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Nebraska

VOL. 30 ISSUE 7

Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

Drought Ravages Agriculture

Photo Courtesy of the Ainsworth Star Journal

FB Names Fischer, Smith and Fortenberry ‘Friends of Agriculture’

Compare the House and Senate Versions of the 2012 Farm Bill

pages 7-8

page 15

Find Out What’s Happening In Congress This Summer

Going to the Nebraska State Fair? Learn More About Its New App

page 10

page 18

page 14


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AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

The President’s Message

contents In Every Issue 3-4 County News 5 Member Benefits 6 What’s Cooking? 10 National News 14 Cover Story 26 Want Ads

Drought Ravages Agriculture

page 14

Photo Courtesy of the Ainsworth Star Journal

On the Cover The drought of 2012 is tightening its grip. Find out its impact across the state.

AFBF Annual Meeting The 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting will be held in Nashville, Tenn. Find out more about Nebraska’s group dinner and other attractions in Nashville. page 11

By Steve Nelson, President Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation®

T

he drought of 2012 has tightened its grip in the impacts these conditions are having on farmers, Nebraska and the nation. ranchers and our communities. Officials at the National Drought Mitigation CenREAUTHORIZE LIVESTOCK ter have said this is the widest-spread U.S. drought DISASTER ASSISTANCE since 1956. With the month of August being typiI know that in many ways these actions are inadecally hot and dry in Nebraska, it is reasonable to quate to meet the demands created by the drought. assume that conditions will only get worse. It is important that we pass the 2012 Farm Bill and As I’ve traveled across Nebraska, I have seen reauthorize a number of livestock disaster assiscrops and grazing land deteriorate significantly over tance programs that expired at the end of 2011. the past several weeks. I have talked with farmers, Now it is vitally important that we implement that ranchers and livestock livestock disaster comfeeders. Some have ponent. I hope Conbegun to chop corn for gress acts sooner rather feed and others have than later. sold off cattle. This will It is more important continue. I also realize now than ever before that the cost of supplethat we stand together mental feed continues in agriculture. There to increase, causing addis nothing gained by ed strain to an already blaming others for the stressful situation. catastrophic situation Fires do not discrimiwe find ourselves in nate, destroying propbecause of something erty, high-producing caused by Mother Nagrazing lands and longture. time homesteads. The While the intensity Roadside Hay personal toll is tremenof the sun has pushed dously high and as the temperatures to triple digits and the land continues winds shift and change in the northern and western to wither, who knows what lies ahead. One year parts of the state, my thoughts are with those who it’s massive flooding of the Missouri River, the next are trying to contain the fires and save homes and it’s a parching drought. In all of this we all need to livestock in its path. trust in God. Pray that He will guide us and give

THANK YOU TO GOVERNOR, DOR

Heat Stress Those who work outside or live without air conditioning may be at a higher risk of heat stress. Educate yourself on what to do if you experience heat stroke or heat exhaustion. page 24

Nebraska Farm Bureau greatly appreciated Gov. Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Roads’ actions to advance the starting date for roadside haying. The governor’s statewide declaration of emergency due to the drought, coupled with USDA’s decision to allow emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres in all 93 Nebraska counties, shows there is a clear understanding by state and national leaders of the significance of the drought conditions affecting Nebraska and VOLUME 30 ISSUE 7 August 1, 2012 USPS 375-780 ISSN 0745-6522

Official publication of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

402/421-4400 www.nefb.org

A Great Time To Plant Summer doesn’t have to be a time to “hide” in the air conditioning and count the days until cooler temperatures of fall. It can be a time to spend enjoying your landscape and gardens and even a time to plant. page 25

A Prayer For Strength

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Mission is Strong Agriculture ...... Strong Nebraska. Yearly subscription: 50 cents of membership dues. Associate Member, Nebraska Press Association

us strength to get through this disaster. Please call 402/421-4401 or e-mail sdnelson@nefb.org to let me know your thoughts on how Nebraska Farm Bureau can serve the needs of your farm and ranch. God Bless!

EDITORIAL STAFF Editor/Advertising/Writer: Tina Henderson tinah@nefb.org or ext. 4446 Writer: Craig Head craigh@nefb.org or ext. 4435 Graphic Designer/County News/ Photo Contest/Want Ads and County Annual Meeting Notices: Tara Grell tarag@nefb.org or ext. 4494

NEBRASKA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION Steve Nelson, president (Axtell) Mark McHargue, first vice president (Central City) Rob Robertson, chief administrator/ secretary-treasurer (Lincoln)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Sherry Vinton, second vice president (Whitman) Nathan Bartels (Elk Creek) Andy DeVries (Ogallala) Del Ficke (Pleasant Dale) Jason Kvols (Laurel) John C. Martin (Pleasanton) Scott Moore (Bartley) Kevin Peterson (Osceola) Tanya Storer (Whitman) Shelly Thompson (Whitney)

NEBRASKA FARM BUREAU NEWS is published monthly, except July, by Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, 5225 South 16th St., Lincoln, NE 68512. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE and additional entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Nebraska Farm Bureau News Attn: Tina Henderson P.O. Box 80299, Lincoln, NE 68501.


Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

3

COUNTY NEWS Lincoln County Farm Bureau

Roberts Is 2012 Trail Boss Award Recipient Lincoln County Farm Bureau President Justin Roberts is the recipient of the 2012 Trail Boss Award. The 72-year-old North Platte resident was presented with a plaque during the evening performance of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo June 16. The award is given to people who have demonstrated strong support of the rodeo throughout the years. Jack Morris, co-chairman of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo Committee, said Roberts has done that by serving in a variety of capacities. Roberts is a former BBRC member and was on the NebraskaLand Days board from 1978-84, serving as president in 1980. He’s also a former recipient of the NLD Dale Studley Award, which recognizes people who have made a significant volunteer commitment to the state’s official celebration. “Producing a rodeo is not a four-day-per-year project,” Morris said. “There was a whole list of things that were under the radar that got done because of him.” They include construction of the shack on the east side of the Wild West Arena and installation of the current bucking chutes. “He was always the first one there on work days and the last one to leave,” Morris said. “He’s very modest about it, but his projects were done to perfection.” Roberts is pictured with his wife Mary.

Photo Courtesy of North Platte Telegraph

Johnson County Farm Bureau

County Awards Sen. Heidemann Certificate of Appreciation Johnson County Farm Bureau President Duane Sugden (left) presented Sen. Lavon Heidemann with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions to the agricultural community and his efforts for southeast Nebraska in the Nebraska Legislature, during the county’s annual appreciation supper June 24 in Tecumseh. Heidemann is term-limited and is now seeking election to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He talked about his reasons for wanting to serve Nebraska and rural Nebraska communities further. Dan Watermeier, who is running for election to the Nebraska Legislature to succeed Heidemann, also spoke. Nebraska Farm Bureau has named Watermeier a Friend of Agriculture. Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau first vice president, spoke to the group about his farming operation in Central City and the importance of allowing media and groups on his farrow-to-finish hog farm. He emphasized that education and viewing an operating farm are the best ways to inform the public of how conscientious and caring farmers are, and how hard they work to protect the animals and the environment.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Meeting Reminders for County Presidents: Council of Presidents Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 2-9 p.m. Holiday Inn Kearney 110 2nd Avenue

Policy Issues Orientation Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 Holiday Inn Kearney 110 2nd Avenue Please contact Whittney Kelley at 402/421-4760 or whittneyk@nefb.org by Aug. 3 to inform us of your plans to attend both the Council of Presidents and Policy Issues Orientation meeting, so you are included in the meal count.


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AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

COUNTY NEWS Phelps County Farm Bureau

FFA Members Attend Washington Leadership Conference Phelps County Farm Bureau donated $1,000 so that agriculture instructor Jeff Moore and five of his students would be able to attend the FFA Leadership Seminar in Washington, D.C., June 25-July 1. The check was presented by Farm Bureau Insurance agents Phil Hinrichs and Brad Johnson. The annual conference focuses on leadership development, personal growth and community service. The conclusion of each weekly session of the Washington Leadership Conference is a Day of Service, where students work together in a hands-on community-service project. The five students and Moore met with Rep. Adrian Smith and Sens. Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson. Pictured standing from left are Moore, Hinrichs, Matt Becker, Zack Gray, Molli Jorges and Johnson. Pictured kneeling from left are Nicole Gerdes and Melissa Golus.

Cuming County Farm Bureau

Young Farmers and Ranchers Tour Farm near Howells Cuming County Farm Bureau hosted its annual Young Farmers and Ranchers ag tour and picnic at the Danny Kluthe farm northeast of Howells on July 17. Kluthe has installed a methane gas digester at his hog operation and explained to the 25 attendees how it operates. He has a 10-year contract with NPPD to sell it power generated from his facility. He also has learned how to compress the gas and use it in his vehicles as well as to heat the hog barns in the winter. Kluthe began to explore the possibility of a methane digester because a church is located across the section; he wanted to find a way to minimize the odor from his facility. The digester has been a huge success in that endeavor. Kluthe offers his services on a consultation basis to those who may be interested in incorporating a digester into their swine, dairy or cattle feeding operation. The tour was followed by a picnic in the Howells Community Park where Ryan Sondrup of Belgrade, Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee member, spoke about his recent trip to Washington, D.C., with other YF&R Committee members to lobby and meet with government agencies. He also talked about why he chose to become involved in Farm Bureau. Jay Ferris, director of grassroots programs for Nebraska Farm Bureau, talked about what Farm Bureau does for Nebraska agricultural producers and how they can become involved through the FB-ACT program. In the bottom photo, Kluthe explains how the digester works. The top photo shows gas storage and how it is used in a tractor.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

5

MEMBER BENEFITS Nebraska Farm Bureau…What Being a Member Really Means By Tina Henderson Nebraskans have a lot in common. A dedication to hard work, a passion for the land and a character rooted in faith and family. “It’s this common bond that weaves through the Nebraska Farm Bureau,” Roger Berry, Nebraska Farm Bureau vice president for member services, said July 13. NEBRASKA THE GOOD LIFE Nebraska Farm Bureau members take pride in what their organization has accomplished. As a member, you pay annual dues, which support a multitude of programs designed to make Nebraska a better place to live. “We offer scholarships to graduating high

school seniors. By investing in our youth, we are investing in the future of Nebraska. We help feed families in need with the donation of food and money to local food pantries; we support educational programs that teach youth about how agriculture touches them, including Nebraska Ag in the Classroom, 4-H and FFA; and we inform consumers about food, fuel and fiber and how it begins on our farms and ranches. This list goes on and on,” Berry said. There is a tremendous value to being a member of Farm Bureau. You’re part of a growing organization that works to make a difference in people’s lives. You also receive money-saving discounts on GM cars and

trucks, eye and dental care, pet insurance and hotels, just to name a few. BEST-KEPT SECRET “In fact, the best-kept secret is that if you use your Choice Hotels benefit just two times, you will have almost paid for your membership! Go to our website, www.nefb. org and click on the member benefits tab to see the entire line-up of money saving benefits,” Berry said. From the rural farm fields and ranches to our growing cities, there is a consistent work ethic that improves Nebraska each and every day. It’s that mixture of community, lifestyles and people that drives Nebraska Farm Bureau in its goal to make our state the best

it can be for all of us. “We will continue to support and speak out for Nebraska farmers and ranchers, champion our youth and everything they have to offer Nebraska’s future, and offer resources to local communities to make Nebraska a better place to live and work,” Berry said. Individually, each Nebraskan’s effort is important. But when we put our efforts together, we can make amazing things happen for Nebraska. At Nebraska Farm Bureau, we look at our members as partners: people we offer solutions to when they have to deal with concerns on their farms and ranches, or homes and businesses.

