May 18, 2018
Livestock health is no laughing matter. That’s why the addition of the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank to the 2018 farm bill garnered a collective stamp of approval from the agriculture industry. The House Agriculture Committee added the provision in an effort to improve the treatment and prevention of animal diseases.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) affects cloven-hoofed animals like cattle, pigs and sheep and can break out at any given time. It is a contagious, sometimes fatal virus that is easily spread by infected animals through feed, clothing, vehicles and many other means. Fortunately, the last time the disease was detected in the United States was in 1929, although it remains an endemic across the world. An Iowa-based economist found that if FMD were to occur now, it could mean a loss of over $200 billion in the beef, pork, corn and poultry industries.
President of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Jim Heimerl seconded these concerns, noting that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease today could wreak havoc on pork producers. He believes pork producers are currently ill-equipped to deal with such an event. The NPPC wants lawmakers to provide $150 million in funding for the vaccine bank, $70 million in state block grants for disease prevention and $30 million for diagnostic support in managing diseases.
President of the American Soybean Association, John Heisdorffer, explained that the 2018 farm bill gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they need in the face of agricultural instability and low farm prices. The bill is slated to provide credit for beginning farmers to help them get on their feet, protection for farms against natural disasters and a series of farm payment programs for farmers that experience poor yield or prices.
The largest single segment of American agriculture is the cattle industry, containing about 800,000 cattle producers. Avoiding an outbreak of FMD begins at maintaining good health in cattle. Environments that are well-ventilated, efficiently run and stress-minimizing keep livestock calm, which is the first step in promoting their well-being. That’s why ClearSpan’s Beef Master Buildings are designed to be spacious, sunny and well-ventilated. The Beef Master Systems is designed with ridge vents and barn curtains to let in plenty of fresh air, while also protecting livestock from bad weather conditions. It features a valuable feed shield that protects feed from inclement weather, limits runoff and helps relieve stress.
Another environment-enhancing feature of ClearSpan buildings is the white fabric cover. Plenty of natural light passes through it, creating an interior that is brightly lit yet soft on the eyes. It also climate sensitive, keeping the building up to 15 degrees cooler in the summer and 15 degrees warmer in the winter. As an added bonus, it eliminates the need for daytime artificial lighting, so business owners can dramatically reduce their utility expenses.
The national attention on the 2018 farm bill has stirred up important conversations about environmental sustainability and preventing disease in livestock. Hopefully, the farm bill brings about the support and protection that American farmers are asking for, so that agriculture can continue being the lifeblood of the U.S economy.
To learn how a Beef Master Building can help your operation, call or Request a Quote today.