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Articles from 2010 In February


Alltech celebrates National Teach Ag Day

[Lexington, KENTUCKY]- Alltech, a global animal health company, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, with more than 2,300 employees in 120 countries, is proud to support National Teach Ag Day on February 25, 2010. Not only does this day celebrate agriculture as a whole, but it emphasises the importance of education within the agriculture industry. Education represents the cornerstone of Alltech’s endeavour to create and innovate. Alltech’s educational focus is embodied through two education initiatives, Alltech’s Young Scientist Program and Kidzone.

The president and founder of Alltech, Dr. Pearse Lyons states the importance of this day, “The future of agriculture is in education. As leaders within the agricultural industry, it is our job to engage and educate the next generation on the important role of agriculture in our lives and to nurture a passion for our industry. Alltech is doing its part by providing global programs such as the Young Scientist Program and Kidzone.”

The Young Scientist Program was created by Alltech to continue the company's commitment to furthering education in science. Alltech created this global competition to promote research and talent. The Alltech Young Scientist Award brings together the world’s brightest scientific thinkers from colleges and universities across the globe. Undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register and submit a scientific paper on a topic involving animal feed technologies, agricultural developments or agriculture management. Since the inception of this program in 2005, the program has grown from 86 applicants in its first year to nearly 4,000 for the 2010’s competition.

Alltech Kidzone, has been developed in conjunction with Agri Aware, the Irish Agri food educational body. Kidzone is an online resource which is designed to engage, educate, and inspire children and to nurture a passion for agriculture and the agri-food industry. Presented in an entertaining and fun manner, the interactive website features a full range of curriculum-linked educational material for teachers and students all over the world. The program offers factual information on farming, food and the environment to children of all ages so that they can learn the important role that agriculture plays in their lives and how much choice and opportunity the industry has to offer. Ten years after the implementation of Agri Aware’s ongoing program in Ireland the number of students interested in entering the agriculture industry rose from 30 to 70 percent in 2009.

The primary purpose of National Teach Ag Day is to open the minds of young people to consider a career in teaching agriculture science. In acknowledgement of the day’s importance, National Teach Ag Day has been sponsored by Rep. Travis Childers, (D-MS) and endorsed by the House of Representatives.

National Teach Ag Day is a component of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). The day is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company and Landmark Nurseries as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Alltech is a global leader in natural animal nutrition, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. With more than 2300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle-East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

Alltech is the proud sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010™ to be held in Lexington, Kentucky from September 25 to October 10, 2010. Visit the official site of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at for complete information about the event or to purchase tickets.

Use Frost Seeding to Improve Vegetative Cover

Snow does a great job of hiding overgrazed pastures or high-traffic areas at gates, feeders and water tanks. But frost seeding or over-seeding during this time of year can help "thicken up” forage-deficient areas, says Paul Craig, Dauphin County, PA Extension.

“When seeds are applied to bare soil early in the spring (actually late winter is better), the warmer temps during the day combined with freezing temps at night form cracks and crevasses that eventually cover the seeds and initiate germination. Unfortunately each season and location is different and nearly as many failures are reported as successes,” Craig writes in the Ohio Beef Cattle Letter.

Among the factors to consider is time of year. Fields should be over-seeded when soils are freezing and thawing. In many locations, February is a good time but often March is too late. Deep snow cover is helpful as it limits soil freezing and thawing, while a rapid melt or high winds can move the seed.

“Seed must reach the soil surface, so existing vegetation can limit this movement. Overgrazed or high-traffic areas won’t have the problem as much as trying to get a clover to establish in a well-managed grass pasture,” Craig says. “Legume seeds such as clover or alfalfa are more adapted to reaching the soil surface than light fluffy grass seeds. A few growers have used no-till or even conventional drills to thicken up stands with grass seed more successfully than broadcasting. This practice requires optimum conditions at seeding, especially with a conventional drill.”

Craig says red clover is one crop many growers report as having success with in frost seeding. Many crop producers over-seed wheat fields in February with red clover as a green manure crop. Other clovers such as alsike and Ladino establish fairly well, too. The best success with grass species has been with perennial ryegrass and orchardgrass. Seeding rates vary but are usually similar to rates for conventional establishment. Slightly higher rates (25-30%) are used when over-seeding into areas with less vegetation cover.

