USMEF Says February Meat Exports Lower

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usmefThe U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has released stats on exports from February 2015. Numbers show exports are lower year-over-year, but there are signs of improvement. The complete release can be found here.

While still impacted by severe congestion in the West Coast ports, February exports of U.S. beef, pork and lamb bounced back to some degree from the totals posted in January, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the USMEF.

Conditions are steadily improving on the West Coast, where congestion related to a labor dispute slowed container traffic over the past four months. But the tentative contract agreement that eased tensions on the West Coast was not reached until Feb. 20, so this issue still had a significant impact on February meat exports.

“We didn’t see much relief from the shipping backlog until March, and container traffic in some ports still has not returned to normal,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “However, the new labor contract agreement definitely sent positive signals to our Asian buyers and allowed the U.S. meat industry to begin the process of putting this crisis behind us. The momentum exports regained in February is encouraging, and we’re looking forward to further improvement when March results are published.”

In addition to port congestion, February exports also continued to face significant challenges such as the strong U.S. dollar, large supplies from key competitors and market access barriers.

February beef exports totaled 82,991 metric tons (mt) – down 3 percent year-over-year but a 4 percent improvement over January. Export value of $535.3 million was up 12 percent from a year ago and 6 percent higher than in January. January-February volume was 162,890 mt, down 11 percent from the first two months of 2014, while value was 4 percent above last year’s pace at $1.04 billion.

February pork exports were 173,771 mt – down 5 percent year-over-year but 8 percent higher than in January. Export value was $470.7 million – down 7 percent from a year ago but 3 percent higher than in January. Cumulative 2015 totals were 334,936 mt valued at $926 million, down 10 percent in volume and 11 percent in value from January-February 2014.

Agribusiness, Export, Meat, USMEF

Dairy Herd Management Webinar on Milk Lose

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Dairy Herd ManagementDairy Herd Management is hosting a free webinar April 13, 2015 at 1pm CST. The event is sponsored by Novus and will focus on locating lost milk by addressing management, facility and cow comfort measures needed to optimize production.

Several factors go into keeping a cow at peak production. Management, facility design, cow behavior, health and nutrition are just a few. Hear from two leading industry experts on these topics and where to look on your dairies for lost milk from your cows.

Lucas Sjostrom, Assistant Editor for Dairy Herd Management will serve as moderator for the webinar. Speakers will include: Dr. Gordie Jones, Central Sands Dairy and Lindsay Collings, Novus C.O.W.S.

Registration can be done online. So, if you are a dairy nutritionist, producer, veterinarian or industry professional mark your calendar and register today.

Ag Group, Dairy, Webinar

Holstein Junior Enter to Win a Kindle Fire

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no cowThe rules for the 2015 Holstein Association USA Junior Acrostic Contest are now posted online.

The contest challenges juniors to come with a creative acrostic for “Holstein,” using words that support its meaning.

The contest is divided into three age divisions. Prizes will be awarded to the top three essays in each age division. One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle Fire tablet. Entries must be received by May 15, 2015.

Any National Junior Holstein member is eligible to compete. Here are the divisions:

● Junior (ages 9-13 as of January 1)
● Intermediate (ages 14-17 as of January 1)
● Senior (ages 18-21 as of January 1)

Ag Group, contest, Dairy, Holstein Association, Youth

Tips on FSMA Compliance in the Feed Mill

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2015_USPOULTRY_FeedMillSeminar_Tipton“In your food safety plan, for every hazard that you have detailed or every area that you feel needs to have some measurement, you need to build control procedures,” remarked Brad Tipton, director of quality assurance with Pilgrim’s, during his presentation on “FSMA in the Feed Mill: One Company’s Implementation” at the USPOULTRY sponsored 2015 Feed Mill Management Seminar in Nashville, Tenn.

Tipton discussed action plans and procedures that his facilities have effectively implemented in order to prepare for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance, specifically the new rules for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and preventive controls, monitoring and verification activities. He noted that as part of the new rules for the GMP, feed mill managers are now mandated to maintain a written food safety plan, which must include a hazard analysis and preventive controls. He also reminded the managers of the importance of retaining proper hazard, maintenance and standard operating procedure records. “In the eyes of inspectors, if you did not write it down, you did not do it!” he stated.

