Pastoralists Have New Online Knowledge Base

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Pastoralists HubDo you know what a pastoralist is? Here’s one definition: a grazier or land-holder raising sheep, cattle, etc, on a large scale. Kind of sounds like a rancher to me. Why do I bring it up? Because the FAO and partners announced an online Pastoralist Knowledge Hub today. Their hope is that this will provide a platform for these folks to have a bigger voice in international policy debates and share valuable information to strengthen their agricultural livelihoods.

The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub – launched today by FAO, the European Union, Germany and other partners – will enable mobile livestock keepers to connect, to meet and discuss issues like agricultural innovations or land regulations and find shared solutions to common challenges.

“Pastoralists are able to produce food where no crops can be grown. Yet, their concerns are poorly heard by the international community,” Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, said on Monday. “This hub is an important platform to help them project their voices, share knowledge, and affect policy debates.”

The hub also offers a growing database of research on pastoralism, contacts for a worldwide network of pastoral representatives, and discussion forums for pastoralist networks and partnering institutions.

You can learn more about it by listening to this FAO interview with Pablo Manzano. He is the Coordinator of the Pastoralist Knowledge Hub. In the interview, conducted by Sandra Ferrari, he elaborates on some of the challenges facing pastoralists today and how the knowledge hub can potentially support them. Interview with Pablo Manzano

Audio, Government

Bee Care Center Anniversary

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Bayer Bee Care CenterBayer CropScience celebrated the first anniversary of their North American Bee Care Center located in RTP, NC. The center is open for public tours and today there was a lot of touring going on. Thanks to Jeff Donald for a photo. Wish we could have been there.

After some lunch time remarks for the media to update them on key successes from the first year the afternoon was dedicated to self-guided tours. The Bayer Bee Care Center unifies Bayer’s efforts to understand, research, promote and communicate on bee health.

Bayer’s Jim Blome and Becky Langer were joined by Dr. Richard Reich, agricultural services assistant commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, who spoke of the importance of the Center’s work, public-private partnerships and the importance of agriculture to the North Carolina economy. You can listen to some remarks from them here: Bee Care Center Remarks

Bayer Healthy HivesAt the celebration, Bayer announced a new initiative focused on finding solutions to improve the health of honey bee colonies in the U.S. – Healthy Hives 2020. As part of the initiative, Bayer will partner with stakeholders and experts on bee health and establish an advisory council to discuss strategies to improve honey bee health by the year 2020. The first meeting of members of the inaugural council will take place June 2-3, 2015 at the Bee Care Center.

Agribusiness, Bayer, bees

USMEF Co-hosts IMS Economics Workshop in Tokyo

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

usmefIn this week’s U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) audio report, we learn more about how USMEF is preparing to co-host the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) Economics Workshop May 11-13 in Tokyo.

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific, is one of the workshop’s featured speakers and provides insights into the event, which is held every two years.

He will participate in a panel discussion titled Free Trade Agreements and Their Implications. In the audio report, Haggard provides more details on the trade agreements that will be spotlighted in this panel discussion, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and the recently completed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. He also discusses the overall objectives of the workshop, which is targeted toward economists, trade analysts and other meat industry experts.

Weekly USMEF Audio Report
Ag Group, Audio, Export, Meat

Zoetis Presents Milk Source with Industry Award

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

zoetisZoetis recently presented Milk Source LLC with the 2014 Zoetis Customer Diversity and Inclusion Award. The award recognizes customers who promote outstanding employee diversity and inclusion programs. Zoetis selected Milk Source LLC from a pool of 13 candidates, the largest group of award nominees to date.

Milk Source LLC, based in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, employs more than 500 employees on eight dairy operations throughout Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas. Workers come from across the globe, including Mexico, Canada, Israel, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Australia. Milk Source also has hired immigrants from Sudan and Eritrea through a collaboration with World Relief Fox Valley, an organization that assists with and supports refugee resettlement and placement.

