America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Announces Final Four

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The public will once again help to choose the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The National Pork Board honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs follow the We Care ethical principals and who is committed to sharing the farming story with the American public.

“The four finalists demonstrate how pig farmers embrace the We Care ethical principles as their daily standard of care,” said National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “They represent these principles by being the best in pig farming.”

The 2018 finalists are: Patrick Bane of Arrowsmith, Illinois; Bill Luckey of Columbus, Nebraska; Brad Lundell of Kiron, Iowa; and Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield, Iowa. The four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them. Through Aug. 29, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 1 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting.

Patrick Bane – Arrowsmith, Illinois
Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Patrick Bane, whose family has been raising pigs for three generations. Bane raises 74,000 pigs on his farm in west-central Illinois, where he focuses on protecting public health, hiring the best people and maintaining herd health.

Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska
Farming and raising pigs is a family tradition for Bill Luckey, who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Brad Lundell, Kiron, Iowa
Being a good caretaker of the pigs drives Brad Lundell’s passion. Learning from five generations of family farming, Lundell hopes consumers see why pig farming is family-oriented. With the help of his wife Sarah, and four children, they also raise turkeys, corn and soybeans.

Kevin Rasmussen, Goldfield, Iowa
Employee care is important in providing a safe product at KLR Pork, where Rasmussen markets 26,000 pigs a year from his farrow-to-finish farm. As a fourth-generation Iowa farmer, he considers the employees who work for him as family, and that makes all the difference in the product they produce.

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Animal Ag Bites 8/20

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  • The IDEAg Group LLC announces a new partnership with Sioux Nation Ag Center at Dakotafest 2018. Dakotafest takes place Aug. 21-23 at Schlaffman Farm in Mitchell, South Dakota. Over 500 exhibitors will offer trade show booths, educational sessions and family-friendly offerings. Download the Dakotafest mobile app at for show information.
  • The challenges and questions generated by market and regulatory changes regarding the use of antibiotics in food animals will be discussed by industry stakeholders, policy makers, academics and federal analysts at a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service is organizing this workshop in collaboration with Farm Foundation. There is no charge to participate in this workshop, however, registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30, 2018.
  • Horse owners are relying on their veterinarians more and more for vaccination and deworming program recommendations, according to the 2018 American Horse Publications online survey, sponsored by Zoetis. Survey respondents said equine veterinarians are the No. 1 influence on horse-owner product purchase decisions for both vaccines and dewormers.
  • A team of food science students from Brigham Young University won the 2018 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product competition Saturday. They earned $10,000 at IMPA’s annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, for their first-place-winning new product idea — Sparkling Scoops, a carbonated, hard-pack ice cream, sold in single-serve, pull-top cans.
  • The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and FAMI-QS, the Quality and Safety System for Specialty Feed Ingredients, renewed the strategic agreement of cooperation for the development of specific certification programs for the expansion of the FAMI-QS Code in the U.S. animal food manufacturing industry. For more information on the program, visit
  • The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar on Sept. 12, 2018, will address escalating trade tensions with China, renegotiating NAFTA, and continued expansion across all three U.S. protein sectors, subjects which add to market uncertainty and shape market expectations for the future. Producers and industry leaders can visit to access program details and register for the webinar.
  • Arizona native Chad Page has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Sheep Heritage Foundation‘s Memorial Scholarship.
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BEEF Continues to Build Demand at Sturgis Rally

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

About half a million motorcycle enthusiasts gathered in Sturgis, S.D., for the 78th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally™. While there they heard a lot about beef and beef production, thanks to the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) and the Beef Checkoff Program.

As the official meat of the rally, beef was prominent in signage, billboards, social media and other publicity, thanks to the SDBIC. Team Beef members and SDBIC directors participated in the annual mayor’s ride and VIP event, helped with the Legendary 5K run, while a Burger Battle featured 12 teams grilling beef. SDBIC President Eric Sumption and director, Justin Tupper served as judges at that event. Supported by SDBIC and the checkoff, all sponsorship events generated additional awareness of beef and those who produce it. Rally attendees went home with a better appreciation for the importance of South Dakota beef production, as well as the value of beef to the diet, according to Suzy Geppert, SDBIC executive director.

“Motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country and around the world find great value in this iconic event,” says Geppert. “These people come from all walks of life and have a passion for the celebration of this American pursuit and the image it conveys. Sending them home with the same kind of passion for beef expands and strengthens our base of beef lovers.”

Two Louisiana chefs, Kevin Cote’ and Wayne Cooper, were declared the 2018 Sturgis Rally “Burger Battle Champions. As winners of the all-beef Burger Battle, they will go on to compete for $100,000 in the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Ala., in November.

For more information about the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and the Sturgis Rally partnership, follow SDBIC on Facebook or visit

2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Photo Album

Beef, Beef Checkoff

Animal Ag Bites 8/13

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  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow commercial imports of U.S. poultry meat and products into Morocco for the first time.
  • The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2018-19 school year. Two annual $15,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to beef industry advancement.
  • Wisconsin has created the World’s Largest Cheeseboard, officially setting a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title. The show stopper took over an entire street in downtown Madison, displaying over two tons of Wisconsin’s finest cheeses from across the state, topping the previous European record holder by over 1,000 pounds! Spanning 35 feet long and 7 feet wide, the custom board was officially adorned with 4,437 pounds and 145 different varieties, types and styles of Wisconsin’s unique specialty and artisan cheeses- including national and international award-winners. For more information, visit
  • Milk Products, maker of Sav-A-Caf® products, is excited to introduce the 2018 Sav-A-Caf® Youth Impact Award. This award will recognize two leaders who encourage learning and a passion for agriculture in their communities’ youth. Milk Products is expanding the award in 2018 because of the quality candidates who applied in 2017. Apply online at
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, along with Field to Market, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the National Pork Board, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, is cosponsoring the upcoming 2018 Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Denver, Colo. The Summit will be held Nov. 14 – 15, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. This year’s theme is “Futurecasting Agriculture Sustainability” and will identify, navigate and futureproof opportunities for U.S. agriculture to drive tomorrow’s large-scale sustainability successes.
  • Allflex Livestock Intelligence, an Antelliq company, is proud of the inclusion of its smart collars for cows by SCR in the recently released “Israeli Innovation” book. The book, featuring the 100 Israeli innovations with the largest global impact, was published by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and the Economy and the National Innovation Authority.
  • A judge’s order that forbids farmers and their neighbors from discussing abusive and predatory litigation must be overturned, lawyers for the American Farm Bureau Federation and North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation wrote in a brief filed in federal court. Even though their law-abiding farms have been branded a “nuisance” by trial lawyers seeking multimillion-dollar verdicts from urban juries, the farmers and their neighbors are barred from publicly discussing the conditions and practices on the farms and the devastating effects of the lawsuits on their rural communities.
  • After leading a research initiative to explore the connection between swine disease and flies, Central Life Sciences has confirmed a groundbreaking revelation for the swine industry – flies can infect pigs with diseases including PEDV and Senecavirus A. ClariFly® Larvicide is feed-through fly control for swine that works to reduce flies around pigs and their associated risks. By stopping flies in the larval stage, ClariFly® Larvicide is proven to prevent the development of up to 96.7% of house flies in treated manure. To learn more, view the complete article from PORK Magazine.
  • Vytelle is the new company name for the business formerly known as Cogent® IVF. Vytelle (pronounced vy-tel-ee) comes from the bold union of VITAL, a powerful word denoting “essential to reproductive success” and the more feminine word ELLE, Greek for “sunray.”
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Animal Ag Bites 7/30

