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NLPA News Brief
February 20, 2019
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Equity Cooperative Earns 2019 BQA National Marketer of the Year Award

Wisconsin State Farmer, 02/12/19—As a strong advocate for Wisconsin's beef industry, NLPA member Equity Coop strives to instill consumer confidence through product safety and quality – something they have in common with the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. This, combined with their efforts to create low–stress environments for both livestock and employees, has earned Equity Coop the 2019 BQA National Marketer of the Year Award.

The award was presented at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, LA. Award winners are selected by a committee comprised of BQA certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups.

Equity Coop was established in 1922 and is Wisconsin's largest livestock marketer. With 14 locations, over 300 employees and nearly a million head of livestock moving through their locations annually, they realized the importance of implementing standardized best practices early on.

"It was because we saw a need that had to be picked up, both on the condition that the animals were being delivered to us, and also how we were handling them within our facilities," says Chuck Adami of Equity Coop.

To ensure they were doing the best they could for their livestock, Equity Coop began setting standards for animal care, and have earned the trust of producers in turn.


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Livestock and Ag Credit News

U.S. Beef Trade Outlook: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Kindra Gordon, BEEF Magazine, 02/15/19—There are many moving parts to global marketing opportunities for beef. "There always is, but lately it's really extreme," expressed Brett Stuart, co–founder of Global AgriTrends, a firm specializing in global analysis of market intelligence and trade data.

Stuart shared several observations on the trade scene, and noted they fall into three buckets – "the good, the bad and the ugly," a moniker he borrowed from the 1960s Clint Eastwood film.

The good: Regarding production, Stuart acknowledged that beef production has increased significantly. As examples, since 2006, Brazil had added 10 million beef cows, and from 2015 through 2019 the U.S. cowherd has increased about 3 million head. Stuart notes that usually as production increases, price decreases. But the good news here is as production increased, "we've held prices together."

The bad & ugly: Now, the bad news: While the market potential in China is promising and offers what some estimate could be a $4 billion market, Stuart called it "horribly unfortunate" that the U.S. beef industry still faces many export hurdles there. He cited the non–scientific residue restrictions and a zero tolerance policy on growth promotant residues, traceability requirements to the ranch of origin, 25% retaliation tariffs for a total 47% tariff, and individual plant approvals, instead of USDA system–wide approvals.

How Will Lab Meats Be Regulated for Safety?

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine, 02/13/19—Whether we like it or not, 2019 may be the year we see ramped–up attacks on beef production with more push for plant–based diets, meat–free alternatives, copycats and petri–dish products. We can also expect beef production will continue to be the target in climate change discussions.

So you might wonder where these cell–cultured protein companies are in the process to enter the marketplace.

Last October, the USDA and FDA held a joint public meeting to discuss the regulatory framework and oversight of these products. Since then, the two organizations have worked to determine the best route for ensuring the safety of these protein products during the production and manufacturing processes.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) gives us an update on what this oversight might look. See the "Fake Meat Facts" sheet HERE.

COOL Bills Being Discussed in Montana and Oklahoma

By Ruth Nicolau, Tri–State Livestock News, 02/15/19—It's cool to eat American beef, but it's not COOL, as in Country of Origin Labeling–cool.

Some producers in Montana and Oklahoma are working to make COOL a law in their states. In Montana, a hearing was held on February 12 for Senate Bill 206, requiring country–of–origin placarding for beef and pork at retail stores in the state. The bill was introduced by Senator Al Olszewski (R–Kalispell) and would require retailers to display a placard at counters, with labels for three different categories of meat: 1) meat that is born, raised and processed in the U.S.; 2) meat that is processed outside the U.S.; and 3) meat that is only processed in the U.S.

As federal law currently stands, beef and pork imported from other countries can be labeled "Product of the USA" even if the meat is only processed or packaged in the U.S.

Improper Storage of Vaccine Can Affect Its Efficacy

By Roger Williams, Tahlequah (Oklahoma) Daily Press, 02/17/19—Respiratory disease in cattle can cost the U.S. cattle industry over $2 billion annually. Management techniques can offset much of this cost and having a good vaccination program can maintain the health of a calf all the way through the production system.

