“America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and bipartisan efforts by the Senate to complete their work on the farm bill,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “We also recognize the efforts put forth to address regional concerns to ensure all areas of the country are adequately represented in the final language.”
“We appreciate the Senate’s decision to protect and strengthen the federal crop insurance program and not reduce its funding, as well as the approval of a commodity program that provides farmers varied safety net options,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “This approach to farm policy will encourage farmers to follow market signals rather than basing planting decisions on anticipation of government farm benefits. Most importantly, the program will be viable because the Senate stood firm on a budget savings level of $24 billion.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George of Wyoming says while there is not a livestock title, the bill incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry such as conservation and research. “We are also pleased that disaster assistance programs are included in this legislation which is a positive step toward providing a strong safety net for our producers,” said George.
Suffice it to say everybody is pretty happy about it, except maybe Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) who was one of the 27 who voted against the bill. The full House is expected to take up its version of a farm bill next week.
Want to learn more about New Holland products and services available to cattlemen? The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is partnering with New Holland to answer producer questions about everything from field equipment, to maintenance, to quality haymaking.
Tune in as NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen goes LIVE from Denver, Colo., on Tues., May 21, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on RFD-TV. This special live episode will allow viewers to call in and speak directly with New Holland representatives about a variety of topics.
The program will be broadcast again on RFD-TV Wed., May 22, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern and Sat., May 25, at 9 a.m. Eastern. In addition, all episodes of NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen are available on the program’s website. The show is also on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter.
The Senate Agriculture Committee meets this morning to consider the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, their version of a “Farm Bill.” Yesterday, farm broadcasters meeting in Washington D.C. had the chance to interview a number of representatives from various agricultural and renewable fuels organizations and most of them had something to say about what the House and Senate have in their respective draft bills.
Partnerships are what the Animal Agriculture Alliance is based on. These partnerships unite the agriculture community, creating one voice. Instead of ‘preaching to the choir,’ attendees at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, heard from outside voices and some challenges were presented that made us all think about how we can join together and address them.
I spoke with Chase Adams, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, about their involvement with the Animal Ag Alliance and how they plan to share the message presented at the summit with their producers from across the country.
“National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been a longtime supporter of the Animal Ag Alliance. We’ve got a member on the board and we believe, as all the groups do, it’s so important that agriculture puts a unified face against those that really want us put out of business and thats animal rights folks. Animal Ag Alliance allows groups like NCBA to join with other groups like pork and even a lot of grain and agribusiness partners around the industry and put that unified voice together and respond to so many of the things we get attacked on.”
The past can’t be changed, but we can learn from it. That’s what economist, public speaker, farm girl, wife and mom, Janet Hufnagel Thompson, stressed with her message to attendees at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. The event focused on how we can protect our animals, our farms, the food we eat and the confidence of consumers.
Janet shared her families fight against environmental groups to save their family farm. Unfortunately, her story doesn’t have a happy ending, but her hope is to educate others by sharing the lessons they learned the hard way. Talking publicly is something she thinks would have changed the outcome of their situation. She stated that if at least have of the people who supported them privately, spoke out publicly then they could have saved the business. But the take home message she wants all to remember is the sanctity of private property.
“The most important thing is the sanctity of private property. Private property owners need to decide what happens on their property and with their business. I think this idea that we need to regulate more to keep the bad actors from being bad doesn’t stop the bad actors. It make it hard for good people to do business. So I think we have to go back to the fundamentals that this country was founded upon, the protection of life, liberty and property. And until we do that, until we go back to treasuring private property and what it truly means, I think we are going to continue to see an erosion and deterioration of circumstances for producers and thats producers of all kinds, not just farmers and ranchers.”
Speaker after speaker during the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit reminded us that transparency is no longer an option for the livestock industry. To prove that the agriculture community has nothing to hide, groups have opened their doors to share how your food is made.
Senior Vice President for Public Affairs & Professional Development at the American Meat Institute, Janet Riley, was one of those speakers who shared how her organization is bridging the divide between producer and consumer. I got the opportunity to talk with her and she gave more insight into AMI’s Glass Wall Project.
“For far too long the animal rights activists have said if slaughter houses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian and I didn’t believe it. Then Cargill really gets a lot of credit for the inspiration when they allowed the Oprah show into their plant. It went so well. It was just a very honest dialogue, they didn’t shy away from anything. So I started talking to Temple Grandin and I said will you be willing to host some videos and just explain in your own works how we slaughter livestock. She was delighted to show people what we do and how she has influenced what we do. She picked two plants that were representative of the beef and pork industries. Both agreed to open their doors to us. Then we decided that we would produce these videos in Temple’s own words. We wanted authentic transparency and so we just allowed Temple to explain in the best way she could how we process livestock into meat at each step of the way. It was a really interesting experience. Every now and then I would say consumers might not understand why we do this, could you explain it? And then she would.”
The beef and pork processing plant videos can be viewed at AnimalHandling.org, along with more information on meat processing. AMI is looking into producing a turkey processing video next. These videos are a great educational tool and open doors for progressive dialogue.
