Deadly pig virus jumps to Hawaii, animal feed tested

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Hawaii has identified its first outbreak of a deadly pig virus that emerged in the continental United States last year, confounding officials who are uncertain how the disease arrived over thousands of miles of ocean.

The state confirmed Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) on a farm on Oahu, the most populous Hawaiian island, on Nov. 20, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Farmers and the federal government have been working to contain PEDv since it was first detected in the United States in the spring of 2013. The virus has killed at least 8 million pigs, roughly 10 percent of the U.S. hog population. PEDv was previously found in parts of Asia and Europe. It is unknown how it came to the United States.

Hawaii had toughened import requirements for live pigs in July in a bid to prevent the spread of PEDv, banning infected hogs and requiring tests for PEDv prior to shipping.

State officials do not know how PEDv arrived on their shores and are testing animal feed from the infected farm to try to determine whether it may have transmitted the virus, acting State Veterinarian Isaac Maeda said in a telephone interview Monday.

“We live out in the ocean,” Maeda said. “A lot of things you see on the continental U.S., we don’t see out here.”

Chances of determining how PEDv arrived in Hawaii are “not looking very promising,” he added.

The outbreak occurred on a farm with about 150 pigs, and about 25 percent died, according to Hawaii’s agriculture department. Veterinarians sent samples from the farm to the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which confirmed the PEDv infection.

“It was surprising because it was a long distance from your traditional swine channels,” Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said about the outbreak.

The farm did not use feed containing porcine plasma, which has been suspected of spreading PEDv, Maeda said.

This Thursday-Sunday, July 3-6: Makawo Rodeo & Paniolo Parade

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Saddle up for the 59th Annual Makawao Rodeo (July 3-6) and the 49th Annual Makawao Paniolo Parade (July 5). The Rodeo never ceases to entertain with four full days of qualifying rounds, bull-riding, team-roping, mugging, barrel racing and more. Friday’s Bull Bash will amp the crowd for Saturday’s Colorful Hawaiian Style Parade (9am-11pm), complete with rodeo royalty, pa’u riders, classic cars, cowboys, cowgirls and local celebrities. Park at the Oskie Rice Arena Rodeo Grounds and take the free shuttle to the parade (7-9am) and then back to the rodeo grounds(11:30am). Rodeo: $15 Adults, $10 Seniors, Students, $5 Kids. Oskie Rice Arena (Olinda Rd., Makawao), mauimapp.com/rodeo.htm

This Thursday-Sunday, July 3-6: Makawo Rodeo & Paniolo Parade | mauivents.com

Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo

Paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) show off their skills at three major annual events: the Piiholo Cowboy Classic in September; the Oskie Rice Memorial Rodeo in December; and Maui’s biggest event, the 4th of July Rodeo, which comes with a full parade in Makawao town and festivities that last for days.

Polo is popular with the Upcountry paniolos. From April through June, Haleakala Ranch hosts “indoor” or arena contests on a field flanked by side boards. The field is on Route 377, 1 mile from Route 37. During the “outdoor” polo season, September to mid-November, matches are held at Olinda Field, 1 mile above Makawao on Olinda Road. There’s a $5 admission for most games, which start at 1:30 pm on Sunday.

Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament. Held over Memorial Day weekend, the Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament is a popular two-day polo event. It draws challengers from Argentina, England, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. 808/877–7744. www.mauipoloclub.com.

Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo – Maui | Fodor’s

Maui Roping Club & Auxiliary Presents the 2014 Makawao Rodeo Queen and Princess Contest

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Date: 5/10/2014
Time: 4pm

Queen: 18- 25 Yrs. Old. has never held the title of Makawao Rodeo Queen.

  • Must be able to participate in the upcoming parades and attend the Makawao Rodeo and parade.
  • Must be able to do radio announcements and sponsor appearance.
  • Must ONLY enter 1 rodeo event at the 4th of July rodeo. Must be in good health
Princess: 15 – 17 Yrs. Old. has never held the title of Makawao Rodeo Queen or Princess.

  • Must be able to participate in the upcoming parades and attend the Makawao Rodeo and parade.
  • Must be able to do radio announcements and sponsor appearance.
  • Must ONLY enter 1 rodeo event at the 4th of July rodeo. Must be in good health
For More information, Please contact Maui Roping Club Auxiliary President Deidra Lopes @ 298-1310 or Royal Court Coordinator Kathleen Birmingham @ 283-4615 Applications are due May 2, 2014

U.S. bacon prices rise after virus kills baby pigs

MILWAUKEE >> A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.

Estimates vary, but one economist believes case data indicate more than 6 million piglets in 27 states have died since porcine epidemic diarrhea showed up in the U.S. last May. A more conservative estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the nation’s pig herd has shrunk at least 3 percent to about 63 million pigs since the disease appeared.

Scientists think the virus, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the country. The federal government is looking into how such viruses might spread, while the pork industry, wary of future outbreaks, has committed $1.7 million to research the disease.

The U.S. is both a top producer and exporter of pork, but production could decline about 7 percent this year compared to last — the biggest drop in more than 30 years, according to a recent report from Rabobank, which focuses on the food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

Already, prices have shot up: A pound of bacon averaged $5.46 in February, 13 percent more than a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Farming pioneer awarded

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LAKE EPPALOCK farmer Darren Doherty has been commended by the Hawaiian Government for his leadership in ecological agriculture systems around the world.

