Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Last week the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received multiple reports related to acute deaths in cattle. These deaths are being investigated by both the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services and the Division of Animal Industry. Local law enforcement agencies and veterinarians have also been involved in the ongoing investigation.
While the specific cause has not yet been determined, these deaths may be related to feed. The product in question is Producer’s Pride 20% All Natural Cattle Cube, lot number 8DEC22MUL2, manufactured by Purina Animal Nutrition, and distributed to forty (40) Tractor Supply Company stores in Florida and Georgia at the following locations:
Starke, Fort Pierce, Saint Cloud, Chiefland, Lake Wales, Sebring, Okeechobee, Eustis, Haines City, Newberry, Bradenton, Palatka, Wauchula, Zephyrhills, Deland, Lake City, Orlando, Arcadia, Dunnellon, Fort Myers, Saint Augustine, Live Oak, Jacksonville, Homosassa, Macclenny, Bartow, Perry, Groveland, Gainesville, Cocoa, Osteen, North Fort Myers, Loxahatchee, Crawfordville, Palm Coast, Hudson, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Riverview, and Kingsland, GA.
Tractor Supply Company has voluntarily removed the product in question from their shelves in all 40 stores. In addition, Purina Animal Nutrition has initiated a voluntary market withdrawal of the affected product. Consumers may discard the product or return it to their retail purchase location for exchange or refund.
A full release from Purina Animal Nutrition provides more details: Purina Animal Nutrition Voluntarily Withdrawing Producers Pride Cattle Cubes in 40 Tractor Supply Locations. There are no expected impacts to human health at this time.
The Department has collected product and cattle samples from across the state, and is in the process of conducting laboratory tests. In addition, the Department has conducted on-site verifications at Tractor Supply Company locations, outreach to Purina Animal Nutrition to facilitate the voluntary withdrawal of the affected product, as well as outreach to the agricultural community.
For Veterinarians and Cattle Producers:
Veterinarians or producers who are aware of sudden unexplained deaths in cattle should contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 850-410-0900 (after hours for emergencies please contact 800-342-5869) or RAD@FreshFromFlorida.com.
For feed-related complaints or concerns, please contact the Bureau of Inspection and Incident Response, Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, at 850-617-7996 or AESCares@FreshFromFlorida.com.
Structural damage to homes, barns, sheds, etc. is oftentimes hidden from view. Thorough inspections for seen and unseen structural damage is a critical step in the rebuilding process. Photo by Judy Biss
The United States has suffered a series of devastating natural disasters in a relatively short time: September’s Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, October’s Hurricane Michael in Panhandle Florida, November’s Camp Fires in California, and most recently, the November 30th earthquake in Alaska. For those rebuilding after disasters, a critical step is determining the extent of structural damage that may have occurred because of high winds, floods, or seismic quakes. As we continue our rebuilding efforts in North Florida, it is important to understand what to look for while assessing building damage. Often the damage is hidden within the structure, and not immediately obvious.
In response to requests from the Alaska Extension network after the November earthquakes, Dr. Kenneth Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension Engineer, Professor, and Fellow-American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, provided the information below on how homeowners can conduct their own initial damage assessments to determine building soundness and safety after a disaster. Although written for flooded homes, many of these guidelines apply to hurricane-damaged homes as well.
Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., PE, Extension Engineer, Professor, Fellow-American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Before attempting to restore buildings, evaluate the extent of damage and amount of repairs necessary.
“The first thing to do with a building is to check its structural soundness,” says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University agricultural engineer. “If the building has been moved, shifted or twisted, it may not be safe to enter. Also, while damage is obvious in many cases, it may not be noticeable immediately and could weaken the building or cause other problems.”
If the building has extensive damage, tearing it down and rebuilding probably will be less expensive than trying to repair it. As a rule of thumb, if repairs and restoration cost more than 60 percent of rebuilding, building a new structure generally is the best option.
To do a thorough inspection, check:
- Ridge and eaves to make sure they are straight
- Walls to see if they still are vertical and straight
- The building to see if has shifted on its foundation
- Frame members, such as knee braces, to see whether they’ve been pushed into the siding or up into the roof
- Trusses and rafters for signs of crushed, split or broken wood
- Frame members to make sure they haven’t buckled or twisted, aren’t bowing out of alignment and don’t appear to have slipped relative to each other or have gaps in a truss joint
- Connections for indications that nail, screw or bolt holes are elongated and nails or other connectors are pulled out of the wood or bent
- Pole building posts for crushed or broken wood near the ground or at truss connections or knee braces. Make sure the posts are straight and vertical. Look for indications that posts made of more than one board may have split along rows of nails.
- Doors or windows to make sure they open as they did before. If they do not, this may indicate the structure has shifted. In cases of severe shifting, water lines, gas lines and electrical circuits may have been damaged.
- Electrical circuits for damage
- Siding and metal roofing for tears around fasteners, evidence of fasteners being pulled, bends or buckles in the metal roof sheets and whether the sheets still are aligned with each other
- Wood for indications of damage that could weaken the building.
You should document any damage with photos and contact your insurance company. Also, consult with a building contractor or engineer if you see several indications of damage.
