Animal Ag Bites 4/15

carrie muehling

  • Nominations for the 13th annual National Beef Quality Assurance Awards are now being accepted. Deadline for nominations is June 7, 2019.
  • The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers have released an updated economic impact study that highlights the positive impact the poultry industry has on jobs, wages, and federal and state revenue in the United States. A dynamic and integral part of the national economy, the U.S. poultry industry provides 1,984,784 jobs, $108.9 billion in wages, $495.1 billion in economic activity and $38.5 billion in government revenue. Since the last study conducted in 2016, the poultry industry has created 302,515 additional jobs, and the economic impact has increased by 11 percent.
  • Federal lands ranchers from across the West attended the 2019 Public Lands Council Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The event was a platform for official association business and featured updates from congressional and agency officials.
  • Harris Farms, Inc. Owner John Harris and Central Valley Meat Company, Inc. President and CEO Brian Coelho announced that Central Valley Meat Holding Company will acquire Harris Ranch Beef Holding Company, including its wholly owned subsidiaries, Harris Feeding Company and Harris Ranch Beef Company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
  • BoVantage from Kent Nutrition Group has a new name: NutriVantage® for beef. NutriVantage is a Nutrition Optimizer®, an exclusive feed supplement that is a unique blend of natural ingredients, vitamins and minerals that impact cattle performance at every stage and help to increase dry matter intake up to 10 percent.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Pork Producers Talk Trade and Animal Disease

cindy zimmerman

National Pork Producers Council officials held a press conference Thursday, the day after announcing World Pork Expo is cancelled this year due to concerns about African swine fever.

More than 100 pork producers from around the country were in Washington D.C. this week for the Spring Legislative Action Conference to meet with their representatives in Congress to discuss issues such as trade, animal disease preparedness and agriculture’s labor shortage.

“Prevention is our best defense against an animal disease like African swine fever for which no vaccine exists,” said NPPC president David Herring of North Carolina. “For a disease like Foot-and-Mouth disease, which would also close U.S. pork’s export markets, prevention is also critical. Should an outbreak occur, a vaccine bank will allow us to quickly contain the disease.”

Producers also discussed two solutions to mitigate the risk of animal disease in the United States: 1) appropriations funding for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen defenses against African swine fever (ASF) and other animal diseases and 2) to sign a letter of support that calls for the USDA to implement the Farm Bill as intended, including development of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.

Here is the first part of the press conference with Herring and other NPPC representatives:
NPPC press conference 4-11-19

AgWired Animal, Audio, NPPC, Pork

2019 World Pork Expo Cancelled

cindy zimmerman

The threat of African swine fever is forcing the cancellation of the world’s largest pork industry-specific trade show this year.

The National Pork Producers Council‘s board of directors today announced its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 out of an abundance of caution as African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread in China and other parts of Asia. World Pork Expo, held each June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, hosts approximately 20,000 visitors over three days, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions. African swine fever affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. There is currently no vaccine to treat the swine disease.

“While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “The health of the U.S. swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States.”

The decision to cancel this year’s World Pork Expo comes as more than 100 U.S pork producers gather in Washington this week to meet with their members of Congress during NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference. To augment the USDA’s efforts to protect the United States from ASF and other animal diseases, U.S. pork producers are asking Congress to appropriate funding for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen our defenses against African swine fever.