The 12th Annual Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit is a wrap. Each year staff and board members try to bring topics that are hot to the table for experts to share their insights into what the agriculture industry is facing. This year the theme was focused on animal activists and ways we can protect our animals, farms and food but not forget the importance of consumer confidence.
I caught Kay Johnson-Smith, President & CEO for the Animal Agriculture Alliance just after the last guest speaker finished up. She was glad to have another successful event in the books and excited to see how the information given to attendees will be put into action in the future.
The Alliance also recently elected elected Paul Pressley, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, chairman of its board of directors. USPOULTRY has been an active member of the Alliance for 24 years, and Pressley will serve a two-year term as chairman. The Alliance’s board of directors consists of representatives from all major sectors of animal agriculture.
“I look forward to working with Kay and the Alliance staff. The Alliance has been a strong voice for all of animal agriculture for over 25 years. Now, more than ever, the ability to unite the industry across species lines is critical to responding to animal welfare issues,” remarked Pressley.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) awarded three state cattlemen’s associations for their outstanding recruitment efforts during the Spring Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., last week. In all, 14 states met the criteria to qualify for the award drawing for the choice of one-year lease for either a New Holland BR7090 round baler or a New Holland T6 175 tractor.
NCBA recognizes the importance of a strong partnership with its state affiliate organizations and in an effort to recognize the efforts of state partners has joined forces with New Holland Ag to reward recruiters for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the national organization. Vice President of New Holland North America Abe Hughes emphasized the importance of working together on behalf of the beef industry and the company’s commitment to helping strengthen all of agriculture.
The 14 state affiliates which reached NCBA’s recruitment goals and qualified for the drawing for a one-year lease for a New Holland tractor or baler were: Arizona Cattle Feeders, Arkansas Cattlemen’s, California Cattlemen’s, Colorado Livestock, Hawaii Cattlemen’s, Kansas Livestock, Nebraska Cattlemen, North Carolina Cattlemen, Ohio Cattlemen’s, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s, Texas Cattle Feeders, Utah Cattlemen’s, Washington Cattle Feeders and Wisconsin Cattlemen’s.
Like always, Alltech had a constant crowd gathered to here their newest techniques in agriculture nutrition and technology. I spoke with Jim Bannerman, National Accounts Manager with Alltech, and he shared their focus for 2013.
“We always have a lot of things coming down the pipeline, but probably the main thing that has been coming down the pipeline for quite awhile is our nutrigenomics and how we are starting to apply that more practically to animal nutritional solutions. Nutrigenomics is basically how nutrients or diets affect gene up and down regulation within the animal. And so, basically what we are understanding is we can feed for different things such as meat quality, health and what to feed them at different ages.”
Because our events may be posted on different websites, and just because of the sheer volume of content we are generating that we want to share, we are working on consolidating event content on our AgNewsWire site. We have a couple of events already posted there – with links to photo albums, posts, categories, audio and even video. We want to make it easier for media, or anyone interested, to be able to locate and utilize the content we create.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has shaken up the meat and poultry industry with his comments about how sequestration might impact agriculture during a speech to the National Ethanol Conference last week.
Answering a question about funding for a farm bill, Vilsack talked more broadly about what might happen after March 1 if Congress fails to act and sequester creates automatic budget cuts. “It is likely if sequester is triggered that in our food safety area we will have to furlough workers for a period of a couple of weeks,” Vilsack said, adding that would cause plants to shut down, supplies to decline and prices to go up for consumers.
Secretary Vilsack responded that taking inspectors off the job would be a last resort, but is a very real possibility. “Unfortunately, unless Congress acts to prevent sequestration, FSIS will have no choice but to furlough its employees in order stay within the budget Congress has given it,” Vilsack wrote. “Because we understand that furloughing our food safety inspectors would not be good for our consumers, the economy, the meat and poultry industry, or our workforce, we view such furloughs as the last option we would implement to achieve the necessary sequestration cut.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is hard at work advocating for beef producers year-round, but during the Cattle Industry Convention they get to hear with cattlemen and women from across the country.
During this year’s event I talked with Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for NCBA. To start off our chat I asked him about some of the 2012 successes they are proud to share.
“There are a couple of great successes. One of the top successes was the fact we were able to get the exemption amounts for the death tax put into permanent law. That was a huge victory for the cattle industry because for several years every two years we would have to defend our position. To be able to have our $5 million exemption per person and our $10 million per couple in permanent law is just great for the entire industry. We were also able to shut down the EPA efforts to regulate ag dust. Another great win. So those are two of the really big ones that we had and then just last week we were victorious in getting more beef access into Japan.”
Coming down the pipeline for 2013, Colin shared that they are still working on the Farm Bill, but it is slow moving. They are also battling activist groups trying to remove the use of antibiotics, dealing with immigration and border control, as well as the continue fight with the EPA.
