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NLPA News Brief
September 3, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

NLPA Expansion Loan Clarification

American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter, 08/29/14—At its July meeting, the National Livestock Producers' Association (NLPA) Sheep and Goat Fund Committee clarified that the minimum loanable amount on an Expansion Loan is $35,000. Producers interested in obtaining a loan for less than $35,000 are directed to apply for a Farm Service Agency (FSA) Microloan.

The expansion loan program was established to support the American Sheep Industry Association's Grow Our Flock initiative. It provides a fixed term, fixed rate loan to purchase breeding sheep to encourage entry into the sheep industry or to expand a sheep operation. Additional information about the program is available by contacting NLPA at 800–237–7193 or email

GIPSA NEWS: No new postings this week.

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Do You Want Progress Or Change In Cattle Breeding?

BEEF Magazine, 08/19/14—We have great tools; but, because of genetic and environmental antagonisms, I think we need to be satisfied with slow change in a balanced approach – maintaining or slowly improving genetics for cowherd productivity. Most improvement in performance comes with a cost. Often, that cost is in the reduction of performance in another trait, a reduction in stocking rate, or higher feed costs, each of which can take several years to become obvious. We need to be sure the added revenue is greater than the added cost.

The Case for Low-Stress Livestock Handling

By Whit Hibbard, Drovers CattleNetwork,  08/27/14—Stockmanship is an under–appreciated and under–utilized component of operating sustainable livestock operations and just one essential component is low–stress livestock handling (LSLH). Numerous scientific studies have illustrated that indices of animal performance (e.g., weight gain, conception rates, milk yield, immune function and carcass quality) are positively correlated with good handling practices and negatively correlated with coercive handling practices.

Just Telling His Story

National Hog Farmer, 08/29/14—If Larry Sailer had his way he'd stay home and raise pigs. "But we need to have spokespeople out here," he says. "Didn't think it would be me, I'm just a shy old farm boy."

This "shy old farm boy" also claims he isn't a writer, and that he never has been a writer. In spite of that claim, it seems Sailer sure writes a lot in the name of agriculture advocacy. And, a lot of people are reading and listening. Sailer, a pork producer from Iowa Falls, IA, got involved in advocacy because he says he didn't like the way he saw things going in U.S. agriculture, more specifically the way government regulations seemed to be interfering with farmers doing their job.

Strong Early Results for Digital Campaign

AG Web, 08/29/14—Millennials initiate more than 5 million online food–related searches each day. What a tremendous opportunity for the beef checkoff's consumer digital advertising campaign. And just 12 weeks into the new campaign, the results are impressive indeed!

The "Beef. Its What's For Dinner." website reached more than 1 million consumers during the first 12 weeks of the campaign; the five "no–recipe recipe" YouTube videos on the site were viewed 1.5 million times; and associated social–media sites hosted a total of 434,000 engagements (likes, comments, shares, re–tweets, and click–thrus to checkoff resources such as recipes).

"Our checkoff's digital advertising program is where the consumers are, across the entire U.S., ensuring beef's visibility in the marketplace," says Terri Carstensen, beef producer from Odebolt, Iowa and chairwoman of the checkoff's Domestic Consumer Preference Committee.

Study Examined Animal Welfare Perceptions Among Public and Beef Producers

By Kerri Ebert, Midwest Producer, 08/27/14—What is the relationship between consumer perceptions of animal welfare practices on farms and those of producers? Are popular media accounts of animal welfare practices truly reflective of consumer and producer perceptions? More importantly, are consumers willing to pay higher retail prices for cuts of meat from animals raised using certain welfare practices? According to preliminary results from a research project underway by a team of researchers at Kansas State University and Michigan State University the answers are, well, complicated. On the issue of limited antibiotic use, 71 percent of the public indicated they would vote to limit use to treatment for disease purposes only; while only 48 percent would be willing to pay a premium for beef from cattle raised using the practice.

CME Report: US COOL Still Runs Afoul of WTO Rules

The Pig Site. 08/27/14—A number of news outlets reported over the weekend that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has determined that USDA's latest attempt to write rules for mandatory country of origin labelling still runs afoul of WTO rules.

Our sources confirm the finding which was circulated to the affected countries late last week and will be publicly released in September. This is the second time that the MCOOL scheme has been found in violation of WTO rules and suggests strongly what we and many others have believed ever since MCOOL was adopted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill: It may not be possible to satisfy both the MCOOL legislation and WTO rules.

Feeding Cattle Nitrate Supplements Significantly Reduces Methane Emissions

ABC AU 09/02/14—A carbon farming scientist has found that feeding nitrate supplements to cattle can significantly reduce methane emissions. Philip Cohn says nitrate works to suppress methane emissions in the digestive process.

Mr Cohn believes implementing environmentally friendly practices could be worthwhile for producers. "We've got major supermarkets who are requiring suppliers to measure the emissions associated with their products and then implement strategies to reduce those emissions," he said. "When people shopping in supermarkets say 'I want my products produced in a certain way', retailers are pretty quick to pick up on that and react, to start to push that out through their supply chains."

Global Livestock News

Scottish Beef Closer to 'Sustainable' Than Most

The Cattle Site, 09/01/14—Only a few countries have beef systems close to being called sustainable but Scotland is one, says an industry report. Scotland's beef sector is within 'striking distance' of an industry led definition of sustainability as laid out by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), according to a beef vision until 2020 released this month.

Top Pork Producer's Profit Triples as Sale Volume Jumps

By Yuriy Humber and Aibing Guo , Bloomberg News,  08/29/14—WH Group Ltd. (288), the biggest pork producer, said first–half profit tripled after the purchase of a U.S. competitor helped it process more than three times the number of hogs and boost packed–meat sales. Net income after biological fair–value adjustments was $531 million, compared with $179 million a year earlier, the Luohe, China–based company said yesterday in a statement. Sales rose 220 percent to $10.5 billion. The number of hogs processed surged to 24.3 million head from 6.3 million a year earlier.

The results are the first since WH Group raised $2.05 billion in an initial public share sale in July, helping it pare debt incurred through its takeover of Smithfield Food Inc. The transaction is part of WH Group's plans to boost the cost efficiency and quality of Chinese food as rising incomes in the most populous nation spur demand for more protein.

Global Livestock News

USDA: Livestock Helps Minimize Drop in Farm Income in 2014

By Christopher Doering, The Des Moines Reigster, 08/27/14—U.S. farm income is expected to fall 14 percent in 2014, to its lowest level in four years, as expectations for record corn and soybean crops have pushed commodity prices to their lowest in several years, the Agriculture Department said this week. The USDA said net farm income is forecast to be $113 billion in 2014, down from $131 billion in 2013.

"The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would remain $25 billion above the previous 10–year average," the government said in its farm income forecast. "Lower cash receipts for crops and, to a lesser degree, higher production expenses and reduced government farm payments, drive the expected drop in net farm income."

Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1

USDA News Release, 09/02/14—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster–related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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