Whistleblower Speaks Out Against HSUS

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Center for Consumer FreedomIt looks like the tables have been turned on animal liberation group Humane Society of the United States. A former undercover investigator for the extremist group is featured in a just released video by HumaneWatch.org discussing gestation stalls or also called individual maternity pens (IMPs) which are used to house pregnant pigs. You can watch the video below.

IMPs provide for individual care and feeding while preventing the fighting that occurs when pregnant sows are housed in groups. Mainstream veterinary groups support maternity pens as a humane housing option. However, HSUS has been lobbying legislators to ban these gestation pens and are pressuring food companies to only source pork from farms that use group housing of sows.

According to the HSUS investigator, who worked on pork farms:

  • “When they’re not in crates, they [sows] fight each other. With gestation crates, they can’t bite each other…They’re in a safe spot.”
  • “I have to believe they [HSUS] know the pigs would prefer to be in gestation crates…but choose instead to push the anti-gestation crate legislation because of what it would do to the pig farming industry.”
  • “Objectively, HSUS should be for gestation crates if they’re honestly, truly for animal welfare.”
  • “Farmers, veterinarians, and animal scientists stand opposed to HSUS’s campaign against individual maternity pens—and now one of its own investigators does, too,”

Will Coggin, director of research for HumaneWatch.org. “HSUS counts on manipulating an unknowing public with its propaganda, but the power of truth is demonstrated by one of HSUS’s own.”

About 200 large-animal veterinarians have signed an open letter in support of individual maternity pens. Recent HSUS attempts to ban these pens in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire have all failed after legislators learned the full story.

Animal Activists, Animal Agriculture, Video, Wackos

USDA Extends ARC and PLC Deadlines

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

*UPDATED* with audio below

USDAAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a one week extension for producers to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to make the decision, update yield history or reallocate base acres will now be April 7, 2015.

“This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace,” said Vilsack. “Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions,” said Vilsack.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm’s current yield and base acres will be used. If a program choice of ARC or PLC is not made, there will be no 2014 crop year payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage for the 2015 through 2018 crop years. Producers who have an appointment at their local FSA offices scheduled by April 7 will be able to make an election between ARC and PLC, even if their actual appointment is after April 7.

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

The initial deadline for yield and base decisions was February 27. One month ago, USDA announced the first deadline extension to March 31.

*UPDATE* Val Dolcini, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) hosted a media conference call at noon central time on the deadline extension.

Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini
Audio, USDA

Research Finds Propane Cuts GHG Emissions

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

propane-savesNew research commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) finds that propane equipment cuts greenhouse gas emissions and reduces fuel costs.

“A Comparative Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Propane and Competing Energy Sources,” prepared by Nexight Group, studied 14 applications to compare emissions from propane-powered equipment with emissions from conventional energy sources such as gasoline, diesel, and electricity.

Among the findings of the analysis was that propane-powered irrigation engines emit 20 percent fewer GHGs than those using gasoline, and 11 percent fewer GHGs than by using diesel.

Propane-autogas-powered work trucks like the Ford F-350 by Roush CleanTech produce 11 percent fewer GHGs than gasoline without sacrificing torque, horsepower or payload. Compared with those using gasoline, propane-powered forklifts produce 12 percent fewer GHGs.

Propane also beats electricity in cutting GHGs. Propane-powered furnaces emit 73 percent fewer GHGs, and propane-powered water heaters emit between 36 percent and 39 percent fewer GHGs than their electric counterparts.

PERC offers incentive programs to help offset the up-front costs of new propane equipment and home upgrades in exchange for performance data and customer feedback. The Propane Farm Incentive Program offers up to $5,000 on eligible irrigation engines, ag heaters, grain dryers, and portable generators. In addition, the Propane Heat & Power Incentive Program offers financial incentives up to $10,000 for eligible propane-powered products, such as standby generators and combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

Farming, Irrigation, PERC, Propane

Drones Can Increase Efficiency of Farming

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ncgadrones1Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), better known as drones, will make farming more efficient, lower operating costs, and reduce their environmental impact. That was the message from National Corn Growers Association Manager of Public Policy Clint Raine to a group of policymakers and reporters during a panel about the applications of UAS technology to the agricultural industry.

“I’m optimistic about the possibilities for UAS technology and what it could mean for farmers,” said Raine. “These devices will make farms more efficient and sustainable. Lowering the costs and environmental impact of farming is good not only for farmers, but also consumers.”

While unmanned aerial systems have many commercial applications, they are expected to have the greatest impact on the agriculture industry – by one estimate, adding more than $75 billion to the economy by 2025. UAS are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and are currently banned for commercial use. NCGA and other agricultural organizations hope to see that changed.

“If this technology were available for commercial use, some immediate applications include livestock monitoring, crop scouting and field mapping. Being able to use UAS for any of these jobs would increase efficiency on farms and provide instant feedback to the farmer,” said Raine.

Drone technology could be used to detect early pest infestations, crop disease, poor soil health, irrigation levels, and overall crop health. Raine said the technology makes farmers much more efficient, allowing a producer to scout a field in 10-15 minutes in what used to take an hour.

