Past and Current Ag Secretaries Support USMCA

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All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration this week announced their support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.”

Former Secretaries Vilsack, Glickman, and Block joined Secretary Perdue at USDA for a press conference to talk about their support for USMCA. Watch the press conference by visiting the USDA Facebook page and download the audio here:
USDA Secretaries support USMCA

Enogen Feed Energizing Livestock Rations

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Beef and dairy producers are finding they can increase efficiency by feeding Enogen corn hybrids, which Syngenta originally developed for the ethanol industry.

Enogen hybrids change the corn starch into sugar more quickly and efficiently, and research has shown that it is a similar process that takes place in ruminant animals. Streamlining that process helps the animals to convert that sugar into energy more quickly, making them more efficient producers of beef or milk. That has proven to reduce feed costs for livestock producers.

“In a typical feedlot setting, we’re going to see a gain of about $25 to $27 per head in a finishing cycle in a beef feedlot system, and we’re going to see about a dollar per head per day in a dairy situation,” said Duane Martin, who manages the Agrisure traits portfolio for Syngenta.

Martin said Enogen hybrids are easy to manage compared to other specialty hybrids on the market today.

“That’s really the beauty of Enogen feed corn. You don’t have to manage it differently than another elite corn hybrid. These are excellent corn hybrids. We’ve got a full lineup and can likely find an excellent hybrid with the right trait package to fit every farmer’s needs,” said Martin. “Secondly, you plant these, manage them, and harvest them just like you would any other corn hybrid. You do not have to harvest them for grain or silage. You can do either. And then once you feed that corn either as grain or silage, you’re likely to see that five percent efficiency gain.”

He said Syngenta continues to invest about $1.3 billion each year in extensive research to continue to bring new products and technologies that will add value to the marketplace.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Duane here: Interview with Duane Martin, Enogen

Syngenta at the 2019 Farm Progress Show photo album

NCBA Announces Leadership Changes

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After an exhaustive national search, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has announced Colin Woodall will serve as the association’s new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Kendal Frazier who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“Colin has served NCBA members for 15 years, and in that time, he has done a great deal for beef producers everywhere. Much of his work and many of the victories registered by NCBA in Washington, D.C., is the result of his ability to build coalitions and bring people together across political divides,” said NCBA president Jennifer Houston.

Woodall joined NCBA in 2004 and has been instrumental in ensuring the interests of NCBA members and the beef community are well represented in the nation’s capital as he has managed NCBA’s efforts in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to lead NCBA and to serve the beef community as the next CEO of the association. American beef producers are the best people I know and although our industry faces many challenges, I am confident we can overcome them,” said Woodall.

NCBA also announced Wednesday that Ethan Lane will serve in the role of Vice President, Government Affairs. In his new role, Lane will guide NCBA’s policy efforts in Washington, D.C., where he has extensive experience advocating on behalf of cattle producers. Lane has been serving as Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands, which he will continue to do until a successor is in place.

“While this news may sound sudden or unexpected to some, please rest assured that it comes on the heels of a great deal of discussion, care, and planning,” said Lane. “For my part, I am not even planning to change offices during this transition. I’m taking on new responsibilities but I’m not going anywhere. I will have the same phone number, same email address, and same availability. Our industry’s substantive progress on issues will continue unhindered by this change.”

