All cattle and calves in Nebraska as of January 1, 2016 totaled 6.45 million head, up 3 percent from January 1, 2015, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
All cows and heifers that had calved totaled 1.91 million head, up 6 percent from last year.
Beef cows totaled 1.85 million head, up 5 percent from last year.
Milk cows totaled 58,000 head, up 7 percent from January 1, 2015.
All heifers 500 pounds and over totaled 1.79 million head, up 4 percent from last year.
Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.34 million head, up slightly from last year.
Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 95,000 head, unchanged from last year.
Calves under 500 pounds totaled 315,000 head, up 7 percent from January 1, 2015.
All cattle on feed fed for slaughter in Nebraska feedlots totaled 2.52 million head, down slightly from the previous year.
The 2015 calf crop totaled 1.66 million head, up 5 percent from 2014.
Iowa Cattle Inventory Report
All cattle and calves in Iowa as of January 1, 2016, totaled 3.95 million head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle report. This was up 100,000 head from January 1, 2015. Beef cows, at 940,000 head, were 4 percent above last year. Milk cow inventory remained the same at 210,000 head.
All heifers 500 pounds and over were down 2 percent to 920,000 head. Heifers for beef cow replacement were up 6 percent from 2015 to 190,000 head; heifers for milk cow replacement, at 120,000 head, were down 8 percent from the previous year; and all other heifers were down 3 percent to 610,000 head.
Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were up 2 percent from last year at 1.32 million head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over were unchanged from a year ago at 60,000 head. Calves under 500 pounds on January 1, 2016, totaled 500,000 head, up 11 percent from last year’s historical low of 450,000.
The 2015 calf crop was estimated at 1.06 million head, up 2 percent from the 2014 calf crop. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots on January 1, 2015, totaled 1.23 million head, up 1 percent from one year ago.
January 1 Cattle Inventory Up 3 Percent
All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2016 totaled 92.0 million head. This is 3 percent above the 89.1 million head on January 1, 2015.
All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.6 million head, are 3 percent above the 38.6 million head on January 1, 2015. Beef cows, at 30.3 million head, are up 4 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.32 million head, are up slightly from the previous year.
All heifers 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2016 totaled 19.8 million head. This is 3 percent above the 19.3 million head on January 1, 2015. Beef replacement heifers, at 6.29 million head, are up 3 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.82 million head, are up 2 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 8.71 million head, are 3 percent above a year earlier.
All Calves under 500 pounds in the United States as of January 1, 2016 totaled 14.1 million head. This is 4 percent above the 13.5 million head on January 1, 2015. Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 16.3 million head, up 4 percent from one year ago. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.14 million head, up 2 percent from the previous year.
Calf Crop Up 2 Percent
The 2015 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 34.3 million head, up 2 percent from last year's calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2015 were estimated at 24.8 million head. This is up 2 percent from the first half of 2014. The calves born during the second half of 2015 were estimated at 9.50 million head, 28 percent of the total 2015 calf crop.
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.2 million head on January 1, 2016. The inventory is up 1 percent from the January 1, 2015 total of 13.0 million head. Cattle on feed, in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head, accounted for 80.2 percent of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2016. This is down 1 percent from the previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 25.9 million head. This is 5 percent above one year ago.
NEBRASKA JANUARY 1 SHEEP AND GOAT INVENTORY
All sheep and lamb inventory in Nebraska on January 1, 2016 totaled 80,000 head, down 1,000 head from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Breeding sheep inventory totaled 67,000 head, unchanged from last year. Ewes one year and older totaled 55,000 head, unchanged from the previous year. Rams one year and older remained unchanged from last year’s 3,000 head. Total replacement lambs was 9,000 head, unchanged from last year.
Market sheep and lambs totaled 13,000 head, down 1,000 head from last year. A total of 1,000 head were mature sheep (one year and older) while the remaining 12,000 were under one year. Market lamb weight groups were estimated as follows: 2,500 lambs were under 65 pounds; 1,800 were 65-84 pounds; 3,000 were 85-105 pounds; 4,700 were over 105 pounds.
The 2015 lamb crop totaled 71,000 head, down from 73,000 in 2014. The 2015 lambing rate was 129 per 100 ewes one year and older, compared with 135 per 100 ewes in 2014.
Shorn wool production during 2015 was 460,000 pounds, up 15,000 pounds from last year. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 63,000 head, up 1,000 head from 2014. The average price paid for wool sold in 2015 was $0.90 per pound, compared with $1.06 in 2014. The total value of wool produced in Nebraska was $414,000 in 2015.
