Friday, April 19, 2024

Ultrasound Operators Jailed, Accused of Unlicensed Vet Practice

From left, Ben Masemore, Ethan Wentworth and Rusty Herr.

Wentworth and Herr are currently in jail afterfacing accusations

of practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

(Photo provided by Ben Masemore)

(Editor's Note: This action taken by Pennsylvania prosecutors should concern goat producers who routinely use ultrasound to determine pregnancy. They can potentially be charged with illegally practicing veterinary medicine. This article is reprinted from the April 20 e-edition of Lancaster Farming (

By Tom Venesky

Two Pennsylvania men operating a dairy reproduction service are in prison following a complaint of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Rusty Herr, 43, was booked at the Lancaster County Prison on April 11, while Ethan Wentworth, 33, was sent to the York

County Prison on April 10. Herr and Wentworth are listed as operating partners of Airville-based NoBull Solutions LLC. 

Veterinarians have made multiple complaints about “the illegal practice of veterinary medicine by unlicensed individuals employed by NoBull Solutions,” according to a complaint filed with the Department of State in 2020 by thePennsylvania Veterinary Medicine Association.

The complaint alleges that people employed by NoBull were doing ultrasounds and making diagnoses. The document cites reports from veterinary association members and posts on Facebook.

In 2010, Herr was ordered to pay a $3,500 fine and to cease and desist from the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine. Wentworth got a cease-and-desist order in 2018 along with a $3,000 civil penalty. The 2020 complaint alleges that Herr and Wentworth continued to practice veterinary medicine without a license and hired others to do the same. According to dairy farmer Ben Masemore, who is acting as a spokesman for Herr and Wentworth, both men were advised by their former attorneys not to pay the fines or appear in court because they don’t see an issue with using ultrasound for reproductive services such as pregnancy checks. He said they are both serving 30-day sentences without bail.

Masemore, who is involved with Herr and Wentworth in an unrelated business, said the law governing veterinary practice is vague and doesn’t cover ultrasounding, which is a common practice on dairy farms today.

“I know of up to 20 individuals in the state using ultrasound for reproduction. Anyone can purchase one, as they are readily available today,” he said. Numerous dairy farmers in Lancaster, Lebanon, York and surrounding counties depended on the services offered by NoBull, and the operators’ detention has caused problems for those farms, Masemore said.

The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medicine Association deferred comment to the Department of State, which said it couldn’t confirm or deny an investigation due to confidentiality statutes. A search of Pennsylvania Licensing System Verification didn’t turn up any veterinary license records for Herr and Wentworth.

“The department reviews every potential practice act violation of which it becomes aware, whether that is through a complaint filed directly to the department, a notification from local law enforcement, or through media reports,” State Department spokeswoman Amy Gulli said in an email.

If the State Board of Veterinary Medicine is going to interpret ultrasounding as practicing medicine, the law needs to be changed, Masemore said.

“This really affects every single one of us (dairy farmers). With the economic situation of Pennsylvania dairy, we need all the help we can get,” Masemore said. “It’s not easy out there, and people need to change the way that dairy in Pennsylvania is being treated. We’re being tarred and feathered economically,and the burden keeps getting worse.” A recording on the phone line listed for NoBull Solutions said that due to the legal situation and staff shortages, the business is not scheduling herd checks or horse services before May 20.

The message urges callers to contact the state veterinary board and local lawmakers to express their concerns about the situation. A “NoBull Solutions LLC Defense Fund” has been set up for the men on GiveSendGo and at local banks. For more information, call 717-887-6465.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Goats take center stage as Commissioner Shell proclaims April as Goat Month in Kentucky

Goat producers, industry stakeholders join Commissioner at proclamation signing.

 Kentucky goat producers and industry stakeholders joined Commissioner of Agriculture Jonathan Shell April 12 as he signed a proclamation declaring April as Goat Month in Kentucky.

“The diversity of goats on our agricultural landscape is one that needs to be celebrated, particularly this month,” Commissioner Shell said. “Not only do they add a uniqueness to farm life, but they are also an excellent source of protein and dairy products. This month we salute all that goats add to our state’s agricultural outlook.”

