NCBA Update from Washington

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

nafb-woodallColin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs, gave updates on hot issues facing the beef industry at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk. He encourages all producers to step up and stay engaged with the political process. Topics discussed include Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), Water of the U.S. (WOTUS) and the most recent proposal of a new beef checkoff.

It will be a major hit financially if we loose access to Canada and Mexico because of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) recent decision about COOL. “Right now we are waiting to see if the U.S. government actually appeals the WTO decision. Because if they appeal it will take us much longer to finalize this entire process. It could be this time next year before we have a final decision on this.”

The comment period has ended for WOTUS and now Colin said their focus will be on making sure all members of Congress have a complete understanding of this issue because more than likely Congress will need to move in and take action. “When we have the new Congress start in Jan. 2015 we are going to go and ask them to step in and shut this whole process down. This has gone on too long and EPA isn’t going to shut it down themselves.”

Our Sec. of Agriculture would like to put in a new beef checkoff on top of the already existing one. The goal is to get an additional dollar to help the resourcing of the checkoff. Colin said the problem with this is every time an animal is sold there will be $2 assessed. One will go into the checkoff as it stands right now and the other will go into this new checkoff and there will be two separate programs. “It really won’t help us as we try to maximize our ability to do promotion work and there will be a lot of waste and duplication because both the checkoffs will be stepping on each other.”

NCBA’s biggest concern is the control being taken away from producers and the consolidation of it in Washington D.C. All 45 of NCBA’s state cattlemen’s organizations have formed a letter for Sec. Vilsack informing him of their disapproval of the proposed checkoff.

Listen to or download my complete interview with Colin here: Interview with Colin Woodall, NCBA

2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Ag Group, Audio, Beef, Beef Checkoff, Cattle, Government, NAFB, NCBA

Secretary Vilsack Addresses Animal Ag Topics

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb14-vilsackSecretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed a number of topics at the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention, including the proposed second beef checkoff.

The Secretary was asked why he is proposing the additional checkoff to be implemented by the end of next year. “This is about getting more money into the system,” Vilsack said. “If you can get that money into the system sooner, then you’re clearly going to be promoting marketing and researching sooner.”

Vilsack also gave an update on farm bill implementation for animal agriculture. “We have been sending out support for our livestock producers who suffered through very difficult times in 2011, 12 and 13,” he said. “It’s now 436,220 payments have been made to producers across the United States, it’s over $4 billion in assistance.”

Also moving along is the Dairy Margin Protection Program. “The sign up was extended now until December 7, the comment period for some of the rules we are thinking about in terms of inter-generational operations has been extended until December 15th,” said Vilsack.

Vilsack also talked President Obama’s visit to China last week and his discussions about access for beef, and he answered questions about new Senate leadership, immigration, WOTUS, trade negotiations and more. Secretary Vilsack at NAFB 2014
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Audio, Beef Checkoff, farm programs, NAFB, Trade, usda

Hood Sportsmanship Scholarships Announced

John Davis Leave a Comment

hoodscholarshipA leading dairy processor in New England is handing out 18 $5,000 college scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field. Hood says it will award the scholarships to three high school seniors in each of six New England states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“The Hood Sportsmanship Scholarship program recognizes exceptional high school seniors in New England,” said Lynne Bohan, spokesperson for Hood. “As we enter the sixth year of the program, we are proud to have invested $450,000 in 90 students who serve as role models in their classes, communities and on their respective sports teams.”

Entries will be accepted online at now through March 6th, 2015. Students will be asked to complete the application form and write a short essay explaining how they display sportsmanship and integrity on and off the field. Voting will be open to the public March 23rd through April 24th, 2015, at to determine the 10 finalists from each state who will then be interviewed by a panel of judges. The final 18 winners will be notified in May and be invited to attend an awards banquet where Gord Kluzak, retired Boston Bruins defenseman and current investment advisor at Goldman Sachs, will speak about the importance of sportsmanship.

The New England Sports Museum highlights real-life examples of how professional athletes have been able to excel while still maintaining a high degree of sportsmanship in its Sportsmanship Exhibit.

