A swarming, exotic tick species is now living year round in N.J.

An exotic species of tick that mysteriously appeared in New Jersey last year is now here to stay.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the East Asian tick, also known as Longhorned tick or the bush tick, which was discovered on a Hunterdon County farm last year, has survived the winter.

“Ongoing surveillance continued during the winter and on April 17, 2018, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the Longhorned tick successfully overwintered in New Jersey and has possibly become established in the state,” it was stated in a news release.

Last summer, a farmer walked into the Hunterdon County health office covered in thousands of the ticks after she was shearing a 12-year-old Icelandic sheep named Hannah. Experts were called in to identify the tick which was not previously known to exist in the United States. The Department of Agriculture says it still does not know how the tick made its way to New Jersey.

The sheep has never traveled internationally and has rarely left Hunterdon County, according to Andrea Egizi, a tick specialist at the Monmouth County Tick-borne Disease Lab.

The longhorn tick. The larval and nymphal stages are difficult to observe with the naked eye. Larvae can be found from late summer to early winter. (Photo courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture)

When the incident was first reported, steps were taken to eradicate the insect from the farm by using a chemical wash on the sheep and removing tall grass where the they are known to dwell. The exact location of the farm and the identity of the sheep farmer is being withheld by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Although the ticks are known to carry diseases, such as spotted fever rickettsioses in other parts of the world, tests performed on the ticks and the farm animals were negative for diseases.

Local, state and federal animal health and wildlife officials, as well as Rutgers University – Center for Vector Biology, are working together to eliminate the ticks and stop them from spreading. Wildlife and livestock in the area will continue to be monitored throughout the year.

The ticks are known to swarm and infest deer and animals other than sheep, so the department is warning that it has the potential to infect other North American wildlife species. The ticks reproduce asexually by cloning themselves and just one of them is capable of laying thousands of eggs.

State and federal Department of Agriculture employees will be working with the public to determine if the tick has spread and to educate the public about protecting their livestock and pets from the pest.

The nymphs of the ticks are very small, resemble small spiders and are easy to miss, according to the Department of Agriculture. They are dark brown, about the size of a pea when full grown and can be found in tall grasses.

Authorities are asking people to contact the state veterinarian at 609-671-6400 if they see any unusual ticks on their livestock.

Unusual ticks detected in wildlife should be reported to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau or Wildlife Management at 908-637-4173, ext. 120.

Any questions about tick-borne illness in humans should be directed to local health departments or the New Jersey Department of Health at 609-826-5964.

Source: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2018/04/a_swarming_exotic_tick_species_now_dwells_in_nj.html#incart_river_index

Scrapie Program Update – Samples Needed for State Sampling Quota

At the most recent General Meeting Dr. Linda Detwiler provided an update on the USDA scrapie program and the need for collecting samples from Sheep that are over 18 months old that die in order to meet the state sampling quota. Owners that allow for samples to be collected will be eligible for the free scrapie tags with your farm’s assigned premise ID. The importance of this program can not be overstated. If we are able to collect enough data from the scrapie monitoring program over the next few years, we may be able to declare the U.S. scrapie free which would open up a number of opportunities for U.S. Sheep producers.

From APHIS website:

Since slaughter surveillance stared in FY 2003, the percent of cull sheep found positive at slaughter (once adjusted for face color) has decreased 90 percent. However, in order to declare the U.S. “scrapie free”, we must be able to prove to the world that we have conducted testing in all sheep and goat populations. This is why your submission of samples from sheep/goats over 18 months of age found dead or euthanized on your farm is extremely important. Without your help, we will not be able to declare the US free of scrapie, costing the sheep and goat industries approximately $10 to $20 million, annually.

 

Information below is from the US APHIS website.

Instructions for collecting and submitting samples.

Whole Head Packing Procedures

 

Also see:

National Scrapie Eradication Program

 

Soil Health Enables Climate Beneficial Wool

Rancher Benefits in Multiple Ways from Soil Health

What if, before you purchased a hat or sweater, you knew the wool used to make it came from sheep raised on a ranch managed to improve soil health and increase soil carbon? For nearly a decade, ranch owner Lani Estill has worked with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve soil health.

By adding carbon-conscious conservation practices to her ranch, the operation now stores more carbon in the soil than it emits through its operations. As a result, her operation, Bare Ranch, is marketing “climate beneficial” wool to a national clothing manufacturer. Estill and her family raise sheep and cattle on her 40,000-acre ranch, which sits on the border of northern California and northwest Nevada.

