Merck Animal Health Sponsors Food Systems Fellowship Program

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Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.13.58 AMAs a partner in the Food Systems Fellowship Program coordinated by Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Merck Animal Health is pleased to announce three $5,000 scholarships have been awarded to students who are participating in the program. During the past nine years, Merck Animal Health has provided various scholarship opportunities for more than 100 students focused on working in the food animal industry.

The following students are participants in the Food Systems Fellowship Program and will receive Merck Animal Health scholarships in 2014.

Christina Fenske, from Grand Rapids, Mich., is a second-year veterinary student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. Prior to pursuing her second career – veterinary medicine – Fenske spent 12 years working in a dermatology practice. After graduation, Fenske plans to work in a predominantly large animal practice and would like to be involved in community outreach and education.

Heather Roney, from Clarkston, Mich., is a third-year veterinary student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, and earned a bachelor of science in Animal Science from the same university. Roney has served as a legislative fellow with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She also recently participated in the USDA APHIS Smith Kilborne Program where he studied transboundary animal diseases. After graduation, Roney is interested in pursuing a career in regulatory medicine and agricultural policy.

Carrie Szybisty, from Redford, Mich., is a third-year veterinary student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU). She also earned a bachelor of science in Animal Science with a concentration in Production Animal Scholars from MSU. During her studies, Szybisty has worked at the MSU Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and participated in a USDA International Science and Education funded Food Systems Fellowship Program in India and a bovine externship at a veterinary practice in Michigan. After graduation, Szybisty hopes to work in a mixed animal practice with a focus on dairy cattle medicine and reproduction. Someday, she also would like to pursue the opportunity to provide services to the animal shelters in her community.

Ag Group, Animal Health, Education Jamie JohansenMerck Animal Health Sponsors Food Systems Fellowship Program

World Dairy Expo Youth Contests Entries Due Soon

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WDE_interface_2014_fYouth are encouraged to enter World Dairy Expo’s Youth Showmanship Contest. This year’s entry deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. Contest rules and entry forms are available online at the Expo website or in the Premium Book. Entries may also be submitted during Expo in the Administration Office located on the top floor of the Coliseum.

The Youth Showmanship Contest will be Thursday, Oct. 2, in the Coliseum beginning at 6 p.m. Youth, ages nine through 21 are allowed to compete. Contestants are responsible for providing their own animal for showmanship that is already on grounds. Required attire for the contest is white pants and either a white shirt, or an official 2014 World Dairy Expo Junior Show shirt.

Expo also encourages youth to enter the World Dairy Expo Youth Fitting Contest. The contest will be held Sunday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. in the Estrumate Sale Pavilion. The entry deadline for the contest is Saturday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. The Youth Fitting Contest is open to youth ages 16-21. Contestants must provide an animal to fit. Contestants need not own the animal they fit, but it must be entered in a World Dairy Expo show or sale. Contestants will have 60 minutes to fit their animal with their own equipment. Further details and entry forms are available on the Expo website or in the Premium Book. On-site entries may be submitted until the deadline in the Administration Office.

Ag Group, Dairy, World Dairy Expo, Youth Jamie JohansenWorld Dairy Expo Youth Contests Entries Due Soon

2014 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award Presented

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Luc Dufresne, DVM, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award. The award was presented by Zoetis at the 2014 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, hosted by the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minnesota. The award is given to a veterinarian who is committed to research and applying that knowledge to help improve the swine industry.

Dr. Dufresne graduated from the University of Montreal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners certified in Swine Health Management, a designation earned by certification in clinical practice for a specific species with demonstration of exceptional knowledge, skill and competency. Dr. Dufresne serves as the senior director of health assurance at Seaboard Foods, an integrated system with nearly 220,000 sows producing 4.5 million market hogs annually on farms located in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Texas.

At Seaboard Foods, Dr. Dufresne oversees the health protocol and prevention program with a team of veterinarians and technicians. Their overall goal is to produce healthy and safe food. Dr. Dufresne also develops and supervises research projects to improve the performance of pork, with a focus on animal health and welfare at Seaboard Foods’ commercial and research farms.

