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BATON ROUGE, LA 

LSU Ag Center to sell off one of five research cattle herds

Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU Ag Center)  says it's going to sell many of the cattle in the largest of its five research herds, and eventually plans to eliminate cattle research at its facility in Homer, near the Arkansas state line.

The Hill Farm Research Station's beef researcher is leaving, "so the station's focus will be on poultry, forage and forestry research," AgCenter Associate Vice President Phil Elzer said in a news release on April 13. He said money from the cattle sale will plug holes in the animal program budget.

Officials haven't decided how many of the 371 mature and 69 younger cows and bulls will be sold at auction, AgCenter spokeswoman Tobie Blanchard said in an interview. Current prices for a 600-to-700 pound cow range from $1 to $1.33 a pound.

There are smaller research herds near Alexandria, Shreveport, Louisiana, in Iberia Parish and near the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria has about 200 head of cattle, with 151 at the Iberia Research Station, 94 at the Red River Research Station and a small herd at the Central Research Station in Baton Rouge.

Elzy said the Homer research station will lease about 640 acres for grazing and hay production.

OMAHA, NB

Farm and ranch land sales increase

Farmers National Company reports that real estate sales volume is up 21 percent during the first half of its fiscal year compared to last year and up 38 percent from a year earlier with an increase in both individual sales transactions and acres sold.

Acres sold by the company increased 10 percent from last year and 27 percent compared to two years ago. Transaction volume has also been on the increase, up 47 percent in the past two years. For the first half of its fiscal year, which runs from October through March, there were 470 transactions involving 63,925 acres.

Randy Dickhut, senior vice president, noted that the sales activity is being driven primarily by non-operating landowners.

“So far, few farm operators are selling land and investors continue to be in the market looking for opportunities to add acres to their holdings. The slow decline in the land market is part of the reason some are selling,” he said.

Some landowners have decided that now is the time to sell and capture some of the land appreciation seen in the last few years. Dickhut said that there is still good demand for land in most of the company’s 28-state service area.

Farmers National also reports continued strong land auction activity with a 12 percent increase in the number of auctions sales over last year at this time. The volume of listings for sale is also strong.

PORTLAND, ME

Maine senator joins push against plant-based milk options 

Maine Sen. Angus King says he is getting behind an effort to force non-dairy products to stop using labels with terms such as milk, yogurt and cheese.

The dairy industry has been pushing against plant-based alternatives to products that traditionally involve dairy products. The National Milk Producers Federation has said it wants the government to clarify the issue for consumers.

King, an independent, says he is supporting the "Dairy Pride Act," which he says would require the Food and Drug Administration to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of "mislabeled imitation dairy products."

King says it's an "insult" to Maine's dairy farmers that non-dairy products are allowed to call themselves milk.

The Good Food Institute, which advocates for plant-based foods, has accused lawmakers of putting the dairy industry ahead of consumers.

ARLINGTON, VA

National Dairy Farm Program updates drug residue manual

The National Dairy FARM Program has released the 2017 edition of its Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual, the primary educational tool for dairy managers about the judicious, responsible use of antibiotics and how to prevent drug residues in milk and meat.

The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual serves as a valuable tool to the over 40,000 dairy producers who participate in the FARM Program. It is a convenient resource used by dairy farmers to review the antibiotics approved for use in dairy animals, and to develop comprehensive on-farm best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues.

The 2017 edition now identifies drugs subject to the newly implemented Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), and contains updated industry data on the declining presence of antibiotic residues found in milk. It also contains newly approved products released in calendar year 2016.

The 2017 edition is now available for purchase in the FARM Program store. Any questions about the manual can be directed to dairyfarm@nmpf.org.

SYRACUSE, NY

Longtime operator of New York State Fair's milk bar pulling out

The dairy group that has run the popular Milk Bar at the New York State Fair since 1952 says it's pulling out because of funding issues with the Cuomo administration.

The nonprofit New York State Dairy Exhibits, Inc. tells The Post-Standard (http://bit.ly/2nDpgMg ) that it won't run the Dairy Products Building at the fairgrounds in suburban Syracuse.

Group leaders say the move comes after the state only came up with half of the $90,000 subsidy that was supposed to cover expenses for running last year's Milk Bar.

The state kicked in the funding after the group announced before the fair's opening that it planned to double the price of a cup of milk to 50 cents because it was losing money on the operation. The state money prevented the price from being raised for the first time since 1983.

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