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NLPA News Brief
January 11, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Resolutions for the New Year

By Justin Sexten, Ph.D., High Plains Journal, 01/09/17—The calendar turned to 2017 with many resolutions made. What do you resolve for your operation this year? What plan have you and your team made to improve profits, expand or cut costs in 2017? In most cases each team member has ideas for the plan, but rarely does anyone put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to capture these ideas. Insert any number of quotable quotes regarding failure to plan and managing what you measure. My goal is not to focus on the importance of a plan, but to help stimulate ideas for it. In view of the challenging market ahead, let's look at marketing ideas to consider for 2017.

It seems early to develop a marketing plan for newborn and expected calves but development of a flexible plan will influence many management decisions throughout the year. As calves arrive later this winter and spring, rather than just evaluate how well your mating plan worked, begin thinking how those decisions will best reach the market. It's not uncommon to hear ranchers say they are marketing sunshine and grass. While true, that calf crop represents a more complex collection of decisions in a marketable package.

As each decision is made, or simply as the calves get older without much of a plan, the range of management to market grows more limited, too. That's why you need flexibility to adjust as the days go by. Failure to plan or following a narrowly focused plan can limit market options. One such limit may have been set at breeding last summer, if the genetic target was set exclusively on the prospect that half of the heifer calves may become replacements. That's the most common factor that can limit marketing flexibility.


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Livestock and Ag Credit News

New Year's Resolution: Earn $300 More Per Cow

By Kris Ringwall, Drovers, 01/07/17—Every new year brings with it a New Year's resolution, and this year, mine would be to earn an extra $300 per cow. Think about it. Why not make it happen? I would anticipate trying would be better than simply griping. A new year started and the analysis of the last year needs to get serious by producers asking the tough questions. Perhaps then, the resolution can gain in strength.

Traditionally, income would be seen as a positive influence and expenses a negative influence within beef herds. So if a producer does not track income and expenses, where does one start? But that being said, teachers never quit. For beef producers, opportunity exists on both sides of the profit equation, thus the education.

Pig Farmers Very Aware of And Complying with New Antibiotic Rules

KTIC News, 01/09/17—U.S. pig farmers are not only well aware of new federal rules for on–farm antibiotic use, but already are complying. In a survey conducted by the National Pork Board in November, 95 percent of pig farmers surveyed said that they were ready to be fully compliant by the time the rules took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

"The pork industry worked toward the Jan. 1 implementation date for nearly two years. There was a concern that some producers would not make changes until after the date of implementation, but that does not seem to be the case," said Jan Archer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina.

"Pig farmers are committed to the substantive changes regarding antibiotic use, and many discontinued using antibiotics for growth promotion years ago, while also reviewing swine medical treatment uses of antibiotics as well."

Archer added that a key hurdle in complying with new FDA rules is ensuring that every pig farmer has a defined and ongoing client relationship with a veterinarian. That can be a challenge in remote areas of the country where the nearest veterinarian could be hundreds of miles away. Last month the Pork Checkoff announced a partnership with Global Vetlink of Ames, Iowa, to offer a veterinarian locator tool, which is available at

The Country Life: for Colorado Livestock, Brands Serve As Return Address

By Bill Radford, The Colorado Springs Gazette, 01/08/17—Brand inspectors have been on the job longer than Colorado has been a state.

The livestock industry formed the brand board in 1865, when Colorado was still a territory; the brand board became a state agency in the early 1900s and became a division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the 1970s.

Some things haven't changed over all those years; a hot iron remains the most common method of branding. But change is coming to the Brand Inspection Division as it gallops into the 21st century. Brand inspectors have a simple goal: to protect Colorado's $3 billion livestock industry from loss by theft or straying.

A brand is considered the animal's return address. While branding of livestock isn't mandatory in Colorado, brand inspections are. Inspections are required before the sale or transfer of ownership of cattle, horses, mules and donkeys and in certain other situations, such as when livestock are taken out of the state.

Are Cattle Just a Scapegoat for Water Quality Problems?

By Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News (Florida), 01/06/17—Has South Florida's bovine population been cast as the scapegoats, unfairly blamed for the excess phosphorus in runoff that enters Lake Okeechobee?

In the early 1980s, dairy cattle were blamed for the high phosphorus levels in the Taylor Creek/Nubbin Slough waterway. In 1987, the Department of Environmental Regulation implemented the DEP Dairy Rule, restricting the phosphorus levels in runoff, and as a result, causing most of the dairies to move out of the watershed because they could not meet the new standards.

