Ag Briefs: Goats seized from activist's home

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs

BARABOO, WI

First whooping crane hatched at foundation dies

The first whooping crane hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin has died.

Foundation officials said the crane, named Gee Whiz, died on Feb. 24 of natural causes. He was 38 years and nine months old. A whooping crane's average life expectancy in captivity is about 25 years. The oldest crane in captivity died at age 46, according to the foundation.

Associated Press reported that Gee Whiz was conceived through artificial insemination using semen from the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. Gee Whiz sired 178 cranes and was known for his nasty disposition.

Whooping cranes are still working their way back from the brink of extinction. The population has grown from fewer than 20 birds in the mid-1940s to almost 850 birds today, according to the foundation.

DARIEN, WI

Darien packer recalls bison meat products

Sorg Farm Packing in Darien, WI, issued a voluntary Class II recall for summer sausage and snack stick products made from bison meat. According to DATCP, the products, which were produced for Yankee Farmer's Market in Warner, N.H., were not labeled with a refrigerated-handling statement. The recalled products include: Buffalo (bison) summer sausage, 8-oz. packages and Uncured buffalo snack stick, 1.75-oz. packages.

This is a Class II recall resulting from evidence collected during a routine inspection by state inspectors. Evidence shows that the products were not produced under a fully cooked, shelf stable Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan and therefore require refrigeration for safety. The products were not labeled with the appropriate safe handling statement to indicate refrigeration is necessary. 

No illnesses have been reported as a result of consuming​ these products. Anyone with signs or symptoms of a foodborne illness should contact their doctor. Consumers who have any of these products should discard them. Consumers and media with questions about this recall can contact Andy Sorg, Sorg Farm Packing owner at (262) 745-3307. 

RIVER FALLS, WI

UW River Falls to host show pig sale

4-H and FFA members looking to acquire a quality show pig are encouraged to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls its 16th annual Show Pig Sale on March 28.

The show will be held at AlfaLawn Dairy, N2859 290th St, Menomonie, WI. Viewing of Jan. and Feb. farrowed pigs will start at 1 p.m. with the sale beginning at 2 p.m., according to a release. All pigs are vaccinated and state tagged.

The UW-River Falls Poultry and Swine club will make lunch available during the sale. For more info call 715-220-6975.

FARGO, N.D.

USDA report alleges inhumane treatment of cow at NDSU lab

Cass County prosecutors said Tuesday they are looking into a U.S. Department of Agriculture report alleging inhumane treatment of a cow at the North Dakota State University Meat Laboratory.

According to an Associated Press report, the USDA outlined the incident in a notice to the lab last month that it was suspending inspections at the school. The report said it took several shots from a "captive bolt device" for employees to stun the cow. At one point a manager disassembled and reassembled the gun, but it misfired before a fifth shot rendered the cow unconscious, the notice said.

The allegations indicate an "egregious violation of the humane handling requirements" specified by federal rules, the report stated.

Federal inspectors will not be assigned to the meat laboratory until the school provides "written corrective actions and preventive measures" to assure that the handling and slaughter of animals will be done humanely, the USDA said.

DES MOINES, IA

World Pork Expo is a go

The 2021 World Pork Expo will take place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 9-11.

According to the National Pork Expo Council, NPPC will continue to monitor developments in COVID-19 guidelines (local, state, federal) for the World Pork Expo to ensure the health and safety of all participants. NPPC will provide guidance to exhibitors and attendees.

Registration information will soon be available online for those who plan to attend.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba

Unapproved ASF vaccines cause global concern

The Manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network says the use of illegal vaccines in China to protect pigs from African Swine Fever is cause for world wide concern, Farm.com reported.

African Swine Fever continues to circulate in China and some of the new outbreaks have been linked to the use of unapproved vaccines derived from live virus with two genes deleted.

Jette Christensen, manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network, says unlicensed or illegal vaccines being used in China have created a situation where vaccine strains of African Swine Fever are actually spreading and causing minor symptoms or clinical disease.

SEATTLE, WA

Starbucks' menu expands oat milk presence

Oat milk, the non-dairy milk alternative that has surged in popularity, is now a permanent fixture on the Starbucks menu, according to USA TODAY.

