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Articles from 2021 In February

This Week in Agribusiness, February 27, 2021

Part 1

Note: The video automatically plays through all show parts once you start.

Max Armstrong and Mike Pearson kick off the show with a chat with John Paul Dineen III from Waxahachie, TX to talk about the deep freeze in the Lone Star State. Dale Durchholz of Grain Cycles joins Mike to talk about the big demand and volatility in the grain markets, plus, how long can the rally last?

Part 2

Dale Durchholz of Grain Cycles rejoins Mike to talk more about the corn market and what the future might hold for prices with a big carryout. Also a look at livestock. In the Colby Ag Tech segment Chad is checking out the latest in snowmobiles.

Part 3

Max Armstrong talks with Adrienne DeSutter, a behavior health consultant, to talk about mental health on the farm.  

Part 4

Max and Mike hear from Brad Liggett with Nationwide Agribusiness, to talk grain bin safety and how rural fire departments can get rescue tubes and training. Nominate local fire departments at Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje has the weather for the week ahead.

Part 5

Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje returns to take a look at the long-range weather picture.

Part 6

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1973 Allis Chalmers 180 Diesel with a sweet cold-weather cab, owned by Greg Hipple in Solon, Iowa. In the FFA Chapter Tribute segment Mike Pearson is talking to Kabe Boysen, Iowa FFA State Southeast Vice President.  Kabe is reporting from the national FFA officers meetings. In Samuelson Sez, Orion Samuelson says the Tom Vilsack confirmation made history this week and looks at what is keeping him awake at night.

Part 7

Mike introduces a clip of the Kinze Mach Till from the Farm Progress Virtual Experience.

New tool provides custom biosecurity plan for cattle producers

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NCBA’s Beef Quality Assurance program releases a new tool to help cattle producers prepare a custom biosecurity plan.   

To further support cattle producers across the country the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has released the first in a series of Advanced Education Modules. This initial module on biosecurity details the basics of disease transmission and prevention.

These resources were developed so that anyone who is involved in raising cattle – from the operation manager to personnel to family members – has the opportunity to understand how biosecurity principles are integrated into their farm or ranch and plan for continuous improvement in the future. Learners will walk through sections that build on each other, starting with basic principles of biosecurity and understanding its importance on the cattle operation. Interactive and real-world best practice examples are provided for a variety of topics such as new bull or replacement purchases and manure management to reduce feed contamination, among others.

As a part of the training, producers are able to fill out the Daily Biosecurity Plan for Disease prevention, another biosecurity tool recently released by BQA, and tailor the biosecurity information to their specific operation. Producers are then introduced to the USDA supported Secure Beef Supply to better understand the necessary biosecurity measures in the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak and to prepare an enhanced biosecurity plan in preparation for such an event. Learners can compare details between the daily biosecurity plan and the enhanced biosecurity plan to view the changes they would need to address in the occurrence of an FAD outbreak.

“Introducing these advanced education modules has been a major goal of the BQA team,” said Dr. Julia Herman, Beef Cattle Specialist Veterinarian at NCBA. “With this Beef Checkoff-funded tool, beef cattle producers can enhance their biosecurity education, help train their teams, and continue to keep their cattle safe and healthy.”

For more information about BQA, to access the Advanced Education Biosecurity modules, or download the BQA Daily Biosecurity Plan, visit 

Source: NCBAwhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

4 quick ways to warm a newborn calf

Ilja Enger-Tsizikov/Getty images Newborn calf
DRY SPOT: Getting newborn calves out of the winter elements and into a dry, warm place will help stave off hypothermia.

When newborn calves are exposed to freezing temperatures, it can create cold stress in them. Warming them up quickly can prevent hypothermia.

“Adult cattle are pretty robust; they have a huge, functioning rumen that really acts as their heating core during the cold winter months,” says A.J. Tarpoff, Kansas State University Research and Extension beef veterinarian. “But the newborn calves are much more vulnerable to hypothermia and cold stress.”

Take calf’s temp

Tarpoff says a calf's internal body temperature should be between 101 and 102 degrees F, and trouble begins to arrive when body temperature drops below that.

