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News items of interest to Maine's agricultural community.

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2008 Southern Aroostook ‘Buy Local' farm calendar

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 17:40:51 EST

Farmers and gardeners are an intrinsic part of Maine's seasons and are affected by nature's deliverances more than anyone else. Within the day to day routines of the regular world, we may happen to notice a summertime field lined with hay bales as we make our daily commute to an office job, or we may get stuck traveling behind a rumbling truck filled with potatoes in the fall, but how many of us know what our farming community really has to offer for agricultural diversity? How many people know where to buy local pork, lamb or a side of beef for their family's freezer? Are there farmers growing strawberries? What farm offers u-pick raspberries? Fresh eggs? How about sweet corn and summer squash?

The 2008 Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District calendar hopes to answer these questions and more by featuring maps of farms in southern Aroostook that sell direct to the consumer through roadside stands or on the farm. This project began, in part, to support our region's preservation of family farms. Part of that support is to educate the public of where to buy food locally and, in the process, make the connection that planting dollars close to home strengthens our communities.

Forty-one farms are listed, from Bridgewater to Sherman. Farms like third generation farmer Dale Boutilier who grows potatoes with his son Darren in Oakfield. Thirty three years ago, there were roughly 30 potato farmers in Oakfield and the three surrounding towns. Today, Dale and his son are the only potato growers left. Dale attributes part of the loss to farmers retiring and having no one to pass the farm on to. Dale is lucky in that he has Darren, who has farmed beside him ever since he was a boy. Together they plant about 100 acres, rotating with grain. While most of their harvest ends up at a local processing plant here in the County and in Rhode Island, the sense of community remains with friends and neighbors stopping by the Boutilier's potato house to buy the Norwiss and Dark Red Norlands direct.

Then there are the Brannen's. Kevin Brannen's hobbies of tapping maple trees and starting bee hives grew into a local business with his wife Kristi. Spring Break Maple and Honey, located in Smyrna Mills, supplies stores with maple syrup and honey from the tip of northern Maine to the south. Kevin and Kristi credit Heart of Maine's Tilling the Soil of Opportunity class with helping them grow their farm business with focused goals and a business plan. The local community continues to be a support base for their products as their business grows through distribution, web sales and their on-farm store.

There is also Larry Scott who owns Boutilier's Florist and Garden Center in Hodgdon. Larry gives back to the community by selling as many local farm products as he can. Along with beef from his own Scott Farms, he provides an additional outlet for producers of local pork, eggs, chickens and such seasonal and wild foraged items as berries and fiddleheads. Shop at Larry's and you are not only supporting his business, but those of his farmer neighbors as well.

The Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District's ‘Buy Local' farm calendars celebrate those farms that are part of Aroostook County's agricultural diversity and continuing heritage.

The calendars are being sold for $5 each with the proceeds being used to send two children to Tanglewood 4-H Camp next summer. The calendars are available at the SASWCD office, 304 North St, Houlton or buy phoning 532-9407 ext 3 for additional outlets.

"Maine Feeds Maine": Statewide Series of Discussions

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 16:05:49 EDT

It certainly looks as if "buying local" is a strategy that is working for some Maine farmers. How big is the future for local food networks? Can we have more and more prosperous farmers--and also have more Maine people eating more local food?

In this vision of "Maine Feeds Maine", what would Maine farmers need in order to focus on production for local consumers? What constructive roles might consumer groups, development corporations and other 'stakeholders' play in supporting Maine producers? This is the topic of four "Maine Feeds Maine" community discussions happening in Nov-Dec. Each discussion takes place at four sites simultaneously, linked by ATM distance learning technology. Producers, consumer groups, development specialists and others will look at ideas, strategies, and models that might mutually benefit those who produce the food and those who buy it.

A lively session is expected. Come with paper and pen, two cents to throw in and an ear or two to listen with!

Each site has only 12-20 seats so register ASAP (pre-registration is required). For sites/dates and other info: or download the flyer below.

