The Big O is 8-0!

556174_10150865571274171_1807115485_nIt was a big celebration last week when NAFB past president and long time WGN Radio farm broadcaster, Orion Samuelson turned 80. Orion has been on WGN Radio for 53 and a half years. Yes, the half counts!

As a young girl growing up in Illinois, I have listened to Orion report the numbers, listened to his noon shows with his side-kick, Max Armstrong for my entire life. I’ve watched many Illinois State Fair Sale of Champions, where Orion is the emcee and interviews all the junior exhibitors just before they sell their animal benefiting Illinois 4-H and FFA. He has a street named after him in Chicago, a building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds and his book of memoirs, You Can’t Dream Big Enough. He was once on the short list to be named Secretary of Agriculture, has traveled to 43 countries and even has his own plane, Air Orion. I know he definitely helped influence my decision to talk about agriculture on the radio and now online. The picture here is of Tricia Braid, Pam Fretwell, Orion, and me during NAFB Convention back in 2006, I think.

Happy 80th Birthday, Orion!

You can watch a clip that was on WGN-TV last week, highlighting Orion’s more than 50 years with the Tribune Company.

Former NAFB President Passes Away

462NAFB Past President, Jack Crowner, passed away this week. Jack was a veteran of over 45 years in Farm Broadcasting, owning and operating the FARM SERVICE RADIO NETWORK, serving radio stations in Kentucky, Indiana, and other states, providing farm news and information daily over local rural radio stations that provide necessary farm and market information to their listeners. Jack served as Farm Director for WAVE stations in Louisville, WMT stations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and television stations in Evansville, Indiana and Lexington, Kentucky for over 30 years. He also served as the Executive Secretary of the Kentucky Beef Cattle Association from 1977 to 1981. Jack was also Senior Farm Director for WHAS-Radio and for the Kentucky News Network.

Jack served as announcer for the National Farm Machinery Show, Kentucky State Fair, North American International Livestock Expo and was the only auctioneer of the Grand Champion country ham at the Kentucky State Fair since the auction’s beginning in 1964. Jack served for 20 years as a Director for Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company and also served as the Public Director of Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, including the states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Jack is survived by his wife, Sue, three children and five grandchildren.

janetcc14Current NAFB President, Janet Adkison, paid tribute to Jack during her remarks at the general session of Commodity Classic.

Listen to more of Janet’s remarks here: NAFB President, Janet Adkison

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

NAFB Names Marketing & Communications Manager

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.50.19 PMThe National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) has brought Melinda (Mindy) Oberly on as their Marketing and Communications Manager.

NAFB Executive Director Tom Brand says, “Mindy’s past experience and knowledge of agricultural marketing, client relationships, project management and communications planning will be beneficial as the association launches the NAFB Planner Tool this year.”

Mindy spent the last 12-plus years with McCormick Company directing account activities for clients, including DuPont Crop Protection and, most recently, Monsanto. She managed and developed yearly budgets and marketing and communications plans targeting a wide-range of U.S. farmers, from apples and citrus to cotton, corn and grapes. Her wide knowledge of the industry, marketing experience and communications expertise is a great fit for the staff and NAFB members.

Oberly grew up on a family dairy farm in Michigan and was active in 4-H and FFA during high school and college. She earned her American FFA Degree in 1993. Mindy graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications in 1996. She most recently was a Vice-President/Account Supervisor with McCormick Company.

“I grew up listening to farm broadcasters. They play a huge role in delivering valuable news and information to the agricultural industry,” says Oberly. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the farm broadcasters and promote the value of farm radio to advertisers.”

Passing of Gary Wilhelmi

wilhelmiSad to hear that long-time market analyst Gary Wilhelmi has passed away. We remember spending so much time with him on the phone during our days at Brownfield when he would do the midday market analysis. Will always fondly recall his droll sense of humor and great sense of what the markets were doing. Rest in Peace, friend.

Here’s the notice from NAFB:

Gary originated thousands of market reports and commentaries from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during his 30 plus year career and was a regular guest speaker on television and at commodity group meetings. In addition to his love of visiting with broadcasters, Gary was an avid baseball fan and always appreciated the opportunity to talk about his family. Gary had been ill since last fall and passed away on Monday. A private service for family is planned in the spring. Cards of condolence and memories of Gary can be sent to:

Nancy Wilhelmi
709 Lytle Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Research, Promotion & Education at Pork Board

nafb-13-nafb-13-36The National Pork Board is the entity that conducts research, provides education and promotes the product. They were at the recent NAFB Convention and I caught up with them during the always busy, yet fun and exciting Trade Talk.

