Ag Day Essay Contest Winners Announced

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The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) has announced the 2019 National Ag Day video and written essay winners, based on the theme “Agriculture: Food for Life. How does our nation lead the way?”

The national written essay winner is Grace Brose from Box Elder, South Dakota. She receives a $1,000 prize and travel to Washington, D.C. for recognition at the National Press Club Ag Day event on March 14, where she will have the opportunity to read the winning essay and will join other youth for a panel discussion on issues and challenges in agriculture. Two merit winners in the contest will receive $100 and blog posts featuring their essays. They are Brody Allen Snook of Marseilles, IL and Emily Li of Sugar Land, TX. This year’s Video essay winner, Jacob Kandell of Mason, Ohio, wins a $1,000 prize. The winning entries can be viewed online at

The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., National Association of Farm Broadcasting, and Farm Progress.

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Animal Ag Bites 2/18

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  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association recognized five companies that have been exhibiting for 50 or more years at the International Poultry Expo (IPE), part of the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo. The Dupps Company, VAL-CO and Zoetis were recognized for 65 years of exhibiting at IPE. Poultry Times was recognized for 60 years of exhibiting, and Hy-Line International was recognized for 55 years of exhibiting.
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association recognized four poultry farm winners and four finalists who received the annual Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. The award is given annually to recognize exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
  • The 2019 International Production & Processing Expo is the largest show on record with approximately 33,000 poultry, meat and feed industry leader attendees from all over the world. In addition, the show has 1,420-plus exhibitors with more than 600,000 square feet of exhibit space.
  • The American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs congratulate Famo Feeds of Freeport, Minn., for being named the 2018 Feed Facility of the Year.
  • Megan Niederwerder, Kansas State University assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a team that is exploring how the currently circulating strain of African swine fever, or ASF, could spread in feed and feed ingredients. A new publication details the dose necessary to transmit the disease when pigs ingest virus-contaminated feed or liquid.
  • Mercaris, a market data and auctions startup that is helping to grow organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S., released its monthly market update as the halfway point of the 2018/2019 corn and soybean marketing year approaches. The report analyzes organic broiler slaughter data and organic egg layer inventories following the recent U.S. government shutdown.
  • The newest product in the Arrowquip line is the Portable Q-Catch 86 Series Cattle Handling System. The Portable Chute, Alley & Tub has been completely redesigned for ease of transportation, and to adhere to the latest low-stress cattle handling guidelines.
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American Lamb Board New Chair and Annual Report

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The American Lamb Board has elected a new chairman and released its 2018 Annual Report.

Dale Thorne, a sheep producer from Michigan, has been elected chairman of the American Lamb Board (ALB). He is serving his second 3-year term on the Board, representing the lamb feeding sector. Thorne has previously served as ALB vice chairman, treasurer and chairman of the Research Committee.

Thorne and his family have a flock of 1,000 Polypay ewes, half of which lamb in the fall and half in the spring. Because he is near Detroit, which is the largest Muslim community in the US, Thorne sees first-hand the value of both traditional and non-traditional markets. The majority of the farm’s lambs are marketed at about 80 pounds. The farm also produces hay for the horse market, and row crops such as corn and soybeans.

In addition, the Lamb Board has released its Fiscal Year 2018 annual report which directs the American Lamb Checkoff.

FY 2018 result highlights include:
Blogger Lambassadors developed 38 new American Lamb recipes and reached over a million consumers
2,353 consumers attended a Lamb Jam event and 54% were new attendees
Lamb flavor research addressing quality factors entered final phases
ALB showcased American Lamb at 24 festivals and events across the US

Click here to see the comlete annual report.

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Poultry Industry Recognizes Leaders, Honorees

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2019 chairman of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, John Prestage (left), senior vice president of Prestage Farms, Clinton, N.C., was presented with the traditional “working man’s gavel” by outgoing chairman, Tom Hensley, president, Fieldale Farms.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) elected new leaders and presented several awards at the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo.

