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DNA Genetics Adds Two New Members to Their Team

DNA Genetics is adding to its sales team with the addition of two new people. Chris Allen is joining as a regional account manager covering Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. He has more than 20 years experience in the swine industry, with 12 of those serving in direct sales and account management for swine genetics.

Allen will be responsible for direct sales and account management and looks forward to growing relationships with producers.


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Mike Sidwell also joins the team with more than a decade of experience in the swine genetics industry.

He is a national account leader providing sales and service in the Central and Western Corn Belt, and is eager to work with a strong team to provide excellent products for customers.

"Chris and Mike come to DNA Genetics with a significant amount of experience in the swine genetics industry," says Brett Bonwell, chief executive officer for DNA Genetics. "They will be instrumental in growing and fostering relationships as we help our customers enhance genetic progress within their operations."

For more information on DNA Genetics, visit

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Iowa Select Farms Foundation Supports Charities

The Iowa Hawkeyes’ loss in the 2014 Outback Bowl against the Louisiana State University Tigers is a win for the hungry in Iowa and Louisiana, thanks to a friendly wager between Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Each governor pledged to send 200 lb. of his state’s quintessential food — Iowa pork and Louisiana seafood — to charities in both states if his team lost. Even before the Hawkeyes and Tigers took the field on Jan. 1 in Tampa, FL, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Iowa Select Farms Foundation volunteered to donate 200 lb. of Iowa ham on behalf of Gov. Branstad, if needed.

After the University of Iowa Hawkeyes lost 21-14 to LSU, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Iowa Select Farms Foundation delivered 100 lb. of ham to the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines. On Jan. 13, the foundation packed up 100 lb. of ham in coolers to ship to a soup kitchen in Louisiana. The coolers, festooned with Hawkeye stickers, were addressed to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Grace Place Ministries in Monroe, LA.

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“A core mission of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation is hunger relief, which is why we were glad to support Gov. Branstad with his friendly wager,” said Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms and co-founder of the Foundation. “We’re happy to be able to donate hams to both organizations in an effort to help both Iowa and Louisiana families in need.”

“We were delighted when the hams from Iowa Select Farms arrived on Tuesday,” said Rhonda Grace, founder and CEO of faith-based Grace Place Ministries. “To get a food donation of this size is truly a blessing because we serve 3,000 meals a month and the need keeps growing. If we cut up the 100 lb. of ham and serve it with red beans and rice, we can provide about 400 meals, maybe more. We’re not sure when we’ll use the ham because Louisiana First Lady Supriya Jindal wants to help serve it, so we’re waiting to coordinate with her schedule.”

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Croney Tabbed to Head New Animal Welfare Center

An associate professor of animal sciences at Purdue University has been tabbed to lead the newly created Center for Animal Welfare Science.

The appointment of Candace Croney as director was announced jointly Tuesday (Jan. 21) by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample dean of the College of Agriculture, and Willie M. Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Croney, who will work in both colleges, will begin her new role Feb. 1.

The center's mission is to promote the welfare of animals through innovation in research, education and outreach. It hosts the largest collaborative group of scientists in the United States working in a variety of related fields and brings together diverse, cross-disciplinary approaches to animal well-being issues in animal and poultry science, veterinary medicine, psychology, philosophy, genetics, public health and zoology.

“Members of the sciences and animal industries are often perceived as being uncaring or tone deaf on issues pertaining to animal well-being,” Croney said. “Purdue's investment in creating a Center for Animal Welfare Science is a timely and necessary step toward changing this perception. The new center will permit exploration of both the scientific and socio-ethical issues underlying public concerns.”

Croney will lead a center that includes scientists and educators from the colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and the Livestock Behavior Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Her responsibilities will include soliciting both traditional and nontraditional sources of extramural funding for the center's research and outreach activities, serving as spokesperson and resource person on public policy welfare issues, and disseminating knowledge, guidance and expertise of animal welfare science through a variety of media.

