Understanding Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus

Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus is a devastating disease in cattle. But many producers may not realize that Type 1b is the most common subtype of the disease. Dr. Steve Foulke with Boehringer Ingelheim said many vaccines do not even cover Type 1b.

“The vaccines that are out there on the market contain Type 1a and Type 2a in them, but they generally don’t have a Type 1b actually in them,” said Foulke. “So, the diseases are all the same, but do we cover for everything? So that’s where it’s really important to know whether the vaccines you’re using to prevent BVD are going to protect against the most common BVD that’s actually out there.”

Foulke said BVD can cause more than just diarrhea in cattle. It’s more commonly expressed as a respiratory virus or a reproductive issue, causing early abortion, fetal or congenital malformations, or other problems. The virus also suppresses the immune system, making cattle more susceptible to other diseases.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Dr. Foulke at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention: Interview with Dr. Steve Foulke, Boehringer Ingelheim

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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A Preview of 2018 National Pork Forum

jamie johansen

The 2018 National Pork Forum will take place February 28 – March 2, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. The event serves as the annual business meeting for the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“The purpose of both organization’s delegate sessions is to really look at the key issues. Producers have the opportunity to discuss those issues and determine the direction for the industry,” said Cindy Cunningham, Assistant VP of Communications for National Pork Board.

NPPC will likely be discussing the 2018 farm bill and trade renegotiations. On the checkoff side, Cindy said they will be discussing new technologies impacting the industry, how the checkoff has changed the way it delivers information and pork exports.

“Each year about a third of the producers who are attending and representing their state are new to Pork Forum. Producer delegates are selected at the county level to attend their state Pork Congress. From there they are selected to attend the National Pork Forum as delegates,” Cindy said.

She added the discussion which takes place between delegates is truly fascinating and their passion for the pork community shines.

Listen to our complete chat here to learn more about the upcoming event. Interview with Cindy Cunningham, National Pork Board

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Alltech’s Bio-Mos for Gut Health

jamie johansen

When it comes to gut health in cattle, a tried and true product from Alltech is Bio-Mos. The 2018 Cattle Industry Convention was a great spot for us to get a refresher on how this product is performing in the field and at the bunk.

“You will see an increase in immune response, a reduction of those bad bugs, you will see an increase in feed efficiency, health of the animal and immunoglobulin levels in colostrum. Overall, it is just a great product to add to your operation,” said Zach Postin, Alltech Sales Representative.

Bio-Mos comes in a concentrated form which is mixed into fields, in a mineral or in a crumble to serve as a top-dressing or mixed on the farm.

Postin said stressed situations are seen at all stages of the growing process. Cow/calf operations can feed it right before and after calving. It should also be fed right before and after weaning to keep gut regulated. At the stocker level, Postin said it’s also great for ensuring smooth transitions.

Listen to my complete interview with Zach here: Interview with Zach Postin, Alltech

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USDA, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Sign MOU

Jamie Johansen

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to jointly promote and enhance environmental sustainability in the dairy industry. The pact extends and builds upon a MOU originally signed in 2009.

Secretary Perdue signed the MOU with Arizona dairy farmer Paul Rovey, chairman of Dairy Management Inc. and an Innovation Center board member, at DeGroot Dairies in Hanford, Calif.

“USDA and the Innovation Center will continue to work together to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies and increase energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms,” Secretary Perdue said. “These improvements will help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses, while they strive to support their families and local communities by operating economically, environmentally sustainable dairy farms.”

“USDA has resources that can help the dairy industry be successful but in many cases they are difficult to find because they are spread out through various agencies,” Secretary Perdue continued. “This MOU hopefully will be a potential navigator to the Innovation Center and give a ‘green light’ to interact with our agencies and centralize our various research and voluntary conservation efforts to reach their goals.”

“Over the years, we have pursued creative and common-sense ways to work together that have allowed us to develop research, technologies, and on-the-ground practices that move us closer to our collective goals,” said Barb O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “The Innovation Center is proud of the synergy that has resulted from our collaboration with USDA, and we have no question that this public/private partnership works in the best interest of farmers, our dairy community and, most importantly, consumers of dairy who trust us to produce nutritious products they can feel good about feeding to their families.”

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Bill Exempts Farms From Reporting Emissions

jamie johansen

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and poultry groups including National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and United Egg Producers applaud introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate that would prevent farms, ranches, and other agricultural operations from having to report livestock manure data under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The law governs toxic Superfund sites which are used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component. Lead sponsors include Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN), along with 18 other Republican and Democratic senators, including Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE).

“There’s not a lot of truly bipartisan legislation in Washington these days, but one thing that pretty much everybody can agree on is that a responsibly-run cattle ranch isn’t a toxic Superfund site,” said fifth-generation California rancher and NCBA President Kevin Kester. “On behalf of cattle producers across America, I want to sincerely thank the Senators from both parties who worked together to introduce this bipartisan bill. I also want to encourage other Senators to join the effort and pass this bill as quickly as possible.”

“Routine emissions from hog manure do not constitute a ‘hazardous’ emergency that requires the Coast Guard to activate a national cleanup response,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill., “We’re extremely grateful to the 19 cosponsors of the FARM Act for their leadership and common sense on this issue. EPA exempted farms from CERCLA reporting because it knew responses would be unnecessary and impractical. Frankly, the court created a problem where none existed.”

