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Articles from 2019 In July

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, July 31, 2019

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest standing war. Soldiers from the Midwest were recently killed while deployed to the area.

Emerging markets is the name of the game in agriculture.

A Missouri state legislator has passed away while on a family vacation.

Cardi B had to cancel her concert in Indianapolis last night. 

There are only a few hours left of ice cream month. August is soybean month in Iowa.


Photo: Gabriel-m/Getty Images


No place like home

Courtesy of Brooke Heisinger In addition to balancing her time between the farm and her job off the farm, the soon-to-be 23-year-old also is an active South Dakota Pork Producers Council board member.
In addition to balancing her time between the farm and her job off the farm, the soon-to-be 23-year-old also is an active South Dakota Pork Producers Council board member.

When Brooke Heisinger, then Brooke Pravecek, left home for her first year of college at South Dakota State University in 2014, she had no intention of returning to the family farm — a 500-head nursery, 1,000-head feedlot and 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa in southeastern South Dakota.

“I helped on the farm growing up, but when I went off to college, I really didn’t want to come back to the farm. My boyfriend worked on a farm, but he wanted to be in the ag field, not working on a farm,” Heisinger says. “Well, we both went to SDSU, and within the first year we decided that we wanted to move back to my family farm.”

Heisinger says it wasn’t anything specific that happened her freshman year that made her homesick; she just found herself looking forward to each time she got to go home.

Heisinger wasted no time in getting back. It took just three years for her to graduate from SDSU with a degree in entrepreneurial studies and a minor in agriculture business. Now married to that boyfriend, Jared, Heisinger says both were eager to get started on the farm — but first some changes had to be made to make the business profitable for the entire family.

“At that point, my dad knew he needed to expand to make it realistic for us to come back in,” Heisinger says. “He decided to go with the pork industry, because Jared was really interested in that, and a lot of people had started building hog barns.”

Her father decided to quit the nursery and instead build two 2,400-head finishing barns. He also scaled up the feedlot to 2,000 head, and Heisinger and her husband brought 60 cow-calf pairs into the business.

Nights, weekends
Even with all the expansions, Heisinger and her husband knew realistically she would have to take a full-time job off the farm to make it work. Right out of college, she worked for a vet clinic and now is a credit analyst at a local bank. While her job takes her off the farm most days from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Heisinger is devoted to farm chores nights and weekends.

“It’s very challenging — but right now I don’t have any kids, so that makes it a little easier,” Heisinger says. “College taught me a lot about how to balance my time, to figure out what’s most important: instead of just doing a bunch of things halfway, giving all my ambition to get it done the right way.”

In addition to balancing her two jobs, the soon-to-be 23-year-old also is an active South Dakota Pork Producers Council board member; she was elected in January. Heisinger was selected to take part in the National Pork Producers Council Spring Legislative Action Conference in April, where she had the opportunity to visit with members of the House and the Senate and connect with nearly 100 other producers from across the U.S. 

She says, “Not only being a woman, but also being young and having the senators and representative respect your opinion, and having older people who obviously have been farming a lot longer than me and know a lot more than me trust me to share what I know and speak: That’s very empowering for me and makes me want to keep stepping outside of my box.”

Heisinger says producers who would like to entice the next generation to come back to the farm also may need to step out their box.

“I was very fortunate that my dad and grandpa made it possible for Jared and I to come back. It can be very hard to get the older generation to make changes,” she says. “On top of that, it is very challenging to be a young producer in the current agriculture environment. If what the operation has always done isn’t working, step outside the box and think what else can be done.”

Swine’s Promising Next Generation is independently produced by National Hog Farmer and brought to you through the support of Boehringer Ingleheim.

Rehearsal dinner good time to reach other 98%

Getty Images/iStockphoto Three people discussing in a farm field

Never pass up an opportunity to learn, or to teach.

As I travel, if the conversation turns to food, which it often does, I attempt to spread my knowledge of the pork industry and the benefits of adding pork to diets. And, of course I attempt to spread the word on proper pork preparation whenever possible.

I also try to spread the word of agriculture, in general.

Just last weekend I had the pleasure of having the “students” travel to me, as we hosted the wedding rehearsal supper at our rural home the evening before I would give my youngest daughter away in marriage. A lot of the groom’s extended family descended upon our southern Minnesota acreage from northern Wisconsin, but most came from the South Side of Chicago.

These visitors couldn’t get over the openness of our countryside, with the nearest neighbor a half mile away, compared to the mere feet for some of their homes.

Maybe they were simply playing along because I was feeding them for the evening, but this captive audience was genuinely interested in agriculture and the rural way of life. I am not an active farmer, but I do share property with a man who does work the land, thus he has large equipment parked here and there. You should have seen the eyes of the visitors from the Windy City when this farmer rolled in with his “sprayer truck.” A visit to the shed where the 24-row planter and JD combine were parked further enthralled the visitors.

One of the visitors aided in this rural-urban education as he shared how farrowing pens are created so that sows would not be able to harm the baby piglets. You could see the light bulb going on in their heads.

