Tom Vilsack to Take Helm of USDEC

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) has announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will serve as the organizations new president and CEO starting Feb. 1, 2017.

“Growing the global market for U.S. dairy products is essential to the future of the dairy industry and America’s dairy farmers. I’ve spent my career in public service as a tireless advocate for farmers and American agriculture and can think of no better way to continue this service than by leading the U.S. Dairy Export Council,” said Vilsack. “I look forward to partnering with the dynamic team at USDEC as well as agriculture, food industry and key stakeholders at home and abroad to advance the council’s mission and strengthen trust in American dairy.”

In his new role with USDEC, Vilsack will lead and oversee USDEC’s global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. He will work with industry leaders to create a long-term vision for the future of the dairy industry and will work with the USDEC Board to create strategies that successfully achieve the shared vision. He will also serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson and ambassador to a host of global and domestic stakeholders.

USDEC routinely partners with other dairy industry groups such as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to address the needs of its members, which include producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. An important component of Vilsack’s role will be working with and through these organizations to achieve results on behalf of the value chain.

“The global dairy market is more competitive today than ever. Ambitious trade agreements, reasonable labeling and product standards, and other issues are vital to the growth of America’s dairy industry,” noted Thomas Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the umbrella organization that represents the broad interests of U.S. dairy and founded USDEC in 1995. “Secretary Vilsack’s impressive record of leadership and his proven ability to manage complex issues, combined with his breadth and depth of industry knowledge, made him the preeminent choice to take the helm of USDEC. I look forward to working with him.”

Ag Group, Company Announcement, Dairy, Export, Export, USDEC

Iowa Food Banks Receive Massive Egg Donation

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The Food Bank of Iowa is receiving a full truckload of eggs this week, thanks to a donation from the Iowa Egg Council and Fareway Stores, Inc.

The donation is the result of a holiday season campaign and partnership between Fareway and the Iowa Egg Council. Throughout the campaign, which ran from December 19 through December 24, every purchase of two dozen eggs from any Iowa Fareway location triggered an automatic donation of one dozen eggs to Iowa food banks.

“We are proud to partner with Fareway on this promotion to help Iowa’s food banks by providing eggs, an economical protein and essential ingredient,” said Katie Nola, Director of Consumer Affairs with the Iowa Egg Council.

Donations of eggs from individuals are rare, so food banks rely on donations from egg producers, wholesalers, and retailers, along with bulk purchasing, to provide a supply for their clients.

The eggs will be distributed to the members of the Iowa Food Bank Association: Food Bank of Iowa, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Food Bank for the Heartland, HACAP Food Reservoir, River Bend Foodbank, Food Bank of Southern Iowa, Food Bank of Siouxland, and St. Stephen’s Food Bank.

“We strive to provide the best balance of nutritional foods to our partners and our clients,” said Michelle Book, President & CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “This generous partnership between Iowa’s egg producers and Fareway Stores has provided us with a wonderful donation of healthful food that will make a difference for our neighbors in need. We are very grateful for their help and partnership.”

Ag Group, consumer, Eggs, Food

USDA Releases First Report From 2015 Equine Study

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has released the first report from its 2015 equine study, Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management in the United States, 2015.

The Equine 2015 study is the third national study of the U.S. equine industry from NAHMS. The equine studies were designed to further inform participants, industry, and animal-health officials on the nation’s equine population. This information will be used as a basis for education, service, and research and provides the industry with new, valuable information regarding trends in the industry.

Equine 2015 was conducted in 28 states, chosen for study participation based, in part, on the size or density of the states’ equine population. Data collected for the study represented 71.6 percent of equids and 70.9 percent of U.S. operations with five or more equids.

Highlights from the study include:

Approximately 9 of 10 operations had 19 or fewer resident equids as of May 1, 2015. These operations accounted for 58.1 percent of resident equids in the United States. Resident equids were defined as equids that spent more time at one operation than at any other operation.

The majority (70.7 percent) of operations used a private veterinarian as their primary equine health resource.

38.8 percent of facility operators were knowledgeable about equine infectious anemia (EIA). 18.2 percent recognized the name, not much else, and 7.7 percent said they had not heard of it before.

47.1 percent of operations performed at least one EIA test on resident equids in the previous 12 months, and 36.8 percent of resident equids had at least one EIA test in the previous 12 months.

The average cost of an EIA test (including call fee or cost of transportation) was $40.77, ranging from $39.34 in the South Central region to $46.39 in the West region.

Animal Health, Equine, Horses, Research, usda

Supreme Court To Hear WOTUS Case

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether jurisdiction rests with the federal district or appellate courts to hear a lawsuit brought by several agricultural organizations, businesses and municipalities against the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a Clean Water Act rule that would give the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.

