Summer 2018 | Volume 1, Issue 4
Your direct source for livestock news and information
Published by Farmers & Ranchers Livestock, Salina, Kansas
In this Issue: 1 Parched Connections 9 Underutilized Crop Insurance Options 15 Some Pennies Matter More 18 Beyond Transparency 22 Markets—So Far, So Good 26 Cost-Free Quality Drives Beef Demand 28 Better Beef Through Better Health 30 The World According to Hooter McCormick 31 Consolidated Paradox
Parched Connections Public awareness about how food is produced will help determine future water scarcity. By Wes Ishmael
Editor’s Note: “Parched Connections” is the second in a series of editorial taking a deep dive into the sustainability of water. As drought continues to dramatically affect millions of prime livestock and crop production, the subject of water moves from conversational to serious and must be aggressively addressed.
Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting. Mark Twain usually gets credit for the quote along those lines. Whomever is responsible, their insight captures the raw emotion surrounding who has access to specific water supplies and Continued on page 4 ________________________________________
PRSRT STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Jefferson City, MO 65101 Permit #303
“Switching to Safe-Guard® is one of the best things we ever did.” Eddie Parker - Registered Angus breeder, Parker Ranch, Waurika, OK
RESIST RESISTANCE Eddie Parker was facing a problem. His cattle were riddled with worms – even after being treated with an endectocide-based dewormer.
His real problem? Resistance. His real solution? Safe-Guard. Try Safe-Guard (fenbendazole) for two weeks. We are so confident that you will see a 90% reduction in parasitic infestation that if you don’t – the product is free.1 So what do you have to lose? Other than the parasites.
Text RESIST to 48109 to watch how Eddie fights resistance. By texting in you agree to receive text messages from Merck Animal Health where you will receive offers and reminders. Up to six messages per month. You can opt-out any time by replying STOP to 48109. Text message and data rates may apply. 1 1992. World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (W.A.A.V.P.) methods for the detection of anthelmintic resistance in nematodes of veterinary importance. Vet Parasitol. 44, 35–44. 2. 2006.The detection of anthelmintic resistance in nematodes of veterinary importance. Vet. Parasitol. 136, 167–185
Consult your local veterinarian for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and control of parasitism. merck-animal-health-usa.com • 800-521-5767 Copyright ©2018 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. 2/18 BV-SG-57821-Howard US/SFG/0218/0005
From the Editor
Volume 1, Issue 4 Summer 2018
“…more than 90 percent of consumers still appreciate and see value in a full meat case stocked with high quality beef.”
Published quarterly by
Farmers & Ranchers Livestock, Salina, Kansas 1500 W. Old Hwy 40 Salina, Kansas 67401 785-825-0211 • 785-826-1590 (fax) FandRLive.com
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Owner: Farmers & Ranchers Livestock, Mike Samples, Salina, Kansas (785) 826-7884 Editor: Deb Norton, Deb@CogentIdeasInc.com Production Coordinator: Julie Tucker Graphic Designer: Daric Wells Editorial Assistants: Dixie Russell, Dave Cumpton Contributing Editors: Wes Ishmael, Paige Nelson and Micah Samples Contributing Artist: Ted Foulkes Sales Andrew Sylvester Farmers & Ranchers Livestock (785) 456-4352 Jay Carlson Carlson Media Group, LLC (913) 967-9085 Subscriber Questions: To be added to our mailing list, contact Julie Tucker, Julie@CogentIdeasInc.com. F&R Livestock Resource is published quarterly with mail dates of January 15, March 1, August 1 and October 15 by Farmers & Ranchers Livestock, Salina, Kansas.
Several years ago, in an effort to objectively analyze issues and develop a strategy for moving forward, a corporate client brought in an expert to conduct strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) training. That was a first for me. Since art of diplomacy has never, ever been a strength of mine, my first thought was this will be boring and a waste of time. I can’t say the process was exciting, but it was useful. SWOT training challenged a board of directors to set aside their preconceived ideas about particular issues and participate in objective discussions. At the end of the day, the process isn’t to determine a winner or a loser. The process is designed to objectively chart a path forward with a clearer picture of what it will take to achieve success. More importantly, the process can expose competitive and unintended consequences that can derail an otherwise successful strategy. The subject matter and related issues are irrelevant. What’s important is our willingness to examine our ideological constructs, objectively and collaboratively, and chart a path forward. Although Hy-Plains Education & Research Center didn’t subject the packed house to a formal SWOT training recently, we arrived at a similar outcome. Hy-Plains Education & Research Center and the National Institute for
Animal Agriculture hosted the One Health Initiative: Science Based Solutions to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Food Animal Production. The day featured presentations from Dr. Mike Apley, professor of production medicine and clinical pharmacology at Kansas State University; representatives in human and animal health from the Centers for Disease Control; Kansas Department of Health and Environment and others. Attendees represented every sector of beef production. The presentations specifically outlined the potentially catastrophic issues created by overuse and improper use of antibiotics over time. While livestock producers may feel unfair social pressures, Dr. Steve Solomon, Global Public Health Consulting, delivered a strong message when he said, “Livestock producers and veterinarians have done remarkable work in reducing the use of antibiotics by embracing the problem head on. The human side has done the exact opposite. The medical community has resisted any interference in its authority to prescribe antibiotics at will.” If we apply SWOT methodology, at the end of the day, those of us in attendance have a better understanding of our strengths, which include making significant progress in reducing the use of antibiotics across all production sectors. Our weaknesses may be the disconnect between producer and consumer. Opportunities are obvious—by reducing the unnecessary and inefficient use of antibiotics, we mitigate the risks to both humans and animals. Threats are also obvious and ominous. We ultimately eliminate lifesaving treatment options for human and animal life and well-being. The take away for me was two-fold. The presentations, even for a lay person, were somewhat shocking, informative and intensely important. Secondly, I continue to think about how necessary it is to communicate this message to a broader audience. In a value-based marketing environment, change is inevitable with supply and demand being the constant, unrelenting motivating factor. The challenge becomes multifaceted. Do we manage risks the same as previous generations or embrace new tools? Are we implementing best practice production? Can we remain focused and curious to discover and embrace new science and technology? How can we connect and stay connected to a consumer becoming farther removed from agriculture? Wes Ishmael, in “Beyond Transparency” in this issue, discusses the constantly changing buying habits of a global population. Considering the aging demographic of livestock producers (and comparing our own buying habits), it’s likely
Continued on page 29 ___________________________________________________________________________________
Farmers & Ranchers Upcoming Sales and Events Cow Sale..................................................August 14 10th Annual F&R Futurity......................October 12 12th Rope Horse Preview.....................October 12 Fall Classic Catalog Horse Sale............October 13 21st Annual Fall Colt & Yearling Sale....October 14
Calf Sale.................................................October 16 Cow Sale................................................October 23 Calf Sale.................................................October 30 Calf Sale............................................... November 6 Cow Sale............................................November 20
Preconditioned Calf Sale..................... December 4 Cow Sale............................................ December 18 Preconditioned Calf Sale...............January 8, 2019 Preconditioned Calf Sale............. February 5, 2019
F&R Advertisers / Page / Sale Date
Bieber Ranch................................................................................ 23..............................................................................November 8 44 Farms....................................................................................... 18............................................................................... October 26 Gardiner Angus Ranch................................................................. 11...........................................................................September 24 Hinkle’s Prime Cut Angus.............................................................. 9............................................................................... October 15 Jamison Quarter Horses.............................................................. 25.............................................................................. October 4-5 JMB Ranch................................................................................... 29...........................................................................September 29 KSU Beef Stocker Field Day.......................................................... 8...........................................................................September 20 Leachman Cattle of Colorado...................................................... 17................................................ Oct. 13, 20; Nov. 9; Dec. 1, 15 Sunflower Genetics...................................................................... 19........................................................................ March 15, 2019
F&R Livestock Resource page 3
Continued from page 1 ________________________________________
for what purposes. As a child, about five decades ago, I recall tagging along to what the folks called a water meeting. No blood was shed, but there was plenty of want-to, and that was just among producers holding water rights. Understanding the challenges and opportunities of allocating water use over time includes knowing how much water is available, relative to demand, as was discussed in the first part of this series. But, it also requires considering the community of water users, which is everyone. “Our nation cannot exist without
“American agriculture is in a reactive position for the first time in human history. “For the first time, agricultural producers have to explain their role in society and why it’s important. For the first time, they must justify what they do.” —Aubrey Bettencourt agriculture and agriculture cannot exist without dependable and affordable
water supplies… If competition for limited water resources harms agriculture, then society as a whole suffers consequences as measured by scarcity, increased costs to consumers, and increased dependence on foreign food sources with the attendant risks to our national security.” That statement was among the overriding conclusions reached by an intense special session on water strategy hosted by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM) in 2012. It included landowners managing more than five million acres of ranchland and crop ground across the U.S. They were charged with address-
ing the single topic of water strategy. Recommendations were published in “Agricultural Water: Protecting the Future of Our Nation (AWPF).”
