Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Making Your Land More Resilient to Drought

 

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Now that the 2021 crop year has ended, it’s time to start planning for 2022 and beyond. Many farmers and ranchers west of the Mississippi River have had a very difficult year in 2021 due to drought. Those in other areas of the country were spared from the worst of the drought this time but may not be as lucky in future years. So, as you’re planning for 2022 production, you may want to consider some conservation practices that can help make your land and livestock more resilient to drought and help your bottom line.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service can help you conserve water and build resilience to drought, through conservation practices that improve irrigation efficiency, boost soil health, and manage grazing lands.

Learn more about how to make your land more resilient to drought.

Let’s come together for animal ag: 2022 Stakeholders Summit registration now open


U.S. Farm Report’s Tyne Morgan to return as Summit moderator

 

January 4, 2022 – The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today that registration is now open for the 2022 Stakeholders Summit, themed “Come Together for Animal Ag: Be Informed, Be Ready, Be Here!” The Alliance’s annual event brings together thought leaders from all links along the food supply chain to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect the farm and food communities, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture.

 

 

The 2022 event will return to an in-person format and is slated for May 11-12 in Kansas City, Missouri. A virtual attendance option will also be available with five preconference webinars scheduled for the weeks leading up to the main event. An outline of the Summit agenda has been posted on the event website and the full speaker lineup will be announced soon. To register, visit https://bit.ly/AAA22Summit. Early registration discounts are available through March 9.

 

“The Alliance is delighted to welcome Summit attendees back to Kansas City for our first in-person event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “We know that the most effective way to safeguard the future of animal agriculture is to come together in person. The 2022 Stakeholders Summit is the perfect place to do just that as we bring together farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, animal feed companies, animal health companies, processors, allied associations and others involved in getting food from farm to fork.”

 

Tyne Morgan, host of U.S. Farm Report, will return as moderator for the event. Morgan plunged into broadcast at 16 through FFA public speaking and contest teams. While in high school, she worked at KMZU radio providing the daily farm market updates, as well as local, state and national agriculture news. Tyne attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in agriculture journalism, with an emphasis in broadcast. After spending countless hours on the road as AgDay and U.S. Farm Report national reporter, Tyne was named the first female host of U.S. Farm Report in 2014. Today, she travels the country, capturing the latest agricultural news, interviewing both farmers and industry leaders, as well as searching for compelling stories in rural America. 

 

Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date information. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA22 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about Summit, please contact summit@animalagalliance.org or call (703) 562-5160.

 

Get involved:

Show your support for the Alliance’s premier event by becoming an official Summit sponsor today! For 2022 sponsorship opportunities, please visit https://animalagalliance.org/initiatives/stakeholders-summit/For more information, contact Casey Kinler at ckinler@animalagalliance.org.  

 

Thank you to our 2022 Summit sponsors: Watt Global Media, Farm Journal, Meatingplace, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Board, American Feed Industry Association, United Egg Producers, Dairy MAX, Adisseo, Progressive Dairy, Kemin, American Farm Bureau Federation, Empirical, American Veal Association, National Chicken Council, Agri Beef, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, North Carolina Farm Bureau and Eggland’s Best.

 

The Alliance also thanks the following members for their continued support of Summit and other Alliance programs: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Zoetis, Merck Animal Health, C.O.nxt, Diamond V, Genus PLC – PIC/ABS, Aviagen Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, Hendrix Genetics, Hy-Line North America, LLC, Iowa Soybean Association, Kanas Soybean Commission, Midwest Dairy, National Turkey Federation, Nutrien, Provimi North America, Inc., Seaboard Foods and Tyson Foods Inc.

 

About the Alliance:

The Animal Agriculture Alliance safeguards the future of animal agriculture and its value to society by bridging the communication gap between the farm and food communities. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation. 


Find the Alliance on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Making Armed to Farm Trainings Accessible to More Farmer Veterans


The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Ranchin’ Vets have teamed up to offer a new level of support for military veterans interested in sustainable agriculture training opportunities. Ranchin’ Vets will fund a one-time transportation stipend directly to veterans selected to participate in NCAT’s Armed to Farm training program.

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT manages the program with support from a variety of funding sources, including a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Since launching in 2013, Armed to Farm has supported more than 800 farmer veterans from 45 states with hands-on and classroom learning opportunities. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers. 

Armed to Farm has always been free for veterans and their spouses or farm partners to attend. NCAT covers the cost of lodging, most meals, and local transportation during the training. However, attendees have always been responsible for getting themselves to the training site, which could require long drives across several states or even airfare. 

