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Articles from 2017 In February

7 traits of a strong beef industry leader

Amanda Radke Tomi Lahren on COOL

By now, you’ve more than likely seen political commentator Tomi Lahren’s segment on The Blaze, which urges consumers to call their elected officials and push for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to be reinstated.

In case you missed it, you can watch the segment here.

Following Lahren’s Final Thoughts program, Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) senior vice president of government affairs, responded in a video of his own titled, “Now THAT’s Some Bull: Tomi Lahren Edition.”

You can view Woodall’s clip by clicking here.

In turn, Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA president and CEO, put together his own video, doubling down on earlier statements he presented in his interview with Lahren earlier this year.

Watch Bullard’s video by clicking here.

And if you missed the original program, you can watch Lahren’s segment, “Make the American Table American Again,” by clicking here.

READ: 5 observations about Tomi Lahren's rant on COOL

If you’re following the back and forth of this particular tennis match, you might be as frustrated as I am. Much like politics in the United States, the discord amongst various cattlemen’s organizations continues to escalate, and I fear the widening divide is going to ultimately tear our industry apart.

On the flip side, whenever there are meaningful discussions, it means people are listening and engaged in trying to find solutions. However, determining the most effective route to get things accomplished for the better of this industry is where things start to become complicated.

Certainly, it’s wise to join the cattlemen’s organization that best represents your interests in Washington, D.C., but it’s equally important to become your own leadership and voice your own concerns directly to the folks who can help or hurt your business.

We all possess our own unique traits that can be used for the betterment of our industry. With our livelihoods at stake, it’s time to put these leadership skills to work in order to protect our future and our legacy in the cattle business.

So what makes a strong leader? I recently read an article in Forbes titled, “7 traits of inspiring leadership that uplifts rather than destroys.” Written by Kathy Caprino, she identifies the most effective leadership skills that we should apply in our own roles within this beef cattle industry.

Here is Caprino’s list of seven best leadership skills:

1. They are clear about the challenges ahead, but they inspire faith, hope and collaboration, not fear.

2. Their self-esteem is strong enough to take constructive criticism and critique, and in fact, they welcome it.

3. Blame is not in their rhetoric – they never stoop to recrimination or demeaning, belittling language.

4. Their communication style is positive, with words that inspire greatness and growth in us.

5. They don’t surround themselves only with people who “yes” them – they surround themselves with diversity, truth and openness.

6. The success that they long for is success and opportunity for all – not just one faction, group, or organization.

7. They operate at all times with integrity, truthfulness and transparency, even when that’s excruciatingly difficult to do.

You can read Caprino’s entire article here, where she further explains each of these seven traits
in more detail.

It’s time for all of us to step up and work to voice our own concerns regarding the industry right now. Leadership is a muscle that needs exercise to be most effective. Let’s get to work in making the U.S. cattle business strong again.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.

Fed Cattle Recap | Cash market continues bullish uptick

Fed cattle recap

The finished cattle cash trade was $4 to $5 per cwt higher for the week ending Feb. 25, continuing its bull run. Is the cash market for fed cattle, once thought to be on its death bed, showing a miraculous recovery? It’s too soon to tell, but cattle feeders will happily take whatever the market will offer, at least for the moment.  

The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas (Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa) was $124.40, compared with 119.59 the previous week, which was about $4.81 higher.

For carcasses on the rail, the cash dressed steer price was $195.90, compared with $189.91 the previous week, for a $6 jump.

The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 125,368, compared with about 108,593 the previous week. Five Area average formula price was $190.97, compared with $190.61 the previous week, for an increase of about 36 cents. Five Area formula sales totaled 142,022, compared with about 158,000 the previous week.  

Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvested was about 68,000, compared with 62,000 the previous week. Packers had over 260,000 head of forward contracts available for February and over 207,000 head for March along with over 306,000 for April.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Feb. 18 was 8 pounds lower at 879 pounds, compared with 891 pounds last year. 

The Choice-Select spread was $3.48 on Friday, which was about $2.25 higher compared to the previous week. That compares to a $5.68 spread last year. The grilling season rally has started and the daily spot Choice rib jumped $18 in the past six working days, widening the spread and pushing the spot Choice cutout higher.



We continue to see the weather fluctuating between the seasons here in our region.

Consumer confidence is at highest level in 15 years, both improved in February. Overall, consumer expect economy to continue expanding in months ahead.

Is all of the tough trade talk torpedoing pork trade with the world? Top formed last week and it appears big worry for futures market is tough trade stance carved against China and Mexico by Trump. Total frozen pork stocks down 16% from a year. Futures market forecasting downward change in demand. 

