USFRA Promotes Agricultural Sustainability at Conference

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The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) is at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Detroit this week to showcase the sustainability of farmers and ranchers and unveil the first-ever Agriculture in America Sustainability Report.

The sustainability report builds on key insights from USFRA’s annual research that aims to identify and gain a clearer understanding of consumers’ perception of sustainability in U.S. food and agriculture. Through this research, findings conclude that consumers struggle to define sustainability. Moreover, the topic is best understood by consumers when farmers explain the tangible ways they are improving the water, soil, air and habitat on and around their farms.

USFRA is engaging attendees at the national event for brand leaders “who create environmental and social purpose to drive innovation” with the SMART Farm booth, allowing event goers to experience USFRA’s 360-degree videos highlighting how farmers use new technologies to enhance animal welfare, efficiency and sustainability.

Real smart farmers are also on hand to talk about modern food production. USFRA Chairman Brad Greenway of South Dakota and CommonGround volunteer Hilary Maricle of Nebraska, both crop and livestock farmers, are presenting at the conference about raising farm animals humanely, environmentally-sustainably, and profitably.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, sustainability, USFRA

Feeding the World with Grasshopper Protein

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When Dror Tamir founded Hargol Food Tech, he named it after the Hebrew word for grasshopper, and that isn’t a coincidence. The company, which develops solutions to combat global malnutrition and food insecurity, is pioneering the production and processing of grasshopper-based protein sources. Tamir sat down with our Jamie Johansen during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference to discuss his unique approach to achieving global food security and highlight the presentation he gave during the event as part of his involvement with the Pearse Lyons Accelerator Program.

Tamir explained that the vision for Hargol came to life upon learning that the global demand for protein is increasing rapidly, with estimates that the demand could double by 2050. Grasshoppers, he believes, can help meet the growing demand without the environmental and nutritional limitations facing the animal and plant-based protein sources that are common in traditional western diets.

“There is very high demand for alternative protein and grasshoppers are best suited to meet that demand,” said Tamir. “They provide an amazing nutritional profile with over 72% protein, a complete profile of essential amino acids, and no saturated fats.”

Finding a way to pitch grasshopper protein as an acceptable idea to skeptical western populations has been a major part of the company’s development. His solution only requires some simple food processing: Tamir plans to market a milled grasshopper protein powder. Grasshoppers are neutral in taste and flavor, allowing food companies to easily use the milled grasshopper protein as an additive to products like protein shakes, energy bars, pasta sauce, and even baked goods.

“This isn’t a new development by any means, this is a concept humans have utilized throughout history, and it is a concept that should resonate with supporters of the paleo diet,” said Tamir. “About half of the current world population consumes insects as part of their diet and grasshoppers are the most widely eaten insect in the world. They are in very high demand in South America, the Middle East, and Asia, what we are doing is pioneering the ability to grow them commercially.”

Listen to Jamie’s full interview with Dror here:
Interview with Dror Tamir, Hargol Food Tech

Download photos from the event here:
Alltech ONE17 Photo Album

Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Alltech, Animal Agriculture, Audio, Food, Food Security, Meat

Congress Hears Testimony on Regulatory Burdens

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Two beef industry representatives testified before multiple U.S. House of Representatives committees regarding the need to alleviate the regulatory burden faced by ranchers working on public lands. Arizona rancher David Cook gave his testimony on the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Wilderness Act before the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Darcy Helmick, Land Manager for Simplot Land & Livestock, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment.

Helmick’s testimony addressed the way environmental advocacy groups and federal agencies regulate through consent decrees using citizen lawsuit provisions in environmental laws, a practice known as “sue and settle.”

“In my extensive experience dealing with the federal grazing system and western land use in general, offensive litigation tactics by outside activist groups have served to totally derail business operations,” said Helmick. “While it is critical that we maintain the right of citizens to litigate when necessary, reform is needed to prevent that right from being abused or exploited.”

In his testimony on FLPMA, Cook explained that, while FLPMA and the Wilderness Act were enacted with the intent to provide direction for the management of public lands, the delegation of authority from Congress to the land management agencies has resulted in unchecked, abused authority over land-use planning by administrators.

