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NLPA News Brief
August 16, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Beef Hoop Barn Benefits First–Generation Farmer

Feedstuffs, 08/11/17—Future of cattle production is going to be focused on moving cattle inside buildings, according to one first–generation farmer.

Camp Point, Ill., farmer Jacob Schmidt did not grow up on a farm, but that did not stop him from pursuing and realizing his dream of being a farmer. With the help of family and neighbors, he slowly worked his way into farming full time as a first–generation farmer. Now, the addition of a new hoop barn will help provide many benefits to his farm, his cattle and the environment.

"Finding pasture ground with good fences is becoming more and more difficult," Schmidt said. "We decided to build the barn so that we could bring all of our cows and calves under roof and provide a better environment for them. The barn will also help us better utilize the manure as fertilizer for our crops."

The Schmidts built a 52 ft. x 352 ft. bed–pack hoop barn that they are using for calving, raising replacement heifers and finishing cattle. The barn was built with a reinforced hot–dipped galvanized steel frame and a fabric cover with a 16–year warranty. The barn was designed to hold 250 head and has an area for manure storage.

GIPSA NEWS: 08/11/17

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Genomic Tools for Commercial Cattle Within Sight

By Annemarie Pedersen, Canadian Cattlemen, 08/14/17—In an industry where margins can be tight it's often hard to justify the cost for something like a DNA test that seems "nice to have." But what would the return on investment need to be to make DNA a "need to have" item on every farm and ranch?

That is a question researchers across Canada are stewing over as genotyping, genomic breed composition, and other factors affecting the genetic progress of Canada's beef herd gather momentum.

Dr. John Basarab, senior research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, and his team on the Sustainable Beef Project are looking for ways to generate genetic gEPDs and multi–trait indices that perform well in crossbred cattle. To carry that off the EPDs must be calibrated to work on crossbred cows. And that requires a lot more genetic data from a lot more cattle, including less common breeds, to create a reference database large enough to be of value to Canada's diverse cattle population.

South Dakota Cattle Groups Weigh in On Tracking Rules

By Janelle Atyeo, Missouri Farmer Today, 08/12/17—When federal meat inspectors found bovine tuberculosis in South Dakota cattle earlier this year, the official ear tag paired with that animal helped pinpoint the Harding County herd where the cattle had originated.

From there, state animal health officials went to work testing neighboring herds that might have been exposed in an effort to contain the disease that South Dakota had been rid of since 2009. With the tracking system in place, it took weeks instead of months to test potentially exposed animals.

Before the current national tracking system was put in place in 2013, officials had to rely on sales records. During the last TB outbreak in 2009, it took South Dakota Animal Industry Board staff 10 months to track buyers and test herds.

State veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said traceability is much better now. "Traceability rules I think really paid off," he said, referring to the February outbreak. "We were able to try to limit that disease to the South Dakota cattle industry."

Disney Settles Defamation Case with Beef Products Inc.

NPR Radio, 08/12/17—News on the pink slime front this week. ABC reported in 2012 on a processed beef product used as filler in a product sold by a South Dakota meat producer. Beef Products sued ABC for defamation and calls their product, quote, "lean finely textured beef" – more appetizing than pink slime.

ABC News has not retracted or apologized for its investigative story. But it was reported this week that Disney, which owns ABC, settled the suit out of court for what we now know is an historically large number. Footnote in Disney's latest earnings report says the corporation paid $177 million for costs, quote, "incurred in connection with the litigation." The settlement itself is even larger but confidential.

Report Suggests Farm Sector May Be Stabilizing

By Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, 08/11/17—A new report from the Kansas City Federal Reserve suggest conditions in the farm sector may be stabilizing.

The report says the while the farm economy continues to decline, the prolonged slide in farm income appears to be slowing and credit conditions, including loan repayment rates, declined less in the second quarter than in previous quarters.

"With the fall harvest approaching, agricultural lenders and borrowers remain concerned about prospects for the farm economy in the Federal Reserve's Tenth District, particularly in regions with limited potential for high crop yields," the reports says. "However, bankers were generally less pessimistic about economic conditions in the farm sector in the second quarter than in each of the past two years."

Illinois Livestock Producers Urge USDA for More Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Money

By Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network, 08/12/17—Illinois livestock producers are urging U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to fund a vaccine bank that could help combat the impacts of any possible foot and mouth disease outbreak. Illinois Pork Producers Association President Jason Propst told Perdue earlier this week in Rochester that if a five–year, $150 million vaccine bank for a possible foot and mouth outbreak isn't available and an outbreak happens, a quarter of the U.S. hog industry would take a hit.