Milk goat inventory in Nebraska totaled 3,200 head on January 1, 2016, down 500 head from last year.
Iowa Sheep & Goat Inventory Report
All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2016, totaled 175,000 head according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. The sheep and lambs inventory remained unchanged from last year. Total breeding stock, at 125,000 head, was equal to one year ago. Market sheep and lambs equaled last year’s total at 50,000 head. The lamb crop for 2015 decreased 3 percent to 145,000 head. Wool production for the State was 900,000 pounds, with fleece weights averaging 5.5 pounds.
Milk goat inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2016 was 33,000 head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Iowa ranked third in total milk goats. The inventory was up 6 percent from January 2015. Total meat and other goat inventory was 25,000 head, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year.
Total Sheep and Lamb Inventory Up 1 Percent
All sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on January 1, 2016 totaled 5.32 million head, up 1 percent from 2015. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.97 million head on January 1, 2016, increased 1 percent from 3.94 million head on January 1, 2015. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.13 million head, were slightly above last year. Market sheep and lambs on January 1, 2016 totaled 1.36 million head, up 1 percent from January 1, 2015. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.
The 2015 lamb crop of 3.44 million head was unchanged from 2014. The 2015 lambing rate was 111 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on January 1, 2015, also unchanged from 2014.
Shorn wool production in the United States during 2015 was 27.1 million pounds, up 1 percent from 2014. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.68 million head, unchanged from 2014. The average price paid for wool sold in 2015 was $1.45 per pound for a total value of 39.3 million dollars, up 1 percent from 38.9 million dollars in 2014.
Sheep death loss during 2015 totaled 230 thousand head, up 5 percent from 2014. Lamb death loss increased 3 percent from 365 thousand head to 375 thousand head in 2015.
Total Goat and Kid Inventory Down 1 Percent
All goat inventory in the United States on January 1, 2016 totaled 2.62 million head, down 1 percent from 2015. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.16 million head, down 1 percent from 2015. Does one year old and older, at 1.61 million head, were 2 percent below last year's number. Market goats and
kids totaled 459 thousand head, down 1 percent from a year ago.
Kid crop for 2015 totaled 1.68 million head for all goats, down 2 percent from 2014.
Meat and all other goats totaled 2.10 million head on January 1, 2016, down 1 percent from 2015. Milk goat inventory was 375 thousand head, up 3 percent from January 1, 2015, while Angora goats were down 6 percent, totaling 150 thousand head.
Mohair production in the United States during 2015 was 765 thousand pounds. Goats and kids clipped totaled 139 thousand head. Average weight per clip was 5.5 pounds. Mohair price was $5.30 per pound with a value of 4.05 million dollars.
Nebraska Dairy Convention Postponed
NeFB's Ag Edge Conference Focuses on Farm Technology, Ag Markets, Policy Issues and More
Nebraska farmers and ranchers can’t control the weather, but there are areas where decision making can dramatically affect their operation’s profitability in 2016 and beyond. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s 2016 Ag Edge Conference will bring both local and national experts to the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, Feb. 8-9, to “give farmers and ranchers a competitive edge today for success tomorrow,” according to Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.
“Managing risk in agriculture operations is key to protecting the bottom line for farmers and ranchers. The weather, global markets, new technologies and politics all impact agriculture and volatility in the marketplace. The focus of this conference is to give attendees information and tools to help manage these issues,” said Nelson.
National speakers headlining the conference include Dr. Matt Roberts, a commodity broker turned professor at Ohio State University. His talk entitled “The Six Hats of a Farmer,” will focus on the six businesses that comprise a modern grain farm: agronomist, grain elevator, custom machinery operator, land speculator, futures speculator and capital allocator.
“It is important for farmers to focus on the changes they can make to their business to help ensure that their farm is successful in the 21st century,” Nelson said.
Nebraska farmers are also facing many decisions related to drone use, water and managing farm and ranch finances; this conference will address these topics. The Ag Edge conference will also feature local experts like Nebraska state climatologist, Al Dutcher from the University of Nebraska, who will talk about weather patterns during the 2016 growing season. Dr. Suat Irmak, who will talk about the Ag Water Management Network through the University of Nebraska, and two more from Natural Resources Districts will share activities related to integrated ground and surface water management. In addition, conference attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation staff on key state and national legislative and regulatory initiatives in the new session of the state Legislature and in Congress.
