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Articles from 2010 In September


Beef

Pfizer Animal Health Invites Applicants to Apply for the 2011 Veterinary Student Scholarship Program

Pfizer Animal Health partners with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation

to award up to $625,000 to decrease students’ debt load

NEW YORK (September 30, 2010)— Pfizer Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation invite veterinary students to apply for the second annual Student Scholarship Program. Approximately 250 scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded to assist students in paying for their professional education, addressing rising school debt and its impact on the veterinary profession.

The scholarship is part of the Pfizer Animal Health Commitment to Veterinarians—which supports veterinarians through training and education, research and development, and investing in the future of the veterinary profession.

“The Pfizer Animal Health scholarship gave me the opportunity to participate in an international externship where I was exposed to many different aspects of veterinary medicine,” said 2010 scholarship recipient Tia Barksdale.

A third-year student focused on food-animal medicine and public health, Barksdale spent time in Germany and Lithuania learning about animal welfare, trade and food-safety regulations and their global effect. “Pfizer positively impacted my future as a veterinarian by opening the door to experiences I would not have had without the scholarship grant.”

For 2011, the second year of the program, Pfizer Animal Health will provide up to $625,000 in student scholarships to eligible second- and third-year veterinary medicine college students studying at the U.S. and Caribbean-based AVMA-accredited colleges of veterinary medicine. In addition to traditional selection criteria—academic excellence and financial need—the scholarships will focus on meeting ongoing needs of the veterinary profession: diversity, sustainability, and the availability of veterinarians to serve in mixed or rural practices. Scholarships will be awarded to students in all areas, including food animal medicine, small animal clinical medicine, research, government services, and organized medicine.

“Last year’s program was a huge success, and we’re proud to show our ongoing pledge to veterinarians though this scholarship again in 2011,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, Diplomate ABVP, and Group Director of Veterinary Medical Services & Corporate Citizenship for Pfizer Animal Health. “We’re looking for outstanding veterinary students to address the diversity of our changing world, as well as the health and research needs of our society. That’s what this scholarship is about.”

In 2010—the program’s launch year—Pfizer Animal Health awarded 222 U.S. veterinary students with a total of $555,000 in scholarships. The scholarship complements a number of other Pfizer Animal Health programs supporting the veterinary profession, including more than $15 million invested last year in universities, industry education and training, scholarships, and allied organizations.

To apply for the Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program, students can visit www.vetstudentconnect.com or www.avmf.org/pfizer from October 1 to November 15, 2010.

Beef

Limousin Commercial Marketing Check-off is Reduced

Denver, Colo., (Sept. 28, 2010) The North American Limousin Foundation Board of Directors voted to adjust the voluntary Limousin Check-off to $2 per head registered. The unanimous decision to adjust the check-off marketing program was approved to provide marketing assistance to the breed organization.

"Marketing and breed recognition are an important aspect of the cattle industry," said Mike Smith, Liberty Ranch, Plainville, Kansas and Chairman of the Commercial Marketing committee. "There is excitement in the breed and amongst producers. Commercial cattlemen believe in Limousin cattle and now is the time to increase our market share."

Approved in 2006, the check-off has assisted the North American Limousin Foundation in marketing the breed to the mainstream commercial sector of the industry. Since its inception, the check-off has assisted with funding over $250,000 in national and regional advertising. North American Limousin Foundation members can enroll in the Commercial Marketing Check-off at any time during the year.

"We continue to build demand for Limousin cattle," said Dr. Bob Hough, Executive Vice President, North American Limousin Foundation. "Commercial producers have taken advantage of heterosis by demanding our cattle. Lim-Flex® bulls are siring a tremendous set of calves with heifers being kept as replacements. The check-off has allowed us to build demand and prove that Limousin cattle work in the commercial herds."

Beef

Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. to offer eight FFA members grants for the second consecutive year

• Novartis Animal Health is partnered with the National FFA Organization to offer grants in support of Supervised Agricultural Experience projects.

• Eight high school students will be selected to receive $1,000.

• Grants are available in beef, dairy, swine and veterinary medicine.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (September 29, 2010) – In an effort to offer real-world experience to future agriculture professionals, Novartis Animal Health US, Inc., will offer grants to eight high school students of the National FFA Organization as part of an ongoing partnership. Each grant is $1,000 and will provide the students the opportunity to be involved with an animal health-related Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. SAE projects typically involve research, employment with an agricultural business or an entrepreneurial project in which the student plans and operates an agriculture-related enterprise.