Agribusiness, Dairy

Cargill Nutrition Program to Improve Finisher Pigs’ Feed

John Davis Leave a Comment

cargill_logoA new nutrition program from Cargill is promising to deliver better feed efficiency for finisher pigs. This company news release says the program will improve feed efficiency and nutrient use in finisher pigs, saving customers money on feed during the crucial last phase of growth.

“Customers are highly sensitive to feed costs during the finisher stage, given this is the time during a hog’s life when approximately 70 percent of its feed is consumed,” said Brooke Humphrey, Cargill Animal Nutrition’s global swine technology director. “This program aims to help producers see beyond the price of feeds and evaluate the real cost of their nutrition programs. The finisher feeding program leverages our know-how with additives – particularly enzymes, which are widely used globally during this last phase of growth – and customized farm solutions using Cargill’s MAX™ system. Ultimately, this helps customers maximize their profitability and control their cost per unit of gain.”

The finisher feeding program includes:

* Nutritional and nutrient packages to support enhanced feed efficiency. New product designs are based on global standards that can be leveraged to create localized feeding programs. Nutrient packages are also available to support customers’ unique needs around genetics, gender and ractopamine.
* Significant enhancements to Cargill’s MAX™ system help customers make better nutrition decisions faster. The MAX™ system updates contain a number of new features including updated lean gain approach, immunocastration guidelines, liquid feeding, fat quality and intake enhancements.
* Enzyme best management practices to support increased efficiency for the growing hog.

Cargill says the program is available as a complete feed or as a customizable nutrition program designed around a customer’s specific needs.

Agribusiness, Feed, Swine

New Insights for Corn Silage Harvest

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

CalibrateA recent field study of fresh chop corn silage shows that waiting for that last 3 to 5 percent of starch fill may not be worth it – especially if you intend to feed that silage to lactating dairy cows.

As the plant matures and kernel starch fill continues, the rumen digestibility of the starch decreases, explains Dr. David Weakley, director of forage research for Calibrate® Technologies. In dairy cows, when the amount of rumen degradable starch is less than expected, milk production can suffer.

Weakley and his team tested 300 fresh cut corn plant samples using Calibrate’s proprietary GPN technology. (GPN is a measure of rumen degradable starch obtained from an analytical rapid NIR test.) All of the samples were obtained from a number of Texas growers who had planted approximately 30 corn silage hybrids.

The starch content of all 300 samples averaged 34 percent, but individual samples ranged from 16 percent to 47 percent. The GPN score averaged 6.8 but individual samples ranged from 5.8 to 7.8.

“We saw a clear linear decrease in rumen starch degradability as crude starch content increased,” says Dr. Weakley. These results showed that starch content and GPN are inversely related. That means waiting to let the ear fill completely to maximize crude starch content may not provide optimum starch digestibility for the cows.

In addition to lower rumen digestibility, more mature starch also means that kernel processing may not be as effective. That, in turn, could further decrease the amount of starch that is available to the cow.

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Agribusiness, corn, Nutrition, Silage

Genetic Canadian Alliance Formed

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Foundation Genetics Service, Inc, Canada, will join Accelerated Genetics, USA and Cogent Breeding Ltd, United Kingdom, forming an alliance to expand their portfolio of breed leading, dairy genetics, animal health products and value-added services to producers in Canada on December 1, 2014.

Albert Reurink, Accelerated Genetics Vice President International Sales is excited about the alliance. “At Accelerated Genetics, our vision is to be the producer’s trusted first choice. The addition of Foundation Genetics is a major step in achieving that vision. Producers in Canada will benefit from the great genetics we offer such as 014HO06494 He-Man, 014HO06047 Favre, and 014HO07449 Ocean-PP.”

Cogent Breeding is also optimistic about this partnership opportunity. John Cochrane, International Sales Manager for Cogent Breeding, adds, “With the recent International attention and release of 224HO02881 Supershot, we are delighted to be able to offer superior genetics to the Canadian market.”

Foundation Genetics has been marketing genetics from highly ranked genomic and proven dairy sires since 1999. This new partnership will enhance the services offered to Canadian customers by exclusively supplying semen from both the Accelerated Genetics and Cogent Breeding bull line-ups.

