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NLPA News Brief
February 21, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

A Minor Tweak to Beef Checkoff Logo Has a Major Impact on Both Consumer and Producer Appeal

Oklahoma Farm Report, 02/16/18—The Beef Checkoff logo has been around for a few years and in that time has undergone a few changes on occasion. Positioned beneath the logo's checkmark, there has been different verbiage included through the years such as, "Beef. It's What's for Dinner," for example. A commonly used version of the logo includes "Funded by the Beef Checkoff." However, recent consumer research discovered something that has led to yet another slight modification that National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Alisa Harrison thinks is a win–win for both the industry and the consumer as it relates to those involved. She explained this in a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.

Listen to NCBA's Alisa Harrison and Ron Hays talk about the Beef Checkoff logo's recent modification HERE.

"The Checkoff logo that really goes on anything that is Checkoff funded, previously said, 'Funded by the Beef Checkoff.' In talking to consumers, they don't know what the Checkoff is – but when they learned that it is actually beef farmers and ranchers that are paying into this fund, that really meant a lot to them," Harrison explained. "They like the fact that beef producers are making their own investments into promoting their product and the industry."

And so, to capitalize on the emotional appeal of that knowledge, the Checkoff logo has again undergone a transformation that now reads: "Funded by Beef Farmers and Ranchers." Harrison says this statement really supports the Checkoff's mission to promote the product – but also the people behind it. As an added bonus, she says producers really like the idea, too, proud of the visual recognition. Harrison says the Checkoff has a lot of brand equity with consumers, and producers understand this and are willing to continue investing their dollars in the program.


Livestock and Ag Credit News

Outlook for Real Feeder Cattle Prices

By John Nalivka, Drovers, 02/16/18—As I sat down to write on a couple of key dynamics of this year's beef industry outlook that I think are significant, I was thinking that perhaps, with the recent introduction of meat produced in a lab or plant based protein, I might qualify that I am talking about the real beef industry. In fact, a new certification may be in order – "Certified Genuine Beef from Cattle that Graze." Maybe that label is too long. How about "Certified Real U.S. Beef?" At any rate, on to the topic at hand.

This year's beef production coupled with projected imports and exports of U.S. beef will lead to a 10% increase in per capita beef use from the liquidation–led 60 year low in 2015. There is generally consensus across the industry that exports will continue to take a leading role if markets are to remain relatively robust with this much of an increase in per capita supply of not only beef but total meat. And, based on export performance during 2017, we can be quite optimistic about exports, even in the face of uncertainty about trade agreements.

MCA Moves 3 Resolutions Forward at National Level

High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, 02/15/18— The Missouri Cattlemen's Association brought three member–driven resolutions forward to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association grasroots policy process at the recent Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona.

MCA partnered with Colorado Cattlemen's Association; Iowa Cattlemen's Association; Kansas Livestock Association; Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association; and North Dakota Stockmen's Association to bring policy forward on the definition of beef.

The unanimously passed policy opposes alternative proteins being permitted to use nomenclature associated with proteins sourced from livestock production. The resolution opposes these proteins claiming to be equivalent to, or a substitute for, proteins derived from livestock produced by a farm and ranch family. The resolution also supports the definition of beef to only include products derived from actual livestock and harvested for human consumption.

MCA Secretary David Dick, who presented the resolution in the NCBA Agriculture and Food Policy Committee in Phoenix, says "We are not opposed to technology or plant–based proteins. We are absolutely opposed to these products using traditional beef nomenclature, which confuses consumers and weakens the value of the products we produce."

Look at Technology Use in Beef Cattle Production

By Joe C. Paschal, Victoria Advocate, 02/17/18—I recall reading an article that stated the poultry industry used about 90 percent of the technology available to it, dairy and swine production about 70 percent, cattle feeding about 50 percent and cow calf production about 10 percent.

