Cattlemen: Federal Spending Bill Good for Producers

John Davis Leave a Comment

us-capitol-fiscal-cliff-voteAs the U.S. House funds much of the federal government through September of 2015 (and we wait for the Senate to pass the bill as well), cattle producers are happy with what’s in that bill. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says this appropriations bill contained many of the priorities for cattlemen and women.

“We were very happy to see a number of issues that have affected our producers addressed in this legislation,” said [National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Victoria, Texas cattleman, Bob McCan]. “It is clear that Congress recognizes and agrees that the Administration’s regulatory zeal has gone too far and if left unchecked, it will impede the economic growth of rural America.”

Key for cattlemen and women, the report language for the USDA contained a provision instructing the Secretary of Agriculture to submit a report with his recommendations for any changes in the Federal law required to bring the Country of Origin Labeling program into compliance with our international trade obligations. This report would need to be submitted within 15 days of the appeal decision from the WTO or by May 1, 2015, whichever comes first.

“The WTO ruling on the COOL rule was very clear that this provision discriminates against our largest trading partners,” said McCan. “Moreover, this failed legislation has cost U.S. cattle producers in the form of lost revenue and added costs for labeling, all for a program that has not shown benefits to consumers or greater consumption of beef. It is time to fix COOL before our economy is damaged by retaliatory tariffs or our trade relationships are permanently damaged. Failure to abide by our trade obligations sends a signal to our current and future trade partners that they too can pick and choose what provisions to abide by.”

The measure also ensures there’s not a duplicative beef checkoff, as well as directing the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the Waters of the United States Interpretative rule. Another provision important to NCBA is the defunding of the GIPSA provisions and language on a number of environmental regulations.

Ag Group, Government

Follow Your Management Rules to Tackle PRRS

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

bivi-prrs-14-192-editedWith over 20 years of research into PRRS, Dr. PH Rathjen with Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI), is no stranger to the virus. As one of the speakers at the BIVI sponsored session at the North American PRRS Symposium he shared his experiences dealing with PRRS from his home in Denmark and how utilizing both Area Regional Control (ARC) and vaccines can work together to combat the virus.

“All the participants need to come together and agree on the goals. I think if you are not in line with all you won’t succeed. Both the communication between vets and farmers has to be good. Everyone has to help each other.”

One key phrase Dr. Rathjen said he wanted everyone to remember was the importance of sticking to your management rules. “We can see that if we fail it’s not do to the program. The program was perfect. It comes down to the basic rules in the management. If you don’t follow the rules on optimum flow or other management rules, it will be the small things on a single farm that can put the project at risk.”

Dr. Rathjen continues to share insights into their PRRS project in Denmark along with results and challenges looking back one year later in my complete interview with him. Interview with Dr. PH Rathjen, Boehringer Ingelheim

Find all the photos from the event here: 2014 BIVI PRRS Seminar Photo Album

Agribusiness, Audio, Boehringer Ingelheim, PRRS, Swine

Poultry Industry Improves Worker Safety Record

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 8.33.15 AMThe incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses within the poultry sector’s slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 80 percent over the last 20 years and continues to decline according to the 2013 Injury and Illness Report recently released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Poultry processing’s 2013 rate of 4.5 represents an outstanding 80.2 percent decrease from 1994 (the oldest data available on the BLS website), when the recorded rate was 22.7. This demonstrates the enormous progress the industry has made in improving safety for its workforce.

The total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate for 2013 was 4.5 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), down from 4.9 in 2012. In terms of injuries per 100 full time workers, the poultry industry’s rate of 4.5 was below the rate of 5.7 for all animal slaughter and processing and only slightly above the rate of 4.0 for the entire manufacturing sector.

“The poultry industry relies on our workforce of dedicated employees to provide a wholesome and affordable food source for our nation and the rest of the world. That is why we are so heavily invested in processes and procedures to further reduce workplace hazards. The significant and consistent decline in illness and injury rates among our workforce over the past two decades is a direct result of the poultry industry’s strong commitment to worker safety,” said Mike Nations, Harrison Poultry, and committee chairman for the Joint Poultry Industry Safety & Health Council, a group comprised of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation members.

Ag Group, Chicken, Poultry, Turkey, US Poultry

California #HealthyElf Campaign

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 8.27.21 AMSince its arrival from the North Pole a few years ago, the Elf on the Shelf® phenomenon has spawned countless blogs and Pinterest posts chronicling scout elf antics and children’s reactions. This year, First 5 Sacramento and Dairy Council of California are teaming up to show parents and caregivers how to “haul out the healthy” with Elf on the Shelf®.