The relationship between Novartis Animal Health and FFA demonstrates the importance Novartis places on supporting youth for the future for all facets of agriculture, especially animal health. Novartis will support SAE projects in the categories of beef production, dairy production, swine production and veterinary medicine.

“Novartis Animal Health has been a sponsor of the National FFA Organization for many years,” said Steven Boren, vice president of farm animal business sales and marketing for Novartis Animal Health and who is serving as a member of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board. “As the population grows over time and as the demand for food increases, the need to keep young people interested and involved in production agriculture will be critical. The SAE program is excellent for this because students are able to take the notes and lessons from the classroom and apply them to real-world scenarios. By guiding students with these projects, we can help in maintaining the importance of working in agriculture.”

The 2010 SAE grant application period opened on September 1, 2010 and the deadline to submit grant applications is Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. SAE grant winners will be announced in December 2010. To be eligible for a SAE grant, students must be in the seventh through 11th grade during the 2010 calendar year, have an SAE and be a member of FFA. Additional information regarding these grant opportunities can be found on the National FFA Organization website: www.ffa.org/programs/view/dsp_sae.cfm.

Novartis Animal Health will also be stationed at booth 652 at the 2010 National FFA Convention Career Show on October 20-22 in Indianapolis, IN, and students are encouraged to stop by to learn more about the grants offered.

Moran Asks Vilsack To Withdraw GIPSA Proposal

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS), wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to withdraw the GIPSA livestock procurement rule. His primary concern centers on USDA’s failure to conduct an economic analysis of the proposed rule, and other procedural/administrative problems.

Interestingly, this week I spoke to a cattleman just returned from a state cattlemen’s trip to Washington who had similar concerns. USDA kept telling the visiting cattlemen that an economic analysis had been done; yet, the USDA economists they spoke with continually raised their own concerns about the economic impact of the proposed rule on the industry.

Admittedly, I’m a little confused on the economic analysis issue; USDA repeatedly has said it’s been done, but it hasn’t been made available for review. Many people want to study the economic analysis, based on GIPSA’s in-depth and recent analysis of alternative marketing arrangements (AMA), which concluded that restrictions of AMAs would negatively impact producers and the industry. Given that these restrictions are at the very heart of the GIPSA rule, many are wondering how opposite conclusions could be reached by USDA.

Anyone who’s followed this issue understands that Moran’s letter isn’t expected to have any impact on a USDA that seems fully committed to the GIPSA rule. At the same time, however, Congress seems to be growing more hostile to the idea, largely due to its perception that USDA overstepped its authority by including proposals in the rule that, in fact, had been voted on and defeated during the farm bill debate.

As frustrated as I get when Congress creates legislation on issues of which they seemingly have no understanding, the recent trend of governmental departments essentially creating legislation on their own is truly disturbing. We’ve seen similar attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency and others to advance specific agendas.

The frustration of cattlemen is understandable; while there’s certainly no guarantee that an elected official will hold your views, you at least have some recourse when they when act against your best interest – you can vote them out of office. But, anyone who’s dealt with a bureaucracy knows that you not only have no influence with bureaucrats but expressing disagreement can often result in a lot more pain and suffering. Power in and of itself can be a dangerous thing, but power without accountability certainly is.

I certainly believe the GIPSA rule is ill-conceived and would be harmful to our industry. Yet, I can’t believe that value-based marketing and all the AMAs that have evolved to reduce producer risk or improve quality will be eliminated. More concerning to me has been the process where an agency is allowed to override congressional intentions.

No one – not the advocates or opponents of the GIPSA rule – believe that the last farm bill created the path for this rule. If agenda-driven agencies can create activist legislation (rules) of this magnitude, then citizens have lost all control. The certain legal battles that are to follow if this GIPSA rule continues will clarify and reshape it, but ultimately it is Congress that will have to assert itself.

If governmental control of the industry’s marketing system is indeed warranted, it should be the legislature that does it, not some government agency. As one individual who has built his business around differentiating his product told me, “If I’m going to be voted out of business, I at least want the pleasure of being able to vote against the person who did it to me.” He won’t have that opportunity here and that is wrong.