State-inspected, local Maine meat and poultry...primed for national distribution

Wed, 31 Oct 2007 09:08:53 EDT

Maine consumers enjoy some of the safest, freshest products in the world, with locally raised meat and poultry slaughtered in state-inspected facilities. The regulatory programs of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources play a critical role in assuring that our food supply is safe, wholesome, unadulterated and properly labeled.

Our state-inspected, locally produced meats are some of the best, highest quality products available. The farms and slaughter plants are small, family-owned businesses. They offer popular products such as sausages, beef jerky, chicken, beef and goat.

The Maine Red Meat and Poultry Inspection Program started a little more than six years ago. Our objective is to assist Maine's small- and medium-size meat and poultry processors, to build on the success of the current industry, and to promote additional business.

Maine farmers generated about $126 million in cash receipts last year from livestock and poultry operations. Right now, seven facilities are under state inspection, five are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and 14 are small, custom-exempt plants. Last year, state-inspected plants processed more than 1,600 animals, amounting to nearly 600,000 pounds of product. This value-added sector of Maine agriculture constitutes only a portion of the industry. However, it is experiencing strong growth, and it will continue to provide opportunities to an increasing number of farmers across Maine.

Domestically, only meat slaughtered in plants with USDA inspection can be shipped across state lines. An outdated federal law prohibits the sale of state-inspected products (beef, poultry, pork, lamb and goat) across state lines - even though these products must meet or exceed federal inspection standards. Ironically, meat and poultry products from 38 foreign countries can be freely shipped and sold anywhere in the United States. Imports of meat and poultry have increased significantly in recent years, amounting to more than 4.3 billion pounds in 2005. Currently, imported meat products comprise 20 percent of the red meat consumed in our country - more than double that of state-inspected meat.

There are many reasons why the restriction on interstate meat sales doesn't make sense. No other food commodities inspected by state authorities are prohibited from being shipped across state lines. Other state-inspected food products including perishable items such as milk, cheese, fish, and shellfish, are marketed freely across the country.

Lawmakers in Washington have studied the issue of interstate meat sales for more than a decade. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to deal with this issue. Similar legislation, with bipartisan support, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. This legislation would amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act to provide for the interstate shipment of meat that is inspected by state agencies. It would level the economic playing field for small producers across the country and allow them the same access to domestic markets currently enjoyed by companies from 38 foreign countries.

It is time for Congress to act. American consumers deserve greater access to safe, nutritious local products from state-inspected meat and poultry processors. Maine's livestock producers, processors and small businesses deserve to compete in the national marketplace. It's only common sense, and it's surely the right thing to do.