Dale Norton, Vice President of the National Pork Board, farms with his brother in Michigan and has been a part of the pork industry on the national level for about 15 years. Dale’s major role for the organization is to manage the money that comes in through the checkoff program. In an interview with me, Dale touches on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED), the research being done and the Pork Checkoff.

“There’s no safety issue with PED. Pork is perfectly safe. That’s one thing the public needs to know. For producers impacted it’s a real test to their economic stability. Those that have pigs that are between birth and 28 days and are affected are almost 100% fatal. It takes a period of time in the herd to create immunity. Part of what has happened with Pork Board is we have really made an expedited effort to put research together to help minimize the impact that it is going to have.”

The Pork Board has a We Care initiative that is in place to help educate the public and show that the producers truly care about their animals, their communities and the environment. They are also busy sharing recipes and proper cooking techniques. Dale says one of their catchphrases is ‘cook it like a steak.’ Seven minutes on each side gives you a good medium, juicy chop.

Marketing to the millennial generation is also key for the board. They recently released a free e-book called Cooking For Comfort. They are also very present online via social media. Check them out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Listen to my complete interview with Dale here: Interview with Dale Norton

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Merck’s Attack on BRD

nafb-13-26-editedMerck Animal Health is dedicated to spreading the awareness of one of the most common diseases found in the cattle industry. Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) continues to take an economic toll on herds across the country. During NAFB’s Trade Talk I spoke with Dr. Brent Meyer, technical services veterinarian for Merck. He shares what the company is doing to tackle BRD and educate producers.

“We brought a new antibiotic to the market called Zuprevo. It is a macrolide antibiotic labeled for treatment and/or prevention of the disease. So it has a dual label. What’s unique about this product is that it is very fast acting. After one sub-q dose of 1cc per 100lbs. in four hours its in the lung tissue killing the bacteria that might be in there. It also stays in the lung tissue for 28 days.”

It has been on the market for a good year and Merck is excited with the testimonials they are starting to receive. The producers Dr. Meyer has talked with have used the product on high-risk calves and have reduced their death loss from 8% down to less than 1%.

To help educate producers, Merck has launched a blog called BRD Report: From The Fence Post. It’s sole purpose is to raise awareness of BRD for veterinarians, livestock producers, agricultural media and industry influencers to access important information vital to the prevention and treatment of this deadly disease.

Blog content includes valuable insights and best practices from industry experts about easing stress, nutrition, maintaining facilities and recognizing signs of disease, as well as comparative studies, relevant peer-reviewed articles and industry news. Contributing bloggers include university researchers, nutritionists and livestock producers, as well as Merck Animal Health veterinarians.

Listen to my complete interview with Brent here: Interview with Dr. Brent Meyer

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

NASS Talks Crop Numbers and Census at NAFB

Representatives from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) were on hand at NAFB Trade Talk last month to discuss the 2013 crop and the 2012 census.

usda-nassThe 2013 harvest is considered completed at this point and Lance Honig with NASS says with a record corn crop and near record soybean crop forecast it’s turned out to be a pretty good year, despite the weather challenges.

“We started one way, we kind of went another way.  It’s just the weather shifting throughout the season, but apparently we had enough moisture at the right times to produce a good crop this year”

The November crop production forecast was the final one of the season so Honig says NASS is beginning the process this week of surveying some 80,000 farmers for the final end-of-season numbers coming out January 10.

Listen to my complete interview with Lance here: Interview with Lance Honig

Meanwhile, NASS is also gearing up to release the first numbers from the 2012 Census of Agriculture soon.  However, that release is running a little behind schedule due to the two week government shutdown in October.  According to Donald Buysse with NASS, the preliminary results are scheduled for release on February 20, 2014 at the Ag Outlook Forum, with the bulk of the data to come later.

Listen to my complete interview with Donald here: Interview with Donald Buysse

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album


NAFB Member Larry Ristvedt Passed Away

LarryRistvedtLong-time NAFB member & KFGO Radio (Fargo, North Dakota) farm broadcaster Larry Ristvedt passed after a fight with ALS.

Larry was born September 21, 1942 in Fargo, ND, the son of Emerald and Lester Ristvedt. He graduated from Minnesota State University of Moorhead in 1968, following five years of service in the Air Force.

Larry began his career as a commodities broker before joining Fargo’s KFGO radio, where he delivered farm news and market analysis for 34 years before retiring in 2010. He was recognized in 1997 with the University of Georgia’s prestigious Peabody Award for his radio commentary entitled “Flood of the Century.”