Dr. Henry Turlington, director of quality & manufacturing regulatory affairs for the American Feed Industry Association, provided an overview of FMSA and the impact on feed mills. Turlington observed that the new law applies to all ingredient processing, all feed manufacturing, pet food, transportation, and feed and ingredient imports, remarking that “current good manufacturing practices are good business practices.” He stressed the need to start with a process flow diagram, organize documents to meet needs, verify and validate current good manufacturing practices and identify hazards and preventive controls.

In his presentation, “Truck Regulations and the Effect on the Industry,” Tommy Pollard, corporate director of fleet safety at Perdue, provided a DOT regulatory update for truck and vehicle based safety. He discussed several proposed and final regulatory rulings that will affect drivers. Pollard also emphasized the importance of facilities having a clearly defined goal they would like to achieve through their vehicle based safety systems and ensuring that technology implementation adds value and lessens risk exposure.

Other sessions included Salmonella Control in the Feed Mill; Feed Trailer New Technology; Biosecurity in the Feed Mill; a Regulatory Update; Mixers; Problem Solving Techniques; and A New Mill Virtual Tour.

Ag Group, Feed, Food, food safety, Poultry, US Poultry

#BeefsOnMyPlate Campaign Kicks Off

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ncba-200The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has a unique opportunity for you to engage in the discussion around diet and health in Washington D.C. The most recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report has confusing nutritional messages by leaving lean meat out of healthy dietary pattern, despite its own nutritional evidence review. Now, you can engage by posting your pictures of how beef fits on your plate using #BeefsOnMyPlate.

“A one-sized-fits-all approach to a diet doesn’t work, but we know beef fits into wide a range of healthy diets because of its versatility,” said Shalene McNeill, registered dietitian and nutrition scientist with NCBA. “We have a lot of sound evidence out there showing lean beef consumption contributes zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins, which helps keep you satisfied, helps manage your weight, and can fuel a healthy and active lifestyle.”

Lean beef is a calorie saver. For about 150 calories, a 3-oz serving of lean beef provides about the same amount of protein as three servings (1½ cups) of cooked black beans with 341 calories. Philip Ellis, a Wyoming rancher and president of the NCBA said this is a great opportunity to showcase how beef fits in a healthy and calorie-conscious diet and encourage the Secretaries to make sure lean beef is not just a footnote in the guidelines.

“It’s unfortunate that the Advisory Committee failed to review all the science that undoubtedly shows the value of lean meat in the healthy diet,” said Ellis. “But the Secretaries have the opportunity to pick up where the Committee fell short and finish the scientific review of red meat’s role in a healthy diet to re-instate the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendation on lean meat. Let’s post our pictures and show them a variety of healthy diets that include lean beef.”

Ag Group, Beef, Food, Nutrition

CWT Assists with Cheese & Butter Export Sales

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CWT-logo6Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 10 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and Tillamook County Creamery Association who have contracts to sell 1.405 million pounds (637 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 55,116 pounds (25 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from April through September 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 24.842 million pounds of cheese and 24.387 million pounds of butter to 22 countries on five continents. The amounts of cheese and butter in these sales contracts represent the equivalent of 778.008 million 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. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

The amounts of cheese and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

Ag Group, Butter, Cheese, cooperatives, cwt, Dairy

Congress Seeks Positive Market-Access for U.S. Dairy

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Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 2.13.18 PMThe dairy industry praised the more than 75 House members who have urged the Obama Administration to negotiate a strong market-access outcome for the U.S. dairy industry in the Pacific Rim trade agreement.

Led by the co-chairs of the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus, the House members sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, saying Canadian and Japanese dairy market barriers must be addressed in any final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to allow more U.S. dairy exports. The TPP involves trade negotiations between the United States and 11 other nations.

“We recognize that you must juggle a wide range of priorities,” the congressmen said in the letter. “However . . . we believe that winning an overall positive market access result for the U.S. dairy industry is critical to the success of the TPP negotiations.”

The National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the International Dairy Foods Association commended the House members’ action, noting that dairy producers and processors agree on the importance of a balanced, positive TPP market-access outcome for their industry.

“The U.S. dairy industry has a $4 billion trade surplus worldwide and supports tens of thousands of jobs here at home, yet we still face substantial hurdles in major markets,” said Tom Suber, USDEC president. “TPP should expand our ability to compete through new access and more fair rules of trade.”

