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February 15, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

It's Up To You To Feed The World, But It Won't Be By Your Rules

By Burt Rutherford, BEEF Magazine, 02/09/17—"There's this crazed consumer out there who is asking all these questions about our production methods—how we treat the animals, what technologies we use to produce the meat that they consume. We have to collaborate in order to share this information, in order to improve the image of our industry and grow our business."

That's how Cameron Bruett, director of corporate affairs and sustainability for JBS, kicked off the Cattlemen's College at the recent Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville.

Bruett walked the audience through the changing consumer attributes,pointing out that selling beef to consumers was simpler in the early days, when we could market beef based on its taste, texture and appearance. "But then we got to the 2000s. And all of a sudden, eating meat became a bad thing. It was the pariah of society. It led to deforestation, climate change, waste, used too much water. Eating a steak was like driving your SUV," he said.

"Some of these issues are real, some are conflated, some are flat out lies. But they are influencing consumer perception. Therefore, they are influencing my customers' business, which influences my business, which influences your business. And we ignore these issues at our own peril."

That means, as an industry, we need to work collaboratively to understand what the modern consumer wants so we can meet that demand and grow our business, he told beef producers. "And at the same time, educate consumers so they understand the good that we're doing, so they understand we truly are a sustainable business, that we're proud to be in this country, we're proud to be on the land, we're proud to be stewards, we're proud to feed them, even when they take us for granted."

GIPSA NEWS: 02/09/17

Livestock and Ag Credit News

The Effects on Cattle Producers in Drought–Stricken Areas

AgWeb, 02/09/17—Since the beginning of the year, the national drought picture has dramatically improved, but there are still problem areas in parts of the central and southern Plains. "It's really dry in Oklahoma," said Clay Burtrum, a producer from Stillwater, Ok. "The cattle are doing fairly well on wheat pasture, but we've been in a drought the past two months since we planted wheat in late fall."

Burtrum's area has suffered from dryness for two months, but for the whole state, it's been a year since it's been drought–free. Some pockets have seen wildfires from the conditions. "Guys are getting groundwork ready to plant spring crops," said Burtrum. "Whether they have adequate moisture to plant those crops, I don't know. Not only that, but we have a winter wheat crop that's going to harvest later this spring."

Producers in Mississippi say the drought has been taxing, especially for cattlemen. They say these are situations they haven't had to deal with in several years.

Young: Thanks for Getting Off Sidelines

By Cyndi Young–Puyear, AgriNews, 02/10/17—The "great divide" between those who produce the food, fiber and fuel and the consumer of such didn't happen overnight. The current fragmentation of the agriculture industry didn't happen overnight.

The economic mess we find ourselves in as a country didn't happen overnight. The obesity problem we have in this country didn't happen overnight. The out–of–control regulatory environment didn't happen overnight. The "fix" for any of these problems isn't going to happen overnight. Finding balance is going to be a challenge. Standing up for what we believe in takes diligence, patience and, most importantly, action.

It is exciting to see the grassroots swell of support for American agriculture today. I've heard from many of you that have challenged the curriculum in your child's classroom because it was rife with untruths about animal agriculture. Others took the time to investigate where money from the church collection plate is spent once it leaves the community, and after discovering HSUS received a piece of it, went to work to keep that money in the local community.

You are keeping an eye on proposed legislation at the state and federal level and calling lawmakers to voice support or opposition. You are monitoring your local newspapers, radio and TV stations for misinformation. When the news reporter covers only one side of the "livestock odor" story, you see to it he hears from agriculture's side. There will be challenging days ahead in 2017 and beyond. There are financially motivated false prophets on every side of a movement, but you no longer are sitting on the sidelines chatting with one another about the "great disconnect." You are arming yourselves with facts and getting in the game.