Mitchell Ledge Farm gets permanent protection

Tue, 23 Oct 2007 16:29:54 EDT

Edward Brainard, President of FCT, announced the organization has purchased a conservation easement to protect 105 acres of Mitchell Ledge Farm and received a donation of a second easement from the LeMaistres covering an additional 27 acres. Together the easements will protect scenic pastures, hay fields, woodlands, streams and wetlands from future development or subdivision, forever. The easements granted by the LeMaistres will also allow FCT to create trails for public access through woods around farm fields and along Kelsey Brook, which runs through the property. FCT has secured trail easements from six additional abutting property owners that will, once the trail is created, make it possible to walk through the woods from Mitchell Ledge Farm to FCT's Calderwood property on Maquoit Bay."We are extremely pleased to protect this scenic Freeport landmark and to provide access to trails that will allow the public to enjoy the property and to reach other FCT trails," said FCT Trustee Frederick Woodruff. "We are very grateful for the support and contributions from Freeport residents that made this all possible. We also value the LeMaistre's foresight and conservation spirit in partnering with us to ensure the preservation of this unique property as a working farm."The fields and forests of Mitchell Ledge Farm have been farmed and harvested for many generations, benefiting the local community," said Andy LeMaistre."Mary and I decided that granting an agricultural conservation easement over the property was the best way to ensure that the land would remain productive into the future. We appreciate the generous support of all our Freeport friends and neighbors and the endeavors of all those individuals representing local, state, and federal government agencies, and members of FCT. It took a tremendous effort by all participants to successfully complete this project."FCT raised more than $900,000 to purchase the easement, the largest fundraising endeavor the organization has undertaken in its 30-year history. Once funds were secured through the Land for Maine's Future Program and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, another 100-plus local donors contributed to the fundraising effort, including Freeport residents George and Joyce Denney and Joe and Carol Wishcamper who made generous leadership gifts. In addition, FCT received grants from the Town of Freeport's Land Bank Fund, the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, the Davis Conservation Foundation, and the Libra Foundation. "The protection of Mitchell Ledge Farm will provide long-term benefits to the community including beautiful pastoral views from Flying Point Road and the opportunity to use the woodland trails," said FCT President Edward Brainard. "We are grateful for the donations and grants from many individuals, the Town of Freeport, the foundations, state and federal programs, as well as for the neighbors who granted trail easements through their properties."Land for Maine's Future program spokesperson Tim Glidden enthusiastically endorsed the project. "The LMF board was drawn to the Mitchell Ledge Farm project by the wonderful opportunity to protect a working farm while also providing recreational opportunities in this rapidly growing part of Maine. These landscapes are at the core of Maine's heritage.""The USDA Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program plays an important role in ensuring the lands stay in agriculture and provide open space for future generations," said Joyce Swartzendruber, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Keeping this land in agriculture will help preserve its agricultural, historical and natural resources. We congratulate the LeMaistres and FCT on achieving this goal." Freeport Conservation Trust invites the public to Mitchell Ledge Farm, located approximately 2 miles from downtown Freeport at 47 Flying Point Road, on November 1 from 4-6pm to cel[...]

For the love of the land...

Tue, 23 Oct 2007 13:20:34 EDT

Like a marriage, it is built upon a trust of the underlying resource, the partner - in this case, the dependability of the soils to yield a productive crop given the proper stewardship. Each spring, hope springs anew. Farmers smell the change in the damp soil as it thaws. They watch the wind work the growing hay. They hear the change of the corn leaves as they ripen and dry. They rub a new calf to dry it in the early morning light… like spring, bringing new life, new hope. This marriage between farmer and land, in special cases, is generational. It transcends physical age. Even for those of us no longer connected to the land, there is respect for this special marriage…On August 10th, 2007, GWRLT completed a project in Berwick protecting all 269 acres of the Tibbetts Farm on Blackberry Hill Road. Reba Tibbetts (pictured above with Todd Hoffman and Jean Demetracopoulos), her sons, her grandson, even her great-grandson, have this special relationship with the land and the cows they milk. Their love of the land brought them through the long and sometimes frustrating process of permanently protecting the farm through the sale of its development rights. Their ultimate concern that their fields never grow rooftops has been addressed through the conservation easement that will remain with the land forever. The Tibbetts will continue to own the land, farm the fields and manage the woodlots. For Reba, this event is a legacy.This land will always breathe with the seasons. It will not be scarred with asphalt or suburbanized lawns.For the rest of us, this project means we will be able to drive along one of the prettiest roads in southern York County and see cows out to pasture and hay and corn growing on rolling fields. The Tibbetts' side of Cranberry Meadow Swamp and the water it holds will continue to function as a natural environment, recharging groundwater, filtering nutrients and providing quality wildlife habitat. The survey showed more than 2000 feet of boundary with the New England Forestry Foundation, creating a wildlife corridor extending from Route 9 to Blackberry Hill Road. The proximity of conservation lands to the south of the Tibbetts' home farm parcel on Brackett Lane extends this corridor almost to the South Berwick town line - almost 500 acres conserved of the more than 2000 acres of wildlife habitat within 2 miles of Berwick's burgeoning downtown. These lands support the tax base without requiring services of roads and schools. The 51 house lots which could have been developed on the Tibbetts Farm, conforming to current zoning will not happen, helping to stabilize the tax burden on the town. From the actions of a devoted farmer, the commitment of her family, and the support of public and private partnerships, we all benefit. In Appreciation: Accomplishing this task was no small feat. It took three years to bring together the information (build out scenarios, appraisals and surveys) and the funding from the Land for Maine's Future Program (LMF) and the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. Stephanie Gilbert from the Maine Department of Agriculture provided essential technical support and coordination. Attorney Hope Hilton and Collin Therrien from the LMF were keepers of the reams of paper work required for this transaction. Trust attorney Susan Thibeau worked with the Tibbetts' attorney Bruce Whitney to review closing documents and easements. GWRLT board members and staff committed to raising the funds to accomplish the deal (your membership dollars and donations at work). Bill Yarmatino and Geoff Coombs from Natural Resources Conservation Service provided support at the federal level for this project. Maine Farmland Trust served as our fiscal agent for the federal funding component. Jean Demetracopoulos coordinated this project over the three years. We are grateful for her devotion to farmland protection in our communities. Our sincere thanks are extended to all the abo[...]

