Keys to Ag’s Success
A vibrant U.S. agricultural economy needs just four main components: a strong, effective food safety system; a workforce of trained professionals, particularly a younger, up-and-coming generation of veterinarians that will practice on large animals; an animal identification (ID) system; and science-based decision making for trade agreements. That was the message of new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer as he addressed the 300-plus crowd of attendees at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) annual meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., April 1.
Meat Quality and Animal Welfare
The quality of meat can be greatly altered in the last days, hours or even moments of an animals life. A small slip en route, slight dehydration, or too much exercise can all devalue the price of meat when it comes to market. Research has proven how seemingly unnoticeable levels of stress and exercise can have dramatic effects on meat quality, so how can we open our eyes to these problems?
Today, the issue of animal welfare has stepped out of the arena of just ethics; it has become an essential requirement of meat quality and one that producers and slaughterers alike must strive towards in order to improve the economic potential of their businesses.
Farm Credit Services Pledges Help for Flood Victims
Hoosier AG Today
Disastrous floods in south central and northern Indiana are creating hardships on farm families and their operations, and though it is too early to estimate the amount of agricultural damages and losses, it is clearly one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. Officials at Ball State University estimate floods have caused more than $126 million in immediate losses. Their estimate centers on damages caused by flooding around the White and Wabash rivers alone. However, it does not include agriculture related losses. Prospects for future losses may be even larger because many farms have lost their growing crops – the source of their economic livelihood.
What Is Branded Beef?
A brand is a way to differentiate a product so that it stands out on the shelf, on the menu, in the market and, most importantly, in the consumer’s mind. A brand is built on attributes, those qualities or features that make the product unique and in turn provide a benefit to the person that buys it. Beef brands, in particular, are often built around attributes that relay benefits to the consumer in the way of health, taste, tenderness and food safety while being environmentally sustainable and animal welfare friendly. Providing a beef brand that relays the desired benefit to the consumer will create a unique need and demand for your product.
Gerald Davis Named Head of Product Development and Laboratory Operations at Pfizer Animal Genetics
Highly respected genetic researcher Gerard Davis has been named Head of Product Development and Laboratory Operations at Pfizer Animal Genetics. Dr. Davis will have global responsibilities for research and development of all new products in the Pfizer Animal Genetics portfolio.
“Gerard brings a strong background in genomics research, as well as the foresight to identify and develop the next generations of products our customers demand,” says Nigel Evans, vice president of Animal Genetics for Pfizer Animal Health. “His relevant research in beef genomic technologies, as well as the experience gained from co-founding and building a solid and successful genomics company, Genetic Solutions/Catapult Genetics, will be invaluable as we create and develop a market-leading portfolio of DNA marker-based products.”
Will the Market Ration Corn Use?
It hasn’t yet, but it’s not out of the question, says Gregg Doud, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association chief economist. And if it happens, it’s likely that cattlemen will bear the brunt.
Cattlemen operate in an inelastic market, he says, meaning that in the short term, the producer pays the price when there’s no replacement for a commodity such as corn. Feedyards are currently losing $100 million/week in equity on fed cattle, he says. “When the banker tells that feedlot that it’s over, what’s going to happen? We contract.” And at some point in time, he adds, the red ink running in the feedyard sector will flow into the laps of the cow-calf producer.
Targeting Cowherd Profitability
No matter how we define profitability — net cash income, return to family labor and management, return on assets — it is obviously a primary goal of every cow/calf enterprise. A key to maximizing profits is an understanding of what drives the costs and receipts behind these net returns. Recent summaries completed by several universities give insight into the relative impact that various expenses and production values have on an operation’s bottom line. This data can then be used to identify management strategies with the most potential to affect profitability.
Q&A I have 2 groups of 35 cows in a rotaional pasture program on a river bottom farm. The pasture is predomiently fescue. The cows are already starting to pant. I feel it is endophite related. Is there anything I can feed/give them that will help with this?
Dr. Jerry Volesky, Associate Professor of Agronomy, University of Nebraska
Dealing with endophyte infected tall fescue pasture can be a difficult problem. An important principle to keep in mind is that the severity of toxicosis problems is directly related to the amount of infected fescue consumed.