She also will be charged with developing and maintaining national and international relationships with leaders in animal agriculture, animal welfare faculty at other universities and institutions, nongovernment organizations and the public.

Croney's research in animal behavior and well-being includes the interactions between animal behavior, cognition and well-being; the effects of rearing environments and enrichment on animal behavior and welfare; the ethical implications of animal care and use decisions; and public perceptions of animal agriculture.

Akridge said Croney's expertise and her research on the ethical implications of animal care and use decisions, and on public perceptions of animal agriculture, align with the center's mission.

“She is a national voice on animal welfare issues, and we are excited about the leadership she will bring to the center,” he said.

Reed said Croney's leadership of the center is vital to the future of animal agriculture, the veterinary medical profession, and the well-being of both animals and people.

“I am confident she will enable the center to provide much needed leadership nationally on fundamentally important issues related to animal health and welfare, thereby bringing increased prominence to Purdue,” he said. 




Delegates Gather for National Pork Industry Forum

Pork producer delegates from across the United States will gather in Kansas City, MO, on March 6-8, 2014, for the annual National Pork Industry Forum.

The 15 producers who serve as members of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff staff leadership will hear directly from the 156 forum delegates appointed  by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Each year the Pork Act Delegates confer, vote on resolutions and advisements, and provide valuable direction on the important issues facing pork producers and the industry. This year the delegates include 152 pork producers and four pork importers.  

The theme for the annual pork forum - The Power of One: Many producers united in a common goal - was selected in reference to how the industry is taking proactive steps to join together in meeting the challenges facing the industry. From tackling concerns raised by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus to responding to consumers seeking to learn how food is produced, thousands of individual farmers are doing their part to produce pork in a caring, responsible and professional manner.

“As an industry, we are stronger when we are united toward a greater common good,” says Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Montgomery, MN. “Working together, we can make a collective difference in raising a single voice for all hog farmers. We'll demonstrate that clearly in Kansas City.”

In advance of the annual meeting, members of the National Pork Board will also convene their March board meeting. The agenda for that meeting will include updates on 2014 plans to enhance pork demand, increase market opportunities, improve pork production practices and invest in research priorities.

Included on the 2014 Pork Forum agenda will be opportunities for pork producers to become trained in the pork industry's Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) certification process, as well as provide input into the Pork Checkoff's new strategic plan that is currently being developed.

The full agenda is available at As the event draws near, the website will be updated with current information and links to the Pork Forum manual and videos of candidates nominated for industry positions. 


New PEDV Test Now Available from GeneSeek

The availability of a new test to rapidly and accurately detect porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has just been announced by Neogen Corp. Early detection of the virus is critical to stop its spread from farm to farm, and between facilities within a pig farm or pig production site, Neogen said.

Neogen's new PEDV test is offered through the veterinary diagnostics laboratory of its GeneSeek subsidiary, which is based in Lincoln, NE. Each test is $25, and depending on testing volumes. GeneSeek anticipates most test results should be available on the next business day after sample receipt. Sample types accepted for testing include environmental sample pads or swabs, fecal swabs and oral fluids.

"Livestock biosecurity experts we have worked with believe the most efficient testing protocol for PEDV is to perform environmental testing in farm facilities and on vehicles that move between farms, and within the different operations of a single farm," said Stewart Bauck of GeneSeek. "One very easy environmental sample collection method is the use of moist, unscented disposable mop pads, such as those sold under the Swiffer brand. All we need is that sample mop pad in a sealed plastic bag, and we can quickly determine if the sample contains PEDV."

The new test utilizes real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology, and is one of many rapid animal health tests available through GeneSeek.

Appropriations Completed - Government to Operate

Congress passed the bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill that will keep the federal government operating for the remainder of this fiscal year.  The $1.012 trillion bill is based off the Ryan-Murray budget compromise. 

