ASI Convention Spotlights Industry Challenges

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

ASI_logo The discussion during last month’s 2016 American Sheep Industry Association Convention spotlighted several major issues brought forward by the large attendance of sheep producers from across the country.

“The focus of our meeting this year was current events and current issues,” said ASI President Burton Pfliger. “Agriculture and the sheep industry in particular are facing the new veterinary feed directive, protecting ourselves from liability claims associated with working dogs and keeping our markets transparent. All of these topics, plus many more, were given center stage at our meetings in Scottsdale.”

The H-2A sheepherder program was the industry’s top issue of 2015, and an educational outreach session about the program drew an enormous crowd when officials from the Department of Labor discussed the new regulations.

Although the program does maintain many of the key industry provisions, the new regulations include the implementation of several dramatic changes that have required clarification and practical-use explanations. Ranchers have begun working with their bankers to adjust to the considerable wage increase but, just as importantly, they are asking the Washington, D.C. officials and the Chicago office field staff to further clarify the changes and to ensure they share the same interpretation of the new protocols.

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Sheep and Goat Report, which revealed that the 2016 sheep and lamb inventory has increased one percent from the beginning of 2015 was an exciting topic of discussion during the week. This marks a consecutive two-year increase, and brings inventory numbers up from 5.21 million to 5.32 million.

Other topics of interest during the event related to the U.S. sheep industry’s decision to retain mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for lamb, despite the recent repeal of the COOL Labeling Law for beef and pork, the launch of Working Dog Liability Insurance, a special insurance coverage designed to protect producers choosing to use guardian dogs and herding dogs to utilize non-lethal tools in the management of predatory kills of sheep and lambs from liability claims, and the impact producers can expect to feel on their operations once the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) requirement becomes effective in January of 2017.

Ag Group, COOL, Events, Policy, Sheep

“SciBabe” to Speak at 2016 Stakeholders Summit

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Entremont copyI have been an avid follower of this smart, outspoken lady for quite some time and can’t wait to see her take the stage at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2016 Stakeholders Summit. The author, blogger and science communicator Yvette d’Entremont, better known online as “SciBabe,” will speak at the event, themed “Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future: Action, Please!”, May 5-6 in Arlington, Va. The one-of-a-kind conference brings together a diverse group of decision makers, including representatives from farms, ranches, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities and government agencies.

d’Entremont, who has emerged as a leading crusader against unproven scientific claims and pseudoscience, is known for busting myths using a combination of real science and humor. Working to teach people how to recognize hallmarks of good science since debuting her online presence in August 2014, d’Enremont’s popularity exploded in April 2015 when she penned an article for online news site Gawker debunking many of the food myths perpetuated by Vani Hari, a blogger under the moniker “The Food Babe.” The Gawker article has been viewed nearly five million times and earned over 400,000 “likes” on Facebook.

“We, along with many others in the food and agriculture business, were cheering when we read Sci Babe’s bold article taking down food myths last year and have enjoyed following her online ever since,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Her blend of humor and science-based facts is interesting and effective when communicating with consumers, as demonstrated by her online popularity. Our attendees will undoubtedly benefit from hearing about her experiences and applying her tactics when trying to get scientific messages about animal care, sustainability and other topics across to our own audiences.”

d’Entremont holds bachelor’s degrees in theatre and chemistry and a master’s degree in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics. She previously worked as an analytical chemist and now runs the “Sci Babe” brand full-time. A leading advocate and role model for women in STEM with a passion for exposing fact from fiction and a quirky attitude, d’Entremont offers audiences insight and engaging commentary on the science behind food, the truth about technology in food production such as GMO’s and strategies for identifying the online experts from the virtual scammers.

Ag Group, Animal Ag Alliance, Events, Food, Science

CoBank Report for U.S. Protein in 2016

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 8.19.55 AMCoBank, an agribusiness lender, released a new research report stating they believe indicators point to animal protein supplies moving toward a state of equilibrium, with protein stocks more in line with overall levels of demand. I spoke with Trevor Amen, animal protein economist with CoBank, to learn more about how the report will impact producers.

“The overall focus of this report is to take a big picture look at the animal protein complex as a whole. Analyze those major supply and demand fundamentals that have heavily influenced the market in 2015 and some of the transitions we expect to happen in 2016.”

