Friday, September 10, 2021

Veterinary College Common Application Service Deadline Extended by Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 10, 2021 -- The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has extended the 2022 Veterinary Medical College Application Service(VMCAS) deadline about two weeks because of the impact of natural disasters on the process. The new VMCAS 2022 application deadline is Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time for all applicants.

 

The decision to extend the deadline was made because the destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida in the south and the northeast has posed significant obstacles for some VMCAS applicants, according to AAVMC Director for Admissions and Recruitment Affairs Ms. Diana Dabdub. Many applicants have been forced to evacuate their homes and may still be without electricity, she said, and some colleges and universities were closed and are just returning to normal operations.

 

“We hope that all applicants and their families are safe and that those who are facing natural disaster-related issues can recover quickly,” said Dabdub.

 

Because the deadline extension shortens the amount of time schools will have to review applications, applicants in non-affected areas are encouraged to complete and submit their VMCAS applications as soon as possible, despite the deadline extension. There will be no additional deadline extensions this cycle.

 

Dabdub said applicants should submit their VMCAS applications as soon as they are completed regardless of whether VMCAS has received academic transcripts or electronic letters of reference (eLOR). 

 

Other provisions and caveats associated with the deadline extension include:

 

  • There is no extension related to GRE scores, which must be received by 9/15/21.
  • Applicants must reach out directly to schools that require the Casper test for deadline clarification.
  • WES evaluations must be received by the extended application deadline of 9/29/21.
  • All academic transcripts must be received (or postmarked) by the extended application deadline of 9/29/21.

Applicants with questions about the deadline extension should contact the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) at 617-612-2884 or email: vmcasinfo@vmcas.org.

About the AAVMC:

 

The member institutions of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world. Founded in 1966, the AAVMC represents more than 40,000 faculty, staff and students across the global academic veterinary medical community. Our member institutions include Council on Education (COE) accredited veterinary medical colleges and schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as well as departments of veterinary science and departments of comparative medicine in the U.S.

 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

USDA Expands Assistance to Cover Feed Transportation Costs for Drought-Impacted Ranchers



09/08/2021 02:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021— In response to the severe drought conditions in the West and Great Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today its plans to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing. USDA is updating the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to immediately cover feed transportation costs for drought impacted ranchers. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide more details and tools to help ranchers get ready to apply at their local USDA Service Center later this month at fsa.usda.gov/elap.

Friday, August 27, 2021

USDA Assists Farmers, Ranchers, and Communities Affected by Recent Flooding in Tennessee

 



WASHINGTON, August 27, 2021 - To help residents, farmers, and ranchers affected by the recent flooding in Tennessee, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to aid recovery efforts. USDA staff in the regional, state, and county offices are responding and providing a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to residents, agricultural producers and impacted communities.

Food safety guidance:

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is helping affected residents take steps to reduce their risk of foodborne illness as they return to their homes after severe weather and flooding.

  • Drink only bottled water that has not been in contact with flood water. Screw caps are not waterproof, so discard any bottled water that may have come in contact with flood water. If you don’t have bottled water, learn how to safely boil or disinfect water at FSIS Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
  • Discard any food or beverage that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance it may have been in contact with flood water. Containers with screw caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps are not waterproof.
  • Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches such as flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches, can be saved by following the steps at the FSIS Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
  • Thoroughly wash all metal pans, utensils and ceramic dishes that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water. Rinse, then sanitize, by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one of tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
  • Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers that may have come in contact with flood water – they cannot be saved after contact with flood water.

Risk management and disaster assistance for agricultural operations:

USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help producers recover after disasters.

Producers who suffer losses and whose crops are covered for the 2021 crop year by the Federal Crop Insurance Program, a partnership between USDA’s Risk Management Agency and private companies and agents, or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), are asked to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office, respectively, within 72 hours of discovering damage and to follow up in writing within 15 days.

Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options available, so there are several disaster programs for them. Key programs offered by FSA include:

  • The Livestock Indemnity Program and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that were killed or severely injured by a natural disaster or loss of feed and grazing acres.
  • The Tree Assistance Program provides cost share assistance to rehabilitate or replant orchards and vineyards when storms kill or damage the trees, vines or bushes. NAP or Federal Crop Insurance often only covers the crop and not the plant.
  • The Emergency Conservation Program and the Emergency Forest Restoration Program can assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore damaged farmland or forests.
  • FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.

It is also critical that producers keep accurate records to document damage or loss and to report losses to their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible.

Additionally, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help with immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. USDA can also assist local government sponsors with the cost of recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet (PDF, 4.6 MB) and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.

Other USDA assistance:

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has information about Protecting Livestock During a Disaster and is also helping to meet the emergency needs of pets and their owners. Inspectors are coordinating closely with zoos, breeders, and other licensed facilities in the region to ensure the safety of animals in their care.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is standing by to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as requesting states and local authorities, to provide emergency nutrition assistance and other nutrition program flexibilities to assist people in need.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

NCLA Asks 10th Cir. to Declare USDA’s Livestock RFID Federal Advisory Committees Violated FACA


R-CALF USA, et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, et al.

 

Washington, DC (August 26, 2021) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its subagency, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), continue to violate federal law in their efforts to mandate “radio frequency identification” (RFID) eartags on livestock. The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, has filed an opening brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit over these agencies’ violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The brief asks the Court to declare that USDA and APHIS established and utilized the “Cattle Traceability Working Group” (CTWG) and “Producer Traceability Council” (PTC) in violation of FACA.

 

In 2017, USDA began efforts to eliminate the use of most of the tried-and-true traceability and identification techniques approved previously as being acceptable for the interstate movement of livestock. In particular, USDA and APHIS concluded that the livestock industry should phase out the use of metal eartags, brands, backtags, and similar low-cost forms of identification, and convert to the exclusive use of expensive RFID eartags, with such a mandate to become effective as of January 1, 2023. These agencies arranged for the creation of the CTWG—and later the PTC—to assist them with that transition effort. FACA, adopted by Congress to further the goals of transparency and fairness, requires any such advisory committees “established” or “utilized” by a federal agency to comply with a wide range of procedural requirements, such as having balanced viewpoints and keeping certain records and making them publicly available.

 

On May 13, 2021, District Judge Freudenthal erred by ruling in favor of USDA and APHIS and dismissing R-CALF’s FACA claims. NCLA also believes the district court abused its discretion in applying a Local Rule to deny our clients’ repeated requests for discovery. NCLA has requested that the Tenth Circuit enter judgment in favor of R-CALF USA and the four independent ranchers, Donna and Tracy Hunt and Kenny and Roxy Fox, on their claims that the CTWG and PTC are federal advisory committees covered by FACA. To deter future FACA abuse, NCLA also seeks an order from the Tenth Circuit prohibiting the agencies from using any of the work product generated by the CTWG and PTC in future endeavors to force RFID requirements on livestock producers. 

 

NCLA released the following statement: 

 

“USDA and APHIS are well aware that the livestock industry opposes their efforts to mandate the use of high-cost RFID eartags. They created the CTWG and PTC as part of their strategy to circumvent that opposition and to make their astroturf efforts appear to be grassroots. Those efforts violated FACA, and the agencies should be held accountable. We are confident that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will recognize these agencies’ actions for what they were, enjoin them from engaging in such behavior, and prohibit them from using the unlawfully obtained committee work product in their future regulatory activities.”  

— Harriet Hageman, Senior Litigation Counsel, NCLA

 

For more information visit the case page here.

 

ABOUT NCLA

 

NCLA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy strive to tame the unlawful power of state and federal agencies and to foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore Americans’ fundamental rights. 


Monday, August 2, 2021

Annual Texas Sheep and Goat Expo set Aug. 20-21


Texas A&M AgriLife event draws nationwide audience to San Angelo

 

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has announced the dates and theme for the seventh annual Texas Sheep and Goat Expo. The event is set for Aug. 20-21 at the 1st Community Federal Credit Union Spur Arena at the San Angelo Fairgrounds.


“Feeding and Nutrition” will be the theme of this year’s event, with a focus on sheep and goat market prices. 

