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NPPC Comments On Air Regulations

The National Pork Producers (NPPC) Council has filed comments on proposed rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on particulate matter that could impose stringent new Clean Air Act requirements on hog operations.

Particulate matter includes dust from roads and fields.

NPPC is asking the EPA to delay its rule until after the completion of an air monitoring study, part of the agency’s air consent agreement, that many producers signed.

“Substantial concern still remains about the health effects of ambient particulate matter, a major component of the air pollution mix in many areas of the country,” according to EPA.

Biosecurity Center Revamped

The new National Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies has been launched, according to Sandy Amass, DVM, new associate director of the Purdue University Homeland Security Institute.

The biosecurity center is a cooperative effort between the Purdue University Homeland Security Institute, the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and the Indiana Board of Animal Health.

The biosecurity center’s mission is to provide information and tools to help government, commodity groups, veterinarians, producers and the public meet the challenges of animal health emergencies.

The center’s Web site ( ) has received nearly 18,000 hits from 191 countries. The newly revised Web site continues to house the truck wash database for the National Pork Board’s Trucker Quality Assurance program, state regulations for carcass disposal and state regulations for animal disease reporting.

New on the Web site is a searchable database for information on disinfectants. The site will also house educational programs and informational papers on current animal health issues.

Community emergency management planners are urged to contact the site if interested in web-based data entry to store community resource information. The data would only be available to select local authorities.

Whole-Farm Insurance Program

A new whole-farm insurance program protects Minnesota farm families from low revenues due to natural disasters and market fluctuations.

Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite) covers most farm-raised crops, animals and animal products, says Gary Hachfeld, farm business management educator. The program covers many commodities not covered under other plans.

AGR-Lite is based on the five-year average farm revenue as reported to the Internal Revenue Service, Hachfeld says. This minimizes the number of additional records producers must keep.

Producers may want to consider AGR-Lite if they:

  • Grow otherwise uninsurable crops;
  • Want umbrella protection over selected individual crop coverages;
  • Want to simplify their risk management program;
  • Wish to protect their bottom line from severe economic loss;
  • Have poor yield records;
  • Consider other plans too expensive; and
  • Want catastrophic animal health protection as part of their risk management program.

No registration or fees are required to attend the informational sessions about the program:

  • Feb. 14, 9:30 a.m., Best Western Motel, Thief River Falls, Jim Reinbold (218) 681-2304;
  • Feb. 14, 1 p.m., Northland Inn Motel, Crookston, Jim Reinbold (218) 681-2304;
  • March 3, 9:30 a.m., Wadena County Courthouse, Wadena, DeEtta Bilek (218) 445-5475;
  • March 9, 9:30 a.m., West Central Research and Outreach Center, Conference Room, Morris, Mary Jo Forbord (866) 760-8732;
  • March 21, 9:30 a.m., Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton, Gary Hachfeld (507) 389-6722;
  • March 28, 9:30 a.m., Extension Regional Center—Heinz Center, Room HC118, Rochester, Gary Hachfeld (507) 389-6722; and
  • March 30, 4:30 p.m., Waseca County Extension Office, Waseca, Marilyn Johnson (763) 434-0400.

Iowa Regional Conferences

Maximizing throughput is the focus of the Iowa regional conferences scheduled across the state in late February.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Mark Greenwood of AgStar Financial Services, “An Eye on Profitability: Components of Production Costs;”
  • Chad Stahl of Food Animal Consultation & Testing Services, “Implications of Handling and Transportation;”
  • Steve White of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on the Iowa Premise Identification Program;
  • James McKean, DVM, Iowa State University (ISU), on handling disease issues such as postweaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome; and
  • A local ISU field specialist will talk on “Maximizing Productivity and Throughput: Reflections from Denmark.”

The conference and contacts include:

  • Feb. 20, 4-9 p.m., Marshalltown, Best Western, Terry Steinhart, (641) 622-2680;
  • Feb. 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ainsworth, Marr Park Conservation Center, Tom Miller, (319) 653-4811;
  • Feb. 21, 4-9 p.m., Davenport, Machine Shed Restaurant, Larry McMullen, (319) 622-2680;
  • Feb. 22, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Oelwein, Luigi’s Restaurant, Mark Storlie, (563) 425-3331;
  • Feb. 22, 4-9 p.m., Garner, Hancock County Extension, Russ Euken, (641) 923-2856;
  • Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Rock Rapids, Foster Community Center, David Stender, (712) 225-6196;
  • Feb. 23, 4-9 p.m., Cherokee, Western Iowa Tech Community College, David Stender, (712) 225-6196; and
  • Feb. 24, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Carroll, The Carrolltown Inn, Jerry Weiss, (712) 335-3103.