“The U.S. cannot give a pass to major countries like Canada and Japan while at the same time increasing access for major competitors into our own market. That is completely unacceptable,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “Given that TPP is likely to introduce more competition in a number of key markets, the bottom line is that this agreement must result in a net boost in export opportunities for U.S. dairy producers.”

Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO, added, “Significant market access for all dairy products must be on the table in negotiations with Japan and Canada. If this is to be a true 21st century trade agreement, U.S. dairy exporters should not be limited on what they sell into these markets.”

A majority of the House members signing the letter have voted in support of at least one of the U.S. free trade agreements approved in 2011, which are the most recent to date. Spearheading the letter were the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-Chairs: Reid Ribble (R-WI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Suzan Delbene (D-WA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Michael Simpson (R-ID), David Valadao (R-CA) and Timothy Walz (D-MN).

Ag Group, Dairy, Export, Government, National Milk, Trade

Hot Dog Time at the Ballparks

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Hot DogsIt’s opening day for Major League Baseball. That means hot dogs will be getting plenty of attention.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council have some great information on the stuff fans like to eat.

Like a Turkey on Thanksgiving, hot dogs are the quintessential summer ballpark food, and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that baseball fans will consume more than 18.5 million hot dogs and nearly 4.2 million sausages during the 2015 Major League season. The combined hot dog and sausage total could stretch from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to Chase Field in Phoenix. The hot dog total alone would reach as high as 7,827 Empire State Buildings.

There is also a competition that just ended for America’s hot dog champion.

Following more than two weeks of spirited competition, the Cleveland Indians’ Sugardale Dog has been crowned America’s baseball hot dog champion, according to results from the NHDSC’s MLB Madness Bracket contest. Classic and unique hot dogs squared off in the contest, and fans voted for their favorite dog in polls on the NHDSC Facebook page.

Despite claiming victory in the unique dog half of the bracket, the Texas Rangers’ Boomstick struck out in the bottom of the ninth to earn second place. The Atlanta Braves’ Dixie Dog and the Detroit Tigers’ Coney Dog rounded out the final four.

Ag Group, Food, Pork

WDE Trade Show – Top Show in the Nation

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wdeWorld Dairy Expo is pleased to announce that the WDE Trade Show has been named one of the top trade shows in the nation by the Trade Show News Network’s Top 250 Trade Show List for 2014. Based on net square footage, the WDE Trade Show ranked 27th in the United States. Of the trade shows ranked, it was also the top dairy-focused trade show and second agriculture related trade show in the nation.

With commercial exhibits in the Exhibition Hall, Outdoor Trade Mall, New Holland Trade Center, Arena Building, and Coliseum, as well as the dairy cattle exhibitor booths in the New Holland Pavilions, the 2014 WDE Trade Show had a net square footage of 562,161. This is an increase of 4,161 square feet from the previous year’s show.

“Having such a large space allows us to offer a wide variety of booths and companies to appeal to every Expo attendee,” said Crystal McNett, WDE Trade Show Manager. “We are very excited to see the continued growth of the World Dairy Expo Trade Show.”

In 2014, the WDE Trade Show offered displays from 835 commercial exhibitors from 24 countries, 44 states and 6 provinces. Showcasing the latest and greatest products from more than 20 different dairy business categories, the Trade Show is a top draw every year for Expo’s more than 77,000 attendees.

Ag Group, award, Dairy, World Dairy Expo

Learn About Livestock Barn Banners

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fbThe American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s newest product, “Learn About Livestock” barn banners, was developed for use at fairs and livestock shows. The banners feature key information about major livestock species related to production, lifecycle, the environment, how farmers care for animals and safety.

Banners featuring information about dairy cattle, beef cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and poultry are available and are a great way to add an ag literacy component to a fair or livestock show.

In response to an overwhelming number of requests for safety-related resources at last year’s International Association of Fairs and Expositions Conference, the banners provide “Wash-Talk-Walk” safety recommendations:

· Wash your hands before and after handling animals
· Toss food or drink before entering an animal area
· Walk calmly and keep a safe distance from animals

Banners are available for individual or bulk purchase in two styles: retractable roll-up with case and hanging (with grommets). Logos may be added for an additional charge.

AFBF, Ag Group, Education, Livestock