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Coronavirus

Organizers err on side of caution due to coronavirus outbreak

Organizers err on side of caution due to coronavirus outbreak
Updated: Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference will be Nov. 17-18, 2020.

Updated  3:23 p.m. CST May 18

Wondering if an event you planned to attend has been cancelled or switched to a virtual meeting? Want to know what USDA and universities are advising? Farm Progress editors from across the nation are sharing what they are learning here. Check back for updates.

Midwest Rural Ag conference planned for November

This year's Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference will be Nov. 17-18, 2020, at the Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, Iowa. Organizers are planning a face-to-face conference, but are making contingency plans.  Abstract submission and selections will proceed as usual.  

Check out our conference website for additional details.

Swine expo moved to July from June

The National Swine Registry has cancelled The Exposition scheduled for June 7-13, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NSR Summer Type Conference and NJSA National Junior Show will be held July 5-11, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here is some information for all exhibitors to know:

  1. All entries for The Exposition that was to be held in June will be refunded in full. We anticipate this process will take a few weeks so please follow NSR communication platforms for up-to-date information.
  2. A new entry form will be posted in the coming weeks allowing everyone to re-enter for the event that is to be held in July.
  3. Open Exhibitors with Exposition-age boars can participate in online marketing strategies through NSR. The details of these options will be released in the coming days.
  4. As a result of the cancellation of The Exposition, the NJSA National Junior Show, Team Purebred National Junior Show and NSR, CPS and ABA Summer Type Conferences are combined and will be held in Des Moines, Iowa for 2020. Entries that were previously made for the NSR Summer Type Conference and NJSA National Junior Summer Spectacular will be refunded in full. We will begin this refund process after all entries for The Exposition are refunded. 
  5. Please follow association communication platforms for updates and changes. We are doing our part to make the event as open, inclusive, and safe as possible.

Given the unprecedented times and uncertainty, please be patient and understanding as staff manage the proper channels and procedures to conduct a live event. We know the constant changes regarding COVID-19 are difficult to navigate. Rest assured that association staff are working diligently to create contingency plans and are in constant communication with the necessary individuals regarding future events. If any updates do arise, NSR, CPS, ABA, NJSA, and Team Purebred membership will be informed as soon as possible.

UT AgResearch releases updated field day schedule

University of Tennessee AgResearch is releasing an updated field day schedule for 2020. In light of COVID-19 concerns and efforts to continue social distancing, all field days scheduled for June or July will be delayed or moved to a virtual format. Additionally, some field days after July will be delayed or offered online only.

 “While it is unfortunate that many of our Research and Education Centers will have to delay or forego their traditional onsite field days, the health and safety of our employees and visitors is our top priority,” says Barry Sims, executive director of UT AgResearch and Education Centers. “However, we are still committed to sharing research and providing educational opportunities in 2020. The change in date or format will help us accomplish this while still maintaining our focus on health and safety.” 

The updated schedule is posted below. More changes may be forthcoming. For the most up-to-date information on UT AgResearch field days, go to agresearch.tennessee.edu.

Changes to schedule at University of Tennessee due to Covid-19

Delta Council annual meeting postponed

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta Council is postponing its annual meeting until fall 2020. This is only the third time in more than eight decades that the meeting has been altered – the first one was during World War II, the second was during the Flood of 2011, and now the Coronavirus in 2020. 

Minnesota FFA Convention goes virtual

The Minnesota FFA Convention will be a virtual experience May 19-21. In addition, there will be a Minnesota FFA Celebration Sept. 1 at the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fair.

State convention organizers had rescheduled the April convention to June 8-10, but due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19, they made the decision to move student engagement, awards and recognition online. Career development events will not be part of the virtual convention, the deicison on how to move forward with them will occur later. 

LSU AgCenter sets virtual wheat, oat tour

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted many business-as-usual operations across the nation, increasing the use of terms like fluid, flexible and paused as groups and institutions strive to continue to offer critical programs and information to the public.

The agriculture industry knows only too well how tentative plans can be under normal circumstances without the added complications due to the current coronavirus crisis.

In response, the LSU AgCenter annual wheat and oat field day traditionally held at the Macon Ridge Research Station will follow a virtual presentation format, replacing the usual on-site tours with recorded videos accessible on YouTube and other platforms.

Read more at LSU virtual wheat, oat, tour.

Spouse getting on your nerves? ISU's got your back

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, couples and families may be facing a surplus of time together. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be leading a series of short, virtual meetings beginning Wednesday, April 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. CDT via Connect at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/healthy-relationships with information and suggestions to help couples thrive in this new reality.

Potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, discusses how the serious health risks of COVID-19 pose unique challenges to people who smoke or vape, are already struggling with substance use disorders, or are in recovery from addiction. 

Two methods to complete Private Pesticide Applicator Training in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved two alternative methods for completing Private Pesticide Applicator Training.

"We want to make sure applicators have the tools they need to handle pesticides safely this spring," said Missouri Pesticide Safety Education Program coordinator Lee Miller. "Farmers, applicators, consumers and our natural resources depend on users applying pesticides carefully. Pesticide safety education prevents accidents and gives the public confidence in their food supply."

Applicators have the option to receive training by attending a Zoom video teleconference or by correspondence via regular mail.

1. Option 1: Zoom video teleconference - MU Extension field specialists converted many in-person training events to an online format using the Zoom video teleconferencing platform. Zoom is free to use. This platform uses computer audio and a webcam for video streaming. There is a call-in number for those with limited connectivity. Applicators interested in this option need to:

  • Register online at extension.missouri.edu (search for "PPAT remote training"). Choose a Private Pesticide Applicator Training offering with "Zoom Meeting" in the title. Then complete the registration, including an email address.
  • Connect and participate in the Zoom meeting when it is offered.
  • At the beginning of the Zoom meeting, users will need to provide an email address in the Zoom chatbox, using the same address with which they registered. This allows MU field specialists to match email addresses with online registrations.

After the Zoom meeting, certification will be completed as follows.

  • The MU field specialist will mail a Private Applicator Training Certification Verification Form to the applicator.
  • The applicator should fill out the form and mail (or scan and email) the form back to the extension specialist. The specialist will then sign the form and forward it to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) for processing.

Note: MU Extension will not charge for this remote training service since there is no cost of materials.

2. Option 2: Regular mail

Alternatively, applicators have the option to certify or recertify by mail. For this option applicators need to:

  • Order a copy of the Private Pesticide Applicator Reference Manual (extension2.missouri.edu/m87) and request (by email, phone or letter) a study guide from the nearest MU Extension office.
  • Review the manual, fill out the study guide and mail the completed study guide to the extension field specialist providing the training.

After users return the materials, certification will be completed as follows:

  • The MU Extension specialist will review the fully completed study guide and return it to the applicator along with the verification form.
  • The applicator should fill out the verification form and mail (or scan and email) the form back to the extension specialist. The specialist will then sign the form and forward it to the MDA for processing.

The MDA has representatives available to process PPAT paperwork through this situation.

If you have questions, please contact the nearest MU Extension office.

Tulane University professor shares insights on COVID-19

Dr. Chad Roy, professor of microbiology and immunology, Tulane University, says the vast majority of people who contract coronavirus will recover and only a small percentage of infected persons will die. The COVID-19 virus likely came from a bat before moving to the human population. The bat could have been harboring the virus for many years. A second animal native to China, the pangolin, or Chinese anteater, also harbors the virus. Read more here.

Resources from Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

A number of new resources will support teachers and student learning online and virtually, courtesy of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. Read the content here.

Teaching resources from National Corn 

The National Corn Growers Association and Nourish the Future community network are offering curriculum on topics like biotechnology, energy and ethanol, plant anatomy and growth stages, soil science and sustainability, and the role of clean water in a healthy ecosystem. Lesson plans are designed for middle school through high school, including advanced high school options. Learn more here.

    Scams targeting cattlemen are rising

    The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the cattle market has been dramatic already. But that’s not the only threat to ranchers’ livelihood, as thefts and scams targeting cattlemen are on the rise, too. Read more here

    There's 'no shortfall' of corn-based alcohol for hand sanitizer production

    The Corn Refiners Association and its members are reassuring consumers of the continued production and supply of corn-based alcohol used in the making of hand sanitizers.

    “America’s corn refiners are producing trainloads of industrial alcohol on a daily basis. There has been no shortfall in meeting alcohol orders for production of hand sanitizers or other health related sanitizing products.  The distribution system is quickly catching up with the surge in demand for these products,” said John Bode, President & CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. “To facilitate that catch-up and ensure that everyone has the supply of these products that they need, we ask that 1) consumers avoid hoarding practices and 2) local and state governments ensure that their well-intentioned policies not limit work of critical infrastructure personnel in the production and distribution of health and food products.”