North Dakota Ranch Recognized With National Stewardship Award

High Plains Journal, 02/02/17—Black Leg Ranch of McKenzie, N.D., was named national 2016 winner of the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award Program for its commitment to protecting America's natural resources in a flourishing operation. The award, presented last week at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee, is sponsored by Dow Agrosciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Cattlemen's Foundation.

The Black Leg Ranch is operated by the Doan family, which includes Jerry and Renae Doan, Jeremy and Ashlee Doan, Jay and Kari Doan, Jayce Doan, and Shanda and Don Morgan. The family received the Environmental Stewardship Award for NCBA's Region VII last summer. Since 1991 the award has gone to cattle operations that demonstrate the beneficial and successful application of environmental protection to their businesses.

"The Doan family and Black Leg Ranch are a tremendous example of cattle producers committed to doing the right thing for both their businesses and the environment," according to Dave Owens, U.S. range and pasture marketing manager for Dow Agrosciences. "Through the years they have put in a lot of work to make the ranch work for both family and society."

Kim Ulmer Is Lobbying For Change: South Dakota Auction Market Owner Plans To Take CME Cattle Industry Surveys To Washington

Tri–State Livestock News, 02/01/17—Kim Ulmer is on a mission. The co–owner of Huron Continental Marketing and president, CEO of Livestock–R–Us LLC, located in Huron, S.D., wants to change the way cattle are marketed and sold in the U.S. "Every producer needs to know why our markets crashed to 50 percent of what they were two years ago, with only a 1 percent increase in American livestock," said Ulmer.

Economists have yet to agree on the factors that resulted in the sharp decline in cattle prices in recent years. Ulmer suspects the crash largely has to do with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

"The CME is a globalized board of trade, with 700+ stockholders who collectively have more than $29 billion in assets," said Ulmer. "It's a self–regulated organization with billionaires creating false values in the markets because there's no delivery requirements for contract and there are no trading limits."

Since spring of 2016, Ulmer has traveled the country speaking about his frustrations with the CME to various cattlemen's groups including R–CALF USA, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I–BAND), the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (I–CON) and South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

"Every group I spoke with shared the same frustrations about the cattle markets," said Ulmer. "I fear the cattle industry is going to follow down the same road as the hog industry. In 1960, we had 644,882 small family hog farmers in the U.S. By 1980, new government regulations allowed for mega farms and large corporation to take over, and by 1987, only 236,973 hog farmers remained in business. By 1994, that number had dropped to under 150,000. In 2007, hog producers numbered 74,698. In 2016, nine out of every ten family hog farm has gone out of production as large corporations now own the lion's share of the hog industry."

Story of Modern Agriculture Needs to Be Told to Free Farmers to Feed the World

By Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Farmscape | 02/03/17—An Air Quality Specialist with the University of California Davis says the persistent red barn image of agriculture is misleading the public and needs to be dispelled if modern agriculture is to be free to meet the challenge of feeding the world.

"One of the stories that you hear our there is that in the 1950s and 1960s we had a much better agricultural production then. Everything was greener and therefore less environmentally harmful. The opposite is true. We needed way more, three to four times more animals to produce the same amount of food and we did so under conditions that were not welfare enhancing," says Dr. Mitloehner.

"We had to tie animals onto equipment. We had to hand milk or hand raise animals. We had to, or we did put manure straight into the next stream to get rid of it. All of these things are unthinkable today."

Confused About Feeding CTC to Your Cattle?

By Rod Swoboda, Wallaces Farmer, 02/01/17—Confused about feeding chlortetracycline to your beef cows or feedlot cattle? The transition of chlortetracycline (CTC) to a veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug has highlighted several issues that are raising questions or problems for Iowa beef producers. Iowa State University Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell and others at the Iowa Beef Center have developed two informational pieces cattle producers can use to address those concerns.

"The Iowa Beef Center has two new information sheets that provide information on combination feeding of CTC with other feed medications, and pulse feeding of CTC to treat respiratory disease in feedlot cattle. The information sheets also address the use of CTC in a medicated mineral mix," says Dewell. "Both of these publications are two pages long, and available as electronic documents on the VDPAM (Iowa State University Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal) website."