Corn, NCGA, Precision Agriculture

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • Wisconsin’s largest craft beer week returns May 1-10, 2015 to celebrate its 5th anniversary.
  • New Holland recently announced that Bridon Cordage will be its official supplier of New Holland-branded plastic twine.
  • Peyton Schmitt of Nichols, Iowa, has been named the Iowa state winner of the 2015 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members.
  • Agnition announced that it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment.
Zimfo Bytes

Commodity Prices Greatest Challenge Facing Farmers

John Davis Leave a Comment

agribank-logoA new poll of farm credit leaders says commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing farmers in 2015. This news release from AgriBank says weather and the Farm Bill are also near the top of the list of challenging issues for ag producers.

More than 61 percent of the directors — from the boards of 17 Farm Credit lenders in 15 states and of AgriBank, their St. Paul-based funding bank — said commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing ag producers this year. The directors, most of whom are also farmers or ranchers, indicated the next biggest challenges are input costs (over 22 percent), Mother Nature (more than 7 percent) and Farm Bill implications (nearly 6 percent). Land rents and interest rates were each cited by less than 3 percent of the respondents.

“Prices for corn and other key commodities produced in our region are down dramatically from recent highs to more normal levels,” said Doug Felton, chair of the AgriBank board and a seed and livestock farmer based in Northfield, Minn. “Lower prices will have a direct impact on the profitability of crop producers. The good news is many crop producers are in a strong financial position to weather this turn in the ag cycle. And the livestock industry is expected to continue to benefit from lower feed costs.”

AgriBank conducted the poll during its recent annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.


What is Best for GMO Labeling?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Which potential presidential candidate would be best for ag?”

Of the 12 potential presidential candidates included in our poll, only one has officially declared. But two hopefuls have risen to the top of our poll. It seems many believe Hillary Clinton and Scott Walker might have the best interest of agriculture in mind, if elected.

Here are the poll results:

  • Joe Biden – 3%
  • Jeb Bush – 11%
  • Ben Carson – 5%
  • Chris Christie – 1%
  • Hillary Clinton – 22%
  • Ted Cruz – 7%
  • Mike Huckabee – 13%
  • Rand Paul – 4%
  • Rick Perry – 2%
  • Marco Rubio – 3%
  • Scott Walker – 19%
  • Elizabeth Warren – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What is best for GMO labeling?

Agricultural organizations are voicing support for the bi-partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced in the U.S. House recently. What do you think is best when it comes to the labeling of GMO’s? Should it be mandatory or voluntary? Should it include all foods? Should states decide? Let us know your opinion.


2015 Ag Media Summit Program First Look

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Ag Media Summit 2015Planning on attending the 2015 Ag Media Summit? Good. Still considering? The first schedule with topics and speakers for the sessions has been posted to the AMS website. It’s not a final schedule so you might want to check it periodically.

Online registration begins May 1.

Headquarters Hotel:

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
7500 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Scottsdale AZ, US 85258

To make your online hotel reservations at the Hyatt
click here: https://aws.passkey.com/event/11186616/owner/6765/home

Ag Media Summit

Propane Grain Dryers Increase Efficiency

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

propane-grainFarmers at Commodity Classic were showing increased interest in upgrading their grain dryers to high efficiency propane units.

Cinch Munson with the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) says their research shows that a new propane grain dryer can result in 50% efficiency savings. “PERC has worked with a number of grain dryers manufacturers over the past few years to upgrade the efficiency of grain dryers on the market,” he said. In addition, PERC offers incentive programs to help farmers with the purchase price of a new grain dryer. “There’s also other grant programs available to help people purchase high efficiency grain dryers,” said Munson.

In this interview, Munson also talks about more interest in propane-powered lawnmowers and propane heating systems for animal containment facilities and greenhouses: Interview with Cinch Munson, PERC

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Audio, Commodity Classic, Energy, Grains, PERC, Propane

Ag Groups Support Non-GMO Label Bill

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

pompeoAgricultural organizations are voicing support for the bi-partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced in the U.S. House Wednesday by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC).

The bill includes a new provision to allow those who wish to label their products as GMO-free to do so by through an accredited certification process. “Our goal for this legislation remains to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, support innovation, and keep food affordable,” said Pompeo.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) supports the creation of a national labeling standard to “give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman. “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 would clarify the FDA as the nation’s foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the same agency that administers the USDA Organic Program.”

The Agricultural Retailers Association also endorsed the legislation. “Agricultural retailers are optimistic the broad support of this bipartisan proposal will lead to quick passage of the bill,” said Daren Coppock, ARA President and Chief Executive Officer. “A patchwork of labeling laws would be untenable for farmers and food companies, and result in less clarity for consumers.”

“Introduction of this legislation is a first step towards passage of a federal law to keep the authority to set safe, reasonable and national labeling requirements regarding GMOs with U.S. government agencies that have decades of scientific and regulatory expertise in this area,” added Coalition for Safe Affordable Food spokesperson Claire Parker.

The National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association are also in support of the bill and urge Congress to pass it quickly.

AFBF, Ag Group, ARA, ASA, GMO, Government, NCGA