“Thank you to the University of Minnesota and Zoetis for honoring me with this award,” Dr. Dufresne said. “It is gratifying to be a part of this great industry and community of pork professionals. Thank you, also, to my mentors and co-workers who recognize the value in applied practical research. You continue to encourage and inspire my work to improve swine health and production.”

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Ag Group, Animal Health, award Jamie Johansen2014 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award Presented

Hubbard Feeds Dairy to Launch STRIVE Calf Program

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PrintHubbard Feeds, the leading provider of researched-based, animal nutrition products, is pleased to announce the launch of its new STRIVE Calf Program at World Dairy Expo, Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, 2014 in Madison, WI.

STRIVE is Hubbard’s next generation calf feeding program designed to provide superb early growth and a smooth transition to dry feed.

• Utilizes Beginner Plus or Vitalizer Plus 24% protein 20% fat milk replacer and 18% Elite texturized calf starter formulated specifically for this moderate feeding program.
• Increased feeding rate for optimal, outstanding economical growth.
• Flexible use in either Auto feeder or Individual feeding systems.
• Economical – Lowers total lbs. of milk replacer fed versus accelerated growth programs, maximizing gain with exceptional starter intake.

“Hubbard Feeds is pleased to bring this new STRIVE Calf Program to the marketplace,” said Dan Schimek, Manager, Dairy Nutrition & Tech Services, Hubbard Feeds. “STRIVE improves growth over conventional feeding programs, and has the potential to more than double birth weight in 60 days. It does this through combining optimum milk replacer and starter formulations to maximize early growth at a more economical cost to a full accelerated growth program.”

Agribusiness, Cattle, Dairy, Feed, Nutrition Jamie JohansenHubbard Feeds Dairy to Launch STRIVE Calf Program

American Royal Announces 2014 Royal Scholars

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Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.26.08 PMThe American Royal Association was pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 American Royal Scholars at the 12th Annual American Royal Business and Scholarship Luncheon on Wednesday, September 10 in Kemper Arena.

The Royal Scholars program is designed to provide an opportunity for outstanding college students to advocate the food and fiber industry and the American Royal. Selected applicants will travel to Kansas City, Missouri for training and participation in the 115th American Royal. Royal Scholars receive media training, assist with school tours, lead sessions during Youth Leadership Day and many other American Royal activities. Scholars are selected on their academic achievements as well as community leadership, on and off campus. In recognition of the outstanding achievements of these young leaders, the American Royal Association will award a $2,500 scholarship to each student selected as a 2014 Royal Scholar.

This year six scholarships were awarded to: Alyssa Clements, a graduate student at the University of Illinois; Garrett Kays, a junior at Kansas State University; Sadie Kinne, a senior at the University of Missouri; Emma Likens, a senior at the University of Nebraska; Jade Kampsen, a senior at South Dakota State University and Morgan Weinrich, a sophomore at Colorado State University. The selection committee was comprised of Mary Powell and Mary Hunkeler, who are recognized community leaders in education and Erica Venancio, representing the Agriculture Business Council of Kansas City.

“The six individuals selected demonstrate exemplary grades, while maintaining active leadership roles in student clubs and organizations. These students also represent the best leaders in their respective schools and communities, and will undoubtedly continue to be leaders and advocates for agriculture,” said Bob Petersen, President and CEO of the American Royal.

Ag Group, Education, Livestock, Youth Jamie JohansenAmerican Royal Announces 2014 Royal Scholars

Dairy Farm Families Donate $20,000 to Children’s Museum

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Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.15.13 PMDairy farmers across western Iowa announced their support of the Children’s Museum of Siouxland with a $20,000 donation for the development of an interactive dairy exhibit in the new museum. The donation was announced as part of the Iowa Dairy Day activities at the Clay County Fair in Spencer.