Connecting Dots for the Public “The 21st century American water wars have nothing to do with water,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, who was at the time executive director of the California Water Alliance. “I would say the root challenge to the ongoing debates in these arenas is the societal shift from an agrarian society and agrarian majority to a consumer majority, that the new relationship
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between the reactive agrarian minority and the susceptible consumer majority increasingly determines the outcomes of water policies.” Bettencourt, now state executive director for USDA’s California Farm Service Agency, was speaking at the annual conference of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) in 2015. The conference focused on water use and the future of animal agriculture. “American agriculture is in a reactive position for the first time in human history,” Bettencourt explained. “For the first time, agricultural producers have to explain their role in society and why it’s important. For the first time, they must justify what they do.” So many people in the United States are so many generations removed from hands-on agricultural production that they know less and less about how their food is produced. Yet, social license is required. “The general public does not know what agriculture producers know in part because there is little incentive to know,” said AWPF authors. “Water and food are more abundant, cheaper, and convenient than at any time in human history. The vast majority of the U.S. population does not know what goes on beyond the water faucet and the grocery store. “Only agricultural producers can tell the whole story firsthand and have both the knowledge base and the need to do so. With only two percent of the U.S. population directly involved in production agriculture and only one percent in full-time farming, there needs to be a concerted effort to provide future generations the enhanced understanding of the social, economic, national security, and environmen-
tal benefits of agriculture and the stewardship required to preserve and grow these unique communities and ecosystems.” Ironically, the consumer movement in recent years to demand more transparency about food and where it comes from seems to revolve around everything, but consumers must first understand the basics of agricultural production. “With low-cost food supplies and urban bias, is it any wonder that affluent consumers don’t understand the complexities of reproducing the world food supply each year in its entirety, and expanding it further for the nearly 80 million additional mouths that are born into this world each year?” asked Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, during a 2001 speech at Tuskegee University. Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his efforts in developing and teaching high-yield, high-conservation agricultural techniques to developing countries. “It is imperative that this serious educational gap in industrialized nations be addressed,” Borlaug said. “One way to do so, I believe, is to make it compulsory in secondary schools and universities for students to take courses on biology and food and agricultural technology.” Amen. “The urban dweller, whose very existence depends on the agricultural producer’s ability to manage the brunt of Mother Nature’s most severe challenges, whether expressed as drought, blizzard, or swarming insects, might be excused from knowing the story unless it is told and told well,” say authors of the KRIRM publication. “Those who are not on the front lines of these battles do not know how close the contest
has become. Hence, the agricultural producer must not only have a seat at the water policy table, but also fulfill the responsibilities that come with that role.” Rather than a battle with consumers, though, Bettencourt emphasizes the dialogue surrounding water use is a war waged with advocacy groups for the hearts and minds of consumers. “Today’s consumers are emotionally based,” Bettencourt explained. “They don’t change willingly, but must be and are constantly convinced on emotional grounds to change their behavior and to make purchases.” Advocacy organizations outside of agriculture are masters of understanding how consumers think and how to direct that thinking. “These organizations market to consumers and communicate with them in the consumers’ own emotional language,” Bettencourt said. “Appealing to their need for positive social contribution, policy interest groups activate consumers to flex their purchasing power and to share their advocate voice to demand government policies on agriculture and other natural resources.” The internet and social media, where consumers create their own news, accelerates the process at speeds never before fathomed. “Those in agriculture must adjust how they respond to myths in the media today. They must engage with those who are in the wrong and be authentic with those they are talking to in order to increase their credibility,” according to the white paper, resulting from the NIAA conference. “Producers must hold themselves and others accountable; they cannot allow people, who claim to know better, off the hook and must educate those who
“The future of American agriculture depends on water availability, and water availability depends on being an advocate.” —Aubrey Bettencourt don’t know.” Authors of the KRIRM say one overriding message to the public and to water managers should be the fact that agriculture is on the front line of water issues. “Metaphors have been applied such as ‘the canary in the coal mine’ or ‘the point of the spear” but a key message is that when agriculture faces water problems, the effect on the public at large soon follows,” according to the AWPF. “The agriculture community will likely not be able to carry this message alone, but will need to recruit communication experts and other stakeholders with related interests to improve...” The ensuing list of improvement areas cited by the KRIRM effort include: • Public awareness through a more effective presentation of modern agriculture production. • Public education on the interaction between agriculture and the natural environment, with emphasis on the understanding that agriculture succeeds only by maintaining healthy ecosystems. • Education of policy makers and opinion leaders on the connections between water supplies, food production, and homeland security. • Private investment in land, water rights and permits, and related infrastructure essential to the well being of society. • Decision makers’ understanding that agriculture offers many of the most effective and least-cost options for managing water supply and providing environmental benefits. • The amount of water available for all user groups by incentivizing stewardship, funding sound research and analysis, implementing improved technology, and expanding cooperation. “The future of American agriculture depends on water availability, and water availability depends on being an advocate,” Bettencourt emphasized. “As an industry we must get ahead of the mandates and regulations, embrace and pioneer water use technology wherever beneficial… It’s time to speak with authenticity, confidence, gratitude and persistence. Say what you want to say. Say it clearly. Say it with confidence… Represent the industry with confidence.”
Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co., Inc. Spring Spectacular Horse Sale Results
Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Company, Inc.
May 19, 2018 • Salina, Kansas
Top 20 from Spring Spectacular Horse Sale (All AQHA)
Fall Classic Catalog Horse Sale
Whiz A Roo
A Real Shiny Gun
HR Corona Pepto
Streaking Flingn Bully
Diamond H Color Me Zip $13,700
Schmitt Horse Ranch Gorilla Glue
Cowboys Playn 932
Little Barney Blue
Three Dee Slide
PVF MFO Colonel
Little Peppy Straight
Ladys Krog Peppy
Smokin Hott Lokota
Tonka Twister Too
Badgers Lil Hustler
(2007 gray mare by Genuine Chrome, 1D barrell horse)
(2011 gray gelding by Dee Cee Whiz, fancy ranch and team roping horse)
(2010 chestnut mare by Sophisticated Cat, 125 AQHA Performance points, Farmers & Ranchers Ranch Horse Competition Champion)
(2011 gray gelding by Real Gun, fancy broke, 2nd place in F&R Ranch Horse Competition) (2010 palamino gelding grandson of He’s A Peptospoonful, team roping horse) (2016 palamino stallion by a Streak Of Fling)
(2013 red roan gelding by Color Me Blue, ranch and team roping horse) (2011 gray gelding by Palo Duro Cat, ranch and team roping horse)
(2009 gray gelding grandson of Play Gun, ranch and team roping horse)
(2013 blue roan gelding by Kings Buddy blue, ranch and team roping horse) (2014 bay gelding by Three Dee Skyline, ranch and team roping horse) (2005 bay gelding, grandson of Rooster, rodeo and team roping horse)
(2012 dun gelding grandson of Colonel Freckles, ranch and team roping horse) (2012 sorrel gelding Rondo Lee and Doc’s Hickory ranch, trail and team roping horse) (2014 bay gelding grandson of Playgun, team roping, ranch and reining horse) (2006 bay gelding out of Paprika Pine, head horse)
(2015 bay gelding Top Sail Whiz and Smart Chick O’Lena, broke prospect)
(2014 Buckskin gelding grandson of Smart Chick O’Lena, team roping horse)
(2014 gray gelding grandson of Mr. Illuminator, broke well, ranch and team roping horse)
(2010 palomino gelding Doc O’Lena and Mr Freckles Olena, ranch and team roping horse)
October 13, 2018 • 10 AM
10th ANNUAL F&R FUTURITY $14,000 added money Friday, October 12th 11 AM
ROPE HORSE PREVIEW FRIDAY EVENING 6 PM TO ?
Fall Colt & Yearling Catalog Sale Farmers & Ranchers Livestock, Salina, KS October 14, 2018 10 AM
Selling 250 baby colts and yearlings representing great bloodlines like: Seven S Smokin Gun, Playboy, Realgun, Docs Hickory, Sun Frost, OSU Powerslide, Peptoboonsmal, Dash for Cash, Smart Chic OLena, Genuine Hombre, Goldfinger, Paddy Socks, Two Eyed Sweet Jack, Sophisticated Cat, Shining Spark just to name a few. These colts and yearlings will be paid up in the 2020 or 2021 F & R Cow Horse Futurity.
For More Information
2nd High Seller
3rd High Seller
4th High Seller
Visit our Website: www.FandRLive.com Kansas connection for ranch and rope horses. For More Info, Contact: Farmers & Ranchers • 785-825-0211 Mike Samples, Manager • 785-826-7884 Kyle Elwood • 785-493-2901
Farmers & Ranchers 785-825-0211
Mike Samples • 785-826-7884 Kyle Elwood • 785-493-2901 COME BUY YOUR NEXT WINNER OCTOBER 14 F&R Livestock Resource page 7
KSU Beef Stocker Field Day
September 20, 2018 Kansas State University • Manhattan, Kansas KSU Beef Stocker Unit, 4330 Marlatt Avenue
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Join us for the 2018 KSU Beef Stocker Field Day for the latest in practical information to help you make the most of significant changes occurring in the beef industry. We’ll offer management tips to help you optimize your stocker operation and provide you with increased flexibility in the future.
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n You determine the coverage level. n You determine the months covered. n Contact Ag Risk Solutions today to discuss Pasture, Range and Forage protection for your operation.
at KSU Beef Stocker Unit
Register online at www.KSUBeef.org For more information:
Lois Schreiner, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, 785-532-1267 • firstname.lastname@example.org
1101 Commercial Street • Atchison, KS 66002 (877) 556-0588 • www.Ag-Risk-Solutions.com
we are the sustainable 2016 NBQA - Other Breeds 9,106 Carcasses 3.98%Prime 72.76 Choice & Above 75.91% YG 1, 2 & 3 Avg. Carcass wt: 860 lbs.
power of prime.
The data displayed is a comparison of 2016 NBQA results from 9,106 carcasses of other breeds and HeartBrand Beef Akaushi carcasses. The USDA data of 20,852 Akaushi carcasses included 3,708 Fullbloods, 16,241 (1/2 bloods) 849 (3/4 bloods) and 54 (7/8 bloods). All Akaushi carcasses achieved 44.6% Prime and 51% Choice. Thus, all 20,852 Akaushi carcasses
Certified Akaushi Beef from heartBrand Beef
44.6% Prime • 51% Choice 95.6% Choice & Above 85.2% YG 1, 2 & 3 Average Carcass Wt: (Minus KPH) 849.19 lbs.
graded 95.6% Choice and above. In comparison, the 2016 NBQA carcasses produced results of 72.76% Choice and above, with only 3.98% achieving Prime. The Certified Akaushi Beef also excelled with 85.2% with Yield Grades of 1, 2 & 3 while the NBQA results had only 75.91% with Yield Grade status of 1,2, and 3.
Come see us... 7th Annual Association Convention October 26-28, 2018 • San Marcos, Texas 2018 Membership Directory Available on Request.
361/ 238-7218 • www.akaushi.com Specific event details at akaushi.com
Nature’s Healthy Beef ®
Underutilized Crop Insurance Options Insure your pasture against inadequate precipitation or try insurance for your farm’s gross revenue. By Paige Nelson
Before beginning this article, I happened to run into my car insurance agent, Chris. He asked how writing was going? I told him it was going well, and then realizing I was in the planning stages of a feature about crop insurance, something this city boy might have an interest in, I said, “My next article is actually on crop insurance.” His eyes lit up as he recognized the rare common ground to which our very different careers had brought us, but then responded, “Well, good luck. It’s really complicated.” Well, yes, it is complicated, but not impossible and if you haven’t considered it before, maybe the some of the following information will change your mind.
Board of Trade’s projected spring market price. Two new, or at least lesser known, revenue-protecting insurance products are Production Cost Insurance (PCI) and Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF).