Need Some Good News? Look At The Cow-Calf Business

Rising input costs, higher corn, and uncertain economic times have most cow-calf producers cautious. Understandably so, but those who listened to Randy Blach of Cattle-Fax at the National Angus Conference felt a whole lot better about life.

Blach says the cow-calf sector could have as profitable of a 3-4 years as at any time in history. If you want to read that last statement a couple of times just to enjoy it, do so.

With cow-inventory numbers at an all-time low, and global beef demand gaining momentum, things are looking up. Domestic demand growth is expected to remain slow but should be positive, as the economy seems to have weathered the worst.

Beef demand was up 5% last year, and the combination of tight supply and growing demand should drive prices higher, says Blach, who calls for fed prices to increase $3-$4/cwt. We haven’t spent much time talking about fed cattle over $100/cwt. since fall 2003 when BSE hit and our export markets collapsed.

Even with increased demand, improved genetics has made our national herd more efficient, leading to the need for fewer cows. But Blach predicts we’ll eventually need 600,000 to 700,000 more cows to keep up with expected demand growth.

He certainly didn’t guarantee record calf prices in the next 3-4 years, but said demand projections don’t preclude those types of price levels. Meanwhile, record cow prices are almost assured, while – judging from the fall bull sales – bulls are also likely to experience record highs sooner rather than later.

It’s simply a very exciting time to be in the cattle business. Sure, there are risks, and corn is going to remain at the top of that list. We’ve rationalized our industry by shrinking production to come in line with higher corn prices, but price risk to the upside remains as we’ve had record crop after record crop following the subsidizing of ethanol.

Blach also mentioned how important it is to comment on the proposed GIPSA rules, which he says places genetic programs and advances at risk. We also must continue to expand market access. As an example, he says that over the last six years, the reduction in exports had resulted in a loss of value equal to about $70-$75/head. My simple cowboy math tells me 25 million head times six years is 150 million head; multiply that by $70/head and that’s more than $11 billion!

Even if you figure that packers would keep $5, and the feeding industry $15/head, of that total, that still means that BSE and our inability to regain access and those markets have cost the U.S. cow-calf segment more than $7 billion.

Just Do The Common Things Uncommonly Well

As a veterinarian and educator, I sometimes get to see some interesting things being tried in cattle. And, while there have been some significant advances in products we put through a needle, I’m still not aware of the miracle preventive or cure.

The truth is that when we try out some of these practices or products in the field, it just isn’t possible to tell whether any change we might see is due to the product or to variation in the cattle or their environment. That’s why we should always look to well-designed, properly conducted clinical trials to guide our decisions.

Sometimes I wonder if some of the things being tried are due to an underlying anxiety that we are missing something. There is a secret vaccine anxiety pattern which is very common this time of year. After all, there has to be a vaccine out there that will suddenly shut off disease like a water tap.

But, just like many things in life, the secret is to do the common things uncommonly well. Work with your vet to decide on vaccines that are reputable (safe and consistent) and include the antigens appropriate for the challenge you will face.

In reality, the only vaccine secrets are a good-quality vaccine for the antigens you’re being challenged with, protecting vaccine quality during storage and administration, and planning out the timing. If it’s a modified-live vaccine, be sure you haven’t used a cleaning solution in your syringes or injection systems that could inactivate the vaccine. Then, work out the administration timing that best fits your production system and stick to it.

While some vaccines may outperform others in comparison trials, in my opinion, the difference in vaccines for many of our diseases pales in comparison to the importance of doing these steps correctly.

For example, I’m still waiting for clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of any Mycoplasma bovis vaccine in cattle. I am aware of a bovine pneumonia challenge model where an M. bovis bacterin made the lung damage worse. As a last point on this subject, there can be a big difference in the efficacy and safety of a federally licensed engineered vaccine, and simply growing up the bug, killing it, and putting it in an adjuvant.

The anxious antibiotic search (the pharmacologic “holy grail”) is another psychological malady that strikes livestock producers this time of year. This often doesn’t just involve the search for a new antibiotic, but the search for the secret combination of products. And then, of course, there’s the hunt for some kind of additional drug to put with the antibiotic(s) to make it even better.

I remain stunned in amazement at some of the concoctions and programs that can be foisted on the industry. The simple fact is that we await any clinical proof that more than one antibiotic at a time improves response in respiratory disease and many other bacterial diseases of cattle. We also await proof that adding other drugs to the therapy improves long-term recovery rates of cattle with infectious disease.

