Iowa Cattleman Shows Support for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ace-flyin-15-couserIowa cattle producer and ethanol advocate Bill Couser was a man on a mission last week in Washington DC with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Fly-In.

Couser finally got a sit down with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to talk about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and other issues. “I was able to schedule a half hour with her and I took the cattle industry and the ethanol industry in there and we sat down there as one,” said Couser. “The impression we got from Gina is that she’s there to work with us.”

Couser is co-chair of the Iowa-based America’s Renewable Future, which recently helped to sponsor the Iowa Ag Summit where potential presidential candidates were interviewed live about their views on important agricultural issues, including the RFS. At that event, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who just became the first to officially throw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential race, stated his opposition to the RFS and Couser had a chance to speak with him about it. “He’s a man from Texas who is set in his ways,” said Couser. “We’re looking forward to the future and visiting with him more.”

Listen to an interview with Bill from the ACE fly-in here: Interview with Bill Couser, America's Renewable Future

2015 ACE Fly-In Photo Album

Cattle, EPA, ethanol, Government

HSUS Investigator Speaks Out Against Group

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Center for Consumer FreedomIt looks like the tables have been turned on animal liberation group Humane Society of the United States. A former undercover investigator for the extremist group is featured in a just released video by discussing gestation stalls or also called individual maternity pens (IMPs) which are used to house pregnant pigs. You can watch the video below.

IMPs provide for individual care and feeding while preventing the fighting that occurs when pregnant sows are housed in groups. Mainstream veterinary groups support maternity pens as a humane housing option. However, HSUS has been lobbying legislators to ban these gestation pens and are pressuring food companies to only source pork from farms that use group housing of sows.

According to the HSUS investigator, who worked on pork farms:

  • “When they’re not in crates, they [sows] fight each other. With gestation crates, they can’t bite each other…They’re in a safe spot.”
  • “I have to believe they [HSUS] know the pigs would prefer to be in gestation crates…but choose instead to push the anti-gestation crate legislation because of what it would do to the pig farming industry.”
  • “Objectively, HSUS should be for gestation crates if they’re honestly, truly for animal welfare.”
  • “Farmers, veterinarians, and animal scientists stand opposed to HSUS’s campaign against individual maternity pens—and now one of its own investigators does, too,”

Will Coggin, director of research for “HSUS counts on manipulating an unknowing public with its propaganda, but the power of truth is demonstrated by one of HSUS’s own.”

About 200 large-animal veterinarians have signed an open letter in support of individual maternity pens. Recent HSUS attempts to ban these pens in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire have all failed after legislators learned the full story.

Animal Activists, Animal Welfare, Pork, Video

Hog Numbers Up in Quarterly Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

USDA_logoAs of March 1, there were 65.9 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, seven percent more than a year ago, according to the USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.

Of the total, 5.98 million hogs were kept for breeding and producers intend to have 2.87 million sows farrow between March and May 2015, and 2.93 million sows farrow between June and August 2015.

Between December 2014 and February 2015, 28.8 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms, up 9 percent from the same time period one year earlier and producers weaned an average of 10.17 pigs per litter.

The Pork Checkoff sponsored a conference call following the report release on Friday featuring reactions from three agricultural economists:
Chris Hurt, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
Robert Brown, Independent Market Analyst, Edmond, OK
Dan Vaught, Economist, Doane Advisory Services, St. Louis, MO

Listen to or download the call here: Analysis of Hogs and Pigs Inventory

Audio, Livestock, Pork, Pork Checkoff, Swine, usda

Alltech Marketing Hire to Support Midwest

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

TerranAlltech is proud to announce an addition to their field marketing team. Terran Smith joins the company as its Midwest Marketing Specialist.

Smith is a graduate from North Dakota State University with a bachelors of science in public relations / advertising and journalism. She has worked in a variety of different marketing capacities before joining Alltech.

“We are looking forward to working with Terran and getting her integrated into the company. She’ll be a great asset as we continue to build relationships with our customers and her Midwest roots will give her great insight into our market place,” said CJ Tanderup, Alltech regional sales manager.

Smith will be based in the South Dakota office, providing marketing assistance and support to the South Dakota, Wisconsin and Missouri regions. Alltech’s South Dakota office located in Brookings, services South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and Montana.

