The following comes from Dr. Alda Pires at UC Davis. Please consider participating in the survey.
Survey to identify the needs of small-scale farms and Urban animal agriculture Producers in the Western States of the US: livestock and poultry owners
The growing numbers of small-scale farms (SSFs) (1) and peri-urban and urban animal agriculture farms (UA) has increased the need for Extension specialists and veterinarians focused on small-scale and backyard livestock production(2). We are seeking your help in this needs assessment regarding animal health concerns on small-scale farms and for peri-urban and urban animal agriculture in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. This study is led by Dr. Alda Pires (University of California), Dr. Dale Moore (Washington State University) and Dr. Ragan Adams (Colorado State University).
The increasing popularity of local food production and sustainability has put small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture at the forefront. Your input is very important in better understanding this food sector and would be greatly appreciated.
This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry and food safety; and the role that veterinarians play on small farms. This study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers and veterinarians working within this sector.
Your participation is essential for this needs assessment. The survey will take about 15-20 minutes of your time. The survey can be accessed here:
All your answers will remain completely confidential and no personal information about you will be recorded. You have the option to not participate and you can quit the survey at any time. This project is approved by the UC Davis, WA and CO University Institutional Review Boards.
We thank you for your time and your commitment to small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture.
Should you have any questions at any time, please feel free to contact me directly (Alda Pires at 530 754 9855, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Annual UC Davis Horse Day is right around the corner!
Be sure to register before October 7th to receive the discounted rate:
If you have a group of 10 or more, please email Kathryn at email@example.com for further information.
Announcement reprinted from California Wool Growers' Association newsletter. I was part of the team and it reflects input from Mendocino and Lake County ranchers as well as the rest of the state.
California has experienced five large-scale, multiyear droughts since 1960; however, the current event is considered the state's most severe drought in at least 500 years. Each year of the current drought has presented different challenges; for example, much of California received no measurable precipitation December 2013 through late January 2014. In the following year, the Sierra Nevada snowpack was just 5% of normal. As California ranching is largely dependent on rain-fed systems, as opposed to groundwater or stored water, it is very vulnerable to drought. In fact, rangeland livestock ranchers were among the first affected by the abnormally warm, dry winters at the beginning of the current multiyear drought.
In this article, we highlight lessons learned so far from past droughts, as well as California's unprecedented and ongoing multiyear drought. We draw on ranchers' perspectives and experiences, including research results from a statewide mail survey of 507 ranchers and semistructured interviews of 102 ranchers, as well as our own experiences. The mail survey (the California Rangeland Decision-Making Survey) included questions on operator and operation demographics, goals and practices, information resources, and rancher perspectives. Semistructured interviews are part of a larger ongoing project (the California Ranch Stewardship Project) examining rangeland management for multiple ecosystem services.
The publication is available at the following link - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019005281630027X
The following is a repost from ASAS Taking Stock.
By Jan Suszkiw, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has launched a new smartphone application (“app”) that forecasts conditions triggering heat stress in cattle. The app is available at both Google Play and the App Store.
Compatible with Android and Apple mobile phone, the app issues forecasts one to seven days in advance of extreme heat conditions, along with recommended actions that can protect animals before and during a heat-stress event.
In some cattle, distress and discomfort from prolonged exposure to extreme heat cause diminished appetite, reduced growth or weight gain, greater susceptibility to disease and, in some cases, even death. Cattle housed in confined feedlot pens are especially vulnerable to heat-stress events, notes Tami Brown-Brandl, an ARS agricultural engineer at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska.
In addition to high temperatures, weather-related factors like humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation can contribute to heat stress, adds Brown-Brandl.
Until the early 1990s, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued livestock safety warnings that helped feedlot producers preempt losses or diminished productivity resulting from heat-stress events. Starting in the mid-2000s, USMARC researchers filled the void with a Web page, which is still available today, offering similar forecasts.
Recent increases in smartphone usage prompted ARS to design and launch a mobile-app that allows producers to access forecasts while they're in the field.
The resulting “Heat Stress” app, which was beta-tested last year, is based on several years of field research conducted by Brown-Brandl, fellow ag engineer Roger Eigenberg and others at USMARC—including Randy Bradley. Bradley, an information technology specialist, is responsible for a color-coded heat-index map of the entire continental United States.
In addition to feedlot producers, animal caretakers and extension personnel, the Heat Stress app may also prove useful to professors, students and others with an interest in livestock welfare. The app has been added to Federal Mobile Apps Registry.
A list of ARS Mobile Apps can be found on the ARS Web page under “Quick Links.”
ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.
Tami Brown-Brandl, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebr., (402) 762-4279(402) 762-4279,firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further reading:
Temperament Plays Key Role in Cattle Health
Keeping Cattle Cool and Stress-Free Is Goal of ARS Study
In managed rangelands and agricultural areas, feral or wild pigs are a significant pest species. However, estimates of total damaged area occurring on these lands are ill-defined and subject to a high degree of variability. Wild pigs can be important vectors of disease, can cause forage and crop loss and set up sites for erosion effecting water quality and allow
UCCE Livestock and Range Advisors and Wildlife Specialists need your help by filling out a short statewide survey on wild pig damage found at: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=16522. It should only take about 15 minutes to complete. Individual identities and survey responses will be kept confidential. Participation in the survey is entirely voluntary.
In conjunction with the survey we have developed a smart phone or tablet app that will help landowners and managers identify and record feral pig damage so that we can estimate the land area and economic impacts of feral pig damage over a longer time period. If you are interested in participating in data collection using our mobile application, please fill out the survey and indicate your interest at the end.
If you have questions about the survey or would like a paper copy, please contact either UCCE Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor, John Harper, at 707-463-4495 or email@example.com or UCCE Wildlife Specialist, Roger Baldwin, at (530) 752-4551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.