“The body starts to shunt blood away from the extremities –— the skin, lower legs, ears, tail –— Their body doesn’t pump as much blood to those areas,” Tarpoff says. “The body is trying to defend itself, and the way it maintains its core temperature is to pump warm blood to the brain and other vital organs. They will scavenge their own body, so to speak, to hold that warmer blood in the core of the body.”

Hypothermia begins as the body temperature dips below 100 degrees. Below 95 degrees, organs begin cooling, and when temperatures dip into the mid-80s, Tarpoff says the animal may be comatose.

Tarpoff says producers need to take a rectal temperature to know how serious they need to get with helping a calf that has been exposed to the cold. Then, the calf needs to be warmed up. He offers a few quick solutions for warming young calves:

Use your vehicle. Pull the calf inside the truck onto the floorboard heater. It may take up to an hour for the calf to warm up. Once it’s warmed up, give it colostrum.

Take it inside. If you have nearby access to a barn, bring the calf into the shop near heating lights, and wrap it in warm blankets. Dry the calf before starting the warming process. Be careful once it begins moving around that the calf doesn’t knock over the heating lights and cause a fire.

Put the calf in a hot box. Some commercial boxes are made of plastic, though some producers have made their own hot boxes. Use lights or warm air fans to promote heating.

Warm water immersion. Bring the calf inside and immerse it in a tub of warm water, just a little over 100 degrees. Do not use hot water, as this can cause heart failure due to cold shock. This is a labor-intensive technique since you must continuously add warm water.

Time for the vet

If these initial techniques aren’t working, Tarpoff says producers should contact their veterinarian, or take the calf to the veterinarian’s office.

“A veterinarian may be able to use some different techniques –— such as a warm saline IV which administers warm fluid to the inside of veins, which heats the core of the animal at a quicker rate,” Tarpoff says.

Treatments aside, preventing hypothermia and cold stress is the preferred route to keep calves safe.

“Make sure cows have the energy and protein they need to produce good colostrum and quality milk for their calves,” he adds. “On top of that, wind is an absolute killer. Make sure you have provided windbreaks or some kind of barrier to help animals get out of the elements; and provide wheat straw, baled cornstalk or something that provides a barrier to the cold ground.”

For further help, producers are encouraged to contact their local K-State Research and Extension agent.

Source: K-State Research and Extension is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Welcoming the return of cattle sales

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Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer and BEEF magazine.

After two weeks of sales being cancelled the sights and sounds of commerce were as welcoming as the warmer temperatures. Diesel engines purring like a litter of tom cats in a dairy barn. Custom paint and punch hole trailers lined up for blocks. The click-clack of hoofs on an aluminum floor. The auctioneer bid calling. People were in such a good mood that I did not hear one person complain of the mud.

There were two things that were easy to predict this week. There were acres and acres of cattle to bid on and buyers were hungry. Green grass fever is the latest pandemic to sweep the country. There is an abundance of optimism in the stocker segment right now.

The Value of Gain had the trough effect the week in the Plains. I was highest on fly weight cattle, then it dwindles to almost nothing in the middle of the weight spectrum. It then climbs back up on the heavier weights to where it is right around the same as Cost of Gain. Sell the right weights and a profitable buy back is easy to execute.

In the south the VOG starts well above the COG and just goes down as the cattle get heavier. Southern markets were greatly under-valued to Plains markets.

With plenty of cattle to choose from buyers were selective, and that was evident in the discounts. Unweaned cattle were 20 back. Fleshy cattle were 6-20 back. There also were some notable discounts on cattle that were not black hided.

Feeder bulls were 30 back. This roll back makes bulls equal to or even less than the price of heifers. This is an opportunity to sell heifers and replace with males. This is the easiest, and greatest appreciation value to capture right now.

It was also noted that load lots sold a little stronger than smaller bunches. Replacement heifers caught a 4-10 premium.

A concern for the markets

Driving home from a cattle sale yesterday I heard on the radio that Warren Buffett’s “right hand man” says the stock market is overvalued. I am surprised it took mainstream media this long to report on that. The whole Robin Hood, GameStop thing kinda turned the stock market into something similar to betting on horse races and helped push it higher.