Animal Ag Bites 9/16

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  • On September 28 and 29, alpaca business owners throughout North America will celebrate the 12th annual National Alpaca Farm Days. Alpaca Owners Association, Inc. invites you to visit participating member farms and ranches during this fun-filled family event. For a complete list of participating farms and ranches, visit
  • Just 10 years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry.
  • The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which brings the dairy community together to advance a shared social responsibility platform, is accepting nominations for the ninth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. Nominations are open through Nov. 15 and there is no fee to enter.
  • Cargill is joining forces with dairy farmer Tara Vander Dussen, also known as New Mexico Milkmaid, to get more milk to families in need. Inspired by September being Hunger Action Month, Vander Dussen is using her social media following to encourage participation in a fun and light-hearted milk chugging challenge. For every person who posts a video or picture of themselves chugging milk on Instagram, with the hashtag #MilkChugChallenge, and tagging New Mexico Milkmaid, Vander Dussen will donate $1 (up to $500) to throughout the month of September and Cargill with match her donation dollar for dollar.
  • The Archer Daniels Midland Company announced a $2.5-million gift to assist with funding construction of the Feed Technology Center, a key asset that will advance educational and research opportunities within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, and will advance animal agriculture and companion animal nutrition across the globe.
  • The time-tested Purina® Omolene® horse feed lineup now contains Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement. This addition to the Omolene® feed line provides gastric support in every meal.
  • The American Feed Industry Association is pleased to announce Joe Harris, Ph.D., executive vice president of Westway Feed Products, as its 2019 Liquid Feed Hall of Fame inductee.
  • R & D Life Sciences, LLC announces it has tapped Nathan Hillis to fill the position of National Sales Director.
  • The National Pork Board announced plans to migrate Pork Checkoff remittances to its online platform. The online Checkoff remittance system is designed to significantly reduce the processing time, paper and other expenses for the Pork Board, while also providing pork producers flexibility with payment options, improve operational efficiencies and create cost savings.
  • Hiland Dairy‘s Strawberry Yogurt made in Wichita, Kansas, Whole Chocolate Milk made in Little Rock, Arkansas, Bulgarian Buttermilk made in Chandler, Oklahoma, Natural Sour Cream made in Norman, Oklahoma, Sassy Salsa Dip made in Omaha, Nebraska and Vanilla Ice Cream made in Tyler, Texas were first-place winners, or “Best of the Best” at the 2019 World Dairy Expo (WDE) Championship Dairy Product Contest.
  • To gather real-world insights into the professional landscape for women in agriculture, Alltech has announced its support of an industry-wide survey. Launched on Sept. 10, this global survey aims to collect feedback about the barriers that impede progress and to identify the resources needed to ensure workplace equality. The survey is open to women and men across all sectors of the agri-food industry, and the results will be revealed at the Women in Food & Agriculture Summit, to be held Dec. 3–4, 2019, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), allowing the U.S. pork industry to maintain zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets, remains a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council. More than 120 pork producers from across the country helped spread this and other messages on Capitol Hill this week during NPPC’s Fall Legislative Action Conference.
  • The Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin’s largest dairy lobbying group, applauds three state lawmakers for a new legislative effort to stop the use of misleading labels on imitation milk and other “dairy” products. Legislation proposed by Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Reps. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, and Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, would ban the labeling of products as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food is not made from the milk of a cow, sheep, goat or other mammals.
  • To help producers meet the unique nutritional needs of lactating sows, Nedap Livestock Management has introduced Nedap Activator, an add-on to Nedap Farrowing Feeding that automatically drops feed when sows trigger an electronic sensor with their snouts.

Farmers for Free Trade Rally for USMCA

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Farmers for Free Trade brought its #MotorcadeForTrade to Washington D.C. Thursday to highlight the importance of ag trade with Canada and Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that Congress will consider to upgrade NAFTA.

Members of Congress and farm leaders discussed how USMCA provides farmers with new market access while maintaining a zero-tariff platform, and stressed the need for Congressional leaders move forward with consideration of the agreement without further delay.

Among those who spoke were House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking member Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX); U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO Tom Vilsack, AFBF president Zippy Duvall, and National Association of Wheat Growers president Ben Scholz.

Listen to Rep. Peterson kick off the rally here:
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) at USMCA Rally

EPA Officially Ditches the #WOTUS Rule

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Agricultural organizations are celebrating the official repeal of a rule that they have been fighting since 2015 – Waters of the United States, better known as WOTUS.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing the rule and “recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.”

“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” said Administrator Wheeler.

Listen to Wheeler’s announcement:
EPA Administrator announces WOTUS repeal

Happy to be on hand for the announcement was American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall who said the WOTUS issue and AFBF’s “Ditch the Rule” campaign generated more interest among member than any ever before.

Listen to Duvall’s comments:
AFBF president Zippy Duvall comments on WOTUS repeal

