Goehring appoints feed specialist

From a news release:

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has appointed David Phillips as a feed specialist in the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

A South Dakota native and graduate of the South Dakota State University, Phillips worked for the feed division of Cargill, and then managed elevators in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. He was the location manager of South Central Grain in Wishek before joining the state Ag Department.

In his new job, Phillips will review commercial feed and pet food labels and commercial feed manufacturer and retailer license applications. He will oversee the feed sampling program, including gathering of commercial feed and pet food samples to ensure compliance with labeling claims, and he will conduct inspections of feed manufacturers and retailers.

Goehring said the duties of the new position reflect the importance of the feed industry in the state.

“The department is committed to growing North Dakota’s livestock industry, and that will require availability of quality feed products,” he said in a statement. “By creating a specific feed position with expanded duties, such as public outreach on regulatory and policy issues and tracking national regulatory issues that impact North Dakota, we can better respond to the needs of this important industry.”

Approximately 5,400 animal feeds and 5,000 pet food products are registered in North Dakota.

Farmers market vendors allow EBT cards

Nine North Dakota farmers market vendors are taking part in a pilot program to let Supplemental Nutrition Assistance recipients use their benefits to buy locally-grown produce.

The vendors are Catherine’s for Lamb, Cutbank Creek Garden, Elizabeth Eckert, Enders Farms, Prairie Produce, Ruso Ranch and North Star Farms, all located at North Prairie Farmers Market in Minot; Skyline Ranch Produce operating in Bismarck, Washburn, Hazen and Beulah; and Erbes Farm at the Great Plains Produce Association Farmers Market in Fargo.

The pilot program is a joint effort of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

“The ability to use SNAP benefits at farmers markets makes fresh food available to people who did not have the option of buying food from farmers,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said in a statement. “North Dakota farmers in turn get access to a new market.”

The Department of Human Services earmarked $10,000 to help vendors buy equipment to scan EBT cards. The state Ag Department also provided staff and funding for the pilot program.

Participating vendors must be approved by USDA Food and Nutrition Services. The booths of vendors accepting EBT cards will be identified with a “SNAP benefits welcome here” poster.

About $8 million in benefits are issued each month to North Dakotans to buy food. The program helps about 60,000 low-income North Dakotans. Almost half of the participants are children; many others are elderly or disabled.

Individuals can apply for the program at county social service offices.

Anthrax hits two beef cattle

News release from the state Ag Department:

Confirmation of anthrax as the cause of death of two Pembina County beef cattle last week has prompted state animal health officials to renew their call for livestock producers to have their animals vaccinated against the disease.

“The two animals – one bull and one cow – came from a single pasture,” Dr. Susan Keller, the state veterinarian, said Monday. “Two more cows in the same pasture died later in the week, likely from anthrax.”

The animals’ owner found two cattle dead in the pasture and called a local veterinarian, Dr. Ben Stegman, Cavalier, who suspected anthrax and took samples for testing. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Dakota State University confirmed the diagnosis.

The remaining cattle in the pasture have been vaccinated, treated with antibiotics and quarantined. After a booster vaccination and if no further deaths occur, they will be released from quarantine in 30 days.

Keller said an effective anthrax vaccine is readily available, but takes about a week to establish immunity and must be followed with annual boosters. She said conditions are ideal for anthrax in many parts of the state.

An anthrax factsheet and maps are available on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website, www.agdepartment.com. Click on “Hot Topics.”

Pa’s Pizza joins state meat inspection program

Pa’s Pizza in West Fargo is the latest North Dakota company to operate under the State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring presented owners Todd Gianakos and Don Passolt with a certificate of inspection and letter of congratulations at the company’s open house Thursday.

Dr. Andrea Grondahl and other meat inspection staff from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture helped Gianakos and Passolt meet regulatory requirements, including a written hazard analysis critical control points plan and sanitation standard operating procedures, according to a news release.