Farm Bill Defeated in the House

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House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) delivered on his promise to get a farm bill written in a timely manner, but his colleagues in the House voted 198-213 Friday to reject his effort.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Conaway expressed his frustration as a last minute amendment was introduced to recommit the bill with instructions to the Committee on Agriculture. “You can love the farm bill or you can hate the farm bill but it delivers the most effective, affordable and safest food and fiber supply of any developed nation in the world,” said Conaway.

Democrats voted against the bill mainly for changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aimed at getting able-bodied adults under 60 without dependents or disabilities back to work, but it was 30 conservative Republicans wanting a vote on immigration that killed the bill.

Listen to Rep. Conaway’s remarks here: House Ag Chair Rep. Conaway

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, farm bill, Government

Cattlemen’s Webinar Looks at Sustainability

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The next event in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattlemen’s Webinar Series will focus on sustainability. Specifically, the webinar will be an opportunity to learn from fellow cattlemen about the recently released Sustainability Framework.

Produced through a U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef working group process, the framework includes real world tools specific to farms, ranches and feedyards. Hear more about these resources and your opportunity to comment on how they could be improved. There will be Q&A with presenters at the end of the webinar.

The webinar is schedule for Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. Central time. Register here.

AgWired Animal, Beef, NCBA, sustainability

GROWMARK Talks Farm Bill Priorities

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The House version of the farm bill is expected to come to the floor this week, and GROWMARK is among those weighing in with policymakers about priorities for the legislation. The cooperative is particularly looking for support of the Conservation Title, among others.

“Important to conservation is to make sure that we have program funding to put conservation practices on the land. As an ag retailer, we’re very interested in working hand in glove with farmer as a partner in the watershed,” said Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK’s executive director for government relations, during an interview last week.

Spencer explained that GROWMARK would like to work in partnership with the USDA NRCS as a technical service provider to help farmers develop nutrient management plans, noting language for that already exists in the current House version. Spencer also named the Commodity Title as a priority, along with crop insurance and infrastructure policies.

In this interview, Spencer also discusses how sustainability in agriculture has become an important issue when talking with lawmakers on both the state and federal levels: Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Conservation, farm bill, GROWMARK, sustainability

Funny Or Die Peel Back the Label Video

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Peel Back the Label has partnered with Emmy-winning video company Funny Or Die to produce a new video highlighting the absurdity of deceptive food labels with a tongue-in-cheek take on how far food companies are willing to go to confuse consumers into buying their products.

The video features two food executives – one from a milk company and the other from a marketing agency – scheming over how to separate their product from the rest of the pack, with consumers paying the price as they encounter increasingly ridiculous deceptive and misleading food labels with terms like “non-GMO” and “natural.”

“Anyone who has ever been to the grocery store knows the feeling of being manipulated when faced with dozens of labels all saying different things about the same types of products. With this video, we shine a spotlight – in a decidedly tongue-in-cheek way – on just how difficult some food companies are making grocery shopping, something which should be a simple and straightforward endeavor for consumers,” said Jim Mulhern, President of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Watch it and laugh – or cry because it’s so true!