John Prestage, senior vice president, Prestage Farms, Clinton, N.C., was elected chairman of the board of directors. He previously served as vice chairman. Prestage was presented with the time-honored
“working man’s gavel” by Tom Hensley, 2018 chairman.

Greg Hinton, Rose Acre Farms, Seymour, Indiana, was named vice chairman. Mike Levengood, Perdue Foods, Salisbury, Maryland, was named treasurer. Mikell Fries, Claxton Poultry, Claxton, Georgia, was named secretary. Tom Hensley, Fieldale Farms, Baldwin, Georgia, is immediate past chairman.

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation recognized Dr. Kenneth Anderson as the 2019 recipient of the annual Charles Beard Research Excellence Award. Tommy Bagwell, former chairman & CEO of American Proteins, received the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award. Mike Robach, retired vice president, Corporate Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory for Cargill, was named USPOULTRY’s Workhorse of the Year.

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Animal Ag Bites 2/11

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  • The American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs announced four category winners for the 2018 Feed Facility of the Year program. AFIA congratulates Famo Feeds of Freeport, Minn., as the winner of the commercial dry livestock feed plant category; Koch Foods of Morton, Miss., as the winner of the integrator category; Quality Liquid Feeds of Clovis, N.M., as the winner of the liquid feed plant category; and Trouw Nutrition of Highland, Ill., as the winner of the premix manufacturing plant category.
  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Center for Public Policy released new Cost/Benefit Principles that will help guide its decision-making process on various policy proposals regarding climate change.
  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, has announced the winners of its 2019 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, La. You can read more on each of the award winners’ operations at
  • Linda Davis, a cattlewoman from Cimarron, N.M., has received the respected 2019 Swan Family Leadership Award for her decades of service to the cattle and beef industry. The award was made at the Best of Beef Breakfast Feb. 1 during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La.
  • CattleFax has introduced its annual Cow-Calf Survey. Information requested in the survey provides participants and the rest of the industry with valuable information regarding industry benchmarks and trends. The survey can be accessed here. The deadline to complete the survey is Feb. 28, 2019.
  • CattleFax elected a new slate of officers at this year’s annual business meeting Jan. 31, 2019, in New Orleans, La., held in conjunction with the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. The new CattleFax president is Don Quincey of Chiefland, Fla., a 5th generation rancher and cattle feeder in Florida and past president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.
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New Holland Roll-Belt Balers on Display at NCBA Trade Show

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During the NCBA Trade Show I visited with New Holland which was just releasing new and improved Roll-Belt Round Balers. Improvements came from a recent Penn State University study on “Bale Density Effects on Baleage Quality.” I talked to Curt Hoffman, New Holland and Jessica Williamson, Extension Forage Specialist, Penn State. Jessica was one of the authors of the Penn State study.

A recent study completed by Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences confirms round bale density leads to improved cattle nutrition and producer return on investment. In the study, New Holland Roll-Belt™ round balers produced the highest-density bales in all tests compared to three leading competitors.

“This research affirms the many benefits of denser bales we have discovered through years in the field,” says Curt Hoffman, hay and forage crop packaging and marketing manager for New Holland, North America. “Not only does higher bale density improve feed quality and lower costs, it improves producer ROI through a variety of efficiency gains.”

The study found that denser bales had greater total acid production and stayed cooler through the fermentation process. This increases the whole-bale bunk life of round bales through reduced spoilage, allowing for the feeding of larger-diameter bales to the same number and size of cattle without waste. Penn State observed up to 25 more hours of bunk life due to higher bale density.

“What research has shown in the past is that with any fermented forage or any ensiled forage, typically the denser you can pack that forage, the better fermentation you’re going to have,” says Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D., extension forage specialist for Penn State University. “[Better fermentation] overall is going to give you a better-quality product to feed your animals.”

Higher density equates to up to 39 percent fewer bales, resulting in less twine or net wrap used as well as plastic silage film, reduced labor, and less overall baling and bale-moving time in the field.

