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Articles from 2018 In April

Celebrate May Beef Month like a South Dakotan

Cooking Channel South Dakota Chislic

Although grilling is a year-round affair for our household, the weather is finally nice enough for us to actually enjoy it!

Each May, we celebrate Beef Month, and it’s a great time to share our best grilling photos, recipes and exciting beef plates on social media. (Don’t forget to use the hashtags #CattleTales and #BEEFMagShares.)

VIEW: Readers get social online with #CattleTales

You may have your tried and true marinades and spice blends, and you have probably mastered the smoker and grill; however, I always think it’s exciting to try new recipes or new ways to prepare and present beef to loved ones.

Now is a great time to test drive something new. When I’m looking for inspiration, I always check out the Beef It’s What’s For Dinner website.

Under the sizzling steaks tab, there are great recipes for Cucumber Ranch Steaks and Ginger-Soy Marinated Steaks that I’m looking forward to trying this month.

Under the grilling favorites tab, how good do the Barbecue Chipotle Burgers and Chimichurri-Marinated Strip Filets sound?

READ: Beef is king in the land of "ahhs"

And if I could offer up a suggestion that is unique to South Dakota, I encourage you to give chislic a try this Beef Month!

If you’re not familiar with this dish, it’s traditionally made with lamb or mutton, but in recent years, beef has become a popular meat for the chislic. Salted cubes of meat are fried or grilled, served in a basket and eaten with toothpicks. With a side of Ranch dressing and some hot sauce (and perhaps a beer or Bloody Mary from Cubby’s, the popular sports bar located in Brookings and home of my alma mater, South Dakota State University), this is the ultimate beef treat and is a popular dish at many events in my home state.

Have you ever wondered about the history of South Dakota’s chislic?

In 2018, chislic was declared by the South Dakota legislature as the state’s “official nosh.”

According to the Sioux Falls, S.D. Argus Leader, “The South Dakota Legislature passed Senate Bill 96, designating chislic the official state nosh, an old German word meaning snack. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Stace Nelson, represents Hutchinson County, the chislic capital of the world.”

Chislic — A history of South Dakota’s iconic dish

It’s history dates back to the late 1800s where neighbors (typically of German and Russian heritage) would gather to butcher an animal and would fry chislic while socializing together.

Today, it’s on most menus in South Dakota restaurants, and despite its popularity, many haven’t heard of this simple dish.

“The chislic circle” from South Dakota magazine

While every chislic recipe differs slightly based on personal tastes and preferences, here are some recipe ideas to get you started. Give it a try and let me know when you’ve perfected your own chislic recipe! And Happy Beef Month! Let’s get to work promoting great tasting, nutritious beef on social media this month!

Genius Kitchen: South Dakota’s own beef chislic

Cooking Channel: Chislic (South Dakota Cubed Meat) Lee’s chislic

Trampling Rose: An eastern South Dakota specialty — Chislic

Wide Open Spaces: Chislic recipe straight from South Dakota

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

Drought forcing cattle producers to face 'critical decisions'

drought ground

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor showed rapid expansion of the area in exceptional drought (D4) to 38 million acres and another 126 million acres in extreme drought (D3) conditions. Some areas within the drought region did receive some rain over the last couple of weeks, but Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist Derrell Peel said while it was enough to slow the expansion of drought, it was not enough to reduce drought conditions without additional moisture.

Peel pointed out that about two-thirds of the D4 area is in the Texas Panhandle; western Oklahoma, including the panhandle; and southwest Kansas.

U.S. Drought Monitor

“In this shortgrass prairie region, May is a critical period when summer forage growth begins in earnest,” he explained. “If normal forage growth is absent or significantly delayed, cattle producers will face some critical decisions rather quickly in the next few weeks. Producers need to develop drought management plans now to survive in the face of a potentially extended drought that threatens the entire growing season.”

According to Peel, one strategy is simply to hunker down, try to hold on to everything and acquire feed resources in hopes of skimping animals through the drought. However, he said there are several risks to this strategy.

“First, the ‘get by’ strategy of managing cows through a drought may simply postpone drought costs into future years by negatively impacting reproductive performance and future production. It’s important not to keep more animals than you can properly take care of,” he explained.

Another risk, Peel said, is the potential that holding animals will incur so much cost that the financial health of the business will be compromised for a long period or the economic survivability of the business is jeopardized.