The few dairies that remain use costly systems of retention ponds and spray fields to retain runoff — and the phosphorus — on the dairy property. But 30 years later, the phosphorus levels in Taylor Creek/Nubbin Slough have not declined.

With the dairies out of the equation, some have shifted blame for the phosphorus levels in the Kissimmee River watershed to the beef cattle. Some researchers question that assumption.

$2.6 Million of Beef Checkoff Funds Embezzled in Oklahoma

By Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers, 01/06/17—An ongoing investigation has revealed $2.6 million was allegedly embezzled from the Oklahoma Beef Council by a former employee.

In September, the Beef Council announced the termination of an employee and an internal investigation was launched into the organization's financial records. In October, the Oklahoma Beef Council filed a lawsuit against its former director of accounting and compliance. On Jan. 5, the Oklahoma Beef Council released a statement revealing some of the findings from the internal investigation, including the documented theft of $2.6 million from 2009–2016 by an employee. Since September the Beef Council has been cooperating with Federal investigators to determine the extent of the embezzlement.

"We have taken every step to address this matter to ensure we are following through in our responsibilities to Oklahoma beef producers and are awaiting the results of the criminal investigation," says Tom Fanning, a cattle producer and the Chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council. The Beef Council plans to add a new director of compliance position to help assist in compliance and outreach for the checkoff.

Global Livestock News

Uganda: Why Pig Breeds Matter in the Market

By Christopher Mulindwa, All Africa, 01/08/17—Commercial piggery requires keeping pigs with known history of performance in daily weight gain, feed conversion, litter size, environment adaptability, temperament, meat quality, average daily gain and the possibility to pass them to future generations.

Market preference should also be one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pig. Therefore careful choice of breeds is vital for a profitable business operation.

USTR Takes Action on EU Practices Against US Beef Industry

High Plains Journal, 01/09/17—The Obama administration announced Dec. 22, 2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative is taking action against the European Union's unfair trade practices that discriminate against United States beef imports.

Acting on the request of the U.S. beef industry, USTR has scheduled a public hearing and is seeking public comments in connection with the EU's ban on most U.S. beef products. The EU's ban on U.S. beef is not based on sound science and discriminates against American beef farmers, ranchers and producers. If the trade action resumes, the U.S. would reinstate industry–supported tariffs on a list of EU products imported into the U. S.. USTR is particularly interested in comments addressed to the possible effects of reinstatement on U.S. consumers and small– or medium–sized businesses.

"The WTO determined that the European Union's ban on U.S. beef imports violates its international trade obligations," Ambassador Michael Froman said. "The EU has failed to live up to assurances to address this issue, and it's now time to take action. Today's action holds the EU accountable and is an important step in encouraging the commission to come back to the table to ensure that American ranchers have access to Europe's market and that European consumers have better access to high–quality U.S. beef."

Global Livestock News

Now Is the Time to Be at 2018 Farm Bill Discussions

By Nicole Heslip, Brownfield Ag News, 01/10/17—An agribusiness representative says discussions shaping the 2018 Farm Bill are starting now. Chuck Lippstreu with the Michigan Agribusiness Association tells Brownfield the 2018 Farm Bill needs to be top of mind for farmers and everyone in the agriculture industry, "We need everybody to be at the table to talk about the importance of a farm safety net that gives certainty to anybody in agriculture or along the agricultural supply chain."

Lippstreu says the current farm economy and changing consumer dynamics will be major factors when crafting new farm policy, "Consumer interest in where their food comes from is up, even over the last five years, and I think you'll see that play into the farm bill's discussion and really on the discussion of agriculture and food."

USDA Ombudsperson Office Expands to Help Women and Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers Resolve Access Issues to USDA Programs

USDA News Release, 01/05/17—The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that the Office of the Ombudsperson is helping women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers with accessing Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development (RD) programs. The Ombudsperson seeks a fair process for everyone involved and helps USDA identify and address issues relating to program access by women and Hispanic producers, focused strategically on FSA, NRCS, and RD programs in California, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.

"I strongly support this office and its functions in ensuring civil rights at USDA and continuing to improve service delivery to our stakeholders," said Vilsack. "The Ombudsperson is another avenue for producers to highlight their shared concerns, while also allowing key issues to be brought to USDA's leaders as early as possible and to help identify solutions to these shared concerns."

The office was created as part of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack settlement to serve Native American farmers and ranchers before directing efforts to serve women and Hispanic farmers. The Ombudsperson serves as an independent, neutral, confidential and informal resource and advocates within USDA for changes when the process, supporting information and data demonstrate a need. However, the Ombudsperson will not advocate for individuals, groups or entities or take sides in an issue or advocate for a particular outcome.

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