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NLPA News Brief
June 20, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Heat Stress: How Much Does It Drain Your Pigs and Profits?

The Pig Site, 06/18/18—Most people in the pork industry know the toll heat stress takes on pigs: reduced performance, a compromised gastrointestinal system, chronic disease, reduced feed intake and higher mortality rates.

Less known are the staggering financial losses wrought by heat stress on producers and the pork industry in general. Each year, heat stress costs US pig farmers about $900 million in revenues — according to an estimate by Steven Pollmann, PhD, a livestock consultant.

These losses include impaired sow productivity as well as losses from grow–finish pigs. Pollmann estimates that on average producers lose $50 to $60 per animal each year due to heat stress.

"Heat stress is far and away the single biggest loss we see," Pollmann says. "It will have more impact on the industry than disease because it hits every farm. Heat stress, particularly in the North American market, will hit 95% of the herds."

"It affects all of our producers regardless of geographic location," adds Chris Hostetler, director of animal science for the National Pork Board. "It results in a loss of productivity of 10%. That's pretty substantial — a 10% loss of productivity for 5 months of the year. If we could mitigate it, it would make a big difference."

Livestock and Ag Credit News

LMIC Projects Rise in Current Quarter Beef Production

The Cattle Site, 06/18/18—Consumers are in a mood to spend this spring and the food industry is garnering the benefits, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc. Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) is projecting current quarter beef production to be up 300 million pounds from the winter quarter. This would be the largest first to second quarter beef production increase since 2014.

Changes in the Choice Beef Cutout from the winter to spring quarter during the last three years have reflected an increasing sensitivity to changes in production, captured by steeper downward sloping relationship between prices and production.

That relationship for the current year seems to be improving. It is also worth noting that this is the first year since 2014 that foodservice retail sales growth has accelerated between the winter and spring quarter.

Commentary: A Catastrophe Waiting to Happen

By Gary Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today, 06/17/18—The livestock industry does not have a backup plan if the unthinkable happened. A provision in both the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill helps address this issue and could prevent what is happening in New Zealand.

New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease–causing bacteria from the national herd. If successful, it would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis.

Officials say the disease, which is also present in the U.S. and Europe, can be traced back to a single farm, and that the bacteria likely arrived in New Zealand 18 months before it was first identified.

Officials are still trying to figure out how the bacteria got into the country despite strict biosecurity controls. This disease is not a major threat in the U.S., but this is an example of what could occur here with far more deadly diseases and far more disastrous consequences. While the U.S. has a very vigorous inspection system and some of the best sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions in the world, we have seen over and over that it is impossible to keep insects, weeds, and diseases out.

As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, full mandatory funding of $150 million a year for five years is proposed. It provides for a robust U.S. FMD vaccine bank, capable of responding rapidly and effectively to any potential FMD outbreak.

NPPC Calls for Expanded Access to Foreign Workers

By Jen Sorenson, Farmscape, 06/18/18—The National Pork Producer's Council is calling on government to expand options for filling vacant jobs in the pork sector with immigrant workers.

Jen Sorenson, a Member of the NPPC Board of Directors, says agriculture happens in rural America where there aren't big population centres to pull from and, with the unemployment rate its lowest in 18 years, it's difficult to find a quality work force.

"The things we work on from an NPPC perspective is finding options for producers that are less cumbersome regulatory wise and can help fill more roles without having caveats or different specializations tied to them," says Sorenson.

Midwest Cattlemen Feeding More Silage

By Progressive Farmer, via KTIC Radio, 06/18/18— With the number of row–crop acres growing and the number of forage acres shrinking, Midwestern beef–cattle producers have responded by increasing the use of corn silage in their operations, according to speakers at the Silage for Beef Cattle 2018 Conference.

Silage has been an important component of cattle–feeding programs dating back to the 1880s, according to Jason Warner, nutritionist with Nebraska–based Great Plains Consulting Inc. However, with more fields being planted to corn over the last decade and less alfalfa and native grasses being grown, the feeding industry has responded by altering the type of forages used in rations, he said.

Warner said a survey of consulting feedlot nutritionists was done in 2007. He said 31% of respondents said they used alfalfa hay as the primary or secondary source of forage. The same survey was completed in 2016, and it showed only 20.8% of nutritionists were using alfalfa as their forage.

"The land–use shift from hay and pasture towards crops is very real and is contributing to the increased use of crop residues," Warner said.

Pork Checkoff Looks For Young Pig Farmers To Share Their Stories On Social Media

By Kaitlynn Anderson, Farms.com, 06/19/18—American youth have a unique opportunity to advocate for the country's pig farmers.