AgWired Animal, NPPC, Swine, World Pork Expo

Animal Ag Bites 4/8

carrie muehling

  • Ralco announced the promotion of Dr. Russell Fent to Director of Swine Technical Group.
  • USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are accepting nominations for the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award through July 1. The goal of the award is to recognize outstanding completed research projects, funded by USPOULTRY or the USPOULTRY Foundation, which have made a significant positive impact on the poultry industry.
  • Kansas State University will be the first U.S. host of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Meeting Sept. 9-13. The U.N. organization’s annual meeting gathers leaders from government, NGOs, academia and industry to discuss innovative approaches to sustainable livestock production.
  • The global regional finalists have been selected for the 2019 Alltech Young Scientist competition, the world’s largest agriscience competition for university students. Graduate students from colleges and universities around the world whose studies focus on agriculture and science will compete at the highest level for a chance to win $10,000 and gain access to innovative scientists from around the world. Now in its 14th year, the competition has received entrants from a total of 120 universities and 40 countries.
  • After 20-plus years as a premier cattle scientist and administrator, John Arthington has been appointed chair of animal sciences at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
  • Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, recently launched a biogas project in Yakima County, Washington, that will convert 150,000 gallons per day of dairy waste from up to 7,000 cows into 160,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas – the equivalent of 1.4 million gallons of gasoline – and other products each year.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Study Finds Lamb Checkoff Has Positive ROI

cindy zimmerman

U.S. lamb producers have received a positive return on investment from the American Lamb Checkoff Program since it started in 2002, according to a new Texas A&M University report.

The study prepared by agricultural economists Gary Williams, Ph.D., and Dan Hanselka concluded that the American Lamb Checkoff Program added 2.4% to 2.7% of the annual value of retail lamb. The study measures 2002 to 2018, the time period during which the American Lamb Board (ALB) has been conducting programs. This new study has similar results compared to five years ago, when the last study was released.

Another measure of checkoff program contribution to the industry is the cost-to-benefit ratio. The Texas A&M study reported that the average return to industry stakeholders for every $1 invested into the American Lamb Checkoff Program is approximately $14.20.

“These results are a win for every member of the American lamb industry,” says ALB Chairman Dale Thorne, a Michigan lamb producer and feeder. “The purpose of our checkoff is to increase demand for American Lamb and enhance opportunities for all segments to profit. This extensive analysis tells us that we remain on the right track with our promotion programs.”

The American Lamb Checkoff Program’s promotion program is about $1.5 million a year, with another $0.5 million invested in education and research programs. Administration costs must be less than 10 percent of yearly collections.

AgWired Animal, Lamb, Meat

Animal Ag Bites 4/1

carrie muehling

  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council officially broke ground on an expansion to USPOULTRY’s existing offices in Tucker, Georgia. The expansion will create an additional 12,000 square feet of space owned by “The Coop Group, LLC” a partnership of USPOULTRY and USAPEEC.
  • The American Feed Industry Association released the results of its annual charitable giving survey. AFIA member company employees donated a collective 104,000 hours of their time to supporting community service projects in 2018 – a 13 percent increase over 2017. AFIA member companies, including company-employee matches, also donated over $56 million to an expansive list of community causes.
  • A long-awaited scrapie rule was published this week in the Federal Register. The rule incorporates into regulation APHIS’ long-standing policy to use genetic testing to identify genetically resistant or less susceptible sheep for exemption from destruction and as qualifying for interstate movement. The rule takes effect on April 24, 2019.
  • GENYOUth, an organization founded through the dairy checkoff to help create healthier schools, is providing Grab-n-Go breakfast carts to Fuel Up to Play 60 schools across the country that will serve more than 5 million pounds of milk annually.
  • From wet silage to dry hay to straw and stalks, the new Case IH RB565 Premium HD round baler provides producers the flexibility to bale a full range of crops. The RB565 Premium HD round baler is equipped with components to efficiently handle wet hay making in an all-purpose, multicrop baler. This new baler expands the RB5 series lineup, taking high-efficiency hay production to the next level.
  • According to a survey by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Major League Baseball fans this season are expected to consume about 18.3 million hot dogs and nearly four million sausages.
  • R-CALF USA has sent a formal request to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr urging him to block the proposed acquisition of Iowa beef packer Iowa Premium by National Beef Packing Company, which is now majority owned by Brazilian-based Marfrig Global Foods.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Nation Seeing #NebraskaStrong

cindy zimmerman

The images of dead and dying cattle and calves as a result of the blizzard and flooding in Nebraska are hard for people in the livestock industry to see. As USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach said last week at the Agri-Pulse Policy Summit, “It’s almost like losing family.” Ibach is former Nebraska Director of Agriculture who says he is, “first and foremost, a rancher from Nebraska.”