This morning I was curious how over-valued it was. A Google search lead me to a chart by Fred, FRASER, IMF, Willshire. That showed that for the first time ever the ratio of US stock prices to US GDP has reached 200%. Normally it stays under 100%. This is an extreme bubble for sure. Every time it has gotten near or above 100% it has crashed.

Here’s why I bring this up in a cattle market blog. In the past we have seen two different things when this happens. First the commodity markets tumble with it. Second hedge funds pull money out of stocks and buy commodities creating a bubble that bursts when they pull out and invest in something else.

I have no clue what will happen or when. Two things I am certain of is that something will happen. The other one is that no matter what direction the cattle market goes sell/buy marketers will go with the flow and make some money, while everyone else is trying to figure things out and point fingers.

FSA disaster relief available for livestock deaths in winter storm

Producers who suffered livestock deaths during the recent winter storm may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), available through the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, compensates commercial livestock owners for losses in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather.

As ranchers begin to assess damages from the deep freeze, death documentation will be required for LIP eligibility. In addition to photos, the program requires proof of beginning inventory, normal mortality documentation and a copy of the grower’s contracts, if applicable.

Amy HagermanOklahoma State University Extension ag policy specialist, said herd counts, loan statements and other bank records are likely valid forms of identification.

“The more documentation, the better, but if records are hard to come by, standard mortality rates set by USDA can be used to estimate excess losses,” Hagerman said. “Certainly, there are other things demanding producers’ attention right now, but they should document their losses as soon as they can.”

Although the application deadline for LIP funding is not until March 1, 2022, producers must notify their county FSA office of losses within 30 days. Supporting documentation must be provided no later than 60 days after the calendar year in which the eligible loss condition occurred. FSA county offices can answer questions about the process and will submit a producer’s official application.

Hagerman said Oklahoma has most commonly used the program for livestock losses related to wildfires, flooding, spring storms, lightning strikes and drought, but disaster assistance also applies to extreme cold, snow and ice.

“We will see documentation of calf losses in excess of normal mortality from this winter storm, and this program is always available to assist with reimbursement,” she said. “Funding is authorized for the full five years of the 2018 farm bill, and a state or national disaster declaration is not required to allocate payments.”

LIP eligible loss conditions include:

  • Adverse weather.
  • Disease caused by adverse weather.
  • Attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.

Qualifying producers will receive a portion (75%) of the value of the deceased livestock. FSA county committees can accept veterinarian certifications for deaths directly related to eligible disease or adverse weather incidents and unpreventable through quality management.

Source: is OSU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Farm Progress America, February 26, 2021

Max Armstrong shares advice he often gives to farmers when speaking – put together the right team for your farm. He offers insight from Davon Cook at K Coe Isom on how to build an advisory board. Max shares the value of having the right team at work for your farm and Cook notes that some of those insights come from those off-the farm.

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.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - Feb. 26, 2021

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Missed some ag news this week? Check out 7 stories from the week.

1. The full Senate confirmed Tom Vilsack to serve as secretary of agriculture by a vote of 92-7. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders joined six Republicans in opposing the nomination. Vilsack was sworn in Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris at his home in Iowa as he takes over the department with a new perspective after spending four years in the private sector, an elevation of climate discussions, as well as a pandemic which revealed challenges in the food supply chain. – Farm Futures, Intelligencer

2. Evan Thaler, a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, authored a study that found the most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of cropland in the upper Midwest. Other soil scientists are skeptical. Michelle Wander, at the University of Illinois, says that the study relies on a series of assumptions to fill in gaps in the data, and those assumptions probably overestimate topsoil loss. – NPR

3. Just 1% of farm aid recipients collected 23% of subsidy payments in 2019, up from 17% in 2016. Their portion crept up to 24% in the first half of 2020, the most recent period covered in the data, as farm aid hit a record level with coronavirus relief payments, according to the Environmental Working Group analysis. – Farm Futures

4. In South Dakota, there's debate over changing the tax definition of agricultural land. The legislation would change the tax code so that land could be classified as agricultural — and receive any ensuing tax breaks — if its "principal use" is agricultural and, in three of the past five years, the landowner had received an annual gross income of at least $2,500 from the “pursuit of agriculture.” Under current statute, land is agricultural if the gross income derived from agriculture is “at least 10% of the taxable valuation of the bare land assessed as agricultural property.” – Argus Leader