Some changes at Ohio based Bob Evans restaurants. The chain will add brunch menu every day.


Fewer than 33 million people watching Oscars. Smallest audience in more than 9 years.

This is the day that Donald Trump will torpedo the Obama administration WOTUS rule.

Folks in Minnesota who want to buy booze on Sunday will no longer have to cross the state lines to do so if bill working through Legislature makes it to governor. Gov. Dayton said he won't veto the bill. 

The southern Illinois town of West Frankfort has rallied around Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, who manages the La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. He has been in the states for 20 years, but has never obtained legal status. He's become a real role model in the town. Letters on his behalf by mayor, police chief, even county prosecutor.

Farm Progress American – February 28, 2017

Max Armstrong offers insight into the Ag in the Classroom program that aims to improve agricultural literacy in the classroom. The programs seek to improve student achievement through agriculture knowledge and encouraging teachers to put ag knowledge in the classroom, which also boost student knowledge of food production.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Understanding internal parasite resistance leads to effective treatment

Managing internal parasites in cattle is important

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

Understanding antiparasitic resistance is important when considering your parasite control options. Antiparasitic resistance is the genetic ability of parasites to survive the effects of an antiparasitic drug that was previously effective, and it continues to grow in U.S. cattle.

“We have little knowledge about the true extent of the problem,” says Ray Kaplan, DVM, PhD, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. “However, based on my own experience testing operations and discussing with colleagues around the country, resistance in some species of parasites is a real problem and quite widespread.”

Several factors contribute to antiparasitic resistance:

  • Parasite biology and genetics
  • Immune status of the host animal
  • Drug mode of action and efficacy
  • Dose and frequency of treatments

Managing “refugia” is a relatively new approach to tackling the issue, Kaplan says, and many producers may not understand it or be aware of its benefits. Refugia is the concept of leaving some internal parasites unexposed to a dewormer, essentially giving them refuge, and thereby reducing the drug-resistance selection pressure caused by the dewormer. It can help slow down the development of resistance.

Successful implementation of refugia may include:

  • Not deworming all cattle when there are few parasite larvae on the pasture. In the South, this would be during the hottest part of the year, and in the North, during the coldest part of the year.
  • Only deworming incoming cattle and leaving resident cattle untreated during extensive dry periods, when infection is low.
  • Not using the same class of dewormer on resident cattle repeatedly.
  • Not using a dewormer and then moving immediately to a clean pasture, as this will contaminate the new pasture with only resistant parasites.
  • Not deworming at least 10% of the animals, known as “selective non-treatment.”

“For the selective non-treatment strategy to work, it’s critical that for the 90% you are deworming, the drug you use is highly effective,” Kaplan cautions. “To help preserve the options we have, it’s important to use parasite control products according to label, and to avoid under- or over-dosing them,” adds Doug Ensley, DVM, professional services veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI).

Also think about the advantages of available tests—a coproculture (technique of allowing parasite eggs to hatch and identify species of parasite involved) to identify which species you’re fighting, and a fecal egg count reduction to help determine how successful your program really is.

 “To reap these benefits and reduce the risk of resistance, it’s critical to use the most effective product at the most strategic times,” Ensley says. He recommends reviewing the following questions with your veterinarian. The answers will help you find the right parasite control product for your operation.

  1. What type of operation do you have?
  2. What parasite problems have you had in the past?
  3. What have your deworming practices been in the past? Have you been satisfied?
  4. Have you tested the effectiveness of your dewormer using a fecal egg count reduction test?
  5. What climate do you live in? What are your parasite risks in the summer vs. winter?
  6. What has the season been like this year?
  7. What are your pasture management strategies?
  8. How do you manage your cattle?
  9. Do you process your cattle once per year or twice per year?
  10. Are you handling your calves prior to weaning?
  11. How do you market your calves? Do you hold them or sell them at weaning?
  12. What are your grazing practices?


5 tips for managing mud this spring

Amanda Radke Spring mud management

March is just a day away, and while it’s unclear whether the new month will come in more like a lion or a lamb, one thing is for certain: once the spring thaw begins, producers will have to contend with the mud that typically follows.

Jane Parish, Mississippi State University Extension beef cattle specialist, offers five considerations for managing mud this spring.

