July 4th Biggest Hog Dog Weekend of the Year

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

hero_bumperAmericans are expected to eat more than 150 million hotdogs over the July 4th weekend, appropriately kicking off July as National Hog Dog month.  Independence Day will be celebrated with fireworks and more hot dogs than any other time of the year– enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.

“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with the all-American hot dog,” said Janet Riley, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council president and ‘Queen of Wien.’ “No matter how you top it, the hot dog is the food that everyone craves to make the Independence Day weekend complete.”

To celebrate the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) is offering fans and chance to win hot dogs and other prizes by creating a bumper sticker slogan.  Hot Dog enthusiasts can submit up to three clever slogans to contest@hot-dog.org by Junly 10.  Finalist slogans will be featured on the Facebook page, where fans will vote for their favorite.  The winner will be announced on July 22, National Hot Dog Day.

“Hot dogs aren’t just great for backyard barbecues, they’re also great road trip food, so we decided to combine these two American pastimes,” said Riley. “With the bumper sticker, people can share their hot dog love wherever they go.”

The person who submits the best bumper sticker slogan will win a $100 gift card for their favorite hot dogs plus a Curl-A-Dog spiral hot dog slicer. Second place wins a $50 gift card for their favorite hot dogs. The top three choices will all win NHDSC t-shirts and a bumper sticker with the winning slogan. Full contest guidelines and rules are available at http://www.hot-dog.org/media/contests.

To see how hot dogs are made, review an etiquette guide, read hot dog history, and learn trivia visit the website.

Agribusiness, contest, Food

DairyPRO’s Meeting at Ag Progress Days

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

DairyProThe Center for Dairy Excellence and the Penn State Extension Dairy Team will host DairyPRO’s breakfast meeting focused on dairy farm business transformation at Ag Progress Days, Wednesday, August 19, from 7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m., in the Theatre area.

“We are excited about our lineup of speakers for this meeting,” said Emily Yeiser, dairy initiatives manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “We have four exceptional panelists who will provide their insight on the start to the finish of a building project.”

Discussion will focus on farm transformation, the permitting process, and cash flowing the project. Dairy producer, Tim Kurtz owner of Kurtland Farm from Berks County, will speak on his experience of completing an expansion project, while Jeff Ainslie, vice president of RedBarn Consulting, Inc., will walk through the permitting process. Dan McFarland, agricultural engineer educator for Penn State Extension, will talk to issues related to new animal shelter design and existing facility improvement, while Tim Beck, Penn State Extension, will speak to cash flow need for the process.

Exclusively for dairy professionals, DairyPRO’s is designed to provide the opportunity for participants to gain information that could help their customers go from “good” to “great.” The August meeting is intended to give those dairy professionals already attending Ag Progress Days an opportunity to learn more about topics that will impact their customers.

To register, contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or by email at manderson@centerfordairyexcellence.org.

Ag Group, Dairy, Finance

Administration Places Politics Over Producers

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ncba-200The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association stands firmly opposed to regulation from the USDA APHIS for the Importation of Fresh Beef from Northern Argentina and a Region in Brazil, not on the basis of trade but on the basis of animal health concerns. These areas have a known history of Foot-and-Mouth disease and this ruling would allow the inspection process to import fresh and frozen beef into the U.S from these countries.

“The arrogance of this administration in continuing to press forward with rules that have a profound impact on industry, without consulting those affected, is appalling,” said NCBA President and Chugwater, Wyoming, cattleman, Philip Ellis. “FMD is a highly contagious and devastating disease, not just for the cattle industry, but for all cloven-hoofed animals and it can be introduced and spread through the importation of both fresh and frozen products. In 1929, our industry took profound and personally devastating steps to eradicate this disease and the United States has been FMD free ever since. But the actions of this administration for purely political gain threaten the very viability of our entire industry and threaten hundreds of thousands of American cattle-producing families.”

NCBA has demonstrated through numerous public comments and in person through meetings with staff and members, our concerns regarding the importation of fresh and frozen product from Northern Argentina and these 14 states in Brazil. There is a long history of repeated outbreaks in many of the neighboring South American countries, as well as a history of problems in both Argentina and Brazil with compliance to animal health and food safety regulations. Despite this long history of such an economically devastating animal disease, the Administration did not conduct an objective quantitative risk analysis for this rule, as was performed in 2002 for Uruguay.

“This rule violated the federal rulemaking process, violated Executive Orders mandating scientific integrity in rulemaking, circumvented the ongoing Government Accountability Office’s review of the risk analysis process, and withheld critical information from stakeholders,” said Ellis. “Our office actually received over 600 pages of documents relevant to Brazil in Portuguese and over 25 percent of the documents for Argentina were posted to the Federal Register in Spanish, neither with any translation available.”

The effect of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be devastating to animal agriculture and our entire economy with estimates for total economic losses ranging from $37 billion to $228 billion, depending on the size of an outbreak. Moreover, innumerable losses would occur through the closure of export markets, lost domestic sales, lost opportunities, and a loss of consumer confidence in beef.

