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NLPA News Brief
April 15, 2015
Livestock and Ag Credit News

USDA Seeks Nominees for Cattlemens Beef Board

Livestock Marketing Association, 04/08/15—The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations to serve on the Cattlemen's Beef Board.

Vacancies for producer and importer member positions will occur in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Mid–Atlantic Unit (Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.), the Northeast Unit (Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont), the Southeast Unit (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina), the Southwest Unit (California and Nevada), and the Importer Unit.

Any beef producer in the United States that owns cattle or any importer who imports cattle or beef can be considered for nomination. All eligible producers and importers are invited to seek nomination by June 5, 2015. Producers and importers must be nominated through a USDA certified producer organization and submit the appropriate paperwork.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by its industry. Diversity includes gender, race, disability, length of service, and size and type of operation. For the contact information of the certified organizations in your state or region, click HERE.

GIPSA NEWS: 04/07/15

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Springtime Storms and the Cow Herd

By Glenn Selk, High Plains Journal, 04/13/15—Springtime is thunderstorm season across the Plains. Cleaning up after a severe storm is difficult enough. Losing valuable cattle brings additional financial hardship to the situation.

Cattle loss can occur in several scenarios. Livestock may be killed, lost or stolen during a stormy situation. An accurate accounting of livestock and property is essential to a cattle operation's storm preparedness. Keep a current inventory of all animals and the pastures where they are located. Individual animal ID tags on all animals have several other purposes, but can become extremely valuable if cattle become scattered or even stolen. If these records are computer based, consider having a "back–up" copy stored at a neighbor's or a relative's house.

Antimicrobial Use Could Be Slashed, Say Experts

By Alex Kienlen, Alberta Farmer, 04/13/15—The livestock sector could significantly reduce and in some cases, eliminate, antimicrobial use with simple changes in management practices, say veterinarians. And that would reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance and boost consumer confidence in the cattle industry.

"The key is to have animals that are properly vaccinated," said Craig Dorin of Veterinary Agri–Health Services. Dorin — and his call "to change our management system" — is featured in a new video from the Beef Cattle Research Council. Specifically, the Airdrie vet recommends low–stress weaning and pre–weaning vaccination so young cattle can build up their immune systems long before being transported to feedlots and mixing with other animals.

Lab–Grown Beef is Now Almost Affordable

By John Wenz, Popular Mechanics , 04/13/15—At about $30 a pound, it's still more expensive than Whole Foods… but not by a lot. The arrival of lab–grown meat came with much fanfare—here was a way to get real beef or chicken without the environmental or ethical problems inherent in raising and killing livestock. But the first versions of this stuff cost more than $250,000 dollars per pound to make, making them little more than a scientific curiosity.

Not anymore. There are still serious roadblocks that will keep lab–grown meat from coming to supermarkets anytime soon, but according to experts, the cost of producing it is dropping drastically. According to CNET, the not–quite–vegetarian lab–grown hamburger could now be made for about $27 per pound if production were scaled up to the industrial level.

Still, the taste is … not quite there, and the burgers (built by stem cells) are slow to grow without the use of growth hormones. But as the technology improves, the meat will become closer and closer to market–ready. And unlike a veggie burger, it's real beef. It just happened to be grown in a petri dish instead of a cow.

This Man Wants to Change the World with His Pork–Free Bacon

By Hilary Pollack, Munchies, 04/13/15—There's no doubt that bacon holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. Uncontent just to eat it in old–fashioned strip form, we've made the 21st century a nonstop food lab of new ways to crumble it, candy it, wrap it, and stuff it into and onto every other dish possible. Shouldn't it be obvious that bacon sales are at an all–time high?

All of this hubbub about something as simple as smoky meat strips was what led Howard Bender to create Schmacon. Schmacon is a new bacon product made from thin strips of beef rather than pork, and it does have fewer calories and less sodium and fat than its porcine counterpart. But Bender didn't invent it in the name of better health; he did it all for the love of beef. It all started when he had some truly atrocious turkey bacon while out to breakfast with a friend, and realized that, as the saying goes, there "had to be a better way."

The Increasing Need for Agricultural Service Workers

By Bob Meyer, Brownfield Ag News, 04/14/15—The number of good job opportunities in the agricultural service area is increasing tremendously. Bill Oemichen is president and CEO of Cooperative Network which provides training, marketing, technical services and government relations for more than 600 cooperatives in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Oemichen says cooperatives are growing and that means more opportunities for people to work with those cooperatives. He points to more than 300 different job titles just within the dairy industry and some of those positions pay a base salary of $100,000 per year plus a potential bonus.

