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Agriculture news


Virginia man dies trying to fix grain bin flow

Our thoughts go out to this Virginia man’s family after this heartbreaking news this week. On Tuesday, the Amelia Sheriff’s Office received a report of a man trapped in a grain bin on a farm in the 13000 block of Genito Road. Dustin Lee Arthur, 30, was trying to fix the soybean flow in the grain bin when he became buried. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to investigators, Arthur, who was a manager at Featherstone Farm Seed, was wearing a safety harness and tethered to the grain bin at the time of his death. His girlfriend told CBS 6 that Arthur had experience fixing grain bins and was always willing to lend a helping hand.


Iowa Soybean travels to China to reaffirm ag trade commitment

Maintaining strong agricultural trade relations with China is a priority for the Iowa Soybean Association — thus the reason the group is headed there March 16-25.

Led by ISA President Bill Shipley of Nodaway and President-elect Lindsay Greiner of Keota, the delegation will meet with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad at the U.S. Embassy in China and key Chinese officials representing soybean processors and feed companies.

“China consumes 60 percent of global soybean production and Iowa farmers are a key supplier,” Shipley said. “With U.S. commodity prices sliding and other countries ramping up production, this is precisely the wrong time for the U.S. to retreat as a trusted source of high-quality soybeans.”

While preparations for the visit began last year, the timing of this month’s discussions is opportune.

Farmers are increasingly concerned about trade disruptions between the United States and China caused by steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The White House is also said to be considering tariffs on imports of Chinese technology and telecommunications resulting from a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation.

Last year, Iowa’s nearly 42,000 soybean farmers produced 562 million bushels of the oilseed. The crop is valued at more than $5 billion. Nearly one of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is destined for China. Nationally, U.S. soybean exports to China totaled 1.3 billion bushels in 2017 valued at $12.4 billion.

“China, which wasn’t even in the market for soybeans 16 years ago, is now our largest customer, purchasing more soybeans than all others combined,” Shipley added. “Iowa soybean farmers, with the support of their association and investment of the soybean checkoff, have developed strong relationships with Chinese soybean buyers, industry representatives and the Chinese government.

“We’re committed to maintaining these relationships while navigating these unsettled times,” he added. “Our time in China will offer the opportunity to share this important message personally.”

Imposing tariffs may help U.S. steel workers and steel industry, but the potential damage to the overall economy might be greater, said ISA Chief Executive Officer Kirk Leeds, a delegation participant.

“Unfortunately, given the importance of exports to U.S. farmers and the overall farm economy, agriculture trade is often the first casualty in any trade war or retaliation,” he said.

The ISA continues to work with Iowa’s Congressional delegation in communicating concerns about the way tariffs are being proposed and their potential impact on soybean farmers and U.S. agriculture.

“It’s clear underlying challenges remain in overall trade relations between China and the U.S., and for that matter between trading partners around the world,” Leeds added. “The best strategy for maintaining strong trade relations between China and the U.S. is to make sure that both sides continue to fully engage in conversation, negotiations and open dialogue. That’s what we’ll do during our time in China.”

Shipley said Iowa farmers are optimistic that U.S. and Chinese government officials will expand, not restrict, trade.

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Merck Animal Health awards 56 scholarships to vet students

Fifty six outstanding veterinary students from around the world have received scholarships from Merck Animal Health, in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF). Through the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program, the selected second-and third-year students pursuing careers in companion animal or large animal medicine will each receive a $5,000 scholarship (totaling $280,000) to support their educational endeavors.

“We know that the cost of veterinary education can be a challenge but want to encourage talented students to pursue their dreams,” said Scott Bormann, Vice President, North America, Merck Animal Health. “We’re honored to support these recipients, as the work they do throughout their careers will have an important impact on the animal health industry, helping to advance the well-being of both companion and large animals.”

The AVMF, the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association, has supported veterinary students for more than five decades.

“The AVMF helps ensure the future of veterinary medicine by recognizing and supporting outstanding students,” said Jan K. Strother, D.V.M., Chair, AVMF Board of Directors. “We are honored to partner with Merck Animal Health in providing these scholarship opportunities.”

Award recipients from U.S. and international veterinary schools accredited through the AVMA were selected based on academic excellence, financial need, leadership, and area of interest within the profession. The 2018 scholarship recipients are:

  • Tristan Darrel Agustin, University of the Philippines Los Banos
  • Trisha Alina, University of the Philippines Los Banos
  • Mehedi Hasan Ashiq, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Kelley Black, Western University – California
  • Alicia Bonke, Michigan State University
  • Jordan Briggs, North Carolina State University
  • Jessica Buchy, University of Florida
  • Robert Buntz, Colorado State University
  • Rheannon Burris, Michigan State University
  • Michael Caplan, University of Montreal
  • Crystal Cardona, Iowa State University
  • Katherine Crocco, Midwestern University
  • Melissa Dalton, Colorado State University
  • Abbey Earle, University of Pennsylvania
  • Samantha Eder, Auburn University
  • Lacey Ellingson, University of Minnesota
  • Maria Estefania-Colon, Tuskegee University
  • Julienne Fe Butic, University of the Philippines Los Banos
  • Holly Grams-Johnson, Colorado State University
  • Rachel Griffin, Michigan State University
  • Alexi Haack, University of California – Davis
  • Md. Mehedi Hasan, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Muhammad Sujon Hasan, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Rakib Hasan, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Homaira Pervin Heema, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
  • Kristine Hill, Ross University
  • Amy Kraus, University of Pennsylvania
  • Kyndel Lann, Midwestern University
  • Jessica Levine, Tufts University
  • Carl Magnusson, University of Wisconsin
  • Harrah Grace Magsino, University of the Philippines Los Banos
  • Emily Mangan, Oregon State University
  • Alex McFarland, Colorado State University
  • Michael McKinney, The Ohio State University
  • Md. Manik Mia, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Ori Nagasaka, University of California – Davis
  • Jannatul Nyema Nikita, Sylhet Agricultural University
  • Jessica Ruiz-Gonzalez, Auburn University
  • Renee D. Saxton-Baumann, Oregon State University
  • Trinity Scanlon, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sahar Sheikh-Ahmad, North Carolina State University
  • Joel Steckelberg, Iowa State University
  • Nigar Sultana, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
  • Gabriel Tumamac, University of the Philippines Los Banos
  • Saif Udden, Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • Ashley Ulmer, Virginia – Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Brittney Vaughn, Colorado State University
  • Emil Walleser, University of Wisconsin
  • Hailey Watlington, Lincoln Memorial University
  • Jessica Weirich, University of Illinois
  • Taylor Wickware, The Ohio State University
  • Rebecca Wilson, University of Guelph
  • Jessi Wixtrom, Michigan State University
  • Alexis Wohl, Western University – California
  • Greg Wojciechowski, Colorado State University
  • Michelle Yamashita, Washington State University

Vice President Pence to keynote National Ag Day

Vice President Mike Pence will kick of National Ag Day on Tuesday March 20, commemorating President Donald J. Trump’s National Agriculture Day Proclamation at the USDA in Washington, D.C. Following an introduction by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the Vice President will speak to youth agriculture leaders, as well as members of Congress, USDA officials, and prominent members of the agriculture community.

This will mark the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day, which is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) and celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2018 is “Agriculture: Food For Life.”

On March 20, 2018, ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital including an event at the National Press Club as well as a Taste of Agriculture Celebration.
Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day. These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students, and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

In addition to the events in Washington, DC on March 20, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day Essay Contest. The winning essay will be presented on National Ag Day.

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