Brochure Details Farm Bureau’s Accomplishments and Members Benefits A new brochure details Nebraska Farm Bureau accomplishments in 2012 and highlights select benefits offered to members. The Accomplishments Brochure is offered free to County Farm Bureaus for use at events and promotions. Farm Bureau insurance agents also can receive free copies to use when working with clients. “The accomplishments brochure is contemporary and was developed with the farmer/rancher in mind,” Tina Henderson, vice president/communications services, said July 13. “It highlights Farm Bureau’s state and national legislative accomplishments and shows how each accomplishment has saved time, money and red tape and how it protects your right to farm or ranch,” she said. On the state level, Farm Bureau worked to pro-

tect the right of Nebraska farmers to use proven farming practices by challenging extreme animal rights groups that want to reshape agriculture to conform to their beliefs. It helped pass legislation to assure farm home sites are valued and taxed as working farms and not compared to residences in platted and zoned areas. Farm Bureau also successfully opposed legislation subjecting irrigation equipment and grain handling equipment on farms to enforcement under the State Electrical Act, and it worked to protect the reputation of Nebraska farmers by engaging the public and media on key issues affecting the public perception of farmers and ranchers, such as the use of biotechnology, chemicals and antibiotics on the farm. On the national level, Farm Bureau worked to defeat onerous regulations proposed by the U.S.

Department of Labor on children working on farms and ranches. Nebraska Farm Bureau collected more than 2,000 signed paper hands from FFA students across the state in opposition to the proposed rule. Farm Bureau also advocated for a strong and fiscally sound agricultural safety net via the 2012 farm bill and helped enact Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, among other accomplishments. Money-saving member benefits, leadership development opportunities and educational scholarships and loans are listed on the back of the brochure. The brochure is a joint effort of Farm Bureau’s Communication Strategy and Issue Management, Governmental Relations and Member Services departments.

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Save up to 20% off the “Best Available Rate” at participating locations of the following hotels:

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For more information on these and other great benefits, log on to www.nefb.org or visit your local County Farm Bureau.


6

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

WHAT’S COOKING? If you want to submit your own recipes, and photos if you have them, send them via email to tarag@nefb.org.

September is All American Breakfast Month and National Chicken Month Cinnamon Roll Pancakes Pancake Ingredients or Use Boxed Pancake Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 large egg, lightly beaten Cinnamon Filling Ingredients 1/2 cup butter, melted 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze Ingredients 4 tablespoons butter 2 ounces cream cheese 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions 1. Prepare cinnamon filling first. In a medium bowl, combine all three ingredients. 2. Pour filling into a small plastic bag with zipper seal. Set aside and allow mixture to “set up” for easier handling. 3. Prepare pancake batter. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. 4. Combine liquid ingredients and add them to the dry. Whisk to combine (a few small lumps are fine). 5. Prepare glaze. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Stir to combine. 6. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Set aside. 7. Heat skillet or griddle to medium high. Spray with non-stick spray. Pour about 1/2 cup pancake batter onto griddle. 8. Snip a corner of the cinnamon filling bag and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. 9. When bubbles begin to appear on the pancake surface, carefully flip with a spatula and cook until lightly brown on the underside. 10. When ready to serve, drizzle cream cheese glaze on top of each pancake. Yield: 6 pancakes (This varies with choice of pancake recipe and size of pancakes.)

Quick Chicken Parmesan Ingredients 4 boneless chicken cutlets, about 4 ounces each 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Flour for dredging 2 cups spaghetti sauce 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375º F. 2. Lay chicken cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound each cutlet with the flat end of a mallet until thin. 3. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet. 4. While the oil is heating, season the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano; then dredge in flour. 5. Saute the chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. 6. Transfer the chicken to a shallow baking dish. 7. Pour spaghetti sauce over chicken and sprinkle with both cheeses. 8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly golden. 9. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 servings

Baked Oatmeal Ingredients 1/3 cup butter 2 eggs 1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch salt 1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk 3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oatmeal Optional: nuts, chocolate chips, fresh or frozen fruit Directions 1. With a hand mixer, cream butter, eggs and sugar. 2. Add baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt; mix until well-blended. 3. Stir in the milk. 4. Add oatmeal and stir until all ingredients are combined. 5. Optional—add nuts, chips and/or fruit (or you may garnish with these after baking) 6. Divide mixture among 6 greased ramekins or custard cups. 7. Refrigerate overnight. 8. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and bring ramekins to room temperature (approx. 30 minutes). 9. Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes. 10. Serve with milk or half and half. Yield: 6 servings Contributor’s note: It works well to refrigerate the leftovers and reheat in the microwave. These individual servings can also be frozen before they are baked. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, bring to room temperature before baking.

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Ingredients 4 boneless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks Flour for dredging Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying 1/2 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons ketchup 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 1/4 cup brown sugar Directions 1. In a small bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and ketchup. 2. Pour flour into a shallow bowl or baking pan. Add chicken chunks and roll in flour to coat. 3. Pour oil into a skillet. When oil is hot, add chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides (meat does not have to be completely cooked). 4. Transfer chicken to crockpot. Cover it with liquid mixture. 5. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 6. Serve over rice. Yield: 6-8 servings

UPCOMING MONTHS Below are themes for the coming months! Submit your recipe to: tarag@nefb.org September – National Pork Month and National Pizza Month October – National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month and National Pepper Month November – Holiday snacks and hors d’oeuvres or food gifts

Baked Oatmeal recipe from www.food.com. Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe from www.sixsistersstuff.com. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes filling and glaze recipes from www.life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes pancake recipe, Quick Chicken Parmesan recipe and all photos from Lois Linke, wife of Karl Linke, Nebraska Farm Bureau district director of member services for the southeast.


Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

7

Farm Bureau PAC Names Deb Fischer ‘Friend of Agriculture’ Deb Fischer has been named a “Friend of Agriculture” by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Fischer is the Republican candidate seeking election to the U.S. Senate. “We are extremely excited to provide our support and backing to Deb Fischer as she seeks election to the U.S. Senate. She was the overwhelming choice of our members as we worked through our grassroots endorsement process,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson July 26. “Our endorsement is based on numerous factors, but the one that stands above all is that Deb Fischer truly understands the needs of farmers and ranchers as she is the only candidate who has lived and worked in agriculture.” Fischer has a proven track record in working to meet the needs of agriculture and Nebraska’s rural communities, Nelson said. “Her record of working for farmers, ranchers and Nebraska’s rural interests in the Nebraska Legislature is unmatched. She’s carried the torch on numerous issues of importance to Farm Bureau mem-

NEFB President Steve Nelson names Deb Fischer a “Friend of Agriculture” on behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation PAC July 26 on Myles Ramsey’s farm near Kenesaw. Pictured are Del Ficke, NEFB at-large board member; Fischer; Mark McHargue, NEFB first vice president; and Nelson. bers and farmers and ranchers everywhere across our state. In doing so she has never backed away from difficult issues. She has been a strong voice for agriculture in working to provide property tax relief, helping manage our state’s water resources and leading the way to ensure Nebraska continues to have a strong roads infrastructure,”

Nelson said. According to Nelson, Fischer will bring the type of work ethic, integrity, values and common sense traits that are so badly needed in Washington today. “As a life-long Nebraskan with nearly 40 years of real-life agriculture experience, Deb understands the needs of farm and

Farm Bureau Announces Additional “Friend of Agriculture” Endorsements Nebraska Farm Bureau announced 10 new “Friend of Agriculture” designations July 12. The Friend of Agriculture designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications and previous experience, communication

abilities and their ability to represent their constituency. The candidates endorsed on July 12 are seeking election to the Nebraska Legislature. They are: Paul Lambert, Plattsmouth – District 2 Scott Price, Bellevue – District 3 Heath Mello, Omaha – District 5

Jeremy Nordquist, Omaha – District 7 Charlie Janssen, Fremont – District 15 Acela Turco, Omaha – District 31 Galen Hadley, Kearney – District 37 Beau McCoy, Omaha – District 39 Richard Carter, Bellevue – District 45 John Murante, Gretna – District 49

ranch families and she knows the challenges that face agriculture. Now more than ever we need to send someone to Washington who not only understands our needs but whose priority is protecting the interests of Nebraska’s farm and ranch families,” he said. In addition to understanding agriculture, Fischer embraces many of the core beliefs shared by most Nebraskans, Nelson said. Her commitment to less government, providing tax relief and having a strong economy as the basis for job creation are important to all Nebraskans, he emphasized. Deb Fischer is a true friend of agriculture and we can think of no other person in Nebraska who is better suited and possesses the leadership skills necessary to be the voice for farm and ranch families in the U.S. Senate, Nelson said. The Friend of Agriculture designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications and previous experience, communication abilities and their ability to represent the state.

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AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

Farm Bureau PAC Names Adrian Smith ‘Friend of Agriculture’

Adrian Smith

Rep. Adrian Smith has been named a “Friend of Agriculture� by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Smith is a candidate for re-election to represent Nebraska’s Third Congressional District. “Congressman Smith has a thorough knowledge of Nebraska agriculture and how it is affected by federal policies and regulations,� Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau said July 24. “He has supported many initiatives that have directly benefited Nebraska agriculture.� Smith has worked to strengthen rural communi-

ties and open up new markets for American agriculture products, McHargue said. “He’s worked to increase Nebraska’s agriculture exports by supporting Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea and as a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means Adrian played a key role in helping secure their passage.� He also recognizes how excessive regulation hurts Nebraska’s family farmers and ranchers, McHargue said. “Whether it’s been the long arm of EPA and their aerial flyovers of livestock farms or the De-

partment of Labor’s proposed rules to regulate children working on farms, Adrian has been very supportive of farm and ranch interests facing heavy-handed federal regulations.� Smith is also a co-chair of the Modern Agriculture Caucus in the House and a co-chair of the Congressional Rural Caucus, McHargue said. The Friend of Agriculture designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications and previous experience, communication abilities and their ability to represent the district.

Farm Bureau PAC Names Jeff Fortenberry ‘Friend of Agriculture’

Jeff Fortenberry

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has been named a “Friend of Agriculture� by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Fortenberry is a candidate for re-election to represent Nebraska’s First Congressional District. “Congressman Fortenberry has been a strong proponent of biofuels and renewable energy production, including wind and biomass, and he has also supported value-added agricultural opportunities and new food markets,� said Mark McHargue

of Central City, chairman of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau July 24. “As a member of the House Agriculture Committee Fortenberry has also been instrumental in working to advance a House version of the 2012 Farm Bill which is greatly appreciated and muchneeded,� McHargue said. According to McHargue, Fortenberry has a strong grasp of agriculture within his district. The First Congressional District is diverse and largely

rural, and Rep. Fortenberry understands the importance of agriculture to the district and the state. “He’s been a member of the House Agriculture Committee since coming to Congress in 2005 and now serves as the chairman of the Department Operations, Oversight and Credit Subcommittee. The subcommittee has jurisdiction in the oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture, one of the federal government’s largest agencies,� McHargue said.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

9

Nebraska Farm Bureau Calling for 2013 Leadership Academy Nominations Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Leadership Academy is an opportunity to meet others committed to the future of rural Nebraska and establish a solid network of friends and fellow leaders. Participants will learn the latest information about critical issues and develop their skills for leading change. • The Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy is for Farm Bureau members with the potential for providing exceptional leadership in the county, community and state. • The Academy is open to men and women of all ages. However, those who have served on the NEFB Board of Directors are not eligible. • Ten individuals will be selected to participate. • Applications are due by Nov. 15, 2012. A selection committee will review applications and participants who are selected will be notified no later than Dec. 21, 2012. • The academy schedule includes four two-day sessions in Nebraska and a visit to Washington, D.C. Each participant must attend at least three in-state sessions to be eligible for the Washington trip. This is the academy schedule:

Jan. 31 & Feb. 1 – Kearney Feb. 28 & March 1 – Grand Island April 4-5 – Lincoln Aug. 22-23 – La Vista September – Washington, D.C. (The dates will be announced after Jan. 1 when the Congressional schedule is released.)