Last, he explained that abusing forage resources during a drought can lead to damage that requires years to recover from and implies reduced future production to allow time for the land and forage to heal after severe use.

“A comprehensive, detailed plan will help remove as much emotion as possible and will make it easier to make tough, timely decisions and is very important as well for the short- and long-term mental and physical health of the producer and families involved,” he said.

The sooner a producer can evaluate and inventory resources, the more opportunity there will be to make decisions rather having decisions forced on them, Peel said.

“Water, in some cases, will provide a harder deadline than feed. Producers relying on surface water must calculate available water supplies and use that to determine how to allocate limited water over time," he said. "Additionally, it’s important to evaluate forage and feed resources available today, including standing forage, hay and other feed resources.”

According to Peel, a drought management plan should be based on that feed availability amount and assume no or little new forage production. “Very critical, but often overlooked, is to evaluate financial resources and realistic limits on additional costs,” he added.

Peel explained that a critical component of a drought management plan is determining when to switch from “hunker down” to an active plan that involves revising production activities. This, according to Peel, may include different production systems such as drylot production of some cattle or relocating cattle to another region.

“When animal numbers can no longer be maintained, it is important to remember that liquidation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Make a priority list of what animals to sell and when that decision must be implemented," he suggested. "It may be helpful to determine the last core of animals that would be maintained prior to total liquidation and then work backwards to figure out what order of liquidation would get to that point, if necessary.”

Peel said it is essential to have action dates and follow the plan. He said dates can be revised as needed if conditions change, but not having dates results in emotional anguish and the temptation to “hang on for a few more days," which often results in bigger long-term consequences.

“We never know how long a drought will last, but whether it’s a few weeks or a few months or possibly many months, it’s important not only to figure out how to survive the drought but to manage for the post-drought period during the drought. At the end, business survival is an economic question, not a just a matter of how many cattle we can hold onto for another two weeks, … or a month … or whatever,” Peel said.

6 Trending Headlines: Drought, fires devastate 5 states; PLUS: FFA student shines

NeilLockhart-iStock-Thinkstock Wildfire burning at night
Many times, saving livetstock and homes is benefited by thinking ahead and planning, say wildfire survivors.

Ranchers in five states devastated by drought, wildfires

“Finding hay out here in this part of the state is next to impossible,” according to rancher Darrel Shepherd of Custer, Okla., about 80 miles west of Oklahoma City. “Pastureland is really hard to find right now … the wheat, with the drought and all, the wheat is no good.”

Extreme and exceptional drought conditions have contributed to wildfires in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, delaying the growth of or destroying grass and wheat used to feed cattle in spring. In fact, federal agriculture officials in New Mexico said ranchers may not have feed to maintain their herd sizes and that some are already trimming their herds, while farmers along the Rio Grande are bracing for less water to irrigate their crops, reports the Denver Post.

Click here to read more.

Keep grass and grazing animals in proper balance

Grass and grazing animals evolved together in symbiotic relationships — each needing the other — in various grasslands around the world. The healthiest situation is to have grazers on the land in proper balance with their feed source, reports the Angus Beef Bulletin.

“For sustainable use of ranch lands, the key things to avoid are first overstocking and then overgrazing. Some people confuse those two things. To avoid overstocking you must make sure you don’t have too many animals; that you leave enough grass to feed the animals and to perform the ecosystem functions like shading the soil, etc. You also must avoid overgrazing, which occurs when you graze too long and don’t provide enough recovery time. No matter what the conditions are, you must try to avoid those two situations,” says Richard Teague, Texas A&M AgriLife Research rangeland ecology and management scientist in Vernon, Texas.

Click here to read more.

Farm Service Agency makes administrative change to the Livestock Indemnity Program

Agricultural producers who have lost livestock to disease resulting from a weather disaster now have an additional way to become eligible for a key USDA disaster assistance program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a case-by-case basis for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), reports the Southwest Farm Press.

LIP provides benefits to agricultural producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Eligible weather events include earthquakes, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, blizzard, and flooding. Producers interested in LIP or other USDA disaster assistance programs should contact their local USDA service center.

Click here to read more.

FFA student makes donation to St Jude’s

“In this age, people are so self-centered and always looking out for only themselves,” said Sara Parker, a senior and member of Calaveras, Calif., FFA. “I personally find more joy in helping someone in need than helping myself, and this is the best way for me to give joy to someone that needs some good news in their life.”