“The WOTUS rule is vague, overbroad and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We all want clean water, but this regulation is a big land grab that promotes growth of government and allows activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to hear our appeal is a victory for America’s cattle producers and all private property owners across the country,” said Scott Yager, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) environmental counsel. “It shows that the Court has a continued interest in private property rights and we look forward to oral arguments this spring.”

In a brief to the appellate court, the agricultural groups stated that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers failed to reopen the public comment period after making fundamental changes to the proposed rule and withheld until after the comment period closed the scientific report on which the rule rested. The groups believe that the agencies also refused to conduct required economic and environmental analyses, engaged in a propaganda campaign to promote the rule and rebuke its critics and illegally lobbied against congressional efforts to stop implementation of the rule.

Ag Group, Conservation, environment, EPA, NCBA, NPPC, Policy, Water

MO Cattlemen Receive Insight On Beef Market

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The 49th Annual Missouri Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show was held earlier this month, featuring eight educational sessions as part of the event’s Cattlemen’s College. The sessions allowed producers to learn more about topics like cattle markets, productions technologies, and managing risks.

Ed Greiman, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Cattle Marketing and International Trade Committee Chairman, led a Cattlemen’s College session on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures market, giving cattlemen in attendance the opportunity to learn more about how the markets became what they are today and where they may go during the upcoming years.

“We have started to see the cattle on feed numbers have dropped a little bit, and we’ve been aggressively marketing cattle, so now the real question is whether or not these calves are going to come,” said Greiman in an interview with AgWired’s Jamie Johansen following his presentation. “We think we’ve added a million cows, and if we’ve added a million cows, it’ll be interesting to see where these calves are, because we haven’t seen them yet.”

Greiman explained that he believes the fed cattle market is contributing to market volatility and described how the industry has been working to help calm that volatility through the Fed Cattle Exchange, which he hopes will work to send markets signals to the futures market and steady the trade.

“We are making sure that we’re doing our part in sending market signals to everyone who trades our cattle and trades on the futures market, and that was the whole goal of the Fed Cattle Exchange and a Wednesday sale,” he said. “It gets the trade started earlier that week, a lot of no sales from the exchange are turning around selling that afternoon or the next daye’ve been seeing a lot more wednesday and thursday trade.”

Greiman also discussed the important role exports play within the beef market: “We do import more total pounds of meat than we export, but we export more dollars,” he said. “What we have a tendency to do is to export things of higher value and products that we don’t want to use in the United States, so it’s really important to maintain those export markets.”

Listen to Jamie’s full interview with Greiman here:
Interview with Ed Greiman, NCBA

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Audio, Beef, Cattle, economics, Markets, NCBA

Ag Groups Request Protection of Nation’s Public Lands

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The American Farm Bureau Federation spearheaded a coalition of 18 other groups with vital interests in protecting the multiple uses of the nation’s public lands, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and American Sheep Industry (ASI), urging President-elect Donald Trump to work with Congress to pass legislation to improve accountability and transparency in the designation of national monuments.

According to a letter to Trump, the coalition stated that the designation of lands as national monuments or similar designation without input from communities impacted by the decision “can lead, and in fact has led, to devastating reductions in economic activity and the loss of jobs in resource-dependent communities.”

“Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has used the authority provided by the Antiquities Act to lock up millions of acres of land from multiple-use by designating land as national monuments,” the coalition letter said. “In fact, President Obama has proclaimed more new national monuments than any other president in U.S. history. “

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was enacted as a response to concerns over theft from and destruction of archaeological sites and was designed to provide an expeditious means to protect federal lands and resources. The act requires the president to reserve “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

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AFBF, Ag Group, ASI, Farm Bureau, Land, Livestock, NCBA

A Discussion on Responsible Antibiotic Use at #AFBF17

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

In a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show, Dr. Jennifer Wishnie, a veterinary public health expert, spoke about one of the hottest topics in animal agriculture – antibiotic resistance.

“Many consumers don’t realize that there is veterinary oversight on the farm,” said Dr. Wishnie. “This gives us opportunities to educate them on how antibiotics are used responsibly. When we use antibiotics, there is a potential for resistance to develop, so using them appropriately helps minimize this resistance.”

Wishnie said another concern is the confusion between antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistance. Consumers should understand that the FDA addresses residues by approving antibiotics with specific withdrawal times, which assures that residues are not present in meat for consumption.

“This is an important distinction,” Wishnie said. “If we use an antibiotic responsibly and follow the withdrawal time, the antibiotic residue is minimized, and our food is safe. But this is a point that consumers really don’t understand.”

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) went into effect on Jan. 1 as a regulatory step changing how antimicrobials are used in food production on the farm making it illegal to use medically important antibiotics to promote animal growth.