• For more information and an application, please contact Roger Berry, vice president/member services, at rogerb@nefb.org or 800/742-4016, ext. 4406. • You can also contact your District Director of Member Services: Central DDMS Adam Peterson – 402/853-3467, Northeast DDMS Clark Kinnison – 402/640-0022, Southwest DDMS Dick Neel – 308/350-0255, Southeast DDMS Karl Linke – 402/310-0263 or Northwest DDMS Tim Horn – 308/280-0067.

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10

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

NATIONAL NEWS Congressional Happenings • Russian Trade Measure Moves through Senate Committee The Senate Finance Committee recently gave unanimous approval to legislation granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status to Russia. Farm Bureau supports PNTR for Russia. Granting PNTR is necessary for U.S. agricultural exporters to take advantage of the market access and sanitary standard improvements that are a part of Russia’s upcoming membership in the World Trade Organization. PNTR will fulfill a WTO requirement that nations have “unconditional” trading relations with other WTO members, so fellow WTO members can take advantage of the provisions of the new member’s accession agreement. Along with granting PNTR, the legislation includes reporting requirements for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that will inform Congress of the progress Russia is making in meeting its new obligations in agricultural trade. The House Ways and Means Committee now needs to act on legislation granting PNTR to Russia. The Russian Parliament has approved its WTO accession agreement; Russia will proceed to full WTO membership 30 days after the necessary documents are received by the WTO. • Farm Bureau Opposes Onerous Fire Standards for Livestock Facilities Farm Bureau and more than a dozen other livestock organizations have shared their concerns about proposed changes to the National Fire Protection Association’s 150 Standard on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities. The

proposal would require the installation of sprinkler and smoke control systems in animal housing facilities for certain animals. The groups are concerned because the changes are based on reviews of a few horse stable fires and do not take into account the fundamental differences in design and operation of other indoor livestock and poultry production facilities. Of equal concern is the lack of consideration given to the economic and technical impracticalities of installing the equipment in various livestock and poultry buildings. NFPA is not a regulatory agency, but its more than 200 technical code- and standard-development committees propose and revise fire prevention and safety standards through a process that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. As such, many local, state and federal governmental jurisdictions, as well as some within the insurance industry, use NFPA standards in setting codes or criteria related to facility design, construction, etc. • EPA Withdraws CAFO Reporting Rule The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule that would have required large livestock and poultry farmers to report information about their operations and undermine court decisions related to producer obligations under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule was prompted by a May 2010 settlement agreement EPA entered with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club as part of a lawsuit the National Pork Producers Council brought and ultimately

won, over EPA’s 2008 concentrated animal feeding operation rule. Nebraska Farm Bureau submitted comments on the proposed rule in January and is pleased to see EPA withdraw the proposal. • USDA Announces Changes to Disaster Declarations Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. These changes are supported by Nebraska Farm Bureau because much of the state has been experiencing significant drought during the spring and summer. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations. • After a disaster county is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as in severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season, it nearly automatically qualifies for a disaster declaration. Effective July 12, 1,016 primary counties in 26 states were designated as natural disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.

This change removes the requirement that a request for a disaster designation be initiated by a state governor or Indian tribal council, increasing the likelihood that counties will be covered. Indian tribal councils and governors may still submit a request for a designation, but it will not be required in order to initiate a disaster declaration. • The interest rate for emergency loans is reduced, effectively lowering the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent • The payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 is lowered from 25 to 10 percent. Easing the requirements for a disaster declaration also will help livestock producers qualify for a number of tax provisions that are in place for producers in those areas. If a disaster is declared, livestock producers in that county who have sold more livestock than normal because of the adverse weather conditions can defer the taxes from that sale until the following year. Producers would need to show that the sale of the excess livestock was because of the weather-related conditions. Producers also are eligible for a provision that allows those who have sold breeding, dairy or draft animals in excess of normal because of weather conditions to replace those animals within a two-year period with “like” animals without being subject to the taxes associated with the sale. The two-year deferment does not require a disaster declaration. However, if a disaster is declared, the replacement period is extended to four years.

GM PRIVATE OFFER Benefits Farm Bureau Members:

Eligible Farm Bureau members in Nebraska can now receive a $500 discount on each qualifying 2011 or 2012 model year Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicle they purchase or lease. This Farm Bureau member exclusive is offered for vehicles purchased or leased at participating dealerships through Farm Bureau’s - GM PRIVATE OFFER at a participating GM dealership.

Twenty-six GM models are part of the program, including the Chevrolet Silverado HD, honored as the 2011 Motor Trend Truck of the Year. A broad range of other pick-up trucks, SUVs, sedans and crossovers also are included in the program. To qualify for the offer, individuals must have been a Farm Bureau member for at least 60 days prior to the date of delivery of the vehicle selected. Members may receive the incentive for the purchase or lease of multiple vehicles, including fleet vehicles purchased through GM’s National Fleet Purchase Program. Full details and program eligibility guidelines are available by contacting Shelley Kurtzer, associate director of member services or visiting www.nefb.org.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

11

American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation Group Dinner January 12, 2013 Wildhorse Saloon For more information contact: Autumn Jacobs at 402/421-4470 or autumnj@nefb.org

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12

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

Former Panhandle Center Director Hibberd Is New UNL Extension Dean and Director Lincoln — Charles “Chuck� Hibberd, his new ideas and perspectives from his exformer district director of the Panhandle perience at Purdue, coupled with the deep Research and Extension Center, is the new understanding he has of Nebraska and Nedean and director of University of Nebras- braska Extension.� ka-Lincoln Extension. The Lexington, Neb., When Hibberd spoke to faculty and staff native and UNL graduate will assume the in July during the interview process, he said, position Oct. 1. “We can’t sit on our laurels. We can’t conHibberd has been director of Extension tinue to do things the way we’ve always and associate dean of agriculture done them.� at Purdue University since 2007. He praised the “big, bold projPreviously, he was director of the ects� under way at UNL and said Panhandle Center at Scottsbluff UNL Extension is viewed as a for 13 years. national leader. “It’s an honor to Hibberd assumes leadership of be part of an organization that UNL Extension at a critical time, is viewed in such high esteem,� said Ronnie Green, Harlan vice Hibberd said. chancellor of the Institute of AgOSU GRADUATE Charles riculture and Natural Resources. Hibberd received his bachHibberd OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD elor’s degree in agriculture, with UNL Extension FOR EXTENSION an animal science major, and his dean and director “There are a number of opmaster’s and Ph.D. degrees from portunities ahead for UNL Extension to Oklahoma State University in animal science be a major part of new initiatives at the and animal nutrition, respectively. He was a University of Nebraska, such as the Daugh- faculty member at OSU from 1982-94. erty Water for Food Institute, the Buffett Hibberd replaces Elbert Dickey, who reEarly Childhood Education Institute, and the tired this summer. Alan Moeller, assistant about-to-be-launched Rural Futures Insti- IANR vice chancellor, is serving as interim tute,� said Green, who also is University of dean and director of UNL Extension until Nebraska vice president for agriculture and Hibberd arrives. natural resources. UNL Extension, with a network of 83 of“The issues and needs are changing rap- fices serving Nebraska’s 93 counties, is part idly and new challenges and opportunities of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural are developing,� Green added. “It will be Resources. It also administers the 4-H proexciting to have Dr. Hibberd bring some of gram. 9500 Series

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

& Ranchers

An easterner in Nebraska? Can it be true? The fact is, Holt County Farm Bureau member Mallory Becker now calls Nebraska “home” and wants it to remain that way from here on out. Mallory grew up on a cow/calf farm in southwest Pennsylvania and after touring colleges in Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska, decided the University

of Nebraska-Lincoln was where she wanted to attend school, and western Nebraska was the future setting for her career in agriculture. Mallory now works for Farm Credit Services in Grand Island as a financial officer and has a 30-pair cow/calf herd on rented pasture between O’Neill and Chambers. She says in the eight-and-a-half years she’s

13

Welcome to Nebraska Farmers & Ranchers, a feature on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s blog about the people who bring you your food, clothing and fuel and the issues they face. With so much information available to consumers today, it can be daunting to separate fact from fiction. It’s our hope that this feature introduces you to the faces behind your food and sheds some light on questions you may have about how it is grown and raised and what that means to you. Visit the Nebraska Farm Bureau blog at http://nefb.wordpress.com/ every Thursday to meet more farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska as they share their everyday stories.

Nebraska

Farmers

AUGUST 1, 2012

Mallory Becker – Greeley, Neb. Holt County Farm Bureau Member been here, a number of ranchers have taken her under their wing, showed her the ropes and becoming mentors for her, encouraging her to pursue her passion of being in the cattle business. Mallory says one of the challenges she faces is overcoming stereotypes: she’s a female in a largely male-dominated industry, and she’s from the East Coast. But, she’s found her niche and has become engaged with two of her college friends

who are now ag teachers. “I enjoy helping with their meat judging and livestock judging team, and speech team. I help kids understand that it’s not just a day off from school – it’s an extreme learning experience that can help them in college or in their career.” A Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy graduate, Mallory believes that it’s her responsibility to educate the public about what it is she does every day.

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14

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

Farmers, Ranchers and Firefighters Pray for Rain By Tina Henderson At least 300 people from more than 35 fire departments across western Nebraska have been battling what authorities are calling the Fairfield Creek Fire, a fire so aggressive Gov. Dave brought in the Nebraska National Guard on July 21 to help battle the blaze. The fire began with a lightning strike the morning of July 20 in neighboring Brown County before jumping the Niobrara River from south to north and moving through the village of Norden in Keya Paha County. Range fires are only one of the many catastrophic events associated with one of the worst dry spells in Nebraska’s recent history. The drought which began showing signs in western Nebraska in late May has now blossomed into a full-on, statewide drought that’s damaged Nebraska’s grazing lands and wreaked havoc on Nebraska’s farms and ranches. Jim Ferguson, president of the Keya Paha County Farm Bureau, has been working with his rancher neighbors to move cattle away from the danger and to try to save houses from the fire. Ferguson estimates that ranchers have moved more than three to five thousand head of cattle to protect them from fires. In one canyon, cattle were moved five minutes before the fire blew through like a tornado, overtaking the canyon in minutes. Local businesses and ranchers are transporting water to the fire fighters in tank trucks and semis and in water tanks in pickups and on trailers. As of July 30 the wildfires in north-central Nebraska have been declared contained, but residents will have to remain vigilant because of the dry conditions. Western Nebraska’s wildfires stared in June when officials in Harrison and Potter began battling wildfires due to extreme dry conditions. The fire near Harrison blackened hundreds of acres in the northwest corner of Nebraska. Harrison fire officials say that the charred area has reached around 3,000 acres. No damage to any structures has

been reported, nor any injuries. Near Potter a fire caused by a lightning strike on June 16 blackened nearly 3,000 acres in the southern Nebraska Panhandle before it was contained. CROPS: WITHERING UP As the drought continues to tighten its grip on Nebraska, dryland corn and soybeans are also feeling the effects of drought. More than 75 percent of Nebraska is in extreme drought, according to the latest estimates. Seventy-two percent of Nebraska’s livestock pastures and range land are rated in very poor or poor condition. On July 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture dropped the estimated average U.S. corn yield by 20 bushels per acre, from 166 to 146, and blamed scarce rainfall coupled with record-breaking temperatures. Conditions are the worst since 1988. Lower soybean yields also were predicted. LIVESTOCK: FARMER/RANCHER COST INCREASE Dry and burning pastures, a shortage of hay and higher prices for feed stuffs are taking a toll on Nebraska’s beef industry. The result is more farmers and ranchers looking to liquidate cattle. Ranchers like Jeff Metz of Bridgeport, a member of the Morrill County Farm Bureau, and Tanya Storer of Whitman, a member of the Cherry County Farm Bureau and of the NEFB Board of Directors, are dealing directly with the drought conditions. Storer ranches with her husband Eric near Whitman. They have decided to sell more than 250 head of yearlings (12- to 15-month old cattle) at the end of July or the first week of August. They will start culling older cows in the herd next. “It is an overwhelming feeling of being out of control. If you live in the city you can turn on a sprinkler to water your yard. You can’t do that in your pasture. If your calves are sick you doctor them and if you have

Photo Courtesy of the Ainsworth Star Journal

Farmers and ranchers on both sides of the Niobrara River moved livestock and equipment out of harm’s way as the fire continued to burn in both directions along the Niobrara River. grasshoppers you can spray for them, but in a drought all you can do is pray for rain,” Storer said July 24. Jeff Metz, who raises about 300 head of cattle near Bridgeport, is seeing high hay and corn prices, which hits his pocketbook hard. “Because I have very little grass to use, I will have to feed my cattle hay and protein like corn or distillers grain. With limited amounts of hay available and the corn crop shrinking and pushing prices higher, I estimate paying $15,000 to $20,000 a month in feed costs,” he said. While Metz hasn’t brought any cattle to the sale barn yet, he plans to reduce his herd size by about 60 to 75 head. “We usually start checking to see if cows are ready to get pregnant in October or November. Because of the drought, we will start the ultrasound process in August. If a cow cannot breed in that 60-day window, we have no choice but to cull that cow,” he said. DROUGHT AND FOOD PRICES Some believe that the drought coupled with higher grain prices automatically translates into a major increase in food prices. Brad Lubben, UNL ag economist, said for many processed food products the commodity portion of the food’s cost is a small share of the total cost, and even large increases in commodity prices don’t translate into major increase in food costs.