Trevor said they are predicting animal proteins will transition from the supply driven conditions we saw in 2015 into a marketplace powered by improving demand factors. Those factors are influenced heavily by the U.S. economy and the consumer.

“In the short-term we’ll see an optimistic price outlook for pork and poultry coming out of those lows. As far as beef prices, the longer-term outlook shows increases in supplies will continue to cause downward pressure on prices over the next couple of years.”

A strong U.S. consumer base is expected to be supportive of prices, Trevor added. “The trade situation is improving and the pace of this transition will henge on demand.”

A synopsis of the 2016 Protein Demand Outlook Report is available and you can learn more by listening or downloading my complete interview with Trevor here: Interview with Trevor Amen, CoBank

Photos from the Convention: 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Agribusiness, Audio, Beef, Cattle, Markets, Pork, Poultry, Price

NFL and Dairy Industry Partner for Healthier Kids

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

Milk ToastAmid pre-Super Bowl 50 celebrations, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Paul Rovey, dairy farmer and leader of the National Dairy Council (NDC), announced that the dairy-farmer funded Fuel Up to Play 60 program, along with support from the National Football League (NFL) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), will be providing $35 million in grants to food service departments in schools across the country. The grants will provide the schools with funds to perform necessary upgrades to kitchen equipment and infrastructure in order to provide students with better access to healthy foods.

Over 30 million students nationwide rely on USDA National School Lunch and Breakfast programs to receive meals once or twice a day, yet 88 percent of US schools have reported that their kitchens lack at least one piece of equipment needed to serve healthier foods. These grants will give millions of children access to more nutritious meals by providing school lunch programs with the tools needed to offer healthier meals with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sodium and fat.

“These grants will go far in helping thousands of schools that face a daily reality that students often arrive hungry, which impacts their ability to learn,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chairman of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff. “This partnership between Fuel Up to Play 60 and USDA really helps create meaningful changes in the lives of children by making it easier to offer healthy school meals.”

In 2008, USDA, NFL, NDC, and the GENYOUth Foundation partnered together to create Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that helps encourage young people to lead healthier lives. The program has become the most effective of its kind, reaching over 13 million students in 73,000 schools since its creation. The program’s latest $35 million investment will help sustain the progress that has already been made by schools across the country to ensure that America’s children are greeted by healthier school environments.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded $215 million in school nutrition equipment grants, including $30 million this year. Fuel Up to Play 60, which has provided more than $22 million in funds to schools, is providing $5 million.

“Success at all ages begins with a healthy meal, and that is why at USDA we have worked to overhaul school meal standards to ensure kids have access to nutritious foods,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This commitment from our partners will ensure schools have the equipment they need to provide kids with a well-balanced meal, promoting childhood health and wellness.

Schools and administrators interested in learning more about these grants can find additional information here .

Ag Group, Dairy, Dairy Checkoff, Dairy Management Inc., fuel up to play 60, Health, Youth

NCBA and PLC Internships Available

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

ncba-200 The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council’s (PLC) government affairs office in Washington, D.C., are accepting applications for two summer 2016 internships. Both the public policy internship and summer law clerk positions are wonderful opportunities for students with an interest in the beef industry and public policy.

The NCBA and PLC work closely on many policy issues facing livestock producers and ranchers, sharing office space in the heart of the nation’s capital. NCBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national organization representing America’s cattle producers, and PLC is the only organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated solely to representing cattle and sheep ranchers that utilize federal lands.

“The internship gives college students the opportunity to work alongside staff on a range of issues that impact U.S. cattlemen and women,” said Kristina Butts, NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs. “Our interns work closely with the lobbying team on Capitol Hill and assist with NCBA and PLC’s regulatory efforts, providing college students a one-of-a-kind view into the policy making process. The interns are valuable team members that help staff on several fronts.”

PLC The public policy internship will allow students to learn about career options, and will provide plenty of practical experience through the summer on a variety of issues, from tax and trade to environmental and food safety regulations. Interns will also have the opportunity to work specifically in the area of their interest. College juniors, seniors and graduates students are encouraged to apply.

The summer law clerk will provide support to NCBA’s Environmental Counsel on issues relating to environmental legislation and regulations that impact beef producers, while also working closely with the PLC Executive Director on issues relating to Federal lands management, grazing, and the Endangered Species Act. Students must currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school in order to apply for this position.

Both positions are full-time, and will run from May 23, 2016 to August 19, 2016. The deadline to submit applications for either position is Feb. 24, 2016. To apply online, please visit the NCBA website.