"Which in turn takes away all of our largest users of corn and soybeans in the U.S.," Propst said. "So we feel it's very important that we have that foot and mouth bank to be able to save our livestock industry and in turn be able to drive our corn and soybean industry in the U.S." Joni Bucher with the Illinois Beef Association said cattle farmers are also concerned "because it's not a question of if, it's when."

Amazon Beef is On the Horizon

By Greg Henderson, Drovers, 08/12/17—Jeff Bezos is a beef stakeholder. The founder of Amazon with a net worth of $87 billion—give or take a billion—has a vested interest in how your cattle are raised.

This summer Amazon announced it intends to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, news that sent a shudder through the grocery business. Already operating on razor–thin margins, grocery retailers are now facing even more competition in a sector that generates about $1 trillion in annual sales.

Yet, Amazon was making its presence felt in the beef industry even before the Whole Foods announcement. Amazon Technologies has filed at least 110 trademarks related to food, with the focus primarily on pre–made meals. Ten of those trademarks are related to the phrase "single cow burger."

"How many cows does it take to make one burger? Thanks to Amazon, just one," the company touts in it's promotions. "Our high–quality patties are made from one source and are available exclusively on AmazonFresh."

And now, thanks to Amazon, a seed has been planted among consumers that burgers made from multiple sources are somehow tainted. There is no evidence that burgers from a single source are safer, tastier or greener for the planet, but you can bet Amazon will not attempt to correct consumers who draw that conclusion.

Global Livestock News

The New Beef Breed That Brought Profit Back to This Farmer

By Catherine Hurley, Farm Ireland, 08/13/17—A change of breed has transformed lifestyle, performance and profit for suckler beef farmer Sean Hayden.

Sean introduced a Stabiliser bull to his herd in 2013 and hasn't looked back since. The farmer from Urlingford, Thurles now has 30 pure Stabiliser cows and 57 commercial cows including cross Stabiliser cows.

Today Sean has no trouble with calving and is compacting the calving season down to nine weeks. This has reduced vet bills and labour time dramatically on the farm.

NPPC Says Leave NAFTA Alone

By JoAnn Alumbaugh, Farm Journal's Pork, 08/15/17—"NAFTA has been a resounding success, and we don't want to go backwards," Nick Giordano said in a recent interview with Mike Adams on AgriTalk. Giordano is vice president and counsel, global government affairs, for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). He said losing access to the Mexican and Canadian markets for pork would be a "huge financial problem."

"We'll do whatever it takes to protect our producers," he said. The Mexico market represents $1.5 billion in exports from U.S. pork producers. Canada is important also, as one of the top five export markets for U.S. pork.

"[A change in NAFTA] would be financially devastating for our producers," Giordano said. "Protecting what U.S. producers have now for market access is priority one."

Global Livestock News

HSUS Pushing for Farm Bill Animal ‘Welfare' Title

By Steve Kopperud, Brownfield Ag News, 08/11/17—Ignore the following at your own peril: The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is working its tail off to get an animal "welfare" title into the 2018 Farm Bill. You've been warned.

At the August 5 House Agriculture Committee's listening session in Modesto, California, "several speakers," by one media account, called on the committee to include in the new Farm Bill legislation dealing with so–called "animal welfare issues."

The logic behind using the Farm Bill as the vehicle is two–fold: First, the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is administered and enforced by USDA. along with the Horse Protection Act (HPA). Second, the 2014 Farm Bill — along with two previous farm bills — carried animal fighting language, most recently making it illegal to take a minor child to an already–illegal animal fight, expanding on an HSUS fave.

The bills pushed by HSUS and its band of foot soldier organizations appear on their face to be unrelated and almost innocuous when it comes to the anti–agriculture and anti–biomedical research campaigns waged by the world largest animal rights group.

The animal rights movement counts on members of Congress seeing "aye" votes for these bills as "safe" votes when they're anything but now that most ag groups keep animal rights scorecards on how members of Congress vote on such legislation.

Coalition Wants Continued Investment in Young Farmers in Farm Bill

By Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News, 08/15/17—The National Young Farmers Coalition wants more – not less – money invested into young farmers in the next five–year farm bill. Sophie Acker, the coalition's national field director, tells Brownfield they want the Agricultural Conservation Easement program fully funded because the #1 challenge for young farmers is land access, "Because young farmers are really benefitting from conserved farmland in terms of its affordability and so we want to make sure that that program continues into the future." The ACEP program gives funding to land trusts across the country to help conserve farm land.

Acker says they also want the micro–loan program, which began in the 2014 farm bill, to continue, "Since then, 20,000 of these loans have been administered all across the country and these loans are really helping young farmers launch their farm businesses to give them credit to purchase tractors and seeds and, you know, the things they need at the beginning of the season."

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