Given this unique employee base, Milk Source incorporates culture training, including:
– Weekly Spanish language courses for English-speaking employees and English language courses for Spanish-speaking employees.
– Cross-discipline employee panels during which leaders from various departments (Operations, Herd Management, Business) engage in discussions and respond to questions from their peers.
– Bilingual keynote speakers that help bridge communication gaps in their cultural training sessions.
– Team-building exercises that celebrate the different cultures and acknowledge how the blended culture base work together as one company. A recent exercise had culturally-blended teams produce bilingual commercial messages about Milk Source’s core values.

“Milk Source emphasizes cultural diversity at every turn,” said Bryan Mergen, senior territory business manager, Zoetis. “They invest significant amounts of time, money and resources in providing ongoing training and education programs to help their employees communicate and collaborate, despite their cultural differences.”

“Our corporate credo is ‘sustainability starts here,’” said Jim Ostrom, Milk Source president and CEO. “And that extends beyond farming techniques and animal care. A sustainable workforce is one that embraces its people — all its people — and helps them reach their professional goals. We are honored to have those efforts recognized by Zoetis.”

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Dairy

Beef Runs Boston Strong at Marathon

John Davis Leave a Comment

matt sorenson1aBeef was proudly on display at this year’s Boston Marathon. The national beef checkoff, through its Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) and in partnership with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, sponsored 21 members of Team Beef who ran along the rolling streets into downtown Boston on April 20th to celebrate Patriots Day alongside nearly 30,000 other marathon runners.

Wadeboston1Wade Foster of Washington D.C was the first Team Beef member to cross the Boston Marathon finish line with a final time of 2:44:25. Ruel Sword of Woodway, TX was the first female finisher for Team Beef with a final time of 3:23:17. The average finish time for the Team Beef runners was 3:32:26. Team Beef runners were from New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado and Texas.

Ruel Sword commented about her experience running for Team Beef in Boston, “I loved wearing BEEF during the marathon and hearing ‘BEEF’ being shouted all along the course and shouting ‘BEEF’ back as I ran by! Lots of BEEF lovers!”

Mother and daughter pair, Connie and Elizabeth Wilkinson of Joplin, Mo., had similar reflections after running on Team Beef: “I wanted you to know that we probably heard 350+ shout outs as we ran, from whole groups of people shouting ‘Beef! Beef!’ to ‘GO, Team Beef!’ to ‘Where’s the beef?!’ Over and over and over.”

Valerie Van Dyke, Director of Consumer Marketing and Team Beef Coordinator for the Virginia Beef Industry Council commented, “Because the Boston Marathon is such an elite athletic event, and beef is an elite protein source, it makes sense to pair the two. It’s a great way to showcase that beef is a valuable fuel for our finest athletes, and healthy consumers in general.”

Before they ran, Team Beef members received nutritional education on how best to incorporate lean beef into their diet during training, beef recipes and cooking tips and a Team Beef running jersey to wear during the race.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Beef, Beef Checkoff

High Path AI Cases Multiply

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ai-updateCases of high pathogenic avian flu continue to multiply, almost too quickly to keep pace with. On Monday, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey announced another five probable cases in commercial chicken farms, including a 3.8 million bird layer operation in Sioux County.

“That takes us in total to about 9.5 million layers that are either confirmed positive or presumptive positive,” said Northey.

“This has certainly been a challenging past couple of months for the U.S. and Iowa is just one example of how tough the situation can be,” said T.J. Myers, Associate Deputy Administrator for USDA-APHIS, on a conference call with Northey Monday. He said it’s a testament to our country’s surveillance program “that we are finding these cases and able to respond to them very quickly.”

Meyers said USDA will continue to support the states and affected producers in dealing with the disease.

Listen to comments from Northey and Meyers here: Iowa Agriculture Department press call on new HPAI cases

In another development, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke with the Chinese Agriculture minister Han Changfu on Monday asking him to reconsider that nation’s ban on all poultry products from the United States and make it regional. “He indicated that he would take that under advisement, but Chinese law is fairly clear on this issue,” said Vilsack. He added that China is sending a team to the United States to see the biosecurity and surveillance programs in action first hand.