Ag Group, Beef, Intern, NCBA, PLC, Policy, University

Quest Plus Approved For Pregnant Mares

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

Zoetis_Logo Quest Plus Gel from Zoetis has recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in breeding, pregnant and lactating mares, joining Quest Gel as the only FDA-approved de-worming products on the market that treat and control encysted small strongyles and bots in a single dose, and are safe for use in breeding mares.

Both Quest and Quest Plus meeet the individual requirements outlined in the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Parasite Control Guidelines. Quest originally launched in 1997 and continues to be a gold standard in equine parasite treatment, and Quest Plus also treats and controls tapeworms. More than 1 million doses of the two de-wormers were sold in the United States in 2015, and more than 9 million doses have been sold in the U.S. since 2004.

“The AAEP recommends treatment for tapeworms in late fall after a hard freeze,” said Kenton Morgan, DVM, Equine Technical Services, Zoetis. “For effective treatment, horse owners should consult with their veterinarian and plan to deworm following a hard freeze in order to target tapeworms.”

To purchase Quest or Quest Plus, please visit your local retailer or veterinarian, and ask your veterinarian to conduct a fecal egg count test prior to purchase. Customers are also encouraged to evaluate their horse’s Individualized Deworming™ needs by visiting Zoetis’ online resources on Individualized Deworming.

Ag Group, Animal Health, Equine, Veterinary, Zoetis

Alltech ONE Symposium Promises to Inspire

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

ippe-16-pearse-lyons Last year, Alltech’s Rebelation symposium offered the industry an unprecedented opportunity for global collaboration by hosting programs, discussions, and information sessions with some of the worlds greatest innovators. This year’s symposium is called ONE, and it promises to be even more unforgettable.

ONE is a forum, hosted by Alltech, for industry professionals to discuss world-changing ideas with other industry leaders through global networking opportunities that intend to create one thing: inspiration. ONE will challenge businesses to seek out a one-in-a-million idea that will change the way their company works, and improve it forever.

“It’s called the ONE. It’s the one place to go, its the one idea that will change your life, its the one person with the one idea, its the one idea for you to mix with great people,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, in an interview during the 2016 International Poultry and Processing Expo (IPPE). “We are at three times the revenue today that we were last January. Now by any standards, that is a massive change, and to continue to have these massive changes, you need to be willing to listen to other people.”

The conference features programs that focus on a blend of science, agriculture, entrepreneurship, business and marketing information, and also includes with a craft beer festival. The impressive roster of speakers includes Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc, and Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company from 2006-2014.

“At the forum you are going to listen to the man who turned Ford around, the man who went up to Congress and said ‘thank you Mr. President, but I’m not taking any money,” said Lyons. “His whole campaign was ONE Ford, ONE team, ONE objective. He’s going to talk about how you pull your team together, how you build a business.”

The incredible symposium promises to inspire the leaders of the industry, offering a passionate, positive, and motivational approach to discussing the incredible challenges currently facing the world of agriculture, working as a part of Alltech’s strong commitment to marketing through education.

“The idea is to share the excitement, the excitement of the world, because one day in 2050, the world won’t be hungry, we won’t be using pesticides; it’s all so exciting,” said Lyons. “Nowhere is it written that science needs to be boring. We’re going to get you science in a way that is understandable, and we’re going to get you science in a way that is exciting.”

Listen to Chuck’s full interview with Dr. Lyons here:
Interview with Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech

Ag Group, Alltech, Audio, Events, Industry News, International, Marketing

CattleFax Appoints New Officers

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 6.34.53 PMCattleFax, a member-owned organization serving producers in all segmments of the beef cattle business, also held their annual business meeting in San Diego last week during the Cattle Industry Convention where they elected officers for 2016. Jeff Sparrowk, a cow/calf and stocker operator from Clements, Calif., was elected President. He has been actively involved in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and has served as a past Chairman. He is also a past President of California Cattlemen’s Marketing Committee.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 6.34.41 PMPresident Elect is Todd Allen of Newton, Kan. Re-elected as Executive Vice President was Randy Blach of Centennial, Colo. Jerry Adams of Broken Bow, Neb., was elected to replace Jerry Kuenning of Imperial, Neb., representing the North Plains. Dale Smith of Amarillo, Texas, was re-elected to a four-year term representing the Southwest region

Other Directors currently serving terms for CattleFax are Tom Jensen of Omaha, Neb., as Treasurer; Jamie Willrett of Malta Ill.; Don Quincey of Chiefland, Fla.; Pono Von Holt of Kamuela, Hawaii; and Mark Frasier of Fort Morgan, Colo.