For more primary food products such as meat, poultry and dairy, where the farm portion of the cost is higher, the drought can more directly affect food costs. The impact is fairly quick and will push prices higher. Beef may be an exception in the very short term, as herds are liquidated and the number of cows sent to slaughter increases ground beef supplies. “Because of the drought, we are seeing a loss of productivity. Ranchers are getting rid of some of their cow herds. So there are a lot more cattle going to market, meaning the supply is higher. Buy your beef now,” Lubben said. In the long-term, three months to five years, beef prices will be higher because many farmers and ranchers won’t have as many cattle moving through the system, he explained. While the consumer is not going to feel the same pain as farmers or ranchers right now, they need to rethink blaming higher food prices on the drought, he said. “There is a policy point to consider. Those consumers who are worried about food prices because of drought are the same consumers who worried three months ago about eating Lean, Finely Textured Beef, dubbed ‘pink slime’ by the news media. Because consumers didn’t want to buy ground beef containing Lean, Finely Textured Beef, total beef produced by the industry went down and prices went up substantially for ground beef,” Lubben said.

Photo Courtesy of the Ainsworth Star Journal

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Vinton, NFBF at-large director of Arthur County

A National Guard helicopter takes water from Cub Creek to dump on the canyon fire east of Norden in north central Nebraska.

The Sandhills in Nebraska have been labeled “the summer without green,” because the drought of 2012 has brought no moisture and nothing but brown grass.

Progression of Drought JULY 24, 2012

JULY 10, 2012

KEY Drought Moderate

Drought Severe

Drought Extreme

Drought Exceptional


Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

15

New Farm Bill Faces Long Road Ahead Don’t bet the farm or ranch on Congress agreeing on the next farm bill before the current bill expires at the end of September, before the November elections or even the end of the year. Things don’t look good in terms of getting the bill done yet this year, Nebraska Farm Bureau National Affairs Coordinator Jordan Dux said July 17. “Strong partisanship in both houses is slowing things down. While there were good bipartisan votes taken by the full Senate as well as the both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees on their own proposals, Speaker of the House John Boehner has not set aside time to debate

the farm bill on the House floor. We simply don’t know if it will be scheduled until after the election, if at all,” he said. Prospects for the House passing a farm bill before year’s end and conferencing with the Senate on a final version are also pretty dim. The full Senate passed its version of the farm bill in June and the House Ag Committee adopted its proposal in mid-July. “The House targeted nutrition programs for spending cuts considerably more than the Senate ($16 billion in the House vs. $4 billion in the Senate, mostly from SNAP – food stamps). House Republicans are

standing very firm on their desire to trim a substantial amount of money from SNAP, however that firm stance on one program is delaying the entire bill from moving forward, Dux said. The two proposals are also very different terms of their plan for a commodity title, Dux said. “There are big differences on what each body believes the farm safety net should look like. While both bodies included new revenue programs, the House version also contains an updated countercyclical payment program with considerably higher target prices for rice and peanuts. The decidedly ‘Southern tilt’ of the House

version has been labeled a “non-starter” over in the Senate. “When you combine typical Senate and House partisanship and legislative differences with massive budget deficits and electionyear politics, you get the situation we are in now; a vitally important bill not moving anywhere,” he said. Without a new farm bill passed yet this year, farmers across the country will be surrounded with massive uncertainty, making it difficult to make planting and other business decisions for next spring. See the accompanying chart for a side-byside comparison of the House and Senate farm bill proposals.

FARM BILL COMPARISON HOUSE

The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012 (H.R. 6083) Adopted by House Ag Committee on July 11, 35-11 SAVINGS AND BUDGET CUTS Saves $35 billion over 10 years Commodities and Crop Insurance – reduced by $14.2 billion Conservation – reduced by $6.5 billion Nutrition Programs – reduced by $16 billion COMMODITY PROGRAMS Price Loss Coverage (PLC) * Payment would be made if the market price falls below the target price in the first five months of the marketing year. Target Prices: Wheat: $5.50 up from $4.17 Corn: $3.70 up from $2.63 Grain Sorghum: $3.95 up from $2.63 Soybeans: $8.40 up from $6.00 Revenue Loss Coverage (RLC) * Producers would receive a payment if their county experiences a revenue loss of 16 to 26 percent for the crop year. * Payments for both of these programs are based on 85 percent of total acres planted for the year for each covered commodity.

SENATE

The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) Adopted by the full Senate on June 21, 64–35. SAVINGS AND BUDGET CUTS Saves $25 billion over 10 years Commodity Programs and Crop Insurance – reduced by $15 billion Conservation – reduced by $6 billion Nutrition – reduced by $ 4 billion COMMODITY PROGRAMS Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) A revenue loss of 11 to 21 percent would trigger a payment based on a five-year Olympic average of historical revenue beginning in 2009. Producers would be able to choose between two levels of revenue coverage: Farm-level: Payment would be based on 65 percent of eligible acres. County-level: Payment would be based on up to 80 percent of planted acres. SUGAR Same as House proposal.

SUGAR No changes to current sugar program. POPCORN Popcorn is not considered a covered commodity, and thus would not be eligible for any program payments. PAYMENT LIMITS Adjusted Gross Income cap of $950,000; producers with gross income above that amount are not eligible for program payments. Payment cap: maximum of $125,000 per producer or $250,000 for husband and wife. CROP INSURANCE No significant changes. CONSERVATION CRP Acreage is phased down from current limit of up to 32 million acres to 25 million acres by 2017. Other conservation programs receive minor budget cuts. Combines 23 existing conservation programs into 13. LIVESTOCK Disaster Program: Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance re-funded through the life of the farm bill; disaster programs had run out of funding so no funding is available for 2012. Programs include Livestock Indemnity Payments; Livestock Forage Disaster Programs; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish; and the Tree Assistance Program. Animal Welfare: The House approved an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing animal welfare regulations on goods brought in from other states. NUTRITION Most cuts are in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).

POPCORN Secretary of Agriculture would study the feasibility of designating popcorn as a covered commodity by 2014. PAYMENT LIMITS Marketing Loan and Loan Deficiency Payments: up to $75,000 a year for individuals, up to $100,000 a year for married couples. Producers would receive a 15-percent reduction in their premium subsidy for crop insurance if they have adjusted gross income greater than $750,000. The Secretary of Agriculture is to study this proposal before the rule is implemented. CROP INSURANCE Producers would need to be in compliance with conservation practices in order to receive crop insurance benefits. They would be able to distinguish irrigated and non-irrigated acres in their crop insurance policy. CONSERVATION Same as House proposal. LIVESTOCK Disaster Program: The same as the House proposal, except the Senate proposal would make retroactive payments to producers who apply for forage losses in 2012. Animal Welfare: no proposals. NUTRITION Most cuts are in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Senate cuts Nutrition programs $4 billion vs. $16 billion in the House.


16

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

Farm Bureau Leaders Talk Farm Bill, Trade and Drought in Washington, D.C. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson led a delegation of State Board members and members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee on a national affairs trip to Washington, D.C., July 9-11. The trip provided an opportunity to talk key agriculture issues with members from of all five of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation. Topping the discussion list was the farm bill, trade issues and impacts of drought. In addition to Nelson, state board members Mark McHargue of Central City, John Martin of Pleasanton, Del Ficke of Pleasant Dale, Shelly Thompson of Whitney, and Nathan Bartels of Elk Creek participated in the trip. Young Farmer and Rancher members participating in the trip included Ryan and Beth Sonderup

of Belgrade and Neal and Stephanie Stedman of Burr. Farm Bureau member Kent Lorens of Stratton also participated in the trip. Talking Agriculture: • Met with British Embassy staff to discuss international trade issues. • Met with Majority and Minority Senate Ag Committee staff to discuss Senate Farm Bill. • Met with Tyson Foods Inc. staff to discuss consumer food trends and preferences. • Met with USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse to discuss USDA response to drought. • Met with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to discuss animal welfare issues.

Beth Sonderup (from left), Nance County; NEFB First Vice President Mark McHargue; Ansley Mick, legislative assistant with Rep. Adrian Smith’s office; Smith; Kent Lorens, Hitchcock County; and Stephanie Stedman, Otoe County, listen as a question is being asked during a visit with Smith July 11. The NEFB group talked with Smith about the importance of Free Trade Agreements, the drought, and the 2012 Farm Bill.

Member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee used examples from their own lives and businesses to explain how proposed federal legislation would affect them, during a trip to Washington, D.C., July 9-11. Pictured in front of the U.S. Capitol are (from back left) NEFB board members Del Ficke, John C. Martin and Nathan Bartels; FB Act winner Kent Lorens of Hitchcock County; and Mark McHargue, NEFB first vice president. From front left are YF&R Committee members Neil and Stephanie Stedman, Otoe County; Shelly Thompson, Dawes County; and YF&R Chairs Ryan and Beth Sonderup of Nance County.

Several NEFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee members met with Rep. Lee Terry July 9 during their National Affairs Visit to talk about WTO agreements and the farm bill. Pictured from left are Neil and Stephanie Stedman, Otoe County; Shelly Thompson, Dawes County; Terry; and Beth and Ryan Sonderup, Nance County.

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AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

New Nebraska State Fair App Lists Events, Food and Fairground Map If you are not sure where to find a deepfat fried Snickers or a corn dog at the Nebraska State Fair, a new smartphone application is being developed just for you. The Nebraska State Fair Board in March approved a $12,500 contract to develop a smartphone app for iPhone and Android phones that will enhance the State Fair experience. The apps will be ready for download in August. With more Americans owning smartphones, developing a smartphone app seems to be the next step in the Nebraska

State Fair expanding its social media outreach. The State Fair already has a strong Facebook and Twitter following. Among the tools fairgoers will have with the state fair smartphone application are an events calendar, a list of food and commercial vendors, GPS capability to guide users to a booth location, maps of the fairground, and an aid to help you locate where you parked your car. The Nebraska State Fair runs from Aug. 24-Sept. 3 in Grand Island. For more information, visit www.statefair.org.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

S

19

Meat Without Drugs?