I know. We’ve all heard the testimonials. But whenever I help set up a program or treat my own cattle, it’s just one antibiotic and a tag.

Just like for the vaccines, the only real secret for successful therapy is to use a reputable, effective antibiotic coupled with protecting the integrity of the drug, dosing it right, and getting it into the animal early in the disease. Then, monitor the cattle for response and involve your veterinarian in setting the time at which to decide if the animal needs additional therapy.

It really is this simple to rid yourself of the anxiety of missing the cure-all product. Stick to the basics, get with your vet, manage the environment and nutrition, and use a really sharp pencil to figure the true value of cattle that are less likely to give you a disease challenge.

If you can’t be sure of the potential benefit of a product or practice, why risk the harm?
-- Mike Apley, DVM, PhD, Kansas State University

Winter Cow Management Starts Well Before Winter

Winter Cow Management Starts Well Before Winter

Winter management must start in the fall, before cold weather. This means carefully assessing body condition on pregnant cows when calves are weaned, and developing a plan to provide sufficient nutrition to allow cows to maintain moderate-to-good condition before their next calving.

James England, University of Idaho DVM, says cows must be in good condition (preferably a body condition score 6) to handle weather, calving and rebreeding. “With adequate condition at the start of winter and good maintenance throughout, most animals winter well. But, without adequate nutrition, anything else we do is set up for failure,” he says.

Stockmen often underestimate the importance of fall nutrition and body-condition scoring. In fact, Ron Skinner, a Hall, MT, DVM and seedstock producer, says about 70% of open cows in Montana each year are the result of inadequate fall nutrition.

An adequate, balanced diet may merely mean adding a trace-mineral supplement to native pasture, some good hay, a protein supplement if grass becomes too dry, or hay if the grass becomes depleted or snowed under. If a cow is deficient in protein or phosphorus through fall and winter, she won’t rebreed on time after calving. Plus, thin cows are unable to handle the stress of bad weather and lose more weight. And, it takes more feed to put weight back on a cow during cold weather.

If you manage pastures properly – without overgrazing or running out of grass – forage-efficient cows won’t lose much weight during fall or winter grazing; they generally gain weight after weaning calves and go into winter with fat reserves.

Many factors influence a winter-feeding program. These include climate and grass growth; whether pastures snow under and can’t be grazed; the available forage your climate or operational design (irrigated vs. nonirrigated pastures, forage varieties, crop aftermath, etc.) allows; and the type of cattle. It’s most profitable to match the cattle to your feed sources rather than try to feed cattle not fit to the environment.

To help cattle maintain health and body condition during winter, vaccinations should be up to date, parasite populations assessed, and cattle dewormed and deloused, if necessary.

“If lice are a winter problem, it’s best to delouse cattle in late fall/early winter, before lice start to increase in numbers,” says Jack Campbell, University of Nebraska professor emeritus. “Lice increase their reproductive rate in cold weather, so you get more generations in a shorter time span.” A good kill in early winter – before lice affect cattle performance – will generally keep cattle free of these parasites until spring.

Winter nutrition considerations

How much hay or supplement a cow needs depends on weather conditions, cow age and body condition, available pasture or crop residue, and reproductive stage of the cow. Some herds do well through fall and winter on good native pasture with just a salt/mineral supplement, especially if cows aren’t nursing calves. But, if snow covers the grass deeply or weather gets quite cold, they may need hay.

In cold or stormy weather, cattle need more energy to maintain body heat. This can be adequately supplied by forages, since fermentation breakdown of roughage in the rumen produces heat. If cattle aren’t fed additional energy, they rob body fat to keep warm, and lose weight.

During extremely cold or windy weather, cows should be given all the hay they’ll clean up, or a protein supplement on dry pastures to encourage them to eat more. As long as protein is adequate, cows can process/ferment sufficient roughage to provide energy and body heat. Access to good windbreaks during severe weather is important to reduce cold cows’ stress and energy requirements, as well.

“Assuming cows have adequate energy from forage, the next important thing is mineral supplementation, which is critical for digestion of forage,” says Dick Fredrickson, DVM/nutritionist for Simplot, Grandview, ID.

Salt should always be provided, since this is the mineral most lacking in forages. Some geographic locations also are deficient in copper, selenium or zinc, so know the mineral content of your forages and provide supplements accordingly.