“This conference is targeted to farmers and ranchers, but anyone involved in any facet of Nebraska agriculture will find value from attending,” said Nelson.
The Ag Edge Conference registration is $100 per person for both days for Farm Bureau members, which includes a special members-only reception with Nebraska’s elected officials. For non-members the two-day conference registration is $130 per person. For more information or to register for the conference visit www.nefb.org or contact Whittney Kelley at 402-421-4760 or via email at email@example.com.
NDA ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO CONSIDER USDA AG TRADE MISSION TO PERU, CHILE; APPLICATION DEADLINE APPROACHING
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach is encouraging representatives of Nebraska agricultural companies to consider participating in an upcoming U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to Peru and Chile. The event is set for March 14-18, 2016, and those interested in participating must apply by Friday, Feb. 5.
The trade mission is being led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“U.S. exports to Peru and Chile have increased dramatically in the past decade and a half. This is a great opportunity for food and agriculture businesses in Nebraska to explore a growing marketplace,” said Ibach. “Increasing the state’s ag exports is part of Governor Ricketts’ initiative to grow Nebraska.”
USDA is screening participants for the trade mission, and those interested in attending must submit an application by Feb. 5, 2016. The form, along with further details of the trip, can be found at www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-missions.
NDA International Trade Representative Stan Garbacz is available to discuss the trade mission and potential opportunities in Chile and Peru. He can be reached at (402) 471-2341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to USDA, export opportunities have grown in Chile and Peru due to free trade agreements the United States signed with each country in the past 12 years. U.S. farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2015. In the Chilean market, U.S. exports have grown more than 500 percent, totaling $803 million in fiscal year 2015. Both countries also are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is awaiting Congressional consideration.
WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE SET FOR FEB. 25-26 IN KEARNEY
Nebraska women will learn how to plan and make better business decisions for their farms and ranches, communities, families and themselves at the 31st Women in Agriculture Conference, the longest-running women's conference of its kind in the country, Feb. 25-26 at the Kearney Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave.
This year's theme is "Women in Agriculture: The Critical Difference," and the conference features a variety of workshops, "funshops" and speakers, including Jolene Brown of West Branch, Iowa, and Trent Loos of Litchfield.
Brown will be the keynote speaker the morning of Feb. 25 with her talk, "The Balancing Act: 10 Ideas to Relieve Stress and Bring Renewal to Our Farm and Family Life," about realistic and applicable ideas to help bring a breath of fresh air, renewal and balance to work and family life. Brown's talk is sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America. Loos will be the capstone lunchtime speaker on Feb. 26 as he presents "Passion for the Purpose" about developing and sharing a passion and meaningful purpose in one's life.
Five concurrent sessions will offer participants more than 30 workshops to choose from with topics including crop and livestock marketing, applications for big data, forestry, alternate livestock, real-estate trends and lease provisions, labor management, women's heart health, pesticide training, business transition, family communication, livestock disease outbreak, farm programs, financial planning and agronomy issues. The evening of Feb. 25 includes time for networking and exercise.
Booth exhibitors will share information with participants that may also be useful in their farm/ranch operation.
Those interested can register online at http://wia.unl.edu or mail a completed registration form with a check to UNL Agricultural Economics, 303 Filley Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0922. More information about Women in Agriculture is available at that site.
The early-bird registration fee is $125 for those registering by Feb. 12. Beginning Feb. 13, the fee is $150. The fee includes workshop materials, registration and all meals and breaks.
The conference is sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Extension, the Department of Agricultural Economics, Farm Credit Services of America, Reinke Irrigation and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation. Opportunities for conference sponsorship and booth exhibits still remain.
Lodging is available at the Kearney Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave., by calling 308-237-5971.
Four Candidates Compete for Nebraska Dairy Princess
Four young women involved with the Nebraska dairy community are competing to win the title of Nebraska Dairy Princess. The contest judging was held January 23 in Norfolk, with the coronation to be held during the banquet at the Nebraska State Dairy Convention on Thursday, February 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Columbus.
The princess represents dairy farm families and the dairy industry by helping consumers learn more about dairy products and how farm families care for their cows and land.
The contestants are:
Sonya Hochstein, 18, daughter of Neal and Sharleen Hochstein of Wynot;
Morgan Haverluck, 18, daughter of Kimberly Haverluck of Grand Island;
Dawn Klabenes, 17, daughter of Steve and Kerri Klabenes of Chambers; and
Marta Pulfer, 16, daughter of Kent and Jodi Pulfer of Wayne.
