Deadline to Serve on Pork Checkoff Board Nears

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

PorkCheckoffThe Pork Checkoff’s Board of Directors is now accepting nominations to fill five three-year terms and one two-year term commencing in July 2015. Nominees may be submitted by state pork producer associations, farm organizations or anyone who pays into the Pork Checkoff, which includes pig farmers and pork importers.

A minimum of nine candidates must be ranked by Pork Act Delegates before being sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for approval. A ninth nomination is required due to the resignation of current board member Craig Rowles of Iowa, leaving open two years of his remaining term. Rowles will step down from the board in July 2015 due to a recent decision to exit his pork production business.

Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to show their support of the industry, while helping to plan for a successful future. Any person who is a pork producer or importer and has paid all Checkoff assessments due, or is a representative of a producer or company that produces hogs and/or pigs, is eligible to serve on the National Pork Checkoff Board.

Candidates are also being sought for two open positions on the Pork Board Nominating Committee. Those appointed to the nominating committee will serve a two-year term in 2015 and 2016. The Pork Checkoff Nominating Committee will solicit, interview, evaluate and recommend candidates to the Pork Act Delegate Body at the annual meeting March 5-7, 2015, in San Antonio.

The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2014, with interviews for each candidate to be held in Des Moines on Dec. 11-12, 2014. Please direct application requests and questions to the National Pork Checkoff Board either by mail to 1776 NW 114th St., Clive, Iowa 50325, by telephone to Teresa Wadsworth at (515) 223-2612, or email:

Ag Group, Pork, Pork Checkoff

Raw Milk Symposium Will Explore Safety Issues

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 9.57.14 AMThe Raw Milk Symposium will feature raw milk experts and activists, including Mark McAfee, owner of the largest raw milk dairy in California and chairman of the Raw Milk Institute, Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and Sally Fallon Morell, founder of A Campaign for Real Milk. The session will be held Monday, November 10, 2014 from 9:15 to 4:00 PM, EST. Live stream of Symposium will be free for the public and government officials.

The event will include:
– Raw Milk Legal Updates for Canada and the U.S., Karen Selick, LL.B and Pete Kennedy, Esq.
– Producing Safe Raw Cheese, Sally Fallon Morell – Cheese is a processed product, and whether raw or pasteurized, it needs to be produced under strict sanitary conditions. Sally Fallon Morell will share her experience as a cheese maker on sanitation, plant maintenance and record keeping, and will provide tips on how to pass your FDA inspection.
– RAWMI Progress and Lessons from the Listed, Mark McAfee – RAWMI food safety success; creating a bright and safe future for raw milk.
– A New California Raw Milk Dairy, Cynthia Daley, PhD – This session will focus on the steps required to pass through the grade A permit and licensing process, including all state and county agencies that are involved and their associated costs. We will also cover the details of the on-farm Risk Analysis & Management plan to meet & exceed the needs of state standards as we work toward safe production methods for raw milk.

The Raw Milk Symposium is being held immediately following FOCUS ON FOOD, the Fifteenth International Conference of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is Friday, November 7 – Sunday, November 9 in Indianapolis.

Agribusiness, Dairy, Events, Milk

What should be done about WTO COOL ruling?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Has the uncertainty for the RFS caused by the EPA hurt your community?”

No doubt the uncertainty for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) caused by the EPA has hurt many of our communities. This unpredictability has been around over a year and has left many wondering what the final renewable fuel volumes will be. I am sure the uncertainty has impacted our lives more then many even are aware.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes, lost local business/jobs – 73%
  • No, no impact – 27%
  • Don’t know – 0%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What should US do about WTO COOL ruling?

The industry has reacted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision against the United States on the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law since the announcement was made earlier this week. Some feel the issue can be handled by USDA, others feel Congress should take charge. Or are there are other options?


Growers Look to Pacific Ag for Biomass Baling

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Bill Levy Pacific AgLast week Abengoa’s cellulosic ethanol biorefinery went online and is expected to produce 25 million gallons of advanced ethanol per year as well as 21 MW of bioenergy. But how exactly does the corn and wheat residue get from the fields to the biorefinery in a economical and efficient way? Enter Pacific Ag.

The company was founded by Bill Levy in 1998 and began by baling residue for growers and using the biomass for animal feed both in the U.S. and internationally. It was a natural progression for Pacific Ag to get involved in cellulosic production in the U.S. and to become a major supplier to the industry.