Agribusiness, Alltech, Company Announcement, Marketing

Beef Improvement Federation to Meet in Biloxi

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

bifMark your calendars for June 9-12 for the 2015 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Meeting and Research Symposium. This year’s event will take place in Biloxi, MS at the Beau Rivage Hotel and Conference Center. The theme for this year’s program is “Rebuilding a Cowherd.” Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association are co-hosting this year’s event.

The meeting will allow the research community and industry to meet and discuss issues surrounding the genetic improvement of beef cattle and for attendees to learn about technologies and management practices that can aid in the profitability of their operations.

Some of the topics to be covered include setting the stage for cowherd rebuilding, what sustainability means and why it matters, what sustainability data say about the beef industry, how current market incentives affect genetic selection, profitability: looking to an operation’s future, balancing novel and proven applications for female selection, cow lifetime productivity, and an adaptability panel discussion.

A link to online registration for the conference is now available. Early registration is offered at a discounted rate and ends April 15. Early registration cost to attend the full conference is $250. Day-only, student and media discount rates also are available. The meeting is approved for 14 CEUs for American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) members in attendance.

Ag Group, Beef, Research

‘Radical Transparency’ Can Build Consumer Trust

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

animal agSpeakers and panelists will encourage attendees to ‘open the barn doors’ and increase transparency to build consumer trust at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual Stakeholders Summit, to be held May 6-7, 2015 in Kansas City, MO. Early registration is now available for the 2015 edition of the Alliance’s showcase event, themed “The Journey to Extraordinary.”

Attendees will first hear from the consumer viewpoint as they take a journey into the blogosphere with a panel of participants from the Alliance’s 2014 Farm to Pork blogger tour. During the blogger tour, organized by the Alliance along with the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and the North Carolina Pork Council, a group of 12 bloggers experienced the full ‘farm to fork’ experience, visiting Prestage Farms, Smithfield’s processing facilities and the meat science lab at North Carolina State University. Blogger tour panelists include:

David Wescott of Wescott Strategic Communications, who helped facilitate the tour
Ilina Ewen, tour participant and blogger, Dirt & Noise
Lisa Frame, tour participant and blogger, A Daily Pinch

On the second day of the Summit, Gary Cooper, chief operating officer of Cooper Farms, and Leah Lentini, Fair Oaks Farms, will serve on the “Another Stop on the Voyage to Radical Transparency: When Real People Open the Barn Doors to Real Farms” panel. Cooper and Lentini will offer the producer viewpoint on the challenges and benefits of increasing transparency and share how their businesses are progressing on their voyage.

“Transparency is crucial to building consumer trust, but producers are understandably wary of just how to implement ‘radical transparency’, our term for offering consumers complete insight into every step of the food production process,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “We’re excited for everyone to hear from our Farm to Pork bloggers about how much they valued the honest and open exposure to the industry, as well as what they learned about the people involved in farming and their passion. We are confident our attendees will also be inspired by Cooper Farms and Fair Oaks Farms to start on their own journey to increased transparency.”

This year’s event will explore animal agriculture’s continuous efforts to embrace new technologies that will help feed a growing population while measuring sustainability, engage consumers in innovative ways to bridge the knowledge gap, and highlight initiatives that demonstrate agriculture’s commitment to transparency.

Ag Group, Animal Ag Alliance, Animal Welfare, Events

New Purina Flock Raiser Crumbles

John Davis Leave a Comment

Purina_Mixed Flock1A new formula from Purina is promising to provide additional energy and immunity to meat chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and mixed flocks. Purina’s Flock Raiser Crumbles is a complete feed that now includes prebiotics, probiotics and yeast as well as the extra energy needed for a healthy mixed flock.

“Meat birds, mixed flocks and show birds require different nutrients than birds raised only for egg laying,” says Mikelle Roeder, Ph.D., a flock nutrition expert with Purina Animal Nutrition. “Along with vitamins, minerals and ingredients for immunity, protein is especially important, because it supports healthy plumage, bird growth and contributes to overall meat quality.”

“We recently updated the recipe of Purina® Flock Raiser® Crumbles to help flock raisers provide a balanced, complete feed to their meat birds, show birds, turkeys, ducks and geese,” Roeder adds. “This new formula supports healthy growth so you can best enjoy raising a mixed flock.”

