Farm Progress

Commodity Corner: Find-A-Vet tool, wheat meeting

January 4, 2017

5 Min Read
BOUND FOR WASHINGTON: Potato growers from Michigan will meet with legislators Feb. 13-16 to voice concerns and possible solutions on topics such as immigration, food labeling and research. Here, a potato field is irrigated with sprinkler irrigation, while a field is inspected in Grand Traverse County.Lynn Betts

Michigan potato growers are taking their concerns to D.C.
Michigan potato growers are preparing to take their stories on the key issues impacting potato production in Michigan and across the nation to the U.S. Capitol Feb. 13-16.
Those attending will join with other potato growers as a part of the National Potato Council’s Potato D.C. Fly-In: Standing Up for Potatoes on Capitol Hill. Meetings will be held at the Mayflower Hotel, just blocks from the White House.
Mike Wenkel, executive director of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission, notes, “It is always an informative and eye-opening experience to interact with the members of the Michigan House and Senate delegation in D.C. Having individuals from throughout the potato supply chain really provides us an opportunity to connect with how an issue for our industry can affect their district — rural or urban.”
“It will be interesting to see what the atmosphere is in Washington, D.C., following the 2016 election. It will also make it even more important for Michigan potato growers’ voices to be heard on the key issues this year,” Wenkel says.
Growers will discuss topics that include an immigration policy that works for agriculture, nutrition and food labeling, key funding for potato research, and the next farm bill. Anyone interested in joining the group from Michigan, plan to arrive in Washington Feb. 13, as the first activities begin at 3:30 pm. Sessions on the key issues, along with some keynote speakers, will be on the schedule for Feb. 14.
Those from Michigan will be able to participate in office visits to all of Michigan’s 14 House offices and two Senate offices with pre-arranged meetings Feb. 15-16.
Registration and lodging information is online. For questions or if planning to attend, contact 517-253-7370.

Find-A-Vet tool helps U.S. pig farmers locate a veterinarian
Find-A-Vet is a timely tool created by GlobalVetLINK that assists U.S. pig farmers who are searching for a veterinarian for their animals. The pork checkoff, collaborating with the Ames, Iowa-based company, is making this online tool more accessible to all producers by linking it directly to

The online tool allows animal owners to quickly find a veterinarian in their area who offers services, such as the establishment of a veterinary-client-patient relationship or a veterinary feed directive. Both a VCPR and a VFD are necessary to use many in-feed antibiotics as of Jan. 1. To use Find-A-Vet, producers will need to enter their ZIP code to search for the veterinarians closest to their location.

“This is just another example of how the pork checkoff is trying to help make the adjustment in antibiotic regulations easier for all producers,” says National Pork Board President Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, N.C. “While many of us already have a well-established working relationship with a veterinarian, we know some producers and youth exhibitors who live in places with few pigs may not have easy access to veterinary help. We hope this tool will help with that potential scenario.”

Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of science and technology at the pork checkoff, says that having a valid VCPR is critical, because it’s the only way to legally obtain a VFD for in-feed antibiotics or a prescription for medications used via water, as required by FDA regulations.

“Exploring the information on the Antibiotics Resource Center on the website is a good way to learn more about specific issues and scenarios related to the new regulations,” Pyburn says. “The checkoff is continuing to expand its materials and information to assist producers in this momentous change in how antibiotics are used and obtained.”

For information on checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call 800-456-7675 or visit

Michigan’s annual wheat meeting near
The Michigan Wheat Program’s fifth annual Winter Grower Meeting will be at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth March 9. Steve Peterson, a Minnesota farmer and sustainability expert, will be the keynote speaker.

In addition to farming, Peterson has held several senior positions at General Mills, including serving five years as General Mills’ director of sourcing sustainability. Previously, he was General Mills’ director of external manufacturing for five years, and was senior director of ingredient sourcing for Pillsbury before its merger with GM.

Since retiring in mid-2015, Peterson has become a consultant to the food and agriculture industry, on many topics including sustainability.

As a former senior executive in charge of sourcing wheat and wheat products, and meeting customers’ sustainability requirements, Peterson will have interesting and challenging comments for Michigan’s wheat farmers. Sustainability is here to stay and it’s important to understand where the movement is coming from and what the future will hold.

The annual meeting will have updates from Michigan State University researchers working on wheat projects, an update on the wheat checkoff program, and a market update and overview from the results of MWP’s grant to provide a snapshot of the industry and the identification of potential markets. A trade show will offer an opportunity to meet industry representatives.

The event is free, but preregistration is requested to ensure adequate handout materials, food and seating. In recent years, over 300 wheat farmers have attended. Visit and look under the “What’s Hot” column to register.

Consider serving on Michigan Wheat Program board
A nine-member board of directors guides the activities of the Michigan Wheat Program, and three of them are appointed or reappointed each spring by Michigan’s governor.

Three seats on the MWP board are up for appointment or re-appointment this spring, and the time to consider getting involved on the board is now. The seats up for appointment or reappointment are in:
• District 2 — Allegan, Barry, Jackson, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Van Buren, Berrien, Cass, St Joseph, Branch and Hillsdale counties
• District 5 — Macomb, St Clair, Lapeer and Sanilac counties
• District 7 — Huron and Tuscola counties

Wheat farmers who live in these three districts and have an interest in serving should contact Executive Director Jody Pollok-Newsom at [email protected] or call 888-943-2801 for more information. Petition signatures from growers in your district are needed, and an online application must be filled out for the Governor’s Office. All paperwork needs to be completed by mid-March, with appointments being made in the spring.



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