One of challenges is the jobs are in rural areas and with fewer people coming from those areas, fewer want to work there. Ironically, he say in Wisconsin, anything outside of Milwaukee is considered "rural" so an employee can still live in a pretty good–sized city. Despite a bit of a downturn right now, Oemichen believes the agricultural economy will continue to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy. "We're going to have many challenges feeding the population of the globe so there is going to be a need for a strong and vibrant American agriculture."

USDA to Issue Disaster Assistance Payments

American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter, 04/10/15—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency this week announced that nearly 2,700 applicants will begin receiving disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm–Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses experienced from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.

The program, re–authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee and farm–raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions and diseases.

Making Electricity with Manure Goal of New Grant

By Logan Hawkes, Southwest Farm Press, 04/07/15—Helping to reduce negative impact of agriculture production on the environment and to become more sustainable in the years ahead, farmers, ranchers, and researchers have been active in developing new technologies and better methods of farming and raising livestock for years.

According to USDA, more and more agricultural operations are investing in alternative energy sources such as solar panels to replace or supplement power from the grid, and, to a lesser extent, wind–powered generators small enough to power a single water pump or large enough to power a barn, an office or an entire farm.

Coming soon, dairies and other large livestock operations, including feedlots, could convert methane gas from cow manure to provide heat and electricity, possibly enough to sell back to the grid.

Global Livestock News

Antibiotics Abuse Makes China's Pork Industry a Hotbed for Drug–Resistant Bugs

China Economic Review, 04/13/15—As Chinese agriculture scales up, key features of industrial farming – including antibiotics overuse, large–scale farms and breeding practices – could prime the pump for drug–resistant disease to take a serious toll on the country's porcine population. A veneer of modernization is also helping popularize the companies that have adopted these practices among consumers who are already on high alert for more immediate food safety problems. The size of that pork–hungry populace means a major loss in domestic swine stocks would have serious ramifications for the global meat market and undermine Beijing's efforts to secure an adequate domestic supply.

Colombian Sheep Production Policy Released to Public

The Sheep Site, 04/13/15—The Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) has released a draft resolution on strengthening the sheep and goat production industry, for consultation with the public. The Institute wants to listen to all stakeholders and develop policies to ensure good farming practices in the industry. It hopes that the resolution will provide healthy animals, competitive products and manage the development of the supply chain.

Luis Humberto Martinez Lacouture, CEO of ICA, stressed the importance of the livestock in the country. He said: "Considering that there are more than 14 breeds of sheep recorded in Colombia and around 10 kinds of goats, and it is a growing industry, it is very important to generate health policies and measures to strengthen this important sector of the national economy. "For this reason, I invite all people and producer associations to review the draft resolution and make their contributions to this measure to ensure all elements of security and safety, and thus provide reliable and competitive products."

Global Livestock News

EPA Strikes a Deal to Release RFS by June 1

By Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs, 04/13/15—The Environmental Protection Agency has accepted a settlement with the oil industry association groups by agreeing to a November 30 deadline for setting requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Should the EPA stick to its new November 30, 2015 deadline to finalize renewable volume obligations (RVOs), it will be almost two years late on its 2014 deadline to propose acceptable ethanol RVOs – and nearly one year late for 2015. Biodiesel volumes are now even further behind schedule, and will be a full three years late if the November timeline is maintained.

Ethanol supporters saw the agreement as a way to provide more certainty to an industry which has been in limbo for the past few years as EPA was unable to make requirement decisions. The National Farmers Union said EPA releasing the target levels would "restore stability to an already damaged biofuels market."

House Bill Would Kill Clean Water Act Rule, Force Replacement

By Philip Basher, AgriPulse, 04/13/15
—House Republicans introduced legislation Monday that would force federal agencies to kill and then replace a proposed rule to re–define what streams, wetlands and other areas are regulated under the Clean Water Act. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plans to vote Wednesday morning on the bill, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, kicking off what is likely to be a yearlong struggle with the Obama administration over the future of the rule to define the "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). The House passed a similar bill (HR 5078) passed last year, 262–152, but it went nowhere in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.

Congressional Republicans also plan to attack the rule through the appropriations process – the first opportunity for that will come up Wednesday as well when the House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee takes up a bill to fund the Army Corps of Engineers for fiscal 2016. A standalone bill such as the one Shuster is pushing is unlikely to become law because Democrats could likely uphold a veto at least in the Senate, but the measure gives Republicans a chance to force Democrats to go on record on the issue. It is expected to be much harder for Obama to veto an appropriations measure that is needed to keep government agencies operating. An appropriations provision would only be temporary, however, since it would expire at the end of fiscal 2016.

Shuster's bill would force the withdrawal of the proposed WOTUS rule and then require development of a replacement under a series of restrictions intended to give states, local governments and interest groups a greater say in its scope.

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