Production Cost Insurance PCI is a private industry product
our Focus. Your
Profit-ability. Joanie Grimes, Insuring Crops and Protection
Insurance Types Joanie Grimes, manager of Insuring Crops and Protection (ICAP), based out of Hillsboro, Ohio, explains, “Crop insurance is a private-public arrangement between the RMA (Risk Management Agency) branch of the USDA and the private sector to administer these programs to where they meet the needs of producers all throughout the country.” According to Grimes, there are basically two types of insurance: yield and revenue. Solely protecting a producer’s yield is old-fashioned crop insurance, says Grimes, something that was used in the 1980s. Revenue crop insurance is much more popular today in the Midwest, she adds. It is protecting a producer’s yield and price using established formulas based on the Chicago
Beef has been produced in America for a couple of centuries. For many decades, it was business as usual and very little changed. Today, the industry moves at warp speed and our ability to improve both production and quality is unprecedented. Hinkle’s Prime Cut Angus is committed to keeping pace through total AI and ET, genomic testing and the disciplined use of high accuracy, progeny proven sires. Our focus is your profitability. Join us on October 15 and make your genetic selections from cattle designed to work in your operation and take advantage of value-added opportunities to increase profitability.
FALL BULL SALE Monday, October 15, 2018
Kenny & Janyce Hinkle 14103 E. Summers Rd. Nevada, MO 64772 Phone/Fax: (417) 944-2219 Kenny’s Mobile: (417) 448-4127 KennyHPCA@gmail.com Trevor Hinkle: (417) 684-1122 Blake Baker: (417) 448-4384
12 Noon n At the farm n Nevada, Missouri
Selling 115 Angus Bulls i50K & Method Genetics tested n Sired by high accuracy, progeny proven sires n Performance tested and ready to go to work! n
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F&R Livestock Resource page 9
that works to protect a farmer’s gross margin for his entire crop operation, meaning a producer is insuring a percentage of his or her total farm revenue, explains Grimes. Corn, soybeans, hay, everything is covered. Using traditional means of insurance, many times crops such as hay and forages are not insurable, so it allows the producer to be much more encompassed in his coverage. However, livestock cannot be covered. PCI requires a five-year farm history and insures a producer for the calendar/marketing year. “You are insuring a percentage of your gross margin plus 100 percent of the inputs of fertilizer, seed, chemicals that you use to be able to make that crop,” says Grimes. “The reason they use fertilizer, seed and chemicals is because those are the three things you have got to do in order to produce a crop. “It can be used in conjunction with our traditional multi-peril products in order to allow the producer to be able to realize some of the subsidies that the RMA allows them to. They kind of have the best of both worlds,” she notes.
Here’s How it Works At the beginning of the year, a producer insures for $400 per acre for fixed margin, things like land, labor, buildings and equipment. He thinks he’s going to spend $200 per acre in seed, fertilizer and chemical inputs. In total, he is insured at $600 per acre going into the planting of his crop. It’s a wet year, so he has to put on an additional $30 per acre of chemical fungicide. Instead of the $200 per acre in inputs he planned to spend, he actually applies a total of $230 per acre. PCI always covers 100 percent of total seed, fertilizer and chemical costs, so the insurance is adjusted to cover the producer at $630 per acre instead of the original $600 per acre. In the fall, the producer sells his crop for $590 per acre. PCI kicks in and makes up the difference. “What PCI does is it wants you to utilize good farming practices and be able to try to raise a crop however you need to,” states Grimes. “You’ve insured a level of gross margin on a per acre basis ($400 per acre) plus all your inputs ($200 per acre), so if you have
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Grimes says nine times out of 10, if analyzed and put together right, there is a benefit to be able to see how these programs would work into a farming/ranching system.
Mike Scherer, Ag Risk Solutions
to spend that extra money ($30 per acre) it doesn’t penalize you for doing so by trying to raise that crop. It’s truly a program that promotes good farming practices and encourages good solid production. “It is extremely unique in that you’re working with a maximum revenue that you can protect, and then based on what you spend on the crop, that is how it changes.” Because PCI is based on the producer’s actual farm past history, he can use the insurance to his advantage. Grimes explains if a producer is a strong marketer (he has sold his crop for more money than the average producer has), he can insure his crop for more dollars than what the crop was worth on the Chicago Board of Trade that spring. It takes into account the crop basis. An individual grain basis, says Grimes, is the plus or minus of whatever a producer’s local market is above or below the Chicago Board of Trade’s number. For example, in the central and western Corn Belt it is common to sell a crop for 30¢, 40¢, 50¢, or even 60¢ below the Chicago Board of Trade’s price. Traditional crop insurance only uses the Chicago Board of Trade’s number, but when the crop is sold it may not meet that price. PCI bases its predictions on the price for which a producer has actually sold his crop, she describes. While PCI is an exciting product for crop farmers, insurance agents want livestock producers to know they aren’t left in the weeds; PRF insurance is here to help.
Pasture, Rangeland and Forage PRF is a USDA administered and subsidized product that acts as a way for ranchers to insure hay acres and pasture acres against lack of precipitation, explains Michael Scherer, president of Ag Risk Solutions in Atchison, Kan., and the son of a working farmer. It is a newer product on the insur-
As a fifth generation seedstock supplier, our business depends on the ability to harness ranch management experience, proven genetics, science, technology and industry connectivity. We then parlay those skills into producing Angus cattle that fit the industry, are profitable for our customers, their customers and satisfies a very diverse consumer. Because of our connectivity to the food chain, our goal has always been to produce quality beef. We, and our customers, achieve that goal on a daily basis—calving ease, early growth, moderate stature and end product performance that earns real world premiums. In a truly sustainable beef production system, marbling matters! If you are a progressive beef producer using high accuracy tools, it’s your competitive edge. Why settle for less? Educating the next generation and involvement in our rural communities and other industry sectors are vital. If we are among the 2% fortunate enough to earn a living managing precious resources and producing food for a hungry planet, we have a responsibility and a challenge.
Continue to improve the product using proven tools, genetics and sound science. Build relationships. Protect our resources.
Fall Bull Sale 14th Annual
Monday n September 24 n 9 AM Henry & Nan Gardiner Marketing Center n At the ranch near Ashland, Kansas
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“The most interesting thing… is that as we’ve introduced it to ranchers, there’s been a lot of interest in it and seeing not only the return that you’re going to get because of the subsidy but…I think they also see the risk management side of it and the peace of mind that can bring in those rough years.” —Mike Scherer
ance scene, only becoming available in all 48 states in 2016. Unlike most crop insurances, which are based on actual yield harvested at the end of the season, PRF uses a grid system of approximately 15-mile by 15-mile sections that span the United States. More than 50 years of historical rainfall data determine a specific grid’s
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expected amount of precipitation for any 2-month interval: June-July, July-August, September-October, etc. If rainfall is less than the historical average for a certain interval, there is a payout.
The Concept is Simple Enough “That basically tells you, if you choose 90 percent coverage, and if the actual precipitation in your grid in the two months you chose is less than 90 percent of the historical average, it’s going to trigger a payment.” A nice feature of PRF is the automatic claims process. Once the local certified weather station gets the final precipitation number for that time period, the insurance company uses the number to calculate if there’s a claim due. If there is, they send a check. Now, here’s where it can get complicated and it pays to have a knowledgeable agent at your side. Each county has a different base value (payout margin) for hay and a base value for pasture. Hay acres are considered to be worth more, says Scherer. The producer can adjust that using the productivity factor, which ranges from 60 percent of that county base value all the way up to 150 percent. The idea, Scherer explains, is that for whatever reason if the producer feels like his ground is more productive or less productive than the county average, he can adjust for it. “We can use that to tweak it and make sure you get the right amount of coverage and maybe lower or raise the premium.” Ag Risk Solutions has built its own analysis tool specifically for PRF to try to eliminate some of the guesswork. The tool pulls up the producer’s grid and allows him to look at the last 50 years of loss data to see exactly how PRF would have paid him if he had been carrying it those years. “With most crop insurance, you can’t do that,” says Scherer, “because it’s going to be based on your own production history, but with this being based off of certain precipitation, we get to look back at historical data and get a lot more information.” Grimes adds that unlike traditional crop insurance where a producer has to insure all of his acres, PRF allows a
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producer the flexibility to insure as few or as many acres of hay or pasture as he wishes. “What we are finding is that it has worked to be extremely advantageous to the producers because it will give them the funds to be able to go buy additional feedstuffs when they are short,” she says.
[Grimes] says some of her intervals have paid, some haven’t; however, she firmly believes PRF has always made up the difference when it had to. It has always made up for any shortage.
Proving PRF Grimes speaks from personal experience when it comes to PRF. She and her husband John own a registered Angus and SimAngus™ seedstock operation, Maplecrest Farms. As an insurance agent, Grimes resolved that if she was going to sell PRF to her customers, she needed to have faith in it herself. In the first year she purchased PRF insurance, she insured only pasture. “I knew that with the amount of cows that we were stocking, if we had a dry year, I was going to have to buy feed to get them through the summer. I experimented with it a little bit,” she notes. The next year she added a percentage of her hay acreage to the policy.
“For our particular area, we did the summer months of July, August, September and October. “We usually have plenty of moisture
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in the spring, but if I don’t have rain through the summer, then I have got to start supplementing feed, and I have nothing to feed up until we start having snow, where we have to feed hay. My emphasis was for mid-late summer, early fall to cover those needs.” Like Scherer, Grimes used an analysis tool to pick the right intervals looking at the past 10 years. Grimes has used PRF for three years now. She says some of her intervals have paid, some haven’t; however, she firmly believes PRF has always made up the difference when it had to. It has always made up for any shortage.
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Scherer readily admits that as a consumer, even he, an insurance agent, is skeptical of some insurance products. However, he is surprised at how quickly producers in his area have become interested in specifically PRF and are willing to try it out. “The most interesting thing I think,” observes Scherer, “is that as we’ve introduced it to ranchers, there’s been a lot of interest in it and seeing not only the return that you’re going to get because of the subsidy but…I think they also see the risk management side of it and the peace of mind that can bring in those rough years.” As both an insurance agent and a rancher, Grimes says nine times out of ten, if analyzed and put together right, there is a benefit to be able to see how these programs would work into a farming/ranching system. She says her number one reason for knowing these products work, especially PRF, is her customers come back and add more acres every year. If you are interested in learning more about crop insurance in general, PCI or PRF you may contact Grimes with ICAP at 937-763-1198 or ICAPCrop.com and Ag Risk Solutions at 877-556-0588 or visit Ag-RiskSolutions.com or email Solutions@ Ag-Risk-Solutions.com.