Grab a plate!

Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:12:56 EDT

A celebration was held in Augusta at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on Anthony Avenue. The first lady, Karen Baldacci addressed the group and was enthusiastic about welcoming the new plate. She planned to drive to Bangor to pick up her own plate later in the week. Also joining us was the Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap and Seth Bradstreet III, Commissioner of Agriculture. Several plates were attached that day amid a group of happy onlookers. Representatives from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Maine Farm Bureau, Maine State Grange, Maine Association of Conservation Districts, Cooperative Extension and MAITCA joined Representative Wendy Pieh, and Rep. Bill Browne, sponsors of the legislation, in picking up their new plate that first day.

Maine Agriculture wants to thank all that supported the project. Without the devoted time and energy of the many volunteer advocates for agriculture, this would not have been possible. Some of you have pre-purchased plates. You should have received a voucher in the mail. If your voucher has not arrived please contact the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Assn. (MAITCA) at or 207-287-5522. Do not call the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. They no longer have vouchers there to distribute. Some of you have signed up for a plate on the "Buy Now, Pay Later" plan. We have your vouchers at the MAITCA office. Please send your payment of $20 per set of plates to MAITCA, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 we will get yours right in the mail to you. Others have not yet signed up for your plate. Please consider showing your support of local agriculture by putting one on your car, farm truck or commercial vehicle. And, consider purchasing your plate though MAITCA. We have several hundred vouchers available, and if we can sell them through our office, we can add an extra $10 per voucher to the Agricultural Education Fund. Every $$ counts!