Individuals between the ages of 18 and 23 can now submit applications to be on the Pork Checkoff's #RealPigFarming student social forces team.

Through this initiative, students will discuss modern pork production on such social media platforms as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The organization will select 10 to 12 people to promote the industry between July and December this year, Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice–president of communications for the National Pork Board, told Farms.com today.

Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate degree and be involved in the pork industry, she said. They should also have strong communication skills. Successful candidates could benefit from the opportunity in many ways. In addition to growing their professional connections, youth on the social forces team could receive a $500 scholarship.

Organic Sales Hits New Record in 2017

AgNet West, 06/19/18—Sales of organic poultry, meat and fish have reached over $1 billion for the first time in 2017, according to the Organic Trade Association's (OTA) 2018 Organic Industry Survey. Sales increased a little more than 17 percent to $1.2 billion in value.

Changing consumer attitudes and dietary trends are leading drivers for the increased sales. Market growth in sales volumes of organic poultry from 2016 to 2017 was more than four times that of conventional poultry, nearing nine percent. Further growth of the industry is somewhat hampered by the availability of organic grain along with concerns regarding fraudulent grain imports.

Poultry makes up the largest volume of organic meat sales, but organic beef sales have also been increasing significantly. Organic beef still only accounts for one percent of total retail beef volume, but future growth is anticipated as expansion in organic beef production is expected over the next few years. Strong demand for organic beef allows it to be sold at a premium price, 63 percent higher than conventionally produced beef.

The overall organic industry experienced strong growth of more than six percent in 2017, reaching nearly $50 billion in sales for the first time.

Global Livestock News

The More Grass I Grow, The More Money I Can Make – Top Beef Farmer

By Catherine Hurley, FARM Ireland, 06/19/18—n the words of Ger Dineen, who was awarded the Beef Grassland Farmer of the Year in 2017, "the more grass I grow, the more money I make".

Optimising soil fertility, improving grazing infrastructure and reseeding adequately are all required to achieve higher levels of grass production and utilisation.

To achieve greater change in the amount of grass utilised, farmers will need to upskill their grazing management practice according to John Maher of Teagasc. "Improving soil fertility is the first step in increasing grass growth on you farm" said John Maher.

Ger Dineen reseeds 10pc of the farm a year saying it's a simple decision. "I'd see far more profit after investing in reseeding than saving my money in the bank, it makes no sense not to correct an underperforming paddock".

Think You Aren't a Beef Exporter? Think Again

By Ashley Kohls, BEEF Magazine, 06/18/18—"My recent travels to China and Japan made one thing clear: As a U.S beef producer, you are an exporter, whether you realize it or not. China, Japan, and other markets around the world probably seem far removed from your daily farm or ranch activities. However, given the increasing importance of exports to our industry, international markets are closer than they appear."

A trade mission to China and Japan gave a variety of people from the U.S. beef business a first–hand look at how beef exports work. HERE is a report from the front lines.

Global Livestock News

FDA to Hold Fake Meat Meeting to Address Public Concerns

By Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers, 06/19/18—Lab–grown meat, also commonly referred to as "fake meat," is going to be examined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a meeting open to the public, entitled "Foods Produced Using Animal Cell Culture Technology." The meeting will allow members of the public to provide comments on food production utilizing animal cell culture technology.

"The FDA has multiple authorities and programs that can support efforts to safely bring products with new ingredients to the market. Food safety is at the core of the agency's mission to protect and promote public health for our nation's consumers," the FDA statement says. The FDA hopes to have the questions HERE addressed by the meeting.

NCBA has made alternative meats a policy focus for 2018 and officials with the organization are welcoming the opportunity to be part of the meeting.

Peeling Back The of the Senate Version of the Farm Bill

By Markie Hageman, AGDaily, 06/15/18—The Senate Ag Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill this week and will be sending it to the floor before the chamber's July recess. The bill passed with a 20–1 vote, with the sole "no" vote coming from Sen. Chuck Grassely, R–Iowa, because his amendment to limit subsidy payments wasn't added to the bill. There were more than 180 amendments total.

Many have expressed their approval for the bipartisan bill, titled the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, including American Farmland Trust.

"AFT, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food, applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts' and Ranking Member Stabenow's bipartisan draft of the 2018 Farm Bill for maintaining the Conservation Title funding baseline, making improvements to the administration of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and including support for programs that benefit next–generation farmers," the organization said.

For as much praise as the bill is getting, there is some negative feedback — especially considering the stark difference between the approach to SNAP programs between the Senate and House.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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