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NLPA News Brief
May 22, 2019
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Rural Bankers: Farm Loan Defaults to Double from 2017 Levels

By Sara Schafer,AGWeb, 05/17/19—For the first time since November, the Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell below growth neutral. The monthly survey of bank CEOs in a 10–state Midwest region is at 48.5 for May 2019, which is at growth neutral and down from 50.0 in April. This is the first month of negative growth, after five months of growth. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

"The trade tensions and tariffs are hammering the farming economy," says Ernie Goss, who chairs Creighton's Heider College of Business and leads the RMI. "Grain farmers throughout the region continue to experience losses produced by trade issues and plentiful global supplies. On the other hand, the expanding U.S. domestic economy is supporting livestock producers in the region. For May, according to bankers, the negatives far outweighed the positives."

On average, bankers expect farm loan defaults to climb by 10.9%. This is more than double the estimated rate of growth just two years ago.

In reaction to higher default rates, nearly 62% of bankers increased collateral requirements. Additionally, one in four bankers report rejecting a higher percentage of farm loans due to declining farm income.

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Livestock and Ag Credit News

Kansas Cattlewoman to Senate Climate Change Hearing: "Beef Cattle Industry Has Great Story to Tell" on Climate

NCBA News, 05/21/19—Testifying on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Kansas cattle producer Debbie Lyons–Blythe delivered a clear message at a U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on climate change this morning.

"The U.S. cattle industry is proud of its history as stewards of our nation's natural resources," Lyons–Blythe testified at the Committee's hearing on Climate Change and the Agricultural Sector. "The industry takes very seriously its obligation to protect the environment while providing the nation with a safe and affordable beef supply. Cattle producers are America's original conservationists, and we work hard every day to ensure that we can pass our operations on to the next generation."

Lyons–Blythe, who helps run Blythe Family Farms in the Flint Hills of Kansas, also pushed back against claims that beef cattle production in the United States is responsible for a disproportionate or even significant percentage of greenhouse gas emissions.

"The beef cattle industry has a great story to tell in the climate conversation and the facts support that," Lyons–Blythe testified. "According to the Environmental Protection Agency, direct emissions from beef cattle represent two percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country. A recent study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that emissions from cattle 'were not a significant contributor to long–term global warming."

The Future of Antibiotic Use in Beef Production

By Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers, 05/20/19—Antibiotics have been a hot button issue for consumers, policy makers and livestock producers for the past few years because of discussions like antimicrobial restraint bacteria and non–antibiotic labeling.

Most people don't remember a time without antibiotics says Brian Lubbers, DVM and director of clinical microbiology at the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Less than 100 years ago non–antibiotic remedies to treat livestock ailments were concocted using ingredients like nutmeg, ginger and iron.

"When we talk about the possibility of a world without antibiotics realize that has existed, and we may not be that far away from that in the future, if we're not careful," Lubbers says.

There could be further policy moves that limit antibiotic use in the future says Lubbers. He points to the FDA's Supporting Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Settings: Goals for Fiscal Years 2019–2023 which could lead to over the counter products requiring a veterinarian's prescription for purchase.

The outline set by FDA also paves the way for further education of veterinarians to ensure microbial stewardship while also implementing surveillance of antimicrobial use on farms.

Study Looks at Livestock Trailer Contamination to Barns

Farm Journal's PORK, 05/16/19—The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) funded a pilot study to determine if a fluorescent powder could be used to study the transfer of contamination from livestock trailers to barns during marketing events.

Conducted by staff from Iowa State University (ISU) in collaboration with Iowa Select Farms, the study addresses concerns that livestock trailers are frequently contaminated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), and other pathogens at swine slaughter plants in the U.S.

Results of this pilot study demonstrated fluorescent powder can be used to track contamination between livestock trailers and barns, offering a needed tool for evaluation and subsequent improvement in transport biosecurity.

In the U.S., barns of pigs are typically marketed over several weeks, creating the opportunity to bring pathogens from the marketplace back to the farm. If pigs become infected, they are subject to production losses, as well as becoming potential sources of virus for other farms. Contaminated trailers might also become carrying agents to other farms and drivers might pass pathogens on their clothing or boots.