A few years ago, a national beef magazine asked its readers what were the top 10 new technologies in the beef industry, the results were: round/square bales, A.I, Knowing consumer attitudes, Pour–on insecticide, Video feeder markets, Grain co–products, Real time market data, Tagging and ID systems, Food safety interventions at packing plants, and Low stress cattle handling.

I would have put the internet or world wide web near the top, but it didn't make the list. I can see why round bales did.

If you have mastered the internet and your cell phone, I don't expect that there is too much technology that the average beef producer can't master and determine if it is profitable.

Researchers Need Producer Input on Antibiotic Use

By Randall Singer, Drovers, 02/19/18— Demand for poultry and livestock raised without the use of antibiotics is growing in the U.S., but there are few data available regarding the association between raised without antibiotic claims and animal health and welfare. Our team has developed a survey to assess opinions and experiences of raised without antibiotics programs in animal agriculture and their relationship to animal health and welfare.

The survey is intended for individuals who are actively involved with commercial poultry and livestock production systems, regardless of whether or not you currently are involved in a raised without antibiotics program/system.

The survey is completely anonymous and confidential; no data about individual participants are being recorded. We would appreciate your participation in this 15 minute survey.

To access the survey, click HERE.

Are Ohio Beef Checkoff Accusations Legit or a Bunch of Bull?

By Matt Reese, Ohio's Country Journal, 02/16/18— The Ohio Farmers Union teamed up with the Organization for Competitive Markets and released a briefing paper outlining accusations directed at Ohio's checkoff programs, specifically the beef checkoff.

The Ohio Beef Council responded with the following statement:
"The Ohio Beef Council is proud not only of its efforts to help enhance beef demand for the benefit of beef producers, but of the comprehensive and robust firewalls in place to assure that checkoff funds are used lawfully and as intended. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has provided trusted and vigilant oversight to that end. Information on that spending can be found at www.ohiobeef.org.

"Furthermore, we believe Ohio beef checkoff funds should continue be collected in Ohio, and that Ohio beef producers should have a say in where their checkoff dollars go. Suggestions by the Organization for Competitive Markets that these collections should go directly to the national or state government are an insult to the producers who work diligently to put beef producer dollars where they will do the most good. Passing them through government agencies serves no practical purpose and will only increase costs to taxpayers and reduce the funding available for programs that benefit beef and beef producers."

The Ohio Beef Council also pointed out the unsettling connection with the Organization for Competitive Markets and the Humane Society of the United States, an animal welfare organization with clearly anti–animal agriculture intentions.

With Sales Falling, Pork Rebrands in Quest For Bigger Slice of the Market

By Barbara Soderlin, Omaha World–Herald, 02/16/18—You remember the old ad campaign "Pork. The Other White Meat," right? A lot of people do. For the pork industry, that's a problem. The best–tasting pork chops, it turns out, aren't the really pale, lean ones. They're a darker pink color, marbled with fat.

The famous ad campaign, launched in the low–fat '80s by Omaha–born advertising firm Bozell, did almost too good of a job positioning pork as a lean meat, industry leaders now say. The fact that consumers still seek out whiter cuts — and then tend to overcook them into dry, white hockey pucks — contributes to falling sales of fresh pork among today's flavor–seeking consumers.

It's a problem that the nation's hog producers look to reverse with a new marketing campaign designed to put a bigger variety of fresh pork cuts on restaurant menus and in grocery store butcher cases, and to educate shoppers on how to select and cook them.

The problem doesn't extend to processed pork, like sausage, deli ham or the industry's blockbuster cut, bacon. But you can't raise and sell just a pork belly.

"We've got to sell the rest of the hog," said Nebraska pork producer Terry O'Neel, president of the National Pork Board.

The average consumer buys fresh pork — cuts like a tenderloin, a chop, a shoulder roast or ribs — just 6.2 times a year now, down from almost 7 times a year in 2013, according to the Pork Board, based in Des Moines. Of particular concern is consumer lack of interest in the pork chop. A slice of the pork loin, the pork chop ought to be a star, the way a steak is tops with beef.