Farmers are continually being told of the need to share the stories of why they do what they do, why they farm the way they farm, to explain the method to our madness to the unknowing public. However, it never hurts to have “one of them” to help tell our story.

I like to think that a visit that lasted only a few hours, will stay with our visitors for a long time to come. And maybe they are sharing what they learned with their neighbors and friends on the South Side.

OIE convenes Asia regional meeting to develop ASF plans

zhaojiankang/iStock/Getty Images pigs on farm in China_zhaojiankang_iStock_Getty Images-700500398.jpg

The 4,480 ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in Asia are a threat with global implications, as the region accounts for at least 50% of the world’s domestic pig production and pork is one of the major sources of animal protein, according to an announcement from the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) Regional Representation for Asia & the Pacific.

Unfortunately, reducing the impact of ASF is complicated by the variety of pig production systems coexisting in the region, OIE said.

Along with the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), OIE has convened a two-day meeting in Tokyo, Japan, of animal health experts and national authorities to try to find solutions adapted to the Asian context. Collectively known as the Global Framework for Transboundary Animal Diseases Standing Group of Experts on ASF, participants discussed ways to prevent further ASF spread. Agreed actions will build on those implemented after the group’s first meeting in April 2019.

Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Takamori Yoshikawa opened the meeting and stated that developing measures tailored to this region is important, such as tightening border control measures to ensure that all travelers, prior to departure, do not carry out or carry in items that pose risk of spreading ASF. He also stressed the importance of on-farm biosecurity in order to prevent entry of diseases onto farms as well as a continuous education and awareness campaign for all relevant players, including producers, veterinarian and travelers.

OIE regional representative for Asia and the Pacific Hirofumi Kugita noted that ASF "is causing losses and a huge impact to the swine industry in all countries the disease has occurred. With no [existing] vaccine or cure, countries rely on biosecurity and border control as the main tools to protect their pig populations and secure the livelihoods of farmers that depend on them.”

Wantanee Kalpravidh, regional manager of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases of FAO’s Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific, noted that “together, we aim to agree and share a clear set of recommendations to help countries in the region implement stricter biosecurity and border control in order to reduce the spread of the disease.”

Kugita and Kalpravidh reiterated that the consequences of ASF in Asia should not be underestimated and emphasized that to minimize the long-term effects of ASF, strong collaboration from the international community is needed.

Meanwhile, in Europe, more cases of ASF are being reported, with the first case discovered in Slovakia and new several new outbreaks in Hungary.

Allflex hires Honegger as swine specialist

Allflex USA, part of Antelliq announces the hiring of Lauren Honegger as the swine specialist. In her new role, Honegger will be based in Champaign, Ill., and will be responsible for on-farm sales and technical support, including implementation of, and training and education on, identification products and data collection.

“We’re pleased to add Lauren to our team,” says Steve Bretey, North American Swine Business manager for Allflex Livestock Intelligence. “Her background in all phases of swine production, research and consumer outreach will give our customers insight on a number of fronts.”

Honegger is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree with emphasis in meat science and muscle biology. Her graduate research focused on cooking and consumers’ perception of pork. Honegger also gained hands-on experience in all phases of swine production as assistant manager at the Imported Swine Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Her graduate experience and lifelong involvement in the pork industry, including serving as a junior board member with the Team Purebred junior swine association and intern with the National Pork Board, will influence her swine production work with Allflex.

“I’m excited to join the progressive team at Allflex,” says Honegger. “I look forward to meeting new customers and renewing touches I’ve made in the industry and during my tenure at the University of Illinois.”

Allflex is the world leader in design technology, manufacture and delivery of animal identification, management and monitoring systems across all production animal species, companion animals and fish. Allflex has brought cutting-edge, practical applications of visual, electronic and radio frequency in animal identification technology across the world for more than six decades, contributing to a safer global food supply. Allflex also offers precision instruments and syringes for the veterinary and livestock markets and tissue sampling devices for genomics for all species. Allflex has manufacturing and technology subsidiaries in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and China. Allflex products are distributed in 60 countries worldwide.

Source: Allflex, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

New UK border campaign tackles threat of African swine fever

Plum Island Animal Disease Center African Swine Fever and you: What’s up with that?

A new campaign was launched today at the United Kingdom’s border to help keep the damaging animal disease African swine fever out of the country.

The disease, which poses no threat to human health but is fatal for pigs, has already spread widely across Asia — including China and Vietnam — and parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Cases have also been reported throughout Sub Saharan Africa.

This has led to the deaths of over 800,000 pigs and wild boar in Europe and an estimated four million pigs in Asia, causing global pork prices to rise. If the disease was found in the UK, it could have a devastating impact on the UK’s commercial pig stock of five million pigs, as well as the trade of our pork products.

The main ways that the disease can spread are:

  •  Tourists or travelers bringing contaminated pork products with them from infected areas. All travelers are strongly advised to avoid bringing any pork products — including preserved meats, ham or pork sandwiches — back to the UK. Bringing in potentially contaminated pork products from affected regions is an offense — it can result in prosecution and a large fine.
  • Pig keepers and members of the public feeding catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products to their animals. It is illegal to do so.
  • Travelers returning from ASF-affected areas coming into contact with domestic pigs, commercial holdings or small holdings. The disease can spread via contaminated clothing, footwear or equipment, as well as pork products. 
  • Contaminated vehicles and equipment being taken onto commercial pig premises or workers wearing contaminated clothing or boots when entering pig premises.