Once seeded, modify your management to assist establishment of the small seedlings, Craig advises. Existing vegetation should be clipped or grazed to minimize competition, and animals should be moved sooner to prevent overgrazing of small seedlings. Proper fertilizer and/or lime must be present for optimum development, too. Many growers routinely frost seed their pastures every 2-3 years.
-- Ohio Beef Cattle Letter

Cattlemen and sustainability

Sustainability has become the new buzzword for environmental activists, but Steve Kay, editor of Cattle Buyers’ Weekly, says cattlemen have been practicing sustainability on their ranches for more than 100 years. Kay urged cattlemen to take back the term and show the public they are the true stewards of the land in his presentation at the BEEF seminar at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. Kay also discussed how the U.S. government’s strategy for negotiating greater access to the Japanese markets has cost U.S. producers $44 per head in recent years.

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Keeping a Watchful Eye on HSUS

header2.jpg If you haven't checked out HumaneWatch, the new watchdog project dedicated to analyzing the activities of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), then now is the time to do so. As you are all aware by now, I keep a close eye on this well-oiled lobbying machine, and through word of mouth, my goal has always been to educate consumers about the organization's main mission to abolish meat, dairy and egg products from the American diet while putting farmers and ranchers out of business. This ideology doesn't jibe with 99% of Americans, yet the organization is able to use emotions to manipulate a cozy budget of $200 million annually to achieve their goals.

And, while I've worked hard to spread the word, my ever-cautious dad has reminded me that my efforts might put me in jail. (I always chuckle when he tells me this.) However, all jokes aside, HumaneWatch is finally an organization that is keeping a critical eye on this organization, and are working to expose the activities of HSUS, so that consumers who really care about animal welfare will no longer be duped by this political giant. (The folks at HumaneWatch must have plenty of good lawyer protection power to mess with HSUS!)

david_and_wrigley_small.jpg HumaneWatch is the pet project of David Martosko. Here is what he has to say about his new blog and website:

"The dog-watchers at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) need their own watchdog too. HSUS now has an annual budget around the size of an NFL payroll. It has become too big and too unaccountable. Someone has to pay closer attention. This blog is one researcher’s attempt to make sense of what’s going on inside that sprawling organization."

Cheers to David Martosko and HumaneWatch. What an outstanding resource to educate folks about the true intent of H$U$. May the world now know...


Limousin Breeders Gather for 1st-Ever Emerging Leaders Academy

The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) hosted its inaugural Emerging Leaders Academy Feb. 2–3 in Kansas City, Mo.

With 17 participants in the first class, NALF launched the new program to provide a unique educational and networking opportunity for a limited number of Limousin breeders each year. Academy participants will explore the current issues, trends and technologies shaping the beef industry while preparing to help the Limousin breed capitalize on its opportunities and sharpen its progressive commercial focus.

“Participants get to know other committed breeders, gain valuable marketing insights, generate new ideas that can be applied to their own enterprises, and increase their awareness of the tools and programs available to Limousin seedstock and commercial cow-calf producers,” said Bob Hough, Ph.D., executive vice president for NALF.

The first academy class began its experience with a facilitated group discussion about NALF’s new strategic plan.

“It was a great opportunity for our organization’s future leaders to contribute to the planning process so we can generate the best ideas for leading the breed forward along a proactive path toward even greater commercial acceptance,” Hough said.

The class will continue to interact and exchange ideas over the next 12 to 24 months through conference calls, webcasts and special events, including an industry tour.

“I am confident the Emerging Leaders Academy will be a force for positive change within the Limousin breed,” Hough stated. “The potential outcomes of this new program are exciting. It easily could become the networking and leadership opportunity that motivates some of our most enthusiastic, up-and-coming breeders to get more involved in their state Limousin associations, NALF and other industry organizations.”

Members of the inaugural class follow, sorted by state then city.

• Brent Fillmore, Boone, Colo.

• Joey Freund, Elizabeth, Colo.

• Kevin Ochsner, Kersey, Colo.