This year, Parker decided to take half the proceeds she raises from selling her prized steer “Sunshine” at the Junior Livestock Auction at the Calaveras County Fair and donate it to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She’s even set up a GoFundMe to help support her cause reports AgDaily.

Click here to read more.

Moderate grazing repairs soils

Decades of plowing throughout the Piedmont region of the Southeast and Eastern United States have degraded the soil, allowing much of it to be washed away, and robbing what is left of nutrients and organic matter. Sorghum, cotton, soybean, and wheat are still widely grown in the region, which stretches all the way from Alabama to New Jersey. But because the soil is so degraded, growers have allowed much of the land to revert to forests and pastures.

But is that the best way to improve the soil? That’s the question that Alan Franzluebbers, an Agricultural Research Service ecologist, decided to address: “Growers need guidance on whether leaving the land unused is the best way to restore degraded soils or whether allowing cattle to graze on it is a viable option.”

In the end, the team discovered that the idea that grazing is worse than leaving the land unused if false. If producers manage cattle so that pastures are grazed moderately, they’re actually restoring soil quality.

Click here to read more.

USDA to allow modified FMD virus into U.S. for vaccine development

In an effort to allow continued research and vaccine development, USDA has approved the movement of a modified, non-infectious version of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to the U.S. mainland. The action was approved by Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. While modified FMD virus is unable to cause disease and presents no risk of transmitting the disease, it is still live FMD virus, and federal law requires the Secretary's approval for this movement.

In order to protect our nation's livestock, the live FMD virus was previously not allowed anywhere in the country except for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, where it was held and worked with under very strict biocontainment procedures. However, with advances in technology, it is now possible to genetically modify the virus so that it is non-infectious. With this added protection, it is now possible to allow vaccine development within the U.S., rather than relying upon overseas sources, according to USDA.

Click here to read more.




Tornado alley sure has been quiet so far this year, but that may be about to change. The cool weather has kept severe storms at bay. The peak is usually from beginning of May through end of June in Kansas.

There’s still that fire threat in some areas. There’s red flag warning around Chicago area.

Members of Congress are not in Washington this week. Farmers may want to call local lawmaker office to emphasize importance of farm bill.

If you have a graduate in your family this spring, who is rather blase about the whole process, maybe you should share story from Ankeny, Iowa. Andrew Tressel, 24, was born with spina bifida, which has left him paralyzed from waist down. He had set goal of walking across stage to receive his degree, which he did to cheers and applause.


In the first months of this year, we have not had much severe weather. Here is comes this week. Nebraska and South Dakota have the best chance for this evening. Forecasters say Oklahoma could get its first tornado this week.

There’s a red flag warning in region around Chicago today.

A farmer at Gowrie, Iowa, was lucky and escaped injury when he pulled his tractor and implement across railroad tracks. Train barreled into ripper he was pulling. When he heard the whistle on the Union Pacific train, he couldn’t stop.

Birds are migrating north this weekend. At Lexington, Ky., Kay said she had never seen one until this weekend. Mrs. Armstrong feeds hummingbirds. Did you know to maintain the metabolism they have, they have to visit as many as 2,000 flowers a day?

Farm Progress America, April 30, 2018

Max Armstrong shares the continuing work on the farm bill including insight from Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas. Conaway, chair of the House Ag Committee, says he hopes that during the current recess lawmakers will get the message from constituents that he says support the work requirement for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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.

St. Henry FFA Chapter

Mike Adams profiles St. Henry FFA in St. Henry, Ohio where they host an annual petting zoo.  Member Annie Dirksen talks about the lessons she’s learned during SAE project on the family dairy farm.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at [email protected] or to Max Armstrong at [email protected]. They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at

1941 Farmall H

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1961 Farmall 140 owned by Angela Wilson-Sutton and her husband Charles. Close attention to the finishing details makes this tractor special.

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to [email protected].


This Week in Agribusiness, April 28, 2018

Part 1

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

Max Armstrong is joined by Mike Adams on the desk this week. They kick off with a conversation about the continuing trade challenges with China and hear from Gregg Doud U.S. Trade Representative and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue about the challenges the U.S. faces in that relationship. Naomi Blohm of Stewart Peterson joins Max and Mike to talk about the slow start to planting this year.

