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Published July 07, 2014, 10:16 AM

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US EPA approves corn fiber as cellulosic feedstock, livestock producers warned of anthrax danger, local leaders tout benefits of shipping overseas and SDSU Extension provides HR training modules for dairy producers.

By: Agweek Wire Reports,

US EPA approves corn fiber as cellulosic feedstock

• WASHINGTON, D.C. — On July 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule approving additional Renewable Fuel Standard pathways, clarifying that the cellulosic fiber found in corn qualifies as crop residue. “This clarification effectively approves corn fiber as a qualifying feedstock for cellulosic biofuel production,” says Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. The final rule comes one day after Quad County Corn Processors began production of the first gallons of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber in Galva, Iowa. “As demonstrated by Quad County Corn Processors...this feedstock holds tremendous potential to contribute meaningful volumes toward compliance with the RFS cellulosic biofuels standard,” Dinneen says. “EPA should also be applauded for its straightforward approach to accounting for the cellulosic content of biofuel feedstocks. The cellulosic content threshold method finalized in (the) rule is a common sense approach that minimizes administrative and accounting burdens for commercial producers, but upholds the spirit and intent of the RFS.”

Livestock producers warned of anthrax danger

• BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s state veterinarian says the state’s first reported case of anthrax this year should prompt livestock producers to take action to protect their animals from the disease, especially in areas with a history of disease. “Anthrax has been confirmed in a Barnes County beef cow,” Dr. Susan Keller says. “Producers should consult with their veterinarians to make sure the vaccination schedule for their animals is up-to-date.” Effective anthrax vaccines are readily available. It takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually. Keller also says producers should monitor their herds for unexpected deaths and report them to their veterinarians. Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south-central North Dakota, but it has been found in almost every part of the state. “With the precipitation we have had, conditions are right for the disease to occur,” Keller says. A few anthrax cases are reported in North Dakota almost every year. In 2005, however, more than 500 confirmed deaths from anthrax were reported, with total losses estimated at more than 1,000 head. The dead animals included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk. An anthrax factsheet is available on the home page of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. The bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions, such as heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.

Local leaders tout benefits of shipping overseas

• MOORHEAD, Minn. — Area businesses can serve as successful examples in exporting for other parts of the country, according to Arun Kumar, assistant secretary of commerce for global markets and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Kumar toured local companies July 1, including WCCO Belting in Wahpeton, N.D., and Titan Machinery in Moorhead, Minn. Kumar says he’s excited about the exporting that’s happening. “Every entrepreneur should think of exports from day one,” he says. “It’s really amazing how transformational exports are.” Kumar’s visit was hosted by U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who touted the economic importance of rural exports. Hoeven says there are now more resources to aid companies in exporting, including increased funding for the U.S. Commercial Service, which has field offices in 107 U.S. cities, including Fargo, N.D., and in 76 countries. The 2014 farm bill included programs that provide matching funds to promote rural agricultural industries and products, and for efforts to reduce foreign import restrictions and promote free and fair markets. Kumar says North Dakota should continue to encourage exporting. He encourages communities and states to be strategic and more proactive. U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., with U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also stress the importance of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. The credit agency will expire Sept. 30, and some conservative groups are campaigning to let its charter expire, calling it crony capitalism. The Export-Import Bank has supported $97 million in exports from North Dakota since 2007, Heitkamp’s office says, also noting it operates at no cost to taxpayers and last year sent $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

SDSU Extension provides HR training modules for dairy producers

• BROOKINGS, S.D. — With the cultural and technological landscape of today’s rapidly changing dairy operations, producers must effectively educate, train and communicate across a diverse workforce to ensure maximum efficiency. To aid with this challenge, South Dakota State University Extension has developed a set of Agricultural Human Resource Management Training Modules targeting dairy producers. “From defining standard operating procedures, to communicating with Hispanic workers, these interactive modules are designe to expand the skillsets of producers, employees and the dairy support industries to help ensure the continued success of your dairy operation,” says Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension dairy field specialist. Erickson helped develop the web-based modules, which include short training videos with corresponding tests. To learn more, or view the web-based, interactive video training modules, visit livestock/dairy/agricultural-human-resource-management-training-modules.