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NLPA News Brief
January 22, 2020
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Nicely Done, Beef. You're Still King with Consumers.

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine, 01/17/20—In contrast to fake meat propaganda, beef is still in high demand with consumers.

In a nutshell, the industry isn't afraid of the competition; we have always competed against other proteins in the meat case after all; however, these folks are playing by different rules where mud–slinging is the norm and lying about beef and pork seems to be their model for scaling demand.

And that's where I think it becomes time for the beef industry to push back.

The Beef Checkoff accomplishes that in an ad campaign now going viral on social media.

In a series of photos and videos featuring delectable cuts of beef, the "Nicely done, beef." campaign highlights what beef does so well in contrast to some of today's most popular talking about alternative proteins.

"Nicely done, beef. You've proven that meat substitutes are just that. Substitutes."
“Nicely done, beef." You've always been what's for dinner."
"Nicely done, beef. You're the only nutritious meal people don't lie about liking."
"Nicely done, beef. You taste like beef with only one ingredient."
"Nicely done, beef. You provide the benefits of a protein bar. Without tasting like one."
"Nicely done, beef. You give people a reason to use the drooling emoji."


To read the rest of an article at its source, click on the title.

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Perdue: 3rd MFP Payment Coming Soon, No New MFP for 2020

By Sonja Begemann, Farm Journal's AgWeb, 01/17/20—With the phase one trade deal with China official, farmers are expecting more positive momentum in the markets. However, they shouldn't expect an extension of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) in the meantime, according to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

"My expectation is that the president will direct when they fulfill that third tranche of the 2019 MFP payments," Perdue said to AgDay Host Clinton Griffiths. "Now, I've told producers all along that they shouldn't expect a 2020 MFP because they told us all along they'd rather have trade, not aid, and that's what the president has delivered."

For farmers, bankers and other stakeholders who'd bet on a 2020 payment, this might come as a surprise. With markets opening to China this week, and soon to Mexico and Canada, will the market respond fast enough?

"This takes effect in 30 days but the fact that China's going to fulfill their $40 to $50 billion commitment they've got to begin very quickly," Perdue says. "We'll see demand among all sectors here, begin to build probably even in the next several days as we work out the technical permits and those kind of things that need to happen between economies in between traders."

The deal with China makes way for $200 billion in total U.S. sales over the next two years, about $80 billion dedicated to agricultural products alone. In addition, USMCA passed in the Senate earlier this week and is just a couple steps away from being final.

"This is huge for American agriculture and our farmers and ranchers—essentially doubling the amount of products, U.S. products, that China has ever imported from our producers," Perdue says.

Disastrous 2019 Weather Spills Over into Cattle Breeding

By Michelle Rook, Agweek, 01/20/20—The disastrous weather in 2019 continues to have a long tail, not just for grain producers but for livestock operations as well. It is currently surfacing in a higher percentage of unbred beef cows this fall and winter than in past years.

In fact, livestock auction barns such as Winner Livestock Auction in Winner, S.D., have been busy selling more open or weigh–up cows as a result. Co–owner Frank Volmer says it's one of the worst breeding seasons in many years for cattle producers in the area.

"The pregnancy testing hasn't been going very good. So there's been a lot of, I would say, wrecks out there — 30, 40%, 50% opens on some of these cows," he says.

Many of the cows being sold are thin, tied to the tough winter and late season snowstorms in 2019.

"That would have been due to the spring last year. They maybe were not fed quite enough, and it was just a tough go all the way around," Volmer says.

Texas Cattle Ranchers Face Tough Decision to Cull Or Sell Herds as Drought Deepens

By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, 01/19/20—A deepening drought is afflicting a large swath of Texas, from the Rio Grande Valley to central and east Texas, once again putting Texas ranchers' livelihoods in peril. Statistics released this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor showed 37% of the state in moderate drought conditions and about 11% of the state in severe drought. More than half of the state is abnormally dry, and parts of seven counties are experiencing extreme drought, according to the stats.

The dry weather patterns began last summer, said John Nielsen–Gammon, the state climatologist. Usually, winter is when Texas absorbs most of its moisture, thanks to cooler temperatures and steady rainfall, he said. But that hasn't happened this winter.

One of the worst droughts on record for Texas was in 2011, when only an average of 15 inches of rain fell on the state, leading ranchers to send thousands of heads of cattle to slaughter, sucking lakes and rivers dry, sparking wildfires and amounting to $8 billion in losses for the state.

Drought in Texas is usually most acutely felt by ranchers, whose animals subsist on sprawling non–irrigated grassy lands. As the grass dries up, ranchers need to choose to either invest in bringing in hay from elsewhere or bring down their herd numbers, said Jeff Savell, an animal science professor at Texas A&M University. As those numbers go down, Texas beef prices go up across the country, he said. Texas is the country's biggest producer of beef, providing around 15% of the nation's beef needs.

Pork Markets to Become a Big Winner in the US–China Trade Truce

By Hannah Zhang, CNN Markets Now, 01/19/20—Just a day after the United States and China signed a phase one trade deal, the US Department of Agriculture released a report that delivers another optimistic message to US farmers: Chinese demand for pork is likely to boost the US pork markets in 2020.