I asked Levy to talk about their residue removal model. He noted that since their inception, they have always focused on having a balanced residue program for growers and they are finding value for those products for them. So taking their successful model from the Northwest and applying it to the Midwest was a good fit. “The fundamentals of having residue removed on a timely basis and in a sustainable way is really the same,” explained Levy. Today they are in California, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas and he says they have innovated to become “energy balers” because of the new bioenergy market for residue.

It’s very easy for a grower to work with Pacific Ag. Levy explained that if a grower has five circles of corn, for example, he/she can call Pacific Ag after harvest and they will schedule a time for them to come in and bale the biomass. “We have a very predictable payment schedule. You get 50 percent when the stack is created and 50 percent when the stack moves,” explained Levy. He said they also have a great paperwork system to track all the bales, the tons and their movement.

Pacific Ag Hugoton Kansas teamHe added that what’s nice is to have growers contact them early to let them know how many circles they want harvested because they put so much effort into planning for the season but a grower can add circles after he sees the value of Pacific Ag and his neighbor can call after he harvests his field when he sees the significant revenue stream the biomass provides others.

“And I think as the world starts to look at renewable energy, I think agriculture is going to be the benefactor,” added Levy.

Pacific Ag is looking for growers of rice, wheat, corn, alfalfa and other biomass crops who are interested in working with them. As the markets for biomass continue to explode, Pacific Ag is ready to be the partner to help make the growers who plant the bioenergy crops, successful.

Learn more about Pacific Ag and how to become involved in the biomass energy revolution by listening to my interview with Bill Levy: Interview with Bill Levy, Pacific Ag

Abengoa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Grand Opening photo album.

Agribusiness, Alfalfa, Audio, Cattle, Dairy

Beef: Fueling Runners to the Finish

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Beef checkoffJoin the beef checkoff and Miss Patty Melt to cheer for Team BEEF in DC during 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.

The beef checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) is proud to fuel runners at the 39th running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, on Oct. 26, 2014. The beef checkoff is fielding a group of runners under the Team BEEF banner, as well as participating in various activities throughout the weekend including the first timers pep rally.

“Athletes everywhere are turning to lean beef as an invaluable component in their diet regimens to help with weight management, muscle development, immunity and cardiac health,” says Jennifer Orr, NEBPI director of public relations. “We’re proud to be a part this year’s Marine Corps Marathon and are excited to cheer on Team BEEF as they race to the finish.”

The beef checkoff will be participating in several events throughout the weekend, including:
– Health and Fitness Expo by GE
– First Timers Pep Rally
– MCM Kids Run

For real-time updates on Team BEEF on Twitter during the Marine Corps Marathon, follow @NortheastBeef and #BeefFuelsMCM.

Ag Group, Beef, Beef Checkoff, Food, Health

Proprietary SPC Enzymes Enhance Digestion of Feed

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

R_D_Logo_1Inclusion of proprietary SPC Enzymes™ in R&D LifeSciences’ feed additives helps to improve digestion of feed. The proprietary enzymes enhance the digestion of starch, protein, and cellulose in feed to help livestock extract more nutrition from their diet.

R&D LifeSciences feed additives, including top-sellers Lactomace® and Cattlemace®, contain a combination of Bacillus subtilis, Trichoderma viride, and Aspergillus oryzae which include enzymes cellulase and amylase. Research has shown these enzymes support optimal rumen function and digestion. David Zehendner, President and CEO of R&D LifeSciences said, “These enzymes can be especially beneficial when the forage is low-quality or low in supply. They help to keep up normal weight gain and milk production.”

Producers seeking to limit reliance on antibiotics will appreciate SPC Enzymes as a non-drug additive that can result in increased productivity. This is an economically and environmentally smart choice as well, explained Zehendner. He said, “As the human population grows, our need for food increases. The majority of this food has to come from innovations in technology that produce food in smarter, more efficient ways. SPC Enzymes do just that by helping the animal to get more nutrition out of the food they eat, so they do not need as much.” Better utilization of forages reduces the amount needed per animal, limiting cost and waste output.