Photos from the Convention: 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Agribusiness, Beef, Cattle, Markets, NCBA

Adding Beef Facts to Producer Tool Belt

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

cic-16-131-editedCattle nutritionist for Zoetis, Dr. Gary Sides, spoke to producers during the Cattle Industry Convention’s Cattlemen’s College on modern agriculture in a culture of Facebook. There he discussed government, environmental and cultural issues that affect beef consumption and the cattle industry and I sat down with him to learn more.

It is old news that our industry is constantly under attack and many times producers don’t know how to respond to those attacks. Are you aware that new scientific summaries show salt consumption has no effect on blood pressure? Did you know saturated fats in beef may reduce your risk of heart disease? Can you defend and promote beef consumption and technologies we currently use to efficiently, safely and humanely produce beef? These were just a few issues he addressed, providing key facts producers were able to take home and add to their tool belt.

One of those hot button issues was fat in beef. “When you look at the fat in beef, it is mainly comprised of fatty acids that are actually heart healthy. They raise the good cholesterol, lower the bad cholesterol and in a simplified nutshell are good for you. The culprit in obesity, diabetes are diets based on high carb intake.”

Food is emotional for consumers. Sadly, science doesn’t seem to carry much weight. “When I give my message about why beef is good nutritionally and why our production techniques are good for the environment, the animal and the consumer I tell them I buy my food from Walmart. I feed my children and my grandchildren conventional foods. If I thought there were any chance that the technology we used to produce cattle would affect my family I wouldn’t buy food at those places.”

Dr. Sides also spoke to cattle nutritionists about the launch of a new implant from Zoetis called Synovex One. Listen to my complete interview to learn more about how it can be used and it’s advantages to other similar compounds. Interview with Dr. Gary Sides, Zoetis

Photos from the Convention: 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Agribusiness, Animal Health, Audio, Beef, Cattle, NCBA, Zoetis

Federation of State Beef Councils Elects New Leadership

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 6.11.48 PM

Steve Hanson (left) and Jerry Effertz will lead the Federation of State Beef Councils in 2016.

Many elections and leadership changes were made in San Diego at the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention. A couple of those elections were made by the Federation of State Beef Councils. Steve Hanson, a cow/calf operator from Elsie, Neb., was elected chairman of the Federation and Jerry Effertz, a cow/calf operator from Velva, N.D. was elected vice chairman. The Federation of State Beef Councils is the national home of state beef councils and a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Hanson and his wife, Susan, operate a family farm and ranch in southwest Nebraska with their son, Nick, the fifth generation on the farm, feeding out calves they raise with grain grown on their operation. Hanson has been very active in both state and national industry organizations, serving on the checkoff’s Freedom to Operate Committee, Global Growth Committee and Evaluation Committee. He has served as the chairman of the Nebraska Beef Council, and on numerous local church and school boards. Hanson had previously served as the Federation’s vice chairman.

Effertz and his wife, Norma, operate Black Butte Acres Limousin Ranch, raising seedstock Limousin cattle and backgrounding feeder calves. To educate people about the cattle business and stewardship of the land, they also operate Black Butte Adventures, which includes hiking and biking trails as well as farm tours. Effertz, the third generation of his family to own and operate their farm and ranch, also served in leadership positions in state and national beef industry organizations, including the North Dakota Beef Commission, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and several beef checkoff committees.

As chairman of the Federation, Hanson will serve as vice chair of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC), which funds beef checkoff projects at the national level. Effertz will also serve on that committee. This will be the fifth year each has served on the BPOC. Approval of BPOC-approved projects and budgets is required by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to Hanson and Effertz, other Federation members of the BPOC for 2016 are Austin Brown III (Texas), Brent Buckley (Hawaii), Clay Burtrum (Oklahoma), Dawn Caldwell (Nebraska), Gary Deering (South Dakota), Barb Downey (Kansas), Scott McGregor (Iowa) and Kristin Larson (Montana). The CBB also appoints 10 members to the BPOC.

Photos from the Convention: 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by Coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Ag Group, Beef, Beef Checkoff, NCBA