May 5 , 2006
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) strongly supports the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to exclude agriculture from new air quality standards governing coarse dust particles.
The environmental agency is in the process of revising its national air quality standards for both coarse and fine dust particles.
Farm Bureau submitted comments supporting EPA's proposed exclusion for agriculture, because there is no scientific justification for such standards. Farm Bureau believes agriculture should be excluded from compliance with what would likely be overly burdensome regulations.
"The agricultural exclusion for coarse particulate matter emissions in the final EPA rule on national air quality standards must be both meaningful and able to withstand legal challenges," said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
According to published EPA documents, the proposed exclusion for agriculture, mining and windblown dust was designed to "make clear that there is no need or basis to control these sources to obtain the public health benefits."
Coarse particles as regulated under the Clean Air Act are smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter but larger than 2.5 micrometers.
EPA will issue final standards and regulations on particulate matter emissions by Sept. 27, 2006.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed Canada's fifth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow from British Columbia's Fraser Valley. No part of the 6-year-old dairy cow entered the human food or animal feed systems. A full epidemiological investigation is underway.
Although this cow developed BSE after the implementation of Canada's feed ban, similar situations are common to almost all BSE-affected countries that have introduced feed controls without requiring destruction of existing product in the feeding chain.
Canada's feed ban is virtually identical to that of the U.S. Both systems have been rigorously assessed by a number of countries over the past several years, and both have been described as robust and effectively enforced.
USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said the U.S. was invited and has sent an animal health expert to participate in the epidemiologic investigation.
"Information gathered through this investigation will help us to determine what, if any, impact this should have on our beef and live cattle trade with Canada," Johanns said. "Based on the information currently available, I do not anticipate a change in our status of trade."
Print or digital photographersthe deadline's coming fast for Texas Farm Bureau's annual photography contest.
As always, print photos are accepted in the contest. But, for the second year, our contest is accepting high quality digital photos.
"We had a number of great digital photographs entered last year," said Editor Mike Barnett. "Digital cameras continue to gain in quality and drop in price. As more of our members buy digital cameras, we're making it easy for them to enter the contest by emailing their photos."
However, there are some requirements for digital entries. Set your digital camera to a minimum of 1024 X 768 pixels or higher.
Four winners will be announced in the July editions of Texas Agriculture and Texas Neighbors.
First place will be awarded a $100 cash prize. Second place will receive $50. And two honorable mentions will receive $25 each.
As always, rural settings and rural lifestyles are preferred subjects for entries.
To enter, follow these simple rules:
Both digital (minimum quality 1024 X 768 pixels) and print photos will be accepted.
Both color and black and white photos will be considered but will compete with each other.
Only one entry per person.
Include a brief description regarding the entry, plus the participant's name, address and telephone number in case additional information is needed.
Only Texas Farm Bureau members and their families are eligible. TFB and county Farm Bureau employees and their families are not eligible.
Make sure permission has been given for use of the photo submitted.
A stamped, self-addressed envelope needs to accompany the entry if you want your photograph returned.
Deadline for having photo entries in the Texas Farm Bureau office is Thursday, June 1, 2006.
Digital photos should be emailed to email@example.com.
Send print entries to Photo Contest, TFB Public Relations Department, P.O. Box 2689, Waco, Tex. 76708-2689.
"I am pleased to announce that China
conditionally agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef. We
will work quickly to finalize the terms of this
market opening. China is an important market for
U.S. beef, accounting for $100 million of our beef
exports in 2003."
–USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, announcing the commitment of China to reopen the country to U.S. beef exports. Additionally, a bilateral agreement calls for cooperation on animal and plant health and food safety measures.