-made energy. But the benefits go beyond reducing our dependence on foreign oil. These biorefineries are also creating lasting job opportunities in rural America and are boosting the rural economy as well.”

The Biorefinery Assistance Program was created through the 2008 Farm Bill and is administered by USDA Rural Development. It provides loan guarantees to viable commercial-scale facilities to develop new and emerging technologies for advanced biofuels. Eligible entities include Indian tribes, State or local governments, corporations, farmer co-ops, agricultural producer associations, higher education institutions, rural electric co-ops, public power entities or consortiums of any of the above.

Researchers track PEDV origin to China

Researchers at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech on Tuesday announced they have traced porcine epidemic diarrhea virus to a strain from the Anhui province in China using virus strains isolated from the ongoing outbreaks in Minnesota and Iowa.

Dr. X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology, said the virus affects nursery pigs and has many similarities with transmissible gastroenteritis. The virus was first recognized in the U.S. in May, and has since led to infections in at least 17 U.S. states.

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 24, 2013 04:58PM Published Nov 8, 2013 02:37PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.