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FFA Convention Impact Goes Beyond Dollars and Cents

The National FFA Convention is now history, but the memories and benefits it brings will go on. One Indiana state officer says the convention is much more than just a cash infusion for Indianapolis and the state.

Morgan Gadd is the Northern Region Vice President. She said there is a strong support for FFA and its mission. “Whether it was bringing millions of dollars to Indianapolis at Steak and Shake and all of the various vendors, it was so evident that everyone is supporting the brotherhood that FFA promotes. Whether it was sitting in delegate meetings with my fellow FFA members, or hanging out with chapter members as we journeyed throughout convention, it was amazing seeing the support from partners, stakeholders, parents, family members and everyone who holds stake in this organization.”

To read the entire article, link here.

Evolving Rules On Animal Care

Today’s livestock producers should keep an eye on university standards for animal care because those are a hint at what eventually will happen in the future on farms and ranches. Among the new issues is how genetically engineered animals are cared for.

“People want assurances,” says John McGlone, an animal science professor and director of the Pork Industry Institute at Texas Tech University. “They want a credible program to make sure someone is looking after the animals directly and that somebody is checking that they’re looking at the animals directly, at all levels.”

McGlone was one of the speakers at the recent Livestock Biotech Summit, sponsored by an industry trade group called the Biotechnology Industry Organization. The Sioux Falls, SD, event attracted 200 people and started with an animal-care session and ended with a genetic-engineering session. Among the luminaries were South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, who announced that his state would like to build a biotech animal research facility in the state, but gave no specifics on where, when, financial costs or sources.

To read the entire article, link here.

FYI: BEEF's Brazil Tour, Grazing Bulletin Board

bulls-bw_edited-1.jpg Long before I established a working relationship with the magazine, I was a fan of BEEF's ability to capture the stories that were interesting and applicable to my family's cattle operation. In addition to its knack for digging up quality articles, the magazine has editors who have worked hard in recent years to offer more than a magazine. Today, beef producers can find a plethora of information and special features online and through travel opportunities developed by the magazine staff. I would like to give you a heads up on a few of these unique items.

First, BEEF magazine is offering readers a chance to get up close and personal next January with the cattle-production powerhouse that is Brazil. But you’d better act soon to reserve your seat. Seat reservations for the 2011 BEEF Study Tour To Brazil, set for Jan. 17-29, 2011, ends Tuesday. On the trip, participants will learn about the U.S. cattle industry’s biggest competitor and sample the culture and beauty of South America’s largest country. The trip includes stops at Brazilian ranches, ag research centers and market venues, as well as stops in tourist venues in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Space is limited to 20 passengers and reservations are closing this week, so reserve your spot by contacting Renata Stephens at Brazilian Liaison ( at 612-802-2388 or [email protected] Learn more details and view the itinerary at For more information on beef powerhouses Brazil and Argentina, read Clint Peck’s report from last year’s trip, “Two Countries, Two Directions."

Second, I have had a few readers ask about the Grazing Bulletin Board that was developed by BEEF contributor Wes Ishmael. The listings are sent in by cattle producers who have forage-based, cattle-growing services to offer. Link here to check it out and take advantage of these pasture and hay opportunities.

I encourage all of you to consider the trip to Brazil, as well as to utilize the many online features the magazine has put together. Thanks again for your continued readership. What topics would you like to read about in the upcoming weeks?

Missouri Farmers Embrace Japanese-Style Beef

Terry Neuner worked eight years for 3M in Japan before his employers treated him to a Kobe beef dinner. The meal was worth the wait.

"It was so good, I knew then that this was something I wanted to bring back home," says Neuner, who owns Westphalia Vineyards, a farm southwest of Jefferson City.

And he did bring Kobe beef to central Missouri — as much as anyone could have. Trademarked Kobe Beef is found only in Japan and costs up to 100,000 yen per kilogram, or $550/lb. says Daisuke Terao of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. It is one of several brands of upscale beef from a Japanese breed of cattle called Wagyu. Scientists and farmers say Wagyu cattle produce some of the highest quality beef in the world, and it is prized for its flavor, tenderness and snow-white marbling.

To read the entire article, link here.

Cattle Industry In The Black

A year ago, times were at their toughest for Utah's cattle industry. A stagnant economy and rising business costs hurt many ranchers financially.