    Cornstarch is converted to glucose and combined with yeast to produce ethanol, a main ingredient in many hand sanitizers. Toiletries and cosmetics, which include hand sanitizer, account for almost a quarter of U.S. end-markets for industrial alcohol.

    In addition, about one-quarter of hand soap’s ingredients are corn-based, including corn oil and products made from bioprocessing. For example, xanthan gum thickens and stabilizes soap.

    Meat and poultry retail sales climb more than 7%

    Meat and poultry producers continue to meet the global demand for meat under difficult circumstances.

    “As the coronavirus began to spread overseas, our members acted to protect their employees and develop contingency plans to ensure plants could still provide food for families around the world,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “With increased demand in retail, our members acted quickly to adapt, taking steps to keep operations running at normal or increased capacity.”

    Meat and poultry retail sales increased 7.3% for the week ending March 8, and deli meat sales advanced 4.8% due to a shift from foodservice production, according to IRI and 210 Analytics, LLC.

    “In these uncertain times, the data shows consumers are turning to meat and poultry to provide their families with the nourishment and comfort they need,” Potts said. “Our members are committed to meeting this need.”

    Recognizing the pressure on employees, especially hourly employees with children out of school and day care, companies have acted immediately to enhance benefits, including paid sick leave and improving access to health care to treat or detect the virus and waiving co-pays and deductibles. The Meat Institute is working with members and the federal government to anticipate and address other labor concerns.

    “Perhaps most important is the generosity of member companies in donating meat or funds to foodbanks and other charities to support those in need in their communities,” said Potts.

    The Meat Institute is working with livestock groups, food and beverage industry trade associations, manufacturing organizations, USDA, congress and the White House to ensure meat and poultry producers can operate as critical infrastructure. Learn more about the designation of essential employees here.

    Iowa Rural Summit rescheduled to August

    The 4th annual Iowa Rural Summit, originally set for April 29-May 1 at the Hotel Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids will instead be held August 19-21. 

    The Summit is an annual gathering of rural leaders and representatives, sponsored by the IRDC, a public-private state non-profit that works to support small towns addressing issues such as housing, broadband access, business development and leadership.

    As has been the case with the previous three Summits, communities will be asked to bring a three-person team since that approach has helped generate consensus and momentum for those places that were represented.

    “Communities can still register their three-person team,” said IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig.  “But anyone who has registered already and is unable to attend due to the date change can request a refund.  The Summit will, as originally planned, feature issues ranging from community visioning to encouraging ag tech to accessing new funding programs.  Our break-out session tracks are Facilities and Projects, Critical Issues and Facing the Future – and the content will be of use to anyone who lives in rural Iowa.  In addition, the issue of pandemic response and responding to small business in times of an emergency will also be discussed.”

    The cost to register a three-person team is $210 and can be done at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kirkwood-iowa-rural-development-summit-communities-registration-93323983547.

    There's no evidence that pigs are involved in COVID-19

    Coronavirus, a word quite familiar to the global swine industry as transmissible gastroenteritis virus, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and porcine deltacorona virus are all coronaviruses that do impact pig health. However, Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health at National Pork Board, says there is no evidence that pigs or pork are involved in the current novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China.

    Call before sending sample to ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic

    The Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic has made the decision to implement as much distance diagnostics as possible in order to greatly reduce the numbers of physical samples. 

    Therefore, before sending in a sample, please contact us through email at pidc@iastate.edu.  We will do as much distance diagnostics as possible at no charge. We will continue to evaluate the situation over the next weeks and months as the growing season will increase testing needs. 

    For information on Iowa State’s response to the virus, click here.

    COVID-19 is not transmitted through food

    Many questions about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables have arisen in the face of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

    According to Amanda Deering, an Extension specialist in Purdue’s Department of Food Science, current research indicates that the virus is not foodborne or transmitted through food.

    “From all indications, the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be transmitted just like other viruses,” Deering said. “This is very positive in that the same practices that we normally use to reduce contamination risk, such as washing your hands and washing fruit and vegetables before eating, should be applicable to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.”

    The following steps are recommended to further reduce risk:

    • Frequent hand washing effectively reduces risk. After a trip to the supermarket, make sure to wash your hands, especially if tongs or other shared utensils are used.
    • Try not to manipulate produce items. While part of the buying experience is feeling, touching and manipulating the produce, this may increase the probability of a pathogen being deposited on or acquired from the produce.
    • Consumers who are immunocompromised should consider purchasing pre-packaged fruits and vegetables as an added measure of caution or choose to eat cooked fruits and vegetables at this time.
    • All produce items should be washed thoroughly before consumption.