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Agribusiness, Animal Health, Cattle, Reproduction

American Butter Institute Hosts Holiday Cookie Contest

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

GBWB-Holiday-Cookie-Recipe-ContestThe American Butter Institute’s Go Bold With Butter blog is inviting home bakers and cookie enthusiasts to submit original cookie recipes this fall for a chance to win $2,000 in its Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest.

Now through Dec. 7, 2014, baking enthusiasts can submit their recipes on the contest entry page. Entrants must submit an original cookie recipe using REAL® butter. The creator of the first place winning recipe will receive $2,000, and second and third place winners will receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

“Our audience is passionate about home baking and real, quality ingredients,” said Anuja Miner, Executive Director of the American Butter Institute. “We are thrilled to launch our first Holiday Cookie Baking Contest, and we can’t wait for consumers to share their original holiday cookie recipes in which butter plays an important role.”

A panel of expert judges will determine three winners based on use of REAL butter, taste, appearance, originality and consumer appeal. Winning recipes will be unveiled on or about December 15, 2014.

Ag Group, Butter, contest

Dairy Calf & Heifer Meeting Details

John Davis Leave a Comment

DCHAconf1This spring’s Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) annual conference is promising some real networking opportunities for farm managers and employees. The group hosts the event March 31-April 1, 2015 at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton, Wisconsin with the theme, “Connect with the Best.”

“Some of the best connections I’ve made in the industry have been through the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association,” says Vickie Franken, owner of City View Farms, near Sioux Center, Iowa and 2015 conference committee co-chair. “We’re excited to offer that opportunity, as well as educational sessions that everyone can learn from.”

This year’s conference highlights will include:

· Presentations, producer panels and hands-on demonstrations

· Unique speakers and fresh perspectives

· Networking with producers and industry leaders

· A trade show specifically focused towards the calf and heifer industry

· The annual DCHA business meeting

· Pre-conference tour and lab demonstrations at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UW SVM)

New this year is a pre-conference tour on March 30, featuring presentations and hands-on labs on calf respiratory scoring, ultrasound imaging of the calf thorax, pharyngeal swabbing and other diagnostic tests at the WVDL and UW SVM. More information is available at

Agribusiness, calf, Dairy, dairy farming, Dairy Group

Will Big Data Privacy Agreement Ease Grower Concerns?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How do you feel about election results?”

It looks like the majority polled are very happy with our recent election results. And many are optimistic. Time will tell.

Here are the poll results:

  • Very happy – 47%
  • Very unhappy – 20%
  • Cautiously optimistic – 22%
  • Don’t care – 11%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Do you think the new coalition agreement addresses ag data privacy concerns?

A coalition of major farm organizations and agriculture technology providers have announced an agreement on data privacy and security principles. The agreement was designed to encourage producers to use the full range of innovative, technology-driven tools and services to boost productivity, efficiency and profitability of agriculture with more assurance that personal data will be protected. Do you think this will ease grower concerns?


Zoetis Offers New Cattle Respiratory Disease Treatment

John Davis Leave a Comment

zoetisA new antimicrobial promises a solution for respiratory disease in cattle. Zoetis says its ADVOCIN® (danofloxacin mesylate) Sterile Injectable Solution is an effective control mechanism against bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in high-risk cattle.

ADVOCIN offers a convenient alternative for veterinarians and producers managing BRD. Producers can now use ADVOCIN for control of BRD in high-risk cattle on arrival or take advantage of the short, four-day withdrawal time for treating respiratory disease late in the feeding period. ADVOCIN delivers what veterinarians expect from a fluoroquinolone and now offers added flexibility to use the product in two ways.

“The new ADVOCIN claim helps provide another way to control BRD with the fast-acting fluoroquinolone power of ADVOCIN,” said Jeffrey Sarchet, DVM, Beef Technical Services, Zoetis. “BRD remains one of the most economically impactful challenges facing the beef industry and is extremely difficult to diagnose. Choosing the right antimicrobials that help control and treat subclinical BRD is critical to cattle health, performance and the bottom line of any operation.”

Zoetis officials say ADVOCIN is part of a comprehensive and versatile portfolio of leading BRD management solutions, including DRAXXIN® (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution and EXCEDE® (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension.

Animal Health, Cattle, Disease, Veterinary