“I do not believe it was the intent of Congress to disenfranchise communities like mine when laws like FLPMA and the Wilderness Act were originally enacted, but that is certainly where we have ended up,” explained Cook. “The burden of compliance with these processes – not to mention the struggle to have our voice as a stakeholder heard and respected has become the dominant consumer of time and resources for anyone or any entity interacting with federally-managed lands.”

Ag Group, Beef, Government, NCBA, PLC

Moocall Text Alerts Connect Farmers to Their Animals

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Emmet Savage was an Irish entrepreneur with business ventures in the areas of fashion importing and construction when he first got the idea for Moocall, a company that holds the power to revolutionize the challenges of calving season and bring a new form of smart farming technology to cattlemen all over the world. The creation and launch of Moocall sent Savage straight into the world of agribusiness where he decided to participate in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator Program. Savage sat down with our Jamie Johansen during ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference, where the final phase of the accelerator took place, to discuss his innovations and the ways his business has benefited from the resources provided by Alltech’s unique startup assistance program.

Moocall is a mobile device that attaches to a cow’s tail and has the potential to change the game for beef and dairy farmers during calving season. The device measures contractions on the onset of labor and uses advanced algorithmic technology to send a text message directly to farmers one hour before the calf is due to be born. Savage said the resources and expertise that were made available to him through his participation in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator has been instrumental in the growth and development of the company he has invested so much in.

“The Accelerator has been massive for Moocall as a business, and for me personally,” said Savage. “The program offered us tutoring, training, pitch coaching, and they’ve opened up a world of contacts to help spread Moocall around the world.”

Savage said Moocall has expanded to 38 countries around the world since it’s launch in January of 2015, and he is currently in late stage negotiations with four or five different countries that are interested in having Alltech sell Moocall products to their customers.

Listen to Jamie’s full interview with Emmet here:
Interview with Emmet Savage, Moocall

Download photos from the event here:
Alltech ONE17 Photo Album

Ag Group, Agribusiness, AgWired Animal, Alltech, Animal Agriculture, Audio, Beef, Dairy, Technology

Elanco Receives Grant From Gates Foundation

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Elanco Animal Health has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide sustainable development solutions to address food insecurity in East African countries. Elanco will work to improve animal health and productivity in dairy herds and poultry flocks for smallholder farms in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The $2.86 million grant will help Elanco enable the registration and distribution of high-quality veterinary products and training initiatives for smallholder farmers to assist with improved animal health practices and programs for disease prevention and treatment.

“My main challenge has been mycoplasma, where the birds would develop the condition at three months,” said Beatrice Wanjiku, a smallholder poultry farmer in Thika, Kenya, where livestock diseases are a source of economic losses for people who depend on livestock production for their livelihood. “This would eventually lead to a drop in production.”

“Elanco is a cause-driven organization and our vision of Food and Companionship Enriching Life is at the core of why we do what we do. We are committed to addressing global hunger by supporting efforts that ensure nutritious food is accessible and affordable to all. The grant from the foundation will further advance our vision by improving the lives of smallholder farmers through sustainable livestock production,” said Jeffrey N. Simmons, president, Elanco Animal Health.”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 32 percent of the people in East Africa are undernourished1 and 40 percent of those living in sub-Saharan Africa are living on less than $1.25 per day. In East Africa, 18 percent of children are underweight. Through this collaboration, Elanco intends to apply the learnings from East Africa to other geographies and continue its leadership in food security efforts.

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Elanco, International, Veterinary

Simplicity and Mobility with AgriWebb

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The Pearse Lyons Accelerator program is a tremendous opportunity for a start-up company, says Kevin Baum, co-founder of AgriWebb. He and other members of the program were at the ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference this week to pitch their ideas in the final phase of their support training. For Baum that meant the chance to share about his digital farm management app designed for the red meat industry.

“AgriWebb is a simple app that farmers can use in the field, on the go, while they are doing their work and record things. Then we take that information- it’s cloud based- and then we can use it to create decision support tools and reports, as well as help people with their accreditation needs,” Baum said.

