Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arkansas Extension feral hog workshop April 12

Keith Gresham, Dallas County extension agriculture agent, welds a sturdy fence and gate for display at the April 5 feral hog workshop in Fordyce/ The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will also demonstrate a cellular-activated gate. “Feral hogs have become an issue for forest owners in the area,” Gresham said.

By Dave Edmark, U of A System Division of Agriculture
479-575-6940 /

FORDYCE, Ark. – Farmers and landowners need to use their wits when trying to control feral hogs because the animals are certainly using theirs. Feral hogs are among nature’s smarter animals and will use their brains to stay a step ahead of potential captors.

To show some ways around the animals’ savvy ways, a feral hog control workshop is set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 12 at the Fordyce Civic Center sponsored by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Registration is free by calling your local county Extension office or signing up by April 5 at Workshops and field days elsewhere in the state will be scheduled later and announced on the web page.

“Feral hogs are popular for sport hunting, but their expanding range and increased numbers are destroying native wildlife habitat, polluting streams and damaging pastures and crops,” said Becky McPeake, extension wildlife specialist for the Division of Agriculture. 

The workshop will cover strategies such as corral trapping, in which multiple hogs are captured at once. McPeake recommends against single trapping or shooting one or two feral hogs because those methods do little to control their numbers and warns other hogs in the area to avoid humans. 

“Hunting with dogs is sometimes used to catch stragglers, but isn’t the way to go if you want to trap many hogs at once,” McPeake said.

“Using single trapping results in trap-shy hogs reproducing and problems returning,” McPeake said. “Snaring can also be used to supplement corral trapping. Snares can be placed around corral fences and along trails.”

The workshop will also discuss strategies to place traps where the hogs are present by using trail or game cameras that reveal how many hogs are in a group and their size.

“Hogs can easily become educated if they are not caught the first time,” McPeake said. “They have to be trained to enter the trap or you may never catch them.”

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ag industry failing to attract next generation

Land O'Lakes, Inc. survey shows only three percent of college grads have or would consider a career in agriculture

MINNEAPOLIS, March 15, 2016 — The world's demand for food will surge by 2050, with a projected 10 billion people requiring a 70 percent increase in food production. The question is, who will lead the way to find solutions for this demand and ensure the world's people will be fed?

Today, on National Agriculture Day, the stark shortage of agricultural talent as well as lingering misperceptions about Ag careers are of pressing concern to agricultural groups, universities and agriculture and food companies.

A recent nationally representative survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of Land O'Lakes, Inc. shows there's a startling lack of young people planning to work in the agriculture industry. In fact, only 3 percent of college grads and 9 percent of Millennials surveyed have or would consider an Ag career. When compared to other industries, respondents were least likely to indicate that they have or would consider a career in agriculture (6 percent), with healthcare and technology at the highest career interest (each at 21 percent); followed by education (20 percent); marketing and sales; finance; and manufacturing and engineering (all at 12 percent).

USDA job reports underscore these findings: more than 20,000 agriculture jobs go unfilled each year. Despite this fact, the majority of survey respondents – 54 percent – think it is difficult or very difficult for recent college graduates to get a job in agriculture.

"We will need to produce more food in the next 40 or 50 years than in the previous 500 years combined," said Lydia Botham, executive director, Land O'Lakes Foundation. "Our priorities are clear – we must focus on attracting the next generation of Ag workers to the highly skilled, well-paid career opportunities. Failing to do so may lead to severe consequences."

According to the survey, 76 percent of respondents do not think or are not sure if a career in Ag pays well. This misperception is prevalent across geographies (85 percent in the Northeast, 82 percent in the West and 71 percent in the Midwest and South). However, 35 percent of Millennials – significantly more than any other generation – think Ag careers do pay well, (compared with 21 percent of Generation X and 17 percent of Baby Boomers), which may be a promising sign of attracting college students to the field.