5. A recently released study attempts to quantify how precision agriculture allows farmers to use less to grow more. The study finds that as precision agriculture equipment and technologies are more widely adopted, there will be increases in yields and input savings. For example, precision agriculture has improved fertilizer placement efficiency by an estimated 7% and productivity has increased an estimated 4%. – Farm Futures

6. JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat supplier, said it will likely set up a new global company focused solely on plant-based products. The world’s population is booming and expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. The amount of meat needed to satisfy the world’s protein needs won’t be possible to produce. – Farm Futures

7. CornBoard Manufacturing takes corn stover and turns it into CornBoard. The board is made by sifting the biomass residue into a resin. After sifting, it is bonded under heat and pressure. Each board can withstand one thousand tons of pressure. – The Hutchinson News

And your bonus.

Have you posted your #Targetdresschallenge photo online yet? It's vintage 1870s Midwestern mercantile. – Bemidji Pioneer





Vilsack promises timely review of CFAP

Trump appoints Ken Barbic to USDA Post

As Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was sworn into office Wednesday, one of his first actions allows for an extension of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program sign up as well as a promise to quickly review how CFAP was administered under the last administration.

During a press call with media Thursday morning, Vilsack says Coronavirus Food Assistance Program-Additional Assistance as one of the top concerns in his recent discussions with members on Capitol Hill prior to his Senate confirmation on Tuesday. Concerns include a focus on equity of distribution as well as an inspector general report presented before the House agricultural appropriations subcommittee that revealed concerns about payments made under previous CFAP signups that didn’t meet the standards required.

Vilsack says USDA will be extending the sign-up during the evaluation of the CFAP-AA program. “As we implement this next level of support, we hope to do so in an equitable way and respond to legitimate concerns.”

He says once USDA makes a determination on how to structure the program, the agency will provide an additional 30 days after that date for producers to sign-up so they know the rules of the game.

Vilsack says the bottom line is for USDA to offer the CFAP-AA that evaluates that totality of relief offered to producers that provides an equitable distribution among commodity, need, region and operational size and provides as much help as possible to as many as possible.

The American Farm Bureau Federation wrote a letter to Vilsack hours after he was confirmed asking for a CFAP extension noting the recent regulatory freeze pending review on all new and pending executive actions, though common during a change in administration, has created confusion for farmers and ranchers with respect to eligibility and the application process for CFAP-AA. “Although Farm Service Agency offices continued to accept applications during the regulatory freeze, some farmers may have interpreted the implementation suspension to mean that the program was being modified or potentially terminated,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall says.

In hearing of the extension, Duvall applauds Vilsack’s swift response. “Coronavirus aid is a lifeline for farmers and ranchers who are suffering from losses due to the pandemic. Recent severe weather and the suspension of CFAP payments led to challenges and confusion surrounding the application process. The extra time will help ensure America’s farmers have the opportunity to apply for help,” Duvall says.

Contract growers

Bicameral, bipartisan members from Iowa urged Vilsack to expand eligibility of COVID-19 relief programs to include custom cattle feeders. CFAP-AA did allow for payments to contract growers of poultry and hogs but did not include cattle.  

The members emphasized the ability for custom cattle feeders, which have faced similar business difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to meet the same loss requirements that swine and poultry growers had to meet in previous rounds of CFAP.

“Custom cattle feeders are losing revenue and Iowans are suffering,” the members wrote. “Simply put, the plight of custom cattle feeders in Iowa is very similar to those in the swine and poultry sectors.”

“While the USDA and Congress have made efforts to support all sectors agriculture, it's important to recognize that custom cattle feeders have been left out in the cold,” says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “We appreciate the unwavering dedication of Iowa's congressional leaders on this front, and look forward to working with the newly-confirmed Sec. Vilsack to develop solutions that address the challenges our producers face.”

The Iowa delegation includes Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, along with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Reps. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa.

