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.

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/

 

Newly-preserved farm protects Readington’s historic character

READINGTON TWP. – A partnership of the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Readington Township and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on Tuesday, Feb. 21, preserved the 21-acre Cole Farm on Readington Road.

Back in the late 1700s, a German indentured servant named Casper Berger repaid his debt and became a free man.

“He was a mason by trade, and he was required to build three homes,” said Robert Cole, Berger’s descendent. “He built them, earned his freedom and settled in the village of Readington.”

According to a family history, the house on the Cole farm property was likely built by John Berger, a grandson of Casper Berger. The barns are believed to predate the farmhouse.

During the Civil War era, the farm was owned by John Berger’s daughter, Anna, and her husband, Thomas Johnson, the village doctor. Their daughter, Sarah Johnson, married Charlie Cole, a local farmer.

Charlie and Sarah Cole’s son Robert, and his wife Gladys, purchased the farm during the Great Depression. Robert was one of the first farmers in the area to own a combine, which he made available to neighboring farmers. Access to this technology supported and fostered the agricultural community. Robert Cole farmed the land through the 1950s, selling some of the original acreage in his retirement.

The property was passed down to Robert’s son, Richard Cole, who had two sons, Robert and David. The younger Robert Cole and his wife purchased the farm in 1994, and still live there today. Robert and Janet Cole’s children, Bobby and Sarah, represent the ninth generation of their family to live on the land.

Eight generations later, Casper Berger’s farm is still in the family. And it is likely to remain a family farm, now that the Hunterdon County land has been permanently preserved.

Preserving the farm will make it easier for future generations – including Robert and Janet Cole’s son and daughter – to continue to own and farm it.

Cole said he and his wife felt strongly about preserving the farm.

“When we walk on the land, we can feel the history,” he said. “It’s a special place, and we feel that we’re being stewards of our family heritage. It felt like the right thing to do.”

The preservation of the farm also helps protect the character of Readington Village, which is listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places. The Cole farm is the last remaining property of sizeable acreage in the village.

The centerpiece of Readington Village is the historic Dutch Reformed Church, which is surrounded by 18th and 19th century houses. Casper Berger and several succeeding generations are buried in the church’s cemetery.

The Cole farmland – which overlooks the church and cemetery – will continue to be owned by the family, but is now permanently restricted for agricultural use. The family’s historic house and barns were not included in the preservation project.

“The Cole family farm is very important to the landscape and character of Readington Village,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We’re very pleased the family chose to preserve this beautiful piece of land.”

Development rights on the Cole farm were purchased using New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Readington Township’s funding from the State Agriculture Development Committee.

“We were happy to partner in the preservation of this farm to ensure that it remains in agriculture for generations to come,” said Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher who chairs the State Agriculture Development Committee.

Readington Township Mayor Benjamin Smith said that the township is happy to have assisted in this preservation.

“Preservation of the Cole farm in the heart of Readington Village is an important part of the township’s multi-decade program to preserve our farms and maintain the rural character of the township for future generations,” Smith said.

State Conservationist Carrie Lindig praised the farmland preservation project.

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service values the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s leadership in preserving New Jersey’s farmland,” Lindig said. “We are pleased to partner with them and the State Agriculture Development Committee in acquiring a conservation easement on this Readington Township farm, and we appreciate Mr. Cole’s commitment to preserving their valuable, historic family farm.”

Source: NJ Hills.com March 22, 2017

Legislation would support young farmers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, introduced legislation to support young people in agriculture by creating a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of income students 18 years of age or younger earn from projects completed through 4-H or FFA. Their bills, the Agriculture Students Encourage, Acknowledge, Reward, Nurture Act (S. 671) and the Student Agriculture Protection Act (H.R. 1626), enable students to keep more of the modest income they earn, which can then be invested in education savings or future agricultural projects.

“With the number of new farmers trending downward and more mouths to feed than ever across the globe, Congress must support young people who are interested in a career in agriculture,” Sen. Moran said. “This bill is one step we can take to encourage those involved in FFA and 4-H to turn their modest income from the agricultural projects into savings, money for education and training, or toward a future project. Farming kids across the country represent the future of a critical industry and way of life, and this legislation represents an important investment in the next generation.”

“Ensuring members of student organizations like 4-H and FFA are afforded every opportunity to succeed is not only important for the student’s future, but the future of our nation’s agriculture,” said Sen. Ernst, a former member of the 4-H. “I’m proud to support the Agriculture Students EARN Act to allow our future farmers to gain valuable experience and skills through hands-on projects. By investing in our students’ futures, we are investing in the next generation of our nation’s leaders that will be on the forefront of agricultural innovation and production for years to come.”

“We must do more to encourage our future farmers to stay in the farming business so our country can maintain a secure and steady food supply,” said Rep. McCaul. “These students across the nation today represent the future of agriculture, and enabling them to succeed means we all succeed. That is why I am proud to reintroduce the Student Agriculture Protection Act. This bill would eliminate unnecessary barriers for our young farmers to ensure the U.S. remains outfitted with innovative minds that have allowed us to be the world leader in the agricultural industry.”

“Recruiting and retaining the next generation of young people to the family farm or to other agricultural pursuits starts here; it starts with legislation like the Agriculture Students EARN Act and theStudent Agriculture Protection Act,” said National FFA Western Region Vice President Trey Elizondo. “This proposal would undoubtedly enable me and other agricultural education students to strengthen agriculture and support the communities in which we live. My generation is ready to accept the challenge of feeding, clothing, and sheltering our world, and this legislation helps us accept that challenge.”

Typical 4-H and FFA projects include showing animals at local and state fairs, growing and harvesting crops, building agricultural mechanic projects and many others. Ag Students EARN would lower the tax burden on the students and give them an opportunity to invest more of what they’ve earned in future projects, college funds or savings accounts.

Supporters of the legislation include National FFA Organization, National 4-H Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union and National Young Farmers Coalition.

— The Office of  Joni Ernst, R-Iowa

Source:  Morning Ag Clips NJ March 22, 2017