Ag Education is for the future…

Eastern States Exposition attendance sets record

Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:06:02 EDT

The sun shone brightly on The Big E on all but one morning - making the annual Fair the second most successful event in its history with 1,227,889 fairgoers attending from throughout the Northeast. Three attendance records were set: The first Wednesday, 73,258; second Monday, 66,790; and second Tuesday, 56,974. Concerts by DAUGHTRY, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry and other Country and pop stars, live sharks, celebrity chefs, Cultura 2007, the Mardi Gras Parade, rides, a Marriage on the Midway, crafts, fair food, and animals shared the grounds with long-time favorites and new sights and sounds, offering fairgoers an endless "menu" of activities with something for everyone.The Big E was again named an American Bus Association Top 100 Event.The Fair opened with a salute to active military personnel and veterans on Military Appreciation Day with free admission for military personnel and veterans.Cultura 2007, The Big E's salute to Hispanic heritage, debuted this year, with an appearance by Daisy Martinez of PBS' "Daisy Cooks" and a special Latin performance by Dian Diaz. The Food Court came alive with the Latin beat and Salsa lessons were offered on the Midway. The Big E also sponsored a poster contest, "My Family, My Heritage" (Mi Familia, Mi Herencia). Six students from Springfield and West Springfield elementary and middle schools received prizes for their entries.The experienced connoisseur or the uninitiated had the opportunity to partake in a palate-pleasing adventure at this year's Fair. Wine tastings were offered daily at Storrowton Village Museum's Gift Shop. For a $5 tasting fee, Big E guests could sample three different wines which rotated throughout the Fair. The tastings showcased various wines from as near as New England and New York to as far away as Chile and South Africa. Many of the wines were winners in the second annual Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition.The Big E went "Green" this year in an effort to conserve energy and keep the environment healthy. All plastic cold drink cups and paper napkins were biodegradable and recyclable. The cups were made in the U.S. of Nebraska corn. The napkins were made with a high proportion of recycled fiber and produced using carbon neutral fuels, such as wood residue and biofuels. Amazing Performances on Two Stages - Country, Rock and Pop kept concert-goers hopping. The Comcast Arena Stage, with seating for 6,100, hosted DAUGHTRY, Trace Adkins and Montgomery Gentry in ticketed concerts. $1.5 million in free entertainment included performances by Rock legend Joan Jett, rising Pop star Brooke Hogan, fifth-season American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and Country music star Josh Turner.Entertainment on the Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by Comcast, included performances by Dian Diaz, Maxine Nightingale, The Tymes, Chuck Negron and PovertyNeck Hillbillies. The popular outdoor stage was also host to JIGU! Thunder Drums of China, sponsored by Big Y World Class Market, a world-renown group of 28 drummers, percussionists and musicians.The all-new Big E Super Circus, sponsored by Coca-Cola, featured The Flying Pages flying trapeze act, Calusari Teeterboard Troupe, Johnny Peers Comedy Dogs, Alesya's Hula Hoops, Gagik Hand Balancing Act, Fusco Brothers Juggling and Ringmistress Heidi Herriott.The Storrowton Gazebo, sponsored by Bernardino's Bakery, showcased John Bressler who has appeared in events across the country and astonishes crowds with his mastery of six electronic keyboards and unique vocals. Michael and Jennifer Raccio, of Waterbury, Conn., won the online Marriage on the Midway contest and said their vows in front of 100 guests on The Big E's North American Midway Saturday, Sept. 15. Ten finalists were selected from all submitted essays and photos and online voting determined the lucky couple. The wedding included a cream puff wedding cake and reception on the Midway.The Royal Can[...]

Equine Herpes Update and Biosecurity Guidelines

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 16:06:01 EDT

The latest information on the EHV-1 situation in Maine is as follows:

1) To date, three horses have died at the Rome farm: a 17 year old died on March 18; a three year old was euthanized on March 19 and this horse was confirmed by lab tests as positive for the neurotropic form of EHV; a 30 year old died suddenly on March 28 after exhibiting seizures and no other apparent signs. Blood testing on this horse was inconclusive as there was an insufficient quantity of blood to accurately test.

2) The eight year old mare at the Wales farm tested positive for EHV-1 on both blood and nasal swab. She is currently continuing to recover. At both farms, temperatures are being monitored on all horse twice a day.

Quarantines at both farms will be in place for at least 21 days after the last clinical signs have resolved. It is likely that the Department will require some form of EHV-1 testing before the quarantines will be released but the exact nature of this protocol has yet to be determined. (According to Dr. George Allan of the University of Kentucky, there is no evidence that recovered horses pose any greater risk for infection of susceptible horses than a random assortment of animals). EHV-1 is present throughout most of the world and almost all horses older than two years of age have been exposed.

The most common means of transmission of EHV-1 is by direct contact with infected horses through aerosol transmission of droplets from coughing or snorting. Additionally, mares who have aborted will shed the virus in vaginal fluids and aborted fetuses are also sources of virus. Respiratory shedding generally lasts for seven to ten days but may persist for somewhat longer. Depending on the weather (viruses survive well in the cold, the damp and the dark and don't survive long under hot, dry, sunny conditions), the virus may persist in the enviroment for several weeks. Inanimate objects such as grooming tools, water and feed buckets and contaminated clothing or footwear can also be potential sources of spread. Therefore, all horse owners and people who conduct business on horse farms (feed trucks, farriers, veterinarians, sales people, etc.) should practice strict biosecurity. This includes changing coveralls when traveling between farms, cleaning and disinfecting all equipment used when treating or handling horses and cleaning and disinfecting footwear or boots between farms. An excellent and cheap disinfectant solution can be made by adding five tablespoons of household bleach per one gallon of water. This should only be used after surfaces have first been thoroughly cleaned of all organic matter and dirt.