“We want everyone who is accepted into the Armed to Farm program to be able to participate, so we are excited to partner with Ranchin’ Vets to open this opportunity to even more farmer veterans,” said Margo Hale, Armed to Farm Program Director. “Although the training itself is free, the cost of traveling to the training can be substantial and has been a barrier to veterans attending Armed to Farm in the past. We’re very thankful for this opportunity to offer another level of support to the farmer veterans who attend Armed to Farm.”

Ranchin’ Vets, a California based 501 c (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2014, serves veterans on a national level, with a mission to assist in the reintegration of veterans from military to civilian life through a variety of programs offered within the ranching and agricultural industry. 

The Ranchin’ Vets Operation Hire A Vet Program connects veterans with opportunities within the agricultural industry. Veterans in the program who need additional support receive a temporary stipend towards transportation, housing and clothing as they pursue agricultural opportunities. 

"Through our Operation Hire A Vet Program, we recognized the need for a training program that will equip veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their agricultural endeavors. This partnership with Armed to Farm is an incredible opportunity to work together to assure that all veterans who are interested in pursuing this path will have access to resources that will help them thrive,” said Corey Downs, Ranchin’ Vets Program Director. “Our programs go hand-in-hand, providing veterans with fully funded access to professional agricultural training, as well as assistance in seeking and obtaining agricultural employment. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Armed to Farm.”  

The travel stipends will be available starting with the next Armed to Farm training, scheduled for Dec. 1-3, 2021, in Athens, Georgia. For Armed to Farm participants to receive a transportation stipend, they must successfully register with Ranchin’ Vets. 

For more information about Ranchin’ Vets, visit ranchinvets.org. See ARMEDTOFARM.ORG for more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm program.

 


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch

 

The time couldn’t be more ripe to start a farm or ranch — the agriculture industry faces a massive shortage of farmers and ranchers who are more critical than ever to maintaining our food supply. 

But where do you have the highest chance of successfully starting a Green Acres life? 

Ahead of Farmer's Day, Oct. 12, LawnStarter compared the 50 states across 42 key metrics to rank 2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch

We looked for states with existing farm communities to indicate viability, good infrastructure, and a suitable climate. We also compared the states based on overhead and ROI potential.

How did the states fare? See the top five and bottom five performers below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from our report.
2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch
 
RankState
1Montana
2Kansas
3North Dakota
4Texas
5Oklahoma
2021’s Worst States to Start a Farm or Ranch
 
RankState
46Maine
47New Jersey
48Connecticut
49Rhode Island
50Alaska

Highlights and Lowlights:

  • Montana: Ahead of the Herd: The Big Sky State earns the top spot in our ranking of 2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch. With agriculture its biggest industry, Montana’s victory comes as little surprise. 

    The state placed in the top 10 in five out of seven categories and No. 15 in ROI Potential. Montana trails only Wyoming in farm size, averaging a whopping 2,156 acres, and the average cost of an acre in the Treasure State is lowest in the U.S.

    Although ranching is woven into the state’s cultural fabric, farming also contributes significantly to the state’s economy. Montana is a top supplier of beef, and it leads the nation’s production of organic certified wheat, dry peas, lentils, flax, and honey

    If you want the best of both worlds, Montana hits the sweet spot.

  • Great Plains: Great for Agriculture: Nine of our top 10 states are in the Great Plains, including several in the Corn Belt. Those regional names alone give away these states’ suitable farming qualities.

    Coming in at No. 2 is Kansas, while Texas clocks in at No. 4, Oklahoma at No. 5, and Iowa in seventh place. Both Dakotas made it, too, at Nos. 3 and 6. Colorado (No. 9) and Wyoming (No. 10) round out the Plains states at the top. 

    But how specifically did this broad, sweeping landscape dominate the top of our ranking? Most of these states, such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, boast cheap land, large established farming communities for support, and highly developed infrastructure. 

    Move to the Great Plains, and you’ll be chasing cattle in no time.

  • The Last Frontier: Last in Farming: Alaska not only ranked at the very bottom of our ranking of top agricultural states, but it also finished last in two out of seven categories, Viability and Climate; third to last in Personnel; and in the worst 10 of Infrastructure and ROI Potential.

    These results are hardly a shock. Although Alaska is the biggest state by land area, less than a quarter of a percent of the state’s 365 million acres is available for farming. Much of this can be attributed to the state’s generally unsuitable farming climate, brief growing season, and infertile soils. 

    In other words, you won’t grow many crops here — but you can grow some of the world’s biggest. Because of Alaska’s long daylight hours during summer, some vegetables grow to monstrous sizes: a 19-pound carrot, 76-pound rutabaga, and 172-pound cabbage.

Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-states-to-start-a-farm/

More from LawnStarter: 

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.