During the study, dry woodchips on the floor of the chute appeared to inhibit the transfer of fluorescent powder, a marker for pathogen contamination, on the boots of the load–out crew but as feces and urine began to accumulate on the chute, the inhibition quickly dissipated. With a fluorescent light, investigators were able to document that fluorescent powder was transferred from the trailer to the load–out chute during the loading procedure at all three study sites.

Transfer was confirmed by the detection of fluorescent powder on the bottom of workers' boots, on their cutting boards for sorting, in the chute, the load–out alleyway, center alleyway of the barn, and the first three pens adjacent to the load–out alleyway on both sides.

Opinion: Animal Agriculture Is Not The Cause Of Antibiotic Resistance

By Colby Ferguson, Maryland Farm Bureau, The Baltimore Sun, 05/16/19—There's no arguing that antimicrobial resistance is a concern and something to be cognizant about. The ability to treat a wide range of diseases and illnesses is an extremely valuable tool that we need to keep effective.

As of 2017, medically important antibiotics are not being used in feed for growth promotion. According to a December report from the Food and Drug Administration, antibiotic usage in animal agriculture is greatly declining. The report outlines that sales and distribution of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock have declined by 33 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Another important point to make is that the most used antimicrobials in livestock are different than those most used to treat humans. The vast majority of antibiotics are either used in people or animals, but very rarely both. For instance, tetracycline is the most used class in animals at 41 percent, while it makes up just 4 percent of usage in humans — the vast majority of that use is in human acne cream.

Penicillins are the most used in humans at 44 percent, but only comprise 6 percent of animal agriculture use. Lonophores which make up 30 percent of usage in animals are not used for human treatment.

Studies show that the most urgent antibiotic resistance threats are unrelated to livestock. There is a 1 in a billion chance of antibiotic treatment failure from resistance to common animal antibiotics. This means we are thousands of times more likely to die from a dog bite or lightning striking than from resistance related to animal agriculture.

Global Livestock News

Japan Restores Full U.S. Beef Access

By Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs, 06/17/19—U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced May 17 that the U.S. and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan's long–standing restrictions on U.S. beef exports, paving the way for expanded sales to the U.S.'s top global beef export market.

Last week, on the margins of the G20 agriculture ministerial meeting in Niigata, Japan, Perdue met with Japanese government officials and affirmed the importance of science–based trade rules. The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003.

Pence Seeks Voter Help On USMCA Vote

By Larry Lee, Brownfield Ag News, 05/16/19—The Vice President told a group of Wisconsin agricultural equipment manufacturers he needs their persuading Congress to vote on the USMCA agreement. "I'm here to tell you, we've got to get it done. The clock is ticking. It's time. We need the Congress to approve the USMCA and we need Congress to approve the USMCA this year."

Mike Pence told nearly 80 workers at J & D Manufacturing in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to call their elected officials and ask for their support.

J & D Manufacturing President Tracy Trippler says the USMCA would be a win for manufacturing companies like hers. "It's a win for our farmers. It's a win for our customers." She says it is, "A win for American workers, and it's a win for small businesses like J & D Manufacturing."

Global Livestock News

USDA Adds to ASF Surveillance

By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News, 05/16/19—The USDA is ramping up its African Swine Fever preparedness efforts by implementing a heightened surveillance plan. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will work with the swine industry, states, and the veterinary diagnostics laboratories to test for the disease.

To make the surveillance testing for ASF effective and efficient, the USDA says it will add it to the current classical swine fever surveillance protocol. Which includes testing samples from high–risk animals, sick or dead pigs at slaughter, and pigs from herd that are at a greater risk for disease through factors as exposure to feral swine or garbage feeding.

USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach says the surveillance testing is in addition to the USDA's other increased prevention efforts. "We're going to increase the number of dogs we're training this year," he says. "Go from 120 dogs at ports of entry that are used as part of our surveillance team. So we're up near 180 dogs."

NLPA News Brief

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