By Sarah Hubbart Animal Ag Alliance Communications Director everal extreme activist groups are working collaboratively in an attempt to impose severe restrictions on the use of antibiotics on the farm. Farmers and ranchers should educate themselves on these tactics and respond appropriately to ensure that there is balance to the discussion. With the help of a new video directed by “Food, Inc.’s” Robert Kenner, the Consumers Union is now unfairly blaming animal agriculture for the complex problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria by coining a new label for the issue – “superbugs.” Apparently, in this post-pink slime era, the group wants to cash in on past efforts to slap a label on modern agriculture. This follows a conference held in Washington, D.C., entitled “Supermoms Against Superbugs.” The Pew Campaign on Human Health, which has attacked animal agriculture in the past, brought in a group of concerned moms to put a face on the issue of antibiotic resistance and to pressure decision-makers in D.C. to ban farmers from treating their livestock with antibiotics. UNSUBSTANTIATED STATISTIC The Consumers Union’s new report claims that food animals receive 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States. But that statistic is unsubstantiated and has been disputed by the FDA. Fully 40 percent of antibiotics used on the farm today are compounds not used in human medicine. Calling for “Meat Without Drugs” to eliminate the use of antibiotics in farm animals may sound like a good idea, but the

AUGUST 1, 2012

very title is misleading and inflammatory. Our meat and poultry supply is already “without drugs.” When farm animals are sometimes treated to prevent or control disease, a strict withdrawal period is followed to ensure that the end products are free of unsafe residues. The Consumers Union also released survey results claiming that 86 percent of consumers demand antibiotic-free meat in their local supermarket. This figure is similar to survey data touted by the animal activist-driven Global Animal Partnership group claiming that 65 percent of shoppers say they are willing to pay more for animals that are “humanely raised.” For a moment, let’s just set aside the point that animal welfare is a multifaceted issue that is impacted by much more than the style of housing and examine the reality of this statement. TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS What people say and what they do are two very, very different things. Most Americans today simply do not vote with their pocketbooks to support these alternative food production styles. For example, research shows that 96 percent of Americans choose eggs from conventional housing at the grocery store. So is there really a demand for these alternative products? NPR reported last month that antibiotic-free meats only make up about 2 percent of the market today. Consumers deserve a choice when it comes to the meat products that they purchase. However, unfairly stigmatizing farm practices does not help people make

informed decisions. Other factors, including the over-prescription of antibiotics in human medicine, influence the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A dialogue about this issue is indeed warranted, but ensuring that farmers and ranchers have the option to judiciously use antibiotics under the oversight of a veterinarian is critical to making food safe. Time and time again, we talk about the disconnect between food producers and the general public. But there’s perhaps an even scarier disconnect between food producers (farmers, ranchers, agriculture companies) and their customers (restaurants, grocers, retailers). Lately, we have seen that these influential customers are feeling the heat from activist groups. But they need to be getting agriculture’s side of the story firsthand as

well. Public policy, such as the antibiotic ban that these groups are pushing for, can mean real, negative, consequences. For more information about current activist campaigns targeting animal agriculture and resources to help farmers and ranchers respond effectively, please visit the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s website at www.animalagalliance.org. The alliance is a national non-profit organization working to communicate the importance of animal agriculture to our nation and is proud to have Nebraska Farm Bureau among its diverse membership. Sarah Hubbart is the communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance. She uses traditional and social media tools to educate urban consumers about the importance of animal agriculture. Hubbart frequently provides editorial articles and guest posts for numerous publications, newsletters and blogs. In her role with the alliance, she identifies and responds to misinformation about the food system and reaches out to the media with accurate, science-based resources about today’s farms. Raised in a small farming community, Hubbart has been involved in agriculture nearly her entire life. She received a degree in agricultural communications from California State University, Chico. Established in 1987, the Animal Agriculture Alliance includes individuals, companies and organizations who are interested in helping consumers better understand the role animal agriculture plays in providing a safe, abundant food supply to a hungry world.

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StateFair.org


20

AUGUST 1, 2012

AG

Nebraska Farm Bureau News son spoke to KLIN radio in Lincoln about Farm Bureau’s concerns with the ad and to several other media outlets.

notes

paign asking retailers to sell only antibioticfree meat. Farm Bureau led a coalition of livestockrelated organizations in sending a letter to Congress on July 13 that corrected misinformation in the report.

Political Ad Draws Fire From Farm Bureau

Nebraska Farm Bureau took exception to a television ad aired by the Nebraska Democratic Party which portrays farmers and ranchers who participate in federal grazing programs as “welfare recipients.� The ad targeted U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer, but in the process put the “welfare� label on farmers who participate in federal grazing land programs. “We are extremely disappointed by the ad,� Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said July 9. “Many Nebraska farmers and ranchers participate in government programs that enhance land management and conservation for the broader public good. This particular ad does a disservice to the many hard-working Nebraska farm families who participate in these types of programs,� he said. Farm Bureau released a statement expressing disappointment with the ad. Nel-

and federal agencies, the cost-benefit of conducting flyovers, and concerns from farmers about privacy on farms when homes are located near feeding operations. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is the designated authority for oversight of EPA permits in the state for livestock operations. EPA noted during the meeting that 90 percent of livestock farms in the state are compliant with environmental rules.

AFBF Responds to Report Attacking Antibiotic Use in Livestock Farm Bureau Represented The American Farm Bureau Federation Agriculture in the and a coalition of other agriculture groups At EPA Flyover Meeting Nebraska Farm Bureau National Affairs Classroom Receives have responded to a recent report released Coordinator Jordan Dux was among a $1,000 from Toyota by the Consumers Union which makes numerous incorrect assessments about the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. Among the false claims in the report is that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are not used by people but by farm animals. The Food and Drug Administration has previously weighed in with Congress about why such claims are inaccurate. In conjunction with the report’s release, Consumers Union has launched a marketplace cam-

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

21

DuPont Pioneer Grants Awarded to Nebraska Programs The Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers program and the Nebraska Foundation for Agricultural Awareness were awarded $3,000 and $10,000 grants respectively from DuPont Pioneer on July 9. YF&R PROGRAM The Young Farmers and Ranchers program will use the $3,000 grant for its annual conference. “DuPont Pioneer believes the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers organization is a premier opportunity that helps train and support those who will be critical to shaping a positive future for the state and nation’s agricultural system,� said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer western busi-

Cathy Day, NEFB director of special programs, accepts a $3,000 DuPont Pioneer grant for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers program from Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer western business unit director.

A Better

ness unit director. “We are happy to extend this grant to such a progressive group of Nebraska young leaders.� The 2013 Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference will be held Jan. 25 and 26 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk. The conference is designed for crop and livestock producers and agriculturalists from across Nebraska who are 18 to 35 years old. “The Young Farmers and Ranchers conference has been steadily growing throughout the past decade. Ten years ago, the number of attendees was around 40. The past couple of years we have had nearly 200 attendees,� explained Cathy Day, conference coordinator and director of special programs for Nebraska Farm Bureau.� The conference provides the opportunity for attendees to participate in workshops on issues that affect their business operations, such as estate planning; ways to communicate to the general public about agriculture; and a host of topics that affect the modern producer. AITC PROGRAM The Nebraska Foundation for Agricultural Awareness will use the $10,000 grant for the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program. “The work the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program is doing for ag literacy in the state is critical to the future,� said Reno. “Educational opportunities such as this are crucial in developing the leadership needed to meet the food, fuel and fiber demands of the 100,000-plus people who are joining us on the planet each day. We applaud the mission of the Nebraska Foundation for Agricultural Awareness.�

Weigh to Measure Farming Performance

The Nebraska AITC Program provides educational resources and training to K-12 teachers on ways to use agriculture as the vehicle to teach across existing curriculum. These resources use an integrated, handson approach to learning. Each of the resources is correlated with Nebraska State Standards in the basic subject areas. “Through our programs, nearly 700 teachers a year have been trained and provided education on how to use agriculture as a vehicle to teach state standards in their class-

Deanna Karmazin, Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom state coordinator, accepts a $10,000 DuPont Pioneer grant for the AITC program from Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer western business unit director.

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22

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

Gov. Dave Heineman announced Saline County as Nebraska’s newest Livestock Friendly County on July 20 in Friend. Nebraska now has 17 officially designated Livestock Friendly Counties through the state program coordinated by the Department of Agriculture. Saline County will receive road signs bearing the program logo to display along highways. The designation ceremony was attended by several Farm Bureau members, including Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Farm Bureau staff members Roger Berry, Karl Linke and Jay Ferris. Gov. Heineman is pictured presenting the award to the Saline County commissioners.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau Chief Administrator Rob Robertson spoke to members of the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) July 10 in Lincoln. NAYI is a leadership event sponsored by the Nebraska Agriculture Youth Council under the Nebraska Department of Agriculture; more than 150 students from across the state participated. In his presentation, Robertson explained the role Nebraska Farm Bureau plays in helping represent and protect the interests of Nebraska farmers and ranchers. He also highlighted many of the challenges that face agriculture, including growing interest from consumers about where their food comes from and the threat of special interest groups that oppose many of today’s farming practices.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

23

Nebraska AITC Organizes Girl Scouts Pizza Tour

During a presentation about alternative fuels and renewable energy on July 10, Lauren Karmazin (left) and Anna Stephenson test their turbines. They learned that renewable fuels are an important part of agriculture.

The Agriculture in the Classroom program conducted a Girl Scout Pizza Tour in Lincoln, July 9-13. The event helped the girls understand that ingredients for pizza all come from agriculture. Terry O’Neel, a hog producer near Friend, shows the girls a piglet.

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24

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

HEALTHIER TIMES

Visit Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Blog at:

The Heat Continues As We Enter the Latter Half of Summer August in Nebraska is known for its heat and humidity. While much of the state is in some kind of drought, those who work outside or live without air conditioning may be at a higher risk of heat stress. According to information on the Centers for Disease Control website, heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers because it may result in sweaty palms, fogged safety glasses and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.

Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments, such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medicines that may be affected by extreme heat. Preventing heat stress is important. The information below on the two most-severe components of heat stress is from the CDC website.

HEAT STROKE Heat stroke is the most serious heatrelated disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Symptoms • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating • Hallucinations • Chills • Throbbing headache • High body temperature • Confusion/dizziness • Slurred speech Treatment Take the following steps to treat a person with heat stroke: • Call 911. • Move the sick individual to a cool, shaded area. • Cool the worker using methods such as: • Soaking their clothes with water. • Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water. • Fanning their body. HEAT EXHAUSTION Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Individuals most prone to heat exhaustion are those who are elderly or have high blood pressure

and those working in a hot environment. Symptoms • Heavy sweating • Extreme weakness or fatigue • Dizziness, confusion • Nausea • Clammy, moist skin • Pale or flushed complexion • Muscle cramps • Slightly elevated body temperature • Fast and shallow breathing Treatment Treat a person suffering from heat exhaustion with the following: • Have them rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. • Have them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages. • Have them take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau News

AUGUST 1, 2012

25

Your Backyard Hot Time in the Summer Six months ago many of us were complaining about how cold it was. Many of us complained and pleaded with Mother Nature to give us a bit of warm weather to get rid of the snow and ice. We asked her to send us a bit of sunshine to remind us that spring was coming soon. What a difference a few short months can make! Now many plead with Mother Nature to start sending us rain and to turn down the heat a bit. As I write this, the forecast is for a heat emergency with temps in the upper 90s to low 100s with high humidity. The old adage “If you don’t like the weather in Nebraska – wait five minutes – it’ll change,” certainly seems apparent. But summer doesn’t have to be a time to “hide” in the air conditioning and count the days until the cooler temperatures of fall. It can be a time to spend enjoying your landscape and gardens and even a time to plant. Many of us get to July and August and make plans for vacations, celebrating the Fourth of July, enjoying the ripening vegetables in our vegetable gardens, and the annual effort to try to beat the heat. For those of us in the nursery industry. we spend a good amount of our time helping our clients keep their landscapes looking good. A GREAT TIME TO PLANT While the summer is not a time to “plant and forget,” it can be a great time to plant. Many of us have extra time. Some have extra help with children out of school or are spending more time at home caring for the kids. With a bit of understanding and care, planting in the summer can sometimes have better results than waiting for the fall. Simply put, people who plant in the

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summer usually tend to care for their plants better than those who wait for fall. The nicer weather in spring encourages people to believe that Mother Nature will take care of new plants without our help. We see our plants standing strong and tall and mistakenly believe that we won’t have to do much because the plants are looking great. But with the return of our Nebraska summer we need to make sure we are caring for our plants, whether we planted them in the great weather of spring or now in the heat of summer. DON’T WORRY Don’t worry if some of your new plants aren’t looking as good as they did in the spring when first planted. A bit of timely watering, maybe some trimming to shape the plant, and a bit of mulch to help hold the moisture around the root system can do wonders to help our plants through the summer. With a bit of care, plants showing stress in the heat

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should perk right back up and yes, even thrive, in our challenging summers. For those who are itching to add a few plants or simply have finally found time to work in the landscape, summer planting can be rewarding and offer great success with proper care. A young plant will need a bit of care to make sure it survives until it can set its roots and can begin caring for itself. How long this takes will depend on the plant. Check with your nursery professional for specific care instructions for your specific plantings. Basically, as long as you are able to check on your plants once or twice a week through the summer and add a bit of water as needed, you should be able to keep your plants growing well and looking good. And you can back off on fertilization efforts in the heat. Let your plants survive the heat, then as we approach fall and things cool, feel free to begin fertilizing again. Overall, Mother Nature can be our best friend or worst enemy. Which one we believe she is all depends on what she brings us each day. I for one have said a few choice words about her this year, but as long as we realize that sometimes we need to help her out when caring for our plants, planting can be an enjoyable and fulfilling part of our lives all growing season long – even in the heat of the summer. Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department. A Lancaster County Farm Bureau member, Campbell’s is a family-owned Nebraska business since 1912. It offers assistance for landscaping and gardening needs at either of its two Lincoln garden centers or through its landscape design office. Visit www.campbellsnursery.com for more information.