• Cash Schilling, Edson, Kan.

• John Ethington, Lexington, Ky.

• Greg Blaydes, Midway, Ky.

• Kevin Smith, Chatham, La.

• Mike Wulf, Morris, Minn.

• Tye Jones, LaMonte, Mo.

• Gary Gates, Absarokee, Mont.

• Trent Coleman, Charlo, Mont.

• Jamie Watts, Fairfield, Neb.

• Daniel Hunt, Oxford, Neb.

• Austin Hager, Karlsruhe, N.D.

• Warren Symens, Amherst, S.D.

• Andy Peterson, Osceola, Wis.

• Bart Mitchell, Wauzeka, Wis.

Yellow Tail Shows Support of Farmers and Ranchers

4467_89938538005_89932033005_1903890_4827063_n.jpg The good folks at the Animal Agriculture Alliance are commending Yellow Tail Wine for their effort to repair the relationship between themselves and the farmers and ranchers who were offended by their recent donation to the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) It turns out that the wine company, a family-owned business out of Australia, has realized their mistake and won't be donating any additional dollars to HSUS in the future. Thanks to a grassroots effort made by farmers and ranchers through social media outlets, the real intent of HSUS, to eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the American diet, has been exposed. Thanks to all of you for participating in that campaign to spread the word, and I'm sure this wine company won't make the same mistake twice.

After receiving word of a boycott of their products after donating $100,000 to HSUS, Yellow Tail wines listened to the voices of thousands of farmers and ranchers and have responded with a letter to the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Read the excerpt below:

The spirit and intention of our donation to the Humane Society of the United States was for the celebration of animals. Being farmers ourselves we support those who care for their land and their environment, just as we do. We are proud of our rural heritage and value a solid relationship with agricultural communities around the world.

Yellow Tail is committed to the plight of animals in need, and we know that animal welfare groups work in different ways to advance their cause. We are interested in the welfare of animals, and in financially supporting animal welfare causes that provide direct care services to help animals, not on taking positions on any animal lobbying issues. We pledge to you that any future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.

MBA Catapults Past 2,000


Since the Cattle Industry Convention the last week in January more than 300 new students have enrolled in the beef checkoff Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program, pushing current students to more than 1,300. More than 100 students graduated in the first three weeks of February (788 total since March 2009) and it is anticipated that more than 150 will complete the courses by the end of the month.

With MBA commencements planned in Texas, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Kentucky in the next six weeks, the number of graduates should exceed 1,000 by the end of March, the one-year anniversary of program’s launch. The single largest commencement to date will be held at Western Kentucky Universityon Feb. 26, where more than 100 MBA grads are expected to attend.

“We are very encouraged by the response to the program,” says Daren Williams, MBA “Dean of Students” and executive director of communications at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “What this tells me that more and more people are preparing themselves to be informed advocates for farmers and ranchers and many of them are already engaged in grassroots efforts to sustain the future of our industry.”

To read the entire article, link here.


Not Much Buzz on CBS Antibiotic Series

It has been just under two weeks since the CBS Evening News aired a two-part story on antibiotics in livestock production. The story concerned many agricultural producers but Pork Checkoff spokesman Mike Wegner says it didn’t get much reaction in the general media. “There has been very little public reaction to the story. We monitor very carefully social media, Twitter and those kinds of things, as well as print and broadcast, and found that where a very few, less than a handful of CBS stations that did their own stories about the CBS report, even though they were all encouraged to by CBS national. The other traffic has just been very, very quiet.”

Antibiotic use in animal agriculture is a very complex issue and quite difficult to explain in a short television news story. Wegner says the story lacked any attempt at balance. “When you get called by a national television network you sort of assume that it’s not going to be a great story for the livestock industry or the pork industry, but it was important for us to participate with their reporting just to make sure we had the best opportunity possible to tell our side of the story. That being said, Liz Wagstrom went to New York at pork industry expense and did a 70 minute interview with Katie Couric and appeared I think less than 30 seconds the first day and even less than that on the second day. Those were really the only participants in the story that had a view other than the view that CBS News was espousing. I don’t think most people would consider that to be fair.”

To read the entire article, link here.