Ag Group, Beef, NCBA, Trade

Ranchers Reject Bureaucrats Answer to Sage Grouse

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

plcThe Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association filed formal protests after reviewing the plans from the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service who recently finalized their Environmental Impacts Statements (EISs) for resources management and land use plans, claiming a need for more restrictive management for sage grouse on federal lands. PLC and NCBA believe this impedes on conservation efforts and range management practices already in place and released the following information on the issue.

“Ranchers and those closest to the land are far better equipped to manage resources than bureaucrats in Washington D.C.,” said Brenda Richards, PLC president and Idaho rancher. “These plans disregard all the hard work, money and resources that states already have in place to preserve wildlife habitat and sage grouse in particular. One-size-fits-all requirements on how multiple uses, including livestock grazing, will be managed on public lands is not the answer to conserving sage grouse.”

In early 2014, the organizations filed detailed comments addressing concerns with the draft EISs. With little to no improvement in the final documents, the ranching industry has filed protests in nine states across the West. According to the EISs, expanded grazing regulation is necessary, yet neither the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nor the BLM have found evidence that livestock grazing and current range management pose a threat to sage grouse habitat or populations, in fact, there are numerous studies showing the positive impact grazing has on sage grouse habitat.

Robbie LeValley, chairman of NCBA’s Federal lands Committee said the plans are yet another attempt by the Administration to remove productive uses from the land in an effort to appease short-sighted environmental groups pushing a radical agenda.

“Imposing regulatory change on the grazing livestock industry without any factual basis is arbitrary and capricious,” said LeValley, who ranches in western Colorado. “Ranchers with public land grazing rights work daily to minimize the major threats to sage grouse; removing fine-fuels and providing vast tracts of open space. Wildfire and development are the primary threats to the sage grouse and their habitat, yet this Administration is systematically wiping out multiple-use and ranching through regulatory overreach.”

The BLM and USFS must remove the inflexible and arbitrary buffer zone and stubble height requirements and discontinue the legally questionable and scientifically inaccurate idea that removing, reducing and retiring grazing is the answer to this and any other problem the agency faces on public lands.

Ag Group, Conservation, Land, NCBA, PLC, Ranches

Enroll in 2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program

John Davis Leave a Comment

USDA_logoSign-ups for the 2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program begin July 1. This U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) news release says the voluntary program provides financial assistance to participating dairy operations when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

“More than half of our nation’s dairy producers enrolled in the 2015 program, which exceeded our expectations for the first year of the program,” said [Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta] Harden. “We are confident that dairy farmers across the country will again take advantage of this safety net program for 2016. USDA will continue outreach efforts, including partnering with cooperative extension services, to ensure dairy producers are fully informed about the protections that this safety net program can provide during periods of market downturns.”

The Margin Protection Program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins July 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2015, for coverage in 2016. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a $100 administrative fee each year. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year. Margin Protection Program payments are based on an operation’s historical production. An operation’s historical production will increase by 2.61 percent in 2016 if the operation participated in 2015, providing a stronger safety net.

Dairy farmers can also use USDA’s online tool to help them decide which level of coverage will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The enhanced Web tool is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool.

Agribusiness, Dairy, Government, usda

NCBA CEO Announces Resignation

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ncba-forrestNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Forrest Roberts has announced his resignation, effective July 31. Roberts has been the CEO of NCBA since 2009 and is leaving NCBA to “pursue other opportunities in the cattle industry and agribusiness.” He will remain with NCBA until the end of July to help NCBA with transition of staff leadership and his roles in several industry related organizations such as the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

“For the past 6 years it has been a privilege to serve as CEO of NCBA,” Roberts said. “While I have decided to turn a new chapter in my career, I leave NCBA with many great memories of the time I spent working with the NCBA staff, state partners, members, producer leadership and stakeholders across the global beef industry.”

According to NCBA President Phillip Ellis, Roberts contributed significantly to the organization and the industry. “Under Forrest Roberts’ leadership NCBA membership has increased significantly, NCBA is in a solid financial position, convention attendance is at record levels and the NCBA-managed programs to build consumer demand for beef as a contractor to the beef checkoff are achieving significant results. In addition, Roberts has strengthened industry partnerships domestically and internationally,” he said. “We wish him well as he pursues other interests in the cattle industry and agribusiness.”

NCBA Chief Operating Officer Kendal Frazier has been named interim CEO to manage the day-to-day operations, including NCBA staff, until a new CEO is identified. “Frazier has more than 30 years of experience working in the different areas of NCBA,” Ellis said. “I know he will do a good job of guiding the organization during the transition period.”

Ellis said the NCBA officers will work with the NCBA Executive Committee to develop a process to search for and identify a new CEO.

Beef, NCBA

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef to Meet

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable BeefThe U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, started in March of this year, announced today the first general assembly meeting.

When: July 14 and 15, 2015

Where: Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center
650 15th St., Denver, CO 80202

Program here. Registration here.