"People still think you have to wear boots and overalls to work in Ag," said Botham. "But modern agriculture has evolved to become one of the most vital and technologically advanced fields there is today. And the career choices are as dynamic as the industry itself – from seed geneticists and soil conservationists to supply chain analysts and economists."

To attract new college graduates, Land O'Lakes, Inc. created the Global Food Challenge – Emerging Leaders for Food Security™ program to engage future leaders in the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture. The yearlong fellowship program provides selected college students the opportunity to learn more about global food security, and includes travel to U.S. farms, to Washington, D.C., to understand policy, and to smallholder farms in rural Africa. Students are selected from a wide range of education disciplines, from agronomy and environmental science to nutrition, finance and marketing.

Trey Forsyth, a 2014 Emerging Leader, believes that programs like the Global Food Challenge will encourage the next generation to get involved in agriculture – and to tackle global hunger. His trip with other Emerging Leaders to meet policymakers in Washington, D.C., was a revelation.

"I saw a whole new side of agriculture that I never knew existed, and it was fascinating," Forsyth said. "Now I'm thinking of pursuing a career in Ag policy."

Learn more about the Global Food Challenge and join the conversation at

About Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2015 annual sales of $13 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 203 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 94 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField Solutions. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.

 About the survey

The online survey, conducted by ORC International's CARAVAN® Geographic Omnibus from February 8 – 10, 2016, polled a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,020 adults, comprising 505 men and 515 women 18 years of age and older.

Monday, March 7, 2016

American Goat Federation names 3 new directors

The American Goat Federation added three new directors at the Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., on January 26. They are:

Matthew Hayes, who is from a livestock background and works as a livestock buyer of specialty products at Superior Farms. As a member of the judging team at San Joaquin Delta College, he was awarded the National Champion High Individual and he and his teammates were named the 2004 National Champion Judging Team. He and his wife, Emmalee, operate M&E Livestock where they run a small flock of registered Southdown ewes as well as a small herd of Boer does.

Elizabeth Henning of Springfield Oaks Saanens in Arizona began raising dairy goats in 1979 and has also raised percentage Boers. The dairy herd has been classified/appraised every year since 1986, and has produced many animals excelling in both production and type. Betty is a life member of the American Dairy Goat Association, has been a licensed ADGA judge since 1991 and a linear appraiser since 1993. She is an ADGA director and has been an active member of many ADGA committees over the past 30+ years. She currently chairs the Genetic Advancement and History committees and serves as a member of the ADGA Executive Committee. She also has been a member of and judge for the United States Boer Goat Association.

Lary Duncan managed Able Acres Boer Goats for several years. He is the CEO of the American Boer Goat Association, which he represents on the AGF board. He also is on the board of the Boer Goat Youth Foundation of America. Lary is a licensed judge for ABGA and has a degree in Supervision from Purdue University.

Returning directors are Tom Boyer from Boyer Land and Livestock in Utah; Dr. An Peischel, who is the Small Ruminant Extension Specialist for Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee; Sam Abney from Alabama, who raises Boer goats and is a member of several goat groups including the Alabama Meat Goat and Sheep Committee; Dr. Kenneth Andries, who is an animal geneticist working as Assistant Professor and Animal Sciences Specialist at Kentucky State University; David Martin from Georgia, who is the president and CEO of Gotcha Goat, LLC; Rebecca Sauder from Texas, who covers the market reports for the sheep and goat sale in San Angelo for the USDA Livestock Market News Service; Linda Campbell from Virginia, who owns and operates Khimaira Farm, an organic farming operation and agri-tourism business. She has been a member of the American Dairy Goat Association Board of Directors since 1982, and represents ADGA on the AGF Board; Bob Buchholz from Texas represents the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association where he has been a director for a number of years.

The American Goat Federation was organized in 2010 to promote and facilitate the development of all segments of the goat industry including dairy, meat and fiber, by encouraging sound public policy, enhancing production and marketing of goat products and promoting research beneficial to our member organizations and all producers. More information about the American Goat Federation, Board of Directors and activities and services AGF provides is available on the website,