The coffee chain announced Monday will roll out Oatly oat milk, as an option for customers to all its stores nationwide starting Tuesday.  

To usher in the rollout, Starbucks is introducing a new beverage: the iced shaken espresso. 

"Oat milk" is made by soaking oats in water, and then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.

HARTFORD, CT

Goats seized from home of activist 

Connecticut authorities have seized dozens of goats from the home of a longtime environmental activist, in response to citizen complaints and surveillance that revealed animal welfare concerns, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Associated Press reported that state and local officials executed a search and seizure warrant at the home of Nancy Burton, the founder of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, a watchdog group that has been critical of the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, Conn., for the past two decades.

Officials said the search and seizure warrant was approved after citizen complaints and surveillance "that revealed animal welfare concerns, including mobility issues due to untrimmed hooves, excessive manure, lack of sufficient water, and structures in poor condition that did not provide adequate protection from the weather."

Burton told The Associated Press on Thursday that officials seized about 65 goats.

Burton accused officials of taking the goats not because of neglect, but to stop her testing of goat milk for radioactive materials linked to nuclear power plants. She also said she has been trying to find animal sanctuaries to take most of her goats, and state officials are aware of those efforts.

OMAHA, NE

Ag commodities co. treasurer sentenced for wire fraud

A former treasurer for an agricultural commodities business who was accused of embezzling more than $230,000 was sentenced to one year in prison.

Associated Press reported that Omer Sagheer, 48, of Omaha, Neb.,, also faces three years of supervised release after he finishes his prison term for wire fraud. 

Prosecutors said Sagheer fraudulently endorsed and deposited into his personal bank account about 10 checks that were made out to his Omaha employer, The Scoular Company.

The release said the money was spent on on a Mercedes-Benz convertible, on trips to Las Vegas and Canada and personal credit card bills. He has since paid restitution. 

MADISON, WI

Celebrate With DNR’s Air, Air Everywhere Poetry Contest

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Wisconsin DNR’s Air, Air Everywhere poetry contest.

Parents and teachers can lead students through an activity (or more than one) from the Air, Air Everywhere Teacher’s Activity Guide, which aims to teach 3-5 grade students about air quality and the importance of clean air.

Teachers and parents can submit original poems and riddles created by their student(s) to DNR. Three winning poems will have their work featured on the DNR website and social media.

Requirements: Open to all 3-5 grade students in Wis.; any form of original poetry or riddle is acceptable; Entry must be 200 words or less and describe air or the importance of clean air; Writing must be the original work of the student; each entry must include the name of the author, the name of the parent and teacher and the parent and teacher’s e-mail and phone number.

E-mail entries to: DNRAirEducation@wisconsin.gov. Submit entries by Friday, May 7, 2021 to be eligible.

FRANKFORT, KY

2021 Beef Expo sales exceed $770,000

he 2021 Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo finished with more than $770,000 in total sales in the 35th edition of the event at the Kentucky Exposition Center during the first weekend of March.

Total sales in 2021 were $773,590, a decrease of $215,040 compared to last year’s sales. Although total sales were down, the average sale increased by $142 to $2,191 per lot, with 129.5 less lots (353) auctioned this year, according to the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture.

Gelbvieh cattle brought an average of $3,417 per lot to lead all breeds. The sale topper was a $9,500 Gelbvieh Balancer Grand Champion Female from Green Hills Gelbvieh farm out of Mount Ulla, North Carolina. The Beef Expo welcomed 12 states and 11 breeds this year.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Maritime Commission urged to address shipping container shortage

Over one hundred U.S. House members wrote to the Federal Maritime Commission chairman, sharing “mounting concern over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from our ports.”

As the members wrote, there are reports that VOCCs “are delivering shipments to U.S. ports and then electing to leave without refilling empty containers with American goods for export.

According to the NPPC, such activity constricts entire supply chains and propels trade to move only in an inbound direction. These conditions are unsustainable for exporters, put significant strain on the U.S. economy, and simply unacceptable.”

The members urged the chairman to urgently resolve the matter. NPPC has been actively working on resolving the issue, recently joining more than 70 groups in sending a letter to President Biden, urging the administration to address this shipping crisis.