Larry’s limitless curiosity led him to accomplish many things during his life, traveling widely around the world, meeting people and making friends wherever he went. His well-known business acumen led to the creation of Uncle Larry’s Beef Shtix and Uncle Larry’s Lemonade which became popular at the F-M Redhawks games. He co-authored the “North Dakota Blackjack Book” prompting special attention in Las Vegas… and created his famous pocket market analyst flip coin, Bulls and Bears, which Larry humorously described as a “decision-maker in your pants.” Larry is also credited with renaming the Red River Valley Agri-Business Equipment and Service Exhibition to “Big Iron.”

Bison – The Fastest Growing Meat Industry

nafb-13-30-editedThe fastest-growing sector of the meat industry may not be what you think. The National Bison Association is the answer and they were present at NAFB’s recent Trade Talk to show that they are dedicated to maintaining their position as a niche in the marketplace.

I spoke with Dave Carter, Executive Director of the organization and he talked about their success in connecting with consumers and producers. He also was excited to share that U.S. Senate has officially deemed November 2nd as National Bison Day. Our country has a national bird so why not a national mammal. Proposed legislation has been filed to make the bison our National Mammal.

“We are growing quickly, but we are also a very small niche. And we aim to keep it that way. We are growing because people see there are three big attributes about bison. Number one is it is a very healthy meat. They love the fact that it is low fat, high in protein and high in iron. Second, they love that it is all natural. We always say when you talk about sustainable food, what could be more sustainable then the animal that has been here over a 1,000 years. It is illegal to use growth hormones and we don’t use antibiotics. The third thing and I think the most important is people have discovered it is a delicious meat.”

Dave gives credit to rural media for helping them get the word out about their organization and wholesome product. They were also recently at the National FFA Convention and have a program where their members will sponsor FFA chapters to get started in the bison business. Currently there are about 1,000 bison ranchers across the United States.

There website has a plethora of materials and educational supplies to inform anyone interested in becoming a producer or consumer. You can find a producer’s handbook, a DVD and classroom curriculum.

Dave also hits on the difference in facilities and shares that they also have a Bison Finder app that will inform you about retail stores or restaurants that sell bison.

Listen to my complete interview with Dave here: Interview with Dave Carter

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

BASF Advanced Plant Health and Grower Engagement

Advanced plant health and grower engagement were two topics that BASF Crop Protection representatives discussed with reporters at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk.

nafb13-basf-reevesDr. Brianne Reeves is a member of the BASF Plant Health Technical Market team and in that role supports field research efforts and manages technical training for Priaxor® fungicide. Brianne is a DPM – Doctor of Plant Medicine – so she knows quite a bit about plant health and how Xemium® fungicide, the active ingredient in Priaxor fungicide, brings advanced plant health benefits to the table.

“The advanced plant health benefits are advanced growth efficiency, advanced disease control and advanced stress tolerance,” she says, noting that BASF has done hundreds of research projects to show those benefits, such as the “root and shoot” advantages. “Better roots, better shoots, more leaves, greener leaves, more photosynthesis, better yields.” Interview with Dr. Brianne Reeves, BASF

In addition to advancements in plant health, BASF has made a commitment to advancing its partnership with farmers in the field by introducing Innovation Specialists like Kaleb Hellwig to engage with growers and help them manage their operations more effectively.

nafb13-basf-kaleb“It’s not about selling them a product, I make recommendations for competitive products, I make recommendations in the fertility area,” Kaleb says. “So that when they make an application of Priaxor in soybeans or Headline AMP in corn or Twinline in wheat that they get the very highest return.”

Kaleb says BASF has gotten such positive feedback with Innovation Specialists in the field that they will be expanding the program next year. Interview with Kaleb Hellwig, BASF

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Update From NCBA at NAFB

nafb-13-16-editedThe National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk gave us the opportunity to chat with leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

President Elect for NCBA, Bob McCan, is from Victoria, TX and he operates a 5th generation purebred commercial herd of Brafords. I spoke with him during the event and he shed some light on trade, immigration and the upcoming convention.

“Market’s right now are adding about $275 to $280 a head to every fed animal that is slaughtered these days. That’s significant and really adding to the bottom line. It’s helping our market and we are getting lots of opportunity with the Trans Pacific Partnership coming together. We are hoping in a few months we will have that finalized and it will knock down a lot of the tariff rates that we have had to contend with in the past.”

Bob said that immigration reform is a top priority for NCBA. He stressed the importance of eliminating a seasonal worker program and with a labor shortage it is important to have workers here on a more permanent basis. Coming from the south, border security is something that hits close to home for Bob and neighboring ranchers. He feels if there is an incentive for them to come over legally then the issue of a secure border is lessoned.

Nashville will serve as the home for the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show held February 4-7, 2014. Bob shared that the entertainment will be grand, the educational opportunities insightful and industry issues diverse.

nafb-13-21-editedListen to my complete interview with Bob here: Interview with Bob McCan

Also during Trade Talk I spoke with Clay Burtrum, who represents Region 4 on the NCBA Executive Committee for the Federation of State Beef Councils. Clay talks about the history behind the Federation, it’s role in the Beef Checkoff and the relationship between them and NCBA.

“It’s our 50th year celebrating the Federation. We are housed under NCBA, but we are our own entity, our own face. We are the grassroots producers behind the Beef Checkoff.”

Education is the focal point of the Beef Checkoff program. Promoting beef to the millennial generation has been the objective and that means turning to social media to get their message out. Clay reminds us that this generation isn’t spending hours shopping for food. They are in there to get what they need for that nights meal. He says we have to have a safe, easily available product that they can cook in a timely manner.

Listen to my complete interview with Clay here: Interview with Clay Burtrum

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Getting Ready for New John Deere 2014 Tractors

With the new year will come newly redesigned John Deere tractors for 2014 that offer updates that farmers will really appreciate.

_DSC2637Jarrod McGinnis, division manager of the 7 and 8 series tractors with John Deere, was talking about the new tractors during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) meeting in Kansas City. You might recall that Jarrod gave us a preview of the new rides back in August.

McGinnis says the tractors meet the final tier 4 emissions standards, but farmers are likely to most appreciate the creature comforts such as a new command center. To help eliminate fatigue in the cab, refrigerators are available as an option, extra swivel in the seat to take a look behind and see how things are tracking, and the new laminated glass makes for a quieter ride. The new 8R line has much bigger tires, Jarrod tells me that this is so there is more power to the ground.

You can listen to Leah’s interview with Jarrod here Interview with Jarrod McGinnis, John Deere

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Ram Truck Farmer Photography Book Available

Ram Truck Farmer BookYou loved the commercial, you’ll love the book. It’s a new photography book launched by Ram Trucks with National Geographic titled, “The Farmer in All of Us: An American Portrait.” The book is available for purchase now for $45 at and will be in retail stores beginning late spring 2014.

The 300-page coffee table book is a beautiful and comprehensive collection of original agriculture and farming photography, including many of the images commissioned by the Ram Truck brand for its “Farmer” Super Bowl commercial inspired by Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” essay. Every book purchase backs a minimum contribution of $25,000 by the Ram Truck brand to the National FFA Organization’s “Give the Gift of Blue” program, which donates traditional FFA blue corduroy jackets to members who would not otherwise be able to own one.

“Supporting farmers isn’t just about those who till the soil, it’s about reminding America who we are and where our greatness comes from,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group, LLC. “This book truly brings the ‘Farmer’ story to life, and continues to give back in support of the amazing students of the FFA who embody this spirit every day.”

nafb-13-45-editedTo create the book, ten world-class photographers were tasked with traveling throughout America’s heartland over the course of three weeks to capture the essence of the farmer. Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech served as their inspiration. The photographers’ original goal was to create the visual backdrop for a television commercial celebrating the “Year of the Farmer.” The two-minute tribute aired during Super Bowl XLVII, stopping the nation in its tracks.

The Ram Truck crew was present during the recent NAFB Convention and Jamie caught an interview with David Sowers, who is head of Ram’s marketing team. He discusses the book along with what’s new for Ram Truck. Interview with David Sowers, Ram Truck

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

BASF Beauties and Bozeman at NAFB

nafb13-basf-lukeBASF Technical Market Manager for Herbicides Luke Bozeman is surrounded by a bevy of beauties here at NAFB Trade Talk. Left to right around Luke are Courtney Reigh and Amy Jensen with Padilla/CRT; Sandi Wilson, Pat Morrow and Hillary Jaworski of BASF.

We talked with Luke to get the latest update on Engenia™ herbicide and the BASF On-Target Application Academy (OTAA).

lukeEngenia is the BASF herbicide being developed for dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Luke says all the field trials this year went well and the launch is basically just waiting on approvals. “Regulatory reviews are progressing nicely and we’re expecting to be in the marketplace following the approval of the dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton which looks like it could be 2015,” he said.