In the United States, goats are primarily used for producing dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, and meat called chevon. Kentucky has 5,300 dairy goats producing quality breeding stock, and healthy, all natural skin products like soaps and lotions. The popularity of goat meat is increasing each year as consumers recognize its benefits. Goat meat is lean with low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, high levels of iron, and packed with proteins and vitamins. Kentucky ranks sixth in the nation for meat goat inventory with 59,000 head. The meat goat inventory has increased 5.4 percent since 2023, being produced by 4,000 farmers.


In addition to their nutritious value, goats can increase property values. Across the world, farmers use them to combat noxious weeds on their property, promote healthy forests, and prevent wildfires.

“Kentucky continues to be a leader in goat production because of our abundant forages and best management practices. Over 4,000 goat producers work very hard to produce high quality products for consumers,” said Kelley Yates, executive director of the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office. “We are excited to showcase the versatility of goats in Kentucky during the month of April and hope more people learn of their benefits and impact in our state.”


The Kentucky goat industry adds more than $3.5 million in revenue to Kentucky’s agriculture receipts. Warren County is the top county in goat production with nearly 2,800 head, followed by Crittenden, Barren, Clinton, and Nelson counties rounding out the top five.


A variety of goat products can be found at local farmers’ markets or consumers can purchase directly from a producer. The Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office offers information on its website with tips for cooking this lean, delicious meat. The website also offers a buyer's guide at:


Thursday, March 7, 2024

USDA Assists Farmers, Ranchers and Communities Affected by Catastrophic Texas, Oklahoma Wildfires


WASHINGTON, March 7, 2024 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to aid recovery efforts for farmers, ranchers and residents affected by recent wildfires in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma. To date, around 1.3 million acres have burned across both states. USDA staff are ready to respond with a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to agricultural producers and communities in need.

“At USDA, we know all too well the devastation catastrophic wildfires like these can cause to homes, communities and livelihoods,” said Secretary Vilsack. “As the fires are contained and damage assessed, know that USDA is working with our state partners to deliver support and assistance to those affected. We will do everything we can to support farmers, ranchers, and impacted communities on the long road to recovery.”

Right now, the USDA Forest Service has more than 200 personnel on the ground helping with wildfire suppression. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency have also held informational sessions in the towns of Borger and Canadian, Texas, covering available assistance for impacted ranchers, livestock producers and landowners. Given the scope of the fires, recovery will likely take many months, and USDA plans to host additional informational sessions going forward.

When a natural disaster is designated by the Secretary of Agriculture or a natural disaster or emergency is declared by the president under the Stafford Act, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. USDA also offers additional programs tailored to the needs of specific agricultural sectors to help producers weather the financial impacts of major disasters and rebuild their operations.

Farm Service Agency programs for affected producers include the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which provides assistance for livestock losses due to wildfire in excess of normal mortality, and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), which provides compensation for grazing and feed losses, transportation of water and feed to livestock, and hauling livestock to grazing acres. Livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to a qualifying drought condition or fire on federally managed land during the normal grazing period for a county may also qualify for help through USDA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Producers of non-insurable crops who suffer crop losses, lower yields or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities may be eligible for assistance under USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were due to natural disasters. Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance should provide a notice of loss to their agent within 72 hours of initial discovery of damage and follow up in writing within 15 days.

USDA has authorized policy flexibilities for several key disaster assistance programs, including LIP and ELAP, to aid agricultural producers who have experienced significant livestock, feed, forage, and infrastructure loss from recent wildfires. Flexibilities include reimbursement for feed costs and hauling and accepting additional types of records for death loss documentation.

Helping operations recover after disasters:

USDA has also expanded authorization of emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres to support the relocation of livestock for grazing purposes. This includes all counties in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

USDA 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. In Texas, USDA is opening a special sign-up for $6 million in EQIP funding for eligible practices related to wildfire recovery, including emergency animal mortality management and prescribed grazing.

Farmers and ranchers needing to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters can apply for assistance through USDA’s Emergency Conservation Program. This program provides assistance to remove debris from farmland, replace watering facilities and repair or replace fences including livestock cross fences, boundary fences, cattle gates or wildlife exclusion fences on agricultural land. Producers can request an advance payment.