“We are proud to introduce the enhanced recipe of Purina® Flock Raiser® Crumbles to our line of premium poultry feeds,” says Jodi Eineichner, backyard flock marketing manager with Purina Animal Nutrition. “Because no backyard flock is the same, our team of flock raisers and researchers continually strives to provide optimal feeds for all birds so flock raisers can best enjoy their happy, healthy flocks.”

The Flock Raiser Crumbles formula is a simple vegetarian recipe made from freshly-ground North American grains that brings a balance of vitamins and minerals to support bone health and bird growth. More information is available through Purina retailers.

Agribusiness, Feed, Poultry

Dairy Group Supports Food Labeling Act

John Davis Leave a Comment

idfaA piece of legislation that is touted as being able to create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has won praise from a dairy group. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is welcoming the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K Butterfield (D-NC). The bill would fix across all 50 states the growing patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws that threaten to harm interstate commerce, drive up the price of food and increase consumer confusion.

“To enable the free flow of interstate commerce and to more easily provide consumers with the information they are looking for, it is essential that we have a federal system of labeling laws rather than a state-by-state approach,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.

GMOs have been found to be safe by nearly 2,000 studies from the leading scientific bodies in the world, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association.

“We believe it is important for companies to be able to exercise their constitutional right to free speech and to avoid laws that would require labeling of things that have no health or safety consequences,” said Tipton. “Six years ago IDFA joined with the Organic Trade Association in a successful lawsuit in Ohio to defeat unconstitutional restrictions on our member’s labeling rights and our position has not changed since then.”

State-by-state labeling would severely cripple the supply chains of the nation’s food producers and could cost consumers an extra $500 a year for a family of four according to a Cornell University study. In addition, many family-run businesses would simply be unable to navigate these new hurdles and possibly put out of business in states that have contrary labeling practices.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Dairy, legislation

Presidential Hopefuls and Agriculture

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Which potential presidential candidate would be best for ag?”

Of the 12 potential presidential candidates included in our poll, only one has officially declared. But two hopefuls have risen to the top of our poll. It seems many believe Hillary Clinton and Scott Walker might have the best interest of agriculture in mind, if elected.

Here are the poll results:

  • Joe Biden – 3%
  • Jeb Bush – 11%
  • Ben Carson – 5%
  • Chris Christie – 1%
  • Hillary Clinton – 22%
  • Ted Cruz – 7%
  • Mike Huckabee – 13%
  • Rand Paul – 4%
  • Rick Perry – 2%
  • Marco Rubio – 3%
  • Scott Walker – 19%
  • Elizabeth Warren – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What is best for GMO labeling?

Agricultural organizations are voicing support for the bi-partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced in the U.S. House recently. What do you think is best when it comes to the labeling of GMO’s? Should it be mandatory or voluntary? Should it include all foods? Should states decide? Let us know your opinion.


House Ag Panel Hears COOL Testimony

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock & Foreign Agriculture held a hearing Wednesday to examine the implications of potential retaliatory measures taken against the United States in response to meat labeling requirements under Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

conawayHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) addressed the hearing and expressed his hope that the members of the subcommittee would “recognize the failure of this experiment and work together to avoid the economic damages that could be felt by American businesses both inside and outside of agriculture.”

Among those who testified was National Pork Producers Council President Elect John Weber of Iowa who said they fully expect the WTO to once again rule against the United States in mid-May. “Congress must be prepared to repeal the offending parts of the statue to bring the U.S. into compliance with WTO rules,” said Weber. “Congress should not allow retaliation against pork producers and other sectors of the U.S. economy.”

In his testimony, California cattle ranch manager Mike Smith called COOL “failed experiment” and a “farce” that has cost the cattle industry money and he urged the committee to “repeal COOL before retaliation is implemented.”

Representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Wine Institute, and the National Confectioners Association all agreed with that basic sentiment on behalf of numerous industries that could be impacted by retaliation. Only National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson took the opposing view, urging the committee to wait for the WTO to rule on COOL, as Canada and Mexico cannot retaliate if no damages are found. “Congress should leave COOL alone and allow the WTO process to run its course,” said Johnson.

Beef, COOL, NFU, Pork