Learn more in my interview with Curt and Jessica here: Interview with New Holland

2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

Official Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show virtual newsroom

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Merck and Beef Checkoff Sponsor Stockmanship & Stewardship Events

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Five 2019 sessions of the Stockmanship & Stewardship program were announced at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show last week. The events are made possible through sponsorship from Merck Animal Health and will be coordinated by the producer education team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and local host organizations. Additional funding and support for the program is provided by the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program.

The dates and locations are:
Tulare, Calif. March 20-21
Ames, Iowa June 28-29
Fort Collins, Colo. TBD August
Manhattan, Kan. September 20-21
West Monroe, La. October 4-5

“For the third year, we’re thrilled to be able to hold these sessions that focus on proper cattle handling and stewardship,” said Chase DeCoite, director of BQA at NCBA. “Producers who have attended these events in the past have gone home with greater understanding of the best practices in working with cattle in their particular area of the country.”

Stockmanship & Stewardship events include live cattle demonstration and hands-on opportunities. They also include BQA training and classroom sessions highlighting issues that affect cattle producers in each region. In addition to cattle handling and effective stockmanship, possible elements of regional sessions include sustainability and environmental stewardship, animal health and regional issues and hot topics.

Learn more in this press conference from #CattleCon19 with DeCoite, Angela Baysinger and Amanda Welsh with Merck Animal Health Merck Animal Health/NCBA Press Conference

2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

Official Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show virtual newsroom

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USDA Tracking Farm Bill Implementation

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Now that the federal government is back at work, USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says they are moving as quickly as possible to implement the new farm bill.

During a Farm Foundation Forum on the realities of implementing the 2018 farm bill, Censky said USDA is using a “Fitbit” type of approach to tracking goals. “We have our own ‘FBit’ we call a Farm Bit at USDA and it’s a Farm Bill Implementation tracker,” said Censky.

Censky chairs USDA’s Farm Bill Implementation Working Group that includes representation from each of the agency’s mission areas. “We have asked all of our agency’s to fill out this ‘FarmBit,’” said Censky. “We look forward to sharing more details of what the timelines are going to be in the next few weeks.”

The Farm Foundation Forum also comments from Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) and a panel with Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University; Tara Smith, Vice President of Federal Affairs with Michael Torrey Associates; and Alan Bjerga, Senior Vice President of Communications with the National Milk Producers Federation.

Listen to Censky’s comments here:
USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky at Farm Foundation Forum

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CrystalBlox™ at the #CattleCon19 Trade Show

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CrystalBlox™ is the newest block form developed by Crystalyx Brand Supplements. It combines the economical nutrient delivery and fortification of compressed blocks with the consistent and predictable intake of low moisture block technology. CrystalBlox will fit a wide variety of feeding situations, where protein delivery is critical.

CrystalBlox is designed and formulated to provide supplemental protein to help improve forage utilization by increased forage intake and improved fiber digestibility. In situations where forage crude protein levels are low due to drought or with advanced maturity such as fall and winter forages, CrystalBlox can provide the supplemental protein to help extract more energy and nutrients from your forage supplies.

We sat down with Mark Robbins, Crystalyx, during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show to get the scoop on the benefits of CrystalBlox. Listen to the interview or watch the video below:
Interview with Mark Robbins, CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements

2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

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Scholarships Presented at #CattleCon19

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Two University of California-Davis students seeking their doctorate degrees received $15,000 W.D. Farr Scholarships for 2018-19 from the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Emily Andreini and Sarah Klopatic each received the award, which were presented at the Best of Beef Breakfast during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans.

The Farr Scholarships will allow these students to further their study in fields that will benefit the cattle and beef industry. Andreini is seeking her Ph.D. degree in animal biology while Klopatic is studying for her Ph.D. in animal science.

In addition, ten $1,500 scholarships for the next school year were awarded by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. The scholarships are sponsored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME).

Also receiving a trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention as the overall winner of the scholarship was Olivia Willrett of Illinois, a student at Colorado State University. Willrett wrote an essay for her scholarship entry titled “Tracing Beef from Farm to Fork.”

2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Photo Album

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