AgWired Animal, Dairy, Food, GMO, Labeling

Animal Ag Bites 5/14

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  • Jared Brackett is the newly elected secretary/treasurer of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Jared lives and runs a cow-calf/stocker operation in southern Idaho. He is a fifth-generation rancher.
  • The three largest milk marketing cooperatives in California, California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes, Inc., on behalf of their respective members, have voted in support of the California Federal Milk Marketing Order as proposed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • For the second year in a row, Alltech is donating a KEENAN mixer wagon that will be auctioned off at the fifth annual South Dakota Prime Time Gala on June 23, 2018. Hosted by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation, the Prime Time Gala is an annual fundraiser that benefits Feeding South Dakota, an organization that provides emergency food assistance to thousands of people in any given week and hundreds of men, women and children every day across South Dakota.
  • Hubbard Feeds has committed $5,000 to help support the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation raise awareness of the hunger problem that exists in South Dakota as well as the need to provide more donated products to food insecure individuals and families.
  • My Dairy Dashboard, a data-visualization tool for dairy producers, earned the Ag Data Transparent seal after completing a required certification process. A multi-organization and company project, Ag Data Transparent was created to provide transparency, simplicity and trust in data collected through ag precision technology.
  • Scientists at ONCE, in conjunction with two major US universities, have found that the addition of an Ultraviolet A (UV-A) spectrum into animal housing lighting reduces stress levels by a significant margin. This reduction of stress represents possibly the biggest breakthrough for poultry animal welfare in recent history.
  • Join a webinar in the Cattlemen’s Webinar Series to learn from fellow cattlemen about the recently released Sustainability Framework. Produced through a U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef working group process, the framework includes real world tools specific to farms, ranches and feedyards.
  • GEA’s recently published book, GEA Milking Intelligence, is an illustrated guide to optimal cow milking. From milk harvest history and milking equipment function to promoting good cow flow and milk quality, the book illustrates the fundamentals of how milk is made and collected, while highlighting some of today’s advanced automation technologies.
  • Registration is now open with early bird savings available for the inaugural Poultry Tech Summit, scheduled for November 5-7, 2018, at the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Poultry Tech Summit is a new one-of-a-kind conference showcasing innovative technologies that are ready for future application in poultry live production, processing and supply chain. The conference will connect entrepreneurs with technology experts and financiers looking for projects to fund.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

CUTC Extends Poster Submission Deadline

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The Corn Utilization & Technology Conference (CUTC) just announced that the deadline for posters to be submitted has been extended to Friday, May 18, 2018. There are a number of categories that you can submit a poster to including:

The professional category for both general and mycotoxin posters
General session student posters
Mycotoxin student posters

The Poster session is a great way to showcase your research to your peers and industry stakeholders.

For students who are interested, there is a contest with cash awards in both the general and mycotoxin poster sessions. Judging criteria and submission guidelines can be found here: Criteria.

The CUTC runs June 4-6, 2018, at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel, St. Louis, MO. Poster presenters must be registered as conference attendees.

I will be there once again and just in case you don’t know, the conference hashtag is #corntech18. You can register here.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, corn, CUTC, NCGA, Technology

A 1st Generation Dairy Farmer Perspective

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A few weeks ago, I traveled with the This Week in Agribusiness crew to Bagley, Wisconsin to hear the story of Fischer Dairy Farm. Todd Fischer is a first generation dairy farmer with a possible unique perspective. In 1990 he started out with just 17 cows. Today, he is milking 900 and says keeping it simple has been his approach. Todd is optimistic about the future of his operation despite the depressed milk prices. Perhaps being a first generation producer allows him to think outside the box.

Listen to him share his story below:

AgWired Animal, Dairy, Video

Animal Ag Bites 5/7

carrie muehling Leave a Comment

  • Cooperatives Working Together has accepted nine requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and United Dairymen of Arizona. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.04 million pounds of cheddar cheese, 262,350 pounds of butter and 923,737 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia and North Africa.
  • New research from the University of Colorado published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests meat, such as pork, can be an important source of much-needed protein in an infant’s diet during the transition to solid foods. The first six to 12 months of life is a period of rapid growth when nutrition plays a pivotal role and, for many moms, meat may not be the first choice for an infant’s complementary feeding. Yet this new research suggests meat-fed infants (complementary to formula or breastfeeding) could have an advantage when it comes to early length growth.
  • Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness President Dan Vradenburg has announced his decision to take on a new position in the company as board chair of Cavallo Ventures, after 16 years as president of the Agribusiness division. The transition is expected to take place later this year; Wilbur-Ellis expects to name Vradenburg’s successor by the end of 2018.
  • The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) has opened a 60-day public comment period on the group’s Sustainability Framework. The USRSB Sustainability Framework is a set of resources developed to assist ranchers, cattle auction markets, feedyards, packers, processors, and retail and food service organizations in their efforts to continuously improve the sustainability of U.S. beef.
  • The American Hereford Association is proud to introduce the Maternal Advantage program — a genetically verified program that will be used to identify premium replacement females. This new female-focused program is designed to take advantage of hybrid vigor by capitalizing on Hereford genetics.
  • The Beef Improvement Federation is celebrating 50 years in 2018. Themed “Elevating the Industry,” the Annual Meeting and Research Symposium is poised not only to celebrate the last 50 years but launch into the next 50.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