NDSU Extension specialists Carl Pedersen and Ken Hellevang review what to look for as you re-enter a flooded home in the following videos:
Flooded Home: Inspecting the Outside of the Structure
Flooded Home: Entering the Home the First Time
Flooded Home: Electrical Issues
Flooded Home: Checking Out the Mechanical Systems
Flooded Home: Drying Out
Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., PE, Extension Engineer, Professor
Fellow-American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Department, North Dakota State University Extension Office:
ABEN 117 NDSU Dept 7620, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
E Mail: Kenneth.Hellevang@ndsu.edu
This week’s featured video was published by Today Tonight to share the story of Knickers, the giant 6’4″ tall, 3,000 pound Australian steer that has become a social media sensation. Knickers is used as a “Coach” or lead steer for a stocker cattle operation in Australia. While he is not quite large enough to break the world record (6’7″), his story is pretty interesting. Check out the video!
If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks: Friday Features
If you come across an interesting or humorous video, or a new product innovation related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to: Doug Mayo
Living and working on a farm or cattle ranch offers many obstacles and opportunities to grow, change, and develop. Many farmers and producers, however, live under constant stress and anxiety of how and when decisions need to be made and the lasting effect it will have on their operation and family. Nothing could be truer than when mother nature sends powerful storms across our areas and you must bear the results of nature’s wrath. If you’ve recently traveled across Interstate 10, in the Panhandle of Florida, for roughly 100 miles between Tallahassee and Bonifay, it’s easy to see that mother nature has changed the landscape in that area forever. Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10th and continued across the northwest section of Florida as one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall in our country’s history. This storm affected areas known for beautiful beaches, golf resorts, and summer vacationers, but it also hit one of the more rural, agricultural sections of our state.
Jackson County hay barn destroyed by Hurricane Michael. Credit; Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS
Extension agents and volunteers help producers repair fence damaged by Hurricane Michael. Credit Nick Simmons, UF/IFAS
I’ve seen first hand the destruction Hurricane Michael has caused to the agricultural communities in the affected counties. Miles of fence lines have 100-year-old live oaks draped across them with other sections of land having only the bottom half of once dense pine trees. Areas where cattle were once grazing are now laden with branches, power lines, sheet metal and small pieces of equipment. As water tanks emptied due to the lack of electricity, animals began to desperately find places to seek shelter and water usually running down county roads and highways. Some animals were tragically killed from structures or trees falling, or they were severely injured, and were forced to be euthanized. Producers were faced with these challenges all the while trying to find help to remove the 70 ft. pecan tree that lays across their home.
But the determination and spirit of many cattle producers, Extension faculty, local communities and towns were not taken down by Hurricane Michael. In fact, within a day or two, neighbors, agents, and fellow cattlemen showed up with chainsaws, tractors, barbwire, fence posts and much more to help affected producers. Trailer loads of hay, feed, water tanks, fence materials, and human supplies started arriving once roads were safe to pass. Extension agents from all program areas pitched in to help tarp roofs, stretch wire, cut away trees from homes, barns and fences. Water was brought in to disperse for both animals and people. Local cattlemen’s groups banded together to bring much needed supplies to help repair boundary fences and patch barns for safe use. Amid all this, one could see that a producer, who had lost everything and really did not know where to start, begin to take a deep breath of relief. I looked on as fellow producers put an arm around their friend and said, “We will get through this together.”
Extension Agents and volunteers help deliver needed supplies to livestock producers after Hurricane Michael
This was a natural disaster that will be remembered for years to come. The stress level can be overwhelming at times but remember there is help available to aid you through this difficult time. There are resources available to assist your recovery efforts.
Please reach out to these groups to help you through this difficult time.
Recovery from Hurricane Michael will take months and years to replace what has been destroyed. Producers face many tough decisions ahead, but with the help of so many Florida cattle ranchers, Extension Agents, friends and neighbors, the Panhandle of Florida will rebuild.
Immature cotton flattened by winds from Hurricane Michael in Jackson County. Credit: Doug Mayo. UF/IFAS
Tom Nordlie, UF/IFAS Communication Services
Hurricane Michael caused production losses totaling $158 million for Florida’s agricultural industries in the 2018-19 growing season, according to economists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The dollar estimate, along with more detailed information, has been forwarded to state and federal agencies to facilitate relief efforts, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “No one understands the magnitude of this disaster more fully than our UF/IFAS Extension agents based in the Panhandle,” Payne said. “They rose to the occasion and connected with farmers, landowners and property managers to obtain raw data concerning the status of their crops before and after Hurricane Michael struck. We even used drones to obtain aerial images of crop fields. Then, the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program team extrapolated from the raw data to produce a comprehensive figure for the entire affected area. To ensure that their calculations were accurate, the team engaged in discussions with state agencies, commodity groups and other academic experts to obtain their input.”
The $158 million figure represents lost sales revenues that producers would have received during the 2018-19 growing season if the storm hadn’t impacted them. Economists use the term “losses” to describe this outcome, said Christa Court, an assistant scientist with the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department and EIAP assistant director.