USRSB’s mission is to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in U.S. beef sustainability through leadership, innovation, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Utilizing the definition for sustainable beef recently released by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), the USRSB will develop sustainability indicators relevant to the various beef systems in the United States, as well as a means to verify sustainable progress in a transparent manner that can be shared. Similar to GRSB, the USRSB will not mandate standards or verify the performance of individual beef value chain participants.

Ag Group, Beef, sustainability

HATCH Extension Following Donation of 100K+ Eggs

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.42.23 AMHATCH, which is providing a new way consumers, food stores and farmers can work together to make eggs available to undernourished people, will extend its program with The Kroger Co. and Rose Acre Farms through 2015. This announcement was made after successfully providing 100,039 eggs to more than 8,000 families in Indiana during a 10-week pilot program.

“HATCH is becoming a sustainable model for how people can work together locally to fight undernourishment and make a real, tangible difference in their communities,” said Bert Payne, operations leader for HATCH for Hunger at Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. “The beauty of HATCH is that it is giving more people access to nutrient-rich eggs, even in the face of today’s higher prices due to reduced U.S. egg supplies.”

“HATCH is gratitude, and gratitude is the smiles and thanks of the people receiving the eggs,” said Cindy Hubert, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank. “One mother who received HATCH eggs told me, ‘the HATCH program gave us the opportunity to have healthy food for breakfast instead of just eating junk food … it makes a difference.’ This is what HATCH is all about.”

“Rose Acre Farms is proud to partner with Elanco and Kroger on a project as critical as hunger,” said Amanda Jackson, director of sales, Rose Acre Farms. “HATCH has been a tremendous success due to the support of our local communities and Kroger shoppers. We recognize that nutritious foods are often hard to obtain for food-insecure families and that America’s food banks find it incredibly difficult to acquire high-quality proteins. We are thrilled to meet this need by providing healthy, nutrient-dense eggs that will provide the protein and essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial for muscle, brain and eye development.”

“We are extremely proud of the generosity of Kroger customers and associates who rallied behind HATCH to help neighbors put nutritious food on their plates,” said John Elliott, manager of public affairs, The Kroger Co. “That’s why we are thrilled to announce the extension of HATCH in 65 Central Indiana stores through Dec. 31. Like our long-standing Perishable Donation Partnership® — which has donated more than 195 million meals to community food banks — HATCH is another way we can work together to combat undernourishment.”

Ag Group, Eggs, Elanco, Food

No New Bird Flu Cases Last Week

John Davis Leave a Comment

ai-updateTime for a little good news on the bird flu outbreak in the Midwest. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said there have been no new probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the state this week, and the last positive flock was detected on June 16.

Infected turkey flocks have been depopulated and are currently being composted. Clean and disinfection is taking place. Environmental samplings of all sites will take place to confirm successful cleaning and disinfecting before restocking. IDALS and USDA officials have been meeting with affected farmers regularly to share information and answer questions.

All the commercial laying and pullet facilities have been depopulated and cleaning and disinfection of facilities is ongoing. Disposal of affected birds has been completed except for the layer site announced last week. That site had been doing on-site burial of affected birds, but due to the recent wet weather, burial has been stopped. The birds are now being placed in bio-secure boxes and will be disposed of via incineration or at the landfill in Southwest Iowa. Disposal of other materials from affected sites is ongoing.

To-date, over 1000 bio-secure boxes have been disposed of via incineration or at one of the two currently approved landfills. Approximately 250 are still in need of disposal. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contractor Clean Harbors is moving the materials. All trucks are cleaned and disinfected before the leave an infected premise and before leaving a disposal site.

USDA has more than 2,300 staff and contractors helping respond to the avian influenza situation in Iowa. A USDA Incident Management Team (IMT) has been operating out of Ames and overseeing USDA’s activities. More than 300 state employees also have joined the response.

Agribusiness, avian flu, Poultry

New At the Meeting Swine Health Series on PEDv

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

atm-largerThe latest At The Meeting (ATM) with the Morrison Group audio program provides an update on developments in porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) cases reported this spring, effective control steps and immunology in the last year. The ATM program on PEDv features disease, research and practical swine health information from leading veterinary experts that swine veterinarians and producers can use to make informed decisions for their farms.

In part one of the three-part audio program, Dr. Morrison talks with Gordon Spronk, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Clinic, and Tom Wetzell, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), about ongoing swine health monitoring and case reporting programs in place for PEDv. This segment also provides insights that can be gained by looking at recent and historical PEDv case data and the impact the disease has had on production.

In the second segment, Jeremy Pittman, DVM, MSDABVP, Murphy Brown, joins the group to discuss the recent rebreaks of PEDv. He says most of the breaks are likely due to virus circulating in grow-finish barns, resulting in less mortality than initial outbreaks from 2013-14.

In the third segment, the panel of swine veterinarians, including Linda Saif, PhD, The Ohio State University, discuss what’s been learned regarding potential for protective immunity to be transferred from sow to pig, type of immunity provided and insights into the pig’s immune response to PEDv exposure. The group also discusses duration of immunity, types of vaccines and different administration routes that might be more effective in immunizing sows and pigs against PEDv.

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, PED, Swine