BASF’s OTAA just finished its second year and Luke says they plan to expand the program’s reach in 2014. “We’ve had over 3,000 growers come through our training events,” he said. “In 2014 we’ll be developing an on-line tool that will allow growers, at their convenience, to source the most up-to-date information on application technologies.”

Find out more from Luke here: Interview with Luke Bozeman, BASF

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Climate Corporation’s Growth by Tracking Weather

nafb-13-29-editedAnother ag based company who attended this year’s Trade Talk at the recent NAFB Convention was the Climate Corporation. They are focused on applying data science to production agriculture and take all the environmental data, weather, soil conditions and current and seasonal projections and apply it to the production agricultural decisions growers make on a daily basis.

Greg Smirin, CEO of The Climate Corporation, sat down with me during the event to talk about some new products they are offering growers and what changes customers might see with the Monsanto acquisition.

“We help protect the grower from things they cannot control with our total weather insurance, crop insurance and we are rolling out for the season Climate Basic and Climate Pro, which helps the farmer make decisions throughout the growing season to boost profitability.”

Climate Basic and Climate Pro will use data science to change agriculture. The basic program is a free web and mobil service and will provide hyper-local weather on each of the fields a grower has. A grower gets projected growth stages, soil moisture tracking, alerts along with scouting and notes. The pro version comes with a fee, but growers get everything the basic provides with an advisor for planting, nitrogen, pest and disease, harvest and in variable rates.

There is no doubt the company provides a service for growers that can increase profitability by over $100 per acre. Recently, the company was acquired by Monsanto. The two companies have found that they are doing the same science based research. The Climate Corporation will continue to operate independently with growers, but they are now able to leverage the research that has come out of Monsanto’s labs.

Listen to my complete interview with Greg here: Interview with Greg Smirin

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Rabo AgriFinance Report From NAFB

nafb-13-40-editedRabo AgriFinance was present for the recent Trade Talk during the 2013 NAFB Convention. The company is the leading U.S. ag lender and specializes in protein to produce and inputs to oilseeds. Their expert team monitors and evaluates the global market that influences agriculture around the world.

I spoke with two of the team’s analysts at the event and they each shed some insight into the upcoming 2014 futures and recapped how growers and producers faired in 2013. John Grettenburg is a Relationships Manager in Western and Southwest Iowa and specializes in the corn and soybean market. Don Close is the Vice President for Food and Agribusiness Research (FAR) and his area of interest is in international markets and cattle feeding.

John hit on on-farm storage of grains and how it can benefit growers. “I think it gives the producer the opportunity to mange it from one tax year to the next from an income tax perspective. Historically we have had some increases and bumps in the market through the spring months and early summer. It allows farmers to increase the speed of their harvest if they have their own drying facility and by not have to wait in lines at local elevators. It gives them that flexibility to move that crop to market when the price dictates.”

nafb-13-42-editedListen to my complete interview with John here: Interview with John Grettenburg

Don describes 2013 for cattle feeders as dismal and says the replenishing of herds will be a slow process and supplies will continue to be tight. “One of the areas the beef industry will be challenged with is the position of both the broiler and hog industry while they gain market shares at the expense of beef. With the likely hood of recovering cow numbers the prospects of growing international trade both short-term and long goals gives a very positive outlook for the future.”

Listen to my complete interview with Don here: Interview with Don Close

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

USFRA Update on Farmland Movie

nafb13-usfra-lunzConsumers want to see a face of where their food comes from and that is one thing the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has tried to provide. USFRA was on-hand during NAFB’s Trade Talk and Cindy spoke with them about their desire to continually start the conversations about food and farming across the country.

Lisa Lunz, USFRA Board Member, has been involved with all aspects of the organization’s endeavors. She is a corn and soybean producer from Northeast Nebraska. Her involvement on the Nebraska Soybean board is what lead her to USFRA. In the short time USFRA has been in existence, Lisa is truly proud of the dialogue they have been able to start and the wide-spread conversations people are having about the food they eat and produce. She describes USFRA as a movement not an organization, because change doesn’t happen over night. The success of the Food Dialogues is a testament to the need for these conversations to take place globally.

“We need to acknowledge consumers questions, answer those questions and give them an opportunity to understand what we do.”

The latest USFRA outreach activity was the release of trailer and website for the new film Farmland. The documentary is a work in progress. Director James Moll, has interviewed, conducted research and is now almost ready to announce the families featured in the film. This winter the film will be finalized and sent to film festivals. The coveted national debut will come in March 2014. The film is supported by USFRA, but not a USFRA production.