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a joint statement, “We are pleased to have come to a fair, bipartisan agreement on funding the government for 2014. Although our differences were many and our deadline short, we were able to draft a solid piece of legislation that meets the guidelines of the Ryan-Murray deal, keeps the government open, and eliminates the uncertainty and economic instability of stop-gap governing.”  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received an increase of $350 million in discretionary funding for a total of $20.9 billion.   Highlights for USDA/FDA include:

·       Horse Slaughter - prohibits funding being used by USDA for inspection of U.S. horse slaughter facilities.

·       COOL - report language is included that specifically does not approve of USDA’s continued implementation, enforcement, and associated spending relating to the country-of-origin labeling  (COOL) program.  The report language states, “It is strongly recommended that USDA not force increased costs on industry and consumers and that the department delay implementation and enforcement of the final rule until the World Trade Organization has completed all decisions related to cases” filed by Canada and Mexico.

·       The Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) would receive $79.9 billion.

·       Grain, Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) receives $40.2 million.

·       Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) receives $1.011 billion.  This should meet all current and future inspection requirements.

·       Natural Resources Conservation Service receives $812.9 million.

·       FDA receives $2.552 billion, an increase of $217 million over FY ’13;  $53 million of the increase is for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

·       Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) receives $821.7 million, the same as FY ’13.

·       Farm Service Agency receives $1.5 billion, similar to FY ’13.

·       Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) in funded at $6.716 billion, an increase of $194 million.

·       Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receives mandatory funding of $82.169 billion.

Court Hears COOL Appeal

A three judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments regarding the appeal of a District Court decision to deny a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin USDA country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements.  The court heard arguments from both sides. 

The lawyers for the co-plantiffs (American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North America Meat Association and others) argued that the trial court incorrectly accepted the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) argument, which was inconsistent with the rationale offered by AMS in the final rule, that the new final rule "is to correct misleading speech and prevent consumer deception" that purportedly occurred because of requirements AMS imposed in its 2009 version of the rule.  Also, they presented that “irreparable harm” is being done to the industry right now. 

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, one of the defendant-interveners, said, “We believe that the district court judge's ruling denying the injunction properly examined the relevant case law and evaluated the likelihood of success on the merits as well as the claims of irreparable injury.”  There is no indication when the court will rule on the appeal.  

AG Supports Vetter Nomination

Nearly 100 agriculture and farm groups have informed the Senate of their strong endorsement of Darci Vetter’s nomination to be chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).  In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, the group said that Vetter “brings a wealth of well-rounded background expertise.  She has already had over six years of experience at USTR, dealing with implementation of various provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

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She has also had extensive experience working for the Senate Finance Committee, giving her a sound understanding of the importance as well as the workings of Congress.  Her most recent experience within the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also given her direct exposure to the workings of many of the critical programs related to trade currently offered by the federal government as well as the numerous trade associations involved in helping to stimulate agricultural trade.”  Those signing the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, Dairy Farmers of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Pork Producers Council.

More Congressional Retirements

Twenty-nine Members of Congress have announced their retirements so far with possibly more to come.  A number of these retirements are moderate Democratic and Republican members.  Two Members who have been involved in agriculture are Congressmen Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Tom Latham (R-IA).  McIntyre is a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and is a member of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee.  

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Latham is a senior member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.  He served on the House Agriculture Committee his first term in Congress.  Other Members who are retiring include Congressmen Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Buck McKeon (R-CA), Mike Michaud (D-ME), George Miller (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Jon Runyan (R-NJ), and Frank Wolf (R-VA).  A number of these seats will now become competitive races in this year’s election. We continue to see more and more centrist Members retiring and often times replaced by a more conservative or liberal members who make governing more difficult.      


Farm Bill Negotiations Continue

Farm bill negotiations continue with a goal of completing the bill in late January or early February.  It is easier to predict the Kentucky Derby winner than when this Congress will pass a farm bill.