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  • North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC) recently elected new leadership, including one new board member and several new board officer appointments. Newly elected to the 15-person volunteer NAIDC Board of Directors is Dr. Alex White, faculty of Virginia Tech’s Dairy Science department, and lecturer in the Ag Economics department. The NAIDC Executive Committee for 2018-19 includes chair Maurice Eastridge, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio and vice chair Mark McCullouch, Phibro Animal Health Corporation, Millport, N.Y.
  • Challenges to changing antibiotic use in food animal production and the associated economics, data and policy issues will be the focus of a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service is organizing this workshop in collaboration with Farm Foundation. There is no charge to participate in this workshop, but registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30, 2018.
  • In the spirit of continuing its dialogue with the Food and Drug Administration on the rules and implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the American Feed Industry Association submitted comments to the agency on its draft guidance on Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals. The 38-page comments affirm the animal food industry’s commitment to a “full and successful implementation of FSMA” across its varied industries but urges the agency to take a flexible approach when regulating under this rule.
  • AgriLabs® announced the commercialization of KLEBVax™ SRP®, the first vaccine licensed for dairy cattle to prevent mastitis caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae. KLEBVax SRP, which features Siderophore Receptor and Porin (SRP) technology, gives veterinarians and producers a new tool to prevent disease and reduce antibiotic use. A similar vaccine using Klebsiella SRP bacterial extract was previously offered as an autogenous product by AgriLabs in partnership with Epitopix®.
  • Dairy Farmers of America is helping bring innovative products to the dairy case. This week, the Cooperative announced an investment in MOPRO Nutrition (MOPRO), an all-natural, high protein, low sugar, whole milk Greek yogurt infused with whey protein combined with probiotics. MOPRO positions itself as a smarter replacement for protein bars, protein shakes and regular Greek yogurt.
  • The time is approaching for this year’s International Brangus Breeders Association Fall Conference, which will be taking place in Tyler, Texas on September 27th-29th. All members and cattle enthusiasts are encouraged to attend. For more information visit
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USDA Announces Trade Disruption Relief for Farmers

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers negatively impacted by recent trade actions.

President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

Secretary Perdue held a press conference with USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson to announce the aid.

USDA announces trade disruption relief for farmers

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Animal Ag Bites 7/23

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  • Phibro Animal Health Corporation has introduced the new Animate app, a free mobile app for Animate® anionic mineral supplement customers that allows dairy producers to track critical prefresh metrics over time and identify trends by prompting them to enter data including: urine pH, bunk space, stocking density, dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) levels, temperature humidity index (THI), dry matter intake and other factors. The innovative app aggregates this data to project trends in herd productivity and gauges the performance of their pre-partum feeding and management program.
  • Seasonality of US lamb production is an issue that causes inefficiencies and market volatility for all segments of this industry. A new white paper pulls together information on the topic so that members of the industry can understand it in more depth and make informed decisions about management alterations to better supply a more consistently available product. “Seasonality of the US Lamb Industry: A Review of Current Information” is now available for download at in its Production Resources section.
  • Newtrient LLC published its inaugural progress report, reporting on its advancements in nutrient management, manure-based products and market-driven solutions. Newtrient’s founding members recognize the environmental benefits that dairy farmers deliver to society — far beyond milk and meat. The opportunity now is to create positive, economic incentives that benefit farmers, communities and society. The full report can be viewed online at
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Seasonal Lamb Production White Paper Released

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A new white paper addresses the seasonality of lamb production so members of the industry can understand it in more depth and make informed decisions about management alterations to better supply a more consistently available product.

“Seasonality of the US Lamb Industry: A Review of Current Information” is now available for download at in the Production Resources section.

The white paper states that an estimated 80 percent of the US lamb crop is born in the first five months of the calendar year. As a result, there are periods throughout the year when the supply of lamb is inconsistent, which creates industry issues including market price volatility, inadequate supply of market-ready lambs, and irregular supply of carcass size and quality.

Lamb retail sales are greatest during the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons with strong demand for legs and racks, as well as a considerable increase in sales of ground lamb at retail – nearly doubling in four years.

