Presidential Hopefuls and Agriculture

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Which potential presidential candidate would be best for ag?”

Of the 12 potential presidential candidates included in our poll, only one has officially declared. But two hopefuls have risen to the top of our poll. It seems many believe Hillary Clinton and Scott Walker might have the best interest of agriculture in mind, if elected.

Here are the poll results:

  • Joe Biden – 3%
  • Jeb Bush – 11%
  • Ben Carson – 5%
  • Chris Christie – 1%
  • Hillary Clinton – 22%
  • Ted Cruz – 7%
  • Mike Huckabee – 13%
  • Rand Paul – 4%
  • Rick Perry – 2%
  • Marco Rubio – 3%
  • Scott Walker – 19%
  • Elizabeth Warren – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What is best for GMO labeling?

Agricultural organizations are voicing support for the bi-partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced in the U.S. House recently. What do you think is best when it comes to the labeling of GMO’s? Should it be mandatory or voluntary? Should it include all foods? Should states decide? Let us know your opinion.


House Ag Panel Hears COOL Testimony

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock & Foreign Agriculture held a hearing Wednesday to examine the implications of potential retaliatory measures taken against the United States in response to meat labeling requirements under Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

conawayHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) addressed the hearing and expressed his hope that the members of the subcommittee would “recognize the failure of this experiment and work together to avoid the economic damages that could be felt by American businesses both inside and outside of agriculture.”

Among those who testified was National Pork Producers Council President Elect John Weber of Iowa who said they fully expect the WTO to once again rule against the United States in mid-May. “Congress must be prepared to repeal the offending parts of the statue to bring the U.S. into compliance with WTO rules,” said Weber. “Congress should not allow retaliation against pork producers and other sectors of the U.S. economy.”

In his testimony, California cattle ranch manager Mike Smith called COOL “failed experiment” and a “farce” that has cost the cattle industry money and he urged the committee to “repeal COOL before retaliation is implemented.”

Representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Wine Institute, and the National Confectioners Association all agreed with that basic sentiment on behalf of numerous industries that could be impacted by retaliation. Only National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson took the opposing view, urging the committee to wait for the WTO to rule on COOL, as Canada and Mexico cannot retaliate if no damages are found. “Congress should leave COOL alone and allow the WTO process to run its course,” said Johnson.

Beef, COOL, NFU, Pork

New Option for Vaccinating Against Pneumonia

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

BIVI_288_logo.212131245_stdBoehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. shares new option for vaccinating against pneumonia caused by M. haemolytica with no significant milk drop.

Pneumonia has always been a concern for dairy producers and Mannheimia haemolytica (M. haemolytica, formerly called Pasteurella haemolytica) is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in cattle. Exposure to respiratory viruses, coupled with reduced immunity caused by overcrowding, new herd additions, transportation, ventilation insufficiencies and sudden weather changes are factors that increase the risk of this type of pneumonia. Because these opportunistic bacteria can become deadly respiratory pathogens, more and more producers are vaccinating against this potentially devastating disease.

“Frequently, if an M. haemolytica vaccine is utilized in an adult dairy herd respiratory protocol, it is often placed in the dry period due to fear of milk loss if given during lactation,” says Dr. Brian Miller, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. “However, incorporation in the dry period can be problematic due to the number of gram-negative vaccines already in place during this timeframe and concerns with endotoxin stacking (i.e., more than two gram-negative vaccines given at one time) causing a potential for anaphylaxis and abortion.”

Avoiding this concern involves catching animals again during the dry period, which is inconvenient for many producers. If an M. haemolytica vaccine could be incorporated during lactation and result in minimal milk loss, vaccine compliance and added herd respiratory protection could both be achieved.

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Agribusiness, Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cattle, Dairy

USPOULTRY Debates USA Today Editorial

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

uspoultryU.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) provided the following response to USA Today’s editorial board request for an opposing view regarding the chicken and egg industry that ran Wednesday evening, March 25.

USPOULTRY agrees chickens and other animals raised for food should be treated humanely while meeting the safest food standards for consumers. Our industry embraces animal welfare practices and sustainable production concepts that are guided by science.

The egg industry has been phasing from caged housing to newer systems that meet many consumer’s demands. This progression in animal housing provides 70 percent more space. Our industry is always looking to improve through processes that are proven and effective.

