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News from Around the Farm World - April 3, 2013
Business videotaping ban clears Ind. House panel
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — Taking videos and photos at farms and factories without permission would become illegal under a proposal endorsed Thursday by an Indiana House committee, despite objections from critics who say it would punish whistleblowers and criminalize the exposure of the truth.

The proposal would make it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to take a photograph or video of a farm or industrial operation without the written consent of the property’s owner, unless the material is turned over to law enforcement or a regulatory agency within 48 hours.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Friend (R-Macy) said the measure is aimed at stopping overzealous activists from defaming farms and businesses with misleading videos. The House Agriculture Committee voted 9-3 Thursday to advance the bill to the full House. The Senate approved a version of the bill last month.
Saginaw herd tests positive for bovine tuberculosis
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A herd of cows in Saginaw County has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced the laboratory results March 26. The entire herd was tested after one of the dairy cows tested positive for the Michigan strain of tuberculosis during slaughter surveillance.
The state will test a 10-mile circle around the farm to see if other herds have been infected. MDARD Bovine TB Program Coordinator Rick Smith said there are 66 farms in the 10-mile area around the herd.

Ag board approves care standards for farm animals

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Board of Agriculture has approved standards for the care of livestock despite concerns raised by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

HSUS spokeswoman Pam Rogers said in a statement the organization is concerned about practices allowed by the standards such as docking the tails of dairy cows, housing egg-laying hens in cages and penning sows in gestation crates.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told the Lexington Herald-Leader the standards represent humane ways to handle livestock. Kentucky Farm Bureau spokesman Jeff Harper said that organization is happy with the standards, which will “protect animal agriculture” in the state.

The regulations still have to go through a review process that includes public comments and legislative hearings.

Migrant workers settle suit against tomato farm
NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) — A Cocke County tomato grower has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by 14 Mexican nationals.
The Citizen Tribune reported Fish Farms, Inc. will pay $390,000 to settle the lawsuit under the agreement. Fish Farms attorney Jay W. Mader declined comment March 26. He also represents named defendants Jimmy Carroll Fish, Walter Jackson Fish and Christine Fish Gilliam.

Southern Migrant Legal Services attorney Caitlan Berberich confirmed the settlement amount, which was detailed in a proposal filed in federal court in Greeneville.
The plaintiffs said they were assigned substandard trailers, some without running water. They also claimed they were exposed to poisonous pesticides and deported after they complained to farm managers. The plaintiffs will receive between $6,000 and, in one case, $40,000.

Iowa officials say driver killed by falling bales

FOSTORIA, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are investigating a farm accident that killed a truck driver in northwestern Iowa.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said 49-year-old Jerrold Goodman was fatally injured while unloading a trailer of hay at a farm in Fostoria. Goodman’s body was found about 2 p.m. March 23. The sheriff’s office said the top row of bales fell on Goodman while he was unloading them.

CDC: 24 E. coli illnesses linked to frozen foods

NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — Health officials say at least 24 people have become sick from an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to frozen snack foods marketed to children.

No one has died, but eight people, mostly kids or teens, were hospitalized. An investigation detected E. coli in an open package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas at an ill person’s home.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported illnesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products Corp. has recalled quesadillas, mozzarella bites and other frozen products made in November.