Resources available

Recently, Farmers’ Legal Action Group — a nonprofit law center that provides legal services to family farmers — published a new resource focused on changes in eligibility around CFAP. FLAG’s most recent guide—a Farmers’ Guide to 2021 CFAP Changes: Contract Farmers and Others—focuses on recent changes to CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 introduced by the 2021 Appropriations Act.

In particular, contract producers of hogs and poultry are now eligible for CFAP 2.  Because contract producers were previously not eligible to apply for CFAP 2, this is the first time there is a deadline for those producers. The deadline for contract producers to submit a completed CFAP 2 application, including the farmer’s signature, is February 26, 2021.

Other recent changes include making pullets and turfgrass sod eligible sales commodities for CFAP 2. The deadline for applying for CFAP 2 benefits for those commodities is also February 26, 2021. Additional, minor changes to the CFAP programs are also discussed in FLAG’s Guide.

To download FLAG’s Farmers’ Guide to 2021 CFAP Changes: Contract Farmers and Others, visit: Additional guides related to COVID-19 relief for farmers are also available at this link.


JBS expands plant-based meat business

anyaivanova/ThinkstockPhotos Meat cultured in laboratory conditions

By Tatiana Freitas

Demand for faux burgers is growing so rapidly that JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat supplier, said it will likely set up a new global company focused solely on plant-based products.

Meat from animals will be a pricey luxury in the future, and people will have to turn to vegetable-derived alternatives, which will be cheaper, JBS’s Chief Executive Officer Gilberto Tomazoni told Bloomberg in an interview. In addition, the world’s population is booming and expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. The amount of meat needed to satisfy the world’s protein needs won’t be possible to produce.

“Plant-based will help us to reduce this protein gap with more affordable products compared with animal protein, which will be more premium,” Tomazoni said. “We see plant-based as an independent business in the future.”

Brazil-based JBS is just one of many sprawling, legacy food companies trying to up their meat-substitutes game as burgers and sausages made from plant proteins become mainstream. Consumer demand has soared after startups like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods popularized veggie burgers that imitate real beef. The likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks have added alternative meat items to their menus.

JBS, like U.S. rival Tyson Foods Inc., entered the plant-based meat market in 2019, and regional teams across the globe developed products. The new company Tomazoni envisions would gather all those regional businesses in a global enterprise.

The company already has a sizable footprint, with about 57% of the plant-based burger market in Brazil. In Europe, its Moy Park subsidiary supplies faux chicken burgers. It also has 10 plant-based products in more than 3,000 U.S. stores under the OZO brand, where sales rose 300% last year.

It will still be a challenge to compete with companies like Beyond Meat that created the fake meat craze. Investment money has been pouring into alternative protein startups, which raised a record $2.4 billion of funding in 2020, according to market researcher CB Insights.

“We have the basis to grow on plant-based: innovation capacity, investments in research, agreements with global companies for ingredient supplies, presence in retail,” Tomazoni said.

For now, JBS’s focus is developing new products and trying to better understand the market, Tomazoni said. While it’s still unclear how much plant-based meat will grow, one thing is for sure: it’s not just a niche market. Even now, rising middle-class populations in Asia and Africa are clamoring for more protein in their diets. Protein production must rise 70% in 30 years to meet demand, Tomazoni said, citing UN figures.

“This is a long-term race,” he said. “Consumers will have more choices.”

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Higher corn prices and feeder producers

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Will higher corn prices or the expectation of higher corn prices temper the expectation for higher feeder cattle prices this year?

The simple answer is yes. If input costs increase then that means there is less money available for the feedlot to pay for feeder cattle. However, live cattle futures have been gaining strength which provides support for feeder cattle prices. Thus, corn and other feedstuff prices are increasing which is putting pressure on feeder cattle prices while the expectation for finished cattle prices is supportive of higher prices. This means that the two most important aspects of the feeder cattle market are pulling market prices in opposite directions. It is not known at this time which one will exert more force and win the tug of war, but what is known is that they will temper each other.

What is known at this time is that the futures market and livestock risk protection insurance are providing an opportunity to hedge summer and fall cattle sales at profitable prices. It may be worth considering.

Source: University of Tennesseewhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.