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CENTENNIAL, CO

Deadline nears for BQA award nominations

Nominations for the 2018 national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards are due by June 2, 2017. The beef checkoff-funded program, now in its 12th year, recognizes five winners in the areas of beef and dairy beef production, marketing and education.
Categories for the award are:

BQA Cow-Calf, BQA Feedyard and BQA Dairy awards; BQA Educator Award; and BQA Marketer Award.

Winners of the BQA Awards are selected by a committee of BQA-certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups.

For the application and nomination requirements, go to www.bqa.org. Applications should be submitted to Grace Webb at gwebb@beef.org.

WASHINGTON DC

Livestock industry calls for relief from regulations

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council filed comments this week to the EPA calling for immediate action on several burdensome regulations the agency put forward under previous Administrations.

The groups said that the regulations, “inhibit job creation, are ineffective, are unnecessary, or impose costs that exceed the environmental benefits. Often, these regulations impose federal requirements on cattle producers that discourage innovation and impose rigid requirements that do not work on cattle operations and, moreover, defy common sense.”

NCBA and PLC called on the agency to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule with a rule that will clarify the extent of federal jurisdiction without overreaching. The replacement rule, the comments state, must work for cattle producers, follow the rule of law, and replace each instance of WOTUS in the Code of Federal Regulations so that there is one single definition across the federal government.

The associations also called on the agency to repeal the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) rule for manure management.

NCBA and PLC also targeted the Spill Prevention Control and Counters rule for farms, which has been an on-going regulatory burden for producers. 

Finally, the associations called on EPA to protect the privacy of farmers and ranchers in implementing the agency’s regulations. Many farmers and ranchers maintain a personal residence on their operations and this information may be protected under privacy protections of the law.

WASHINGTON DC

Fighting cattle fever tick

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the immediate funding of up to $6 million to help offset the costs associated with eradicating cattle fever ticks and preventing the spread of this significant threat to the U.S. cattle industry.

Since November, the presence of the fever tick has expanded beyond the Permanent Quarantine ‘Buffer Zone’ established between Mexico and the U.S. Costs associated with both treating the fever tick and preventing its spread have increased exponentially as producers find themselves in the path of an ever-expanding affected area, said Dwight Keller, USCA Animal Health Committee chairman.

If an infected animal is found, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) treats the animal and works with its herd mates for a minimum of 6 to 8 months. This requires producers to gather their herd and provide the facilities needed to execute treatment, which equates to an undue financial burden on producers.

WASHINGTON DC

Beef producers visit Japan & South Korea

In mid-May, beef producer and chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Brett Morris, took part in a beef industry trade visit that traveled to Japan and South Korea. While there, he learned about the market conditions in the two highest-value destinations for U.S. beef exports.

Morris – a dairy, cow-calf and stocker operator from Oklahoma – also took part in promotional activities, and met with key international customers and industry contacts. First, his observations from Japan:

 Morris said the countries also use offal meats and other variety meats normally not used in the U.S.,  which offers a potential market due to the high demand.

ANN ARBOR, MI

Chicken ordinance expansion aids school

The city of Ann Arbor is expanding its backyard chicken ordinance to allow hens to be kept and raised on school properties.

The City Council voted unanimously May 15 to give final approval to the ordinance changes proposed by Councilman Zachary Ackerman, according to the Ann Arbor News.

Ackerman is working with a class at Summers-Knoll School that wants to build a chicken coop this fall. Teacher Chris Swinko and four of his students lobbied the council for the changes.

The city's backyard chicken ordinance had permitted up to six hens to be raised on single-family and two-family residential properties. The changes now allow primary and secondary schools to raise chickens.

Ackerman says neighboring properties of a school will still need to be advised of its intent to raise chickens.

There are two types of permits that can be sought: a five-year permit allowing up to six hens and a one-year permit allowing up to two hens.

Chickens must be housed in an enclosed structure built in a backyard and in compliance with Ann Arbor's fence ordinance.

Swinko has said raising a small flock of hens on school grounds provides teachers "with an excellent opportunity to engage students in authentic work where they are challenged to solve problems, understand systems and collaborate with each other and their community."

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