A recent activist’s video unfairly taints the entire chicken industry. Humane slaughter is important to our industry, and we are governed by requirements under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. By law, the Agriculture Department provides around-the-clock, on-site inspectors that can take enforcement action for mistreatment if spotted. When activists bring video evidence of suspected violations, The Center for Food Integrity’s Animal Care Review Panel regularly examines videos to ensure humane practices. CFI created the Animal Care Review Panel program to engage recognized animal care specialists to examine questionable video footage and provide expert perspectives for food retailers, the poultry industry and the media. Panels include a veterinarian, an animal scientist and an ethicist to assure various perspectives are represented. We’re grateful for this expert review to have a good sense of when activists are shedding light on problems and when their approach is deceptive and unfair. In the most recent video, the panel found no evidence of abuse.

We understand today better than ever that the burden of proof for the care of the birds and eggs we eat falls squarely on our industry. As such, we invite a member of the USA Today editorial board to tour a farm and poultry processing facility to see for yourself how we sustainably and safely raise, produce and process poultry for the world.

Ag Group, Chicken, Eggs, US Poultry

American Gelbvieh Adds to Team

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

gelbviehThe American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) is pleased to welcome Kelli Retallick, Manhattan, Kansas as the new Data Services Specialist.

Retallick was born and raised on a purebred beef operation in southwest Wisconsin. She is still active in her family’s own seedstock operation where their main goal is to sell bulls that will produce industry relevant cattle to fit the needs of commercial customers. Growing up in 4-H, FFA and junior beef breed associations allowed Retallick to network with seedstock and commercial producers alike, from around the country pushing her towards a career and a life in the beef industry.

Retallick received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was highly involved in both on and off campus activities from the UW Saddle & Sirloin Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau and the National Junior Angus Association’s Board of Directors. Her time served on the board gave her an inside look into the inner workings of a breed association and only further sparked her interest in how a breed association could be used to a producer’s advantage. She is now in the process of receiving a master’s degree in the field of Animal Breeding and Genetics at Kansas State University (K-State).

Most of Retallick’s current research revolves around feed efficiency of growing beef cattle, specifically the optimum test periods to capture gain and intake data. The time at K-State was one of the most eye-opening experiences to date and reaffirmed the belief that she is in the exact field she wants to be involved in.

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Ag Group, Beef, Cattle, Gelbvieh

New Holland Now Offers Plastic Twine

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

PrintBridon Cordage, a leading manufacturer of polypropylene plastic twine products, is now the official supplier of New Holland branded plastic twine. Bridon Cordage will provide quality twine products, as well as sales and marketing support to New Holland and its North American dealers. New Holland conducted an extensive review of the manufacturer’s processes, practices, testing and certifications which led them to Bridon Cordage.

For many producers, twine choices are often based on cost alone. But not all twine is the same. Cheaper twine has a tendency to break, can have trouble knotting, and it doesn’t always feed into the twine system correctly.

“We’re here to help customers make the most of their most precious resources – time and money,” notes Bob Hammitt, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Hay & Forage for New Holland Parts & Service. “With a reputation for exceptional quality and innovation, Bridon Cordage meets this calling with products that consistently perform in the field.”

Agribusiness, Forage, Hay, New Holland

Use #DCHA2015 at Dairy & Heifer Conference

John Davis Leave a Comment

DCHA confThe 2015 Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) Conference is coming up soon, and organizers are promising it will be a great chance to connect with some of the world’s best calf and heifer raisers. And to keep up on all the happenings during the March 30-April 1 meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, the DCHA team will post live updates and highlights on Facebook and Twitter, using #DCHA2015.

All are invited to follow the online highlights and join the conversation by using #DCHA2015. New this year, any attendee that posts or tweets using #DCHA2015 will be entered to win one of three canvas prints from Farmgirl Photography. Fellow calf and heifer enthusiast Danae Bauer is behind the lens of Farmgirl Photography, while also staying active on her family’s dairy, Sandy-Valley Farms, Scandinavia, Wis. The three canvas prints showcase Danae’s passion for dairy calves and heifers, and will be awarded randomly to three participants who post about the conference using #DCHA2015.

“The conference will present several opportunities for fun and informational posts and tweets,” says Vickie Franken, owner of City View Farms, near Sioux Center, Iowa and 2015 conference committee co-chair. “Our conference committee is excited to live-post on the DCHA Facebook and Twitter pages and to follow what conference attendees are posting.”

Some of the trend-worthy events going on during the conference include:

· Farm tours: An annual highlight of the DCHA conference, the farm tours this year will be hosted by Doerfer Bros., Verona, Wis. and Larson Acres, Evansville, Wis. Doerfer Bros. will discuss their experiences with hutches, groups and indoor pens, and will showcase their 60-by-156-foot calf facility with automated calf feeders, RFID technology, ventilation tubes and adjustable curtains. At Larson Acres, attendees will get to see all-in, all-out calf facilities in five nursery barns, sand separation and cross-ventilation technology.

