NCBA Names 2018 Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners

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2018 BQA Feedyard Award Winner – BLAC-X Farms

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recognized winners of the 2018 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) awards at the recent Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix.

BQA Feedyard Award winner Peter Bakken of BLAC-X Farms, Inc. in Rock County, Minn., said the components of the program, which include low stress animal handling, pharmaceutical use, record keeping and feed management help to set important standards for the industry.

“It’s a standard set of practices that feedyards, whether they’re in Rock County, Minn. or in Little Rock, Ark., can follow the same set of animal raising and care practices so that at the end of the day the steak that’s on the plate or in the meat counter, the consuming public can have confidence that’s in been raised by a standard set of practices that everybody is following, not just us,” said Bakken.

2018 BQA Educator of the Year – Dr. Ron Gill, Texas A&M University

BQA Educator of the Year Dr. Ron Gill said reducing stress is a key component of the program.

“The main thing we’re talking about through livestock handling and stockmanship is to reduce stress on the cattle and the people that are handling them,” said Gill. “If we can reduce stress, we can cut down on sickness rates in those cattle, which allows us to use less antibiotics to treat respiratory disease and other illness. Everything starts kind of rolling together if we can keep stress down.”

Gill said the program offers a self-assessment tool for producers and encouraged more operators to use those tools to evaluate what they are currently doing and to see where they might make improvements.

The complete list of winners is as follows:

2018 BQA Cow-Calf Award
Bently Ranch, located in Minden, Nev., is the recipient of the 2018 Cow-Calf BQA Award. The ranch has a focus of doing the right thing in all aspects of beef production. Bently Ranch takes on a relaxed and low-stress attitude with a commitment to proper animal care and handling. With a recent focus on selling direct to the consumer, the ranch has noticed a big difference in the quality of their cattle thanks to implementing BQA practices.
2018 BQA Dairy Award
Kraft Family Dairies, located in Fort Morgan, Colo., is the winner of the 2018 BQA Dairy Award. Simply put: they care for their cows. By combining their passion with a focus on preventative health management, the farm showcases their commitment to BQA guidelines in every step of their dairy operation. What makes Kraft unique is its two-farm operation. One site houses healthy cattle. The other takes in animals that may need a little TLC. By using this two-site system, Kraft Family Dairies has drastically cut down on the number of cattle in the hospital.
2018 BQA Feedyard Award
The winner of the 2018 BQA Feedyard Award is BLAC-X Farms in Rock County, Minn. Between the two minds of the Bakken brothers, Jay and Peter, they share an extensive knowledge of the feedlot, cow-calf herd and crop operations. With a focus on education, they participate in several research projects and share their ideas on the best BQA practices with hundreds of others during tours of their operation.
2018 BQA Marketer Award
Central Livestock in South St. Paul, Minn., has been named the 2018 BQA Marketer Award winner. Their marketing practices encourage producers to focus on BQA vaccination standards by incentivizing vaccinations in the sale ring. Cattle that are up-to-date on vaccinations sell for higher prices. They also have step-by-step guides for producers to follow that highlight animal safety, ultimately yielding the best cattle.
2018 BQA Educator of the Year
Dr. Ron Gill is the winner of the 2018 BQA Educator of the Year award. In addition to his responsibilities as professor at Texas A&M University, Dr. Gill takes his lessons outside the classroom and into the field for collaborative, hands-on demonstrations through NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship program. Not only an avid proponent of BQA practices, he’s also helped develop some of the BQA guidelines that many producers follow today.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Peter Bakken here: Interview with Peter Bakken, BLAC-X Farms, Inc.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Ron Gill here: Interview with Dr. Ron Gill, Texas A&M University

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 2/12

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  • The American Hereford Association will open for business Monday, Feb. 5, at its new headquarters location, 11500 N.W. Ambassador Dr., Suite. 410, Kansas City, MO 64153, in the Kansas City Northland. The mailing address for the new location is P.O. Box 901570, Kansas City, MO 64190.
  • NutriQuest has added a number of new team members, including Kenny Seidel as Senior Account Manager for Swine, Petra Chang, Ph.D. as Technical Sales and Service for Swine, and Liang (Ted) Chen, Ph.D. as a Dairy Research Coordinator. NutriQuest Business Solutions welcomes Kevin Christensen as a Consulting CFO serving the Midwest region. Jennifer Brown has also joined NutriQuest Business Solutions as a Consulting CFO.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offers Part 2 of 4 in its Cattlemen’s Genetics Webinar Series on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. CST. The webinar is titled “Show Me The Money: Are There EPDs For Profit?” Click here to register.
  • The Make It With Wool National Finals celebrated 70 Years on Feb. 3 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. State winners in the junior and senior divisions gathered to compete for prizes and honors at the 70th annual national finals.
  • All American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and AQHYA members are invited to attend the AQHA convention as a way to stay involved with the horse industry, have an impact on decisions, voice opinions and learn new things. Click here to register for this year’s convention, scheduled for March 2-5 in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) is excited to announce an additional PORK 101 course to be held in 2018 at the University of Florida March 5-7. The course will be offered March 5-7 at the University of Florida, May 22-24 at Texas A&M University, and October 22-24 at Iowa State University. Click here to register for one of the upcoming courses.
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The Power of Prevention

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Prevention truly is key when it comes to herd health. During the NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) vets were there to discuss the economic proof points on why stopping problems before they started leads to reduced antibiotic use and higher profitability for producers’ operations.