With help from her local NRCS offices and supported by Environmental Quality Incentives Program contracts, Estill has also improved wildlife habitat on her ranch. She improved sage grouse habitat by removing thousands of acres of invasive juniper and installed hedgerows for pollinators. She and her co-owners also installed fencing and livestock watering facilities and are following a prescribed grazing management plan.

Read the full story at www.usda.gov/blog.

Source: ASI Weekly March 9, 2018
 

Scrapies Update

APHIS No Longer Providing Free Plastic Scrapie Tags

To support animal disease traceability and scrapie eradication efforts, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has provided both metal and plastic ear tags and applicators to sheep and goat producers – at no cost – since fiscal year 2002.

After a funding reduction in FY 2012, APHIS used specific, no-year funding (for scrapie and ADT) to continue purchasing the tags and distributing them free of cost to producers. These no-year funds were exhausted in fiscal year 2017. While the Agency remains committed to ADT efforts, beginning Oct. 1 of this year, APHIS is providing only metal tags free of charge to producers and others who handle sheep and goats. Plastic tags and applicators for metal and plastic tags will remain available for purchase directly from approved tag manufactures.

These changes will reduce APHIS tag and applicator costs while still providing sheep and goat producers with a free identification device. APHIS will provide a limited number of plastic tags to producers newly enrolled in the Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program who submit tissues for scrapie surveillance in order to encourage on-farm scrapie surveillance.

The agency will continue to work closely in partnership with states and industry to achieve scrapie eradication.

For more information on how to purchase tags and applicators, visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/scrapie-tags.
Note: The American Sheep Industry Association and other stakeholder groups continue to work with USDA on alternatives to this new policy, including increasing the appropriations designated to the scrapie eradication program.

PA Extension to host farm marketing program Dec. 8

Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley to host session

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Farmers who have been selling direct to consumers via farmers markets and/or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) have noticed a shift in those market channels. For the last few years, farmers markets and CSAs have been stagnant and in some cases shrinking. Are there other market channel opportunities for farmers? Are there techniques we can use to improve customer retention? What are the current trends in local food we can capitalize on?

Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley will host an “Intensive Marketing” program at the Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton Street, Easton, Pa., on Dec. 8.

Nick Burton, State of The Soil, Simon Huntley, Small Farm Central and Marilyn Anthony from Temple University Fox School of Business will help to improve and sharpen our marketing skills for this day-long workshop.

Registration and detailed information to follow soon. For more information contact Brian Moyer at 610-391-9840 or email at bfm3@psu.edu.

— Penn State Extension

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/extension-to-host-farm-marketing-program-dec-8/

Northeast SARE Invites Farmer Grant Applications

Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The call for applications for 2018 Farmer Grants has been released by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.

Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funded projects will be announced in March 2018 and projects may begin in the spring.

Northeast SARE Farmer Grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to explore new sustainable production and marketing practices—often through an experiment, trial or on-farm demonstration. Reviewers look for innovation, potential for improved sustainability, and results that will be useful to other farmers.

Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast. To search topics that SARE has previously funded, please access the national database of projects at: https://projects.sare.org/search-projects/.

Applicants must work with a technical advisor—typically a Cooperative Extension educator, NRCS staff, university research or extension specialist, private crop consultant, veterinarian, or other service provider—who serve the farmer applicant in a consulting capacity.

Application materials, including detailed instructions and supporting documents, are posted on the Northeast SARE website at http://www.northeastsare.org. Questions about the grants program should be directed to northeastsare@uvm.edu.

The Northeast SARE region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Northeast SARE programs are offered to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

—Northeast SARE

Source:  https://www.morningagclips.com/northeast-sare-invites-farmer-grant-applications/

NJDA Announces Farm to School Mini Grants

$10,000 in grant money available to enhance Jersey Fresh Farm To School programs

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher has announced $10,000 in competitive mini grants is available to schools or school districts for the purpose of developing Farm to School activities in New Jersey schools. The grant money can be used for the purchase of materials to support school gardens that grow fruits or vegetables, the cost to transport and pay for class trips to New Jersey farms, or the purchase of cafeteria salad bars that will increase the offering of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals.

“The Farm to School program is a wonderful way for students of all ages to become engaged in activities that help them learn and appreciate more about fruits and vegetables and where they come from,” Secretary Fisher said. “Farm to School programs enhance what already takes place in the classroom and educate students about food and farming.”

