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NLPA News Brief
September 19, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Beef Checkoff IS Modern

Sydney (MT) Herald, 09/15/18—It's important to remember that $.50 of every dollar you pay in goes to your State Beef Council. The other $.50 is sent to the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) which is spent on national programs. In July all the national committees met at Summer Conference. These committees are made up from producers across the country.

CBB representatives are recommended by state associations but ultimately chosen by USDA. Federation representatives are members selected from their State Beef Councils to serve at the national level. All these people are involved in the cattle industry starting at the grassroots level.

At summer conference when those committees met they listened to the contractors (NCBA, North American Meat Institute, American Farm Bureau, Meat Import Council of America, Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF), and National Livestock Producers Association) present their Authorization Requests (AR).

These requests are for projects and programs to grow beef demand. Each committee scores, discusses and makes comments on each AR and those recommendations are passed on to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee to then decide how to fund each AR to meet the budget.

We spent a little over a day and a half listening and discussing how to cut just short of five million from the AR's presented to us to meet our budget of $40,521,900.

I've heard some comments from other groups that we need to "modernize" the checkoff. After sitting and discussing the AR's we saw this week I don't know how we could be more modern or on the edge of technology. Our promotion AR's are all about reaching the consumer in so many ways.


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Livestock and Ag Credit News

Not Just People And Pets: Organizations, Individuals Work to Help Livestock Impacted by Hurricane Florence

By Robert Berlin, The Daily Times (TN), 09/15/18—The numbers of livestock in Florence's path are massive.

In North Carolina alone, where forecasters expect to see the biggest rain event impacts, there are an estimated 810,000 head of cattle, 10 million head of pigs and almost 15 million chickens. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that North Carolina is the nation's top turkey producer, second–largest pork producer and third–largest chicken producer.

"If we know anything about American farmers, it's that they can handle adversity. Even so, USDA is ready to help with the resources they need to be able to weather storms and recover from damages," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release Thursday.

"As hurricanes approach, we have U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel in counties throughout the nation, standing by to assist in any way possible."

Beef Continues to Take Center Plate in U.S.

Dr. Nevil Speer, Feedstuffs, 09/13/18—nearly 90% of Americans recognize the tagline, "Beef. It's What's For Dinner." It's certain to be one of the most impactful promotional campaigns of recent history.

The advertisements started in the early '90s. The timing was critical as beef was fighting off a strong surge from pork and poultry. Beef's competitors were winning at the meat case. The worst occurred between 1980 and 1998: pork and poultry combined for $112 in per–capita spending growth, while beef gathered only $6 in new spending.

Fast forward 20 years to 2018. The beef industry has executed an amazing turn–around. That's best demonstrated by what occurred through the gauntlet of the financial crisis. The expectation being the economic downturn would severely hamper the beef industry and enable pork and poultry to gain new market share.

That didn't occur. To the contrary, the beef industry has experienced remarkable growth from a demand perspective. That's the direct result of better genetics, better management and efforts like the National Beef Quality Audits and Beef Quality Assurance. Simultaneously, promotional efforts reinforced beef's position in the marketplace (especially important for time–starved consumers facing ever–increasing options at the grocery store). The cumulative effect of those efforts has led to enduring, unprecedented pricing power for beef in the market place.

Worried About Securing Financing For 2019?

By Sara Schafer, AgWeb, 09/13/18—Cash flow concerns. Rising interest rates. Increased collateral requirements. Next year is shaping up to be an extension of the financial challenges farmers have been facing for the past four years. Will your lender deem you a sound or shaky financial investment in 2019? Don't be surprised when your lender asks harder questions during the loan renewal season or is quicker to deny a request.

"A bank has to be just as proactive about our loan portfolio as farmer has to be," says Jessica Lehman, managing director of agribusiness banking, First Financial Bank in Fort Wayne, Ind. "We can't just take on more collateral and bury our heads in the sand, either."

The Warning Signs. When farm loans are showing signs of deterioration, Lehman asks questions around three key areas. First, is the cyclicality of the industry causing the stress? Can the farm weather low commodity prices because there is balance sheet strength? Second, did the bank not smartly structure the loan? For instance, are payments due in August when farmers typically don't have strong cash flow? Third, what are the underlying issues going on in the operation? Is the owner aware?

"A lot of times it might be all three," she says. "We want to sit down with a farmer and ask, 'What is leading us to this point?"