Agribusiness, Cattle, Feed, Nutrition

CWT Assists with 3.3 Million Pounds of Butter & Cheese

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

CWT-logo6Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 3.252 million pounds (1,450 metric tons) of butter (82% milkfat) and 55,116 pounds (25 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered December 2014 through April 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 86.677 million pounds of cheese, 51.426 million pounds of butter and 37.847 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.234 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Ag Group, Butter, Cheese, cooperatives, cwt

Zoetis Adds to U.S. Cattle & Equine Marketing Team

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

pfizerZoetis welcomes Megan DeRose to its U.S. Cattle and Equine Marketing Team as marketing manager, responsible for the U.S. Dairy Anti-Infective and HOOF-TEC™ product portfolios.

Previously, DeRose worked in the marketing department at Alltech. She also served as the North American product manager for T-HEXX Animal Health, where she developed the launch and marketing approach for dairy footbath and teat dip products.

“Megan’s strong experiences in marketing, from launching and rebranding products to implementing campaigns, will make her a great asset to our team,” said Mike Layfield, director of U.S. dairy marketing at Zoetis. “We are very excited to have her join our team at Zoetis.”

DeRose earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a concentration in equine studies from Rutgers University. She has more than eight years of marketing experience in the animal health industry. DeRose also has extensive experience with the National FFA Organization and local FFA chapters as well as University Agricultural Extension Programs, 4-H and the Animal Agricultural Alliance Group.

In her work, DeRose has demonstrated her passion for helping producers grow the healthiest animals in the best environments so their agricultural businesses can prosper and provide nutritious food for consumers.

Agribusiness, Animal Health, Cattle, Company Announcement, Equine

CHB Volume Surpasses 50 million lb. Sold

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

HerefordBeefLogoCertified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC experienced a record year of growth during fiscal year 2014 with 50.2 million lb. of product sold— a 2% increase compared to the previous year’s total. Since 2008, CHB LLC has increased beef sales by 43%.

“Once thought of as a start-up branded beef program, the 19-year-old CHB® brand has weathered many storms including the growing complex of Angus beef programs that have proliferated foodservice, export, fast food and even beef jerky and pet food brands,” says Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president. “What’s made the difference for the American Hereford Association’s flagship commercial marketing brand are its unique name, its consistent quality and the fine people who own the brand — the more than 5,000 AHA members.”

CHB LLC staff, along with the program’s marketing partners, tout the advantages of CHB product in marketing differentiation when compared to “Angus brands,” along with the fact that it is a consistently tender, juicy and flavorful beef product. These advantages are fueling the brand’s advance in both food service and retail markets.

“We are very proud of the progress we have made in growing the CHB brand,” says Dale Venhuizen, CHB LLC president and a Hereford cattle breeder from Manhattan, Mont. “We’ve made terrific gains in the marketplace despite tight cattle supplies, record high beef prices and a consumer trend of trading down to lower cost proteins.”

Fiscal Year 2014 Certified Hereford Beef LLC program highlights:
– 74% certification rate.
– 304 retail supermarkets in 35 states.
– More than 40 foodservice distribution centers.
– Welcomed Mike Mitchem, CHB LLC director of food service sales.
– Developed a strategic marketing plan involving business-to-business target communication, training and salesmanship, and a business-to-consumer message and communication plan. Commissioned new product photography to give point-of-sale materials a facelift.
– Conducted several sales force and merchandiser trainings with Sysco Minnesota, Sysco St. Louis, Jake’s in Houston and Yokes in Spokane.
– Signed ground beef and steak cutting licenses with Wolverine, Detroit; Buckhead, Chicago; and Burger Maker, New Jersey.
Focused efforts on building international marketing opportunities. Hosted two days of office tours, presentations and product sampling for 120 international buyers from around the world.

Agribusiness, Beef, Breeds, Food, Hereford, Meat

Food Defense Orientation Program for Poultry & Egg Processors

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.01.55 AMU.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has developed a Food Defense Orientation program for poultry and egg processors, focusing on raising awareness of potential risks faced by the industry and encouraging employees to be active participants in protecting products in the workplace. The program offers a short orientation video for plant employees that will help them during training activities in poultry and egg facilities. It also includes a detailed presentation for managers and key personnel directly involved in the design and execution of a food defense plan.

The Food Defense Orientation presentation discusses why poultry and egg processors should prepare a food defense program, what key elements should be taken into account and the importance of maintaining a food defense plan. The program also includes a resource guide to help with the creation of a food defense program and additional information that can assist in improving an existing program.

The CD is available at no charge to Association members, and the CD can be ordered here. Non-members may purchase copies of the CD for $200 each.

Ag Group, Chicken, Education, Eggs, Poultry, US Poultry