Dewell and Iowa Beef Center director Dan Loy wrote "Feeding CTC to Feedlot Cattle." Dewell and ISU Extension beef program specialist Chris Clark wrote "Feeding CTC to Beef Cows."

Global Livestock News

Ag Hopes Japan Is First Up on Trump's Trade Agenda

Feedstuffs, 02/08/17—Ahead of a state visit here by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slated for Feb. 10, the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urged President Donald Trump to begin negotiations on a free and fair trade agreement with Japan.

In a joint letter transmitted to the White House on Feb. 7, NCBA and NPPC asked the President "to initiate free trade agreement negotiations with nations in the Asia–Pacific region, beginning with Japan. æ As you continue to lead America forward, we want to be a resource for your Administration for possible strategies in improving existing and future trade agreements for the benefit of our producers."

"A successful, comprehensive agreement with Japan would result in one of the greatest trade agreements for the U.S. pork and beef industries and for many other sectors," said NCBA president Craig Uden, a cattle rancher from Elwood, Neb.

Could NAFTA Changes Affect Canada And Iowa Pork Producers?

By Ben Nuella, Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, 02/11/17— Changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement could affect how Canada's and Iowa's pork industries do business.

Anything affecting the American hog markets has a trickledown effect on Canadian markets. "Where the United States depends on about 20 percent of production going into the export market. Sixty or 70 percent of Canadian pork needs to be exported," Florian Possberg, Chair of Saskatchewan Pork Development Board said.

"It's a big part of our business and a major part of our business," Possberg said. "What we know is that Iowa is more efficient at finishing hogs along with slaughtering and processing hogs than anyone else in the world."

Possberg said this relationship between not only the U.S. but Iowa and Canada works well because he raises the pigs and sends them down to Iowa for finishing. "Raising the pigs there or getting pigs to weaning stage and then sending them to the United States where another hog farmer here is raising them to market, that model works for them and we don't want any disruption of that either," Dave Warner of National Pork Producers Council said.

Global Livestock News

In A Post–Truth Media World, Facts About Beef Research Be Damned

By Alison Van Eenennaam. BEEF Magazine, 02/08/17—How could I create a fake news story? For starters, how about a little sensationalism in the headline to incense and shock the readers and generate some extra "clickability." Perhaps a hook about a teenager getting raped to death. That should get some serious traffic.

That seemed to be the approach taken by New York Times journalist Michael Moss back in January 2015 when he wrote "Research lab lets livestock suffer in quest for profit," skewering the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (US MARC). There were numerous other horrific claims in the article.

It was the allegations of the death raping of the teenage cow and experimental surgery being undertaken by untrained, unskilled and unsupervised staff that really stuck in my mind. I was therefore glad when the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced it was going to investigate and audit the allegations made in the New York Times article. Specifically they stated they were going to investigate "33 statements from the article to evaluate and attempt to determine their veracity".

So imagine my surprise when the OIG final report was released Friday Dec. 16, 2016 and I was none the wiser. The OIG report stated that of the 33 statements made by the New York Times, "we determined that only 7 were materially accurate — 26 were inaccurate, lacked sufficient context or were uncorroborated." New York Times, that is a 21% material accuracy rate – also known as an F in my classes. The OIG report further clarified that "Overall, we did not note evidence indicating a systemic problem with animal welfare at USMARC."

USDA Reminds Individuals and Small Businesses in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming that USDA Offers Disaster Assistance Programs to Help

USDA News Release, 02/10/17—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses that could potentially be affected by the recent storms that USDA has several programs that provide assistance before, during and after disasters. USDA staff in the regional, State and county offices in the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are ready to help.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety–net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm–Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program.

The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.

Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low–interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation also is available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non–insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.

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