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Volume 8, Number 1 - January 2002

This Month in Ag Connection

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The recent terrorist attacks have threatened our freedoms and caused nationwide safety concerns. Bioterrorism in agricultural is termed agroterrorism and involves the act of any person knowingly or maliciously using biological agents as weapons against the agricultural industry and the food supply. Prior to the events of September 11, 2001, the two most common motives for agroterrorism were profit and the anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) motive.” Biosecurity, a long-standing animal husbandry practice, helps prevent the introduction and spread of disease and it is now a tool to combat agroterrorism. At the local level, communities should identify a coalition of local officials, such as law enforcement, emergency management, University Outreach and Extension, American Red Cross, and other leaders to address and respond to local disasters.

Types of Bioterrorism Agents:

Agroterrorism in Livestock:
As was seen with the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Europe, recovering from serious animal disease outbreaks includes the cost of livestock, the disposal of the animals and the value of lost trade and/or upon industries such as tourism. The loss estimates are 73 million dollars per week in Great Britain. While most cost estimates are speculative, comparisons using natural disease outbreaks as a gauge, the cost estimates are understandably higher with agroterrorism due to probable strategic locations in an attempt to create maximum damage. Additionally, the costs are directly impacted by the time it takes to diagnose a disease and then to contain it. Click here for more information.

Agroterrorism Directed Toward Processing Plants:
It is very difficult to deliberately contaminate food because of the sanitation that is required in secure production areas. In every part of the food process, observations are required by Federal/State inspectors. The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service has a team of more than 6000 food safety inspectors trained to look for adulterated food products and potential contamination.

People concerned with potential agroterrorism should take steps to be informed. The USDA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Land Grant University, including Extension can be excellent sources of objective information.

Important web links for further information on Biosecurities.

(Author: Todd Lorenz, Horticulture/Agronomy Specialist)

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Agriculture -- A Global Market

In 2001, U.S. Agriculture exports totaled over $54 billion generating more than $15 billion in trade surplus. The most widely known exporters are large grain companies and meat processors. However, smaller exporters have specialty products and have successfully marketed globally.

There are opportunities in Missouri for exporting. Some reasons for considering global marketing include:

There are precautions as well:

In Missouri, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Economic Development, Missouri Value Added Development Center, and University Outreach & Extension Ag Business Counselors have resources and information available about global marketing. Additionally, there are private exporting companies who can assist in marketing products.

University Outreach & Extension in Central Missouri is offering a short-course, Looking Beyond Our Borders, for persons interested in learning more about agriculture in the global market. If you have interest in participating in the two session short-course, contact: Mary Sobba, Audrain Co. Ext. Center, 573/581-3231; Mark Stewart, Callaway Co. Ext. Center, 573/642-0755; or Don Day, Boone Co. Ext. Center, 573/445-9792, ext. 310.

(Author: Mary Sobba, Farm Management Specialist)

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Winter Supplementation

As spring calving cows move from second to third period they will probably need supplemental energy, especially first calf heifers. This year I recommend whole shelled corn because of cost. You will lose forage digestibility when corn is fed above 0.25% body weight but so what, this year corn is cheap, Due to rumen function, once you get past 0.5% of body weight, you need to jump up to 1% of the body weight - converting the ration from a cellulose based diet to a starch based ration. Energy from corn is a lot cheaper than hay this year. Soybean hulls, corn gluten feed, and distiller’s grains are all excellent sources of energy as well. For a comparison of the energy value of corn vs. hay click here.

Hand feeding takes more labor and facilities but it provides better control of intake and it will save feed cost. Energy supplements can be delivered every other day, but daily supplementation is preferred. Salt mixes sometimes work to limit intake and sometimes they don’t. A word of caution with salt mixes, don’t let the feeder run out. If you do and cattle are hungry when it gets filled again, salt will not hold intake, which can cause some problems if feeding a heavy starch supplement.

If protein is deficient, correcting it must take top priority. Many people use some sort of tub with a built in limiter. There are some advantages from a labor standpoint and they do tend to supply a steady supply of ammonia to forage digesting bacteria but cost is always a concern. Economical protein options may include soybean meal, cottonseed meal, corn distiller’s grains, soybean hulls, and corn gluten. Recently, cottonseed meal has been a good option in terms of cost. On-farm storage facilities that will allow you to store bulk let you take advantage of good market buys and help reduce cost.

Test your hay. The money you spend on a hay test will more than be returned in feed cost savings and improved animal performance. Your regional livestock specialist can help you evaluate your feeding program.

(Author: James Rogers, Livestock Specialist)

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Taxation Tidbit: Saver's Credit

Money bag

The Economic Growth & Tax Relief Act of 2001 provides a financial incentive for many taxpayers to contribute funds to an IRA, SEP, SIMPLE, 401(k), 403(b), 457, or some other type of retirement plan. For 2002 through 2006 this incentive is in the form of a nonrefundable tax credit based on the amount contributed to the retirement account and the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.

This credit is available to individuals 18 years of age or older, other than individuals who are full-time students or are claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. The maximum annual retirement contribution eligible for this “saver’s credit” is $2,000 ($4,000 on a joint return).

The credit rate is based on the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for the taxable year for which the credit is claimed.

Married Filing Jointly Head of Household All Other Filers Credit Rate
$0- $30,000 $0 - $22,500 $0 - $15,000 50 percent
$30,001 - $32,500 $22,501- $24,375 $15,00 1- $15,250 20 percent
$32,501 - $50,000 $24,376 - $37,500 $16,251 - $25,000 10 percent
Over $50,000 Over $37,500 Over $25,000 0 percent

Provision for the saver’s credit is contained in Section 25B of the Internal Revenue Code. IRS Announcement 2001-106 provides a good explanation of the credit.

(Author: Parman R. Green, Farm Business Management Specialist)

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Central Region AgriExpo

Meeting presentation

Put your idea into action! Interact and learn from producers, business professionals, and university specialists who have been involved with value added ventures. This year’s AgriExpo will include workshops on financing, business plans, direct marketing, one-on-one sessions with Agricultural Business Counselors, and much more.

Location: Lincoln University's Carver Farm
Multi-Purpose Building
Date: March 2, 2002
Time: Beginning at 12:00 Noon
Contact: Don Day
Boone County University Outreach & Extension
Sarah Shultz
Missouri Department of Agriculture

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Attention Beef Producers

If you are interested in participating in the Show Me Select Heifer Development program, you need to indicate that interest to your local Livestock Specialist by February 1, 2002. Enrolling does not obligate you to sell, but does indicate your interest. For more information, contact your local Livestock Specialist or click here to visit web site.

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Publishing Information

Ag Connection is published monthly for Central Missouri Region producers and is supported by University of Missouri Extension, the Commercial Agriculture program, the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Managing Editor: Kent Shannon.