The concept of Elf on the Shelf® is scout elves who fly to the North Pole to report to Santa each night, offering a powerful incentive for children to follow the an elf’s example. Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, Chair of First 5 Sacramento, explains, “From buckling up in a car seat to getting flu shots andHealthy Elf models healthy eating from all five food groups eating balanced meals and snacks, Elf on the Shelf® can be used to encourage healthy habits this holiday season, in addition to good behavior.”

Dairy Council of California started the #HealthyElf campaign with an online gallery and Pinterest board. #HealthyElf helps pack sack lunches, plays indoor hopscotch, builds a snowman and even plays online games at the HealthyEating.org website. First 5 Sacramento joins the campaign this year to help reinforce other healthy habits of early childhood, like outdoor play, vaccinations and more.

The #HealthyElf images show easy ways to take small steps toward healthier lifestyles, like making hot cocoa with milk or offering yogurt dip along with vegetable trays, to help families meet their recommended daily servings of milk and milk products, which is an essential part of a healthy diet. Other images, like #HealthyElf playing hopscotch indoors on a board made with blue painter’s tape or jumping rope, help encourage physical activity.

“Elf on the Shelf® demands a lot of creativity from parents, so #HealthyElf is designed to provide some additional ideas that will keep health top of mind this holiday season,” said Ashley Rosales, registered dietitian nutritionist with Dairy Council of California and First 5 Sacramento advisory committee member. “Since the elf brings an expectation of good behavior prior to Christmas, it’s a perfect way to model healthy behavior.”

Ag Group, Dairy, Food, Health

Tax Break Poll Results

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How should Congress handle tax breaks?”

Congress is once again considering a package of tax breaks for businesses and individuals that include everything from section 179 deductions to renewable energy tax credits. An overwhelming majority believe a flat tax is the answer. Will Congress think the same? Making tax breaks permanent and not allowing them at all tied for second place in our poll. Still looks like many are all over the board on what they think should be done.

Here are the poll results:

  • Make them permanent – 18%
  • One year at a time – 10%
  • Keep letting them expire & renew – 3%
  • Don’t allow any – 18%
  • Two words – FLAT TAX – 43%
  • Don’t know – 5%
  • Don’t care – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What’s the biggest challenge for the seed industry?

The seed industry gathered in Chicago for the annual seed expo and research symposium for corn, soybeans and sorghum and many issues were discussed. Since all of agriculture depends in some way on seed, the long term survival of that industry impacts everything from food and feed, to fuel and fiber, to flowers. What do you see as the biggest issues for the future of the seed industry?

ZimmPoll

Researchers Look to Make Carp Invasive to Dinner Plates

John Davis Leave a Comment

Mark-Morganfish1While invasive Asian carp have become a problem for Midwestern rivers in the form of living missiles, researchers are hoping they’ll soon to leap onto dinner plates. This article from the University of Missouri says a professor in Mizzou’s School of Natural Resources says if you can’t beat ‘em, then eat ‘em.

With help from a Mizzou Research Council grant, [Mark Morgan] and his research team have identified a commercially viable boneless carp product, conducted a taste test on campus, compiled tasty carp recipes and test marketed the product at local restaurants and grocery stores. His mission now is to get people to overcome their reluctance to try the fish.

He’s confident that he will have diners hooked. The creation of a commercial carp fishing industry on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers could help control numbers of the troublesome fish.

Morgan says while there’s a great need to stop the carp from invading areas and choking out billions of dollars of fisheries, he admits that getting consumers to choke down the fish is pretty tough. The bony carp are hard to eat despite tasting quite good. Morgan’s solution has been to come up with a way to use a wire mesh to separate the skin and bones from the tasty flesh to make into ground carp to be made into burgers.

“Think of ground turkey,” Morgan said. “With only a slight fish flavor.”

At $1.99 a pound, it costs substantially less than ground beef, making getting the fish out of the fisheries and onto the grill an increasing possibility and taking the Asian carp from an ugly, leaping invasive pest to a great meal.

“Carp won’t win any beauty contests and that’s a problem,” Morgan said. “They’re kind of ugly. The only way to get over the fear of eating carp is to face it and eat one.”

