USDA Under Secretary Northey at #ARA2018

cindy zimmerman

Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Bill Northey discussed trade and a 2018 farm bill, among other topics, during a visit to the 2018 Agricultural Retailers Association convention this week in Boca Raton, Florida.

“I’m very hopeful,” said Northey about getting a farm bill by the end of the year, especially after word Thursday from House and Senate agriculture committee leadership that they have reached an agreement on a bill.

On the trade front, Northey talked about the second round of trade mitigation payments approved by the president to offset export disruptions caused by retaliatory tariffs, and whether changes will be made in the payment structure used for the first round. “We’re within a very few weeks of being able to make an announcement,” said Northey, who said they are looking at potential changes. “It’s imperfect, but what’s important is that the president and secretary said we are going to try and soften the blow as best we can.”

USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Bill Northey –
USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey comments at #ARA2018

USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey interview at #ARA2018

2018 ARA Conference & Expo Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 11/26

carrie muehling

  • The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has announced the winning teams in its fall Purple Plow Challenge, Cattle Ranch Riddle. Each team won a 3-D printer and a $100 gift card for classroom use. The following teams were selected as the winners in this national competition: Meadow Groves Farms, Charles R Drew Middle School in Lincoln, Alabama; White River Valley FFA, White River Valley High School in Switz City, Indiana; Girls STEM Team, Brooks County Middle School in Quitman, Georgia; Circle G Ranch, Rosalia School District in Rosalia, Washington.
  • In August, Cargill launched the #putyourherdfirst campaign to support The Great American Milk Drive. More than 65,000 people engaged with the campaign on Facebook and Cargill announced that all 200 food banks in the Feeding America network will receive 500 servings of milk.
  • Wisconsin is taking steps to boldly claim its rightful place as the state of cheese and answer the question, “Why Wisconsin?” A new video ad showcases Wisconsin cheesemakers with beautiful wheels, blocks and cuts of cheese from companies across the state. Viewers will see the ads in digital publications such as Saveur, Epicurious, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, and on Food Network, and Food52, as well as on the website beginning on November 19.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Manuel Borca is the recipient of the 2018 Daniel E. Salmon Award for critical contributions to protecting world animal health against infectious diseases.
  • The National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board and U.S. Meat Export Federation recently collaborated to arrange an international trip to Colombia for 14 delegates from the Pork Leadership Institute. The group toured the Colombian Congress, a large wet market, the country’s largest packing plant, a retail supermarket that sold U.S. pork ribs and loins and restaurants that also sold U.S. pork.
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Enogen Means Energy for Feed and Fuel

cindy zimmerman

The same trait that makes Enogen corn hybrids great for ethanol production is also good for livestock feed.

The higher levels of the alpha-amylase enzyme in these hybrids help break down sugar into energy more efficiently which benefits both ethanol producers and cattle. “The Enogen technology and how it gains efficiencies and makes the ethanol plant money is similar in the rumen of a cow,” said Chris Tingle, head of commercial operations for Enogen at Syngenta, at the 2018 NAFB Convention Trade Talk. He says recent data from Kansas State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows about a five percent increase in feed efficiency. “Which is critical when we see the tensions of those markets now and every penny counts.”

Meanwhile, Enogen’s ethanol plant footprint continues to grow. Learn more in this interview –
NAFB18 Interview with Chris Tingle, Syngenta

2018 NAFB Convention Photo Album

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USDA and FDA to Jointly Regulate Cell-Cultured Meat

cindy zimmerman

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced plans to jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, better known by meat producers as “fake meat.”

The joint regulatory framework would include FDA overseeing cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

The National Cattlmen’s Beef Association says the announcement is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to do on the issue.

At the recent NAFB Trade Talk, NCBA president-elect Jennifer Houston talked about fake meat and her recent testimony at a joint hearing on the topic. “Where NCBA comes down is that USDA food safety inspection service should have the inspection (for fake meat),” said Houston. “If these new companies are going to be in our space of meat, then they should have the same inspection.”

