Vote for @USFRA New Faces of Farming and Ranching

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Here’s one vote you can be happy to cast this year!

usfra-facesPublic voting for the third class of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) Faces of Farming and Ranching has begun and will run through October 23. Eight finalists for the third class of USFRA Faces were announced last month and the final five will be announced November 9 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual meeting.

Visit USFRA’s Facebook Page to learn more about each of the finalists and then vote for the one you believe best represents the passion and innovation behind today’s agriculture. The Facebook voting through ShortStack will appear as a tab on USFRA’s Facebook page (it’s one vote per 24 hours).


Interest Growing for Robotic Milking Systems

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

wde-16-gea Between the growing world’s increased production demands, consistently low milk prices, and the public push for stricter production and quality standards, dairy farmers are facing several significant challenges. Innovative solutions are necessary to help producers navigate through the changes and pressures facing the industry, and more farmers than ever are turning to automation technology from companies like GEA.

The company made a strong presence at this year’s World Dairy Expo and offered attendees several opportunities to view live demonstration of their automated milking systems. Two products are offered in GEA’s automation package: the DairyProQ rotary parlor and the new Monobox box system.”

“Robotics is growing really fast, it’s really popular with customers, it’s probably the hottest area in our booth this year,” said Paul Berdell, Automation Sales Specialist, in an interview during World Dairy Expo. “Everyone expects that over the next few years we’re going to start seeing even more of this technology in the field because of cost of labor changes and people wanting to expand their operations.”

Both products offered in GEA’s automation package offer a variety of benefits to producers and their cattle, including GEA’s unique in-line system that allows teat preparations, fore-stripping, stimulation, milking, and post-dipping to be performed in the same cup.

Learn more in Lizzy’s full interview with Paul here:
Interview with Paul Berdell, GEA

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 World Dairy Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland
Agribusiness, Audio, Dairy, GEA Farm Technologies, Milking Parlor, Robotics, World Dairy Expo

Groups Respond to USDA’s GIPSA Rules

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

USDA_logoMany livestock organizations have concerns with the regulations on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry after the USDA sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review three rules – the “Farmer Fair Practices Rules” – that would “help balance the relationships between livestock producers, swine production contract growers, and poultry growers and the packers, swine contractors, and live poultry dealers with whom they interact.”

Issued by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) as an interim final rule and two proposed rules, the regulations are supposedly revisions of rules first proposed by GIPSA in 2010 to implement provisions Congress included in the 2008 Farm Bill.

“Pork producers are concerned that, like the 2010 proposed rules, the ones sent to OMB would have a negative effect on the pork industry, from producers to packers and ultimately consumers,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) CEO Neil Dierks. “While the specifics of the actual rules are not yet clear, we’re worried about their impact on the ability of producers to secure financing and to innovate and about them potentially leading to greater vertical integration without offering positive advantages to the industry and consumers.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Tracy Brunner said, “The GIPSA rules, as they pertain to cattle producers, are extremely troubling to our industry at a time when we are already grappling with volatile futures markets and a fragile cash market. Rather than working to help ensure producers have accurate price information in a productive way, like ensuring Mandatory Price Reporting is a critical government function, unaffected by future government shutdowns; USDA is expending time and resources to push forward outdated rules to regulate an industry that never requested their assistance. These rules were flatly rejected by cattle producers six years ago and a strong bi-partisan majority in Congress expressed their continual disapproval through a half-decade of defunding.”

“It is irresponsible for USDA to advance this stale six year old rulemaking,” said North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “The interim final rule as described will open a floodgate of litigation, up-end the established system for marketing cattle, pork, and poultry in the U.S., and add costs at every step along the process from producers to consumers.”

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, said “While the impact of these rules is not fully known, if they are in any way similar to the 2010 GIPSA proposal, I have serious concerns that the U.S. livestock, poultry, and meat sectors will be tremendously burdened and experience irreparable harm during already difficult economic times,” said Charmian Roberts. “I have opposed the GIPSA rules since 2010, and Congress repeatedly voiced disapproval of this proposal over the past six years. In April 2016, I sent a letter to USDA urging the agency to reconsider issuing the rules. I heard concerns about the GIPSA rules from farmers and ranchers at a hearing in May. At another hearing in September, I pressed USDA Secretary Vilsack on this matter. I will continue to advocate for the interests of livestock, poultry, and meat producers as these rules moves forward due to the harm they will cause, not only in my home state of Kansas but across the country.”