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26

AUGUST 1, 2012

Nebraska Farm Bureau News

WANT ADS

Free Want Ads for Farm Bureau Members Farm Bureau members may submit one free Want Ad per month. If there is more than one category mentioned with the Want Ad we will split it into multiple categories, but it must be a combined total of 30 words or less. Ads are used on a space-available basis, subject to approval. Ads exclude real property (permanent structures) such as homes, farms, ranches and businesses. Selling crops or herds of livestock also is excluded. Send typed or printed ads to Want Ads c/o Tara Grell, Nebraska Farm Bureau News, P.O. Box 80299, Lincoln, NE 68501 or email tarag@nefb.org. You may also place your ad online using the following link: http://www.nefb.org/wantad.htm. If you would like to rerun your ad you must resubmit the ad. Previously submitted ads will not be kept on file. Deadline is the 1st of each month. (No issue in July.)

FARM EQUIPMENT FOR SALE: JD model L, series 1, manure spreader, older restoration, asking $850. Call Lincoln, 402/432-8030. FOR SALE: 560 Farmall tractor, diesel, runs but does need new batteries; narrow front, good tires, always kept in the shed. Call Odell, 402/766-3638. FOR SALE: IHC wide front H tractor; mounted double Kosch mower, double Kosch mower with 3020 mountings, both ready to go; shadle sickle sharpener; new 31x13.50-15 NHS tire and rim for a 567 JD baler. Call Amelia, 402/482-5599. VEHICLES WANTED: 1937-42 Willis car

or pickup, or parts, also 192325 model T Ford parts, top bows, seats, coils, etc. Call Syracuse, 402/416-8573. FOR SALE: 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, 87,000 miles, in good shape, call for price. Call Schuyler, 402/615-4468. FOR SALE: 1993 Chrysler New Yorker, 195,000 on vehicle, 123,000 on engine, 2,500 on transmission, runs strong and gets good mpg, books for $1,470 or will accept best offer. Call Riverdale, 308/8933245. MISCELLANEOUS FOR SALE: Holland grill, full-size, near-new with cover, $250; Gibson 15.5 cu ft.

chest style deep freezer, $125; Toro personal pace lawn mower, with bagger, like new, $225. Call Loup City, 308/745-0249. FOR SALE: seasoned barn wood near Elmwood. Call Lincoln, 402/489-7011 or 402/730-4364, ask for BJ Dankleff. FOR SALE: 48” belly mower for IH Cub; 20 hp hollow shaft pump motor; 10 hp, 3 ph booster pump. Call Clarks, 308/548-2450. FOR SALE: four white spoke rims, 15 in, 6 hole, sandblasted and repainted, look like new, $200. Call Creston, 402/9203686.

Official Notice BROWN COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING

Official Notice BURT COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING

Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012 Time and location to be announced later

Tues., Aug. 28, 2012 6 p.m.

WANTED: upscale treadmill with heart, distance, calorie count. Call Hampton, 402/694-1284. FOR SALE: 26 in. lavatory, sink and faucet, good condition, $60. Call Laurel, 402/256-9810. FOR SALE: 1994 Shadow Cruiser 9 ft slide-in camper, high-low, very good shape, $650. Call Lodgepole, 308/4835615. FOR SALE: 1,500 or more new rust color house bricks, cleaned and on pallets. Call McCool Junction, 402/724-2280 or 402/362-9134. FOR SALE: adult saddle, really nice, $260. Call Niobrara, 402/857-3793.

Official Notice CEDAR COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Mon., Sept. 10, 2012 – 6:30 p.m. Meeting to follow meal Jerry’s Hilltop Café Hwy 81, Randolph, NE

FOR SALE: portable garage, purchased from Tractor Supply for $300, great storage for car, 4 wheeler, etc.; will deliver within 50 mi, $150 OBO. Call Holdrege, 402/781-2225. WANTED: sterling silver forks and knives, 1970s plastic and wood chairs and tables, old hanging lamps, old pottery, 1960-71 car parts, old advertising signs and more. Call Omaha, 402/639-9046 or 402/8954251. FOR SALE: sundae set from drug store, round metal table with 4 metal chairs with round wood seats, asking $375. Call Hampton, 402/604-0419.

Official Notice DIXON COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Mon., Sept. 17, 2012 6:30 p.m. Allen Fire Hall, Allen, NE For more information, contact Martey Stewart stewart@nntc.net or 402/584-2252

Contact Henry at 402/722-4222

Dinner and meeting Green Lantern, Decatur, NE

Speaker: Loren Haselhorst, Lead XXX

Official Notice HOLT COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Mon., Sept. 17, 2012 6:30 p.m. supper 7:30 p.m. speaker Kountry Korner Cafe Page, NE RSVP to 402/336-3635

Official Notice JEFFERSON COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Wed., Aug. 29, 2012 7 p.m. meal Arend Family Community Center AKA 23 building 720 J St, Fairbury, NE RSVP to 402/729-2728

Official Notice LANCASTER COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Wed., Sept. 5, 2012 – 6 p.m. Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation Cafeteria 5225 S. 16th St., Lincoln, NE RSVP by Aug. 27 to Pat

Official Notice PIERCE COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING

Official Notice SALINE COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Tues., Aug. 28, 2012 7:30 p.m. Sit-N-Bull 210 W. 3rd St., Wilber, NE Speaker: Rob Robertson, NEFB chief administrator

Official Notice SARPY COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING

Official Notice SAUNDERS COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING

Thurs., Sept. 20, 2012 8 p.m. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church 324 S. Jackson St., Papillion, NE

Tues., Sept. 18, 2012 7 p.m.

Official Notice SEWARD COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Wed., Aug. 22, 2012 6:30-7 p.m. social 7 p.m. meeting Seward Country Club 1046 Country Club Dr. Seward, NE

Official Notice THAYER COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Mon., Aug. 27, 2012 – 6:30 p.m. Sacred Heart Church Fellowship Hall, Hebron, NE A meal will be provided

For information contact Libby Heitmann 402/236-8821 or libby.heitmann@gmail.com

Official Notice THURSTON COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Wed., Sept. 5, 2012 6 p.m. Twin Creeks Clubhouse N. Hwy 9, Pender, NE

RSVP to 402/985-2344

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Farm Bureau Office 113 East 5th, Wahoo, NE Official Notice WASHINGTON COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Wed., Sept. 5, 2012 6:30 p.m. Our Place Arlington, NE RSVP to Ken Olson 402/278-2344

Sun., Sept. 9, 2012 6 p.m. Senior Center Pierce, NE

Official Notice WAYNE COUNTY FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING Mon., Sept. 17, 2012 6:30 p.m. Free meal provided Our Savior Lutheran Church Wayne, NE


Because thank you isn’t thanks enough. Presenting a Private oFFer For FarM Bureau MeMBers.

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1 Offer available through 4/1/14. Available on all 2011 and 2012 Chevrolet vehicles (excluding Volt). This offer is not available with some other offers, including private offers. Only customers who have been active members of an eligible Farm Bureau for a minimum of 60 days will be eligible to receive a certificate. Customers can obtain certificates at www.fbverify.com/gm. Farm Bureau and the FB logo are registered service marks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and are herein used under license by General Motors.

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The lifeblood of America. They’re the humble heroes who rise before dawn and battle the elements. They put clothes on our backs and food on our tables. Their genuine values and tireless work ethic are an inspiration to us all. We appreciate all that America’s farmers do and invite you to join us in saying thanks at www.fbfs.com/SayThanksToAFarmer. FB02-ML (3-12)

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2012 NFBF Policy Development Guides

Planting Seeds, Harvesting Results

These Policy Discussion Guides were researched and written by NFBF’s Governmental Relations Department and the American Farm Bureau. They are designed to assist Farm Bureau members in state and national policy development and in writing policy resolutions. NOTE: County Farm Bureau policy resolutions must be postmarked by Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. Resolutions postmarked after Nov. 2 will not receive further consideration. Mail to: Governmental Relations Department, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, P.O. Box 80299, Lincoln, NE 68501

Other important policy development dates:

♦ Nov. 13, 2012 ♦ Dec. 2-4, 2012 ♦ Jan. 12-16, 2013

NFBF Policy Issues Forum – Kearney Holiday Inn NFBF Annual Meeting and Convention – Younes Conference Center, Kearney AFBF Annual Meeting and Convention – Nashville, Tennessee


IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT Issue In June 2012, the Supreme Court essentially upheld the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” that was passed in 2011. Unless the act is repealed by Congress, the State of Nebraska will need to decide whether to implement a State Health Insurance Exchange or participate in a federal government-run health exchange. In addition, there is the issue of whether to expand Medicaid in Nebraska or whether the state should decide to “opt-out,” as provided under the Supreme Court ruling. Background The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is slated to be implemented in its entirety by 2014. According to figures recently released by the Senate Budget Committee Minority Office, the new law will cost roughly $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years. That cost is nearly $1.7 trillion more than the White House’s initial estimate of $900 billion. This is the implementation schedule for the legislation: 2010 • Creation of high-risk insurance pools. The State of Nebraska already had a pool in place; however, that pool will now be placed under the control of the federal government. • Individuals are allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance up to age 26. • Elimination of lifetime benefit provisions. • Preventative health care services are

covered at 100 percent. • Dependents under the age of 19 can be covered by health insurance with no penalty for a pre-existing health condition. 2013 • Increase in Medicare tax from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on those individuals making more than $200,000 and a family with a collected income of $250,000. • New 3.8 percent tax on unearned income for high-income earners. • Elimination of tax-deduction of employers who receive Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy payments. 2014 • Mandates all individuals have health insur-

ance coverage or pay a fine. • Mandates all employers with more than 50 employees provide health insurance coverage or pay a fine. • Guaranteed Issue Policies. • Limited rating variation to premium rating area, family composition and tobacco use. • Creation of state-based exchanges where individuals and small business can buy health insurance. • Premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to eligible individuals to help cover the cost of health insurance. Benefits would be extended to those individuals and families at 133 to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. • Expands Medicaid benefits to all individuals under the age of 65 whose income is below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The United States Supreme Court ruled the new law constitutional in June. However, under the Commerce Clause, the mandate for individuals to obtain health insurance was not upheld; rather, it was upheld as a tax. In addition, the court ruled that states could decide whether or not to opt out of the expanded Medicaid benefit program without the possibility of losing existing federal Medicaid funding. Under the law, people earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level would qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage, except in states that reject the expansion. The federal government picks up the entire cost of covering more people for the first three years and then its share drops to 90 percent, with

states covering the remaining 10 percent. Proponents argue having the federal government pick up most of the cost is a good deal, especially compared to the current Medicaid rates, wherein Washington pays as little as half of the cost in some states. Opponents argue the federal government does not have a good track record of funding its commitments. They suspect a bait-and-switch in which states would agree to the expansion only to see Congress cut some or all of the funds, leaving the states on the hook and potentially bankrupting state budgets. The cost of the Medicaid expansion to Nebraska has been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. Farm Bureau Policy While we oppose the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, should the law be implemented, we believe the State of Nebraska should establish a state health care exchange rather than participate in a federal health care exchange. Questions 1. Given the Supreme Court ruling, and provided the federal election does not allow for the repeal of the act, how should the State of Nebraska proceed in the implementation of an exchange? 2. Should Nebraska participate in the expanded Medicaid program offered through the act?