Audio, Poultry, usda

DeLaval Expands Social Media Efforts

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Delaval_Logo_CMYK_NEWDeLaval Inc. announced the launch of its United State’s Facebook page. The page will be targeted toward the US market to improve customer engagement in the region and reach new audiences. It will connect a diverse range of dairy farmers from various geographical regions to facilitate the sharing of thoughts and ideas. The page will communicate information such as updates for trade shows, open houses and other events in real time. It will also showcase product innovations, promotions, general industry information and trends. DeLaval’s Facebook page will add another platform for customer interactions as it joins the company’s other social network sites Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.

The US Facebook page will target the American dairy industry to address its unique needs. Regular updates planned for the page include instructional videos, featured dairy farms, and interesting facts and figures. A recurring theme will be “Feeding Fridays” which will provide beneficial forage information designed to help maximize a farmer’s investment. Though DeLaval will manage the page, producers are encouraged to participate to share their experiences and best practices.

“We are leveraging Facebook as another means of creating dialog with our customers. As technology continues to evolve, we will use it to our advantage to provide added value for them,” states Mac Canali, Marketing and Communications Manager for DeLaval North America, “DeLaval has always been an industry pace-setter due to our premium products and strong customer relationships. Our Facebook page will be another tool for us to strengthen those relationships.”

Agribusiness, Dairy, Social Media

CWT Assists with Export Sales

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

CWT-logo6Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 8 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and Tillamook County Creamery Association who have contracts to sell 1.122 million pounds (509 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 85,980 pounds (39 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from April through October 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 28.878 million pounds of cheese, 24.388 million pounds of butter, and 8.739 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty eight countries on five continents. The amounts of and butter in these sales contracts represent the equivalent of 879.062 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

The amounts of cheese and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Ag Group, Cheese, cooperatives, cwt, Milk

The Science Behind Food Safety

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

cms-15-168-editedFood safety is on the hearts and minds of all throughout the agriculture community. So, there is no doubt it was a hot topic during the recent Chicken Media Summit held on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and sponsored by the National Chicken Council and US Poultry & Egg Association. Dr. Ashley Peterson, VP of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the National Chicken Council served as moderator for a panel on food safety in the poultry industry.

The entire food safety system was discussed by each panelist and Dr. Peterson reminded us that science is at the forefront of the complete system. “Food safety is the number one priority so every time the consumer has a healthy eating experience.”

“It’s a federal requirement that every single bird get inspected. That is different from an FDA regulated plant where an inspector might come in less frequently. We have someone there 24/7. Inspectors are looking at quality and food safety issues.”

In my interview recalls are further explained and Dr. Peterson said her take home message she wants all to know is every serving of chicken, whether it’s domestic or shipped international is as safe as possible. She said they are always using the technologies they have, but are always looking for new research and science enabling them to do better.

Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Peterson here: Interview with Dr. Ashley Peterson, National Chicken Council

Find photos from the event here: 2015 Chicken Media Summit Photo Album

Ag Group, Audio, Chicken, Food, food safety, Poultry, US Poultry

How Will High Path Avian Flu Impact Industry?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What is your favorite alternative fuel (to gasoline)?”

A hands down winner in this week’s poll on alternative fuels was ethanol. Which is not a surprise. However, many may be surprised to see the clear runner-up was solar. We had many chime in for the other category. A few of those included: algae diesel, biohydrogen and biobutanol.

Here are the poll results:

  • Biodiesel – 10%
  • Ethanol – 42%
  • Propane – 9%
  • Natural gas – 7%
  • Wind – 6%
  • Solar – 17%
  • Other – 9%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, How will high path avian flu impact industry?

The states impacted by high path avian flu are on the rise. The most recent outbreak in Iowa on a chicken egg farm has led us all to wonder the short and long term repercussions it will have on the industry, exports and prices for the consumer. In this week’s ZimmPoll we want to know if you think this flu strain will transform the industry or will it bounce back quickly?