U.S. Ayrshire Breeders National Convention

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

aryshire“Sharing Memories & Forging the Future of Ayrshires” is the theme of this year’s Ayrshire National Convention planned for June 22-26, 2015, at Lake Raystown, hosted by the Pennsylvania Ayrshire Breeders Association, along with New Jersey and West Virginia breeders.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Ayrshire community and all others with an interest in Ayrshires to beautiful Lake Raystown for five days of celebrating our breed, its rich, Scottish heritage and its future,” said Convention Committee Co-chair Bonnie Wentworth. “This is a great opportunity to learn about the Ayrshire breed, which has great strength as a forage grazer and is adaptable to all management styles. This year’s location also offers families the opportunity for a vacation-like experience thanks to the area’s abundance of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation and family-friendly fun of all varieties. We expect a terrific turnout.”

The event features a full schedule, highlighted by youth activities, local farm tours, a dinner and award banquet, and the Grand National Sale. This year, farms have the opportunity to donate a portion of proceeds from their sales to the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders Foundation, a three-year old non-profit founded by members of the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders Association to encourage involvement through progressive leadership, promotion, and marketing, and to support youth advancement and interest for the Ayrshire breed. The foundation was created by a group of more than 60 charter members who share a passion for the breed and a mission to secure its future. Donations are always welcome from anyone interested in helping to fulfill this mission.

“We intend for this year’s convention to be the premier event of the year,” said John Rodgers, co-chair. “We are thrilled to be able to support the Foundation through the Grand National Sale and excited to welcome Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell C. Redding on our farm tour dinner on Wednesday evening, June 24, at Hameau Farm in Belleville. He will share the history of Pennsylvania agriculture and unveil a just-completed, special narrative of Ayrshire history.”

For the first time ever, attendees can register and pay for the event online. The website includes details on the agenda, accommodations, area attractions and animals available in the Grand National Sale on June 26.

Ag Group, Cattle, Dairy, Events

Haggard’s Outlook for U.S. Pork in Key Asian Markets

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

usmefThis week Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, provides us with some insight into our Asian markets.

As the first quarter of 2015 draws to a close, Joel Haggard offers his insights on the factors shaping demand for U.S. pork in key Asian markets.

Haggard notes that the U.S. dollar remains at a very high level versus the currencies of most importing countries and several major competitors – especially the European Union, where pork prices continue to feel downward pressure from the closure of the Russian market. On the positive side, domestic pork prices are higher year-over-year in Japan and South Korea, which could bolster their demand for imported pork.

In China, Haggard notes that pork imports are modestly higher year-over-year despite ample domestic supplies and sluggish demand during the recent Lunar New Year holiday period.

Weekly USMEF Audio Report
Agribusiness, Export, Meat, Pork, USMEF

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Report

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Rabobank_logoThe Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group has finalized the Q1 Beef Quarterly report. Below you can find highlights and the complete can be found upon request.

According to the latest Rabobank Beef Quarterly report, herd liquidation in Australia cannot continue at the high rates seen through 2013 and 2014, and without any global beef expansion forecast in the short term, global supplies are expected to remain tight.

“Global beef supply continues to remain tight in Q1 2015, although Australian exports remain high as drought continues,” says Rabobank Animal Protein Analyst Angus Gidley-Baird. “Continued liquidation of the cattle herd and possible improved seasons will lead to a reduction in Australia’s beef production through 2015.”

The dry conditions in Australian cattle regions have continued into 2015. As a result, slaughter and export volumes remain high. This continues to offset some of the tight global cattle and beef supplies experienced in 2014 and forecast for 2015.
But herd liquidation in Australia cannot continue at this rate, and without any global beef expansion forecast in the short term, global supplies are expected to remain tight.

U.S. prices experienced a high degree of volatility in the early part of 2015 as a result of many factors. A slowing economy and lower pork and poultry prices are leading to a weak demand for beef and Chinese retail beef prices have been stable entering 2015 rather than following their normal upward trend.