Beef and pork exports are up while imports are down
The monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report from USDA says beef exports are expected to be 1.65 billion pounds this year, a 15% increase over 2007. The Foreign Ag Service says we will also see a 13% increase in 2009 as sales increase to Canada, Mexico and Japan. At the same time, beef imports are expected to fall 9% this year, the cheap dollar makes imports more expensive.
A little different story with live cattle where 2.65 million head are expected to come into the United States this year. That is 6% more than in 2007 thanks to the change in U.S. law allowing live cattle over 30 months of age to enter the country. The Ag Market Service says Canadian feeders are coming into the country at a higher rate than last year while slaughter cows and bulls crossing the border, “At a steady rate.” On the other hand, the number of cattle coming from Mexico is below last year and below the five-year average.
Districts prefer the beef less traveled
A movement to buy locally grown meat hits schools, and students are chowing the burgers. Is it worth the cost?
The Denver Post/Chef Ann
A growing movement that advocates buying and eating locally produced food is gaining momentum in Colorado high schools, where students find homegrown beef can be more palatable — if pricier — than what cafeterias used to serve.
“Tastes better. Not as dry. Thicker,” 10th-grader Logan Alcock said of the new burgers introduced at Palmer High School and four other public schools in Colorado Springs.
Early results: Burger consumption is way up.
Several tours, workshops offered on ways to sustain agriculture
Dayton Daily Online
Interest continues to grow in ways of making agriculture more sustainable. Emphasis is placed on practices like cover crops, grass-fed livestock, organic dairy, community supported agriculture, pasture- raised poultry and beneficial insect production to name a few.
Several farm tours and workshops are offered June-October through efforts of Innovative Farmers of Ohio, USA-NRCS, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council, and the OSU Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team.
An Immodest Proposal: Sink your teeth into this….
Let´s face it, my fellow freedom and burger loving Americans. It is becoming painfully obvious that our non-negotiable American Way of Life is increasingly under attack. Yet while our meat consumption may be a wedge issue our foes are using against us, it can also be our salvation.
We are facing swarms of terrorists in the Animal Liberation Front, mobs of fanatical extremists at PETA, and hordes of Nazi-like, in-your-face vegans and vegetarians. Like deranged street prophets, they spout all kinds of nonsense about speciesism, the suffering of sentient beings, animal rights, compassion for livestock in factory farms, and other deluded ramblings.
Seminoles strike up a deal with N.Y. Yankees for chain of steakhouses
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Take me out to the ballgame. And pass the baked potato.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the New York Yankees are teaming up on a chain of high-end steakhouses, the first expected to open next spring at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Seminoles will also build a 7,000-square-foot Hard Rock Restaurant in the stadium, executives from the tribe and the team said Wednesday.
It may seem like the oddest New York pairing since Liza Minnelli and David Gest, but it underscores the increasing clout and world recognition of the Hollywood-based tribe. In 2006, the Seminoles used their casino fortune to purchase the Hard Rock Hotel and Restaurant chain for $965 million, and they have since expanded its global footprint.
Court Decision Suspends USDA’s Efforts to Establish New Privacy Act System of Records for NAIS
R-CALF USA was pleased to learn that on June 4, 2008, the U.S. District Court – District of Columbia forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to suspend indefinitely its plan to establish a new Privacy Act system of records titled “National Animal Identification System (NAIS).” In April, USDA proposed to establish the NAIS system of records, which was to become effective June 9, 2008, and had published a notice soliciting public comments. R-CALF USA and other organizations submitted comments with the agency in opposition to USDA’s plan. The court-ordered suspension was a result of the Mary-Louise Zanoni v. United States Department of Agriculture case. The suspension was published in Tuesday’s Federal Register.
In its comments to USDA, R-CALF USA states: “R-CALF maintains that USDA has misrepresented the purpose, scope and nature of its proposed new system of records, and that USDA’s actual purposes of the proposed new system was simply to develop a national registry of real, personal and private property.”
Helping the Helpers during the Flood
As floodwaters recede, hundreds of people will still be on the front lines of disaster. Those people are the professional and volunteer helpers.
The emotional needs of those who help others are often forgotten during crisis. They may not consider their own needs. Helpers seem to be invulnerable to fatigue, stress, frustration and depression. Perhaps the demand is so great they think they can muster through. But helpers need help, too.
The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.