PROPERTY TAX ISSUES Issue Each year a number of bills are introduced into the Nebraska Legislature which would affect the property taxes paid by Nebraska farmers and ranchers. Many of the bills touch on ideas or concepts not currently considered in Farm Bureau policy. Background Property taxes continue to be an issue of concern for Nebraskans. For farmers and ranchers, the pain of property taxes is especially acute. Since 2006, property taxes statewide on agricultural land have increased roughly $244 million, or Questions 1. Should the state focus efforts to provide broad property tax relief to all property sectors? If so, how should the state provide broad relief? State aid to schools or community colleges? Additional dollars to the property tax credit program? Reduced levy limits? 2. Or should the state target relief to homeowners or agricultural land owners? If so, should it do so through income tax credits? Reduced agricultural land values? Homestead exemptions? 3. Are there other means of property tax relief Farm Bureau should support? 4. Should rural fire districts be allowed to set their own levies? Should other exemptions from the levy limits be allowed?

54 percent. Recognizing the concern, legislators over the years have enacted levy lids and budget growth limits on local governments, provided state aid to schools, and established the property tax credit program, all with the idea of reducing property taxes or limiting their growth. Senators in recent years have introduced several bills with the aim of providing greater property tax relief to specific property sectors. The concepts in the bills included: • A state income tax credit, capped at $1,000 a year, against property taxes paid by agricultural landowners who derive a substantial portion of their income from agricultural activities. To receive the credit, the operator must have a federal adjusted gross income that includes $50,000 or more from agriculture, but no more than $50,000 in adjusted gross income from sources other than agricultural operations. • A property tax homestead exemption of $8,000 on all homesteads. • A refundable tax credit of up to $4,000 against state income taxes for homeowners and agricultural land owners based on property taxes paid and income levels. • A phased-in reduction in the valuation of agricultural land for purposes of school district taxation and calculating state aid to schools, from the current 75 percent of market value to 65 percent of value by 2017. Other legislation sought to change levy limits on local governments and could potentially lead to higher property taxes. One bill would have removed rural fire districts from the county boards’ levy authority, potentially allowing for increased

property taxes. Counties are authorized, but not required, to allocate up to 15 cents of their levy authority (45 cents) to the miscellaneous political subdivisions under their jurisdiction. In eight counties, the county boards have decided to completely eliminate the taxing request of fire districts. When counties refuse to provide fire districts any levy authority, fire districts can pursue a citizen vote to adopt a levy at a primary, general or special election. Or in lieu of an election, a vote could be taken at a town hall meeting; however, the levy authority is only effective for one year, and 10 percent of the number of voters from the last election are needed to form a quorum vote in favor of the levy authority. The bill would have removed rural fire protection districts from under the county’s property tax levy limit and allowed rural fire districts to levy 10 ½ cents per $100 of valuation, which is the current maximum amount that may be allocated to such districts under the county levy. Supporters argue the change is needed to allow fire districts to set their own levy without repeatedly having to go to a vote

of the people or having to depend on counties to allocate part of their levy authority to the fire districts for such critical services for residents. However, the change could mean higher property taxes because it would effectively increase the maximum allowable levy by 10 ½ cents. Each session senators consider ideas such as those detailed above and wrestle with how to provide effective property tax relief while at the same time providing needed public services. Senators are asked to decide whether it is better to provide broad relief to all property sectors or target the state’s resources to approaches which would provide relief to specific property sectors such as homeowners or agricultural land owners. Additional funding for state aid to schools or community colleges, the property tax credit program, and reducing levy limits provide relief to all property sectors. Income tax credits for property taxes paid, homestead exemptions, and reducing agricultural land values target relief to specific sectors. Farm Bureau Policy Current Farm Bureau policy supports major reform of local government financing to reduce local property taxes and shift taxes to income and sales taxes. It also argues spending reductions should be first and foremost in providing property tax relief and supports the removal of mandates on local governments, controlling administrative costs and sharing government services. The policy further states surplus state revenues should be used to lower levy limits, increase state aid to schools and community colleges, or reduce land values.

HORSE RACING IN NEBRASKA Issue With the loss of Horseman’s Park in Lincoln because of the move of the State Fair and other challenges to the industry, the horse racing industry proposed a bill during the 2012 legislative session which would have allowed the State Racing Commission to regulate wagering on historic horse races. The racing industry believed the additional revenue collected would provide the industry the funds needed to build a new track in Lincoln, thus allowing horse racing to continue in the State of Nebraska. The bill ultimately failed to pass after a motion to override a gubernatorial veto was not successful. Background LB 806, introduced by Sen. Scott Laut-

enbaugh, would have allowed Nebraska licensed horse racing premises to install and operate Instant Racing Terminals. The purpose of the terminals was to provide the Nebraska horse racing industry with an additional mode of horse race wagering, inside the premises of a licensed horse racetrack, to generate revenue for the State of Nebraska and Nebraska’s licensed horse racetracks. Lautenbaugh’s main objective was to maintain the 3,700 jobs tied to the industry in the state, including licensed owners, trainers and track workers. The Lincoln track’s role is critical to the industry because current law provides that the state’s racetracks must hold 73 days of live racing to retain the right to take bets on races

simulcast from other tracks. If the 73-day threshold is not met, all tracks in Nebraska would lose simulcast wagering and would ultimately close. Questions arose during the debate about the future of horse shows and the horse industry in general in Nebraska if horse racing becomes a thing of the past. Currently tracks host numerous 4-H events and activities and provide a variety of resources to 4-H horse programs across the state. There is concern that the facilities would not be available for outside use. Farm Bureau Policy Farm Bureau currently does not have policy on horse racing specifically.

Questions 1. Should horse racing be viewed in the same gambling category as wagers placed in casinos? What impact will this have for Nebraska’s equine owners and producers? 2. Should the State of Nebraska change state laws in order to safeguard the horse racing industry in the state and protect the jobs associated with the industry? 3. How will this affect prices and uses of horses in Nebraska, including in the non-racing portion of the industry?


WATER FUNDING Issue The State of Nebraska is facing increasing pressure to address water needs because of changes in state law, interstate compacts and agreements, floods, drought and other factors. The state’s political leaders, as well as state agencies and local agencies, face difficult choices in how to address the issues, and particularly how to fund necessary management activities. Background In 2004, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 962, which required the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Districts to jointly develop integrated management plans to manage surface and ground water in fully and-over appropriated basins. LB 962, along with the state’s obligations under interstate compacts and decrees and other management issues, touched off several years of discussion and debate about water funding. Funding is needed for data gathering and research; development of integrated management plans; projects such as reregulating reservoirs or conjunctive management of surface and groundwater systems; water leasing; and control of invasive species. Funding for infrastructure needs and water quality concerns has also been a part of the discussion. Over the years, the legislature has provided funding sources at both the state and local level. At the state level, the legislature has appropriQuestions 1. Should the state seek to provide a long-term, sustainable funding source to address water-related issues in the state? 2. What water funding needs should the state attempt to fund? Integrated management? Compact compliance? Others? 3. What funding alternatives should be considered to fund the Water Resources Cash Fund? 4. Should a broad-based fee on water use be considered as an alternative to help fund the Water Resources Cash Fund?

ated additional general funds to DNR for its activities and provided additional one-time dollars to DNR and NRDs in the Republican Basin for compact compliance activities. Legislation was passed in 2007 to create the Water Resources Cash Fund to be used by DNR to aid management actions taken to reduce consumptive uses of water or enhance stream flows or groundwater recharge in fully or over-appropriated basins. As passed, the legislation appropriated $2.7 million annually through 2019 to the fund and set aside the receipts of a 3/5-cent checkoff on corn and sorghum, beginning in 2012, roughly $7.5 million a year, for the fund. The checkoff was repealed in 2010. In April, 2011, the legislature passed LB 229, a bill which allows the Department of Natural Resources to apply for a three-year, $3.3 million grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and increases the contributions to the Water Resources Cash Fund from the general fund to $3.3 million annually. DNR is authorized to apply for an additional three-year grant to begin in 2015 if certain criteria are met. On the local level, the legislature has provided NRDs additional property tax levy authority and budget authority to develop and implement integrated management plans. Also, legislation has been passed that provides NRDs, with integrated management plans, the authority to levy an occupation tax of $10/irrigated acre within their districts. Dollars raised from the tax can be

used for the purchase or lease of water rights, purchase or lease of canals or reservoirs, vegetation management or augmentation of river flows. To date, the tax has been levied by the Republican River NRDs and has raised roughly $25 million. Any money received by NRDs from the Water Resources Cash Fund requires at least a 40-percent match from the local NRD. While dollars have been dedicated to water issues, a long-term sustainable source to provide funding has not been identified or secured at the state level. The Natural Resources Committee of the legislature is expected to issue a report by Dec. 1 outlining water funding needs and containing recommendations for a possible long-term funding source. Legislation is expected to be introduced during the 2013 session which contains some of the recommendations. Total annual funding needs could range from $10 million to $50 million a year, depending on which needs are included and prioritized. Needs could include integrated management activities, research and data gathering, activities related to interstate compacts and agreements, infrastructure/facility maintenance and construction, compliance with EPA storm water runoff requirements, and flood control, among other needs. Suggested funding ideas include water usage fees (fees on wells; per-irrigated acre fees; per capita fee), general funds, or the sales tax (dedicate a percentage of taxes collected).

Farm Bureau Policy Farm Bureau supports state funding for resource development, cost-share programs, research, implementation and other program costs related to the development of integrated management plans by NRDs and DNR. Funding should come from state general funds or other broad-based sources where the general population contributes. Nebraska Farm Bureau believes all alternatives (i.e. augmentation, vegetative control, dry-year leasing, etc.) need to be explored to address water challenges in fully and overappropriated basins and basins subject to interstate compacts. Funding for the programs should come from a local/state mix. We support the Water Resources Cash Fund to provide state funding to address these challenges. Because agriculture will contribute locally through the occupation tax, funding for the Water Resources Cash Fund should come from state general funds or other broad-based sources. We believe the $2.7 million general fund contribution to the fund must continue, and if additional general funds are not possible due to legislative resistance, funding should come from the following sources in priority order: state sales tax; lottery funds, including Environmental Trust Funds; or a combination of any of the above. Funding should not come from an excise tax on the sale of agriculture commodities. We believe it is appropriate to provide NRDs in fully or over-appropriated basins the authority to raise local dollars through means that best fit their districts to fund specific projects or programs determined by the NRD board as necessary to meet the goals of integrated management plans adopted by the board. We recognize NRDs have been provided the authority to levy an occupation tax on irrigated acres through integrated management plans. We believe agriculture’s contribution towards addressing integrated management challenges will come through the occupation tax. All irrigated lands within the basin should be subject to the tax. Protections should be in place to ensure additional revenues are not used to fund general operations. NRDs within a basin should seek ways of sharing existing property tax resources to the extent possible before raising additional revenues.

ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY Issue Foreign animal disease outbreaks have the potential to create massive financial losses in the livestock sector through loss of access to foreign markets, a decline in meat demand by domestic consumers, and direct production losses (death loss and morbidity). Disease outbreaks also put export markets at risk, as was amply demonstrated by the 2003 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) event. Meat exports have increasingly become a key component of meat demand, and the loss of this component of demand in the event of a disease outbreak would be devastating. Virtually all of our major meat export market competitors (e.g. Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay) have implemented a traceability program; the U.S. has not. Background In 2004, following the first U.S. case of BSE, the federal government proposed the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The goal of this system was to provide complete traceback within 48 hours of an animal disease outbreak. The program would have provided a unique premise ID number to any farm in the country with livestock. The program would have been administered at the federal level. The NAIS concept was generally supported by the poultry and pork industries but was incredibly unpopular among cattle producers. In early 2010, the Congressional Research Service found that participation in premise ID registration amounted to 95 percent of poultry operations, 80 percent of swine operations, and 18 percent of cattle operations. In response to the strong resistance to NAIS, USDA essentially

abandoned the program in February 2010. In August 2011, USDA proposed a new Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule to replace the withdrawn program. The proposed rule establishes minimum national standards for identification and documentation of animals moving in interstate commerce. Administration of the identification program and responsibility for traceability in the event of a disease outbreak would remain with relevant state authorities. The federal government would develop traceability standards, but state/tribal authorities would actually run the program. Under the proposed program, identification would not be required until animals are shipped between states. Cattle shipped interstate would, in general, be required to have an official ear tag. There are some exceptions to this individual tag rule. For now, animals under 18 months of age and those going directly to a “recognized slaughtering establishment” would not have to

be identified, although USDA notes that this is only an interim situation. Another key exception to the individual tag rule is that states may make agreements among themselves on what constitutes acceptable identification for the shipment of animals between those particular states. In general, this would be used to accommodate states that require branding and accept brands as an official form of identification. When interstate shipment occurs, animals will have to be accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) which would be issued by an accredited veterinarian and would include the unique identification for the animal(s) being shipped. Alternatives to the ICVI are mentioned and are similar to the exceptions made for identification. For example, individual states can enter into agreements with other states to accept alternatives to the ICVI. More significantly, USDA proposes not requiring the listing of individual ID numbers for loads of cattle going directly to slaughter or to “an approved livestock facility approved to handle ‘for slaughter only’ animals and then directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment,” which could presumably include commercial feedlots. Farm Bureau Policy Livestock Identification, Section 309, deals with disease traceability issues. The fundamental principles of Farm Bureau policy on this issue are summarized as follows: We support the establishment and implementation of a voluntary national animal identification system capable of providing support for animal disease control and eradication. Individual states and/or tribes should have control of the animal ID program, not a private “for profit” company. We

support the opportunity for each state to decide the entity controlling their respective animal ID program database. However, in the event of a disease outbreak, the controlling entities must be equipped to communicate and utilize the system to track and trace animals in a timely manner. Other key principles supported in Farm Bureau policy: • Cost-share to defray ID expenses for producers. • Collect only information necessary for disease trace-back and exempt producer information from the Freedom of Information Act. • Consolidate with current animal disease programs (e.g., scrapie, TB, Brucellosis) so that there is only one program. • Exclude animals under 18 months of age and those going directly to slaughter. • No ID required until animals are shipped across state lines. Questions 1. Is the mandatory identification of animals for interstate shipment in USDA’s proposed traceability system acceptable to Farm Bureau under current policy? Should AFBF clarify policy to address the mandatory nature of the ADT system for interstate movements? 2. Are the exemptions in the proposed rule broad enough to make implementation manageable? Are they too broad to provide the data that will be required to achieve full traceability? 3. Can states coordinate to provide timely and complete trace-back capability in the event of a disease outbreak?


PRE-HARVEST FOOD SAFETY Issue Pre-harvest food safety has become a topic of increasing focus, particularly in the beef industry. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced at the 2011 AFBF annual meeting that its next step in reducing E. coli is through pre-harvest intervention and it has repeatedly re-stated its intention. Research on pre-harvest interventions is ongoing. Pre-harvest interventions that can eliminate fecal shedding of enteric pathogens have yet to be discovered; however, current research suggests that at least two preharvest interventions – certain probiotics and vaccines – have the potential to be effective in reducing fecal shedding in cattle. FSIS encourages slaughter establishments to share this information with their suppliers and to use it in designing their food safety systems. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture also plays a key part on the pre-harvest initiative, making competitive grants available to universities and labs that conduct cutting-edge food safety research, some of which looks at pre-harvest safety. Background FSIS is responsible for examining and inspecting the carcasses and parts of cattle at slaughter plants and meat processing plants that will be used for human consumption. It also has the authority to prescribe rules and regulations concerning the sanitation at slaughter plants and meat processing plants. FSIS’s inspection authority is limited to the Questions 1. What should the role of the producer be in pre-harvest food safety? What role should government play? 2. Are there specific E. coli tools that producers would be willing to use? Should Farm Bureau push for USDA approval of E. coli management tools? 3. How can cattle producers and processors work together to ensure that cattle arrive at the processing facility with lower presence of E. coli?

processing plant and meat products and does not extend to the live animal prior to its delivery at the harvest facility. However, the agency encourages beef producers to use pre-slaughter interventions. FSIS has stated that such interventions offer a significant opportunity to improve food safety because they may reduce the level of Shiga toxinproducing Escherichia coli (STEC) entering the slaughter plant. During the 1990s, research programs conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service on pre-harvest efforts to reduce pathogens included projects to evaluate technology and management methods to help producers achieve lower contamination levels in animals presented for slaughter. In 2008, FSIS began to promote cattle pre-harvest interventions to prevent food-borne illness and improve food safety throughout the farm-to-table continuum. The condition of the animals entering plants and at slaughter, and the contamination rates on their hides and elsewhere, affect the ability to mitigate risk at slaughter and through the rest of the food system. In May 2010, FSIS issued informational guidance to beef slaughter establishments on

pre-harvest management controls for reducing E. coli O157:H7 shedding in beef cattle. The guidance described several pre-harvest interventions and management practices. It encouraged pre-harvest interventions as the first control steps in an integrated beef products safety system. In September 2010, and again in September 2011, FSIS solicited input from the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection on pre-harvest Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point controls for Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, and chemical residues. Further, in September 2011, USDA determined that six other STEC strains were detected in raw ground beef and beef trim. While USDA has tests for those strains, it may be difficult and time-consuming to confirm positive test results because certain test components are either not commercially available for all strains or do not always provide clear results. USDA and university researchers identified several treatments administered before cattle are slaughtered that could reduce STEC in cattle. These include bacteriophages (viruses that infect and kill bacteria), probiot-

ics (live bacteria that can benefit the digestive system), vaccines, and sodium chlorate (a chemical that kills the STEC O157:H7 strain). However, few manufacturers have submitted applications for pre-slaughter intervention products to target STEC, according to officials from USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. One exception is for vaccines to reduce STEC O157:H7. However, USDA’s approval requirements for these vaccines are unclear, according to some industry representatives. Specifically, USDA’s general guidance does not address some of the unique challenges faced by manufacturers of animal health products seeking STEC vaccine approval. Without guidance that gives manufacturers the clear and more specific information they need to submit an acceptable application, the approval process for STEC vaccines could face potential delays. Since 2006, the U.S. beef industry has recalled more than 23 million pounds of beef because of contamination from pathogenic strains of STEC. These bacterial STEC strains can live in the intestines or on the hide of cattle without harming them, but they may contaminate meat during the slaughter process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that STEC contamination of food consumed domestically causes approximately 176,000 illnesses, 2,400 hospitalizations and 20 deaths annually. Illnesses caused by STEC O157:H7, the most common STEC strain in the United States, cost those infected $489 million annually, in 2010 dollars, according to a USDA estimate. Farm Bureau Policy Farm Bureau does not currently have specific policy on the role of pre-harvest steps or treatments in meat safety. Policy on “Inspection and Grading of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Products” contains general language regarding pathogen reduction: “We urge USDA to adopt a program taking advantage of new techniques proven by research to be effective in reducing bacterial contamination.”

USE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION Issue Antibiotic resistance in human medicine is a serious and growing public health concern. While antibiotic use in health care is increasing, it is agriculture that continues to come under serious scrutiny for its production practices. Critics advocate for reduction and restrictions despite the absence of conclusive scientific evidence indicating a relationship between antibiotic use in livestock production and human antibiotic resistance. Background The emergence and spread of antimicrobialresistant strains of bacteria has become a major public health issue in the U.S. It is widely accepted that the use of antibiotics generally contributes to resistance problems by increasing selective pressure on bacterial populations. However, the degree to which specific uses of antibiotics contribute to resistance and, more importantly, to related human health challenges, is a point of serious debate. The use of antibiotics in animal agriculture – particularly those classes of antibiotics that are important in treating infections in humans – has come under particular scrutiny. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration released draft guidance on antibiotic use aimed at “providing a framework for policy regarding the appropriate or judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.” Briefly, this guidance suggested limiting the agricultural use of medically important antibiotics as well as requiring veterinary oversight and/or consultation in the use of antibiotics. The difficult debate on this issue involves differing assessments of what constitutes “appropriate or judicious” antibiotic

use. Antibiotic use in animal production falls into one of four categories: disease treatment, disease control, disease prevention, and production uses. Disease treatment refers to the use of antibiotics to treat a specific animal that has been diagnosed with a disease. Disease control involves the use of antibiotics in populations where disease is known to be present. Disease prevention involves the use of antibiotics in populations that are at risk for a disease even though the disease may not be present at the time (e.g., prophylactic administration of antibiotics to a load of calves prior to shipping). Production uses refer to the administration of antibiotics, generally at low dosage levels administered through feed and/ or water, to enhance production efficiency. Treatment uses of antibiotics are relatively non-controversial, although some have called for such uses to be more closely overseen by

licensed veterinarians. Preventive uses of antibiotics in agriculture have become controversial. For example, “The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act,” introduced in 2009 by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), would have withdrawn federal approval for antibiotic use in agriculture except where clinical signs of the disease were present. Without a doubt, production uses of antibiotics in agriculture are the most controversial. Many in the medical community assert that the production use of antibiotics at subtherapeutic dosages is a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance. Earlier this year, the FDA proposed a voluntary initiative aimed at limiting the amount of antibiotics livestock producers give their animals. Under the new voluntary initiative, certain antibiotics would not be used for so-called “production” purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency in an animal. These antibiotics would still be available to prevent, control or treat illnesses in foodproducing animals; however, they would be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian. On the other hand, proponents of production uses note that low dose uses reduce animal morbidity, thus reducing the need for high-dose therapeutic administration. At this point, it seems unlikely that the debate over production uses of antibiotics can be resolved with appeals to scientific evidence. There is too much conflicting evidence, and competing interpretations of that evidence. The issues of how resistance develops, how it spreads within a bacterial population, and the mechanisms by which those bacteria are transmitted from animal to human populations are quite complex and difficult to study in

real-world conditions. This lack of consensus renders the debate unwinnable on scientific grounds: there is no conclusive proof that production uses of antibiotics do harm, but there is likewise no conclusive proof that they do not. Farm Bureau Policy Livestock and Poultry Health: We recognize the need for feed additives and medication in livestock, poultry, and minor species. We favor careful use and withdrawal restrictions of feed additives and therapeutics. We oppose the banning of such additives and therapeutics without adequate proof of danger. We support legislation that would continue the ability of veterinarians to prescribe drugs and the accepted extra-label usage of drugs needed for proper animal care. Rather than limitations or elimination of animal health and food safety protection tools, we would accept veterinarian oversight of antibiotic use, where veterinarian oversight is defined as a working relationship with a licensed veterinarian. Questions 1. Is there common ground between public health professionals and agricultural professionals (i.e., farmers and veterinarians) on use of antibiotics in agriculture? 2. Should veterinary oversight of livestock antibiotics change? If so, what is the proper role of the veterinarian? 3. Should livestock producers be required to buy prescription livestock antibiotics/drugs directly from veterinarians?


Nebraska Farm Bureau News - August 2012