Listen here: NAFB18 Interview with Jennifer Houston, NCBA

2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 11/19

carrie muehling

  • The annual Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit will once again be held at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, and is offered free of charge to all registered IPPE attendees.
  • The lawsuit filed by the Organization for Competitive Markets in 2014 over USDA’s refusal to release public audit and financial documents related to Beef Checkoff Program spending has begun its summary judgment phase with a court decision expected in early Spring 2019 as to whether the audit and financial records must be released to the public.
  • Steve Murty was recently named a Vita Plus forage products specialist. Based in central Iowa, Murty will provide on-farm forage support for staff and dairy producers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Iowa, Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.
  • Lotito Foods introduces Cheese Folios™. The Cheese Folios line includes lightly baked pliable sheets of cheese made from Parmesan, Cheddar or Jarlsberg® cheese. These quick and easy baked recipes have only 1 gram of carbs and provide 12 grams of protein per serving.
  • Afimilk, a leading provider of advanced software solutions for dairy and herd management, announced the commercial availability of AfiFarm 5.3, the latest in the company’s market-leading product line of dairy management software, and Afi2Go Pro, a new mobile app designed to provide management teams with the ultimate in flexibility.
  • The USPOULTRY Foundation recently received a $100,000 check from Pilgrim’s. The check is the final contribution of Pilgrim’s commitment to the USPOULTRY Foundation’s Ensuring the Future campaign to enhance the stability and prosperity of the poultry and egg industries.
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Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Survey

cindy zimmerman

For the 33rd year in a row the American Farm Bureau Federation has released its survey of prices for food items on the traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner table, and the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. That is down 22 cents from last year’s average of $49.12 and the least expensive in eight years.

“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.

The featured food on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs slightly less than last year, coming in at $21.71 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.36 per pound, down 3 percent from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2014.

“Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well,” Newton said.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey were a gallon of milk, $2.92; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.39; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.47; and a dozen rolls, $2.25.

Read more from AFBF.

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Introducing USFRA 2.0

cindy zimmerman

In Kansas City last week, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) introduced its refined focus, the new Farmer Ambassador network, and 2019 projects that connect food and agriculture stakeholders to enable better decision making.

Speaking to affiliate members and media attending the NAFB Convention were USFRA chairman Brad Greenway of South Dakota, USFRA Chief Executive Officer Erin Fitzgerald, and USFRA Communications Committee Chair Mace Thornton, who is American Farm Bureau Federation’s Executive Director for Communications.

Listen here:
USFRA 2.0 press conference

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John Deere and Pheasants Forever Working Together

carrie muehling

A new partnership between John Deere and Pheasants Forever will promote conservation on the farm.

“John Deere and Pheasants Forever just announced a new joint effort that will improve wildlife habitat across the country and provide discounts on select models of new John Deere equipment to Pheasants Forever members,” said Lyle McMillan, tractor marketing manager for John Deere.

McMillan said John Deere will now become the “Official Habitat Tractor” for Pheasants Forever and the company also plans to sponsor a Conservation Farmer of the Year award to promote conservation practices. John Deere will also host workshops on how to maximize those returns on investment for every acre on the farm. McMillan was at the 2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk event in Kansas City, where he also shared information about new features added to existing models this year including technology updates to 5R and 6R Series tractors.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Lyle here: Interview with Lyle McMillan, John Deere

2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 11/12

carrie muehling

  • Zoetis has announced a new data and testing agreement with Leachman Cattle of Colorado to provide a unique genomically enhanced genetic evaluation.
  • The incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses within the poultry sector’s slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 83 percent over the last 20 years and continues to decline according to the 2017 Injury and Illness Report recently released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Finalists for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook, and the NCBA Cowboy Poetry Contest, sponsored by IMI Global, have been selected. Public voting for winners will run through Dec. 4, 2018. Winners will be announced Dec. 5. To view finalists and cast your vote (one vote per location per day), or to register for the convention, go to
  • National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition Chair, Ethan Lane, released a statement in response to the injunction to halt research exploring surgical sterilization of horses and burros on federal land: “By stifling research exploring surgical population management solutions for horse and burro populations on federal land, we are furthering irreversible damage to rangelands and adding to a complex animal welfare issue. Surgical sterilization is a population management technique scientifically proven to be safe, effective and cost-efficient. The Bureau of Land Management was proceeding in a responsible, measured manner in this study, and they have support from sportsman, livestock, wildlife, and land conservation organizations who represent millions of Americans.”
  • The announcement that R-CALF will be allowed to expand its activist-funded crusade against state beef councils is a disappointment to countless beef producers and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association members across America. The phony allegations being perpetuated by R-CALF and its activist legal partners are without merit and only serve to divide beef producers and distract beef councils from the important work of building demand for our products, according to NCBA.
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