The issue of whether to continue to hold or participate in events such as shows, races, training courses, trail rides and other gatherings of horses should be carefully evaluated in consultation with your practicing veterinarian. Each case is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that can be recommended. Previously, in consultation with a group of Maine veterinarians and equine professionals, the Department recommended that all fairs, race tracks and training facilities require EHV-1 vaccination, not less than 14 days or more than six months, before entering their facilities. While this group realizes that the role of the vaccine in preventing the neurologic form of EHV-1 is controversial, we nevertheless feel that vaccinating is a prudent measure at this time. Other states in the region have made similar recommendations. Your veterinarian can consult with you further on the specific type and timing of the vaccine.

For more information see

MOFGA Schedules Earth Day Spring Cleaning

Tue, 03 Apr 2007 13:46:28 EDT

On Saturday, April 21st, the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) will host a volunteer work day in celebration of Earth Day. MOFGA's Landscaping Committee is organizing activities for the day at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Volunteers will focus on grounds clean-up and spring garden prep. The event gets under way at 9:00 a.m. and will run through 3:00 p.m. MOFGA will provide snacks and a hearty lunch for volunteers. Anyone interested in participating should contact MOFGA at (207) 568-4142 or so coordinators will know how much food to prepare.

Leading Pet Food Manufacturer Recalls Tainted Pet Food

Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:06:15 EDT

One of North America's largest pet food suppliers-Menu Foods of Streetsville, Toronto--began a recall of some of its premium dog and cat foods on March 16th, after the pet food was associated with the deaths of 16 dogs and cats. The recall was limited to Menu's "cuts and gravy" style pet foods sold in cans and pouches. Menu Foods produces private-label and contract-manufactured pet foods for certain national brands and its products can be found in Wal-Mart, Safeway and other major food retailers. The products affected by the recall include products manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007, at two of Menu's United States facilities in Emporia, Kansas and Pennsauken, New Jersey.

The number of cat and dog deaths is expected to increase. The recall alone may cost Menu Foods up to $40 million dollars, not including legal action threatened by pet owners or the loss of business.

Laboratory tests conducted at Cornell University's New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center have identified aminopterin, a cancer drug that was once used to induce abortions in the United States and is still used as a rat poison in other countries, as the contaminant. It is not known how the aminopterin was introduced into the pet food. A leading theory is that wheat gluten imported from China was contaminated with aminopterin, but it is unlikely that wheat would be treated with rat poison.

The following is a list of cat foods involved in the recall: 1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets 2. Authority 3. Best Choice 4. Companion 5. Compliments 6. Demoulas Market Basket 7. Eukanuba 8. Fine Feline Cat 9. Food Lion 10. Foodtown 11. Giant Companion 12. Hannaford 13. Hill Country Fare 14. Hy-Vee 15. Iams 16. Laura Lynn 17. Li'l Red 18. Loving Meals 19. Meijer's Main Choice 20. Nutriplan 21. Nutro Max Gourmet Classics 22. Nutro Natural Choice 23. Paws 24. Pet Pride 25. Presidents Choice 26. Price Chopper 27. Priority US 28. Save-A-Lot Special Blend 29. Schnucks 30. Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans 31. Sophistacat 32. Special Kitty Canada 33. Special Kitty US 34. Springfield Prize 35. Sprout 36. Stop & Shop Companion 37. Tops Companion 38. Wegmans 39. Weis Total Pet 40. Western Family US 41. White Rose 42. Winn Dixie