1. Be mindful of newborn calves born in the mud

Parish writes, “Mud can negate the insulation value of the hair coat. Of distinct concern are newborn calves born in or near mud holes or muddy areas. Calves can become chilled by mud, trapped in it, or sickened by pathogens thriving in it. This is why it is so important to closely monitor calving, routinely check cattle, and move cow-calf pairs to fresh pasture soon after calving.”

2. Beware of fescue toxicosis

While this isn’t a concern in every region of the United States, in places like Mississippi where tall fescue is an important forage crop, cattle can become susceptible to fescue toxicosis and the heat-tolerance problems it creates.

Parish explains, “Cattle suffering from fescue toxicosis typically spend extended time in mud holes, making them more susceptible to health and performance complications related to mud. Even in drought-like conditions, mud may accumulate in shaded areas where cattle affected with fescue toxicosis loaf excessively. Concentration of urine and hoof action will cause deep mud holes to develop in toxic tall fescue pastures. Cattle experiencing tall fescue toxicosis often have large amounts of mud caked on their rough hair coats.”

3. Understand how mud impacts breeding success

If you’re at the tail of calving, you may already be thinking about breeding season. If your cow-calf pairs are in muddy lots or wet areas when you turn out a bull, you may have delayed breeding because of the difficulties that accompany mud.

Parish says, “Mud creates suction on hooves and makes it more difficult for cattle to move around in a muddy area. They expend more energy moving through mud and may have difficulty mounting for breeding. One only has to walk into a feeding area with deep mud once to realize just how difficult it is to take steps. Boots must be held securely on feet or the mud will claim them quickly.

“With mild mud conditions, just 4 to 8 inches of mud, cattle dry matter intake is reduced by 15% versus what it would be under the same conditions without any mud. When severe mud conditions are present, 1 foot or more of mud, dry matter intake plummets by 30% relative to the same conditions without any mud. It is no wonder that it becomes challenging to maintain good body condition on cows and desirable weight gains on calves when mud is all around.”

4. Know your soil types

Parish adds, “Although it may not be practical to totally eliminate mud on the farm, pastures, feeding areas, and cattle should be managed to minimize the negative impacts of mud on the herd. Start by taking an inventory of the soil types and slopes on the farm. Some soils drain better than others and are less prone to mud accumulation. If soil types and slopes are identified on a farm that are less susceptible to water pooling and/or mud build-up, then areas with these soils may be good places to select for high-traffic uses.”

5. Better manage high-traffic areas to reduce mud

Parish recommends, “Next, identify high-traffic areas on the farm. These are places that cattle or vehicles move across on a frequent basis. High-traffic areas may include lanes where cattle are funneled to move them through to another location. Gates and feeding and watering areas are other prime examples of high-traffic areas. Cattle handling areas are another high-traffic location on the farm.

“Ground-level protection from mud development in these areas may include construction of high-traffic ground coverings, such as feeding pads made of concrete, geotextile fabric, or other materials. Make sure that construction of ground coverings covers sufficient surface area to be effective. A feeding pad that is too small may become surrounded by deep mud.”

To read Parish’s additional tips for reducing mud, including information on deep-bedding, hay feeding, best waterers and more, click here.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


This is the day we go back on offense, said Scott Kirby, the president of United Airlines. United is done being a docile competitor, he said. United this summer will start flying 6 new round trips from Chicago O'Hare and add stops in Colombia, Missouri, Rochester, Minn., and other smaller cities.

Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson sales may be hurt by a shrinking base of middle-aged Americans able to afford bikes and by a strong dollar that hurts the profitability of international sales.

it's been raining in South America, while rain makes grain it is also delaying early harvest. Combines should be rolling in weeks ahead, weather permitting.

In January, the U.S. did a majority of soybean sales to China, but China started switching to Brazilian origin.

Bill Paxton died over the weekend. Storm chasers went online and spelled out his initials with their GPS coordinates. Paxton put storm chasers on the map with the movie, Twister.


Many folks in Detroit, Michigan, region felt they had a personal connection with Ron Savage, anchor of Fox 2 News. The 63-year-old Savage died Saturday while training with the Milford Fire Department were he was a paid, on-call firefighter.

Storm chasers paid tribute to the late actor Bill Paxton who starred in the movie, Twister, by using GPS coordinates to spell out his initials.

This is the week of the big Commodity Classic and Trade Show for the grain producers. Meetings underway Wednesday through Saturday in San Antonio. Almost 10,000 attended last year when it was in New Orleans.

Cynthia Sound, 83, said she always wanted to ride a Zamboni machine. Yesterday, she left the assisted living center and rode the Zamboni at the Des Moines Buccaneers hocke game as four generations of her family watched.