Arkansas Cattlemen Take On the Black Headed Vulture

jamie johansen

Cattle producers seek depredation order from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service allowing producers to control an invasive vulture species stalking and killing livestock. I was recently in North Central Arkansas where I saw first hand the devistation the Black Headed Vulture leaves in it’s wake.

Adam McClung, Executive Vice President, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association (ACA), said, “The Black Headed Vultures and the depredation loss cattlemen are seeing has been an ongoing discussion inside the ACA with policy for a number of years. Over the last few years, the stories and testimonies we get from cattlemen give evidence of the birds moving from a migratory to predatory.”

The aggressive birds are protected under the Miragroty Bird Act and the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Cattlemen Association’s have come together taking policy to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. This created a greater voice for reaching out to elected officials stressing economic loss and the need to measure populations and migratory patterns of these birds.

Farmers take steps during calving season to protect their cattle, but there simply isn’t much that can be done to detour these aggressive birds. The solution to any migratory bird problem is proper management. When it comes to these birds, population reduction is the answer. Farmers can obtain annual permits to begin eliminating the invasive species. These permits will allow measurable data to be collected and used to justify the management needed. Controlling bird population without a permit can put producers in violation of the Migratory Bird Act which has serious penalties. The number of birds permitted is given on a case by case basis according to the % of population found.

“We want some help. Let’s measure these populations. Are these birds migrating or are they staying here year round,” said McClung. ACA has had many meetings with USDA-APHIS and U.S. Fish & Wildlife to get everyone on the same page with what the permit means and how it works. “Our end game and the reason for the policy is a depredation order to be filed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. We want our cattlemen to have the right to take at time of loss.”

Listen to my complete interview with Adam and watch This Week in Agribusiness this weekend for the complete story: Interview with Adam McClung, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association

Livestock Groups Push for FMD Vaccine Bank

Jamie Johansen

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined more than 100 other agricultural groups and industry leaders in calling for Congress to establish and fully fund a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The letter said: “An outbreak of FMD will have a devastating effect on all of agriculture – not just livestock producers – and will have long-lasting ramifications for the viability of U.S. agriculture, the maintenance of food security in this great nation, and overall national security. An outbreak of FMD would immediately close all export markets. The cumulative impact of an outbreak on the beef and pork sectors over a 10-year period would be more than $128 billion… The annual jobs impact of such a reduction in industry revenue is more than 58,000 in direct employment and nearly 154,000 in total employment.”

NCBA President Craig Uden said, “Simply put, we cannot afford to be locked out of valuable foreign markets again,” Uden said. “It’s taken us well over a decade to get back up to speed in Asia after the 2003 BSE scare, and we must have support and full funding for this FMD vaccine bank to protect our vital industry. The consequences would be catastrophic.”

“An outbreak of FMD in this country would be devastating for the U.S. pork industry,” said NPPC President-elect Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “The next Farm Bill must establish and fully fund a vaccine bank that gives us the ability to quickly control then eradicate this animal disease.”

Animal Ag Bytes 7/17

kelly marshall

  • National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) brought veterinarians from around the country to Washington D.C. last week to educate members of Congress on the importance of pork industry issues. The team of 17 visited 34 representatives in two days, focusing on the 2018 Farm Bill and the establishment of a vaccine bank in the event of an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.
  • The National Pork Board is hosting the first Pig Welfare Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on November 7-9, 2017 in order to raise awareness of issues in the industry and begin to identify potential solutions.
  • The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) General Assembly met in Denver last week. In addition to taking part in educational opportunities the group also elected new officers for the coming year.

SMART Farmer Carla Wardin

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Our SMART Farmer in this episode comes from Michigan where she and her husband have a dairy operation that has been in her family for over a century.

Carla Wardin is dedicated to telling the real story of dairy farming through her blog Truth or Dairy, and in 2014 was chosen to represent agriculture as one of the USFRA Faces of Farming and Ranching. Jamie Johansen had the pleasure of sitting down with Carla to find out why smart farming is so important to her.

Listen to this episode here and subscribe below – SMART Farmer Podcast with Carla Wardin, Michigan dairy farmer

Subscribe to the SMART Farmer podcast

Learn more about USFRA and SMART Farm

Beef’s Environmental Stewardship Award Finalists

jamie johansen

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) announced the six finalists in the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in February 2018.

Regional Winners:
– Flying Diamond Ranch in Kit Carson, Colo.
– SFI, Inc., in Nemaha, Iowa
– Munson Angus Farm, in Junction City, Kan.
– Blue Lake Farm in Sharon, S.C.
– Jim O’Haco Cattle Company in Winslow, Ariz.
– Sterling Cattle Company in Coahama, Texas

Beef Checkoff’s Inaugural Advocate of the Year

Jamie Johansen

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the beef checkoff, has selected blogger and cattlewoman Anne Burkholder as the recipient of the inaugural Advocate of the Year award.

A Florida native, Burkholder moved to Nebraska with her husband in 1997 to run a family feed yard that had been in her husband’s family since the 1970s. Since then, the mother of three started a successful blog entitled “Feed Yard Foodie” and works for Progressive Beef to ensure that its supply chain is producing high-quality, sustainable beef.

