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Articles from 2017 In June


MIDDAY-MidwestDigest-06-30-17

The news from the cities of our region hasn't been good when it comes to crime. To assume that all of Heartland has rampant growing crime problem would be a mistake. Statewide in Minnesota, crime is down. 23% fewer murders in all of 2016. Crimes per 100,000 is about the same as it was in 1966. 

These June crop acreage reports most always bring significant reaction in market. 

The storage units, sometimes thieves prey on those. In Indiana, police say they have apprehended man and woman who went around taking stuff from storage units.

U.S. officials celebrate reintroduction of U.S. beef in China

U.S. Meat Export Federation Beijing-beef-carving1540x800.jpg
NCBA President Craig Uden, left, Secretary Sonny Perdue and Luan Richeng, vice president of COFCO Group, carve U.S. prime rib at a ceremony in China marking the reintroduction of U.S. beef in China.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad today formally marked the reintroduction of American beef products to China by slicing Nebraska prime rib in a Beijing ceremony. 

The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19, 2017, after a 13-year hiatus.

Related: Perdue traveling to China to celebrate reintroduction of U.S. beef

“Beef is a big deal in China and I'm convinced that when the Chinese people get a taste of U.S. beef, they're going to want more of it," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "This is also a good harbinger of the kind of relationship that can be developed. We hope there are other things we can cooperate on and we're going to use U.S. beef as the forerunner.”

Branstad, who was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China on May 22, said the return of U.S. beef to China is an important step forward in expanding U.S. agricultural exports.

“This is an exciting day – we’ve been waiting nearly 14 years for this,” Branstad said. “I want to express my excitement that one of my first official duties as ambassador from the United States to the People’s Republic of China is to be here with my friend, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, to welcome American beef back to China. I want to reiterate our commitment to expanding trade and increasing American exports, and we believe beef is a great beginning for this process.” 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden, a cattle feeder and rancher from Elwood, Nebraska, echoed these sentiments, noting the excellent potential China holds for U.S. beef exports. 

“This is a great day for U.S. beef producers, and we look forward to supplying U.S. beef to many Chinese consumers in the years to come," Uden said.

President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, officials with the U.S. Trade Representative, and Secretary Perdue announced the deal brokered with China to allow the return of U.S. beef to China in May. China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and in 2016 was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion. 

Earlier in June, USDA announced the final details of a protocol to allow American companies to begin shipping beef exports to China. To date, producers and processors in Nebraska and Kansas are eligible to ship beef products to China, having followed the requirements set forth in the USDA Export Verification Program and according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service export requirements. USDA maintains a public list of companies that are eligible, and will continue to update it as more companies complete the export documentation requirements.

Also on Friday, Perdue held a series of meetings with Chinese government officials, including Vice Premier Wang Yang and Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu, to discuss expanding trade between the United States and China.

Following Friday’s events in Beijing, Perdue planned to travel Saturday to Shanghai where he will tour a major Chinese supermarket where other American products are offered. 

Perdue will be joined by USDA Foreign Agricultural Service representatives, Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, USMEF staff and U.S. beef exporters. The group will distribute samples of U.S. steak cuts and chuck eye roll to City Super customers and speak to the unique attributes of U.S. beef. Funding support for this event was also provided by the Nebraska Beef Council.

“It has been a long road back for U.S. beef in China, and USMEF is extremely pleased to see such great enthusiasm for its return,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. “Buyer interest is very strong, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with U.S. exporters and future customers in China to build a solid foundation for U.S. beef in this dynamic market.”

Source: USDA, U.S. Meat Export Federation

MORNING-MidwestDigest-06-30-17

Some of the state legislatures will continue to be in session today with sense of urgency 46 of 50 states will go into new fiscal year tomorrow. As of Wednesday, 11 states have not reached new budget deal. Challenges come despite improvements in nation's economy. No where is situation worst than Illinois.

Hog futures might come in for selling today. While not far off mark of trader expectations, report did come in toward high in.

60,000 bridges in need of repair and replacement throughout our nation. 43% older than average design life of 50 years. Will take $123 billion to fix.

Did you see video of car swallowed into sinkhole? When he came out he thought car had been towed, then he saw 20 feet deep hole with water gushing around his car.

Farm Progress America, June 30, 2017

Congress is now dealing with the Water Rights Protection Act, which bars taking water rights from farmers using public lands under permit. The American Farm Bureau Federation offers insight into how the federal government is taking water rights from permit holders.

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: arinahabich/iStock/Thinkstock

CME volatility results in wild swings in feeder cattle markets

Feeder cattle receipts following normal seasonal declines and prices were either side of steady from $3 lower to $5 higher with wild gyrations based on the big swings that the CME had on the sale days. Big losses on the fed cattle prices and box beef continue to put negative pressure on the feeders, along with the big placements on the cattle on feed report.

There also was a bigger run of slaughter cows at auctions because next week many auctions will be shut down for the holidays. Prices were steady to $1 higher with the higher prices mostly in the Southern Plains which are looking at lower numbers this time of the year. Dairy cow prices were mostly steady.

MIDDAY-MidwestDigest-06-29-17

We aren't sure Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker worries too much about criticism. But he's being criticized for his comments comparing teachers with football players. Football players and most workers are paid based on performance. Teachers union is critical of comments.