To register call the Iowa Pork Industry Center at (800) 808-7675.

Forum Addresses Livestock Growth

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) is sponsoring an educational forum for new and experienced crop and livestock farmers.

“Farming Matters: A Forum for Crop and Livestock Farmers” will be held March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Holiday Inn/Amana Colonies.

General and concurrent sessions provide details for developing successful business plans for raising livestock, effectively using animal nutrients in crop production and meeting regulations.

Bruce Babcock, director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, will explore economic incentives that make livestock farming an attractive business opportunity in 2006.

A farm panel chaired by public relations expert Carol Bodensteiner will offer insight into ways farmers can enhance relationships with neighbors while making changes to their operations.

Farmers interested in diversifying their business will be given a step-by-step guide for getting started raising livestock. The session, “So you want to build a livestock barn,” will be moderated by CSIF Organization Director Rex Hoppes and Eldon McAfee, legal counsel for the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

To register, visit or call (800) 932-2436.

Pork Management Conference

The 2006 Pork Management Conference, formerly the Financial Management Conference, is set for April 2-4 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, FL.

The morning program April 3 looks at the global meat protein market, pork exports and the current status of the Canadian producer and packing industries.

Concurrent sessions that afternoon focus on estate planning; producer profitability; a producer roundtable on accounting; facility costs and values; and growth of the natural and organic market.

On April 4, the American Meat Institute will provide a legislative and regulatory update. Other topics include economic profitability; competitive financing costs and loan structure; animal welfare; the impact of ethanol on corn prices; and a price commodity outlook.

For more information on the Pork Board-sponsored event, call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit

Pork 101 Short Course

Pork 101 provides participants with the opportunity to evaluate eight live hogs in a unique, hands-on short course that focuses on pork quality, consistency, safety and value.

During the three-day class, hogs are processed to teach students about grading, food safety and product processing. Each class makes and samples processed products from the hogs including pumped loins, bacon, hams and sausage.

Three pork checkoff-supported Pork 101 classes include:

  • Feb. 27-March 1: Iowa State University, Ames, IA;
  • April 18-20: University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and
  • May 23-25: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

Manure Management Workshops

The University of Minnesota Extension Service is partnering with Minnesota state agencies to offer a series of workshops on manure management.

The four workshops, scheduled in late February and early March, include staff from the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service providing instruction on the following:

  • Nitrogen – Feb. 22;
  • Phosphorus – Feb. 23;
  • Developing a plan – March 8; and
  • Computer software to develop a plan – March 9.

All workshops will be held at the Best Western Victoria Inn, Hutchinson, MN.

Workshop descriptions and registration can be found at

Feral Hog Study Funded

Two Texas universities will share $500,000 from the state legislature to study the feral hog issue in Texas.

The legislature recognized the destructive impact that feral hogs can have on pastures, cropland and private property, and the disease threat they pose to other livestock.

A 2004 survey by the Texas Extension Service found that the average respondent estimated losses of $4,184 due to damage caused by feral hogs. The problem is estimated to cost the state $51.7 million.

Texas A&M University was awarded $390,500 and Texas Tech University $109,500 to study ways to address the feral hog issue in Texas, home to an estimated two million wild hogs.

Texas A&M researchers will assess feral hog damage to crops, evaluate control measures and estimate economic impact.

Texas Cooperative Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Unit and Wildlife Services are formulating a pilot program for trapping wild hogs in three ecological areas: east Texas, central Texas and the coastal bend region.

Creating a pheromone and odor bait to attract feral hogs to the traps, and developing a birth control program for wild hogs is Texas Tech’s research mission.

Free Midwest Plan Service Catalog

The 2006 Midwest Plan Service (MWPS) catalog contains more than 175 low-cost and free agricultural publications, and a list of more than 100 free building plans on the MWPS Web site.

The catalog is available free at or by calling (800) 562-3618 or (515) 294-4337.

Farm topics include raising and housing livestock; manure management; soil, air and water management; agricultural ventilation; storage of grain, forage and silage; and farm business management to name a few.

MWPS is located at Iowa State University and represents a publishing consortium of 11 agricultural universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.