While many beef advocates grow up with an agricultural background, Burkholder grew up in Palm Beach County, Florida, a self-proclaimed jock, and attended Dartmouth University where she majored in psychology. This unique perspective allows her to relate to consumers who may not be familiar with beef production.

“Managing a feed yard for 20 years inspired me to learn to identify and fill meaningful gaps. With thousands of cattle relying on me each and every day, recognizing if an important gap existed between the care that I offered and what the animal needed was absolutely critical for good welfare. This same philosophy of working to ‘fill the gap’ extends to all of the areas of my life including beef advocacy,” explains Burkholder. “A gap clearly exists between the truth of how beef is raised and the general consumer knowledge of the beef industry. As someone actively engaged in caring for cattle and raising beef, it is my job to help fill that gap with truthful information.”

Censky Nominated as Deputy Ag Secretary

cindy zimmerman

Over two months since he took office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is finally getting some nominations to fill USDA positions.

Late Thursday, Perdue announced that President Trump has nominated American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

“Our work has only just begun in delivering results for the people of American agriculture, and the experience and leadership skills of Stephen Censky will only enhance our efforts. He will bring enthusiasm and a dedication to this country which will be great assets to USDA’s customers. I am extremely pleased with the nomination for this key position and am hopeful that the Senate will take it up in short order.”

Censky has been CEO of the American Soybean Association since 1996 and the association strongly backs his nomination.

“Steve has guided our organization for 21 years and in that time he has proven himself as an effective, dedicated and visionary voice on behalf of soybean farmers nationwide. Nobody in agriculture is better equipped to assist Secretary Perdue in meeting the needs of farmers with practical solutions than Steve. He is a perfect fit for this role and we give him our strongest endorsement,” said Ron Moore, ASA president from Roseville, Ill.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) also proudly supports Censky’s nomination. “President Trump’s pick of Steve Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture is an outstanding step forward for agriculture and the countless related markets, like biodiesel, that play a key role in supporting our economy,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen.

The nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which already has a backlog of about 150 presidential nominations not yet approved.

U.S. Beef Supply Improving, Opportunities Remain

Jamie Johansen

Data from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit suggests the beef industry continues to improve the quality of its products, but there is still room for improvement.

The research, funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, has been conducted every five years for the past quarter century and provides a set of guideposts and measurements for cattle producers and others to help determine quality conformance of the U.S. beef supply. NBQA results through the years have helped lead to improvements in cattle and beef production, including reductions in carcass blemishes and fewer lost opportunities related to branding and other practices.

Among the positive findings in the 2016 NBQA are a significant increase in Choice and Prime carcasses, a high mobility score for cattle entering packing plants and the fact that the number of blemishes, condemnations and other attributes that impact animal value remain small. Among areas for possible improvement are the fact that there was more bruising (although bruising was less severe) and the fact that more than 30 percent of livers harvested did not pass inspection and were condemned.

“The research proved the beef cattle industry has a great story to tell but also suggests we aren’t getting that story to as many people as we should,” said Josh White, executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “Utilizing the Beef Quality Assurance program and its principles more uniformly throughout the industry could not only enhance industry commitment to better beef but would help increase consumer confidence and encourage greater beef demand. This research suggests that carrying the BQA message throughout the industry would benefit every beef audience.”

Farm Bureau and FFA Work for Ag Education

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National FFA CEO Mark Poeschl and AFBF President Zippy Duvall sign a memorandum of understanding

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National FFA Organization have signed a memorandum of understanding to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture.

The MOU outlines how the two organizations will work together to discover opportunities that benefit both their members and agricultural education students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was signed in Washington, D.C. this week, during a national meeting of state Farm Bureau presidents from across the country.

Together, FFA and AFBF will attract, educate, inspire and prepare students to enter careers in the agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources industry. In addition, the two organizations will broaden the definition of “agriculturally related careers” to encompass the vastness of professions in the industry of agriculture. FFA and AFBF will determine existing connections between county Farm Bureaus and local FFA chapters as well as state Farm Bureaus and state FFA associations. The MOU also allows AFBF to serve as a member of the FFA Agricultural Policy Committee. FFA will use AFBF-branded advocacy resources and materials to train state FFA officers and find ways for FFA and AFBF members to interact during policy discussions or in policy communications.

Animal Ag Bites 7/12

jamie johansen

ag_wired_animal-ag-bites

  • The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and 17 other food and agriculture organizations, representing the vast majority of production agriculture, sent a letter to the Trump administration urging it to refrain from placing restrictions on imports of steel and aluminum. The organizations are very concerned that such restrictions will boomerang against U.S. food and agriculture exports.
  • Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) is launching the new Producers for Progress recognition program to salute dairy producers who have demonstrated a significant commitment to the well-being of their animals by using antibiotics judiciously.
  • The American Angus Association hired Clint Mefford as the organization’s director of communications. He will be responsible for establishing strategy for all communication elements, both external and internal, for the Association and its entities, Angus Productions Inc. (API), Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) and the Angus Foundation.
  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applaud the inclusion of language in the U.S. House’s Transportation-HUD appropriations bill that will delay for one year a requirement mandating the use of the new Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for livestock and insect haulers.