“The overarching thinking, and now the regulation, behind all of these guidances was removal of growth promotion or nutritional efficiency uses of medically important antibiotics in feed and water, and bringing the therapeutic uses under increased veterinary oversight,” Wishnie said.

“This is an ongoing conversation. It’s important to communicate,” Wishnie said. “Many new pressures are coming, and a lot of them exist from some misunderstandings, particularly on the consumer side. So those opportunities to talk with your neighbors or to the public about what you do and how veterinarians are involved, your long history of farming and how you use antibiotics responsibly to maintain animal health, I think, can be really enlightening.”

Listen to Dr. Wishnie’s complete remarks here: Dr. Jennifer Wishnie - On Farm Antibiotic Use

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 AFBF Annual Meeting Photos

AFBF, Ag Group, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Audio, Farm Bureau, Feed, Livestock, Veterinary

Meet New Executive VP of Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Land O’Lakes, Inc. has named Chris Roberts as the organizations Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dairy Foods, effective Feb. 6, 2017. The move marks the re-unification of all Land O’Lakes Dairy businesses under one executive for the company.

“We’re excited to welcome Chris Roberts to Land O’Lakes,” said Beth Ford, group executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Purina Animal Nutrition and U.S. Dairy Foods businesses. “Chris is a best-in-class leader, known to drive innovation, and brings both commodity and branded goods experience. We firmly believe Chris’ strong leadership will help Land O’Lakes accelerate into our next phase positioned for faster and more competitive growth.”

Roberts joins Land O’Lakes from Cargill, where he was the president of Cargill Value Added Proteins division. He was responsible for integrating two existing businesses, creating and implementing a compelling and sustainable growth strategy, deepening customer acumen and elevating employee engagement. Prior to that, he served as president of the Cargill Kitchens. Prior to Cargill, he built his career in leadership roles at both PepsiCo and The Coca Cola Company.

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, Dairy, Food, Land O'Lakes

A Livestock Market Outlook from #AFBF17

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Dr. Karl Skold, head of agricultural economics at JBS, talked about the ample supplies of meat we will see in 2017 during a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show. Skold said a historically unusual situation of expanding herds, growing supply and significant demand is driving an overall positive outlook for producers of beef and pork.

“Start with lower feed costs,” Skold said, “And the economy continues to improve. We are nearing full employment and wages are picking up.” Skold said these trends are showing up in how consumers are making meat choices.

The situation with pork is similar, Skold said, and pork has been profitable until a fourth quarter drop last year. Per capita pork consumption has been stuck in the neighborhood of 50 pounds per person for some time. Pork is more dependent on the export market.

Skold also said that per capita consumption over all meats, including chicken, is going up, tracking lower prices, but beef is gaining favor again with the ample supplies. The economist said that surveying retailers revealed that they had not priced steak as low in the last quarter of 2016 in six years.

Listen to Skold’s complete remarks here: Dr. Karl Skold, JBS - Livestock Market Outlook

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 AFBF Annual Meeting Photos

AFBF, Ag Group, Audio, Farm Bureau, Markets, Meat

Dairy Groups: Canada’s Policies Will Hurt U.S. Economy

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) told President-elect Donald Trump that Canada’s existing and protectionist policies are designed to block imports from the U.S. and are in direct violation of Canada’s trade commitments under the NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.

The letter to Trump outlined estimates from the USDA that show each $1 billion of U.S. dairy exports generates more than 20,000 jobs for Americans and almost $3 billion of economic output. U.S. dairy suppliers are reporting that they are already losing business because of these programs, demonstrating that Canada’s actions are resulting in lost revenues and jobs for dairy farmers and processors across the United States.

“This negative impact is conservatively estimated at $150 million worth of ultra-filtered milk exports being lost by companies in Wisconsin and New York, which are highly reliant on their trade with Canada. In fact, the entire U.S. dairy industry is being hurt, as milk prices are being driven down nationally by Canada’s trade actions,” the groups said. “Having an even wider impact on America’s dairy farmers and processors, additional large volumes of skim milk powder will be forced onto the thinly traded global market resulting in a further depression of prices that will negatively impact the revenues of dairy farmers around the world.”

“The U.S. dairy industry is highly competitive internationally, and overseas markets represent a vital source of future growth opportunities including thousands of new American jobs,” the groups said. “Not long ago, the United States was a net importer of dairy products, but now our nation benefits from a dairy trade surplus of over $2 billion. Enforcement of current trade agreements, whether bilateral or multilateral in nature, is central to strengthening the U.S. economy.”

Ag Group, Dairy, Dairy Group, Export, Government, idfa, NASDA, National Milk, Policy, USDEC