The winner is chosen on the basis of her knowledge and enthusiasm about dairy, personality and communication ability. The Nebraska State Dairy Princess and the runner-up will each receive scholarships from Midwest Dairy Association, which sponsors the contest and princess program on behalf of Nebraska’s dairy farmers.
Central Valley Ag Teams Up With The Home Agency
Central Valley Ag (CVA), a cooperative serving primarily eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas announced this week they will be teaming up with The Home Agency.
The company announced in a press release the collaboration will help leverage insurance expertise and knowledge with CVA’s grain marketing, agronomy, and finance experience to develop a complete marketing plan.
“Offering crop insurance will bring an important service to our members-owners, to help understand and navigate through complex risk management decisions, said Carl Dickinson, CEO of CVA. We are extremely happy to be teaming up with The Home Agency.”
Jim Baldonado, CEO of The Home Agency also has a positive outlook on this new venture. “We are proud to team up with Central Valley Ag. CVA has a great reputation in the industry, and that is very important to us. We can bring a good product with many services to CVA customers.”
The Home Agency is a full-service company operating in 14 locations in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Colorado offering a variety of insurance offerings.
Central Valley Ag is a farmer owned cooperative headquartered in York, Nebraska.
Five Beef Quality Assurance Awards Presented
This week, three producers were honored with the checkoff’s annual national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) award, which were created to recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country who incorporate BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their operations. In addition, key cattle industry influencers who promote BQA principles on a daily basis were honored. One individual was recognized with the BQA Marketer Award, and one individual received the BQA Educator of the Year Award.
2016 winners were:
Frank Stoltzfus, Masonic Village Farm from Elizabethtown, Pa. (BQA Cow Calf Award)
Todd and Kristi Drake, Nodaway Valley Feeders from Nodaway, Iowa (BQA Feedyard Award)
Reid and Diane Hoover, Brook-Corner, LLC from Lebanon, Pa. (BQA Dairy Award)
Scott Mueller, Samson, Inc. from Columbus, Neb. (BQA Marketer Award)
Lisa Pederson, North Dakota State University (BQA Educator of the Year Award)
“Our 2016 award winners are exemplary models for promoting beef as a quality product from the local to the national level,” says Chase Decoite, associate director of BQA. “They are working diligently to implement the newest, safest, most efficient animal health, handling, daily management and record-keeping practices. They are truly examples of sharing the BQA story!”
NCBA Recognizes 2015 Top Hand Club Winners at Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2015 Top Hand Club celebrated today the recruitment of 1,240 new NCBA members, all recruited by NCBA members over the past year.
The Top Hand Club was initiated in 1982 as NCBA’s member-recruit-a-member program that recognizes volunteer leaders for their commitment in growing a strong national association. To become a Top Hand Club member, individuals must recruit at least three new NCBA members. To remain in the club, members must recruit two new members each subsequent year. The Top Hand Club recruitment year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The program is sponsored by Case IH and Roper, Stetson.
Each year, three high achieving Top Hands are recognized for their recruitment efforts, as those members who signed on the most new NCBA members. Again this year, the Top Hand Club sponsored an additional award which recognizes the Top Hand who recruited the most in dues revenue. Congratulations to the 2015 Top Hand Club top three recruiters and the top recruiter for revenue.
2015 Top Hand Club Champion – Frank Daley, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
With 87 recruits, the 2015 Top Hand Club Champion is Frank Daley of New Castle, Colo. Daley has earned awards including $1,000 in Cabela’s gift cards as well as airline tickets, housing and registration for the 2016 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade show, boots and apparel from Roper Stetson, and an exclusive personalized Top Hand Red Bluff Buckle.
2015 Top Hand Club Res. Champion and Top Recruiter for Revenue – Melody Benjamin, Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association
From Lakeside, Neb., Benjamin has not only been awarded reserve champion recruiter for signing up 80 new NCBA members, she has also been awarded the Champion recruiter for revenue award for earning over $12,000 in dues revenue from her recruits. Benjamin received $1,500 in Cabela's gift cards and registration, travel, and lodging to the Cattle Industry Convention.
2015 Top Hand Club 3rd Place Recruiter – Adam McClung, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association
Adam McClung of Little Rock, Ark., was honored as the third place recruiter for 2015. Recruiting 66 members in McClung also earned a paid trip to the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and a free pair of Stetson, Roper or Tin Haul boots.