“CERCLA was never intended to be applied in this way to dairy farms,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Congress needs to stipulate that this burdensome regulatory overreach serves no legitimate health or safety purpose, and needs to stop.”

“This is significant breakthrough legislation restoring CERCLA reporting to its intended purpose, a united legislative effort that has been nearly 15 years in the making, and we appreciate their swift action on behalf of America’s turkey, chicken and egg farmers,” said the poultry groups in a joint statement. “Marking a bi-partisan level of cooperation, the bill demonstrates strong support from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to clarify Congress’ intent.”

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Fighting Bovine Respiratory Disease

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is the leading cause of calf death after weaning. Boehringer Ingelheim takes a holistic approach when helping producers fight the disease, said Professional Services Veterinarian Dr. Rich Linhart.

“We look at everything on the ranch, from personnel to feed bunk space to mud to wind to the way pens are set up, and cattle flow,” said Linhart, who is based in Boise, Idaho.

He said the company does offer both vaccines and antibiotics to help prevent and battle BRD, but also recognizes the importance of good nutrition and many other factors when it comes to keeping the disease off the farm or ranch. Linhart answered questions from producers at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show in Phoenix.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Dr. Linhart: Interview with Dr. Rich Linhart, Boehringer Ingelheim

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Farm Credit at #CattleCon18

chuck zimmerman

During #CattleCon18 I visited with Farm Credit to learn what they are offering to cattle ranchers. I talked with Todd Moore (pictured), Farm Credit Mid-America, first and asked him what the message is for those attending. He says that with the volatility in cattle prices lender are talking to their customers and asking questions like, “Do they have a risk management plan?” And if they do, “Do they have enough information to know their fixed and variable costs to devise a good plan?”

When it comes to what questions he is getting from producers he says they are very diverse but with some common themes like interest rates. With interest rates expected to continue to rise they wonder about locking in rates or having fixed interest rates. He says that is something Farm Credit can help them with. Learn more from my interview with Todd.

Listen to my interview with Todd here: Interview with Todd Moore, Farm Credit Mid-America

During my time with Farm Credit I also spoke with Rod Alt, Capital Farm Credit. He says that one of the benefits of being able to be a part of the NCBA Trade Show is the wide variety of cattle producers who attend and have very different needs. He also talks about having a good business plan and how Farm Credit and help their customers with that effort. He also offers some ideas for dealing with the upcoming year with all of its challenges.

Listen to my interview with Rod here: Interview with Rod Alt, Capital Farm Credit

Farm Credit also held a series of open forum roundtable discussions during the convention. The first one was conducted by Trevor Amen, Cobank and Sarah Fitzgerald, Capital Farm Credit. The topic was trade. As you can imagine that is a very important one for the industry. Listen in to hear about things like alternative meats and more.

Listen to the roundtable discussion here: Forum with Trevor Amen, Cobank & Sarah Fitzgerald, Capital Farm Credit

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Ag Policy Update: Farm Bill, Budget Deals & Trade

jamie johansen

The Missouri Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference took place over the weekend. I was able to attend with my husband and had great intentions to not ‘work.’ But when I heard topics being discussed that are timely and others might learn from, I couldn’t help but pull out my recorder and gather some content.

Missouri Farm Bureau’s Director of National Legislative Programs, Spencer Tuma, spoke to attendees during breakout sessions providing policy updates on topics like the farm bill, infrastructure, rural broadband and trade.

If you were sleeping last Thursday night, you may not have realized a government shutdown occurred. But Spencer shares how that shutdown impacted two key commodity groups.

“What that budget agreement does is fund our government until March 23rd through a continuing resolution, but it also had some really cool agricultural provisions including fixes to the current cotton and dairy program. Cotton was not eligible for the traditional commodity programs ARC and PLC. It has the STAX Program, which was plagued with low adoption rates. The current farm bill provisions for dairy, the Margin Protection Program, needed some serious work to be more effective for our farmers and ranchers,” said Tuma.

Even though this budget agreement will only last a short time, it did make those changes to the cotton and dairy programs permanent. “By addressing these through the budget process, it actually frees up some funding baseline in the upcoming farm bill to address some of the other commodity issues,” she added.

Listen to our complete conversation to learn more about the President’s incoming budget’s impact on infrastructure and rural broadband and how changes to trade agreement KORUS could impact U.S. agriculture. Interview with Spencer Tuma, Missouri Farm Bureau

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The Crystalyx BioBarrel Focuses on Environment

jamie johansen

The Crystalyx BioBarrel was on display in the Alltech booth during the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. This unique barrel allows for optimal mineral intake and is environmentally friendly.

“Crystalyx products are unique because they are a low moisture block. They are a dehydrated molasses product which is continuously looking for moisture to soften. Cattle consume by licking. They can’t bite or chew it. This ensures intake is regulated,” said Dan Dhuyvetter, Ridley Block a division of Alltech.

Wheat straw, soy flour and a small amount of wood fibers make up the content of the biobarrel. The container will degrade over time yet still withstand precipitation.

Dan said as attendees see the biobarrel in the booth it strikes up great conversation and gets them wanting to learn more. If you are also interested in learning more listen here: Interview with Dan Dhuyvetter Ridley Block Operations

2018 Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Photo Album

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NCBA Names 2018 Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners

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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