BISMARCK, ND - North Dakota's state veterinarian is reminding livestock producers to vaccinate their animals against anthrax. Dr. Susan Keller says that with the precipitation which has fallen in much of the state, conditions are right for the disease to occur.
Anthrax is responsible for recent deaths in two South Dakota cattle herds. Eight cows in Clark County, S.D. and four in Bon Homme County, S.D. recently died of anthrax. All were unvaccinated.
An effective anthrax vaccine is readily available, but it takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually to maintain protection.
"Producers should consult with their veterinarians to make sure their animals are current on their anthrax vaccination schedule," Keller said.
"Producers should monitor their herds and report unexplained deaths to their veterinarian early to seek a diagnosis," Keller said. "Even if not anthrax, it's important to attempt to determine the cause of death to prevent other potential losses."
Anthrax has been more frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south central North Dakota, but historically, it has been found in almost every part of the state.
It is not uncommon to have a few anthrax cases 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. Affected animals included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.
An anthrax factsheet is available on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at www.nd.gov/ndda/disease/anthrax.
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. The disease occurs most commonly following heavy rainfall, but may also occur during extremely dry conditions. Animals are exposed when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.
BISMARCK, ND - The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) is advising the public to be aware of and learn to identify Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a pigweed species that is similar in appearance to waterhemp and has the potential to be devastating to North Dakota agriculture.
"We have been actively monitoring and investigating suspect plants over the past couple of years, but have not yet identified Palmer amaranth in North Dakota. It has been found in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota in recent years," Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. "Early detection will be the key to effectively eradicate or manage this weed if found in the state."
Palmer amaranth is native to the southwestern U.S. but was accidentally introduced to other areas and has devastated crops in the South and Midwest. It is a prolific seed producer that can emerge throughout the growing season. It grows rapidly at 2-3 inches per day in optimum conditions and is prone to herbicide resistance. It is a highly invasive weed that can dramatically cut crop yields.
The public is urged to work with local weed officers, extension agents and other experts to identify and report suspect plants. Palmer amaranth may spread through multiple channels, including: contaminated seed mixes; equipment and machinery movement; animal agriculture feed and bedding; and wild birds.
NDDA recommends that anyone planting a seed mix on any scale, especially those targeting pollinator or wildlife conservation, ensure they are using reputable sources for seed, are aware of where the seed was originally sourced from, know what seeds are in the mix and monitor for unwanted species.
More information on Palmer amaranth and other noxious and invasive weeds is available at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/plant-industries/noxious-weeds.
To report a suspect plant, contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2250 or North Dakota State University Extension at 701-231-8157 or 701-857-7677.
BISMARCK, ND - The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is finalizing data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is urging North Dakota farmers and ranchers to participate, if they haven't already.
"I know sometimes we feel that it's not the anyone's business or that it takes too long, but completing the Census truly helps state and federal lawmakers when they are making policy decisions, and modifying or creating programs. It also demonstrates the significant impact that agriculture has on our economy," Goehring said. "This is a major opportunity for farmers and ranchers to influence the decisions that will shape the future of their operations, their communities and the entire agricultural industry."
Paper questionnaires had to be submitted by June 15, but landowners who have not responded yet still have until the end of July to complete the Census online through the secure website found on the cover of their Census form. Everyone who received a form is encouraged to respond, including landowners who lease land to producers and those involved in conservation programs.
"Our mission at NASS is to provide data in service to U.S. agriculture," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. "We extended the original Census deadline because many producers weren't counted - and if they aren't represented in these critical data, they risk being underserved in farm programs, disaster assistance, agricultural research, education, local policies, and business; it is imperative that we hear from everyone."
Conducted every five years, the Census of Agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. It examines land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics.
"This information is used by federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and others who serve farmers and rural communities," Goehring said. "It is especially important in North Dakota, where agriculture is the largest segment of our economy."
Federal law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.
More information is available at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
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