In addition to being the 2015 Top Hand Club sponsor, Case IH added an additional incentive for recruiter’s – $15,000 toward a Case IH purchase. Those who recruited five or more members were entered into a drawing for this grand prize, and for every five additional recruits, they received an extra entry into the contest. This year’s winner, drawn on stage at the annual Best of Beef awards breakfast, is Ryan Higbie of Kansas. Case IH announced today that they are proud to sponsor this same promotion for the 2015 recruitment year.
CattleFax Predicts Market Shock Is Nearly Over, Turbulence Still Ahead
Recent price shock in the market and insights about the turbulence ahead were explained today to more than 2,000 beef producers at the CattleFax Outlook Session held during the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.
The downward spiral in price from record high cattle prices has been a rough ride for many in the business, but CattleFax CEO Randy Blach said the market correction has mostly occurred. He explained how tight global protein supplies and a strong export market in 2014 and 2015 led to the ‘perfect storm’ of market peaks and significant drops seen in recent extremes. Animal health challenges in both poultry and pork production led to tight supplies in 2014, which saw the tightest per capita protein supply in the last 20 years.
“We are coming off of historic peaks in the cattle market, created by unique conditions in the global beef and protein markets,” said Blach. “Dynamics, specifically global beef supply, led to a large correction in price. That big market downward swing is nearly over now. However, the cycle shows prices continuing to trend lower in 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
Analysts predicted the cattle feeder will lose about $200 per head, stocker operators with tight margins, and cow/calf with profitable margins. The team of economists expect fed cattle prices averaging $130 to $145 over the next year.
“The cow/calf margins will still be profitable, but substantially lower than in the past two years,” said Kevin Good, Senior Analyst and Fed Cattle Market Specialist, CattleFax. “We predict the cattle feeder will have tight margins for the year overall with potential for profit mid-year.”
A two-year El Nino weather pattern has replenished moisture conditions across the country, specifically the West coast, which saw some relief in 2015. The weather outlook appears favorable, especially moisture conditions for grasslands, according to the weather outlook from Art Douglas, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Creighton University.
“As we head into 2016, a split jet stream pattern will favor above-normal precipitation from California to the Southern Plains and the Southeast through March,” said Douglas. “In the Corn Belt, spring will be wetter-than-normal which will be accompanied by slower spring warming. Delays in fieldwork and planting dates are likely to result.”
Analysts predicted $294 added value per head in exports for the year ahead, a $66 drop per head from 2014 values. This decrease in export potential is caused by a combination of a strong U.S. dollar, slowdown in global market and challenges with market access. Russia and China are still the biggest opportunities for U.S. beef but trade restrictions will continue to limit potential in the year ahead.
Imports of beef are predicted to be down 8 percent since domestic cow kill will increase. In recent years the United States was in a rebuilding stage and females were held back for the cow herd. Imports of slaughter cows from Australia were available because of drought, but improving moisture conditions in 2016 will keep females in Australia for herd rebuilding. Analysts predict the U.S. cowherd growth will see slowed growth in the coming year and predict a 600,000 head cowherd increase, which is down from a 1.1 million increase in 2015.
Atlantic Heifer Development Session Rescheduled
The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Heifer Development 3 program in Atlantic has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 8. The Iowa caucus and a new snow forecast for the original date of Feb. 1 led site host Chris Clark to reschedule the event for the following Monday.
“I hope rescheduling to Feb. 8 will allow more producers to attend. We heard from several people who wanted to attend but couldn't because of the caucuses, and it sounds like we may have some weather to contend with as well," said Clark, an ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist. "We want to be accommodating and do what works best for area beef producers."
The program will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cass County Community Center. Registration begins at 5 p.m. and the presentation starts at 5:30 p.m.
“There will be an opportunity to visit with our sponsors during that check-in/registration time prior to the actual start of the presentation," Clark said. "We are partnering with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, ABS Global, Accelerated Genetics, Select Sires and Merial to conduct this series and most of those sponsors will be represented at the Cass County site.”
This is the third installment of the heifer development series, building on 2012 and 2014 programs on yearling and first-calf heifer best management practices, respectively. The focus of this year’s series is on current genetic and phenotypic selection tools that can be utilized to improve cow longevity and enhance lifetime productivity.
A catered meal will be served during the session. Cost is $20 when preregistered three days prior to event, with the new preregistration deadline of Feb. 5. Walk-in registration is $25 per person with no guarantee of meal.
