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Colorado Man Accused of Abusing Cattle

A Logan County cattle owner has been arrested after 79 cattle carcasses were found on his property.

Sheriff's deputies searched the property of Schuman Cattle, LLC on March 15 acting on information from the public. Authorities found the carcasses and several living cattle that they said were in poor condition.

Gilbert Dean Schuman has been charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty and was being held on a $5,000 bond. Sixteen of the cattle were confiscated because their welfare was in question.

To read the entire article, link here.

US Farm Credit Standards Seen Tight in 2010

U.S. commercial banks are keeping credit standards elevated for farmers wanting loans to grow crops and raise livestock this year after loan repayment worsened in 2009 and delinquency rates rose, the Kansas City Federal Reserve said.

The government's outlook for farm income to rebound in 2010 should improve farmers' access to credit as the year progresses, the Fed said. The exception will be big livestock operations burdened with heavy debt after a disastrous 2009.

"Those facing the most difficulty in getting credit are livestock producers, whose thin profit margins and high debt levels are likely to continue in 2010," economists Jason Henderson and Maria Akers said in Kansas City Fed's latest newsletter.

Even though ag banks outperformed other commercial banks during the long recession, they still tightened credit standards in 2009 as volatility in agricultural markets like grains and hogs jumped and farm profits fell.

To read the entire article, link here.

'Beef on a Budget' Blog Aims to Boost Demand

beefveggiesspring.jpg Anna-Lisa Giannini from California and Amy Brown from Texas met in a photography class at Oklahoma State University (OSU), where they immediately became good friends upon discovering common interests in beef cattle, ranching, faith and family. Both missing home and their cattle operations, they decided to combine their shared passion for the beef industry and work to help their families back home by improving beef demand through a blog project that would educate consumers about beef cuts, preparation, exciting recipes and nutrition.

With these things in mind, the pair developed a new blog called, ‘Beef on a Budget,’ and it aims to get consumers excited about putting beef on the dinner table again, and it shows these consumers exactly how they can do just that without breaking the bank. Brown and Gianni share a love of cooking, photography and beef. They both agree that beef has taken some major hits lately, whether it’s from other protein choices out-marketing beef, or self-appointed food experts spreading false information about beef. They hope to set the record straight and share the amazing beef story with consumers.

beefbaconquiche2.jpg “Beef is healthy, easy to prepare and not just for special occasions,” said Brown, who aspires to publish a cookbook one day. “ As a college student I understand what counting every dollar means and why people cut beef out of their diets as a result. As producers, we can’t complain about the decreased demand, unless we are actively trying to increase consumption for the industry we love so much. Anna-Lisa and I talked about how both of us live on a small budget but still manage to eat beef every day, and we need to show everyone else how easy it really is to do. We started the website on a Sunday night, and within two days we had over 1000 views on Currently in our third week we have had over 3000 views.

“The goal of the website is to help consumers to have a better understanding of how they can use beef everyday and create delicious, fast, affordable and healthy meals for their families,” said Gianni, who added that her favorite recipe on the website is Southwestern Stir Fry. “Our readership is comprised of approximately 70% women and 30% men. Most are between ages 22-45. Educating consumers is very important because consumer education plays a large role in their buying decisions. I believe the key to increased consumption is consumer confidence, and a key to creating consumer confidence is education. If we don’t tell our story, then somebody else will twist it and tell it for us.”

Without a doubt, these two young beef industry leaders certainly have the potential to have a huge impact on increasing beef demand and putting dollars back in ranchers’ pockets. I encourage you to check out and support the ‘Beef on a Budget’ blog, and leave a message for Gianni and Brown in the comments section. I truly appreciate your efforts, Anna-Lisa and Amy! Thanks for all you do!


Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. Working with NCBA Membership Program

ST. JOSEPH, MO – (Mar. 22, 2010) – Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., is partnering with National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) on a membership recruitment program this spring. The membership incentive program is for new members who join NCBA and its state affiliates.

Cattle producers who join NCBA as new members will receive a 500 mL bottle of CYDECTIN® (moxidectin) Pour-On from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. If this person also joins their state association as a new member, they will receive a second bottle of Cydectin Pour-On. An NCBA member that recruits a new member, also receives a bottle of Cydectin (limit one per recruiter).

"Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is pleased to continue the Cydectin product giveaway as part of the NCBA Top Hand Membership program through the spring of 2010," said Mike Randolph, Cydectin brand manager for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. "The real strength of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is its membership. We are happy to support this program with a donation of Cydectin to new members."