However, National Farmers Union (NFU) believes it will help balance the relationships between producers and meat packers in the concentrated livestock and poultry industries. NFU fCEO Roger Johnson said, “Livestock producers and poultry growers have been waiting too long for much needed protections against the fraudulent, anti-competitive practices they fall victim to in the marketplace. We applaud USDA for staying committed to publishing rules that seek to protect producers, growers, consumers and the industry alike.”

Ag Group, Livestock, Meat, NCBA, NFU, NPPC

Chefs From Barbados Visit Colorado Lamb Plant

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

USMEF logo This week’s audio report from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) discusses a USMEF-sponsored trip that recently brought a team of chefs from the Caribbean island of Barbados to Colorado for a firsthand look at the quality and versatility of U.S. lamb.

During their visit, the team received a tour of the Superior Farms lamb plant in Denver. Shane McKenzie, the plant’s Vice President of Operations, and Faith Garrad, Export Coordinator, also took the chefs through the company’s processing and packing procedures.

The chefs also participated in a U.S. lamb cutting and tasting demonstration at the Americatus New World Italian Restaurant in Denver.

The team was accompanied on their trip by Edward Juman, of Continental Foods, a meat importer/distributor based in Barbados, accompanied the team to the United States.

“The main objective was to expose them to the various proteins available to them and to show them what we can get versus what they’re using now,” said Juman in the report. “Everyone was impressed with the full tour of Superior Farms and the manner in which they process all their animal, how they’re handled, and how they cater to their various customers.”

Learn more in the full report here:
USMEF Report, Barbados Chefs in Colorado

Ag Group, Audio, Export, Lamb, Sheep, USMEF

Holstein Registration Continues to Thrive

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

wde-16-holstein Their signature black and white markings make the Holstein one of the most easily recognizable breeds of dairy cattle, but it is the breed’s superior milk production traits and strong ability to thrive that has led the Holstein to become the most popular dairy breed in the world. Behind every great breed of livestock is a superb breed association, and the Holstein Association USA is no exception. It is the world’s largest dairy breed association, with close to 400,000 Holsteins registered each year, and its nationwide membership has totaled over 18,000.

Jodi Hoynoski, Executive Director of Holstein Identification and Member Services for Holstein Association USA, sat down with me for an interview during the 2016 World Dairy Expo, to discuss Holstein registration numbers, which have continued to thrive in recent years.

“We’re really excited that the interest in registration continues to thrive, we’ve been growing and seeing the highest registration totals in fifteen years,” she said. “I think a lot of dairymen are getting interested in having good identification systems on their farms, and that’s helping drive our registrations to increase.”

Learn more in my full interview with Jodi here:
Interview with Jodi Hoynoski, Holstein Association USA

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 World Dairy Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland
Ag Group, Audio, Breeds, Dairy, Holstein Association, World Dairy Expo

National Chicken Council Launches New Social Media

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-6-00-19-pmAccording to USDA estimates, Americans will eat 92 pounds of chicken per person this year, a record amount. With that popularity, variety and so many choices, come questions, confusion and sometimes misperceptions. The National Chicken Council (NCC) understands people want to know more than just that the food they purchase is safe for them — they want to know it was raised humanely and sustainably.

To help answer those questions and cut through some of the confusion, NCC as part of its Chicken Check In initiative announced the launch of a new blog – The Cluck – and a new Instagram account.

The Instagram page features pictures from chicken farmers from across the country going about their daily business on their farms, caring for their flocks.

“Chicken farmers and company personnel take pride in the care of their chickens, and the fact is that our national flock is as healthy as it’s ever been, but we know it’s on us as an industry to do a better job of providing more information about how the chicken we feed our families is raised and produced,” said Tom Super, NCC senior vice president of communications. “The new blog and Instagram page offer two more vehicles for us to that.”

Chicken Check In was launched in December 2015 and is continuously updated to help provide real answers about current issues in chicken production and give consumers as close of a look as they would like at the lives of the birds. In addition to the new blog and Instagram page, the site contains videos, FAQs, infographics, and links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Ag Group, Blogging, Chicken, National Chicken Council, Poultry, Social Media

Animal Ag Bites

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment


  • The 46th Annual American Gelbvieh Association National Convention will be held November 30 through December 2, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The event themed “Meeting Modern Industry Demands” is focused on improving profitability in all sectors of the beef industry. The title sponsor for the event is GeneSeek®, a Neogen company.
  • USPOULTRY announces the completion of a funded research project at the USDA ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga., with Dr. Erica Spackman, USDA ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, in which a researcher provided various time and temperature profiles to effectively inactivate the avian influenza virus in poultry litter.
  • Registration and housing for the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show is now open. The 120th annual convention will be held in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 1-3, 2017.
  • AgriLabs, a leading marketing and sales distribution company for food animal products based in St. Joseph, Missouri, has selected Meyocks for branding and marketing communications services after an agency review.
Animal Bites

Accelerated Genetics Celebrates Milestone

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

wde-16-189-editedAccelerated Genetics is celebrating 75 years as a cooperative and just happens to be one of the original supporters of the World Dairy Expo. As the Expo celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, Accelerated Genetics was honored to say they have been a part of each since year one.