The app had to be simple and mobile, Baum notes, because no one wants to come home and input data on the computer after the day’s work is done. It’s also very visual and based on a farm map, with no nested drop down menus the first farm management software programs relied on. Instead producers enter the data from their mobile devices and then receive reports on everything from suggestions for optimizing grazing to a personalized calendar.

Learn more about AgriWebb in Jamie’s interview with Baum here: Interview with Kevin Baum, AgriWebb

2017 Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, AgWired Animal, Alltech, Apps, Beef

Sec. Perdue Defends Trump Budget

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Farmers and ranchers are concerned about President Trump’s “Taxpayer First” budget released this week but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended significant cuts to USDA in the name of balancing the budget.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to sugar coat this,” Perdue said to reporters on a press call Tuesday. “But I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump…I think many believe as I do – I just don’t think it’s moral to continue to kick a $20 trillion debt down to our grandchildren.”

The budget cuts USDA staff, crop insurance, conservation programs, and food assistance and eliminates funding for some programs including the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Joining Perdue on the call was Acting Deputy Secretary and Budget Officer Michael Young, who ran USDA for the first four months of this year and was the one who actually worked on the budget before Secretary Perdue was confirmed. He explained the budget cuts and answered all of the reporters’ questions.

Perdue and Young will both testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture today at 10 am Eastern time.

Listen to the press conference here. USDA budget presser

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Alltech Celebrates Joy of Disruption

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Dr. Pearse Lyons has built a small empire from modest beginnings in Lexington, Kentucky in 1980 and he has done it all by being disruptive.

“The question is what disruptive road are you on?” Dr. Lyons asked at the beginning of his presentation during the opening session of ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference 2017 – Disrupt the Disruptors.

Lyons talked about some of the many ways that Alltech is examining disruptive ideas for the future of agriculture and beyond, such as finding a way to prevent Alzheimer’s, and said it all starts with a dream. “Mainstream companies do products, great companies do dreams,” he said.

Listen to Dr. Lyons and let him inspire you to dream disruptive dreams: Alltech President Pearse Lyons

AgWired Animal, Alltech, Audio

USMEF Discusses the State of the Industry

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) conducted a press conference prior to the USMEF Spring Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The call featured opening remarks from Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president, Asia Pacific, and Oscar Ferrara, USMEF regional director, Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.

In the conference, the speakers discussed their support for Sonny Perdue’s nomination and expressed excitement to see the U.S. Department of Agriculture become fully-staffed. Also discussed was the strong demand currently felt across the world for U.S. pork and beef, and how USMEF believes that great opportunities for growth continue to take shape.

The speakers also discussed several challenges facing U.S. meat exports, including the lack of clarity surrounding the current trade map under the Trump administration.

“For a lot of us who saw significant progress in TPP, to have that canceled on the day after the administration, that was hard to take,” Haggard said on the call. “We are always interested in improving trade agreements over time, because things do change, but we do not want to lose any gains that we’ve made as far as trade access goes.”

Listen to the full conference here:
USMEF Press Conference on State of Industry

Ag Group, Audio, Export, Export, Trade, USMEF

PORK Academy Seminars Return to World Pork Expo

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The Pork Checkoff’s Producer Opportunity for Revenue and Knowledge (PORK) Academy sessions will once again be held during this year’s World Pork Expo. Seminars will run Wednesday, June 7, and Thursday, June 8, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, to help educate pig farmers on the latest trends in pork production.

“The PORK Academy sessions offer more than leading pork industry news,” said Andrew Reinecker, chair of the Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee and a pig farmer from York Springs, Pennsylvania. “Attendees learn more about different aspects of the industry and programs funded by the Pork Checkoff. The sessions also provide networking opportunities with leading industry professionals.”

Topics for this year’s sessions include Pork Quality Initiative, Social Media in Pork Production, Compensation in Pork Production, Sub-Therapeutic Growth Promoting Antibiotic Alternatives, Sow Housing, and U.S. Exports and International Trade.

For more information about Pork Checkoff-sponsored events and activities at World Pork Expo, call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675. For information about other World Pork Expo activities, visit here.

Ag Group, Animal Welfare, Education, Pork, Pork Checkoff, World Pork Expo