“The trace-mineral status of the cow affects all aspects of production and reproduction, as well as the future well-being of her calf,” England says.

Drought-stressed grass may be short on protein and phosphorus. As a general rule, range grasses hold their feed values better through winter than tame or irrigated pastures, or crop residues. These lose nutrient value once they dry up or freeze, and cattle generally need supplemental feed (hay, silage, grain or a protein supplement and mineral mix).

If pasture is depleted or snowed under and you’re feeding hay, managing cattle in groups is best. “You don’t want to waste hay by feeding better-quality feed than a group needs,” says Shannon Williams, Lemhi County Extension, Salmon, ID. “Cows in early or mid-gestation don’t need your best hay; save it for later or feed it to heifers and two-year olds.” Of course, the only way to truly know the nutritional value of hay is a lab analysis, Williams adds.

Weaned calves need the highest-quality feed; next would be pregnant heifers and two-year-olds that just weaned off calves. This is a critical time for this latter group as these females are still growing and pregnant, and nursing calves may have pulled down their condition. Mature, dry cows can get by on lesser-quality forage, be it pasture or hay, until late gestation.

“Adequate protein is crucial during the last 60 days of pregnancy for development of the unborn calf, and for colostrum formulation,” Fredrickson says. “If scours is a problem in the herd, timely vaccination for scours needs to be administered at this time also,” he says.

Having cattle on pasture through winter is healthiest for both cows and their calves next spring. If you must feed hay, spread it out in large pastures and change feeding areas daily, rather than congregate cattle in small feeding areas, Skinner says.

Some stockmen reduce winter feed costs and labor by relying less on harvested forage. This strategy might include stockpiling pastures or windrowing forage for winter use, or bale grazing (leaving big bales in fields for cattle to eat).

“Grazing cows on stockpiled or windrowed forages as long as possible and then keeping harvested-forage feeding to a minimum is essential to a low-cost wintering program and profitable cow-calf operation,” says Jim Gerrish, a management-intensive-grazing expert, May, ID.

“Closely monitor cow body condition and use strategic supplementation to stretch out stockpiled pastures. Even with the relatively high cost of adding protein to the diet, using a supplement to enhance stockpiled pastures or rangeland is almost always a lower-cost option than full feeding hay,” he says.

With stockpiled or windrowed forage, cattle will trample/graze through relatively deep snow to get at it, unless snow is thickly crusted. And, utilizing electric fencing to move cattle gradually across a field can minimize waste. Gerrish says these methods can lengthen the grazing season but be sure to monitor cattle condition and ensure cattle have access to water and windbreaks.

The same is true with bale grazing. A calculated number of bales to provide a certain volume of hay/cow for a certain number of days can be placed in rows, with twines removed before wet, freezing weather makes that task difficult. Electric fence allows cattle access, using the next row as a handy place to insert “posts” (into the bale) rather drive them into frozen ground.

Some ranchers bale-graze young stock, too, letting weanlings/yearlings into each new section first, with dry cows following to clean up; both groups are moved when cows finish their section. This method spreads manure over fields uniformly.

But, probably the most important factor affecting winter cow management is matching cattle to the environment and your management style. Cows that need extra feed to maintain body condition and remain in the herd under “normal” conditions aren’t the kind of cattle you want. If pastures are managed properly, forage-efficient cows won’t lose weight during fall or winter grazing.

It’s most profitable to match the cattle to your feed sources rather than try to create a feeding program to fit cattle that won’t do well on their own in your environment.
 

Prayers For The Krentz Family

robert_krentz1.png I'm sure you all remember the story of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz who was killed in March on his own property 35 miles outside of the border town of Douglas, AZ. Police say Krentz, whose family has been ranching in southern Arizona since 1907, was gunned down early one Saturday morning by an illegal immigrant while out on his ATV tending to fences and water lines on the family's 34,000-acre cattle ranch.

This tragedy ignited a debate on immigration, border security and the rights of the ranchers working alongside the border. Theft, robbery, vandalism and drug smuggling have always been part of the illegal immigration issues facing American families in that area, and yet, nobody expected murder to be added to the list.

My thoughts and prayers have been with the friends and family of Robert Krentz since his death, but now our prayers are needed more than ever for Robert’s widow, Sue. She was recently hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street with a friend just outside the Catholic church in their home town. Reports indicate that she has a lacerated spleen, internal bleeding, broken ribs, broken leg, fractured pelvis, head trauma, and facial fractures.