The Children’s Museum of Siouxland is on track to become northwest Iowa’s premier education and tourism draw, providing an interactive, hands-on learning environment to children, families and schools of the tri-state area. “This generous donation will help us create a way for children ages 6 months to 10 years old understand how milk, ice cream, cheese and important dairy items make their way from the farm to our plates,” says Executive Director, Kari Kellen. As children use their imagination, and role-play, they experience life as a farmer and learn how the farm, farm equipment and dairy animals give us our food. Children will be able to sit on a milking stool and milk a fiberglass cow into a pail. Visitors will also be able to interact with a modern milking machine. Kellen goes on to say, “Western Iowa Dairy Alliance truly understands the importance of giving and early-childhood education, we’re proud to partner with local dairy farmers to provide an engaging opportunity to learn about agriculture through play.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity to share information about dairy farming with thousands of children and their parents each year,” said Nancy Jones, Spencer dairy farmer and president of Western Iowa Dairy Alliance. “Milk and dairy products provide protein and nutrients to fuel healthy children, and the dairy industry is an important economic driver in Siouxland. We’re happy that the museum will be helping children understand the entire food chain in a fun, interactive way.”

Jones added that Western Iowa Dairy Alliance looks forward to working with ongoing programming at the Children’s Museum of Siouxland after the initial construction phase.

WIDA represents dairy farm families and dairy industry partners across the western half of Iowa and focuses on efforts to reach out to consumers with information about modern dairy farming, as well as providing education opportunities and a voice for dairy farmers.

Ag Group, Dairy, Education Jamie JohansenDairy Farm Families Donate $20,000 to Children’s Museum

The Responsibility of Seedstock Producers

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hereford-14-217-editedThe room was packed with seedstock producers during the Hereford Genetic Summit, but the American Hereford Association thought it would be a good idea to bring in a few producers from outside the breed to share about their operations and what they feel is the responsibility of seedstock producers industry wide.

Galen Fink operates Fink Beef Genetics in Randolph, Kansas with his wife, Lori, and daughter, Megan. They raise Angus and Charolais cattle focused on producing high-accuracy expected progeny differences (EPDs). Their seedstock program is one of the top 25 largest, marketing about 700 bulls each year. Through an AI and embryo transfer program they use a controlled mating program and utilize sexed semen.

Galen commented that breeds should stop comparing themselves to Angus. Yes, they have done some things right in terms of marketing, “however other breeds need to do what they do best and then blend the breeds to come up with a product the consumer wants.”

hereford-14-221-editedDon Schiefelbein is president of Schiefelbein Farms LLC, located in Kimball, Minnesota. The farm is a partnership with his eight brothers, father and two nephews. The family affair focuses on Angus genetics where they AI about 1,000 females annually in an intensive synchronization program. They also utilize embryo transfer and market more than 350 bulls each year. What makes their program unique is their customer buy-back program that has been around since 1992.

“I would summarize our customers as wanting the whole enchilada. They want it all. It’s amazing as genetics have improved over time, how the level of demand has increased. I would say they want them to do everything. They want them to work in their fences. They want them to work in the feedyards. They want them to work for the consumer. Our challenge as seedstock producers is to make sure they do all those things well.”

Don was honest in saying that he wanted to tell Hereford breeders what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear. “I believe the biggest take home message today is they have got to concentrate on making sure Hereford feeder calves create value in the minds of their commercial clientele. Until that hurdle in well understood, it is going to be an uphill battle to try and get market share.”

Listent to my complete interview with Galena and Don here: Interview with Galen Fink and Don Schiefelbein

You can listen and view Galen and Don’s presentations here.

Find all photos from the event here: Hereford Genetic Summit Photo Album.

Ag Group, Audio, Beef, Breeds, Cattle, Genetics, Hereford Jamie JohansenThe Responsibility of Seedstock Producers

ASA Introduces New Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation

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Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 12.15.28 PMShorthorn breeders are now able to enjoy the benefits of the newly implemented Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation. Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are calculated by the American Simmental Association Association’s Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation, which also calculates EPDs for the Gelbvieh, Red Angus, and Simmental breeds, among others.

