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Cooperative Extension: Livestock


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Made in Maine: This Little Piggy

Donald E Hoenig, VMD, writes about the issue of swine welfare in his most recent post for Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture, a blog for Maine farmers. Gestation crates have been banned in Maine since Jan. 1, 2011, but this housing method is widely used elsewhere. After sows are bred, they are often placed in gestation crates for the duration of their pregnancy. These crates allow the sows to stand up and lie down freely, but do not enable them to turn around. Do you think sows should be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around freely? Do you buy your food based on a company’s adoption of certain humane or ethical principles? Are you willing to pay extra for this food? Read more in Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture, then submit your questions and comments to dochoenigvmd78@gmail.com. Answers to selected questions will appear in future blog posts.

Dr. Hoenig retired as the Maine State Veterinarian in 2012 and, after completing a year-long Congressional Fellowship in Sen. Susan Collins’ office in Washington DC last year, in January 2014 he started working as a part-time Extension Veterinarian for University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

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Image Description: two young pigs; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Extension Workshop Focuses on Detecting Internal Parasites

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop for farmers on how to detect internal animal parasites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center, 160 University Farm Road, Old Town.

Doctors of Veterinary Medicine Jim Weber and Anne Lichtenwalner will demonstrate how to use a microscope to identify common internal parasites of sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. Cost is $30 per person; registration is required and space is limited to 20.

More information including how to register is online. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

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Lichtenwalner Quoted in MPBN Report on Vehicle-Moose Collisions

Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report on moose collisions in Maine. Lichtenwalner said moose are likely out foraging for food such as tender young plants to try to make up for a tough winter. She said according to research, moose are more active during twilight hours and there is no silver bullet to stop moose-car crashes. “The best thing is just realizing you live in a place where these animals are going to be close to the road, and being extremely careful as a driver” she says. “You know, we do co-exist with these animals and I think we just have to be very watchful.”

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Kersbergen Cited in Story about Organic Dairy Farms

The Portland Press Herald’s article on a $1.7 million training program launched by Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Stonyfield to invigorate the local and regional organic dairy industry and jumpstart the next generation of organic dairy farmers included statistics from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Rick Kersbergen.

There are currently 285 dairy farms in Maine, compared to 597 in 1995, Kersbergen says. Within the same time frame, Kersbergen says the number of organic dairies has increased from one to 60.

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UMaine Extension Publishes Bulletin on Raising Rabbits for Meat

University of Maine Cooperative Extension has released a bulletin to inform people interested in becoming backyard producers of meat rabbits.

Gary Anderson, a UMaine Extension animal and bio-sciences specialist, authored Backyard Production of Meat Rabbits in Maine. Topics in the 15-page bulletin include the Maine environment, breeds and selection, reproduction, health management, predator control, market outlets and promotions, dressing out a rabbit fryer and recipes.

The popularity of raising domestic meat rabbits is growing in Maine, Anderson says, adding that benefits include nutritious food at a relatively low cost, potential for extra income and an educational experience for the family.

More information, bulletin copies for $1.50 each and free downloads are available from the UMaine Extension Publication Catalog or by contacting the UMaine Extension Publications Office at 207.581.3792 or extension.orders@maine.edu.

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Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals, and Agriculture

Donald E Hoenig, VMD, writes about Family Farms in his most recent post for Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture, a blog for Maine farmers. Dr. Hoenig retired as the Maine State Veterinarian in 2012 and, after completing a year-long Congressional Fellowship in Sen. Susan Collins’ office in Washington DC last year, in January 2014 he started working as a part-time Extension Veterinarian for University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Submit questions and comments to dochoenigvmd78@gmail.com. Answers to selected questions will appear in future blog posts.

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USDA Announces Funding, Issues Federal Order to Combat PEDv

Washington, D.C., June 5, 2014 — In response to the significant impact porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) are having on U.S. pork producers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $26.2 million in funding to combat these diseases. Additionally, USDA issued a Federal Order requiring the reporting of new detections of these viruses to its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or State animal health officials.

These viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety, and they are commonly detected in countries around the world.

“In the last year, industry has estimated PEDv has killed some 7 million piglets and caused tremendous hardship for many American pork producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “The number of market-ready hogs this summer could fall by more than 10 percent relative to 2013 because of PEDv. Together with industry and our State partners, the steps we will take through the Federal Order will strengthen the response to PEDv and these other viruses and help us lessen the impact to producers, which ultimately benefit the consumers who have seen store pork prices rise by almost 10 percent in the past year.”

The $26.2 million will be used for a variety of activities to support producers and combat these diseases, including:

  • $3.9 million to be used by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to support the development of vaccines
  • $2.4 million to cooperative agreement funding for States to support management and control activities
  • $500,000 to herd veterinarians to help with development and monitoring of herd management plans and sample collection
  • $11.1 million in cost-share funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices.
  • $2.4 million to private sector veterinarians for diagnostic testing
  • $1.5 million to National Animal Health Laboratory Network diagnostic laboratories for genomic sequencing for newly positive herds

APHIS’ Federal Order requires producers, veterinarians, and diagnostic laboratories to report all cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases to USDA and State animal health officials. The industry is already seeing herds previously impacted by the virus become re-infected, and routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the United States and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.

The Federal Order also requires that operations reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or USDA or State animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices, and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measures. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals, prevent further spread of the disease, and enable continued movement of animals for production and processing.

The international animal health governing body, the OIE, believes that cases of PEDv and these other swine enteric coronavirus diseases shouldn’t be the basis for countries to restrict exports of pork and pork products from the U.S.

For full details of the Federal Order and program requirements, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/secd. A Q&A is also available at http://umaine.edu/livestock/swine/diseases/questions-answers/.

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Don’t Forget to Vaccinate Your Horse (and Protect Yourself)

Donald E Hoenig, VMD, is author to a new blog for Maine farmers called Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture. His most recent blog post, Don’t Forget to Vaccinate Your Horse (and Protect Yourself), describes the signs and symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), how it is transmitted, and what to do to protect your horses and yourself.

Dr. Hoenig retired as the Maine State Veterinarian in 2012 and, after completing a year-long Congressional Fellowship in Sen. Susan Collins’ office in Washington DC last year, in January 2014 he started working as a part-time Extension Veterinarian for University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Submit questions and comments to dochoenigvmd78@gmail.com. Answers to selected questions will appear in future blog posts.

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What’s That Weed? UMaine Extension Knows

Common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit, and other cultivated crops will be the focus of the walk led by Extension Educator Donna Coffin. She’ll have references available for those who want to learn how to identify and manage weeds. Participants are encouraged to bring a digital photo of problematic weeds in their farms and gardens. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private pesticide applicators.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Coffin at 207.564.3301,800.287.1491 (in Maine), or donna.coffin@maine.edu. Details also are available at calendar.umaine.edu/events/.

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Anderson Talks to MPBN about Big Agriculture

Gary Anderson, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension associate professor, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “Maine farmers providing ark for critically endangered breeds.” Experts say biodiversity in the world’s farmyards are shrinking, according to the article, and efforts are underway to monitor several farm animals that appear on a list of critically endangered domestic breeds. Anderson said today, big agriculture is all about making more food for less money. He gave an example of chickens; stating that in 1926, the average chicken produced 126 eggs per year, and today, a hybrid hen created by agribusiness Hy-Line International lays 240 eggs per year. He added the hens are also eating less; from more than 7 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs 60 years ago, to only 2.8 pounds of feed today.

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University of Maine Cooperative Extension


Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: Livestock
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail: extension@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System