According to the article I read, “Ramon Saucedo, 66, struck Sue Krentz and Shirley Gregory as they crossed the street outside St. Luke’s Catholic Church, 1211 E. 15th St. Police booked him into jail on suspicion of DUI, endangerment and aggravated assault.”

For the complete story, read the entire article entitled, Wife of slain rancher Robert Krentz hit by car. For more information on the murder of Robert Krentz, link here.

Again, my thoughts and prayers are with the Krentz family during this time. What are your thoughts on the Robert Krentz murder, border security, immigration and ranching rights in that area? If you are farm or ranch near the border, I would love to hear your experiences and insights on this topic.

Beef

GeneSTAR® Now has More Information, Greater Value

Pfizer Animal Genetics adds to trusted product

NEW YORK — Sept. 29, 2010 — GeneSTAR®, from Pfizer Animal Genetics, now comes with two additional offerings ─ a Palatability Index and black coat color. These are in addition to Molecular Value Predictions (MVPs®) for feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness.

“We are constantly striving to provide producers with innovative technologies and services that deliver functional value,” says Scott Bormann, North American business director, Pfizer Animal Genetics. “GeneSTAR now delivers more value by providing producers with additional information as part of the same test.”

The new GeneSTAR Palatability Index combines the traits of tenderness and marbling, and helps rank animals according to described genomic merit for qualities that impact tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Kent Andersen, Ph.D., associate director technical services, Pfizer Animal Genetics, says the result is a composite score that helps to more readily predict which animals will contribute genetics for the most favorable overall eating experience. The index was designed using data from more than 25,000 cattle representing more than 40 breeds and breed composites.

“Given that palatability thresholds exist for consumers, we also have defined three zones within the range of possible Palatability Index scores that producers can use to help simplify breeding and marketing decisions,” Dr. Andersen says. “For example, scores above 355 are defined as superior and indicate that these animals have the highest level of described genomic potential for combinations of tenderness and marbling. Or, scores below 100 fall into the marginal category. Therefore, we recommend that producers consider mating and management strategies for these animals that focus on improving palatability.”

In addition to the new Palatability Index, GeneSTAR now includes genotypes for black coat color as part of the standard reporting package. These results continue to indicate if an animal is homozygous or heterozygous for black color. Recent data suggest there continues to be a strong demand for black feeder cattle with buyers consistently paying average premiums of more than $5.50 per hundred weight for black-hided calves.1

“Identifying homozygous black herd sires or replacement females with GeneSTAR can pay significant dividends for years when it comes to sale day,” Bormann says.

Bormann adds that these two offerings are on top of the original MVPs provided by GeneSTAR.

“Don’t forget that producers can still receive trusted information for three important traits from GeneSTAR ─ feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness,” he says. “It’s the trusted name in DNA technology that now comes with even more value.”

For more information, producers should contact their Pfizer Animal Genetics representative, visit www.pfizeranimalgenetics.com or call 877-BEEF-DNA.

Beef

John Deere Builds 500,000th Gator™ Utility Vehicle (UV)

HORICON, Wis. (September 22, 2010) – The John Deere Horicon Works today announced production of the company’s 500,000th Gator utility vehicle, marking the milestone by building one of John Deere’s latest models, the XUV825i – the fastest and most powerful Gator ever manufactured in a long line of work and recreational machines.

“Reaching this milestone of building 500,000 Gators is a significant accomplishment for our company, our employees and our customers,” said Dan Hoffman, factory manager, John Deere Horicon Works. “Our full line of Gator utility vehicles serves a wide range of customers who depend on their reliability and usefulness. That’s an obligation we take quite seriously.”

The heritage of the Gator product began in 1987 when John Deere first built utility machines that preceded the Gator’s design and creation. Then in 1993, John Deere launched its highly successful Gator utility vehicle, which now has 17 different models and is sold to customers in agriculture, construction, turf care, recreation, and the military.

Although Deere manufactured at other locations in the past, the utility vehicles are now exclusively designed and built in Horicon, Wis.

“We aspire to produce and sell the next 500,000 faster than the first,” said Siva Sundaresan, global director of utility vehicles. “We expect to continue our success in these products as John Deere remains committed to deliver an industry-leading portfolio of utility vehicles to customers.”

John Deere (Deere & Company — NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for agriculture, forestry, construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe.