Iowa beef producers stepped to the plate and went to the polls to reinstte a state-wide beef checkoff of an additional 50 cents a head. The results were announced Dec. 9, showing a positive vote of 56% to 44%, Feedstuffs reports.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has until December 30 to certify the referendum results. Collection of the checkoff will begin March 1, 2017.
Feedback from Iowa producers indicated five priority use options for state checkoff funds. They are marketing and promoting Iowa’s beef and beef products; enhancing Iowa’s beef industry image; production research; expanding international trade relationships, and; providing producer, consumer and youth educational opportunities.
Projected breakeven sale prices, as calculated by the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) using all economic costs of production, have not been covered 22 of the last 24 months, through November 2016, according to the Daily Livestock Report. Average Southern Plains feedlot profitability for November remained in the red. But that picture is improving due to lower costs for both feeder cattle and feedstuffs.
Weights of cattle being sold have been below 2015 as have the number of days animals have been on-feed, according to Kansas State University’s Focus on Feedlots monthly report. Steers sold in October had a live weight average of 1,426 pounds, which was 46 pounds below a year earlier. Steers were on-feed for an average of 152 days, compared with 171 one year ago. Year-over-year declines in sale weight and days on-feed also occurred for heifers sold in October. Of course, those factors are another indication that the slow marketing rates of 2015 did not repeat this year.
Oklahoma’s Right to Farm Law defeated. Massachusetts ballot measure regarding food animals in confinement passed. Both measures were heavily supported and funded by the Humane Society of the United States HSUS), according to the Oklahoma Farm Report.
"It was by no means a grassroots effort - it was HSUS pushing this and funding it and getting their staff on the ground to promote it," says Hannah Thompson with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, explaining that Massachusetts was chosen specifically because the state has no large ag-based community to fight the group's agenda
"They've realized if they can get (consumers) on board, that's going to be a nationwide policy a lot faster than a ballot initiative," Thompson said. "I think in animal agriculture we have to all be united. We will all be on the plate eventually, so we all need to work together to combat this messaging."
In the high desert of southern Arizona and New Mexico, almost a million acres of important habitats and nearly 30 at-risk species are being protected and conserved by a coalition of ranchers known as the Malpai Borderlands Group. They manage from “The Radical Center,” a term coined by one of the group’s founders, rancher Bill McDonald, to describe a consensus-based approach to solving environmental challenges in the West, reports onpasture.com.
McDonald describes their first meeting in 1991 like this: “We met to discuss what we saw as a deteriorating situation. Cattle ranching in the West, especially grazing on public lands, was under attack and on the defensive. Additionally, we were concerned about the future of the resource we depended on for our livelihoods. As individuals living on our remote ranches, we felt ill equipped to deal with all this. It seemed as though the “dig in your heels” approach was doomed to failure, so we decided to embark on a different approach, to reach out to our critics and find common ground.
Beginning Feb. 1, all cattle producers will have access to industry updates and management information on their mobile devices or desktops. The redesigned CattleFax.com website and free CattleFax mobile application will become one-stop destinations for daily weather, futures markets, industry news, management tools and USDA data, Feedstuffs reports.
Traditionally, CattleFax market information has been available exclusively to the organization’s members. With the new digital platform, CattleFax will continue to serve its membership base while sharing consistent and valuable business information with all producers.
Among the new CattleFax resources is a Daily Market Headlines e-newsletter, available with a simple, free-of-charge online registration. Features on the new CattleFax website and mobile app will include more than 100 data sets from the cattle, grain, hog, dairy and poultry markets, more than 30 weather graphics and more than 25 futures quotes – all with charting capabilities.