Some Pennies Matter More By Wes Ishmael
Editor’s Note: Noble’s presentation and others from this year’s Cattlemen’s College are available through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Learning Center. It makes little sense to trip over the proverbial dollar in search of the odd penny that can be saved. It’s just as defeating to ignore pools of copper that can be had for the investment of a few dollars. “Future efficiencies and profits will not be mutually exclusive efforts to controlling costs and increasing revenues. Instead, success will come from optimizing expenses and performance by building a production system that will yield the lowest unit cost of production for the most valuable calf that can be produced in the operational environment.” Clay Mathis, director of the King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management made that statement at the annual Beef Improvement Federation meeting in 2016. His presentation was entitled, “Making the cow herd more efficient and profitable by 2036: Where do we focus our efforts for the biggest impact?” It came to mind listening to Ryan Noble of Noble Ranch, LLC at Yuma, Colorado, who was a speaker at this year’s Cattlemen’s College sponsored by Zoetis. “You need to ask yourself, in this day and age that we operate in, is it really feasible to spend large amounts of capital, real dollars and cents on an inferior production system that will take you 1,000 days to analyze whether or not is effective?” Noble asked. The production system Noble refers to is a replacement heifer and the approximate length of time between her selection and when her first calf is marketed at harvest. “That’s a considerable amount of time to invest in an animal without having any idea of how it’s going to
“By having solid genomic evaluation, ranked against a large pool of contemporary animals, we can identify the animals that will not perform profitably, the cattle that will fall out along the production chain.” —Ryan Noble
perform,” Noble explained. Then he illustrated the exponential value of time. If you keep the heifer until she’s 5 years old, she’s spent about 1,825 days at your place; 2,555 days if she stays until she’s 7. She’ll log approximately 3,650 days in your ownership if she sticks around until she’s 10. Figure she celebrates a decade in your herd, and assume she’s in a herd
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Just For Fun by Ted Foulkes
“I’m tellin’ ya, this Raspberry Chocolate Truffle is absolutely bursting with flavor.” of 275 with a similar productive life. That’s 1 million cow days, Noble says. He started pondering all of that harder, back in 2014 when just about any steer calf breathing was bringing $1,500 right off the cow; about $100 back for heifer mates. “By keeping a heifer calf and breeding her, we were signing up for $2,475 in expenses before we sold her first calf,” Noble explains. “We had never in our lives spent so much money on commercial cows.” With so many dollars at stake in selecting heifers that could return the most value, Noble Ranch started using the genomic profiling tool known as GeneMax® Advantage™. If you’re unfamiliar, it is a genomic test for commercial Angus replacement females. Among other things, it provides users with several economic index scores, as well as genomic predictions for a
number of individual traits. No, this isn’t a commercial for that particular test, or even for the technology itself, though there is growing evidence that it merits consideration. Instead, this is an example of one producer seeing the need and opportunity to take an already productive herd to a new level of profit opportunity, one who identified a cost-effective tool that could help. In this particular case, the tool cost $28 per head of every head tested. Rather than look at the cost, though, Noble considered the potential relative to the cost. If the tool could boost production by just 10¢ per head per day or decrease cost by that much, Noble knew he’d recover his per-head investment in about 9 months. He also knew there were a number of ways— measured by the tool—that this could be accomplished.
GeneMax measures for boosting production include maternal calving ease, weaning weight, heifer pregnancy and maternal weight. Measures for decreasing cost include milk production and the ability to identify outliers for cow cost. Moreover, Noble figured if he could pick up a dime at both ends (a total of 20¢ per cow per day) that would mean about $73 per cow per year. That’s before considering the increased value of heifers from those cows kept back in his herd. Noble uses data generated with the tool to identify and cull underperforming cattle. The data also allows him to strategically breed cows in order to correct shortcomings. Along the way, his herd is producing calves with more genetic merit and value, be they replacement females or calves heading to the stocker pasture or feedlot.
“By having solid genomic evaluation, ranked against a large pool of contemporary animals, we can identify the animals that will not perform profitably, the cattle that will fall out along the production chain,” Noble says. That also means reducing the herd culling rate, which Noble says is a key economic benefit. “There are two things that really drain profit out of a cow herd,” Nobel says. “One is the cost of developing replacement heifers. The other is depreciation of cows. What causes cows to depreciate? Mostly, it’s open cows. That alone can represent a non-cash cost of $150 or more per cow per year on an average ranch.” By using GeneMax, he says his herd’s three-year average culling rate of 15-17 percent declined to less than two percent. “Almost every heifer calf we raise now out of these cows has breeding heifer potential,” Noble says. “Historically, the cheapest commodity we produced on our ranch was a non-breeding heifer calf. Now, the most valuable commodity we sell from our ranch is a bred heifer or bred cow. We have all but eliminated the second cut of heifers from our program.” Noble emphasizes the genomic test is a tool, rather than a rule. In his specific case, he’s referring to the fact that you can’t simply sort and select replacement heifers on paper. You still have to ensure the structure, phenotype and all the rest fit your herd, environment and goals. Perhaps more broadly, it’s not even the tool that helped Ryan add daily cow revenue, at least not at first. The only reason Noble found a tool is because he went looking for one. And the only reason he went looking for one is because he wanted to find a more effective way to accomplish specific things like reducing average cull cow costs and increasing confidence in heifer selections before pouring so much investment into them. “There is no silver bullet to success, but cow-calf producers interested in making improvement will adapt their production system with a focus on optimizing labor, purchased feed and depreciation in a way that minimizes unit cost of production,” Mathis said. “Successful operations will employ proven technology with a positive return on investment, diligently market calves and cull cows to their highest value, and manage price risk effectively. Producers should focus on maintaining or improving genetics of the cow herd with reasonable expectations for improved performance and a careful consideration for the marginal value of performance change. Central to the decisions for optimizing performance of the cow herd should be an effort to maintain a high level of heterosis.
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Beyond Transparency By Wes Ishmael
Arguably, there has never been more opportunity for agricultural production around the world, especially red meat production, and beef production, specifically. For one thing, like it or not, we’re living during an age when there are always more people, never fewer. Depending on the statistics you look at, the global population is pegged at 9.6 to 9.8 billion people by 2050. It’s about 7.6 billion today. Closer to home, the current U.S. population was about 326 million last year. It’s projected to be around 400 million in 2050, again, depending on what projections you believe. So about 26.3 percent more people globally (using the low end of estimates) and 22.6 percent more domestically. We’re also living during a time of enormous growth in global middle class wealth. Global middle class spending will reach $51 trillion by 2030, up from $35 trillion last year, according to Michael Uetz, managing principal of Midan Marketing, a marketing firm serving meat industry clients, focused on demographic trends. Speaking at the recent World Meat Congress (WMC) in Dallas, Uetz noted that middle class population is projected to grow from 3.2 billion last year to 5.2 billion in 2030. Unfortunately, for some of us of a certain age, trying to understand what the growing majority of these consumers want and how they think—really understanding and believing—is already slightly harder than roping a shadow. We’ve heard lots about the millennial generation (born approximately 1981-1996) for a long spell now, and for good reason.
“Millennials, some 2.3 billion strong (worldwide) are the largest generation in history and are about to move into their prime spending years and change how we do business for decades,” Uetz explains. “Consumers in the millennial generation are the ones asking the most questions about how farmers and ranchers raise their food,” according to, Millennials are Key to Beef Consumer Marketing (MKBCM), from the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. “Checkoff-funded consumer market research shows us that the key generation for beef marketing—millennials—practically live on their computer devices. They tell us that they get virtually all of their information online, then use that information to draw conclusions and make important decisions about agriculture and the food they eat.” That’s both good and bad for beef. On the one hand, 65 percent of the general public wants to know more about their food, according to Roxi Beck, Consumer Engagement Director for The Center for Food Integrity (CFI). On the other hand, the gap continues to grow between what the beef industry knows and what consumers perceive. Beck shared ongoing CFI research with WMC participants. In 2017, 55 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed strongly agreed that if farm animals are treated decently and humanely, they have no problem consuming meat milk and eggs. That was down from 61 percent a year earlier. In the same research last year, only 25 percent believe U.S. meat is derived from humanely treated animals. That was down from 38 percent a year earlier.
“Global middle class spending will reach $51 trillion by 2030, up from $35 trillion last year.” —Michael Uetz to get you a ‘C’ on your report card. In ‘Tomorrowland,’ you’re going to have to offer proof that the story you are living is real—which is a step beyond transparency.” Fromm (the best-selling author of books that include Marketing to Millennials, Millennials with Kids and Marketing to Gen Z) also shared insights at the WMC. “We live in an era of radical transIn a similar vein, at WMC, Justin Ransom, senior director, Sustainable Food Strategy at Tyson Foods shared some of that company’s ongoing consumer research. It had to do with the importance of company practices and policies in consumer purchasing decisions. Respondents ranking these as very important: 48 percent avoids inhumane treatment of animals; 45 percent provides safe working conditions; 31 percent truly cares about communities where it does business (more later). As for millennials, specifically, according to the MKBCM, “They use social-media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to get beef recipes and information about beef and the beef industry. In addition, they share their thoughts about beef and beef production through these platforms. And they look online for what their fellow consumers are saying about beef, then look online elsewhere to see if the information is scientifically sound.” In other words, these consumers want more than what has commonly been regarded as transparency and they’ll tell everyone, plus three cousins, what they find. Ransom shared an interesting observation from Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit: “A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is; it is what customers tell each other it is.” “Today’s consumer is a ‘pro-sumer,’ which means they are going to co-create their story and it’s about ‘Brand Me,’” explains Jeff Fromm, a partner at Barkley, a company that assists with establishment and enhancement of brands and helps businesses identify emerging consumer trends. “And the reality is, that consumer has a lot of expectations. They expect to have a seat at the table. And if you’ve heard in the past that it’s just about being transparent, our research suggests that’s going
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parency where internal culture is as important as a company’s external message,” Uetz says. “Millennial moms are leading the transparency movement; 86 percent would pay more for a product with full transparency.” The generation after the millennials, Generation Z (born after the millennials and up to about 2012), are at least as demanding. Uetz says that generation will account for 2.56 billion of global population and 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. According to Uetz, consumer expectations regarding transparency have evolved and include questions such as: Is it healthy, organic, locally produced, GMO-free, minimally processed? Is it safe long-term; was the worker treated fairly; was the animal
“Millennials, some 2.3 billion strong (worldwide), are the largest generation in history and are about to move into their prime spending years and change how we do business for decades.” —Michael Uetz
treated humanely; is it environmentally sensitive; is it ethically sourced? That doesn’t necessarily say what they want the answer to be, but that
they expect an answer. As Fromm said earlier, “You’re going to have to offer proof that the story you are living is real.”