Indiana State Fair opening day is on his schedule. Aug. 5 will be full day there for Max. It's economic shot in the arm for the region in which fairs are held. $84 million to $86 million a year.

Fair time means racing pigs season. 

Consultation with Good Book might be in order. 

Here’s why shade now pays off next spring

Shade for cattle

By Justin Sexton

Summer means there will be some hot days. Timing and magnitude will vary, but sure as the sun comes up each morning, temperatures will rise and some cattle will experience heat stress. Regardless of the enterprise, from cow-calf to stockers or finishing cattle, summer heat will take a toll on productivity and ultimately beef quality.

Cow-calf producers have several ways to ease the impact, some more apparent than others. Well-shaded areas should be available to pastures in late June and early July; these first few weeks of summer traditionally fall squarely in the midst of the breeding season. The first heat-stress event can be the most challenging because cattle have not fully adapted to the seasonally higher temperatures.

And as important as caring for your cows, keeping bulls cool may be of even greater importance. Your investment in the next great sire to advance all herd goals will be in vain if heat stress renders him sterile. Spermatogenesis requires 60 days, so heat stress events can have lasting consequences on herd fertility through sub-fertile bulls.

With all that said, you may be choosing a calving season based on weather, but breeding-season weather should be another consideration. Favorable calving weather makes no difference to open cows.

Try to keep cows on vegetative forages during hot weather. Grazing mature, high-fiber forage causes greater metabolic heat from rumen digestion of cellulose. Fly control is a not-so-common strategy for heat stress mitigation, but consider this: cows bunch up to minimize fly exposure, resulting in decreased air cooling along with greater heat gain from herdmates and greater activity trying to avoid the flies.

We may not be sure if cows stand in ponds to keep cool, or free from flies or both, but they do it nonetheless. Make sure water access is plentiful and clean, because a problem with either will reduce water intake and reduce productivity independent of heat stress.

Dairy studies show cows respond to hot weather by either finding a way to cool off or increasing their heat load to the point of illness as productivity declines along the way. Conceiving the next generation is a lower priority than feeding the current calf, so cows use reproductive energy to cool themselves at the cost of pregnancy. If heat stress persists, milk production declines as more energy diverts to further cooling, at the risk of lower weaning weights for beef calves.

Nutrient priorities differ in stocker and feedlot cattle, but productivity will decline in a similar way. After seeking shade and increased water intake, growing cattle reduce feed intake to lower their metabolic heat. Feeding more of the ration or supplement in the evening and increasing nutrient density by adding fat can maintain growth and carcass quality as intake declines. Stocker operators can feed more supplement to reduce heat increment from forage digestion.

We don’t build our production systems around the extremes, or we’d be constantly under- or overstocked. Heat stress events seem extreme at the time but as with fires, floods and blizzards, the system operates on the average. You gain nothing by trying to select for environmentally adapted cattle through output reduction.

Current research suggests quite the contrary, as today’s genetic prediction tools such as expected progeny differences (EPDs) let you build a foundation of genetic potential upon which the ranch environment will act.

Sexton is director of supply development for Certified Angus Beef

This is why ranching is so special

Ranch scenes

I occasionally wonder if my thinking is wrong. Then again, I’m not sure I would call it being wrong as much as an evolution of thinking.

When I got out of school, I was on the low-cost speaking circuit. One of my favorite slides made the point that we are involved in agribusiness, not agriculture. I was right that in order for a business to be sustainable, it first has to be profitable. However, I also learned that the correlation between money and happiness is pretty low, and that culture was as equally important as business. Lifestyle is a big part of the equation.

But in the never-ending evolution of thought that comes with age, I have figured out that lifestyle is also not the right term. Profitability, business and sustainability are definitely part of the equation. But lifestyle is not totally accurate either. 

Lifestyle seems to be about feelings or emotions, and what makes agriculture special and what sets agribusiness apart from other industries is that there is a code, based on values, on absolute truths. At its core, there is faith and hard work. Of course, those may be more prevalent in agriculture than other industries, but they certainly are not exclusive. 

The code hasn’t been defined definitively and it isn’t exclusive by any means, but what makes agriculture unique is that this code is so foundational that it is not written down or codified. It simply is a series of unwritten understandings: take care of the land and the animals first; your word is your bond; it isn’t that the pursuit of wealth is bad, but that true passion is the driver. 

Again, these traits are not exclusive to the livestock industry. But those values, coupled with a level of passion that is pretty unique, make the cattle business a special calling. 

Meat Market Update | Unsold inventory piles up

In the past eight weeks during the tremendous price rally, the four-week moving average of box beef sales has dropped significantly below last year. It had been way over last year most of the spring, but during the past eight weeks the total sales were actually 4,000 loads below last year. At the same time, the estimated FIS cattle harvest increased about 176,000 head over last year. When you combine the lack of sales along with the increased cattle numbers, you can assume that there probably was a lot of product that was not sold. Also, working inventories of product at packing plants are not measured in Cold Storage report. The Cold Storage report normally reflects about 90 =% of stored boneless trimming items that are destined for grinding or manufactured products and 10% or less of actual beef cuts.