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NLPA News Brief
January 16, 2019
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Sneak Peek: Industry Forecast for 2019

By Steve Kay, Meat + Poultry, 01/11/19—Barring a major disease outbreak that causes a human health crisis, chicken won't be toppled this year from its longtime perch as the most consumed protein in America. That's because the US will produce 54 percent more chicken than beef or pork. That is small solace to chicken processors who last year saw their chicken profits plummet from prior years because of strong competition from beef and pork.

All three proteins in 2017 reported record profits, at least for publicly–traded companies, and as this author wrote a year ago, the question was: "How can we possibly top this?" Astonishingly, beef processors did in 2018 and pork processors had another strong year despite the impact of tariffs levied on US pork exports by major markets Mexico and China.

It would take a bold leap to suggest these results could be repeated this year. But pork profits could be even better this year if the looming tariff issues are resolved, especially between the US and China. Beef processors will continue to have ample supplies of fed cattle to process and this year might provide even more record earnings for the third year in a row. This will require, however, continued strong beef demand at home and abroad and there is more of a risk of demand erosion this year than last year. The same is true for pork.


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Livestock and Ag Credit News

Poll: Should Massachusetts Adopt a Law Making It a Crime to Advertise Or Sell Something "As Meat That Is Not Derived From Poultry Or Livestock?"

Worcester Telegram, Massachusetts, 01/13/18—More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term "meat" on product labels, Nebraska's powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection. Lawmakers there will consider a bill defining meat as "any edible portion of any livestock or poultry, carcass, or part thereof" and excluding "lab–grown or insect or plant–based food products." It would make it a crime to advertise or sell something "as meat that is not derived from poultry or livestock."

Should a similar law be on the books in Massachusetts? 83% Yes. 17% No.

Booming Texas Barbecue Credited for Growth in Appetite for US Beef

By Jayme Lozano, Farm Forum, 01/12/19—When Anthony Frazier took a bite of his brisket sandwich from Embers Barbecue on Jan. 10, he briefly compared it to barbecue he's tried from Kentucky and Tennessee before coming to a simple conclusion.

"It's perfect," said Frazier. "Once you have Texas barbecue, it's not the same." Frazier is just one of many consumers who are behind a boom in popularity for barbecue, specifically, Texas–style barbecue as the delicacy is credited for helping push a strong demand for beef consumption in the U.S.

"One of the ongoing trends in the last year or so in beef markets has been growing demand for beef by consumers, both in the U.S. and our export markets," said David Anderson, livestock economist with Texas A&M AgriLife. "Featured prime–grade briskets is one of those trends that's helping support cattle prices and increasing beef production. Ribs and sausage are pork items, so we're going through a time with record pork production, too."

Beef Checkoff Dollars Funding New Research

WHO–TV, 01/12/19—The beef industry in Iowa is a billion dollar business. The state is home to nearly four million head of cattle across 28,000 operations. Despite that, research and promotion options are limited at the national level, so a referendum reinstated a checkoff geared to better fund Iowa beef.

Iowa producers started funding cattle and beef promotion in March of 2017 through the 50 cent per head Iowa Beef Checkoff. In its annual report, the Iowa Beef Industry Council got about three million dollars from state and federal checkoffs.

Executive Director Chris Freland says those dollars go to Iowa beef promotions, national programs and research, "So we've gone through the growing stages, we're really looking at launching those initiatives that we set forth. Some of the flexibility is production research. So we're excited that we're going to fund $200,000 in live animal production research, which isn't allowable under the national Checkoff."

Iowa is one of the only state beef councils that fund live beef production animal research, so they have received proposals from 13 different states and eight universities.

Farm Bureau Celebrates 100 Years and Productive 2018

By Andy Eubank, Hoosier Ag Today, 01/13/19—American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall's opening general session address Sunday morning in New Orleans reviewed how the organization started 100 years ago and how it remains the same grassroots group now, with the most important people the members of the county Farm Bureaus across the country. During the centennial convention he also lauded the accomplishments of AFBF during a very challenging 2018, calling it one of the most productive agricultural policy years in its history.

"With this administration giving us a seat at the table, we nurtured them, with them through tax reform which lowered the tax rate for almost every farmer," Duvall said. "One of the key things we've been focused on all my Farm Bureau life is let's get rid of the inheritance tax. It's a shame that a man works all of his life and pays for a farm and his family has to sell it to pay the inheritance tax. Well, we didn't get totally rid of it, but we doubled the exemption in this tax reform."

Cattle Fertility Is What Ultimately Pays the Bills

By Rick Nelson, Enid News & Eagle, 01/13/19—A calf that is never born will never be sold. The truth of that statement is obvious to the point of ridiculousness. It is the foundation of every decision a beef producer makes regarding the basic management philosophy of their operation.

In short, what calf crop percentage or weaning percentage should a producer shoot for? Or, said another way, how much loss at calving and weaning are you willing to stand? It is a profitable time to own cows, but only if a producer has a competitive cost structure with the right genetics and management to compete in today's marketplace. This statement is according to Rick Funston, a reproductive physiologist with the University of Nebraska.

Fertility is the most important trait in beef production, especially in the cow–calf sector, but also all the way to the plate. If we do not have a live calf, we will not have a product for the consumer. There is a huge financial cost before she produces a weaned calf. We need to look at low–input heifer development so we do not have exorbitant costs for a female that is difficult to get rebred.

Global Livestock News

U.S. & Europe Have Different Trade Goals

By Larry Lee, Brownfield Ag News, 01/14/19—U.S. and European Union officials are at odds over whether agricultural issues should be included in trade talks.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office has made it clear they want to reduce or eliminate tariffs on ag goods and secure market access in the EU. The European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told reporters they were not going to include agriculture and focus only on industrial goods.

The two sides met in Washington last week for early rounds of negotiation, but didn't reach any breakthroughs.

The U.S. wants to reach an agreement that eliminates non–tariff barriers against U.S. agricultural goods, eliminate tariff administration restrictions, create enforceable Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, and stop the EU from requiring other countries to align with their non–science based restrictions.

Global Livestock News

FDA Concerned About Dewormer Resistance

By Maureen Hanson, Dairy Herd Management, 01/12/19—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on manufacturers of animal dewormers to voluntarily modify their product labels.

According to an FDA, the request is being issued in an effort to preserve the effectiveness of drugs intended to treat certain internal parasites in livestock and horses. The agency would like the labels to include more information on antiparasitic resistance.

The requested label changes are for approved antiparasitic animal drug products only, and do not relate to antimicrobial drug products or antimicrobial resistance. Unlike the antimicrobial issue, the concern over antiparasitic drugs has no direct bearing on human health. But the agency notes that antiparasitic resistance in a growing animal health threat in the United States.

The class of drugs targeted in the labeling request is anthelmintics for livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and swine) and horses.

NDA Announces New App for Electronic Livestock Health Certificates

KTIC Radio, 01/14/19—The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) recently initiated an easier, more convenient way for livestock health certificates to be completed. NDA's Animal Disease Traceability program recently launched a new application designed for Nebraska veterinarians to issue livestock health certificates electronically as an alternative to paper health certificates. Nebraska veterinarians issue thousands of livestock health certificates a year.

"NDA processed more than 84,000 health certificates for 2018, a number that represents millions of head of cattle and other livestock required by law to have official identification," said NDA Director Steve Wellman. "This new app will help veterinarians issue livestock health certificates anytime and anywhere with their computers, smartphones and tablets."

The application and service are free, and the technology encourages veterinarians to use electronic health certificates as opposed to paper ones that cost more to process.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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