USDA also has assistance available for eligible private forest landowners who need to restore forestland damaged by natural disasters through the Emergency Forest Restoration Program.

USDA's Emergency Watershed Protection Program can help relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by flood, fires and other natural disasters that impair a watershed. Visit USDA's Disaster Resource Center to learn more about USDA disaster preparedness and response. For more information on USDA disaster assistance programs, contact your local USDA Service Center or crop insurance agent.

Other USDA Assistance:

USDA Rural Development (RD) stands ready to help people in rural communities who have been impacted by natural disasters. RD offers programs and services to help people repair and rebuild their homes, businesses, infrastructure and more. A resource guideoutlines assistance that can help rural residents, businesses and communities in their long-term recovery and planning efforts. Learn more about how RD can support your recovery needs at Rural Development Disaster Assistance | Rural Development (

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

Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop set for March 21 at Batesville, Ark., research station


One study estimated the annual cost of fescue toxicosis in cattle at $2 billion.

By Mary Hightower
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

March 6, 2024

Fast facts:

  • Participants may register online
  • Conference runs 8:15 to 4:30
  • Conference includes tours, demonstrations, lunch
  • $40 cost includes lunch and educational materials

LITTLE ROCK — The March 21 Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop at Batesville will help ranchers find ways to manage one of the costliest health problems in the industry: fescue toxicosis in cattle.

One study estimated the annual cost of fescue toxicosis in cattle at $2 billion. Cattle with toxicosis can experience a range of symptoms including lack of appetite, reduced weight gain and in some cases hoof problems or even losing ear or tail parts.

Cattle grazing novel endophyte fescue (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Dirk Philipp)

How does this happen? 

Tall fescue is a popular forage because of its hardiness and versatility. Part of its toughness comes from its relationship with a certain fungus, known as an endophyte – endophyte meaning “inside or internal fungus.” The endophyte produces compounds that help provide resistance to some pests and give the plant its ability to handle environmental stress.

However, one compound, ergovaline, acts as a constrictor of blood vessels in cattle. The reduced blood flow can leave cattle unable to cool themselves and may also cut blood to extremities like ears and tails.

The good news is all of this is manageable. 

"Toxic tall fescue can really impact the production of livestock by interfering with reproduction efficiency and weight gains,” said Maggie Justice, extension beef cattle specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “This one-day workshop will focus on some of the key aspects of fescue toxicosis management along with the integration of different novel tall fescue varieties into our grazing systems.

“Our lineup speakers include local Arkansas producers, different seed company representatives along with several extension specialists and researchers from across the country,” she said.

Encouraging producers to move toward fescue with non-toxic — or “novel” — endophytes is a goal of the Alliance for Grassland Renewal, one of the partners for this workshop.  

"The Alliance for Grassland Renewal is a collaborative multi-state effort to enhance the understanding of fescue toxicosis management and increase the adoption of novel endophyte tall fescue," Justice said. "The alliance includes researchers from several academic institutions, allied companies and government agencies. We are very excited to welcome these specialists to the state of Arkansas."

The event opens with registration at 8:15 a.m. and adjourns at 4:30 p.m. Participants must register in advance and may register online. Those without the internet can register by calling Maggie Justice at 501- 671-2350. Cost to attend is $40, which includes lunch and materials.


  • 8:45 a.m. — Welcome — Maggie Justice, extension beef cattle specialist, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
  • 9 a.m. — Tall Fescue Toxicosis: Symptoms and Causes — Leanne Dillard, associate professor and extension specialist-forage agronomics, Auburn University.
  • 9:20 a.m.— Toxicosis Management — Matt Poore, ruminant nutrition extension specialist, North Carolina State University
  • 10 a.m. — Understanding Endophytes — Carolyn Young, professor and department head of entomology and plant pathology at North Carolina State University.
  • 10:25 a.m. — Electric Fence Demonstration — Kenny Simon, extension forage program associate, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
  • 10:45 a.m. — Establishment and First-year Management — Will McClain, associate professor, Missouri State University
  • 11:05 a.m. — Seed Quality and Testing — Gene Schmitz, extension livestock specialist, University of Missouri
  • 11:30 a.m. — Partial Farm Renovation — Shane Gadberry, director, Livestock and Forestry Research Station, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
  • 12:15 p.m. — Lunch
  • 12:50 p.m. — Novel Endophyte Products
  • 1:30 p.m. — Producer panel
  • 2:15 p.m. — Economics — Matt Poore, ruminant nutrition extension specialist, North Carolina State University
  • 2:45 p.m. — Cost-share and Incentive Programs — Monica Paskewitz, district conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • 3:15 p.m. — Rainfall Simulator — Jeremy Huff, land grazing specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • 3:45 p.m. — Pasture tours — Shane Gadberry, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
  • 4:30 p.m. — Adjourn