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Consider Tyson Foods. Ransom shared highlights from that company’s 2017 Sustainability Report, its goals and progress. Among them: Reduce our environmental impact as we feed the world • Achieve a 12 percent reduction in water use intensity by 2020 • Achieve a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 Educational assistance to employees • $837,497 in 2017 Support communities they serve • 38.8 million lbs. hunger relief product donations (2017) • 1.58 million lbs. non-hunger relief product donations (2017) • $50 million in cash or in-kind donations to fight hunger by 2020 Of course, there is a lot about livestock in that report, too, from the third-party audits of livestock and suppliers to the company’s animal well-being policy and commitment and mission statement. Head to that section of their website, as an example: “To drive a culture of responsible animal welfare, all team members across the enterprise receive high-level training in animal well-being as part of our general compliance training. Team members in positions that require live animal handling also must complete rigorous animal welfare training before working with live animals. Our animal well-being specialists ensure that this training is delivered, updated and customized to each position—from catch crews and livestock haulers to team members in breeding houses and those who handle live animals at plants…” Consumers are demanding more of those who supply their food, including grocery stores, restaurants and the like. In turn, these are demanding more from their suppliers, like Tyson. Ultimately, these demands are passed along to producers. The good news is that in most every case, producers are already providing what consumers are demanding, along the lines of things like humane livestock care and environmental stewardship. It’s a matter of continuing to improve and becoming more proactive about sharing the information.
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Markets—So Far, So Good By Wes Ishmael
“When demand is pulling everything, supply takes care of itself,” says Derrell Peel, extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. That’s an apt description of cattle markets overall and how they’ve come through the heaviest fed cattle supplies in about a decade with what some would call remarkable strength. “On balance, I would say the feeder cattle market is stronger than anticipated for this point in the cattle cycle,” says Glynn Tonsor, agricultural economist at Kansas State University (KSU). “This is a testament to overall beef demand strength.” Through mid-July, cash fed cattle prices remained higher than many expected. Feeder cattle prices were starting to stir from their seasonal slumber. Calf prices were holding together, supported by the latter two. Although wholesale beef prices were still searching for a seasonal ebb, the price for middle meats were running ahead of last year for the same time period. Increased beef production (forecast about four percent higher this year) is applying some pressure, of course, but demand continues to clear the market at profit-possible prices for many in each sector. Although Peel projects beef production increasing another 1.5-2.5 percent next year, he notes that supply pressure will begin to moderate. Moving through the second half of this year, broiling trade issues (more later) will likely be the wildest card. Tabling those issues for the moment, the remainder of the year looks almost as positive as last year, which proved a pleasant surprise.
Taking the Medicine Early Whether you want to call it less price pressure or more support, the number of cattle placed in feedlots earlier than normal from last fall through the spring means the volume for the remainder of the year will be less than it would have been otherwise. July’s monthly “Cattle on Feed” report points in that direction. “Throughout the winter and extending into the summer months, drought conditions have plagued the Great Plains area, squeezing hay and roughage supplies,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in July’s “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook” (LDPO). “During the winter, many calves directed to feedlots might page 22
have otherwise stayed on pastures until the spring. This limited the expectation for strong cattle placements in feedlots this spring. However, as the drought expanded into the intermountain region, available summer pastures may have become restricted as well. As a result, some stocker operations may have placed cattle in the second quarter instead of waiting until third quarter. This is likely observed in the year-over-year increase in both volume and percentage of total placements of calves weighing under 600 pounds in May 2018.” Dry conditions that spawned the earlier placements could worsen and further alter some fall marketing plans, but so far, Peel has yet to see producers having to switch gears to any significant degree. Short of sharp deterioration in current conditions, he believes the impact will continue to be minimal. Referencing data assembled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center, Peel said projections called for steer calf prices in the Southern Plains to be about 4.5 percent less this fall than last. He emphasizes that’s in comparison to surprisingly strong prices last year. This year’s average feeder cattle price for steers weighing 750-850 pounds (basis Oklahoma City) is estimated at $141-$144/cwt., compared to last year’s average of $145.08, according to ERS. The July LDPO pegs feeder prices in the third quarter at $140-$144. That’s $6 more on the lower end of the range than the previous month’s estimate and $4 more on the upper end. The
fourth-quarter estimate is $136-$144, compared to the previous month’s projections of $134-$142. First-quarter feeder steer prices next year are projected at $133-$143. “At this point, the overall supply situation of feeder cattle in 2018 is fairly well understood, leaving changes in demand (domestic beef demand, export beef demand, or demand tied to feedstuff prices) central to any price changes that occur between now and September-October,” Tonsor says. “Risk-averse producers may consider locking in prices to establish base prices, which likely correspond with positive returns for average-cost or lower-cost production operations and remove exposure to possible adverse demand developments.” If feed is marginal or you’re betting on more price pressure as the fourth quarter progresses, marketing calves sooner rather than later might make sense, according to Peel. However, he explains, “The average annual price probably won’t be much different, but there will likely be more seasonal pressure on calf prices this fall than there was last year.” “I suspect some producers who previously would see the market project attractive values of gain associated with not selling calves at weaning will be less able or excited than in other years,” Tonsor explains. “Stated differently, actual cost of gain in some regions is likely higher, given the drought, which may reduce some interest in wintering
“At this point, the overall supply situation of feeder cattle in 2018 is fairly well understood, leaving changes in demand (domestic beef demand, export beef demand, or demand tied to feedstuff prices) central to any price changes that occur between now and September-October.” —Glynn Tonsor
programs in the most drought-impacted areas of the country.” Improving projected cattle feeding returns also boost support for calf and feeder cattle prices. ERS projects fed steer prices (5-area direct, weighted average) at $107$111/cwt. in the third quarter and at $108-$116 in the fourth. The projected annual average price is $114-$117, compared to $121.52 last year. Next year’s annual is forecast at $113-$122. Although most cash-to-cash estimates of cattle feeding returns are negative for the remainder of the year, returns are projected to be significantly more robust than just a few months ago. According to the most recent KSU “Historical and Projected Kansas Feedlot Net Returns”, estimated net returns for fed steers in Kansas feedlots decline from -$219.02/head in June to -$35.30 in December. Net returns for heifers decline from -$180.06 in June to -$15.50 in December. Keep in mind these returns are calculated on a cash basis without taking into account price risk management. “If realized fed cattle basis continues to be stronger than projected, that will further improve returns,” Tonsor says. “Despite firm feeder cattle prices in June and early July, the projected feedlot margin for feeding out a 750 pound calf appears to have improved, and with lower corn price forecasts for the current and following marketing years, demand for calves for finishing may increase, supporting higher feeder calf prices,” say ERS analysts. In the meantime, every source you can find indicates that beef packers continue to windrow profits this year, on their way to an even stronger year than last year’s record. In other words, as has been the case going back a year ago, every sector has incentive to keep cattle moving through the supply chain.
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Cow Herd Likely Reaching Plateau Although some point to cow slaughter rates as an indication of ending expansion, Peel points out the average annual net culling rate is just now getting back to its long-term average of 9.5 percent after years of intensive expansion. By the way, that rate is derived by dividing annual beef cow slaughter by the January 1 beef cow herd inventory. By that measure, it reached a cyclical low of 7.6 percent in 2015, Peel says. It was just under 9 percent last year. Peel projects this year’s rate at 9.6 percent. With that said, Peel suspects the beef cow herd is reaching a plateau in numbers. “I’m encouraged by the fact that it doesn’t look like we’re overshooting the mark with herd size,” Peel says. “It looks like we have some stability with the current herd size.” All cattle and calves July 1 were estimated at 103.2 million head, in the recent mid-year Cattle inventory report from USDA. That’s 0.98 percent more (+1 million head) than the same time last year. Beef cows of 32.5 million head are 0.93 percent more (+300,000 head ) than last year. Beef replacement heifers of 4.6 million head, though are 2.13 percent less (-100,000 head) than last year.
This year’s calf crop is estimated at 36.5 million head, which would be 1.93 percent more (+691,800 head) than last year.
Mid-Year Inventory, Trade Issues Shadow Potential “Obviously, there are some big, black cards hanging around markets,” Peel says. “All of the risks are really outside of the cattle market currently.” Most would say the bevy of trade disputes involving the United States cast the darkest shadow of uncertainty. There’s the lack of resolution to renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with key U.S. trading partners, Canada and Mexico. There’s the tariffs levied by the U.S. on steel and aluminum imported by those and other countries. Then, there’s the brewing trade war with China that could threaten domestic and global economic growth. The U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff (June 15) on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, as penalty for unfair trade practices, including theft of U.S. intellectual property and technology. Those tariffs began July 6. A day later, in retaliation, China announced it would impose new tariffs on about $50 billion worth of U.S. imports, including soybeans and pork.
Shortly after, President Trump directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. “Trade concerns pose the single greatest risk to the projected global economic growth of 3-4 percent,” says Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The U.S. and China have been driving the growth, benefitting emerging markets around the globe. A trade war between the two is dangerous for economies around the world.” Moreover, according to CoBank’s most recent Rural Economic Review, uncertainty around trade presents escalating concern to U.S. agriculture, with 70 percent of U.S. agriculture exports going to destinations involved with current U.S. trade negotiation or disputes. “Aside from potentially losing market share in emerging markets, the U.S. may face shake-ups in historical supply chain commitments, as competitors seek new trade relationships amid current trade disputes,” according to the report. Directly or indirectly, all of the above could apply pressure to domestic beef demand and related prices. In the meantime, while most consider domestic demand stronger than anticipated, everyone agrees interna-
tional demand for U.S. beef is nothing less than extraordinary. U.S. beef exports set a new monthly value record in May at $722.1 million, which was 24 percent more than a year earlier and 4 percent more than the previous record, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation in July. In terms of volume, May beef exports of 117,871 metric tons (mt) were the sixth most on record. Through the first five months of this year, total U.S. beef exports were up 10 percent in volume to 547,157 mt, while export value was 21 percent more than last year’s record pace at $3.32 billion. Beef export value averaged $313.39 per head of fed slaughter in May, up 18 percent from a year ago. The January-May average was $317.69 per head, also up 18 percent. “We’ve been focused on demand and we’ll continue to be focused on demand,” Peel says. “Exports were clearly a key in 2017 and 2018, and will be going forward.” Hopefully negotiators will heed market comments Peel made in early April, when trade tensions intensified: “As we work through the escalating trade tensions that are currently roiling markets, it will be beneficial if all sides remember that trade adds value and is not a zero-sum game.”
