Livestock briefs: Woman guilty of hiring illegal farm workers

Wisconsin State Farmer


Woman pleads guilty in probe of illegal labor at dairy farms

A judge has accepted a guilty plea in an investigation of illegal labor at dairies in Michigan's Thumb region.

Madeline Burke pleaded guilty to hiring people without verifying that they were eligible to work in the U.S. The government says the workers were in the U.S. illegally.

Burke and her husband are natives of Ireland. They operate two dairies near the tip of the Thumb. Burke has agreed to pay a fine of $187,500, which adds up to $1,500 per illegal worker.

Federal Judge Thomas Ludington accepted her guilty plea in a June 29 decision.
Charges still are pending against her husband, Denis Burke. He's accusing prosecutors of selectively targeting immigrant farmers. Dutch immigrants John and Anja Verhaar were prosecuted in 2010.

The government denies any discrimination.


Oregon regulators allow new dairy farm to operate 

Oregon regulators denied a request by environmental and animal rights groups to suspend operations at Lost Valley Farm, a controversial new dairy near Boardman, Oregon. 

East Oregonian reports the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality issued a hotly contested water pollution permit for the 30,000 cow farm on March 31. 

Opponents of the dairy filed a petition for reconsideration, urging officials to change their minds. 

The coalition also asked for a stay of Lost Valley's permit, which was rejected in a ruling handed down June 23. 

Opponents argue Lost Valley threatens to contaminate local groundwater and surface water as the dairy ramps up to full capacity over the next three years. 

A Lost Valley spokeswoman said the farm is pleased with the latest decision. 


Junior award created through Angus Foundation

Lifelong Angus sale manager, author, speaker, Angus enthusiast, youth supporter and former American Angus Association board member Tom Burke of Platte City, Mo., has been selected as the 2017 inductee into the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery, largely considered the highest honor in the livestock industry.

“Being inducted into the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery is the highest honor anyone in the livestock industry can achieve,” Burke says. “I couldn’t be more excited. I never dreamed I would be included in this elite group.”

A customary practice for Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery inductees is to designate a 501(c)(3) organization to receive charitable contributions raised in honor of the distinguished honoree. Funds are used to offset project expenses and Burke’s fundraising effort includes establishing the Tom Burke Angus Youth Endowment Fund through the Angus Foundation.

The endowment will create the Shining Star of the Future Award, a cash award that will be given to one National Junior Angus Association member age 12 or under. The winner will be selected through an application and interview process, announced at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS).


Four bears killed in one day after killing livestock, entering homes

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Spokesman Joe Lewandowski says four bears were killed in the Durango area on July 5.
The Durango Herald reports two bears were shot by homeowners after the bears entered their homes and two were tracked by Wildlife Services and euthanized.

A fifth bear was caught in a bear trap north of Durango but will be released.

One of the two bears that were euthanized killed a llama in Cortez and the other one killed pigs and chickens in Pagosa Springs.

In the past week, Park and Wildlife officials have received more than 100 calls about bear sightings that qualify as conflict situations.

Lewandowski says his crew hates to euthanize bears, but human safety comes first.


Conover Joins the Missouri Angus Association 

The Missouri Angus Association announced Julie Conover of Cameron, Mo., as the organization’s general manager. Conover began her role July 1 and will represent the state’s many dedicated Angus breeders. 

Conover is a third-generation Angus breeder who was active in 4-H, FFA and the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA). Always having a passion for agriculture, she stayed true to her roots while raising and showing Angus cattle. In her junior career, Conover participated in each of the contests available at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) and served as a leader in the Michigan Angus Association.

She has continued to stay involved with the Angus breed and currently serves on two American Angus Auxiliary committees. 

 Conover earned two bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University and began her career in Indiana as an agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor. While teaching, she received her master’s degree in agricultural and extension education from Iowa State University.  

In 2013 she joined Michigan State University Extension as the statewide 4-H livestock and veterinary science educator. She worked with faculty and extension staff, 4-H volunteers and stakeholders to evaluate and implement statewide programs that provided opportunities for youth to develop content knowledge and life skills.  

In the past four years, she has expanded the livestock and veterinary science programs by introducing the 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp and revamping the livestock-judging program. She has focused on curriculum development by creating 4-H Animal Science Anywhere lessons and bringing zoonotic disease education to the forefront of animal science.