This year, times are still tough economically, but things are looking up. The beef industry is one of the few agricultural industries that is in the black, and sales to overseas markets continue to improve.

"Industry prices are probably a little better this year than last year," says Brent Tanner, executive vice president of the Utah Cattlemen's Association.

"While our beef producers aren't getting rich right now, they are in a better marketplace than they were last year."

To read the entire article, link here.

Obama Administration Makes Massive Biofuel Push

“Revitalize rural America” has been a mantra uttered by the Obama administration almost since its inception. Recently, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack revealed the centerpiece of that effort to be biofuels.

“The approach at the heart of the President’s vision - which combines new technologies, new markets, and better use of our natural resources - is our nation’s capacity to reduce its dependence on imported oil and fossil fuels through the increased production and use of biofuels and renewable energy,” says Vilsack at the Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The reward for investing in renewable fuels “outweighs the risk associated with the investment. The reward includes less reliance on foreign oil. We won’t have to necessarily spend as much in countries that don’t agree with us or like us.”

To read the entire article, link here.

Farm American Nascar Team Will Promote Agriculture

We’ve been saying it for a long time in agriculture; we need to be proactive in our efforts to educate the consumer about domestic food production and the farmers and ranchers who grow it rather than being reactive to the latest inaccurate accusations from an anti-ag group. There’s no better way to do this than to tell our story one person at a time and let consumers get to know us; let them meet a real farmer or rancher. But we’ve also talked about how great it would be to tell our story on a bigger stage to a bigger audience. With limited resources and opportunities, it hasn’t happened yet; however, that is about to change.

I truly believe that the opportunity we have been looking for has just landed in our lap. Even more amazing than that is it’s coming from someone with no ties to agriculture at all. Yet he realizes the important job that farmers and ranchers have and wants to help tell the story of the 21st century agriculturalist. His name is Barney Visser and he owns the Furniture Row chain of furniture stores. Like most farmers and ranchers, Visser is a self-made man and a great example of what you can achieve with hard work. He started with a single store in Denver selling an invention of his called the bean bag chair. That single store turned into the fastest growing furniture chain today which includes brands like Denver Mattress and Oak Express.

To read the entire article, link here.

Fed Cattle Boost Calf Prices

Packers paying $4-$5 more for fed cattle last week (mostly $101-$102.50) helped heal some short-term wonderments. Choice boxed-beef value closed the week $6.74 higher than the previous Friday; Select $7.72 higher.

The boost helped steer and heifer-calf prices regain most of the ground lost the previous week, selling $2-$5 higher. According to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), a limited supply of true yearlings traded steady to $3 higher.

“The erratic volatility of the grain market continues to whip calf prices and expected feed costs in every direction as backgrounders seem to overcompensate with every swing of the CBOT corn contracts,” say AMS analysts. “As harvest briskly sweeps across the Corn Belt, prices continue to make limit moves in both directions while cattle growers and corn farmers watch in bewilderment and noncommercial interests profit without handling a kernel.”

Friday’s Cattle on Feed (COF) report shouldn’t hinder the market, as it met most analysts expectations. Total inventory Oct. 1 (10.8 million head) is 3% higher than a year earlier. Placements during September (2.46 million head) are also 3% higher. Fed cattle marketed in September (1.80 million head) were 2% more than the same time last year.

“Cattlemen will no doubt be relying on forage-based feed sources this fall and winter to help achieve low-cost weight gains; like hay stockpiles, leftover grass, or winter wheat pasture that has gotten off to a slow start,” AMS analysts explain. “However, many of the driest areas of the Southern Plains received much-needed moisture this past week which also bolstered stocker demand. Sickness on new arrivals of calves is peaking with most operations relying on mass treatment to maintain a respectable death loss percentage, but a settling of the dust and nearby frost forecasts should help the situation.”

According to Friday’s USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, “Dryness in the Southern Plains is hampering the establishment of winter wheat and, along with the sharply higher corn prices seen since the Oct. 8 release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), will likely affect demand for lightweight feeder cattle for wheat pasture programs. At present, most of the heavy yearlings have been marketed off summer growing programs and placed on feed, leaving mostly calves to be marketed for the remainder of the year.”