The “new” North American Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation is complete, representing over a year of diligence and effort by the American Shorthorn Association Board of Directors and staff. The North American Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation will be comprised of data collected from both the American and Canadian Shorthorn Associations. The entire set of EPDs are now on the same “base” as Simmental, Red Angus, Gelbvieh, and a growing number of other breeds. All EPD data is in a common multi-breed databank. As a result, Shorthorn EPDs are comparable to the breeds included in the multi-breed evaluation. Shorthorn continues to have its own unique $Indexes including: $CEZ, $BMI, and $Feedlot.

Another major change involves the $Indexes. These are complex math equations aimed at helping breeders and buyers select for multiple traits at the same time, avoiding the pitfalls of single-trait selection. Though the relative economic differences between the traits remain constant in the formulas, the Shorthorn breed base is now far different. Consequently, the $Indexes have changed significantly, but their percentile rank within an index and even each EPD should be relatively similar. In other words, if a bull was in the top 10% for YW and $Feedlot in the previous evaluation, the bull should still be at or near the top 10% in this evaluation.

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Ag Group, Beef, Breeds, Genetics Jamie JohansenASA Introduces New Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation

The Value of Hereford Genetics in Commercial Herds

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hereford-14-196-editedOne of the hot topics discussed during the American Hereford Association’s Hereford Genetic Summit was the commercial cattle industry. More importantly, the value of Hereford genetics in breeding high quality feeder cattle.

Ten years ago Lorna Marshall, beef marketing manager for Genex, spoke to Hereford breeders at a similar conference about how the breed could become more commercial applicable. “The breed has done a great job in the last 10 years addressing some of the issues that drive our business, which would be offering calving ease genetics that have high accuracy. It has been really fun to watch how the breed has developed not only in their trend for calving ease and birth weight traits, but also in terms of creating some herd bender cattle. And that they have embraced the progeny test program that has made their cattle a lot more predictable.”

Lorna prides the breed for their execution and implementation. Breeders have utilized the tools provided to them, therefore improving their image in the commercial industry. A few hurdles she feels the breed still needs to be aware of is cow size and marbling. Interview with Lorna Marshall

hereford-14-204-editedAnother speaker who focused on the commercial industries needs was Dr. Randall Raymond, director of research and vet services at Simplot Livestock. He said that it’s important to remember that not one breed needs to do it all. At Simplot they implement a three breed cross program. They use Hereford and Angus genetics to build their maternal cow herd and then they use a Charolais to create feeder cattle.

Randall also commented on traits that he feels the beef industry as a whole should focus on: mature cow size, fertility longevity and marbling. “I think those are opportunities for the Hereford breed to capitalize on. One of our biggest challenges in our operation is to make our cattle more moderate. Fertility is huge because our payday is calves. High fertility bulls can drive the profitability equation. As far as marbling is concerned, in our maternal programs we are really trying to create a solid base so we can come back with any terminal breed and have a foundation for century and carcass traits that we can take any direction.” Interview with Dr. Randall Raymond

You can listen and view Lorna and Randall’s presentations here.

Find all photos from the event here: Hereford Genetic Summit Photo Album.

Ag Group, Audio, Beef, Breeds, Genetics, Hereford Jamie JohansenThe Value of Hereford Genetics in Commercial Herds

Top Pork Countries Want Tariffs Eliminated In TPP

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nppcIn an open letter to negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, organizations representing hog farmers in Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States called for a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Australian Pork Limited, the Canadian Pork Council, the Asociación Gremial de Productores de Cerdos de Chile, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos and the National Pork Producers Council pointed out that the agreed-upon objectives of the TPP are: that it include trade in goods – including agricultural ones – services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy and intellectual property; that there be no product or sector exclusions, especially in agriculture; that all tariffs and other market access barriers such as Japan’s Gate Price be eliminated by the end of the negotiated transition period; and that all transition periods have “commercially meaningful” timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.

“Failure to achieve these objectives,” said the groups in their letter, “would call into question the oft-stated pledge to make TPP the gold standard for future FTAs and our ability to support the agreement.”

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Ag Group, Export, Government, International, Meat, NPPC, Pork Jamie JohansenTop Pork Countries Want Tariffs Eliminated In TPP