A vaccine can cost over $3 a head. If not stored properly, that vaccine can be rendered in effective. Producers cannot afford to overlook the importance of how they store vaccine and handle it prior to injection. Biological products should be stored under refrigeration at 35–45 degrees unless the nature of the product makes storing at a different temperature advisable. If vaccines are not stored within this temperature range, efficacy to the calf will be reduced.

A Change in Farm Lending

By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News, 02/14/19—The head of rural North America for Rabo AgriFinance says the depressed farm economy has forced farmers to reevaluate how they look at their bottom line.

Curt Hudnutt says producers need to know what it costs to produce each unit. "Whether it is bushels of soybeans or it's pounds of production in the animal protein sector, it doesn't matter what your unit is," he says. "But understanding your cost of production and then knowing what your balance sheet looks like."

He tells Brownfield fully understanding balance sheets is important. It helps producers know if their operation can survive if they have to lock in prices for a loss. Hudnutt says while it may sound counter–intuitive, the tougher farm economy can create an easier lending environment because it is easier to identify the operations that are run well. Listen to 7:19 audio interview HERE.

Highest Selling Beef Bull in North Dakota,$1.51 Million

By Dave Roberts, KSOO News, Souix Falls, 02/15/19— In the livestock industry America is what everyone is talking about these days. In this case six and a half month old America stands on four legs and is a lean 1,107 pounds. According to the Billings Gazette America just became the highest–selling beef bull of all time, nearly doubling the price of the previous high–selling bull.

When the hammer dropped on Saturday, February 9 in St. Anthony, North Dakota it was a Nebraska company with the final bid of $1.51 Million. The Billings Gazette reports that Herbster Angus Farms of Falls City was the new owner of SAV America 8018.

As part of the Schaff Angus Valley's annual production sale the public wasn't kept in suspence. America was the first lot of the day. And it was also the third year in a row that Schaff Angus Valley has broken its own record for highest–selling bull.

Global Livestock News

Russia Blocks Pork Imports from Mongolia Due to ASF

Pig Progress, 02/16/19—The emergence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Mongolia has alerted Russia's veterinary authority Rosselkhoznadzor – leading to an import stop for pigs and pork. There is fear that the outbreaks may pose a threat to Russian regions that still enjoy an ASF–free status.

The veterinary watchdog has prohibited importing Mongolian pigs and pork as from early February. The decision has been taken primarily because Mongolia has been supplying meat products to regions in southern Siberia. In that part of Russia, there are no major pork production facilities, so historically it has had a higher dependence on imports.

Australia Beef Producers Hit Hard by Historic Flood

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine, 02/12/19—After years of drought, producers in Queensland, Australia, welcomed the much–needed rain that arrived at their rural communities. However, the relief was short–lived as the moisture quickly turned into a dramatic flood (with some reports estimating 28 inches of rain) that has left an estimated 500,000 head of cattle dead. Some reports have revealed that many producers in Australia have lost up to 80% of their entire herds.

In what is being described as a "sea of dead cattle," the monsoonal flooding caused livestock to drown, succumb to hypothermia or suffocate in the mud as cattle piled on top of each other for warmth.

"This will finish a lot of people. There's some people who've lost everything, every beast they own, so there's no income at all," said William McMillan, an Australian farmer, to ABC.

Global Livestock News

Government Averts Shutdown and Funds Ag Department

By Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs, 02/15/19—The House and Senate reached an agreement on a fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending package for the seven appropriations bills not yet signed into law. More than four months into the fiscal year, lawmakers passed the massive, $328 billion spending bill for 15 agencies and averted another shutdown.

The ag portion of the bill offers $23 billion in total discretionary funding, including $550 million for a rural broadband pilot program.

"I am pleased that Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, funding for USDA for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019. We will be moving at full speed on all of our responsibilities, making good on our motto by doing right and feeding everyone," said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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