“Part of the reason why we thought this project was so important was because there are a lot of documentaries out there about a lot of different subjects, but there is not one about the next generation of farming. I think they have found a great director, that is a great listener and wanted to learn more too. As he went out and interviewed these famers and ranchers he has had an opportunity to learn also. He is an award winning director and so it has given us a great opportunity to create something that hopefully we can use as an educational tool and something that will spark conversations about food.”

Listen to Cindy’s complete interview with Lisa here: Interview with Lisa Lunz, USFRA Board Member

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Jagels Elected Chairman of USMEF

*Post updated with audio from NAFB*

necornThe Nebraska Corn Board is proud to announce that Mark Jagels, a farmer from Davenport, Neb., was elected chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) at the organization’s recent annual conference. Jagels served as USMEF vice-chairman over the previous year.

nafb13-meat-jagelsZimmComm intern Kristyn Stidham had a chance to talk with Mark at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual Trade Talk last week, right after he was elected as chairman. He told her that USMEF is very excited about the big increase in exports to Japan after that country moved back to allowing 30-month and under cattle.

“We’ve seen exports to Japan up 57% since that time,” said Mark. “We had really been out of that market since the BSE ‘black Christmas’ but with their adoption of the 30-month and under rule exports have really surged there.

Listen to Kristyn’s interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Jagels, USMEF

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Pork Council Talks Animal Health, Markets & Trade

nafb-13-32-editedThe National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) was among many ag groups who took advantage of NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk to discuss issues with farm broadcasters from across the country. Dr. Howard Hill, President-Elect, for NPPC was on hand along with Steve Meyer, NPPC Economist.

Each hit on the one of the most talked about topics when if comes to animal health in the pork industry and that of course is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED). The virus is thought of have entered the United States back in April of this year. Research has shown that it likely originated in China. Dr. Hill stressed the amount of research that is being conducted to combat this epidemic, but a cure has yet to be found.

Sticking to the topic of animal health Dr. Hill also hit on FDA Guidance 209. “Any antibiotic that is used for growth promotion that also has applications in the human medical field will not be allowed. If it has a label for treatment, prevention or control then it will still be on the market.”

Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Hill here: Interview with Dr. Howard Hill

nafb-13-35-editedAs an economist, Steve quickly recapped the 2013 pork markets stating that markets were of course low coming out of 2012. But producers got back in the black throughout the summer and have been making money since then. Looking into 2014 for pork producers a good corn crop means low feed prices. He committed on the futures markets and says it looks up for producers heading into the next year.

Steve went on to discuss the export market. Though it has been low over the last year the future looks optimistic and should increase throughout 2014.

Listen to my complete interview with Steve here: Interview with Steve Meyer

NPPC is also leading an ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations urging Congress to establish criteria for revoking a country’s tariff-free access to the U.S. market if it fails to give U.S. products treatment consistent with international trade rules.

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Update from Animal Ag Alliance at NAFB

nafb-13-12-editedThe Animal Agriculture Alliance has been busy over the course of the last year staying up-to-date on animal ag issues, researching current activist campaigns and advocating farm policy. At the 2013 NAFB Convention I met up with Kay Johnson Smith, President and CEO, and Emily Meredith, Director of Communications during the events Trade Talk.

Hot topics of discussion included the Animal Rights Conference Report, Meatless Monday campaign, Farm Protection legislation, their outreach efforts and the 2014 Stakeholders Summit.

Kay shared that they recently attended the Animal Rights Conference Report to better understand what our industry needs to be on the lookout for throughout the next year. The key takeaways from the event were three target audiences these activist groups are focusing on. They include retail restaurants, youth K-12 and students on college campuses as well as, health conscious adults.

Listen to my complete interview with Kay here: Interview with Kay Johnson Smith

nafb-13-15-editedThe Animal Ag Alliance took it upon themselves to do a little digging into the Meatless Monday campaign and the results were shocking. You can checkout their complete report here. Emily shared how people were really surprised and that with such busy news cycle many of the mainstream news media take fact checking for granted.

The 2014 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit is scheduled for May 8-9 in Arlington, VA. “Cracking the Millennial Code,” is the topic of discussion and will cover hot-button issues including antibiotics, animal welfare, sustainability and communication through the lens of a Millennial.

Listen to my complete interview with Emily here: Interview with Emily Meredith

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album