Meredith and her husband, Dan Doubleday, met in the sand and soon fell in love and started Sanding Ovations. Combined, the couple has over 40 years experience in sand sculpting and travel the world building dynasties in the sand professionally and competitively.
Did you know that the type of sand makes a huge difference in how you are able to mold it? Meredith and Dan are from Treasure Island, Fl., so they were excited to be able to work with sand from their own backyard. The sand is the first thing in and the last thing out.
Bayer Animal Health sponsors this three time world champion team each year for the NCBA Trade Show. They brought in about 16 tons of sand to build their version of “Boots on the Bay.” A castle and corral reef coming out of a pair of cowboy boots.
Check out Sanding Ovation’s website to book them for your next event or stare in amazement at photos of their past work.
Education, engagement and entertainment were the focus to this year’s Cattle Industry Convention in sunny Tampa, Fl. Cattlemen and women gathered to gain knowledge, network with fellow producers and take in some sights along the way.
Forrest Roberts, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, shared with me highlights for members who attended this year’s convention, NCBA’s priorities for 2013 and what the future holds for beef producers across the country.
“When you look at it from a consumer prospective we here in this country are trying to make sure we understand more about what the millennial generation thinks about beef, not in terms of just why they should choose beef for their source of protein, not about the nutritional story. It’s about the image story. Telling the story of the beef community to consumer influencers all across the country. That is a big area of focus because as you all know the millennial generation is the future of the industry in terms of demand here in the next two or three decades.”
During the second general session at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention, NCBA President-Elect, Scott George, made a huge product announcement for Apple. Keeping up with the pirate themed event, Scott introduced the iPatch and the trend is quickly catching on.
The passing of the gavel takes place tomorrow as current NCBA President J.D. Alexander hands over the reins to Scott George, a Wyoming beef cow/calf producer and dairy farmer. I met up with Scott this morning as he shared what he hopes to accomplish in the upcoming year.
“There are a variety of things that are very important for our membership. One of the biggest is the Farm Bill. We really need to get it passed through Congress so the farmers have some certainty and they can make their planting, planning, harvesting and marketing decions. And there is just a lot of uncertainty when we don’t have that.”
The Florida Cattlemen’s Association has welcomed cattlemen and women from across the country this week at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show with warm sunshine and a great sense of hospitality.
Florida is celebrating 500 years of agriculture and beef production has a rich history here in the Sunshine State. The Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation has created a book called “Florida Cattle Ranching – Five Centuries of Tradition” to bring tribute to the hard working men and women of Florida’s beef industry.
The 128-page book contains the entire content of the multi-media museum exhibit in book form. It is stock full of over 200 photos sharing Florida’s cattle ranching heritage from the 16th century to the present.
I spoke with Wade Grigsby, Past President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, and he was excited to share his rich history in the beef industry and dedication to Florida agriculture.
These busy young people have been on the road educating consumers about beef and beef production, as well as in their own states and local communities. During this week’s event they have freshened up their cow facts by attending the Cattlemen’s College, chatted with different producers from across the country and help spread the importance of beef by telling their story.
Next on their list of trips is the Boston Marathon where they will connect with runners and share their passion for beef, as well as exercise and being healthy.
Meet the team:
Jacquelyn Brown (Oregon)
Emma Jumper (Arkansas)
Chandler Mulvaney (Alabama)
Erin Morrison (Minnesota)
Katie Stroud (California)
NCBA President J.D. Alexander took the stage last night during the opening session of the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and used the Beach Boys concert as an excuse to pull out the floral print.
This Nebraskan cattlemen has traveled across the country in the past year and shared how honored he is to have the opportunity to represent cattlemen and women throughout the United States at the national level.
He also shared with me in an interview how important this organization is to the beef industry and what attendees can look forward to throughout this year’s event.
Hello from the Cattle Industry Convention in Tampa, FL. Jamie beat me here to cover yesterday’s opening general session. I recovered from jet lag after a quick trip to Las Vegas and back to Florida. I left Cindy and Joanna there to finish our coverage of the National Ethanol Conference and National Biodiesel Conference. It’s a busy week.
Jamie and I will be taking photos and doing interviews until the end of this convention this Saturday. Keep checking here on AgWired for more. I’ll also be Beef Board Blogging at the same time.
One thing that really stands out here when you approach the Tampa Convention Center is all the New Holland equipment on display! And there is more inside at the trade show. I’ll be visiting with them to learn more about their cattle industry support initiative and will share with you later.
Dr. Kim Stackhouse, NCBA Director of Sustainability, shared how the beef checkoff-funded assessment is a holistic look at the entire beef value chain. This is the first time any food value chain has ever documented the economic, environmental and social fingerprint.
“This comprehensive analysis will provide a roadmap for the journey toward a more sustainable beef industry. The U.S. beef industry is one of the most complex biological, economic and social chains in the world. As such, measuring these complex, interrelated systems is difficult but critically important to the future stability and profitability of the industry.”
The assessment was conducted by NCBA, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff Program. BASF Corporation and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service also played a huge role as sub-contractors to help assemble and interpret the data.