Agribusiness, Beef, Cattle

Groups Provide Input on Dietary Committee Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Some 70 organizations offered input on the new Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report during a meeting for public comments hosted by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture last week.

ncba-200The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) took exception to recommendations in the report that advise Americans to eat less meat.

NCBA Nutrition Scientist and Registered Dietitian Shalene McNeill, said the Advisory Committee’s recommendation to exclude lean meat from a healthy dietary pattern is a historic move that ignores decades of nutrition science and all previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines. “Advising people to cut back on their red meat intake has had harmful consequences,” said McNeill. “As red meat intake has declined, we are consuming more empty calories and obesity rates have steadily increased. History has shown us that sweeping recommendations often get lost in translation and exacerbate obesity and nutrient shortfalls.”

nmpfWhile the report overall is positive when it comes to consumption of dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation testified at the meeting to stress the importance of dairy in the diet. “I would suggest that the Dietary Guidelines first continue to recommend three servings of dairy, and second, to recommend Americans increase their current consumption of dairy foods,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF Vice President of Dairy Foods & Nutrition. “Most Americans would certainly benefit by adding one more serving of nutrient-dense dairy foods each day.”

HHS and USDA are reviewing all the scientific evidence with the recommendations before developing the final guidelines. The public comment period for the report is open until May 8, 2015.

Beef, Dairy, Food, Government, National Milk, NCBA

CWT Aids in Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

CWT-logo6Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 18 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and Tillamook County Creamery Association who have contracts to sell 3.976 million pounds (1,803 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 121,254 pounds (55 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Central America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March through September 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 23.437 million pounds of cheese and 24.333 million pounds of butter to 22 countries on five continents. The amounts of cheese and butter in these sales contracts represent the equivalent of 763.819 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

The amounts of cheese and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Ag Group, Butter, Cheese, cooperatives, cwt

FDA Reviews Animal Food Ingredient Definitions

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

FDAIn order to increase transparency and instill the importance of a safe animal food supply, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented a strategy to create ingredient definitions and standards for animal food.

As part of the strategy, the FDA will review the list of animal food ingredient definitions used by industry and state regulators, which is contained in Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Official Publication. AAFCO is a voluntary membership organization that includes regulatory officials of U.S. state and federal government agencies. AAFCO provides a forum for these regulatory officials to provide guidance and recommendations to ensure that the regulation of animal feeds is as uniform as possible from state to state.

The Official Publication includes FDA-approved food additives and ingredients that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), as well as AAFCO-established definitions for other ingredients. The FDA intends to align AAFCO ingredient listings with the agency’s regulatory process and requirements.

The agency has identified the following steps for animal food ingredients:

  • The FDA intends to publish a proposed rule establishing as the agency’s standards and definitions for animal food ingredients the AAFCO definitions for those ingredients that are recognized as GRAS or approved by the agency as food additives. This proposed rule will be open for public comment, and the agency will consider those comments before issuing a final rule.
  • FDA scientists will evaluate the remaining animal food ingredients listed in the AAFCO Official Publication that are currently not FDA-approved food additives or recognized as GRAS.
    • In cases where the scientific literature supports a GRAS determination, the FDA will publish the supporting information in the Federal Register for public comment before affirming the ingredient as GRAS.
    • In cases where the data and information support a finding that the ingredient meets the food additive approval standard, the FDA intends to approve the ingredient as a food additive.
    • In cases where the FDA does not currently have data to make a GRAS determination or to approve the ingredient as a food additive, the agency will require manufacturers of these ingredients to submit a food additive petition in order to allow continued legal use of the product in animal food.

Although animal food ingredient definitions and standards generally do not vary widely across the industry, and consumers can be confident in their accuracy, the FDA’s strategy will formalize definitions and standards to meet federal laws and regulations.

The agency intends to work closely with industry during this transition to minimize disruption to animal food production and ensure transparency and clarity for both manufacturers and the public.

Ag Group, Food, food safety, Nutrition

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 HumaneWatch.org 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 HumaneWatch.org. “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