To register, call 515-294-BEEF (2333) or email email@example.com. For more information, contact Clark by phone at 712-250-0070 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IPPA announces 2015 class of Master Pork Producers
The 2015 class of Master Pork Producers was formally introduced by the Iowa Pork Producers Association at the 44th annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines last night.
This 74th class features 10 Iowa hog farmers or production company employees who were selected and recognized by their peers for excellence in pork production. A slide show highlighting each new Master Pork Producer's operation was shown and the coveted brass belt buckle, emblematic of the award, and a certificate of achievement was presented to each producer.
The 2015 Master Pork Producers are:
Tom and Kathy Langel, Le Mars, Plymouth Co.
Leon Puhrmann, Paulina, O'Brien Co.
Marv and Helene Rietema, Sioux Center, Sioux Co.
Jim and Lisa Boyer, Ringsted, Emmet Co.
Alan Bormann, Livermore, Kossuth Co.
Mike Kuhlemeier, Rockwell, Cerro Gordo Co.
Keith Wilgenbusch, Winthrop, Buchanan Co.
Matt and Courtney Gent, Wellman, Washington Co.
IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who don't have active daily roles at a specific production site, but have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry's We Care ethical principles.
Master Pork Partner - Ed Koedam, Larchwood, Lyon Co.
Master Pork Partner - Bill Steenstra, Independence, Buchanan Co.
Nominated by their peers and neighbors, all of the award winners are recognized for their expertise in their segments of the production cycle and understanding of current industry issues, quality assurance, animal identification and well-being and their production efficiency.
There is considerable diversity and specialization in pork production in Iowa today and it's evident in the 2015 class of Master Pork Producers. The majority of hog farming is still done primarily by farm families and the production diversity helps maintain the strength of the Iowa pork industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and specialty markets.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program, which began in 1942, to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production.
Iowa Corn Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion Yields Soil Health Insights
With conversations increasingly revolving around water quality, conservation and soil health, Iowa Corn Growers Association gave farmers the opportunity to learn from other farmers at a recent panel discussion. The event was held at Iowa State University and also offered via live streaming.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey who moderated the discussion and spoke to the audience about the progress that has been made since introducing the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy three years ago.
“We’re very proud of what farmers across the state are doing when it comes to conservation and water quality,” said Northey. “We’ve seen a lot of interest and adoption of cover crops because of the water quality benefits, and also because farmers see the long-term value that they have on soil quality.”
Iowa corn farmers, Steve Berger, Jolene Riessen and Jerry Mohr were the three panelists who shared their experiences with conservation practices, such as no-till planting, cover crops and saturated buffer strips. Though they each have different ways of incorporating conservation practices on their farms, they all have taken steps toward improving the health of their soil and quality of the waters surrounding their farms.
“Forty years ago, we had no idea about soil health or soil quality, but I have really seen the changes over time since I started using cover crops,” stated Berger, who farms in southeast Iowa.
Riessen and Mohr also are using cover crops and have seen the benefits first hand over the past few years.
“We just had a historically wet December, and my neighbor’s terraces were filled with water while mine hadn’t even started to hold water yet,” said Mohr. “It’s not a process that’s easy to measure, but you start to see small improvements as time goes on.”
Riessen concurs. “We use a number of conservation practices such as no till, cover crops that are used as a feed source for cattle, and we’re strong proponents of terraces and buffer strips,” she said. “Stewardship is so important to me because I have two boys coming back to farm and I want them to be able to farm.”
Another benefit noted was earlier planting. “Farmers using a no-till, cover crop system are often first to the field,” says Berger. “It creates stable soils that can hold up the heavy equipment. When it’s time to plant corn, it’s time to plant corn and these practices help us to be able to do that.”
Mark Heckman, Iowa Corn Promotion Board President and a farmer from West Liberty, shared the organization’s commitment to helping farmers be good stewards. “A priority for Iowa Corn is helping farmers be the best possible stewards of land and water resources, and this event was one way of doing that,” he explained. “We’re also very committed to working with the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), a corn-farmer led, 5-year initiative to help measure management practices that improve soil health.”
Heckman and Berger are both involved in the SHP and spoke to the audience about their experiences and the data that will be coming from this program. Sixteen farmers in Iowa currently are involved and they are looking to add more. Berger encouraged interested farmers to consider getting involved. “It’s really a great learning process to help us determine how we can adopt conservation practices and learn from other farmers,” he says.