Ibach is in Nebraska this week and participated in a Facebook Live roundtable on Monday to discuss flood relief for ag producers. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, state Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, and other members of the state cabinet also took part in the roundtable. Listen to their opening remarks:
Nebraska Gov. Ricketts, USDA Under Secretary Ibach, State Ag Director Steve Wellman

Many organizations and individuals are working to assist cattle producers impacted by the weather disasters. Nebraska Cattlemen has a new disaster relief fund in place for the industry.

In the latest Beltway Beef podcast, Pete McClymont of the Nebraska Cattlemen gives us an update on the situation, and discusses how you can help those affected. “When you get down to the personal stories, loss of ground, loss of livestock…it kind of overwhelms you,” says McClymont. “We’re doing our best

In addition to monetary donations for the disaster relief fund, donations of hay, feed stuffs, fencing materials, volunteer help, equipment, and more are being coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. On Thursday, President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Nebraska counties of Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington.

Additionally, Nebraska Cattlemen is keeping an updated list of federal disaster assistance resources as well as other pertinent state regulations to consider during times of emergency.

AgWired Animal, Audio, Livestock, NCBA, Weather

Text 24365 to Donate to NAMA Foundation

chuck zimmerman

With the NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) Foundation serving 33 student chapters, your support has never been more important. Here is a new way to donate.

Please text “NAMA” to 24365 to donate to the foundation and support Student NAMA!

That will text you back a link to click on and donate via Paypal. Simple. Quick. Try it now.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Education, Marketing, NAMA

Animal Ag Bites 3/25

carrie muehling

  • Last week, USDA-trained detector dogs played a major role in the seizure of roughly 1 million pounds of pork smuggled from China where there is an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). Since prevention is the best protection against the disease, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is sharing information about the importance of keeping ASF out of the United States. To help people learn more about this disease, as well as the steps that can be taken to help protect U.S. pigs, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has updated its web content with additional information and links to partners’ resources. This information is available at
  • The National Pork Board and Ripe Technology, Inc. have entered an agreement to pilot blockchain technology use in the U.S. pork industry. Through this partnership, will enable an ecosystem that will allow pork producers to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability practices based on the We CareSM framework – six defined ethical principles guiding the U.S. pork industry.
  • The National Pork Board is collaborating with South Dakota State University to “open the barn doors” on how pigs are raised. The Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street speakers can include live-streaming video tours of SDSU’s Swine Education and Research Center, in Brookings, South Dakota, in presentations to local civic groups, culinary and pre-vet students, dietitians, chefs and others.
  • The Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program will produce new equine content, thanks to a recent grant from the Illinois Equine Research and Promotion Board. In total, $10,000 was awarded to Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom to support costs related to a new Horse Ag Mag.
  • According to new research from The Center for Food Integrity, online engagement about antibiotic resistance is growing rapidly and could be one of a growing number of factors that drives consumers to reduce or eliminate meat from their diets.
  • In a basic survey of more than a thousand pork kidney samples, almost no veterinary drug residues were found and none at levels that even approached U. S. regulatory limits, according to a study just published by an Agricultural Research Service scientist in Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019. Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center. To locate your office, visit
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

ZimmCast 611 – National Ag Day

chuck zimmerman

This week’s program focuses on National Ag Day activities in our nation’s Capitol.

In the program you’ll hear from Senator Pat Roberts who made remarks during the Celebration of American Agriculture reception. I also interviewed Isabella Chism, American Farm Bureau Federation, who is the Chair for National Ag Day. 

Next up is USDA Deputy Secretary, Steve Censky, who spoke prior to moderating a panel discussion, “Observations from the Next Generation of America’s Agriculturists.” After his remarks you can listen to National Ag Day Essay Contest winner Grace Brose, South Dakota.

You can find a recap of National Ag Day activities here. If you’d like to listen to more from the events and find lots of photos then check out my virtual ag newsroom here.

I hope you enjoy this week’s program and thank you for listening.

Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 611 – National Ag Day

ABEF, Ag Day, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, usda, ZimmCast