Regenerative agriculture I would describe as ‘beyond sustainable’ agriculture. – Darren Doherty

Mr Doherty, who runs a global “regenerative agriculture” business with wife Lisa Heenan, was recognised by the Hawaiian Senate after he delivered a series of talks in the Hawaiian Islands two weeks ago.

Mr Doherty spoke to large landholders in Hawaii about how they could make their farms more sustainable by changing grazing and cropping practices, value-adding and integrating forestry.

The talks were well-received, Mr Doherty said, but he was taken aback when Senator Mike Gabbard officially commended him for his work.

“As a rural Australian I am pretty bashful about that sort of thing, but on reflection I guess what we are on about is starting to come of age,” the fifth-generation Bendigo farmer said yesterday.

HeenanDoherty Pty Ltd’s mission is to “maintain creative, intergenerational family and community lives built around regenerative and profitable production, management and educational systems”.

For 20 years Mr Doherty has run talks and designed more than 1600 mostly broadacre projects in 45 countries, and is regarded as a pioneer in the regenerative retrofit of broadacre landscapes.

It’s not just about sustainability, he says.

“Simply sustaining something is lacking in ambition.

“Regenerative agriculture I would describe as ‘beyond sustainable’ agriculture.

“Sustainability is energy-in, energy-out, whereas regenerative agriculture is, ‘things are getting better as a result of what you are doing.’”

Ranchers counting cattle deaths, thousands without power after early snow buries western SD

PIERRE, S.D. — A record-breaking storm that dumped 4 feet of snow in parts of western South Dakota left ranchers dealing with heavy losses, in some cases perhaps up to half their herds, as they assess how many of their cattle died during the unseasonably early blizzard.

Meanwhile, utility companies were working to restore power to tens of thousands of people still without electricity Monday after the weekend storm that was part of a powerful weather system that also buried parts of Wyoming and Colorado with snow and produced destructive tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa. At least four deaths were attributed to the weather, including a South Dakota man who collapsed while cleaning snow off his roof.

Gary Cammack, who ranches on the prairie near Union Center about 40 miles northeast of the Black Hills, said he lost about 70 cows and some calves, about 15 percent of his herd. A calf would normally sell for $1,000, while a mature cow would bring $1,500 or more, he said.

“It’s bad. It’s really bad. I’m the eternal optimist and this is really bad,” Cammack said. “The livestock loss is just catastrophic. … It’s pretty unbelievable.”

China looks to meat exports to boost ties to Arab world

China looks to meat exports to boost ties to Arab world
By William Wan, Published: December 27

YINCHUAN, China — The praying and slaughtering begin every morning at sunrise. “Allahu Akbar” intones the imam over each cow before it is strung up by its hooves and quartered.

This scene and other religious and ethnic practices set China’s Muslim minorities apart from the rest of the population, and the differences frequently led to clashes with the government in the past. But now, the country’s leaders are embracing the large Muslim population in this remote and relatively undeveloped city in the northwestern province of Ningxia, hoping that frozen packs of halal meat produced here can help build economic bridges with the Middle East.

With the U.S. and European economies still recovering, the Arab world is an increasingly enticing market for Chinese exports and a potential source of investors for Chinese projects. Middle Eastern countries are also some of the closest positioned to help develop China’s western provinces, which have fallen far behind its flourishing eastern coastal cities during the past three decades of economic boom.

Perhaps most important, on a strategic level, China wants to protect and strengthen its access to the Middle East’s oil and energy resources, which are fueling the country’s economic growth.

“The short-term goal of increasing halal meat going to Arab countries is to build up our local economy and workforce,” said one provincial official here, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the strategy of central authorities. “But the real goal is to introduce the Arab world to us and get them comfortable with the idea of building up their relations and investment in China. . . .

USDA approves fireweed control

By HUNTER BISHOP

Tribune-Herald staff writer

hbishop@hawaiitribune-herald.com

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a biocontrol project aimed at slowing the spread of fireweed, or Madagascar ragwort, on the islands of Hawaii and Maui.

Fireweed is a noxious, invasive species that has infected an estimated 850,000 acres on the two islands, more than 20 percent of the state’s agricultural pasture lands.

The weed has no natural predators in Hawaii and is resistant to drought which allows it to spread rapidly, and it is expected to spread to an additional 1.5 million acres in the next 10 years if left unchecked.

Agriculture officials plan to release a species of moth next month on the two islands. The moths, which, like fireweed, are native to Madagascar, have been studied under quarantine in Hawaii since 1999. They are known to feed on fireweed, which is toxic to livestock.

Tim Richards, president of Kahua Ranch and past president of the Hawaii Cattleman’s Council, said the news of the approval is huge for Hawaii, “and that’s an understatement.”

For the past 10 years, the cattle ranchers have been losing the battle against fireweed, using chemicals and mechanical means in an attempt to control it. But due to the immense size of the infestation, “those methods are not feasible or economical,” Inouye said.

“It’s an ongoing ecological wreck,” Richards said, spreading up from the coast into the rain forests. “Because of the drought it grows quickly.”