According to the white paper, if surplus lambs in the feedlot during winter and spring cannot be harvested on time, they remain in the feedlot until supplies diminish. These lambs are harvested at much heavier weights than ideal for their frame size. Volatility in carcass size makes it challenging to supply a fresh, consistent product to the consumer.

Learn more from ALB.

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FDA Considering Fake Meat and Milk

cindy zimmerman

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is spending time this month discussing meat and milk.

Last week, FDA held a public meeting to discuss foods produced using animal cell culture technology – mainly lab-grown fake meat products – and which agency should be in charge of regulating. The meat industry believes fake meat should be regulated by USDA.

“Any fair reading of the law places lab-grown meat food products within the primary jurisdiction of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service,” said Danielle Beck, director of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, during the meeting last week.

Speaking at a POLITICO summit this week, FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb said he believes his agency has a role in regulating. “The regulations speak about slaughtered meat,” said Gottlieb. “This is obviously different.”

Audio – FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb comments on regulating fake meat

Next week, July 26, FDA will be holding a public hearing on nutrition and labeling that will include whether non-dairy beverages derived from almonds or soy products should be able to call themselves milk. The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) has rolled out a new initiative to advocate for the proper use of federally standardized terms established for the word “milk” on product labels called the Protecting Milk Integrity Initiative.

Gottlieb says FDA has probably not been enforcing the standard of identity for milk. “There is a reference in the standard of identity to a lactating animal,” said Gottlieb. “An almond doesn’t lactate.”

Audio – FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb comments milk labeling

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Animal Ag Bites 7/16

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  • Holstein Association USA recognizes David Harvatine of King Ferry, New York, as the 2018 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder. Havartine is co-owner and dairy manager of Aurora Ridge Dairy, located north of Ithaca, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Aurora Ridge Dairy is owned by four partners: Bill Cook, Dan Westfall, Jason Burrows and Harvatine.
  • The Washington State Conservation Commission has awarded a $930,305 grant to install and operate a clean water membrane technology system provided by Regenis, an agricultural waste solutions company, to be located at Coldstream Farms in Deming, WA. This state-of-the-art system will generate 12,000 gallons of clean water daily from the 22,000 gallons of cow manure the farm produces through a unique combination of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. Once treated, the water is suitable for farm animals to drink or even to benefit local salmon runs by increasing streamflow.
  • The American Feed Industry Association is pleased to announce the addition of Louise Calderwood as its director of regulatory affairs, effective July 2.
  • Hiland Dairy Foods Company continuously seeks new ways to recycle, reduce and reuse at its production plants. Hiland Dairy’s most extensive effort to date took years to reach its current magnitude as a closed-loop sustainability initiative at the company’s plant in Chandler, Oklahoma. At last month’s ProFood Live conference in Chicago, Hiland’s initiative received a ProFood World 2017 Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Award.
  • The USPOULTRY Foundation awarded a $20,345 student recruiting grant to the University of Georgia. The grant was made possible in part from an endowing Foundation gift from the Leland Bagwell Education & Innovation Fund, named in honor of the founder of American Proteins.
  • The automated milking trend continues to tick upwards in the U.S. GEA introduced the first fully automated robotic rotary parlor, DairyProQ, and installations quickly gained momentum with two completed at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, and four on track for completion by end-of-year.
  • Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, University of Montana Professor Dr. Dave Naugle, and Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse provided testimony to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing entitled “The Essential Role of Livestock Grazing on Federal Lands and Its Importance to Rural America” during a recent House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing.
  • Already bearing the brunt of global trade retaliation against American agriculture, U.S. pork producers now face additional headwinds in the form of a regulatory land grab by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The National Pork Producers Council called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assert its proper oversight of two emerging issues critical to the future of animal agriculture: laboratory-produced cultured protein and gene editing in livestock production.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Japan has finalized technical requirements that will allow U.S. sheep and goat exports into the country for the first time in more than 14 years.
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced the appointment of 13 members to fill vacancies on the 37-member National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. More information about research and promotion programs is available on the Research and Promotion Programs page on the AMS website.
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