Cost-Free Quality Drives Beef Demand
By Miranda Reiman
“Is marbling a free trait?” The question was put to Mark McCully, vice president of production for the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand at the Beef Improvement Federation meeting in Loveland, Colo. His answer? Basically. “The data that’s out there from a cow standpoint says we’re really in a pretty good spot,” McCully said, adding he’d like to see even more research. There are a few correlations between marbling and some other traits such as milk production, but cattlemen can select accordingly, he said. “It’s a pretty positive story for us as an industry: there’s not going to be a sacrifice of cow function in our pursuit of improving the quality of our end product.” The cost must show up in the feedyard, critics say, but performance and quality are more simultaneous than mutually exclusive, McCully said. He shared an analysis of 600 pens of high- and low-grading cattle (10 percent Prime and 0.6 percent Prime) fed at Five Rivers Cattle Feeding yards across the High Plains. The
June-to-October 2017 closeouts showed feed efficiency and average daily gains were the same with the higher grading pens having a slight cost of feed advantage at $0.70 per pound of gain compared to $0.72. The lower quality cattle finished at 1,358 pounds, giving up more than 40 pounds of final weight to their higher quality counterparts. “I hear that a lot, ‘These high grading cattle… you’re going to have to sacrifice performance,’” McCully said. “Data we see every day would definitely dispel that idea.” That’s good news for those trying to match their cattle to market signals. The National Beef Quality Audit suggests the industry should produce 5 percent Prime and 35 percent upper two-thirds Choice, but McCully said, “Maybe that’s too low.” So far in 2018, beef across the United States is grading 7.6 percent Prime, 23 percent upper two-thirds Choice and just 17 percent Select. “When you think about our competitive advantage, what we can do with genetics today and what the demand signals are,” he ventured, “I
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believe they’re telling us we need to ratchet those up a little bit.” Today, packers market more boxes of Prime and branded beef than they do Select. The amount of Prime has nearly doubled from 2010 to 2018, going from 13 million pounds to 25 million per week. At the same time, Select has dropped 40 percent in eight years. That “dramatic shift” in the marketplace came while premiums remained steady. The Prime to Select cutout spread was around $40 last year. The trends hold true for CAB, too, which will certify more than 5 million head of cattle, or 16 percent to 18 percent of the total fed-cattle supply. “Packers reported $75 million paid back to the cattle owners on grid premiums (in 2017), specifically for CAB,” McCully said. He expects the quality trend to continue, because it’s good for all segments. High marbling cattle offer feeders marketing flexibility. “We’ve been dealing with low feed costs for the last handful of years, but if we get into where we need to shorten days on feed, we’ll be able to keep sending a high quality product out to our consumers while dealing with that,” McCully said. The changing retail landscape demands more of the best beef in its pipeline. Costco has sold Prime beef for several years and WalMart now carries an upper two-thirds Choice program, for example. Larger supplies give retailers the confidence to feature beef in ads and “get very aggressive promoting high quality,” McCully said. “I don’t get the sense that they want to go backwards.” Ground beef sales have expanded with more than 100 million pounds of CAB branded grinds sold annually. “It’s no longer quality grade neutral,” he said. “That whole burger category is significantly different than it was five to ten years ago. I think that’s a demand driver.” Together, the increased focus on ground beef and innovative fabrication of end meats have helped elevate the value of those primals. “The more carcasses we merchandize into those steak items and away from low-and-slow cookery methods, marbling obviously has a bigger benefit,” he said. In export markets, it’s U.S. beef ’s “high quality, grain fed” reputation that keeps global consumers coming back, McCully said. It’s hard to make predictions 25 or
Mark McCully, Certified Angus Beef®
50 years out, but all the clues point in the same direction. “I have a hard time finding a business model that doesn’t say if you increase the quality of your product, you’re going to increase demand,” he said. “We have the tools available to do this all while improving efficiency and reducing our cost of production.”
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Better Beef Through Better Health Reduce the use of antibiotics by making every day a good day for your calves By Randall K. Spare, DVM
The beef industry has encountered many opportunities in 2018 with increased demand for our product. The public, by purchasing beef at a rapid rate, is saying they like our product. We are finding favor in many ways with a product that is delicious, affordable, predictable and safe. However, there are challenges in front of us concerning the use of antibiotics to produce this product. From an animal welfare standpoint, we must continue to judiciously use antibiotics in relieving pain and suffering. Of all the antibiotics used in the beef industry, only one and one-half percent is used in the cow calf sector. With that being said, individual management practiced while the calf is on the cow will determine the amount of antibiotics used the rest of that calf ’s life. We have the tools and information available to make every day a good day in the life of that calf.
As a cow calf producer, the management choices we make determine how healthy that calf will be until harvest. Cornerstones of this healthy mindset are nutrition, health management, temperament, and genetics. In this article, the discussion will center around the impact of intentional nutritional management in the cow herd as it relates to insuring safe and healthy passage from conception to harvest for the calf. Innate immunity starts early in conception. In the past ten years, we have learned that protein and energy content of the dam’s diet throughout gestation will influence calf health and robust calf vigor throughout the offspring’s life. Even though a cow may become pregnant on a marginal nutrition profile, the health of the calf will likely be compromised when the plane of nutrition is below the National Research Council (NRC) requirements
Randall Spare, DVM, Ashland Veterinary Center
during each stage of gestation. Colostral immunity, or passive transfer of immunity to the newborn, is also a predictor of a healthy newly weaned calf. Those calves that do not receive adequate immunoglobulins or fail to absorb those large protein molecules in the first 24 hours of life, are more likely to become sick or need treatment late in life. Often when I am treating a calf less than 400 pounds, sick with respiratory disease or scours, I ask about the dam of the calf. Is it a heifer? Is it an old cow? Does the dam have mastitis? Was the calf an orphan? Is the calf a twin? What was the body condition of the dam at birth? Does the dam have a temperament issue? What is the age of the dam? All of these conditions influence the amount and quality of colostrum and the absorption. When a calf does not receive all the colostral immunity it needs, it is more likely to requirement treatment or die. Finally, as immunity develops in a calf, understanding nutritional stressors at or near weaning present obstacles too difficult for the animal to overcome without antibiotic assistance. When a calf can be weaned on page 28
It is our responsibility to create an opportunity for each day to be a good day in a calf’s life by making good nutritional decisions for the cow herd. the ranch without changing the diet or ration, physical and emotional stress on the animal is drastically reduced. Often large groups of calves can be weaned at 100-150 days of age prior to leaving the pasture. These calves may or may not need supplement to maintain a positive plane of nutrition depending on the forage available. But, if calves are weaned near the cow, therefore, reducing the emotional stress, it’s highly likely the calf will not need to be treated with antibiotics. As cow calf producers, we must think about the opportunities to assure good calf health as they leave the ranch. It is our responsibility to create an opportunity for each day to be a good day in a calf ’s life by making good nutritional decisions for the cow herd.
Editor’s message continued
HUMANE BLOODLESS DRUG FREE
Continued from page 3 _____________________________________
a quantum leap to wrap our heads around the realities of millenials and beyond buying preferences. While this generation may ask the most questions about how their food is sourced and raised, they are also the generation driving the online grocery shopping statistic rapidly upward. According to Statista.com, online grocery shopping accounted for more than $14 billion in 2017. By 2021, Statista projects online grocery sales to exceed $29 billion. Although still a small percentage of total grocery sales at three percent, online shopping is the fastest growing segment and predicted to grow to 10 percent in two short years. What does it all mean? If the focus of today’s cow-calf producer is adding value throughout the supply chain, there’s no such thing as business as usual. Every day is a new day with new challenges that likely have nothing to do with production and everything to do with the message we communicate to a millenial consumer. This millenial consumer may not spend time comparing
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cuts of beef or reading point of sale materials. This consumer will likely search online deciding what protein to buy, how to cook it, placing an order and driving through a pick-up line at the supermarket with the only human interaction being the grocery store employee that loads the groceries in the vehicle. The fact is, Walmart is already one of the leading online food delivery services in the U.S. The good news is (and there’s plenty of good news), more than 90 percent of consumers still appreciate and see value in a full meat case stocked with high quality beef. They appreciate freshness and the opportunity to personally select a cut of beef that’s appealing to them. The best news yet is the fact there’s still more demand for USDA Choice and Prime than we can produce! Being in the food production business is fraught with challenges. In the context of SWOT, we are fortunate to have far more strengths and opportunities than weaknesses and threats.