Soybeans flattened by winds from Hurricane Michael in Jackson County. Credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS
“Our analysis did not address clean-up costs, repair and replacement costs for damaged property, medical and veterinary expenses, or any long-term economic effects of the hurricane,” Court said. “We needed to focus initially on developing the loss estimates needed for relief efforts, but we intend to continue to develop estimates for the broader economic impacts of the hurricane. County-level estimates will be released in the very near future.” Nearly 1 million acres of agricultural crops, not including timber, were impacted throughout the Panhandle, Court said.
The economic analysis team calculated crop loss estimates for 25 Florida counties, for commodities that included field crops, row crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, greenhouse and nursery crops, as well as beef, dairy, poultry and other animal products, she said. The most serious impacts occurred in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties, which experienced hurricane-force winds of 111 to 155 miles per hour, corresponding to the Category 3 and 4 hurricane ranges.
Virtually all of the state’s cotton crop was wiped out, with losses totaling $51 million on more than 145,000 impacted acres. When the hurricane made landfall in Bay County on Oct. 10, annual harvesting efforts had just begun, and more than 90 percent of the crop remained in the field.
More than 245,000 acres of peanut were impacted, resulting in losses of $22 million.
Field corn, which saw a 100 percent loss on many farms where harvesting was not already completed, had more than 66,000 acres impacted and losses totaling $5 million.
Hay had the greatest acreage impacted – a total of 247,000 acres, with losses of $2 million.
Specialty crops in the Panhandle also suffered significant losses, including $39 million for greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, $9 million for vegetables and melons, $4 million for fruits and $3 million for tree nuts including pecans.
Field reports indicate that a significant number of livestock animals went missing after the hurricane, including beef cattle, deer, horses and hogs. Most of the animals disappeared from sites with damaged fencing or enclosures. Total production losses for the expected three to six weeks of disruption to animal agriculture operations in the region were estimated at $23 million.
In addition, the Florida Forest Service, a division of the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, estimated Florida’s timber losses at $1.29 billion for pine, mixed upland hardwood and bottomland hardwood timber across a total of 2.81 million acres, in a report released Oct. 19. These figures represent timber that would normally be harvested over several years, Court said, and should not be viewed as a one-year loss figure. Therefore, total timber losses caused by Hurricane Michael cannot be directly compared with agricultural crop losses involving plants that are grown and harvested in a single year, such as cotton.
The UF/IFAS economists concluded that Hurricane Michael was the most serious natural disaster to impact agricultural and natural resources industries in the Florida Panhandle in decades.
Read the full preliminary report:
Mark Mauldin, Washington County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, speaks with a producer about his hurricane losses
Hurricane Michael will always be recalled as a milestone in the lives of many Florida Panhandle residents. The course of people’s lives has been altered irrevocably. Depending on the location within the storm’s footprint, the damage was minor to absolutely devastating. Any tangible asset in the path of the venial weather event was subject to traumatic physical abuse.
After the winds subsided, Extension faculty from every corner of the Northwest Extension District stepped out of the sheltering protection of their homes to assess personal damage and begin the recovery efforts for themselves, and the clients they serve. One of the many Extension initiatives undertaken to aid recovery efforts has been the assessment of damage to agricultural crops. State and Federal agencies, the news media, insurance companies and many more are interested in the monetary losses resulting from this category four storm.
Dr. Alan Hodges at the University of Florida’s Food and Resource Economics Department is the assembly point for the data. He provided a survey instrument which was developed in conjunction with district faculty and staff. The internet-based questionnaire was printed out by many who engaged farmers and livestock producers in areas where cellular service was inoperative because of hurricane damage.
“We went to check on the farmers and ranchers in the area to see what we can do to help their situation,” said Ethan Carter, Regional Crop Integrated Pest Management Agent who is based in Marianna, Florida. “All were happy to see us and willing to share their experiences,” he said. While assisting others, Carter’s house was unlivable. It had multiple large trees on the roof, some with piercing branches reaching the floor rendering the home a danger to enter for months to come.
“It was a bit challenging to navigate some of the roads, especially the dirt roads which were really rutted,” said Mark Mauldin, Washington County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent. “Miles of fences are down, cattle scattered and the hay is wet. It will take a long time for producers to recover from this hit,” he said. Mauldin took his family to a safe location to ride out the storm, but returned to Chipley the day after the storm passed ready to serve his community. Like so many others, he was out of power for weeks, but did not have damage directly to his home.
Many producers in the effected area suffered severe damage to buildings, equipment and crops
Stacy Strickland, Osceola County Extension Director, led a team which worked on damage assessments in Jackson County. Jim Fletcher, Regional Specialized Water Agent from the Central Extension District, flew a drone over field and vegetable crops to collect photo images for spectral analysis assessment which is used to measure the longer term health prospects of crops.
The survey effort by Extension Agents is continuing in the effected counties. The injury to farms, cattle operations, specialty crop production and all other phase of agricultural are being collected to measure the damage and tell the story of Hurricane Michael’s wrath and the indomitable spirit of north Florida’s agriculture community.
To learn more about north Florida’s Extension Agent’s efforts to collect agricultural damage information, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office.