“We are seeing more and more people interested in preventing disease instead of having to treat it. It is very expensive to treat disease. We know if we can prevent diseases the cattle are going to do better, they are going to gain more and be healthier overall,” said BI’s Professional Services Veterinarian, Dr. Peggy Thompson.

Dr. Thompson said when an animal is sick early in life, they are 30-35 pounds lighter at weaning and that impacts a producer’s bottom line. It’s also more than just getting an animal vaccinated, timing is key.

Listen to my complete conversation with Peggy to learn more about the trends in preventative medicine we are seeing today.
Interview with Dr. Peggy Thompson, Boehringer Ingelheim

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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Alltech Research Leads to Changes in Mineral Management

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Mineral management is changing, thanks to research in nutrition and genomics. Butch Whitman is an Alltech beef nutritionist who was at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show in Phoenix.

Whitman said research at Alltech’s Center for Nutrigenomics and Applied Animal Nutrition looks at how nutrients impact the expression of genes. That includes what nutrients are essential for genes that control the immune system and animal health, feed digestion, growth feed efficiency, or even at the cellular level for composition as far as fat or muscling. Producers can follow Alltech’s Blueprint Beef Nutrition program, targeted for the needs of the animal at various stages of the production cycle.

“What we used to do is feed cattle a feed, we’d see a response and we’d take the next 10 years trying to figure out why. How it worked, what was the right level to feed,” said Whitman. “The [Alltech] Nutrigenomics lab has a lot of applications to producers because it’s identified what we expect to do up front as far as how nutrients impact gene expression. So when we go to the field for either live cattle research, we’re going to the producer or the customer, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what we expect to achieve.”

Whitman said it’s an exciting change in animal nutrition that should bring new technology to customers much more quickly.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Butch Whitman here: Butch Whitman, Alltech

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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NMPF Seeks to Improve & Expand Legislative Provisions

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said the proposed dairy policy reforms included in the newly unveiled congressional disaster assistance package are “much-needed improvements to the dairy safety net,” according to NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, and come at a time when many of America’s dairy farmers are struggling financially after a third year of stagnant prices.

NMPF sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, urging passage of the larger spending bill that contains reforms to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) and provides access to additional risk management tools from the Agriculture Department (USDA). These key dairy-related elements in the bill will create $1.2 billion in baseline spending for the next Farm Bill, paving the way for additional improvements to the MPP.

The MPP reforms included in the dairy package include:
– Raising the catastrophic coverage level from $4.00 to $5.00 for the first tier of covered production for all dairy farmers;
– Adjusting the first tier of covered production to include every dairy farmer’s first five million pounds of annual milk production (about 217 cows) instead of four million pounds, a recognition of the growth in herd sizes across the country;
– Reducing the premium rates, effective immediately, for every producer’s first five million pounds of production, to better enable dairy farmers to afford the higher levels of coverage that will provide more meaningful protection against low margins;
– Modifying the margin calculation to a monthly (from bi-monthly) basis, to make the program more accurate and responsive to producers in difficult months;
– Waiving the annual $100 administrative fees for underserved farmers;
– Directing USDA to immediately reopen the program signup for 2018.

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U.S. Pork Exports Set New Volume Records in 2017

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In 2017, U.S. pork exports recorded the largest year ever in volume, with sales to more than 100 countries around the world. U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports totaled 5.399 billion pounds valued at $6.486 billion, up 6 percent and 9 percent respectively from 2016.

“Exports continue to be an important piece of the puzzle for adding to producers’ bottom line,” said Craig Morris, vice president of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “Recognizing the importance of exports, the National Pork Board recently approved nearly $8.7 million for 2018 export market activities, the most significant financial investment of Checkoff dollars in international marketing efforts to date. With more high-quality U.S. pork available than ever, we are redoubling efforts to build on the momentum of the past year.”

Pork variety meats were the shining star during 2017. Exports tied the 2011 record, with 82 percent of edible variety meat exported. Pork variety meat exports totaled $1.17 billion, setting a new total value record and surpassing $1 billion for the first time. Together, China and Mexico accounted for 86 percent of U.S. pork variety meat exports. In 2017, total edible pork variety meat exports added $9.67 in value to every hog marketed, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports accounted for 26.6 percent of total pork production, with 22 percent of muscle cuts exported, in 2017. Export value returned an average $53.47 per head back to producers, up 6 percent from 2016.