"Our premier cut of pork is steadily declining over time," said Bill Even, Pork Board chief executive officer, speaking to the Nebraska Pork Producers Association on Tuesday in Lincoln. "That's money we're leaving on the table."

Global Livestock News

Chinese Pig Farmers Using AI to Create China's 'Pork Miracle'

By Ken Hanly, Digital Journal, 02/16/18— In China pig–rearing used to be a predominantly a backyard operation. The etymology of the word "home" in Chinese means literally a "house with a pig in it". That is now all changed.

Since the nineteen eighties China has been modernizing its pork industry and upped production. China now has some 700 million pigs, half of the world population, most on huge farms. To manage such huge numbers China is turning to new technology including artificial intelligence (AI).

Machine vision technology is used to identify numbers tattooed onto the pigs' bodies using overhead cameras. The system will be able to count pigs and piglets but it is hoped to also provide more sophisticated analysis.

The system will be able to combine temperature readings from infrared cameras with data on how much each pig moves every day. This will enable the system to estimate the health of each animal. There will be voice recognition as well which can monitor such sounds as pigs coughing.

Key Competitors Investing More In Ag Export Promotion

By Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield Ag News, 02/15/18—A new study brings to light the importance of investing in foreign ag export promotion programs.

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) CEO Tom Sleight says the analysis conducted by Informa Economics shows key competitors like the European Union, Australia, and Brazil have taken significant steps to ramp up spending while the U.S. puts fewer dollars into export promotion efforts.

"What it indicates is that competition continues to increase every day. And we've been sort of fighting this battle with a static level of engagement for quite some time now."

The study revealed several competing countries outspend the United States in ag export promotion 4 to 1.Sleight tells Brownfield decision–makers in Washington must address the issue, beginning with USDA's Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Programs (MAP).

Sleight says a separate study on the MAP and FMD programs displayed a 28 to 1 return on investment for American agriculture as a whole.

Global Livestock News

How Moran Got Wildfire Relief into a Bill Aimed to Keep the Government Open

By Amy Bickel, High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, 02/18/18—Wildfire relief might seem like an odd measure amid a late–night budget bill finalized in the wee hours of Feb. 9 as most of America was sleeping. Ashland, the county seat town of Clark County, sits 1,400 miles from where lawmakers battled over spending. But the struggles there haven't been far from the mind of Sen.

Jerry Moran, who toured the charred grasslands shortly after the March 7, 2017, Starbuck Fire. While it might seem compromise is a lost art in Washington, the Kansas Republican reached a trade–off. The ranking member of Senate Ag Committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D–MI, wanted more tree assistance. Moran wanted an expansion of the Livestock Indemnity Program, which pays ranchers for their losses from a natural disaster.

They both got what they wanted.

The legislation is the result of conversations Moran had with people affected by the Starbuck Fire. The fire began in Beaver County, Oklahoma, on March 6 and burned 662,687 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma.

The budget deal designates nearly $90 million to wildfire and hurricane aid. It eliminates the $125,000–per–producer payment cap in the Livestock Indemnity Program—or LIP. According to Moran's office, that equals about 70 cow/calf pairs. Those payments don't go far compared to the 500 or more head some of the ranches lost in the wildfire.

The measure covers up to 75 percent of the losses. It's also retroactive for 2017—meaning farmers and ranchers suffering losses from Starbuck will see benefits from the program changes.

Fischer Introduces Legislation on Livestock Waste Emissions

By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent, 02/17/18—Sen. Deb Fischer, R–Nebraska, is a bipartisan sponsor of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act.

Fischer said the bill protects farmers, ranchers and livestock markets from EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. She said these requirements were not intended to affect animal agriculture — but instead, the dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions and release of hazardous materials into the environment.

"These reporting requirements were designed to apply to industrial pollution and toxic chemicals, not animal waste on a farm or a ranch," said Fischer, who added that the bill clarifies agriculture's exemption from the requirements.

"That ensures producers in this country can continue to operate as they have been since 2008," she said.

NLPA News Brief

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