The program will run through May 31, 2010, or while supplies last. The program has been offered nationwide through a direct mail campaign. Individual state associations are also promoting it to their membership.

For more information about the Top Hand membership recruiting program, contact the NCBA membership team at 866-233-3872.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, Mo.), is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation based in Ridgefield, Conn., and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 138 affiliates in 47 countries and approximately 41,300 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2008, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17 billion (11.6 billion euro) while spending approximately one-fifth of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.


National 2010 Ag Day Essay Winner Named

KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 19, 2010 - The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) yesterday announced the 2010 National Ag Day Essay Contest winner, Christine Vanek.

ACA called upon seventh- to 12th-grade students nationwide to submit original essays of 450 words about the importance of agriculture in the U.S. Using this year's theme, "American Agriculture - Abundant, Affordable, Amazing," students were encouraged to focus their essays on the importance of agriculture and how the industry continues to overcome new challenges. These include keeping food affordable, meeting the demands of a growing population with fewer acres, working with legislative influences, and addressing consumer concerns.

Vanek, a 12th-grader at Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Mich., was named the national winner of the 2010 contest during the Ag Day event held at the USDA Whitten Building Patio. Vanek read her essay to industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and others at the Celebration of Agriculture dinner in Washington, D.C. The following is an excerpt from her essay:

"At seventeen, I have come to admire the work my grandfather and all American farmers do. It is thanks to the abundance of American agriculture - from the corn, soybean, and wheat fields of the Great Plains to the expansive fruit orchards in the South - that I, along with the rest of the country, have access to a wide variety of affordable, safe, nutritious foods."

Vanek wrote the winning essay about the affordability, abundance and importance of agriculture in her life.

"The theme this year, American Agriculture-- Abundant, Affordable, Amazing, served as a great topic for students to write about the many ways agriculture truly benefits America," said Linda Tank, vice president for CHS Inc. "Vanek's essay expressed how agriculture has been an integral part of her life."

Ag Day is a nationally coordinated program that encourages consumers, young and old, to talk about agriculture. The contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, High Plains Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association and McCormick Company.

This is the 37th anniversary of National Ag Day. Each year, ACA strives to shine a spotlight on the agriculture, food and fiber industries. The first of each spring (National Ag Day), ACA helps consumers understand not only how food and fiber products are produced, but also brings people together to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

For more information and to see a list of the 2010 state winners, visit

Measure Twice, Criticize Less

Despite spending seven years writing about the technical advances in our modern-day food industry, I'm sometimes still guilty of letting sensationalized criticism of our nation's food production get to me. As I drive past the farmers market in my town in a hurry to get to the chain grocery store, I sometimes wonder if I am personally contributing to the downfall of our country's sustainability efforts.

But the reality of the situation is that experts are predicting a world population of 9.5 billion by 2050—meaning that our global food production will have to double. This makes efficiency crucial. It seems to me that instead of acknowledging that we are going to have to seriously step up the intensity and efficiency of our food production, many "activists" are too busy producing sensationalized documentaries about the evils of an industrialized food system.

Pictures of happy cows, grazing in huge, lush pastures are presented as ideals. Unfortunately, it seems as though what many are not realizing is that without technology, come 2050, we will starve. Correction: I won't starve. You probably won't starve either. It is developing countries with exploding populations and inadequate means of feeding these populations that will struggle. Incidentally, these are not the countries preaching about the evils of modern food production.

To read the entire article, link here.

Meat, Dairy Diet Not Tied to Global Warming

Forget all that indecorous talk of animal flatulence, cow burps, vegetarianism and global warming. Welcome to Cowgate.

Lower consumption of meat and dairy products will not have a major impact in combating global warming, despite persistent claims that link such diets to more greenhouse gases.

It is the bovine version of Climategate, complete with faulty science and noisy activists with big agendas.

Cows and pigs have gotten a "bum rap," said Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis who authored the report. He is plenty critical of scientists and vegetarian activists such as Paul McCartney who insist that livestock account for about a fifth of all greenhouse-gas emissions.

To read the entire article, link here.

JBS S.A. to Buy Australian Beef Company

JBS S.A. beef company is buying Rockdale Beef, an Australian beef processor owned by Mitsubishi Corp. and Itoham Foods Inc. of Japan.