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The World According to Hooter McCormick Fair Game Editor’s Note: Hooter’s ability to entertain and remind us not to take ourselves so seriously has been a welcome respite for decades. Welcome to the latest episode of Hooter McCormick’s misadventures. The buzz started in the exhibit hall, spread like a turbo-charged tidal wave to the pig and sheep pens, crashed up and down the beef alleys and through the carnival. The Rio Rojo County Fair had barely begun but Pinky Finkelfrack and Nelda Isselfrick were already at it again. Ever since their parents turned them loose in the inaugural greased pig contest better than 70 years ago, Pinky and Nelda had built a legendary rivalry. Ask any of the remaining bystanders what happened in that first towhead-to-towhead competition and they’ll tell you that it was Pinky who latched on to Nelda’s ponytail and gave a gargantuan yank just as she was about to wrestle an energized Duroc into submission. In response, Nelda fed Pinky a fistful of pig muck before apologetic parents could intervene. The judges suggested the girls withdraw from the competition rather than suffer the embarrassment of disqualification at the tender age of four. As their folks dragged them to the bleachers, both girls glared at each other and simmered in silent rage. The die was cast. No one could remember a year since when Pinky and Nelda hadn’t been disqualified from at least one fair competition as each tried to best the other. “Heya, Hooter!” shouted Jackson. “You best get over to the hall. Your aunt Pinky and Mrs. Isselfrick are about to throw down over the pumpkin growing contest.” Even though Pinky’s own son, Charlie (Hooter’s cousin) was there in the show ring with him, tailing obstinate steers and retrieving the odd show stick, there was no question about who needed to go and help sort things out. The first time Pinky and Hooter spied each other was when he was a baby and they recognized the bond reserved for kindred spirits. No one else, including Charlie, could understand how a God-fearing pillar of the local church and community could transform into a raging, take-no-prisoners fair jock each year. Hooter didn’t necessarily understand, either, but he did enjoy the annual showdown. To be fair, Nelda was also a pillar of the community and the church, she at Apache Flats First Baptist and Pinky at the Rio Rojo United Methodist. page 30
Both women were the first to offer a hand and give what they had. In fact, both looked like and were the kind of softhearted and wise grandmas that Norman Rockwell might paint. Stick them in the same room, though, and there wasn’t much you could imagine that one wouldn’t do to the other. “I bet it was the creosote on those ties last year,” said Jackson as Hooter trotted by. He was reminding him of the fact that Aunt Pinky was kicked out of the garden design competition at the last fair when Nelda called the judge’s attention to the fact that Pinky’s display included railroad ties dowsed in creosote, a banned substance, no less. Pinky said they weren’t like that when she brought them. She pointed a plump finger at Nelda and accused her of sabotaging the display. What could the judge do? One whiff and Pinky’s grand champion entry was disqualified, making way for the new winner, Nelda Isselfrick’s, “Flowers of the Bayou,” goldfish pond. Supposedly, Nelda’s alleged skullduggery was in retaliation for the humiliation Pinky subjected her to in the clothing design contest a year earlier. After getting the judge’s nod in the knitting division for a sporty, maroon and cream, knee-length, hooded, sweater, including two breast pockets, Pinky cried fowl, claiming the garment to be a fake. Upon further inspection, the judges found a, “Made in Mexico,” label sewn into the bottom of a pocket, and an, “Inspected by…” sticker on the back of a button. Nelda protested, but to no avail. Pinky’s entry, a yellow and orange Dr. Seuss hat with, “Go Mustangs!” emblazoned across the front in bright green letters ended up taking top honors. So it went, year after year, Pinky and Nelda figuring out new and creative ways, not to win so much as to be sure that the other one lost. Some say it’s because they are too different to ever get along. Others say it’s because they are just alike. When Hooter finally made his way to the superintendent’s office he found his Aunt Pinky and Nelda glaring at each other around the edges of a picture-perfect Atlantic Giant—symmetrical, fresh, plump and the perfect shade of an autumn sunset. Denny Bratton, fair board president, was sitting at the head of the table, waiting patiently for one of the competitors to blink first. “Seems we have a problem here,” said Denny. “Your aunt accuses Mrs. Isselfrick of doctoring her champion pumpkin.”
Pinky beamed with satisfaction, “Hooter, I swear to you if you stick your ear up against this counterfeit you can hear the ocean. It’s smaller around than my pumpkin but weighs almost twice as much. How do you explain that?” “Brains and hard work,” said Nelda, serving up extra ice. “Neither of which you’d now anything about. This is ridiculous, just another one of your trumped up pieces of fiction because you know you can’t beat me fair and square.” Before Hooter or Denny could stop her, Pinky was on her feet, leaning over the top of the goliath gourd and using her cane to pin Nelda to the chair. “Sister, I’ve beat you like a cheap drum my whole life and I’m going to keep on beating you!” Hooter had come up behind Pinky and put his arms around her in more of a full-body Nelson than a hug. “Now, Aunt Pinky, there is no reason getting all wound up, especially when you don’t know about that pumpkin one way or another.” “Thump it, boy, just thump it,” said Pinky with stern consternation. “You ain’t never heard a real pumpkin sound like that and you never will. I say she pumped it. Stick a knife into it and see what runs out. You remember that steer her niece had back in ’75? It’s a wonder he hadn’t grown webbed feet by the time they were done with him.” Nelda creaked from her chair and peered over the great orb. “Before you start talking about steers, let’s not forget that steer you died black.” “I never did any such thing and you know it,” said Pinky, struggling to free her arms. “I would’ve beat you by a mile even if he was bright purple. I know it was you and your henchmen that did it to me. I wouldn’t know how to dye one if I wanted to.” Nelda assumed the humble glow of a saint. “Now, now, just what is your true color, dear? I don’t think I even know.” With her arms pinned, Pinky’s cane quivered furiously over the top of her like a bobber on a windy day: “At least I’ve got some hair left, you lizard-skinned, bald-knobbed, pigeyed crone.” By now, winded and red, Pinky let Hooter ease her back into the chair; Denny did likewise for Nelda. “Ladies,” asked Denny, “Why in the name of Andy Jackson do you have to have a run-in every year? Why can’t you just play nice?” Both women glared at each other without saying another word. “Well, as usual, I have no choice,”
Humor said Denny. “Mrs. Finkelfrack has lodged a complaint and done so properly. Mrs. Isselfrick has denied any wrongdoing but can’t seem to explain why this ol’ pumpkin weighs enough to bust an anvil. Hooter, will you be my witness?” “Yeah, I’ll be your witness, Den, but under protest, as usual. Aunt Pinky, this had better be good. And even if you turn out to be right, I ain’t sure I believe it.” Pinky beamed warmly at her nephew. Nelda did, too, assuring him, “It’s fine, boy. I don’t blame you.” Denny cocked the middle finger beneath his thumb and gave the pumpkin a mighty thump. Rather than the expected long and hollow tone, it sounded short and dull, like tapping granite. “I don’t know about the ocean, Hooter, but I’ve never heard a pumpkin sound like that before,” said Denny, as he eyed the mammoth vegetable with increased scrutiny. Nelda stared straight ahead and showed no emotion. “Mrs. Isselfrick, I can cull it straight away, or probe it to be sure. It’s up to you.” Without even looking at the orange beauty she’d nurtured from seeds on the windowsill to seedlings in the garden, planted beneath the right moon and fed milk and shade just so, Nelda said, “Do what you must.” Denny pulled out the leather punch on his knife and jabbed it in near the stem of the pumpkin. Just like that, golden brown liquid was shooting three feet in the air like some sort of Halloween fountain. Nelda looked more resigned than shocked. Pinky slapped her knee and shouted, “See there! I told you! My dear departed Elmer taught me a thing or two about mechanicin’. I don’t know about you boys, but that looks like 50 weight oil to me.” And it was. “Well, Mrs. Isselfrick, I think you know the drill. We’ll register your denial, but we have no choice but to disqualify your entry and make this year’s reserve the new grand champion,” explained Denny. “Which would be mine,” said Pinky in a singsong voice of mock humility. Nelda never uttered another word until Denny and his witness left the room to take care of the paperwork. Then she looked Pinky square in the eye and smiled with genuine affection. “Pinky, I’ll see you here next year.” Pinky smiled back: “God willing, you sure will.”
Consolidated Paradox By Wes Ishmael
Consolidation (and concentration, in some cases) continues in agriculture, due in part to both specialization and the alarming fact that there’s lots less agricultural land remaining than many suspected. “Farm production has continued to shift to larger farms. By 2015, 51 percent of the value of U.S. farm production came from farms with at least $1 million in sales, compared to 31 percent in 1991 (adjusted for price changes),” say James MacDonald and fellow researchers in the recently published, Three Decades of Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture (TDCA), from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). MacDonald is chief of that agency’s structure, technology and productivity branch. “By 2012, 36 percent of all cropland was on farms with at least 2,000 acres of cropland, up from 15 percent in 1987,” according to the report. “The midpoint for cropland acreage, at which half of all cropland is on larger farms and half is on smaller farms, nearly doubled from 650 acres in 1987 to 1,201 acres in 2012… Consolidation in crop production has been persistent, increasing in each 5-year Census of Agriculture between 1982 and 2012…” Specialization, boosted by technology, is one of the obvious drivers of consolidation, being able to manage more acres with the same manpower. “While few farms specialize in a single crop, field crop operations increasingly grow just two or three crops, versus four to six crops previously,” explain MacDonald and fellow researchers. “Livestock production continues to shift toward farms that produce no crops, and instead rely on purchased feed.” Livestock operations continue to consolidate, too, albeit at a different pace. “In contrast to crops, consolidation in livestock appears to be episodic, with little change over some periods, interspersed with dramatic changes in farm/industry organization and farm size,” according to the report. “Such dramatic shifts have occurred in the last 25 years in U.S. dairy, egg, hog and turkey production; consolidation has continued to occur in broiler and fed cattle production, within an industry organization that was set in earlier decades.” Beef cow operations are the lone, notable exception. Yes, most of the relative production comes from
the minority of operations, but the necessary grazing land and capital investment continue to limit consolidation levels. For perspective, according to the last Census of Agriculture, 81.64 percent of the all beef cow operations had 49 or fewer beef cows and accounted for 29.79 percent of the cows. On the other end of the scale, 3.58 percent of all beef cow operations had 200 or more cows and accounted for 37.23 percent of all beef cows. By herd size, the only category that grew in 2012, compared to the prior census, were herds with one to nine head. The Census breaks herd size into eight different groups, from one to nine head to 2,500 head or more. Most of the attrition occurred among those with 20-199 head. “Cow-calf operations exhibit little consolidation. On a related note, 44 percent of pasture and grazing land (primarily used for cattle) was on ranches with at least 10,000 acres in 2012, down from 51 percent in 1987. These sectors are important because permanent pasture and grazing land accounts for over 400 million acres (45 percent) of U.S. farmland, and because over 700,000 U.S. farms have beef cows,” according to the TDCA. “Cow-calf enterprises are widespread: in 1987, 841,778 farms had beef cows. The midpoint cow-calf operation had a herd of 89 cows in that year, a bit larger than the midpoint milk cow herd. While the midpoint dairy herd grew over 1,000 percent from 1987 to 2012, the midpoint beef cow herd grew only marginally, to 110 cows, and 727,906 farms still had beef cows. Because cow-calf operations graze their animals, and often need a large land area to do so, they are a primary user of permanent pasture and rangeland in the United States. Recall that land consolidation is concentrated in cropland; consolidation in pasture and rangeland is less evident.” Despite consolidation, authors of the ERS report emphasize that most agricultural production (both crop and livestock) continues to occur on family farms. “Family farms accounted for 90 percent of farms with at least $1 million in sales in 2015, and produced 83 percent of production from million-dollar farms,” they say.
