Midwest briefs: Swine flu found, Ohio fair hogs to be destroyed

Wisconsin State Farmer


Ohio county fair hogs to be destroyed after swine flu found

State officials have ordered the slaughter of nearly 300 hogs at a county fair in Ohio after at least two animals tested positive for swine flu. 

WLWT-TV reports a Clinton County fair representative confirmed Thursday that hogs had tested positive and would be slaughtered. 

An Ohio Department of Agriculture spokesman said Friday that the fair will disinfect the barn and its contents to stop any spread of the virus. Department spokesman Mark Bruce says any equipment inside the barn will be released to owners after disinfection. 

Hog breeder Joey Johnson says it's been difficult, especially for children whose animals will be slaughtered. 

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when humans are infected with swine flu it's typically transmitted by prolonged exposure to hogs at agricultural fairs. 


Illinois State Fair causes stir with route change 

Parade officials are receiving criticism for their decision to move the traditional route for the annual Illinois State Fair. 

The State Journal-Register reports that the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade scheduled for Aug. 10 in Springfield. It will now start in the city's Lincoln Park and go north, bypassing a street it has passed through for years. 

Mayor Jim Langfelder says he opposes the route change because it interferes with the city's tradition. 

Rebecca Clark, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, says the new route will provide handicapped-accessible bathrooms, more shade and water fountains for participants and spectators. 

Clark says the change in route will save costs because fewer streets will need to be blocked off. The parade is expected to drop from $10,000 to less than $5,000. 


7 hog facility permit applications withdrawn in South Dakota 

Seven hog facility permit applications in the southeastern part of South Dakota have been withdrawn after recent backlash. 

The applications were submitted by Karl Schenk, Craig Johnson and Jay Cutts for concentrated animal feeding operations in Yankton County. They withdrew their requests Monday, the Press & Dakotan reported. 

The applications were originally approved during a Yankton Planning & Zoning board meeting in June. But the County Board of Adjustment tabled them after a lawyer representing opponents said a number of items usually completed before reaching the adjustment board hadn't been completed. 

The proposals received a lot of publicity, with large anti-facility crowds gathering at the board meetings and opposition organizations forming, including the group Citizens Fighting for Quality of Life. Many residents opposing the facilities said the hog farms would affect the community's quality of life. 

Each proposed facility was expected to house a 2,400-head operation. That's less than the number of animal units requiring a state permit. 


Extreme drought conditions expand in South Dakota 

Extreme drought conditions in South Dakota have worsened over the past week in the north-central part of the state. 

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly 11 percent of the state being in extreme drought. That's up from a little over 4 percent last week. 

Roughly 31 percent of the state is rated in severe drought, up slightly from a week ago. Another nearly 31 percent of South Dakota is experiencing moderate drought conditions, an increase from just below 24 percent last week. 

The Agriculture Department estimates the state's winter wheat crop will total 28 million bushels, down 56 percent from last year, and the spring wheat crop at 32 million bushels, down 32 percent. 


CHS and ASA partner for agronomy training development

The nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, and The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) signed an agreement on June 28, to collaborate in creating a dynamic, online-learning program focused on improving sustainability practices and standards in production agriculture.

The curriculum will be designed for agronomists and agribusiness professionals and will establish a recognized, industry-wide standard of education to help agronomists and other agriculture professionals truly implement sustainable practices in the field.   

The training program will be delivered in the form of webinars, case studies, live open-format remote meetings, and a virtual farm tour. With a focus on measuring sustainability and continuous improvement in production agriculture, the curriculum will cover topics such as 4R Nutrient Stewardship, Resistance Management, and Precision Applications.  

After training is completed for the initial cohort of CHS employees, the program will be made available to others through ASA's online learning platform. The release date for open enrollment will be announced later in 2017.   

The interactive, on-demand training modules will focus on proven best practices for integrated nutrient management and crop protection as well as sustainable farming practices based on benchmark data and case studies from CHS retailers like the location based out of Shipman, Illinois.