To view the panel discussion or to learn more about Iowa Corn’s water quality, soil health and conservation initiatives, visit iowacorn.org/water. If you are interested in getting involved with the Soil Health Partnership, go to soilhealthpartnership.org.
Farm Bureau Approves Strategic Action Plan for 2016
The American Farm Bureau Federation today released highlights of its 2016 strategic action plan, which addresses public policy issues in the coming year. The plan is a result of deliberations of delegates to the AFBF's 97th Annual Convention in Orlando. The board-approved plan focuses the organization's attention on a number of key issues including:
- Creating a more-positive dialogue with consumers about modern agricultural practices;
- Protecting farmers' ability to use biotech plant varieties and other innovative technologies;
- Opposing unlawful expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act; and
- Moving forward with congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
"We will continue to work hard to protect the business of American agriculture on all fronts. This plan is an important roadmap to key issue areas that AFBF and our grassroots members will address in 2016," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.
The Environmental Protection Agency's new Waters of the U.S. rule remains among the most pressing issues in agriculture. Although presented as a water issue, the measure in fact would unlawfully regulate land in violation of the Clean Water Act itself. The rule takes over local and state authority while threatening private property rights and normal farming activity nationwide.
"EPA's blatant overreach is nothing short of a federal land grab," Duvall said. "The administration has refused to listen to business owners, local governments and lawmakers. The courts have ordered this rule temporarily stopped. The Government Accountability Office found EPA's actions illegal, and Congress--which originally gave EPA its authority under the Clean Water Act--called for an end to this rule. We won't give up until it's gone and farmers are free to care for their own land."
AFBF's action plan also supports agricultural biotechnology that promises great benefits for agriculture, consumers and the environment.
"Farmers and ranchers need better tools to be more productive and efficient. We will continue to defend farmers' and ranchers' access to biotechnology and protect their right to use other promising new technologies, from data services to drones," Duvall said.
The AFBF board reaffirmed its commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
"TPP promises to open up markets around the Pacific Rim. These are some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and America's farmers and ranchers are ready to expand business there," Duvall said. "We're ready to work with Congress to move this agreement forward for the overall good of U.S. agriculture."
The action plan also places a special focus on food safety and security issues.
"Consumers should have the confidence that their food is safe and wholesome. As farmers, we want the best for our families and yours. We've made great strides in opening up the dialogue to help consumers understand more about modern agriculture, but there's a long way to go," Duvall said. "All consumers deserve access to safe, affordable food, and we will continue to protect agriculture's ability to meet that need."
The AFBF board approved an additional list of issues that will require close monitoring as they develop over the course of 2016. Those issue areas include advancing legislation that addresses agriculture's long- and short-term labor needs, implementing business tax reform, monitoring the overall farm economy, and energy availability and affordability.
More Work Still Needed on EU Biotech Approvals Timeline
The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged the European Commission today to continue its work in addressing delays in the approvals timeline for crops grown with new biotechnology traits, saying the delays create a barrier to entry into the market for American soybeans and risk the supply of high quality feed for Europe’s livestock industry. ASA noted the improvements the current Commission has made, and urged the Commission to give final authorization to new biotech events after they have passed through the EU’s long review process. The statement followed a report released earlier this month from European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly highlighting delays in the previous Commission’s decisions on approving the import of new biotech crops that she said amounted to “maladministration.” ASA President Richard Wilkins noted that while the current Commission is making progress, it must continue to do so:
“While Ombudsman O’Reilly’s report is a reaffirmation of what we have known to be true for some time, it is still a good acknowledgement of the work that is ahead with regard to Europe. The process for approving new traits for export must be a transparent, efficient and science-based one. And the current Commission must not shirk its responsibility to provide final authorization of new biotech products after they have traveled through the EU’s established reviews and processes. Several new soybean biotech traits now are awaiting final approval by the Commission; it needs to provide final authorizations expeditiously and in accord with EU regulations.”
NEW RULE EASES RESTRICTIONS ON EXPORT FINANCING FOR GOODS, TRAVEL TO CUBA
While a new rule that took effect Wednesday now allows U.S. banks to provide direct financing for exporting products to Cuba – the Obama administration’s latest action in normalizing relations with the island nation – agricultural commodities still must be paid by cash-in-advance or through third-country financing. The export financing changes allow U.S. companies to sell goods directly to Cuban state-run enterprises. Under the revised rule, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security can approve license applications for exports and re-exports of commodities and software to Cuban human rights or non-governmental organizations or to individuals “that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.” The bureau also can approve license applications for certain agricultural items such as commodities not eligible for a license exception, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. Applications for exports and re-exports of items for use by state-owned enterprises, agencies or other organizations of the Cuban government that primarily generate revenue for the state generally will be denied. Most agricultural commodity exports to Cuba are covered under a general license, but the Commerce Department will look at any proposed sale that would contribute to the Cuban government, such as sugar. Other parts of the rule ease travel restrictions to Cuba.