Health and Wellness: A Veterinarian's Perspective on Antibiotics

NIAA News Release, Farm Journal's PORK, 09/13/18—"We have to understand that antibiotics are a finite resource. We need to think about, before we need to use them, what can we do to set these animals up to succeed," Dr. Randall Spare says. "There are so many management practices that we can do on the ranch, before they leave, so that antibiotics don't need to be used."

Weaning strategies, vaccinations and essential nutrition top Spare's list of management practices to ensure overall health. However, even the best–kept herds will face disease. That's when the strategic use of antibiotics is critical, Spare says, emphasizing strategic.

"We're using antibiotics in a very judicious way. We're using them to help ensure animals have the proper care when they do get sick," Spare notes. "Producers are really concerned about how they are using those antibiotics. Making sure we are using them in a timely fashion, so they will kill bacteria and perform effectively. We're using better metrics. We're using not only temperature, but animal temperament, to develop metrics to determine whether this calf needs to be treated."

Survey Shows Importance of Written Animal Care Protocols

By Larry Lee, Brownfield Ag News, 09/14/18—Beef producers and veterinarians say written protocols and procedures are the most impactful resource to improve animal care. That's according to a new survey released by Merck Animal Health, which polled more than 650 cow–calf producers, stocker operators, feedyard operators, and veterinarians.

Dr. Guy Ellis with Merck says the survey helps identify challenges facing producers and veterinarians and identify resources that would be of most value.

Along with written protocols and procedures, respondents say the other top resources, in order, are written employee animal care commitments, documented employee training, antibiotic stewardship, and individual animal record keeping.

Process Reduces Manure Odor, Produces Fertilizer, Clean Water

By Tom Steever, Brownfield Ag News, 09/12/18—A presenter at the Ag Innovation Showcase has developed a way to take much of the smell out of manure leaving a by–product of fertilizer and clean water. Livestock Water Recycling (LWR) co–founder Karen Schuett tells Brownfield Ag News the machinery she sells separates water out dairy and pig manure.

"The odor is drastically reduced," Schuett told Brownfield at the Showcase. The leftover water is clean – clean enough to drink – leaving an almost dry fertilizer. "You can also then use that as a precision nutrient application to grow your crops and increase the feed crop that you are producing by, on our farms, three to five times," she said. Some farmers market the processed manure in bags or bulk. Others apply to their own fields.

Global Livestock News

Snow Plagues Canadian Farmers In The Heat Of Harvest

By Sonja Begemann, AgWeg, 09/13/18—While farmers in the U.S. boast their near–completion of 2018 wheat harvest, farmers in Canada look in envy. Earlier this week, Mother Nature dumped 6" of snow in northwest Alberta while farmers were trying to get crops into the bin.

"It's not unheard of for us to get snow during harvest, but it's exceptional to get this amount," says Jerome Isaac, who grows hard red spring wheat, canola and yellow field pears in Alberta, Canada. "Yesterday we got about six inches of snow and it hasn't melted."

Harvest is at a standstill, and he has about 90% of his crops yet to get out of the field. Fortunately, most of the season was favorable for the crops and he still anticipates high yields. Still, harvest will be slow due to lodged fields and excess moisture.

"In late summer we had a couple weeks of incredible smoke cover from wildfires that blocked the sun and stalled the crop," Isaac says. "So, we were already harvesting 10 days later than normal. Add an early snowfall on top of that and harvest is really delayed here."

Global Livestock News

FDA Proposal Would Make Animal Antibiotic Sales Data More Useful

PEW, 09/13/18—Data on how and why medically important antibiotics are used in agricultural settings—and the implications of that—are central to ensuring the judicious use of these drugs. Yet this information is limited in availability.

The only national estimates of total antibiotic use in food animal production come from sales data. Important progress has been made in improving this information—notably, the Food and Drug Administration's most recent data broke down sales estimates by major food animal species (chickens, cows, pigs, and turkeys) for the first time—but much more detailed information is needed.

A recent FDA proposal to establish a method for estimating the size of the animal populations potentially being treated with antibiotics could help address this challenge and provide context for sales numbers—a welcome improvement. Ultimately, however, data on actual antibiotic use are needed.

USDA Publishes Market Facilitation Models

By Nicole Heslip, Brownfield Ag News, 09/13/18—The USDA's chief economist has published the methods used to determine the breadth of the trade relief program.

Rob Johannson says the agency used standard models to estimate the impacts of trade tariffs. "The models simulate the expected reductions in U.S. exports due to retaliatory tariffs, holding all other factors constant."

He says all commodities listed to receive tariffs were evaluated for damage payments during the process. "Some of the commodities such as more processed products like wine or ethanol were not included in the program."

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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