The latest USDA report shows that 26.5% of US pork exports went to China in November 2019, making it the largest foreign destination for US pork that month. A year earlier, when the trade war was at its peak, the number was 4.9% — five times smaller than what it is today.

As the largest pork consuming nation in the world, China had to tap its emergency pork reserves in the past year after losing over 100 million pigs to the African swine fever. Now, as Chinese people start to prepare food to celebrate the biggest national holiday, the Spring Festival, demand for pork could be higher than ever.

The pork shortage has pushed Beijing to reach multiple deals with Washington amid the trade tension. In August 2019, Chinese companies bought over 10,000 tonnes of US pork even after Beijing suspended all other purchases of American agricultural products. In late December, China dropped tariffs for US pork days after releasing 40,000 tonnes of pork from its emergency reserves.

AVMA Releases Latest Version of Its Euthanasia Guidelines

AVMA News Release, 01/15/20—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has released the latest version of its Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. The 2020 guidelines feature the latest research, information and member input to provide veterinarians with science–based and practically sound guidance for relieving the suffering and pain of animals to be euthanized.

An update to the AVMA's 2013 version, the new guidelines are available on the AVMA website at avma.org/euthanasia.

Originally published in 1963, the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals are globally recognized as representing best practices in humanely ending animals' lives when necessary. The guidelines are one of the three resources that comprise AVMA's Humane Endings policy series, which includes the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals and the AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals.

Global Livestock News

Japan Looks to Protect Intellectual Property in Wagyu Beef Cattle

KYODO News, 01/20/20—Japan's farm ministry on Monday proposed legislation to protect the intellectual property in fertilized eggs and sperm taken from Japan's famous wagyu beef cattle as concerns grow about overseas breeding efforts.

The envisioned law allows for injunctions against unauthorized trading, production and export and will penalize business operators who obtain and sell materials without following required procedures as well as third parties who knowingly export such materials.

The move comes after an attempt to export fertilized wagyu beef cattle eggs and sperm to China came to light in 2018.

The premium Japanese beef has been gaining popularity overseas, and the government, which is keen to expand exports, has been seeking to prevent foreign production of a product that Japanese farmers have molded through years of selective breeding.

Trump Trade Trip to India in the Works

By Sonja Begemann, Farm Journal's AgWeb, 01/17/20—USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says the next customer President Trump will target the fastest–growing country in the world, India.

"India… we've done frankly very little [with it] and we haven't had the same trade relationships—there's been a lot of barriers," Perdue says. "I am hoping and I'm expecting that we can make some progress with India in agricultural products and trading relationships."

The opportunity with India is massive and Perdue says he could see that trade relationship being as important as China over the next 20 years. In fact, India is outpacing China in terms of population growth, making it an increasingly important trade partner.

"White House sources tell Pro Farmer that Trump has made the decision to visit India and he wants to this month," said Pro Farmer Policy Analyst Jim Wiesemeyer on Friday's AgriTalk Radio Show.


Global Livestock News

USDA Issues $10.2m for Animal Disease Preparedness

By Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs, 01/17/20—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) awarded $ 10.2 million to support disease prevention and emergency response training and exercise projects as well as targeted projects to enhance laboratory diagnostic capability as part of its efforts called for in the 2018 farm bill. The agency is also moving forward with developing the National Animal Vaccine & Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB).

"USDA has always worked best when it collaborates with states, universities and farmers and ranchers out in the field," USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs Greg Ibach said. "Our farm bill programs allow us to continue to strengthen these vital partnerships. Working together, we can further improve our ability to protect U.S. animal health and respond to animal disease events. At the same time, we will continue to ensure we have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak of certain high–consequence foreign animal diseases like foot and mouth disease" (FMD).

The 2018 farm bill provided funding for these programs as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the U.S. and to reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions.

BLM Seeks Comments on New Grazing Regulations

Feedstuffs, 01/17/20—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting public comments for the preparation of an environmental document under the National Environmental Policy Act prior to making an amendment to the grazing regulation for public lands. The BLM notice of intent (NOI) opened a public comment period and noted that in–person scoping meetings will be held across the West.

The BLM grazing regulations, which govern approximately 155 million acres in the western U.S., have been periodically modified, revised and updated over time. The last comprehensive revisions to BLM grazing regulations that were implemented occurred in 1995.

The current grazing regulations require revisions to update, modernize and streamline the grazing administration regulations and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management. Through this rule–making, BLM seeks to improve existing land use planning and grazing permitting procedures while simultaneously promoting conservation on public lands.

"This is a once–in–a–generation opportunity for BLM permittees to set the record straight," said Dr. J.J. Goicoechea, who chairs the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. Federal Lands Committee and the Public Lands Council's Grazing Regulations Working Group. "We have endured [former Interior Secretary] Bruce Babbitt's 'Range Reform' for over 25 years — and the land, native grasses and local ranching families have suffered as a result. This NOI is the first step toward righting that wrong. I cannot understate how important it is for ranchers to submit comments and participate in these scoping meetings."

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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