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NLPA News Brief
October 10, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Farmers Care About People, Pigs and the Planet

The Farm Forum Green Sheet, 10/08/18—Celebrate National Pork Month in October by enjoying some delicious pork during your family meals. You can enjoy the pork on your fork, knowing it was raised by a farmer that cares about people, pigs and the planet.

"If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer," said Ferlyn Hofer, South Dakota Pork Producers Council president and pork producer. "October Pork Month is an opportunity to reestablish that producer–to–consumer relationship. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner, and we need to share how we do that with consumers."

Since 2008, pork producers have adopted six We Care ethical principles. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high–quality pork supply. Producers are committed to:

  • Producing safe food.
  • Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices.
  • Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry's other ethical principles.
  • Contributing to a better quality of life in their communities.
  • Protecting and promoting animal well–being.
  • Ensuring practices to protect public health.

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Livestock and Ag Credit News

Farm Bureau Study Finds Livestock Farms Environmentally Sustainable

By Matt Buedel, Journal Star , 10/06/18—Livestock operations in Illinois are environmentally sustainable economic engines that keep young people from fleeing the state.

Those broad pronouncements represent the main findings of what agriculture and trade group officials call the first–ever comprehensive review of livestock farms in Illinois and how they operate within the state's regulatory framework.

Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources at the Illinois Farm Bureau, co–authored the Illinois Livestock Farms 2018 report in response to "undue criticism by a vocal minority."

"We need to keep people in Illinois, that's our main goal," Lurkins said. "We want people to know we have a robust regulatory environment and it's effective."

Environmental and conservation groups, as well as individuals who have opposed specific livestock operations, have claimed that current regulations allow hazardous conditions that threaten the environment and neighbors of some livestock farms.

More Livestock Producers Are Seeing The Value of Traceability and Are Providing Input

By Rachel Gabel, The Fence Post, 10/05/18—The conversation surrounding livestock traceability has been gaining steam as pilot programs begin in various states testing high–frequency electronic identification tags.

While the conversation isn't a new one for the livestock industry, Chelsea Good, Livestock Marketing Association vice president of government and industry affairs, said it is one that is experiencing a new level of interest and enthusiasm from the regulatory community as well as some segments within the beef production chain.

The Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG) was born after the U.S. Department of Agriculture Listening Sessions and a wrap up meeting in 2017 with the purpose of gathering the thoughts of producers from all aspects of cattle production.

Keeping in mind, the existing system for cattle traceability, Good said the CTWG has been active in determining what an ideal system might be to enhance the current system. The first goal of CTWG is to concentrate on older cattle for which identification is already a requirement, and improving this program. While there are feeder cattle being identified on a voluntary basis, the CTWG is not talking about adding feeder cattle to the mandatory program.

"There's a reason the industry hasn't done this yet," Good said. "If this were easy and inexpensive, we would have already done this but it's neither of those things."

Worry Less About Your Neighbor

By Trent Loos, High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, 10/08/18—Every day, people talk to me about the disconnect between consumers and where their food comes from and the general misinformation that surrounds this issue. I prefer to spend my time working on setting the record straight to ensure that consumers, globally, make purchase decisions based on facts rather than rhetoric from folks who want to eliminate milk, meat and egg consumption.

Instead of working on educating folks outside of our circle in beef production, I see too many who would rather tear down their neighbor and cause division. That is damaging to the entire beef infrastructure and basically all of agriculture.

First, I see niche beef producers attempting to market their production by casting a long shadow of doubt on commercial operations. If you raise and sell grass fed, organic or "this beef has traveled to the moon" beef, you should do it based on what you do that makes your product better but not by telling lies about your competition. Misleading the consumer doesn't help anyone in the beef industry and the shear confusion may result in consumers not choosing beef at all.

Meet the Gene–Edited Cows That Could Revolutionize Beef Production

By Jason Bellini, Wall Street Journal, 10/08/18—On July 14, 2018 Genzelle, an Angus calf genetically engineered to withstand Brazil's high summer temperatures, was born. Cows like Genzelle are cold–weather animals, typically raised in North America because the continent's less intense climate is more suitable for Angus cattle. When temperatures get too hot, the cows won't eat and don't get fat, which creates the "beefy" quality consumers find desirable in steak.

As a result, Brazilian ranchers raise Zebu cattle, which are more suited to the country's tropical climate. However, the meat they produce is leaner—and tougher to chew. Consumers in Brazil, therefore, pay a premium for Angus beef produced in the US. But thanks to the biotech company Recombinetics, meat eaters in Brazil and elsewhere may soon have access to affordable Angus beef produced from gene–edited cows, bred to tolerate higher summer temperatures.

A Few Thoughts on Marketing Cattle in a Changing Industry

By John Nalivka, Tri–State Livestock News, 10/03/18—I do believe there is value in spending the time to look at the various marketing programs in the industry and analyzing if they may be a good fit for you. Of course, the decision will also take into consideration your location, your cattle, and longer term adjustments you may have to make. Depending upon the program, the decision to participate in a value–added program can be long term.

This year drought in many areas of the country has definitely been the primary factor in production and marketing decisions or perhaps, outcomes, this year. But, the market has performed relatively well given the increase in U.S. beef production. And that is not to mention increased pork and poultry production leading to record total meat supplies. So, what has supported the market?

I will start with the factor that you as a rancher have little control over – exports. Through July, beef exports were up 15 percent over a year earlier, at a 24 percent higher value. In the face of the much–discussed trade dispute and "tariff battle" going on today, markets continued to perform well. U.S. beef exports continued to surge even in spite of a strong dollar and added tariffs.

Let's move on to something that you as a producer can manage for and enhance your top line – U.S. consumer preferences for beef. There is no denying that U.S. beef exports add value to the market and it is measurable. But the remaining 90 percent of production is sold here.

Global Livestock News

How the US Economy Is Supporting Our Cattle Prices

By Olivia Agar, North Queensland Register, 10/09/18—While producers battle drought in Australia and the herd is likely to slip into decline once again, in the US, beef production continues to ramp up. The strong prices of recent times have seen growth in the calf crop and very robust cattle on feed inventory.

The latest US cattle on feed report continues to point towards heavy supplies of beef coming out of North America in the coming months. The September report pegged the inventory of cattle on feed at 11.1 million head. This was the fourth month in a row where cattle on feed had been at a record, it was 5.5 per cent higher than this time last year.

In Australia, we get excited when cattle on feed are over 1 million head. In the US, there were 650,000 more cattle on feed than this time last year. This puts our production into perspective and gives us a good reason as to why we need to watch US markets for ideas about where our market might be headed.

The good news out of the US is that despite the heavy supplies of cattle and beef, demand appears to be holding strong. The 'booming' US economy and strong demand in export markets are seeing the extra beef being soaked up at higher prices. It is the middle and high–value cuts which are in demand, while lower value cuts are cheaper than last year, as consumers with more money buy better quality beef.

Global Livestock News

In Boon for Farmers, Trump Lifts Restrictions on Ethanol

By Matthew Daly, US News and World Report, 10/09/18—The Trump administration is moving to allow year–round sales of gasoline with higher blends of ethanol, a boon for Iowa and other farm states that have pushed for greater sales of the corn–based fuel.

President Donald Trump announced he is lifting a federal ban on summer sales of high–ethanol blends during a trip to Iowa on Tuesday.

"Today we are unleashing the power of E15 to fuel our country all year long," Trump said at a campaign rally, referring to gasoline blends with up to 15 percent ethanol.

At the White House earlier Tuesday, Trump said: "It's an amazing substance. You look at the Indy cars. They run 100 percent on ethanol."

NLPA News Brief

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