The following is a list of dog foods included in the recall: 1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets 2. Authority 3. Award 4. Best Choice 5. Big Bet 6. Big Red 7. Bloom 8. Cadillac 9. Companion 10. Demoulas Market Basket 11. Eukanuba 12. Food Lion 13. Giant Companion 14. Great Choice 15. Hannaford 16. Hill Country Fare 17. Hy-Vee 18. Iams 19. Laura Lynn 20. Loving Meals 21. Meijers Main Choice 22. Mighty Dog Pouch 23. Mixables 24. Nutriplan 25. Nutro Max 26. Nutro Natural Choice 27. Nutro Ultra 28. Nutro 29. Ol'Roy Canada 30. Ol'Roy US 31. Paws 32. Pet Essentials 33. Pet Pride - Good n Meaty 34. Presidents Choice 35. Price Chopper 36. Priority Canada 37. Priority US 38. Publix 39. Roche Brothers 40. Save-A-Lot Choice Morsels 41. Schnucks 42. Shep Dog 43. Springsfield Prize 44. Sprout 45. Stater Brothers 46. Stop & Shop Companion 47. Tops Companion 48. Wegmans Bruiser 49. Weis Total Pet 50. Western Family US 51. White Rose 52. Winn Dixie 53. Your Pet

If you are in possession of a variety or multi-pack, please be sure to check the individual can or pouch rather than relying solely on the date coding on the side of the carton.

Tainted pet food is suspected in the death of a nine-year-old Labrador retriever from Hampden, Maine.

Legislation Intended to Help CAFO Owner with the Cost of Complying to New Regulations

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 12:13:01 EDT

The U.S. House now has legislation (H.R. 1217) that, if passed, would provide Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) owners with tax incentives for complying with new environmental regulations. The incentives would be intended to help CAFO owners pay for some of the costs incurred by new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations aimed at controlling waste runoff. Permit costs and modifications to livestock operations could cost producers hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) introduced the bill. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) has introduced similar legislation (S. 285) in the Senate.

FDA to Study Food Safety Impact of AI

Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:02:43 EDT

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration plans to study the possibility of avian influenza contamination in prepared foods, animal feed and poultry if the disease enters the United States. FDA will create and maintain a list of foods and dietary supplements that could be at risk of contamination because they contain poultry meat, are derived from animals that may have been exposed to sick birds or have come into contact with infected humans.

"We know the effect that avian influenza has had on the public perception of food in Europe, where there have been outbreaks," said Boris Lushniak, FDA Assistant Commissioner. "We want food and food safety issues to be answered, in case we were to have avian influenza in this country."

Ethanol Production and Demand Soar in 2006

Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:01:10 EDT

A report recently coauthored by the Energy Information Administration and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) indicates both production and demand for ethanol in the United States soared in 2006. Production of ethanol reached 4.86 billion gallons--an average of 317,000 barrels per day (b/d) or 13.3 million gallons per day-in 2006. That is an increase of 24.3 percent over 2005.

Likewise, demand for ethanol also increased. Demand for ethanol, as calculated by the RFA, reached 5.4 billion gallons, an average of 350,000 b/d. That is a surge of 33 percent over 2005.

"America's ethanol industry is clearly stepping up to fulfill increased ethanol demand and help address the need to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil," said RFA President Bob Dinneen. "The nearly 25 percent increase in ethanol production over last year is consistent with the type of growth our industry has experienced in recent years and this growth will continue. The bottom line is America's ethanol industry is up to the challenges that lie before us."

Court Rules Meatpackers Allowed to Test for BSE

Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:57:50 EDT

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has 60 days to decide whether to appeal a federal judge's ruling that allows Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to test its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. USDA is reviewing the court's decision.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled last Thursday that the government doesn't have the authority to regulate BSE testing, though he stayed the order so USDA has time to appeal the decision. If the agency doesn't do so by June 1, the order will immediately take effect, paving the way for other U.S. meatpackers to test animals for the disease as well.

Creekstone, based in Arkansas City, Kansas., filed the complaint in March 2006, seeking the right to test 100 percent of its animals for BSE in an effort to reassure its customers, especially those that closed their markets to U.S. beef after the first U.S. discovery of BSE in 2003, that its product was safe for human consumption.