The event is presented by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the Alliance for Grassland Renewal and Farm Credit.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Women farm owners more apt to binge drink

Athens, Ga. – A study from the University of Georgia reveals a concerning pattern of binge drinking among women who own or manage farms. 

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, surveyed 987 farmers across the U.S. about their perceived levels of stress and coping behaviors, including alcohol use.


Farmers experience higher levels of work-related stress compared to other industries and the public, and recent studies have found that many turn to alcohol to handle that stress. But not all farmers used alcohol in the same way.


“Female farmers were less likely to report drinking, but then we had these points in the data that we weren’t expecting where there was something going on with binge drinking within our female farmers,” said lead author Christina Proctor, a clinical assistant professor at UGA’s College of Public Health.


Proctor and her co-authors dug into existing research on stress and females who work in male-dominated fields and found that women tend to experience added stress that could affect alcohol use. 


For example, said Proctor, women in male-dominated industries like firefighting and commercial fishing reported being held to a higher performance standard and having their authority routinely questioned. And outside of work, these women still bore the brunt of responsibility of housework and as caregivers.


“We thought maybe this is what's going on with our data,” said Proctor. “Maybe there's questioning authority. Somebody comes into your farm, and they ask where the boss man is. You own the farm, but people don't see you as that owner.”


So, they broke down reported stress and drinking behaviors in relationship to gender and the level of responsibility the farmers held. 


Compared to their male counterparts, they found that female farmers reported significantly higher levels of stress. And, while female participants were less likely to drink overall, when they did drink, they were more likely to binge drink. This pattern was most pronounced among female farmers who owned or managed farms.


“I think there are moments where the stress associated with farm work and these extra duties are just too hard to handle, where you have to cope with it in some way, and there's just this explosiveness when they do drink,” said Proctor.


This study is part of a larger effort Proctor is leading to understand farmer stress and deliver interventions that help farmers deal with stress in healthy ways. Understanding the range of coping mechanisms farmers are using, and how those may look different across genders and farm roles, is critical to forming tailored mental health and well-being programs. 


Proctor is currently interviewing female farmers to better understand the factors that trigger binge drinking.


Two-thirds of female farmers surveyed were farm owners or farm managers, and more women are entering the industry every year.


“We have to figure out a way to support our female farmers, because they are a part of the future,” said Proctor. 


Co-authors include Noah Hopkins and Chase Reece with UGA’s College of Public Health.


The paper, “The Intersection of Gender and Occupational Roles in Agriculture: Stress, Resilience, and Alcohol Behaviors of US Farmers,” is available online.



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Penn State offers home-study goat course

 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Meat-goat producers looking for information on how to make their livestock enterprise more profitable can take advantage of a home-study course offered by Penn State Extension this winter.

The course, which begins Feb. 7, will cover profit-enhancing production principles for raising meat goats. Lessons are available through email and the internet or through conventional mail delivery. The course contains six weekly lessons.

Lesson topics include production basics, nutrition, health, reproduction, marketing and financial issues. Each lesson offers information about the topic and a worksheet for producers to complete and email or mail back to Penn State Extension educators for comments. Producers also can submit questions they would like to have answered.

An additional feature is the option to join three Zoom meetings to review course materials and worksheet questions and answers. Participants can access Zoom meetings by computer or phone.

“This course is a great way for producers to learn new information without having to rearrange their schedules to accommodate a meeting,” said Melanie Barkley, senior livestock extension educator based in Bedford County, who is coordinating the course. “Producers can study the lessons at their leisure in their own home. The courses are designed for beginning producers and for established producers who wish to improve production and management skills.”