The top six markets by volume were Mexico (1.768 billion pounds), China/Hong Kong (1.09 billion pounds), Japan (868 million pounds), Canada (459 million pounds), South Korea (382 million pounds) and South America (229 million pounds).

The top six markets by value were Japan ($1.626 billion), Mexico ($1.514 billion), China/Hong Kong ($1.078 billion), Canada ($792 million), South Korea ($475 million), and South America ($268 million).

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NCBA Recognizes Arizona Ranch for Environmental Stewardship

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A third generation Arizona rancher is working hard to leave his ranch land better than he found it for the next generation. The Jim O’Haco Cattle Company is this year’s winner of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Environmental Stewardship Award, presented during this year’s Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix. O’Haco owns two ranches totaling nearly 90,000 acres.

“We have improved profitability, our bottom line, our calves are heavier, and we also have helped the environment and natural resources. We have increased wildlife on our ranch, as far as elk, antelope and other species. So it’s worked for both, for the range, the land and my business,” said O’Haco.

O’Haco said getting water to the cattle and wildlife on the ranch has been a top priority. In addition to running pipeline throughout the land, smaller changes have helped to maintain and increase wildlife populations on the ranch.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Jim O’Haco here: Jim O’Haco, NCBA National Environmental Stewardship Award Winner

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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Talking Turkey: See through Myths on Cages, Farms & Antibiotics

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

America’s turkey farmers, represented by the National Turkey Federation, have prepared a new series of videos and resources offering common-sense answers about raising healthy turkey flocks on family farms.

“People are curious and like to understand more about their food and where it comes from,” said Minnesota turkey farmer John Zimmerman. “It’s satisfying to know consumers can appreciate how turkey farming is both practical and sustainable, and the answers to their questions are all common-sense.”

“The videos aim to satisfy the public’s curiosity about a turkey farmer’s practical approach to raising their flock and to encourage consumers’ appreciation of their food from farm to fork,” said Keith Williams of the National Turkey Federation. “These short videos present the exaggerated myths of turkey farming with a bit of humor that welcomes curiosity and encourages questions.”

America’s Turkey Farmers website introduces the farmers, farmwork, and the food they provide for the consumer enjoyment of Turkey.The Perfect Protein®. The depth of experience and attention to caring for turkeys can be reviewed on the website in the Stewardship Manual written and adopted by the country’s turkey farmers as members of the National Turkey Federation. The website also offers concise fact sheets for turkey’s lean protein options among a variety of cuts for meals throughout the week that can be grilled, baked, sautéed or served as snacks.

The online resources follow the successful engagement with the public from 1.3 million views on YouTube of the “Turkey Farm and Processing Plant” video visit by the world’s leading animal welfare expert, Dr. Temple Grandin.

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Perdue Discusses State of Rural Economy

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue briefed members of the House Agriculture Committee Tuesday on the current state of the rural economy and USDA’s farm bill priorities.

“We’re in a very different situation than when you last contemplated a farm bill,” said Perdue in his opening remarks. “The state of the rural economy is fragile.”

Secretary Perdue was asked about a number of issues impacting different areas of the nation, including sorghum, nutrition programs, dairy, specialty crops, trade, FMD vaccine, getting undersecretaries approved by Congress, labor and immigration, broadband access, precision ag, citrus greening, renewable fuels, cotton, and lots more.

Listen to part of the hearing here: Sec. Perdue State of Rural Economy

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Hereford & Red Angus Release “Premium Red Baldy” Program

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Two of the largest beef breed associations in the U.S. have teamed up to offer commercial cattlemen a genetically verified program to improve their bottom line. The Red Angus Association of America and the American Hereford Association have introduced the “Premium Red Baldy” program, designed to capitalize on the best traits from both breeds while developing quality commercial females.

RAAA CEO Tom Brink and AHA Executive Vice President Jack Ward announced the new initiative at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix.

Brink said, “Both Red Angus and Hereford are committed to the success of commercial cow-calf producers, and we believe the pathway to profitability begins with having the right genetics in the cow herd. This new program will help producers access genetically verified females that are packed with heterosis and ready to go to work on farms and ranches all across the country. It all starts with the right cow traits, and Premium Red Baldy females will excel in that regard.”

“AHA is honored to join Red Angus to introduce the Premium Red Baldy program that identifies genetically superior F-1 females,” Ward said. “The AHA and RAAA are the only two breed associations that implement a mandatory whole herd reporting performance program which gives strength and reliability to their respective genetic evaluations.”

Premium Red Baldy is a tagging program designed to take advantage of hybrid vigor by maximizing the best traits of both breeds and providing commercial producers with premium replacement females. This program, targeting only heifers, will generate females for the commercial producer by emphasizing longevity, fertility, adaptability and efficiency. This partnership of powerhouse breeds promises to elevate the best genetics from each, and will build better F1 females to further the beef industry.

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