Part 2

Naomi Blohm of Stewart Peterson rejoins Max and Mike to look at weather in South America and its impact on U.S. markets. Is good news on the way? Chad Colby in the Colby Ag Tech segment dives in on tills and cultivators. Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams discuss talks around the 2018 Farm Bill and its chances of passage, will the Senate to save the day? They also heard from embattled EPA secretary Scott Pruitt about WOTUS and RFS waivers.

Part 4

Max and Mike learn about Rick Williams and Rick Jarrett talk about their cooperative approach to no-tilling in the BASF Plan Smart, Grow Smart segment. Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Eastern United States. In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1961 Farmall 140 owned by Angela Wilson-Sutton and her husband Charles.

Part 5

In the farm broadcaster of the week segment Max and Mike chat with Tom Cassidy, President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters reporting in from Washington D.C. The Bayer Farm Challenge of the Week rounds out the segment.

Part 6

Mike Adams profiles St. Henry FFA in St. Henry, Ohio where they host an annual petting zoo.  Member Annie Dirksen talks about the lessons she’s learned during SAE project on the family farm. Greg Soulje offers his look at the weather for the week ahead.

Part 7

Mike introduces a report from Delaney Howell who tells us the story of an unusual sale barn in Kolana, Iowa that hosts regular horse sales and serves the Amish community.

What is the media saying about fake meats?

Beyond Meats Fake meats

Despite the loud and proud rantings of the meatless movement, just 7.3 million of the 325 million people in the United States follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle; however, an additional 22.8 million people follow a “vegetarian-inclined diet.”

Consumers may be basing their dietary choices on misconceptions they believe about the animal agricultural industry. Going meatless could stem from standing on some ethical high ground, or perhaps they believe eating tofu and lettuce will somehow save the planet, or they may have been duped that a high-carbohydrate diet ladened with plant-based alternatives to animal proteins is truly a healthier option.

READ: Stick to facts about environmental stake of going “meatless”

Regardless, whatever the reason a person decides to forego an entire food group, it’s important for beef producers to recognize that this societal shift has fast-tracked the popularity of alternative food choices such as almond milk, veggie burgers, faux bacon and sausage and plant-based “meat-like” (very processed) food products.

On the dairy side, as producers struggle to make ends meet, competition from non-dairy milk products is a real challenge. In fact,

According to market researcher, Mintel, “New research reveals that non-dairy milk sales have seen steady growth over the past five years, growing an impressive 61% since 2012, and are estimated to reach $2.11 billion in 2017.”

Could the beef industry be headed for the same challenge? Not if the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have their way. In Washington, D.C., they’ve been fighting to create awareness about the issue of faux meats marketing themselves alongside beef products, and heated discussions about labeling are currently making headlines in the mainstream media.

The argument is valid, in my opinion. After all, you can’t milk an almond, and there’s no meat in pea protein powders. Why do we continue to confuse our consumers with distracting marketing claims?

READ: We need to label fake meats

Take, for example, how out of control food labels have gotten in the grocery store today. Eggs are labeled as gluten free. Water is labeled as non-GMO. From organic to natural to grass-fed to cage-free to pasture-raised to antibiotic- and hormone-free, there are so many marketing claims for consumers to wade through, and unfortunately, these companies only get richer as consumers pay more and more to alleviate guilt, fear and confusion based on these labels.

Now marketers want to take advantage of consumers who want to go meatless. By calling something that is not meat or dairy an alternative meat or dairy product, it implies they are one and the same, and they clearly are not.

Yes, absolutely, we should be clearly labeling and defining these products to show exactly what they are instead of placing them alongside a ribeye in the meat case and trying to sell them as a safer, more nutritious, guilt-free alternative product.

I don’t want my meat grown in a garden or in a test tube in a laboratory, but do our consumers and the media feel the same way?

I’ve rounded up the latest headlines on the topic to help give you an idea of what folks are saying about this issue. Check them out below:

Feedstuffs: Cattle industry keeps pressure on ‘fake meat’ labeling

Forbes: The battle begins at the FDA as agriculture evolves: Milk from a cow vs. milk from plants

Quartz Media: U.S. ranchers want to use the federal government as a proxy to fight high-tech meat companies

WNAX: USDA extends comment period for fake meat

The Wall Street Journal: ‘Clean meat’ could make livestock obsolete

The Guardian: The French force vegetarian food producers to mince their words

The Chicago Tribune: The losing war against fake meat

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.