· Keynote address: Hear why California dairyman Brad Scott of Scott Brothers Dairy took the risk of having Hollywood cameras on their farm and how it built a lifelong relationship with a national brand. Watch clips from the popular TV show Undercover Boss and discover ways you can positively impact consumer confidence.

· Calf manager and owner perspectives roundtable: This roundtable will feature three unique calf and heifer management operations, as presented by the employees and owners that drive their success. The panel of Tracy Loos (Rosy-Lane Holsteins, Watertown, Wis.), Darin Mann (M & M Feedlot, Parma, Idaho) and Aaron Harpster (Evergreen Farms, Spruce Creek, Penn.) will share their perspectives that stretch from coast to coast.

Registration and more information is available at or by calling 855-400-DCHA (3242).

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Calves, Cattle, Dairy

Beef Checkoff Educates on Foreign Marketing Efforts

John Davis Leave a Comment

beefambassador1A member of the 2015 National Beef Ambassador team got a chance to learn more about the Beef Checkoff’s foreign marketing efforts. Rachel Purdy, a sophomore at the University of Wyoming, recently had the opportunity to visit with checkoff contractor staff about foreign marketing efforts for U.S. beef.

“International markets are very dynamic – they’re always changing,” she said. “And they’re constantly something we need to be on top of as beef producers. And you know when we’re producing beef, the beef that we produce is not just for the neighbor down the street. Our beef is going all over the globe, and so the safe and savory product that we’re proud to produce is feeding the world – it really is.”

Purdy says it’s important for producers and consumers alike to remember to think globally.

“We tend to get so focused on what we’re doing immediately within our community, within our ranch, within our farms, but we need to be aware of what is happening within the bigger grand scheme of things,” she said. “A port issue in the west coast could really have an impact on the bottom line for producers. And, just small issues like that really do make a difference. And so I think producer education is key that exports and international trade is a good thing and is something that we need to be looking into more.”

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Beef, Beef Checkoff

Farm Bureau Opposes Proposed New York Carriage Ban

John Davis Leave a Comment

logo-fbFarm Bureau is urging the mayor of New York City to reconsider his proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages. In this news release, the group points out how much pride horse caretakers take in protecting the health and safety of their animals.

“This valued tradition allows people to connect with the horses and tour the city in a historic and unique way,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “New York City’s carriage horses have been an important asset to citizens and visitors throughout the years. Despite activist rhetoric that these horses are tortured and mistreated, they are in fact well cared for and valued.”

City horses, like their farm and ranch peers, generally live long, healthy lives. They receive regular examinations and treatment from veterinarians to maintain good health: The horses also get ample rest, including five weeks of vacation to the countryside each year. The carriage industry operates under strict safety guidelines and the watchful eye of both the city’s Department of Health and the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Horse owners know their livelihoods depend on keeping their animals safe and healthy: They wouldn’t jeopardize that.

Stallman points out the proposed ban doesn’t come from people who work with horses day-to-day, and the claims aren’t based on science or recommendations from veterinarians or the expertise of ranchers, livestock owners, and animal care professionals who work with animals every day and have been caring for these horses for centuries.

AFBF, Ag Group, Agribusiness, Equine, Farm Bureau

Deere Updates 3E Series Compact Utility Tractors

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

OverallThe 2015 John Deere 3032E and 3038E compact utility tractors feature some new customer-driven updates for added convenience, comfort and ease of use.

The 3032E and 3038E are equipped with powerful, emissions-compliant Final Tier 4 engines with 31.1 (22.3 kW) and 37.3 (27.4 kW) horsepower, respectively. A hydrostatic transmission with Twin Touch™ pedals provides operators with simple, comfortable-to-use controls to find the right speed for the job at hand. It’s as easy as pressing a single foot pedal to go forward and another foot pedal to go in reverse. Automotive-style cruise control is optional. Intuitive controls are color-coded (orange for throttle and shifting; black for hydraulics; yellow for power take-off (PTO)) for easy operation.

Both models feature a flat, uncluttered, open station operator platform. A new, higher back seat provides added comfort for long days of work. A foldable, certified rollover protection structure (ROPS) is designed to provide easier storage. Without tools, the operator can manually fold the safety device down for easy parking in a garage or shed. The exhaust system was moved from the top of the tractors and now runs parallel to the ground for improved visibility and a cleaner look.

Four wheel drive comes standard on both the 3032E and 3038E, which are part of the emerging E Series Tractor lineup designed especially for rural property owners, equine and small-scale livestock operations looking for a machine designed to handle a variety of tasks.

Equine, Equipment, John Deere