Accelerated Genetics’ Industry Relations Coordinator, Kari Stanek, said they have had the same booth space for all 50 years and you just can’t miss them when walking through the arena. If you stopped to visit the booth this year you were entered to win a semen tank, $250 semen certificate and a $250 animal health package.

“The biggest thing farmers come to talk with us about are their genetic needs and if they are having reproduction challenges and seeking assistance from our consultants. We can help supply all breed genetics along with animal health products to help make their farm successful.”

They also launched a new partnership with Afimilk and the Silent Herdsman cow monitoring system during the Expo. “Cow health goes hand-in-hand with breeding and reproduction. The new cow activity monitoring system not only will notify of heat detection, but also rumination data.”

You can listen and download my complete interview with Kari here: Interview with Kari Stanek, Accelerated Genetics

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 World Dairy Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland
Agribusiness, Audio, Cattle, Dairy, Genetics, Reproduction, World Dairy Expo

Celebrating The Masters of Wisconsin Cheese

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

wde-16-wmmb The World Dairy Expo hosts and celebrates a global audience of dairy producers each year, but the Wisconsin dairy industry has always remained a standout on the event’s international platform. The state is a milk production powerhouse, producing a record 29 billion pounds of milk last year, but the product Wisconsin is truly famous for is cheese, thanks in large part to the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program and the efforts of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) that helped bring it to life.

Patrick Geoghegan, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for WMMB, sat down with me for an interview during the expo to discuss how the program has helped build Wisconsin cheese production, which has grown by over 26 percent since 2005, and to explain how it is fueling Wisconsin’s 43 billion dollar dairy sector.

“90 percent of Wisconsin’s milk goes into cheese making, and 90 percent of the cheese produced in Wisconsin is sold outside of the state’s borders,” said Geoghegan. “This program is a fantastic way to bring money back into the state of Wisconsin and fuel our economy.”

The rigorous Master Cheesemaker Program, the only one of its kind outside of Europe, provides cheesemakers with a singular opportunity to reach the highest levels of their craft. 59 active Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers currently work in 32 companies across the state, holding certifications in 35 different cheese varieties. Licensed cheesemakers with over ten years of experience are eligible to apply for the three year program, which allows participants to receive Master certification in up to two cheese varieties.

Geoghegan also discussed a few of the other programs WMMB has created to help promote Wisconsin cheese, including the record breaking results from the 2016 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown contest. The contest sought out the nation’s greatest grilled cheese recipe, and a record number of submissions were received this year from all 50 states.

Learn more in my full interview with Patrick here:
Interview with Patrick Geoghegan, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 World Dairy Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland
Ag Group, Audio, Cheese, Dairy, Dairy Checkoff, World Dairy Expo

Dairy Strong Offers Free Registration for Farmers

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

17-dairy-strong-logo-color_web Registration is now open for the Dairy Strong” Conference and Trade Show, which will be held January 18-19, 2017 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Dairy farmers who register by November 1 will receive free registration to the convention. After November 1, dairies can attend for $150 for two days or $99 for one day.

This year’s event will offer attendees the opportunity to hear several inspiring keynotes from renowned national speakers. The opening keynote speaker for this year’s event will be Dana Perino, former White House press secretary, political commentator, New York Times No. 1 best-selling author, and co-host of the “The Five” on Fox News.

A variety of innovative and practical sessions will also take place at Dairy Strong, with sessions focused on relevant ways to help farmers to improve their dairies and panels focusing on issues related to workforce development and Latino community’s influence.

In between sessions, the convention will also allow attendees the opportunity to make valuable industry connections. None of us got to where we are without relationships, and Dairy Strong will allow a diverse group of farmers, corporate professionals and representatives from government agencies and universities to come together and network with a united mission to move dairy forward. Attendees will also have access to connect with several of the nation’s leading suppliers on the trade show floor

Registration information can be found here. Sponsorships and exhibitor booth space are also available.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Dairy, Dairy Business, Dairy Strong