Chandler Keys, JBS spokesman, said the purchase was a good deal for the meatpacking giant. "It was a good opportunity, a nicely run outfit and the people there were ready to sell," he said.

JBS S.A., based in Brazil, was already the world's largest beef producer and has its U.S. headquarters in Greeley. Rockdale exports to 12 nations and would expand JBS's Asian markets, according to beef industry analysts.

To read the entire article, link here.

Farmers and Ranchers Care!

nbap-winners.jpg My favorite group of young agriculture professionals, the National Beef Ambassadors, are hard at work promoting the beef industry to consumers on behalf of America's farmers and ranchers. With their latest effort, they are calling for your participation. The 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team is hosting a photography contest, "Farmers and Ranchers Care," on their Facebook Fan Page, and they want you to post your favorite photo that exemplifies this theme. The photos are already pouring in on their Fan Page, which has more than 1,500 fans already! To enter is simple; read on for details. Great job, ambassadors, in sharing our beef story! I'm so proud to be an alumni of this amazing group!

About the contest: Have you heard something in the media lately that has made you think more about the importance of YOUR agriculture story? The National Beef Ambassadors, funded in part by the beef checkoff, can help you spread your message. The “Farmers and Ranchers Care” Earth Day Photo Contest will help you share with consumers and fellow producers how you, as cattle ranchers and beef producers, care for the environment in your ranching practices! This contest will begin on Saturday, March 20th, National Agriculture Day. In order to share the importance of the beef industry’s positive involvement with the environment, you will have the chance to share your photos on the National Beef Ambassador Facebook page.

Step 1: Become a fan of the National Beef Ambassadors on Facebook.

Step 2: Upload your photo to the National Beef Ambassador Facebook page showcasing how you, as a beef producer, are involved in helping the environment.

Step 3: Help fellow producers in the contest and vote on your favorites. Below are the rules and guidelines for the contest. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy what the industry has to offer the environment.

For contest rules and to check out the ambassador blog, link here. Finally, I'm sure the BEEF Daily readers would love to see which photo you are entering in this contest, so be sure to upload your photo in the comments section below. Also, stay tuned for a new photo contest on the blog coming soon!

Advice From an Agriculture Lender For Young Producers

img_5310.JPG Ask an ag lender what it takes to be in production agriculture and many will say, “A million dollars.” While the financial aspect of farming and ranching can seem astronomical at times, production agriculture still offers amazing opportunities for young people with realistic goals in mind and a detailed financial plan in place.

While at the Ag in the Classroom event last week, I had the opportunity to discuss this topic with Will Haugen, agriculture lender at First Dakota National Bank in Mitchell, SD, who offered recommendations for young people considering getting into livestock production. Haugen advised young people who are making plans to get into production agriculture to sit down and punch some numbers to gain a better perspective on the initial investments and cost of production. In today’s highly volatile age, it’s increasingly important for producers to know their limits. Read on for additional thoughts to consider on this topic.

“So many people expect to just come in and sit down with a banker and immediately get a loan,” said Haugen. “It’s critical to know your cost of production and bring in good records for the lender to consider. Part of my job is educating and guiding producers in developing a plan, so sometimes it’s beneficial to come in and simply ask questions.

I understand the trials and tribulations of farmers and ranchers today. It’s important to know where you are financially and to not bite off more than you can chew. Debt can be beneficial if producers use the funds effectively and can make money off that debt. The average farm has a rate of return of 14%. If producers keep that in mind, they can make smart investments in the future.

The key is to have supplemental income, 70% of farms rely on off-farm income but just because you have a job in town, doesn’t mean it’s okay to go ahead and pay escalated rent prices, buy that expensive tractor or use it as an excuse for sub-par management. It’s still important to keep your cost of production down, and strive to be the most efficient producer.

Finding a mentor to learn from is a great way to ask questions from someone who is already successful in production agriculture. Also, producers need to look for ways to improve their operations, and it’s important to work closely with nutritionists, veterinarians and geneticists. Never stop learning. Another great way for a young person to get in the business is to work for another producer. This gives young people the opportunity to have cows on shares, lower their risk and keep debt to a minimum.”

Thanks for the advice, Will! I certainly found the information and advice incredibly useful, and I know others will, as well. For more information on ag lending, see the listed resources from BEEF. So, what's your story? Are you just getting into production agriculture? Are you a seasoned veteran? Do you work elsewhere in the industry? I want to hear from you!