Animal Ag Bites 9/9

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  • With the help of the egg industry, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Agricultural Marketing Service, and academia, USPOULTRY is introducing a new shell egg washing training module. The Egg Washing Principles module discusses why eggs are washed, what the operational requirements are for effective washing and pathogen control, and what the best practices are to monitor compliance of your food safety plan.
  • The International Production & Processing Expo is launching the eighth annual Young Leaders “30 under 30” program targeting young professionals who normally would not have the opportunity to attend IPPE. The goal of the program is to engage and invest in the next generation of young professionals, between the ages of 21 and 29, who work for companies directly involved in the production and processing of poultry and meat or in the production of animal food.
  • Arrowquip’s Research and Development Team has found the key to enhancing cattle flow within a working system – light. By incorporating the patented 3E: Easy Entry & Exit System into the BudFlow® Cattle Tubs and Easy Flow® Alleys, ranchers are equipped with features that allow them to use cattle behavior and light to their advantage. More importantly, with these new 3E features, the need for cattle hot-shot prods and paddles are reduced, keeping cattle stress levels and bruising to a minimum.
  • The poultry industry is pleased the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration has agreed to an alliance to share information, guidance and access to training resources that will help further improve the significant gains made in poultry worker safety over the past 25 years.
  • Vets Plus Inc. announces that Durvet, Inc. (Blue Springs, MO) will distribute its Merrick’s Blue Ribbon line of nutritional supplements and electrolytes.
  • Alltech and Archbold Biological Station’s Buck Island Ranch recently formed a strategic research alliance to jointly develop beef management approaches, specifically to increase the quality and quantity of beef produced in subtropical regions while maintaining and enhancing the environment. The Archbold–Alltech Alliance brings together scientists from two different disciplines — ecologists from Archbold and ruminant nutritionists from Alltech — to understand the impact that cattle production has on an ecosystem.
  • College students are gearing up for the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online Scholarship Competition which kicks off September 16. This year’s students and collegiate clubs are competing for more than $21,000 in scholarships and a chance to win a trip to the Alliance’s 2020 Stakeholders Summit. For more information or to sign up, visit

American Lamb Summit Recommendations

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American Lamb Board officials are pleased with the recommendations that came out of the first American Lamb Summit. Sponsored by the American Lamb Board (ALB) and Premier 1 Supplies, the summit brought together 200 sheep producers, feeders and packers from all over the country to Colorado State University (CSU) in Ft. Collins, CO, August 27-28.

The summit concluded that all segments of the industry need to further improve lamb quality to keep and attract new customers and become more efficient to recapture market share from imported lamb. At the same time, production technologies and product research put industry success within grasp.

“I have never been so enthusiastic about our industry’s opportunities, but we just can’t allow ourselves to be complacent or accept status quo,” said Dale Thorne, American Lamb Board chairman, a sheep producer and feeder from Michigan. Thorne stressed, “the end-game is profitability for all aspects of our industry.

The Summit was designed to instill relevant, meaningful knowledge that can be implemented immediately to address both current and future needs. It also sought to inspire collaboration, networking and information sharing across all segments and geographic regions of the American Lamb industry.

Read more here.

Alltech Partners with American National CattleWomen

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Alltech has partnered with the American National CattleWomen (ANCW) to help promote diversity among agricultural leadership with a focus on beef promotion, education and legislation.

“The American National CattleWomen organization aims to educate consumers on the beef industry and the efforts to create sustainable practices that will ensure a safe food supply for years to come,” said Evelyn Greene, president-elect of ANCW. “I’m excited to partner with Alltech, as their vision of Working Together for a Planet of Plenty™ compliments the mission of ANCW.”

Alltech’s vision for a more sustainable future was announced during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE19) in May. Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, called for collaboration across industry sectors and geographical boundaries to create a world in which there is enough nutritious food for all, resources are responsibly managed for future generations and the environment is safe for people, animals and plants.

Taking a significant step toward its sustainability and Planet of Plenty goals, Alltech recently committed to the U.N. Global Compact and nine of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including gender equality. In alignment with these commitments and in support of women in agriculture, Alltech will provide financial sponsorship to aid Greene’s campaign as president of ANCW.

National Pork Board to Host Swine Innovation Summit

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The National Pork Board will host allied industry partners at its first-ever Swine Innovation Summit in Indianapolis on Sept. 17, 2019. The inaugural event is designed to help pork producers and food influencers learn more about emerging technology trends facing today’s food production systems. National Pork Board leaders will then attend the Forbes AgTech Summit, held on Sept. 18 and 19, in ongoing support of AgTech innovation and the THRIVE Midwest Challenge.

Forbes and SVG Ventures-THRIVE are founding partners of the AgTech Summit and partner with AgriNovus Indiana, Corteva, Elanco Animal Health, Land O’Lakes and Purdue University to provide networking and showcase opportunities in the Midwest.

The Summit will focus on emerging technology, new and dynamic business models and consumer behaviors which impact shopping preferences and food choices.

“Today’s consumers literally carry supercomputers in their pockets and have access to information – both accurate and misleading – that they leverage in making on-the-spot purchase decisions,” said Andy Brudtkuhl, National Pork Board’s director of emerging technology. “In the span of a few short hours, we intend to educate today’s pig farmers on what they need to know and how they must adapt to the changing world in which we live.”

As part of its mandate to support pork research, promotion and education, the National Pork Board is offering the conference free of charge to pig farmers, swine veterinarians, authorized academics and allied industry. Interested attendees can see the agenda of the Swine Innovation Summit and register here.