    Tips for local growers to connect with consumers

    Now is the time for local growers to determine the best methods to find and connect with their customers during a time of confusion and challenge.

    As the indefinite cancellation of the Indy Winter Farmers Market illustrates, the potential postponement or cancellation of farmers markets across Indiana could have a major impact on business. Although the regular farmers market season is still six to seven weeks away, there exists significant potential that these markets will be postponed or potentially canceled.

    Additionally, many businesses may derive income from sales to Indiana restaurants — which recently shifted to takeout or delivery orders only under a government mandate.

    Further restrictions, cancellations and closings related to COVID-19 also could have a major impact on demand.

    Here's some ideas to continue to generate income during this difficult period:

    • As more people choose to stay at home rather than venture out for goods, you could capitalize through online sales that allow them to purchase your products from their residence. (If insufficient broadband limits your capacity for online orders or marketing, you can set up service through telephone or text.)
    • Make sure you have a form for payment set up, and then explore online sales by: Using Google Sheets or other online-software ordering forms, selling through Facebook, opening a webpage with your ordering form or starting a Community Supported Agriculture enterprise.

    A shift to online sales may not be easy, and there are no hard or fast rules about what works and what does not. However, online sales can help you stay connected with existing customers and perhaps gain new customers, and continue the safe, timely and profitable delivery of your farm products.

    Learn more here.

    Tennessee Extension releases financial publications

    The coronavirus pandemic is causing rapid changes to our daily lives and the economy. Work hours are being reduced and jobs are being cut across many industries. University of Tennessee Extension has released three new publications to help those facing a downturn to their personal finances. 

    • Triaging Your Debt During a Money Crunch (Publication D 78) gives guidance to individuals who need to determine their spending priorities. The publication divides expenses into three levels: first priority, second priority and optional. 
    • Identifying Your Resources (Publication D 79) can help individuals brainstorm different areas where they could receive help or support. This publication also includes a brainstorming activity for families to consider how they could possibly produce income.
    • Steps to Stabilize Your Financial Situation (Publication D 80) provides guidance on how to prioritize spending and set limits, identify and evaluate resources, and contact creditors when facing a difficult financial situation. This publication also includes community resource contact information and suggestions to follow when contacting lending institutions or banks. 

    Each of these publications are available free to read or download from the UT Extension website:utextension.tennessee.edu.

    OSU talks about impact of COVID-19 on food industry

    Food manufacturers are continuing to follow current Good Manufacturing Practices to help ensure the consistent quality and safety of food products by focusing attention on five key elements: people, premises, processes, products and procedures. They also are following risk-based food safety plans, such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, where food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

    Read more from Oklahoma State University.

    Farm Credit encourages flexibility

    The Farm Credit Administration is encouraging Farm Credit System institutions to work with system borrowers whose operations have been affected by COVID-19 and the measures taken to prevent its spread.

    "FCA regulations and the solid financial position of system institutions give the institutions considerable flexibility to provide relief to borrowers affected by COVID-19," says Glen R. Smith, FCA board chairman and CEO. "We encourage institutions to use this flexibility to work with borrowers to lessen any stress and financial burden related to the disease and efforts to contain it."

    System institutions can help alleviate stress for borrowers affected by COVID-19 in several ways:

    • Extending the terms of loan repayments
    • Restructuring borrowers' debt obligations
    • Easing some loan documentation or credit-extension terms for new loans to certain borrowers

    In addition to affecting system borrowers, the virus may also create challenges for system employees and institutions. These challenges may impair the institutions' ability to comply in a timely way with regulatory or reporting requirements. FCA may be able to grant temporary relief in some circumstances that would alleviate these challenges without weakening safety and soundness.

    FCA encourages any system institution that needs temporary relief from these requirements to contact David Grahn, director of the agency's Office of Regulatory Policy, at 703-883-4145.

    How is COVID-19 impacting your grocery store?

    Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, wrote about the effects the coronavirus could have at the grocery stores, farms, food markets and economy in his latest blog post.

    “It has been fascinating to watch online, and in my own local grocery stores, which items consumers are choosing to stock-up on.  The run on toilet paper, for example, seems on the surface of it, downright irrational.  After all, COVID-19 does not cause digestive issues.  As irrational as the initial movement to toilet paper may seem, it isn’t crazy for subsequent consumers to then stock up too.  After all, it doesn’t take much for a reasonable person to see that if all other consumers are buying up all the toilet paper, that they’d better off getting theirs before none is left.  There is a long and interesting economics literature on information cascades and herding behavior, which shows that even if you disagree with what other people are doing, it is sometimes sensible to go along with the crowd” Lusk says.

    Read more here.

    American Farm Bureau details its coronavirus concerns

    American Farm Bureau has released its first assessment of the impact on farmers and ranchers in the wake of the national mitigation efforts to combat COVID-19.

    In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, AFBF President Zippy Duvall pledged that “America’s farmers and ranchers will be with you every step of the way, doing all that we can to help you win this fight and to ensure the health, safety and prosperity of all America.”

    The letter, which will be updated as new issues materialize, outlines concerns from Farm Bureau members across the country as national and local leaders take action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health. The concerns relate to labor, supply chain and market concerns.

    PFI office closed until further notice

    Starting on March 18, the Ames office of Practical Farmers of Iowa will close and staff will work remotely until further notice.

    Staff members can be reached via phone and email. The office number is 515-232-5661.

    In-person meetings and events are cancelled. They will be moved online or postponed. Watch the website for updates.

    While this pandemic will impact everyone in some way – know that you are not alone. As we all practice social distancing, we don’t have to become socially isolated. Take advantage of PFI’s many resources to stay in touch and continue learning from one another as you get ready for the spring planting season.

    ISU moves to virtual instruction for spring semester

    Iowa State University is moving to virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. The ability of students to live in residence halls will also be restricted beginning March 22. Check this link for more information.

    Continuing to farm through challenges of COVID-19

    The introduction of COVID-19 into the personnel of a farm or input supply firm will present difficulties, particularly given no other trained personnel are likely to be available, according to Illinois Extension.  Many farmers are in the at-risk group being older and perhaps having other factors increasing risk.  Working through a COVID-19 infection during planting likely is not wise, particularly given the reported death rates from COVID-19 in other countries.  If possible, a COVID-19 free labor force needs to be maintained. As a result, farmers may wish to emphasize measures suggested by health officials: washing hands, limiting travel and social distancing.

    Perhaps most critical will be those individuals providing input supply to other farmers. Seeds, fertilizer, and herbicides soon will be needed to be delivered to many farmers. The needs to limit COVID-19 spread among workers across these supply chains need to be considered and taken seriously.

    Read more here.

    COVID-19 farmer guidance in Delaware

    From the Delaware Department of Agriculture, some important information on state services:

    Farmers will be active over the next few months as planting season is underway.  Secretary Scuse has asked for flexibility from the public as guidance surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak continues to change. Members of the public are encouraged to call ahead before coming to the department. Non-essential meetings are being canceled or moved to online/teleconference to enable social distancing.

    Read more here.

    Pennsylvania Ag Department offers guidance

    The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has developed guidance and recommendations for farmers to limit exposure and risk related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

    It is now critical to consider ways to limit person-to-person contact and congregate in settings of no more than 10 people while maintaining social distance.

    Suggestions include creating separate drop-off areas, sanitizing contact surfaces and having business continuity plans ready.

    Read more at Tips for Pa. farmers to limit COVID-19 exposure and risk

    USA Rice addresses domestic rice supply amidst COVID-19

    As the effects of COVID-19 are being felt in the U.S. and around the world, consumers are rushing to stockpile groceries and household supplies in fear of being quarantined or isolated in their homes for weeks. This has led to a run on household cleaning products, paper products, and many canned and dried goods, including rice.

    "U.S. consumers need not be concerned about a shortage of U.S.-grown rice. There is no shortage," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.

    Read more at: USA Rice: No shortage of rice.

    Research and outreach activities continue

    Mike Salassi, associate vice president of AgCenter, Alexandria, Louisiana, said research and outreach activities that support farmers and other clientele will continue during the coronavirus shutdown.   

    “Our research stations remain open with essential personnel to carry out necessary operations,” Salassi said. “Parish offices are open but have restricted visitors for now, and agents are available by phone or email and will continue to work with the public throughout this time.”  

    Keep kids safe while home alone

    With schools shuttered for the next few weeks in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, many children may find themselves at home alone.

    Take time to make a plan that kids can follow when they’re home without adult supervision.

    See: Louisiana 4-H offers tips to keep kids safe while home alone.

    Silos & Smokestacks closes immediately

    Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Headquarters & Offices will close to the public effective immediately. SSNHA Staff will keep regular office hours and will be available via email and telephone, (319) 234-4567. Please check our website at www.silosandsmokestacks.org and our social media pages for online learning opportunities, virtual tours and programs.

    In addition, many of our sites will be closing temporarily and events cancelled. Be sure to check each individual locations’ website or social media for schedule updates.

    Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction postpones ceremony

    Due to concerns over the coronavirus and heeding directions from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, the 2020 Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction ceremonies scheduled for March 26 in Baton Rouge have been postponed until further notice.

    This year’s inductees ‒ James Barnett, John Denison, Jay Hardwick and Calvin Viator ‒ will be celebrated at a later date in recognition of their significant contributions to the state’s agricultural community.

    Previously purchased tickets will be honored at the rescheduled date.

    Cancellations, postponements of Arkansas events

    Concerns over the movement of the COVID-19 virus has prompted postponement or cancelation of many events related to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

    See a list of affected events at: COVID-19 prompts Arkansas event postponements, cancellations.

    Find COVID-19 information from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service here.

    Mississippi Extension resources

    A team of Mississippi Extension health and emergency management specialists is fielding general questions about COVID-19 at ics@ext.msstate.edu.

    Educational resources on the coronavirus are available at http://extension.msstate.edu/coronavirus.

    The Mississippi State Department of Health is operating a hotline for answers to questions about COVID-19 by phone. The Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at 877-978-6453.

    Dairy farmer resources available

    The Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence has launched a library of farm resources to help dairy farm families and small business owners navigate the COVID-19 crisis. The resources include crisis management tools, stress and wellness resources, and financial planning information. Learn more here.

    Missouri State FFA Convention postponed

    The Missouri State FFA Convention scheduled for April 23 and 24 is being postponed. Ag Ed staff members are working on a contingency plan for the State Convention program, State Leadership Development and State Career Development events. Ag Ed leaders recommend local Ag Ed teachers reconsider holding all area and district FFA events involving significant numbers of students.

    World Brangus Congress postponed

    The Brangus World Congress - Argentina 2020 is postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The executive committee is committed to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and collaborating with the containment of the virus. "We hope that the exhibitors, breeders and all the Brangus team that has been working for a long time will understand the complex situation," said Martin Goldstein, president of the organizing committee of the Brangus World Congress.

    U.S. Grains Council postpones international travel

    The U.S. Grains Council will postpone all international travel and carefully review all within country travel until the end of March. Its headquarters in Washington, D.C., remains open, and all staff globally can be contacted as normal via phone, email and chat. These operational plans will be reviewed as needed with guidance from U.S. government agencies.

    Other cancellations

    • The Four Star Veterinary Service Pork Industry Conference scheduled for July 21 in Fort Wayne, Ind., has now been canceled.https://web.cvent.com/event/5bd6346e-d28f-4086-9111-23f7abc825ea/summary
    • The Emerging Animal Infectious Disease Conference scheduled for Aug. 25-27 in Boalsburg, Pa., has been rescheduled for Oct. 5-7.  http://www.cvent.com/events/emerging-animal-infectious-diseases-conference/event-summary-6baa620a4c4d4563b6e4cf2c8eb83708.aspx
    • The 2020 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference will be postponed until June 7-9, 2021. 
    • USDA Rural Development is moving to remote working arrangements effective March 20.
    • The Denim Ball scheduled for April 3 in Oklahoma City, Okla., has been postponed.
    • The Good Farm Neighbor Awards in Iowa have been postponed. Award winners are Bob Puetz, Charlie and Greg Hansen and Dale and Karen Green.
    • The Oregon FFA State Convention has been cancelled.  The convention will not be rescheduled, but components of the convention will be.  
    • The Pennsylvania FFA State Legislative Leadership Conference has been cancelled.
    • The Wyoming FFA State Convention has been cancelled.
    • The Grassfed Exchange 2020, scheduled for May 27-29, is postponed.
    • Several events related to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture events have been postponed or cancelled. If you are unsure of the status of an upcoming event, please check with the event organizer or your local county Cooperative Extension Service office.
    • The city of Houston shut down the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on March 11 due to coronavirus concerns after a man with no recent travel history tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Houston Chronicle. As of March 11, there were 14 cases in the Houston area.
    • Bayer AG announced the closure of four U.S. locations due to COVID-19. In New Jersey, the closures are affecting Bayer's campuses in Whippany, which is the company's U.S. headquarters, and Morristown. The Creve Coeur, Missouri, campus will remain closed until further notice.
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