Worksheet questions are designed to help producers analyze their current operations. Course instructors include Barkley, Dulcie Christman, extension educator based in Greene County, and Chelsea Hill, extension educator based in Wayne County. Educators will address comments to participants’ individual situations to better help them improve their management skills.

“Producers’ past comments following completion of the course show that information offered in the course was very beneficial for them,” Barkley said. “Producers are able to adapt the information for use in their own operations.”

For more details or to sign up for a course, visit or call 877-345-0691.

To speak to one of the instructors, contact the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814-623-4800, in Greene County at 724-892-8026, or in Wayne County at 570-253-5970, ext. 4110.


Friday, January 12, 2024

USDA to Reopen Signup for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP) signup on Jan. 12, 2024. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers and landowners interested in conservation opportunities for their land in exchange for yearly rental payments to consider the enrollment options available through Continuous CRP, which also includes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) offered by FSA partners. Additionally, producers participating in CRP can apply to re-enroll beginning Jan. 12, 2024 if their contracts will expire this year.

“We are pleased to announce we are now accepting Continuous CRP offers,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Continuous CRP is one of the best conservation tools we can provide producers and landowners. Whether a producer wants to focus on water quality benefits or work with one of our partners to address a natural resource concern in their area, the program offers many options to help you meet your resource conservation goals.”

On Nov. 16, 2023, President Biden signed into law H.R. 6363, the Further Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act, 2024 (Pub. L. 118-22), which extended the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334), more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, through Sept. 30, 2024. This extension allows authorized programs, including CRP, to continue operating.

To submit an offer, producers should contact the FSA at their local USDA Service Center by July 31, 2024, in order to have an offer effective by Oct. 1, 2024. To ensure enrollment acreages do not exceed the statutory cap, FSA will accept offers from producers on a first-come, first-served basis and will return offers for approval in batches throughout the year.

Additionally, producers with acres enrolled in Continuous CRP set to expire Sept. 30, 2024, can offer acres for re-enrollment beginning Jan.12, 2024. A producer can both enroll new acres into Continuous CRP and re-enroll any acres expiring Sept.30, 2024.

FSA water quality practices, such as riparian buffers, prairie strips, grassed waterways, and wetlands, will receive an additional 20% incentive. Buffer practices have a positive impact on water quality. Additionally, the Climate-Smart Practice Incentive launched in 2021 is also available in the Continuous signup.   

There are several enrollment options within Continuous CRP, including: CREP: Working with conservation partners, CREP leverages federal and non-federal funds to target specific state, regional, tribal, or nationally significant conservation concerns.
State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE): The initiative restores vital habitat in order to meet high-priority state wildlife conservation goals.
Highly Erodible Lands Initiative (HELI): Producers and landowners can enroll in CRP to establish long-term cover on highly erodible cropland that has a weighted erodibility index (EI) greater than or equal to 20.
Farmable Wetlands Program: Producers and landowners can enroll land in CRP to restore previously farmed wetlands and wetland buffers, improving both vegetation and water flow.   
Clean Lake Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative and CLEAR30: This initiative prioritizes and offers additional incentives for water quality practices on the land that, if enrolled, will help reduce sediment loadings, nutrient loadings and harmful algal blooms. Through CLEAR30, a component of this initiative, these additional incentives for adoption of water quality practices can be accessed in 30-year contracts.

More Information 

The water quality practice incentive builds on other improvements to Continuous CRP that were made in 2021, including expanding CLEAR30 from two pilot areas to nationwide availability and repositioning SAFE within Continuous CRP to give producers and landowners more opportunities to participate. Additionally, FSA has improved CREP by creating flexibilities within CREP for partners to provide matching funds in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, or technical assistance, adding staff to work directly with partners, and expanding opportunities for Tribal Nations to participate, beginning with three Tribal Nations in the Great Plains, the Cheyenne River, Oglala, and Rosebud Sioux Tribes, for the first time ever, to help conserve, maintain, and improve grassland productivity while reducing soil erosion and enhancing wildlife habitat.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits.     

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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