“We are excited to be planning the return of the industry’s preeminent expo event,” said Robert Pritz, event coordinator and AgriLife Extension regional program leader in San Angelo. “We were thrilled by how well last year’s event went after we had to go to an online, virtual format for the first time due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, but we’re thrilled about the prospect of getting to meet face-to-face once more and fellowshipping with each other.”


Texas Sheep and Goat Expo

The event draws producers from across Texas, out of state, and as far away as Australia. It is the largest event of its type in Texas and one of the largest sheep and goat industry educational programs in the world, said Pritz. 


The expo will feature guest speakers, educational seminars and numerous live sessions for participants to choose from. The event covers a range of industry topics, including addressing the concerns and challenges facing today’s producer in light of recent events, as well as the exciting changes happening in the industry involving technological advances and new services.


“New this year are concurrent sessions dedicated to novice sheep and goat producers, our Sheep 101 Series,” Pritz said.


Sheep and Goat Field Day

The 48th Sheep and Goat Field Day will also be held in conjunction with the expo. The event will be held the morning of Aug. 20 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo. The free field day allows participants to hear from experts and observe firsthand the center’s sheep and goats, livestock guardian dog program and the recently expanded services of the Bill Sims wool lab. 


For more information, contact Pritz at 325-653-4576 or check the official website, https://agrilife.org/agrilifesheepandgoat/, which will be updated as more plans are made.


KFGC Annual Field Day August 17

Lincoln county producer Bill Holtzclaw will be hosting the KFGC Annual Field day. 4610 HWY 590, Stanford KY. The program begins at 4:30 pm and includes Grazing Summer Annuals, Chris Teutsch, Alfalfa Weed Control, JD Green, Establishing Alfalfa, Ray Smith, and Making High Quality Baleage: Summary of Baleage Farm Sampling, Jimmy Henning. Register by calling 606-365-2447, this event will be a CAIP qualified educational meeting. Find more details here

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

New podcast celebrates the working dogs

 




For millennia, humans have leveraged relationships with canine partners to make a living from the land with greater efficiency, safety and productivity. Whether herding livestock, guarding flocks, or eliminating pests and warning of unseen dangers, these unsung heroes of agriculture have been critical to our survival and success.

Now, a new podcast gives working farm dogs the credit they deserve.

Farm Dog explores the fascinating history and current practice of humans working with dogs to make a living from the land. Its biweekly interview format lets the audience listen in to chats with experts covering individual breed descriptions, dog training advice, real world farm and ranch experiences, and more. Herding dogs and livestock guardian dogs (LGD's) are frequent topics, but terriers, hunting dogs, and good ol' all-around farm dogs are up for discussion, too. “If it’s a dog, and it produces, protects, or provides for our rural lives, we'll talk about it!” says Aaron Steele, the creator and host of Farm Dog.

Steele, who is also the founder of Goats On The Go®, a national brand of targeted goat grazing (AKA “goat rental” or “goatscaping”) operations, says the motivation for creating the podcast was a bit self-serving. “As the number of livestock on our farm has kept growing, and my three sons have kept getting older, I’ve come to realize that I’m going to need some canine help when the boys are all out of the house. I was considering getting my first herding dog puppy and realized I didn’t know anything about how to find a good one, much less train it. Off I went to do the research, which was eventually going to lead to phone calls and conversations with experts anyway, so I thought, ‘Why not bring an audience along for the ride?’”

So why not a podcast exclusively about herding dogs? “Because the rest of the working farm dog world is just too fascinating to ignore!” Steele points to the ancient history of livestock guardian breeds and the practical virtues of terriers and “earthdogs” as reasons to broaden the show’s scope. “These dogs are nearly as old as agriculture itself in some cases, and it’s impossible to untangle their traits and heritage from history and culture. There’s just so much good stuff to talk about,” says Steele.

Listeners can find Farm Dog at anchor.fm/farmdog or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and most other podcast apps.

For more information, contact: Aaron Steele, Goats On The Go, LC 515-257-6846, aaron@GoatsOnTheGo.com