USFRA Unveils New Sustainability Officers Program

carrie muehling

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance created the Sustainability Officers Council to provide food companies with access to the farmer and rancher perspective about sustainability in food and agriculture. (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance)

Six farmers and ranchers selected by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance will help to provide food companies with the farmer and rancher perspective when it comes to sustainability in food and agriculture. The new Sustainability Officers Council allows companies to speak with a farmer or rancher before shifting sourcing decisions that could result in fundamental changes in farmers structures.

USFRA is pleased to announce six new Sustainability Officers:
Kyle Bridgeforth – Alabama crop farmer
Tom Crave – Wisconsin dairy farmer
Cassidy Johnston – New Mexico cattle rancher
Nancy Kavazanjian – Wisconsin crop farmer
Hilary Maricle – Nebraska cattle, pig, corn and soybean farmer
Leon Sheets – Iowa pig, corn and soybean farmer

“As former chairwoman of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, I look forward to serving voluntarily as one of the Sustainability Officers and highlighting how all farmers make environmental sustainability a priority,” said Nancy Kavazanjian, Wisconsin crop farmer. “These farmers and ranchers serve as a great representation of today’s agriculture — making continuous improvement a priority by utilizing technology to enhance animal welfare and conserve our natural resources.”

As part of the Sustainability Officers Council, these six farmers and ranchers will participate in conversations with food companies and retailers, offering data, research and knowledge about modern agricultural practices on today’s farms and ranches. In addition, the Officers will participate in USFRA’s Food Dialogues panel discussions at The Sustainable Consortium (May 1-3 in Chicago, Ill.), National Restaurant Association Conference (May 19-22 in Chicago, Ill.) and Sustainable Brands (June 4-7 in Vancouver, B.C.).

Ag Group, AgWired Animal, USFRA

Animal Ag Bites 4/30

carrie muehling

  • Hypor, the swine breeding business of Hendrix Genetics, will join a research alliance to end surgical castrations of male piglets. The alliance, announced on January 3, 2018 by Recombinetics and DNA Genetics, is developing a precision breeding technology that results in male piglets born naturally castrated.
  • The National Milk Producers Federation April Dairy Market Report shows the U.S. average all-milk price lost a total of $2.80/cwt. in three roughly equal drops from November 2017 through this past February. Total U.S. milk production was up by 1.6 percent from a year earlier during the three months of December 2017 through February 2018, while estimated total U.S. production of milk solids rose by 2 percent during the same period. The monthly margin under the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) for February 2018 was $6.88/cwt. It was the third month in a row during which the MPP margin was down more than $1.00/cwt. from the previous month.
  • Rural, small-scale farmers in four states in Southern Mexico will soon gain market access to a large-scale consumer base in a new groundbreaking project. This initiative will provide economic stability to communities in need, while meeting growing market demand for high-quality, sustainably sourced food. The two-year project, “Rural Entrepreneurs: Connecting Field to Table” is led by the nonprofit Heifer International and made possible by a grant from Walmart Foundation.
  • The American Hereford Association introduces the Maternal Advantage program – a genetically verified program that will be used to identify premium replacement females. This new female-focused program is designed to take advantage of hybrid vigor by capitalizing on Hereford genetics.
  • Zoetis kicked off the #MyVetIsCore Sweepstakes, a new online sweepstakes that invites horse owners to express their appreciation for their veterinarian. Until May 22, 2018, horse owners can visit to enter for a chance to win weekly prizes as well as a grand prize of a $1,000 gift card to the equine veterinarian or tack store of their choice. Additionally, the grand-prize winner’s veterinarian will come away with a one-year membership to American Association of Equine Practitioners.
  • An upcoming free CattleFax webinar will provide an outlook for the cow-calf and entire beef industry for the remainder of 2018. The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar will be held May 23, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. MT. To participate in the webinar and access program details, producers and industry leaders should register online at!/about.
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