United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Are you carrying food in your luggage?

United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Keep African swine fever out of the UK

Today’s new campaign aims to safeguard the UK’s pork and pig industries by targeting anyone who has the potential to introduce ASF to the UK. It includes a new poster campaign, which will be introduced to UK airports and ports throughout the summer, to raise awareness of the disease and the risks of bringing back contaminated products.

Border Force officers enforce controls at the border on illegal meat by searching freight, passengers and luggage and will seize and destroy illegally imported meat products.

Lord John Gardiner, Minister for Biosecurity, says, “While there has never been an outbreak of African swine fever in the UK, we are not complacent and already have robust measures in place to protect against animal disease outbreaks. This poster campaign at UK airports and ports adds to the strict control measures we have put in place to ensure that no live pigs, wild boar or pork products from affected areas reach the UK.

“It is essential all tourists and holidaymakers do not bring to the UK any pork products to protect the UK’s high biosecurity.”

Christine Middlemiss, the UK chief veterinary officer, says, “Keeping African swine fever out of the UK is one of my top priorities. As we have seen around the world, its impact on pig farmers and the wider pork industry has been devastating. The virus survives incredibly well in pork meat and can survive for months in smoked, dried and cured meats and likely years in frozen meat.

“That is why it is crucial that anyone travelling from affected regions takes this advice seriously in order to ensure that there is no spread of the disease to animals in the UK,” she says.

Zoë Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, says, “The NPA is delighted that DEFRA and UK Border Force are launching this campaign. We have always stressed that the biggest threat to our pig herd is from products coming in from affected countries, so this is an important step to help keep ASF from entering our country. The government has estimated that a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ ASF outbreak could cost the country £90 million. We believe the figure would be much higher and that is why we need to mobilize every available resource and effort to help prevent such a catastrophe.”

Source: United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Be responsibly aggressive this fall with manure application

National Pork Board Nutrient management
Many producers across the Midwest were hit with a lengthy wet spring, which delayed planting and interrupted spring-applied manure plans. This is on top of what, for many, was a challenging, wet fall in 2018.

By Patrick Maschhoff, Associate Director of The Maschhoffs Environmental, and John Kroeger, Senior Environmental Operations Manager
We have one recommendation for those applying manure this fall — be responsibly aggressive.

Many producers across the Midwest were hit with a lengthy wet spring, which delayed planting and interrupted spring-applied manure plans. This is on top of what, for many, was a challenging, wet fall in 2018.

Therefore, we highly recommend pig producers make fall-applied manure a priority. The natural freeze-thaw cycle will alleviate any compaction issues come spring. Of course, this assumes the soil temperature is below 50 degrees F. So, be responsibly aggressive this fall with manure application.

The other important thing is to start planning now. Make sure your custom applicator and nutrient consultant know the plan. This wet 2019 spring means a lot of people will be pushing to get fall gallons applied. Don’t wait until everyone is in the thick of application to confirm nutrient plans. Your goal should be to have everything ready to go as soon as the crop comes off the field.

Also, a lot of folks are likely considering changing up rotations or going to corn-on-corn as prices rebound. This can also help empty storage ahead of 2020 planting.

Additionally, others have applied manure ahead of soybean planting in the past. While it’s best reserved for the corn crop’s fertility needs, it does have beneficial effects for soybeans. In these cases, the soybean plant will utilize the nitrogen from manure, rather than through the nitrogen fixation process.

One final note on soybeans — depending on your location, you may have an opportunity in late-spring/early summer of 2020 to apply manure ahead of double-crop soybeans. Of course, this is not recommended after a wet spring due to compaction issues. However, it can provide an opportunity for those areas where manure storage is running tight.

Finally, everyone is aware that a late harvest is coming in 2019. Manure application will be shifted back in terms of priority and timing. That said, it’s extremely important that producers take advantage of the fall window in order to free up manure storage for the winter.

Sources: Patrick Maschhoff and John Kroeger, The Maschhoffs, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

MORNING Midwest Digest, July 31, 2019

A Wisconsin community is supporting the family of some farmer brothers who've disappeared on a trip to Missouri.

Some topsoils have dried out after flooding this spring. About half of Michigan topsoil is short or very short of moisture.

If you're up overnight, you might see a meteor shower over the next week.


Photo: Nastco/Getty Images


Farm Progress America, July 31, 2019

Max Armstrong shares that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., wanted to get information about hemp and he got plenty. Erica Stark, National Hemp Association, is pushing a ban on foreign imports of biomass from outside of North America. There is a concern about what pests or diseases the could be a problem with this new crop. Max looks at other issues that Stark raised.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Vitalij Sova/iStock/Getty Images Plus

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, July 30, 2019

The U.S. corn crop is lagging well behind average, and soybeans have a long way to go, too.

Debris from a Great Lakes shipwreck has been found near the coast of Michigan.


Photo: aardenn/Getty Images