See the COF report at

The summary below reflects the week ended Oct. 22 for Medium and Large 1 – 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb. (calves), and 700- to 750-lb. feeder heifers and steers (unless otherwise noted). The list is arranged in descending order by auction volume and represents sales reported in the weekly USDA National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary:

Summary Table
State Volume Steers Heifers
Calf Weight 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs. 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs.
Dakotas 54,700






OK 31,600 $116.45 $109.09 $110.65 $103.55 $102.78 $102.34
MO 24,900 $119.51 $115.96 $117.37 $105.72 $104.85 $103.42
TX 28,200 $107.43 $99.22 $108.68 $100.17 $96.15 $96.40
KY* 22,000 $108.49 $102.20 $105.47 $94.12 $91.42 $98.13
NE 17,300 $128.78 $117.96 $117.45 $115.16 $112.43 $109.63
CO 12,700 $119.21 $108.60 $112.37 $109.54 $99.72 $105.01
AL 12,600 $108.38 $99.93 $93.59 $96.18 $88.97 $83.99
MT 12,200 $124.74 $112.37 $106.12 $113.27 $104.58 $105.234
WY 9,600 $128.99 $117.00 $109.416 $114.70 $106.36 $108.24
KS 9,500 $118.87 $112.36 $111.88 $107.46 $103.05 $105.20
AR 8,300 $108.66 $102.17 $98.664 $93.77 $89.49 $89.214
FL* 8,200 $91-110 $87-98 $80-87 $81-97 $79-95 $77-834
TN* 7,400 $105.53 $101.39 $95.49 $91.45 $87.22 $84.92
NM 7,200 $110.82 $104.70 $98.14 $102.28 $94.91 $86.27
MS* 6,500 $97-1071 $100-108 $91-955 $85-951 $82-963 $77-885
GA*** 5,800 $96-115 $85-105 $90-95 $84-98 $81-91 $80-85
Carolinas* 5,600 $91-112 $83-105 $84-92 $80-97 $80-92.50 $70-87.50
IA 4,200 $125.67 $114.06 $120.096 $112.63 $105.694 $99.477
VA 4,100 $108.14 $103.58 $104.15 $92.58 $93.71 $94.11
WA 3,600 $120.81 ** $113.27 $111.62 $110.04 $105.11

* Plus #2
** None reported of the same quality at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
(?) As reported, but questionable
NDNo Description
1500-600 lbs.
2550-600 lbs.
3600-700 lbs.
4650-700 lbs.
5700-800 lbs.
6750-800 lbs.
7800-850 lbs.
8850-900 lbs.

TCFA Response To R-CALF's Unwise Fear-Mongering

Recently, an effort was made to damage the reputation of the beef industry and to undermine public confidence in the safety of beef. The fact that the attack was launched by people within our own industry is especially disturbing.

An Associated Press article has served up the ridiculous notion that cattlemen are having such a difficult time getting a fair price for their product, some might feel pressured to "sell sicker, weaker cows" that will yield inferior quality meat. This statement can only be construed as an attempt to score political points by inciting unwarranted fear about the quality of beef.

TCFA does not blame the reporter for this distortion. TCFA believes the Associated Press was exploited as part of the strategy of R-CALF and certain others in the industry who seek a drastic overhaul in the way livestock marketing is regulated. TCFA disagrees with R-CALF's position on the proposed GIPSA rule. TCFA believes there are plenty of arguments to be made against GIPSA's proposals.

To read the entire article, link here.

New Website for Coccidiosis Prevention and Treatment in Cattle

Bruss Horn, DVM, and Dennis White, PhD, have launched a new website to provide cattle producers detailed information on how to manage their weaning and stocker calves to control and prevent coccidiosis.

The site, features information about products for prevention and treatment and management practices to help minimize the disease. Pictures of animals with coccidiosis are shown so the producer can more easily identify the symptoms of the disease.

If a producer wants a program to prevent the disease in weaning and stocker calves, a program is outlined including cost per head per day for the various products cleared by FDA for coccidiosis. Labeled doses for the various products are also included on the website.

Coccidiosis most often occurs in the fall of the year around weaning time or when calves are commingled in preparation for turning out on wheat pasture. Wet conditions and crowding, which stress the calves, are common problems and all of these issues are addressed on the website. In addition, provides contact information for direct inquiries.