New Video Showcases Growth of Marine Fish Culture in Turkey
The U.S. Soybean Export Council today announced the launch of “Growing the Business of Growing Fish,” a video showcasing sea bass and sea bream production by Kilic, the largest vertically integrated fish farm operator in Turkey.
The short video, the latest in a series showcasing sustainable aquaculture operations around the world, is funded by the soy checkoff program and can be viewed at www.soyaqua.org/videos.
Kilic is one of the largest aquaculture operations in Europe, raising sea bass, sea bream and meagre in marine cages, and freshwater trout in dam lakes. A 2007 directive from the Turkish government to move all marine cages 1.2 kilometers offshore allowed the company to sustainably grow its operations with cutting-edge technology, increased efficiency and minimal environmental impact. A key component to its growth has been replacing quantities of fishmeal with high quality alternative proteins such as U.S.-grown soy protein concentrate, which has increased the sustainability and economic viability of its feed.
“The marine fish sector represents the greatest opportunity for growing the volume of high-value farmed fish worldwide,” says Colby Sutter, USSEC marketing director for Aquaculture–Customer Focus. “Feed formulation research has proven that soy protein concentrate offers the best nutritional profile for replacing limited supplies of fishmeal in feed for marine species.”
Sutter adds, “Most importantly, soy production is scalable and can meet increased demand for feed ingredients as the aquaculture industry grows.”
USSEC’s Aquaculture Program has been producing short educational videos for public viewing online that showcase innovative fish farms producing healthful fish and seafood in an environmentally sound manner. In addition to being featured on soyaqua.org, the fish farmer videos are posted on YouTube and Vimeo. The series explores different types of aquaculture methods, technologies and species, with a focus on how soy industry support is helping to make global aquaculture more sustainable.
20TH ANNUAL SOIL HEALTH EVENT ATTRACTS GLOBAL AUDIENCE, OFFERS STRATEGIES FOR FARM SUCCESS
Agricultural producers and professionals learned strategies to improve soil health and boost farm success during the 20th annual Winter Conference hosted by No-till on the Plains at Salina’s Bicentennial Center Jan. 26-27.
The event attracted more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States and beyond, including international guests from Germany, Ireland, Australia, Canada, eastern Europe and Africa.
“Twenty years after our inaugural conference, it’s very encouraging to see that interest in implementing no-till practices is exploding,” said Ryan Speer, president of No-till on the Plains board of directors and producer from Sedgwick, Kan. “Producers and ag professionals are hungry for information and our organization has assembled some of the industry’s brightest minds to share their experiences and keys to success.”
The conference, themed “Celebrating Our History, Transforming Our Future,” featured a new format with three keynote speakers, a beginner’s session and rainfall simulator on Tuesday. Wednesday offered 23 breakout sessions and a closing keynote speaker. A two-day trade show featured 90 exhibitors and offered opportunities for participants to learn about the latest developments in the industry.
Keynote speakers discussed global issues in continuous no-till and food production and examined their effects at the producer level. Speakers included Terry Fleck, executive director for the Center for Food Integrity; Dr. Kofi Boa, director of Ghana’s Center for No-till Agriculture; Dr. Dwayne Beck, research manager for Dakota Lakes Research Farm; and Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist and soil health specialist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Breakout sessions covered topics including strategies for weed control, benefiting from insect cycles, integrating grazing, feeding soil with cover crops, discussing no-till with financial partners, managing soil fertility and much more. Producer panels provided practical insights on continuous no-till in low- and high-moisture climates, as well as on farms using irrigation.
No-till farming systems offer several advantages to producers willing to implement the system. Fewer trips across fields without tillage passes will reduce fuel costs. Increasing crops in rotations breaks weed and insect pest cycles. Increased crop residue and root systems will increase soil organic matter and microbiological activity, thereby increasing the productiveness and fertility of the soil. Implemented in a site-specific systems approach, no-till will, over time, outperform conventional tillage.
No-till on the Plains offers field events, networking opportunities and the annual Winter Conference to provide crop producers with valuable no-till information. For more information, visit notill.org.