The Produce Safety Rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, goes into effect Jan. 26 for farms making $500,000 or more in annual revenue. Small farms with $250,000-$500,000 in revenue come under compliance in January 2019. Farms with $25,000-$250,000 in sales will be regulated in January 2020. Learn more at tinyurl.com/ProduceTraining.
-Mac Higginbotham, division director
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will field test sodium nitrite, a feral swine toxic bait, in Alabama and Texas this year. Tests in central Alabama are expected to start midsummer. Visit aphis.usda.gov to learn more.
-William Green, division director
Farmers who rely on heating fuel to protect and grow poultry and livestock should remember the propane shortage from several years ago. Since then, propane dealers increased storage of propane and kept up-to-date on deliveries. As low temperatures hit the South, the Alabama Farmers Federation is monitoring the availability of heating fuel this winter.
-Guy Hall, division director
Hay & Forage
The state saw an abundance of hay produced in 2017, but little is reported as high quality. Dr. Don Ball reminds farmers buying or selling hay for winter feeding that, “Poor quality brings double woe: intake declines because digestion is slow.” Translation: Livestock get less nutrition per bale and eat less when consuming poor quality hay. Know the nutritive value of hay by sending samples to the Auburn Forage Lab. Visit aces.edu/anr/soillab to learn more.
-Nate Jaeger, division director
Outdoor gear and apparel retailer L.L. Bean has joined more than 470 members of Cotton LEADS™, a partnership between cotton industries in the U.S. and Australia. The group raises awareness of cotton producers’ responsible growing practices and commitment to improvement. Learn more at cottonleads.org.
-Carla Hornady, division director
An international group of agricultural scientists has mapped the genetic code of peanuts. Peanut Genome Initiative findings will improve sustainability and profitability of the peanut industry. Learn more at PeanutFoundation.org.
-Caleb Bristow, division director