National Briefs - Perdue will get hearing this week

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Agriculture nominee Perdue will get hearing this week

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on March 23 to consider Sonny Perdue's nomination to be agriculture secretary.

President Donald Trump announced in January that he would nominate Perdue. After a seven-week delay, Perdue submitted the necessary ethics paperwork last week and said he would step down from several companies bearing his name.

Perdue, 70, is a farmer's son who would be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades.

Perdue is one of the few remaining Cabinet nominees waiting to be confirmed.


Federal cyanide trap injures eastern Idaho boy, kills dog

Federal authorities have confirmed that a cyanide trap intended to kill coyotes in eastern Idaho instead killed a dog in an incident that local law enforcement officials say also injured a 14-year-old boy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged that workers with its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services placed the device called an M-44. The device activated and killed a 3-year-old Lab on March 16 near Pocatello. Wildlife Services has removed M-44s in that immediate area. It's not clear how many other devices had been set.

Bannock County Sheriff officials said that device was on top of a ridge about 500 yards from the boy's home, which is in a foothills area with other homes outside Pocatello.

M-44s are spring-activated devices typically smeared with bait that shoot poison into an animal's mouth when it tugs on the trap. The federal government uses the devices to control predator populations in an effort to limit losses to livestock operators.


Agreement condemns milk powder products, bars distribution

Federal officials say an agreement condemns milk powder products seized from a Strasburg company and bars further distribution of adulterated milk powder products after inspectors allege they found unsanitary conditions and salmonella at its facility.

The Department of Justice announced a consent decree of condemnation and permanent injunction against Valley Milk Products.

A November complaint alleged that certain milk powder products were manufactured under unsanitary conditions and the Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of salmonella in the facility and in undistributed samples.

Under the agreement, the seized products were condemned and forfeited, but Valley Milk can try to bring them into compliance under FDA supervision. Valley Milk agreed to not resume milk powder product production without corrective action. The agreement doesn't affect liquid milk products


Widow sues amid listeria outbreak tied to raw milk cheese

The widow of a Vermont man who died after eating raw milk cheese tied to a listeria outbreak has filed a lawsuit against the New York creamery that made it.

Veronica Friedman is the widow of 73-year-old Richard Friedman, of Putney. She filed her lawsuit Friday in New York against the Vulto Creamery, of Walton, NY.

Last week federal officials said a Listeria monocytogenes bacterium outbreak affected six people, killing one in Vermont and another in Connecticut. The outbreak likely originated from a soft raw milk cheese made by Vulto, which recalled several soft cheeses last week.

Friedman's lawsuit says her husband was sickened last October. He died Nov. 2. She's seeking monetary damages and a jury trial.


House to vote on $2 million in dairy farm relief

New Hampshire's dairy farmers will soon be one step closer to getting financial relief.

The House is taking up legislation Thursday to provide $2 million in relief payments to dairy farmers strained by last year's drought. The bill has already passed the Senate.

The $2 million is less than farmers had initially hoped for and will come months after they first asked for relief. The drought forced many farmers to spend more on feed or reduce the size of their herds. Dairy farmers say they're already facing a financial strain due to low federal milk prices.

The bill will award the $2 million in relief based on a calculation of how much farmers lost in feed and production from 2015 to 2016.