Funds have been made available through legislation signed into law in 2014, which allows contributions to the New Jersey Farm to School Program through the Farm to School and School Garden Fund tax check-off. Additional legislation signed in 2014 created the Farm to School Donor Fund, making it possible for private donations to supplement Farm to School activities in the state. Mini grant applications will be open until Dec. 15.

More than 100 types of fruits and vegetables are grown in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout and beyond the growing season. The object of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias is to improve student nutrition and help students make lifelong, healthy choices.

Farm to School Programs also include school garden activities that teach students where food comes from by growing it themselves. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional value of fresh produce to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment and supporting local farmers. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject — math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. In New Jersey, Farm to School Programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved.

A school or school district may apply for a mini grant on behalf of a school(s) that:

  • Currently participates and administers, in good standing, the USDA National School Lunch Program
  • Provides an explanation of how these funds will be utilized to increase Farm to School activities throughout the intended grant period
  • Submits a Letter of Support from the school Principal Administrator stating support for these efforts

For more information on mini grants click here and for information about the New Jersey Farm to School Program, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/njda-announces-farm-to-school-mini-grants/

 

Impact of Tax Code on Agriculture

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee has held a hearing to examine how the tax code impacts agricultural producers. Members of the committee heard from a panel of Members of Congress—including Rep. Kristi Noem (SD-at large) and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)—from the House Committee on Ways and Means, the committee charged with crafting our nation’s tax code. The Committee also heard from a diverse panel of witnesses including agricultural and tax professionals.

“Both the ranking member and I are CPAs, and many of our colleagues in Congress are small business owners in their own right,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway. “Few business sectors in America are subject to as many unknowns as farming and ranching. With the upcoming potential for tax reform, it is important to highlight the unique challenges of the agricultural industry and explore opportunities within the tax code to better support a vibrant farm sector.

“As with tax reform changes from years past, the devil is in the details. Providing for a simpler, fairer tax code means that many parts of the tax code may have to change, but these individual proposals cannot be evaluated in a vacuum. I look forward to working with Chairman Brady and his colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee as they craft a tax reform package, and I urge all of my colleagues to reserve judgment until they’ve had an opportunity to evaluate a complete package.”

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway’s opening statement  and the archived webcast.

Witness List:
Panel I
Ms. Patricia Wolff, Senior Director, Congressional Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC

Mr. Doug Claussen, CPA, Principal, KCoe Isom, LLP, Cambridge, NE

Mr. Chris Hesse, CPA, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, Minneapolis, MN

Mr. Guido van der Hoeven, Extension Specialist/Senior Lecturer, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Raleigh, NC

Dr. James M. Williamson, Economist, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/the-impacts-of-tax-code-on-agriculture/?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email

 

 

 

Horse tests positive for deadly EHM (EHV-1) equine herpes

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined properties in Hunterdon and Somerset counties after a horse developed highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy. EHM is the often deadly neurologic form of the Equine Herpes Virus infection. No recent movement had occurred at the farm where the virus was reported prior to this case. The horse was moved into the isolation barn at a local animal hospital the evening EHM was confirmed. Both the horses at the original farm and the hospital are under quarantine.

Nine horses were being treated at the hospital at the time of the incident; several horses were exposed to the ill horse. Seven of these horses will be moved to a remote facility, which also will be placed under quarantine so the hospital can be cleaned and disinfected in order to reopen. Other than the initial case, none of the quarantined horses at either location are showing clinical signs at this time. Both locations are taking the necessary biosecurity precautions to limit the spread of the virus. Temperatures also are being taken twice daily on all quarantined horses.

“The Department took swift action to prevent the disease from spreading to other horses by enacting a quarantine, which stops movement of horses in and out of the properties and puts in place preventive measures to contain the virus,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can result in death. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2-10 days. Clinical signs include respiratory disease, fever, nasal discharge, depression, cough, lack of appetite and/or enlarged lymph nodes. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs typically include mild incoordination, hind end weakness/paralysis, loss of bladder and tail function and loss of sensation to the skin in the hind end. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials. While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment for an extended period of time and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and sunlight. The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals, with the exception of llamas and alpacas.

Concerned owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurological form of EHV-1 are common to many other diseases. EHM is a reportable disease in New Jersey. If an owner has a horse exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects Equine Herpes, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately.

The NJDA Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory provides testing for the neurologic form of EHV-1. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/ah/prog/lab.html or call 609-406-6999.

Source:  https://www.morningagclips.com/horse-tests-positive-for-equine-herpes/