Aquaculture, Fish, Research

Coalition Glad to See Congress Act on COOL

John Davis Leave a Comment

COOLreform1Congress has moved in the to make sure U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for meat products comply with U.S. trade obligations in the new appropriations bill. The bipartisan action to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative to report recommendations no later than May 1, 2015 to Congress gained the praise of the COOL Reform Coalition.

If the U.S. loses its final appeal before the World Trade Organization, the subsequent authorized retaliation would cost the U.S. economy billions in exports to Canada and Mexico, the two largest markets for U.S. exports. Businesses and workers in the U.S. would unfairly pay the price as the threat of retaliation impacts business operations and is felt throughout the supply chain.

Simply, a finding of noncompliance means economic harm and lost jobs. That is just too high a price to pay for breaking the very trade rules the U.S. was instrumental in writing.

The coalition says while the action by Congress is a good start, more action is needed to make sure the parts COOL that found to violate U.S. trade obligations are repealed.

Ag Group, COOL, Government

Closing the PRRS Knowledge Gap

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

bivi-prrs-14-138-editedThe amount of research being done with PRRS is great, however the knowledge gap is large. Dr. Andres Perez, professor at the University of Minnesota, talked about PRRS research with goals to close some of our knowledge gaps and summarized results of and future plans for research on PRRS incidence, molecular epidemiology and modeling. All this took place during Boehringer Ingelheim’s session at the North American PRRS Symposium.

“We think realistically the most immediate step is to try and understand the impact of the disease. There are a number of research projects keeping that in mind,” said Dr. Perez. Looking into the future, he said biosecurity was one area of study being explored. “And how we can manage it to decrease the impact of the disease and finally to understand the social competence of the disease and the role the different players play in maintaining and preventing disease transmission.”

In my complete interview with Dr. Perez, learn more about the research being done with PRRS at the University of Minnesota. Interview with Dr. Andres Perez, University of Minnesota

Find all the photos from the event here: 2014 BIVI PRRS Seminar Photo Album

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Audio, Boehringer Ingelheim, PRRS, Swine

NAMA Executive Director Steps Down

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

namaThe North American Meat Association (NAMA) and Executive Director Philip H. Kimball announced that he has stepped down after eight years of service to the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) and NAMA.

Kimball became NAMP’s Executive Director in 2007. When NAMP merged with the National Meat Association (NMA) in 2012, Kimball became NAMA’s Executive Director, working closely with CEO Barry Carpenter.

“It is rewarding to bring added value to this dynamic industry,” Kimball said, “and I look forward to continuing to make a contribution in a new capacity.”

At NAMP, Kimball advocated member interests on food safety issues at USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), especially on the E. coli issues facing further processors.

Under Kimball’s leadership, NAMP became widely recognized as being entrepreneurial in meeting the needs of the further processor sector of the industry. He helped break down the silos in the industry through strategic partnerships with other industry groups, trade publications, government agencies, and industry suppliers.

Kimball championed NAMP as an organization for meat processors in Canada and Mexico, as well as the U.S.

Read More

Ag Group, Meat

Cattlemen’s Boot Camp at the University of Florida

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

angus bootcampCattle producers are invited to gather for a Cattlemen’s Boot Camp March 9-10, 2015, at the Jackson County Agricultural Center in Marianna, Fla. The event is hosted by the American Angus Association® in partnership with the University of Florida, and provides purebred and commercial producers timely information presented by academic and industry professionals.

Registration is now available online and open until March 2, 2015.

“We are looking forward to hosting cattlemen in Florida this March for an extensive program aimed at improving operations of all types. There is something for everyone,” says Ashley Mitchell, Association assistant director of events and education.

Open to all cattle producers, the event is funded by the Angus Foundation and features a day and a half of educational speakers and hands-on activities to help improve their herd operations. The workshop is packed with pertinent information including bull selection, reproductive technologies, genetic markets, forage management and much more.

Registration is $75 per person, and includes meals and educational materials. Registration forms are due March 2, 2015, and can be submitted electronically or mailed to Ashley Mitchell at the American Angus Association, 3201 Frederick Ave., Saint Joseph, MO, 64506. Late and walk-in registrations are not accepted.

Hotel rooms are available at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Marianna for $83 plus tax until Feb. 1, 2015. Use code “Angus Cattlemen’s Boot Camp” to receive the group rate. Find tentative schedule here.

Ag Group, Angus