“Farm production has continued to shift to larger farms. By 2015, 51 percent of the value of U.S. farm production came from farms with at least $1 million in sales, compared to 31 percent in 1991 (adjusted for price changes).” —James MacDonald stems from how much less agricultural land there is today than just a few decades ago. “Between 1992 and 2012, almost 31 million acres of farmland were lost, equal to all the farmland in Iowa,” according to a new report from the American Farmland Trust (AFT).
“Nearly twice the area of farmland was lost than was previously shown; 11 million of those acres were among the best farmland in the nation… In less than one generation, the United States irrevocably developed nearly 11 million acres of its best land for intensive food and crop production. While
Disappearing Ag Land Paradoxically, the argument can be made that some of the consolidation F&R Livestock Resource page 31
“Cow-calf operations exhibit little consolidation. On a related note, 44 percent of pasture and grazing land (primarily used for cattle) was on ranches with at least 10,000 acres in 2012, down from 51 percent in 1987.”
a 3.2 percent loss does not sound devastating, it is roughly equivalent to losing one of the most productive growing regions in the United States, California’s Central Valley.” The report, Farms Under Threat: the State of America’s Farmland, summarizes the innovative AFT assessment of how much agricultural land exists in the U.S. and how much has been diverted to other uses over time. “Development disproportionately occurred on agricultural lands, with 62 percent of all development oc-
curring on farmland, and expanding urban areas accounted for 59 percent of the loss. Low-density residential development, or the building of houses on one- to 20-acre parcels, accounted for 41 percent,” according to the report. Understanding how much of the world’s prime agricultural land exists in the United States adds urgency to the revelation. “Less than six percent of the Earth’s surface is suitable for agriculture and growing food,” according
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to the report. “When climate, soils, and topography are factored into the equation, just over half of this land can be farmed without any physical constraints. Over 10 percent of the world’s arable acres are in the United States.”
Technology as Equalizer Ironically, the technology that helped foster consolidation is also helping level the playing field for operations of all sizes. “Technologies have led to increased farm size and greater consolidation. However, that does not have to be the case,” say authors of the TDCA. “An emerging example appears in dairy production, where one source of large-farm cost advantages lies in current milking systems: a single large rotary milking parlor with a crew of four to five workers can handle 2,500 to 3,000 cows three times a day, and realize significant unit cost advantages over smaller farms. Smaller operations are, however, starting to adopt robotic milking machines, which free labor (usually family labor on smaller farms) to work on herd management and crop production.
A single robot serves about 70 cows, and larger farms simply add more machines. Thus, robotic milkers appear to be ‘constant returns’ technologies, beyond 70 cows, and therefore can reduce per-unit costs more on small than on large farms, thus favoring smaller operations. More broadly, robotic systems may enhance farm productivity in the future without providing substantial scale advantages to larger farms.” For beef cattle, consider genetic evaluation and advanced reproduction technologies. Genome-enhanced expected progeny differences (EPDs) provide producers of all sizes increased precision in selecting seedstock at younger ages. Both purebred and commercial cow-calf operations are using DNA profiling to identify replacement heifer candidates with the best odds of succeeding for specific traits. Some commercial herds conduct their own genetic evaluations and have EPDs for all of their cows and calves. Likewise, reproductive technologies such as estrus synchronization and artificial insemination are available and proven for operations of all sizes.
IMI Global and International Genetic Solutions (IGS) Partner to Offer New Service to Beef Producers
Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF) (OTCQB:WFCF), the most trusted resource for independent, third-party verification of food production practices in North America, announced that its IMI Global division has established an exclusive partnership with International Genetic Solutions (IGS) to offer the IGS Feeder Profit Calculator within its suite of verification services for beef producers. The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator utilizes the largest and most comprehensive set of management and genetic data available in the beef industry to calculate the Relative Value of feeder calves in a one-ofa-kind, breed agnostic, independent manner. The evaluation and resulting value is based on both
management and genetic criteria. The Relative Value, as indicated on a formal certificate, enables producers to benchmark their work to continuously improve management and genetic decisions in their herds. For buyers of the cattle, it provides insight into projected feedlot and carcass trait performance and overall profit potential. “The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator is the perfect addition to our suite of value-added services for our beef producers,” said Leann Saunders, President of IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From. “We have been searching for this kind of solution for years, and feel that the IGS tool is far and away the most inclusive and sophisticated calculator available in the industry today.
By enabling beef producers to see the value their management and genetic decisions are providing to their operation, it enables them to have a benchmark from which they can make confident, knowledgeable choices about how to continuously improve their operations. As my dad has always said, ‘If you buy unknown genetics you never know if they are going to finish like an elephant or an ant.’ Knowledge matters, and the IGS Calculator provides producers with one more tool in their toolbox to make transparent, informed management decisions.” The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator will be offered to all of IMI Global’s customers at no added cost to their existing verification programs. “Deciding to establish a partner-
ship with a company like IMI Global was an easy decision for us,” said Chip Kemp, Director of IGS Commercial and Industry Operations. “Even in today’s data-driven world, this level of genetic awareness in the commercial cattle sector is woefully inadequate. Price discovery as we know it today most often does not take into account the actual performance potential of a producer’s cattle. The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator is unique in that it offers a level of genetic awareness of feeder calves that has not been previously possible in the beef business. This, combined with the progressive, market-driven programs IMI Global provides, will enable their producers to market calves with the ultimate value-added package.”
K-State Beef Stocker Field Day Scheduled for September 20 Event will provide practical information to help producers make decisions in today’s dynamic beef industry.
Quality stocker production strategies, cattle pain management, livestock theft and a panel discussion on how silage fits in growing diets are among topics planned for the 2018 Kansas State University Beef Stocker Field Day Thursday, September 20. “We are excited to host the 19th annual edition of the KSU Beef Stocker Field Day,” says Dale Blasi, K-State Animal Sciences and Industry professor and beef cattle extension specialist. “Like all the other events in the past, we bring the latest information on marketing, nutrition, health and technology for attendees to apply to their operation.” Hosted at the K-State Beef Stocker Unit (4330 Marlatt Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas), the event starts with registration and coffee at 9:30 a.m. and the program at 10:15 a.m. A barbecue lunch is provided. The day ends with
KSU Beef Stocker Field Day
September 20, 2018 Kansas State University • Manhattan, Kansas KSU Beef Stocker Unit, 4330 Marlatt Avenue an evening social, the “Cutting Bull’s Lament 2018” at 5:30 p.m. featuring prairie oysters and Call Hall ice cream. Attendees will also have a chance to tour the new student housing at the Beef Stocker Unit and observe some of the new products from Moly Manufacturing Inc. Topics for this year’s agenda include: • The Role of Stocker Producer Expectations in Cattle Buying Decisions
• Producer Panel: Why Silage Fits in my Growing Diets • An Update on Pain Management in Cattle • Quality Stocker Production Considerations • The Tech Revolution, Wall Street, Baseball and the Cattle Industry • Rethinking BRD Diagnosis • Livestock Theft in Kansas • Treatment Failures that are not BRD Related This year’s event is sponsored by
Merk Animal Health. Pre-registration fee for the Beef Stocker Field Day is $25 if paid by September 13. More information and online registration is available at KSUBeef.org. After Sept. 13, attendees must pay $35 at the event. For more information, contact Lois Schreiner at 785-532-1267 or LSchrein@KSU.edu.
KSU Beef Stocker Field Day
September 20, 2018 Kansas State University • Manhattan, Kansas Beef Stocker Unit,Beef 4330Stocker Marlatt Avenue 19th annualKSU edition of the KSU Field Day
KSU Beef Stocker Field Day
F&R Livestock Resource page 33
Join us for the 2018 KSU Beef Stocker Field Day for the latest
Students Explore Animal Science Opportunities in Western Kansas Participants learned leadership skills and gained animal science knowledge at this event.
Students took part in the K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy Premier Program July 11-13 in Southwest Kansas. Six college students made up the group, all of whom had completed the traditional K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy (KASLA) hosted annually in June on the K-State campus. The Premier program allows students the opportunity to continue building their personal leadership development and expand their industry knowledge. Students earned a greater appreciation for large scale agricultural production and enhanced their leadership skills through workshops and team building activities. “The amount of people I have met through networking and tours is astounding,” said Emily Elfers. “This program has helped me grow not only as an individual, but also as a student wanting to learn through others.” This year’s class included: Emily Elfers, St. Francis; Alyssa Leslie, Inman; Brady McComb, Pratt; Joel Nelson, Soldier; Ryann Allison, Fort Scott; and Shelby Smith, Grabill, Indiana. KASLA Premier kicked off in
Greensburg, Kansas, with Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixon and community members Dennis McKinney (former State Treasurer), and Stacey Barnes. The trio discussed rural leadership with the group and shared insights on the rebuilding of their community following the 2007 tornado. Attendees then travelled to livestock operations in Southwest Kansas. The group toured Gardiner Angus Ranch, Cargill Meat Solutions, High Plains Journal, Forget-Me-Not Farms, Finney County Feeders, Reeve Cattle Co., Hi Plains Feeds, and Hy-Plains Feedyard. They also enjoyed a leadership discussion over dinner with Sam and Janet Hands in Garden City, Kansas. “In this program I have gained more than I thought imaginable. I not only gained the confidence to speak in front of a crowd, but also the understanding that everyone in this industry strives to help one another. I love learning and this program exceeds the standard for this,” Elfers added. Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council (LMIC), the
K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy Premier program attendees July 11-13 in Southwest Kansas (l to r) were: Anna Wines, Effingham, Illinois; Alyssa Leslie, Inman; Ryann Allison, Fort Scott; Shelby Smith, Grabill, Indiana; Brady McComb, Pratt; Joel Nelson, Soldier; Emily Elfers, St. Francis; and Sam Davis, Madison.
academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in this field. “Having people like the LMIC to sponsor this makes me so excited to stay in this industry with people who truly care about your ed-
New Patriot Gate Accessories To Make Your Life Easier Patriot, a trusted name in electric fencing, has recently added a range of gate accessories. The five new items were added to Patriot’s ever-expanding product line to make it easier for producers to get all their fencing needs in one place. The new line includes a gate wheel, a gate anchor, a one-way lockable gate latch, and a small or large two-way lockable gate latch. The zinc-coated gate wheel can be used with 1-5/8 inch to 2 inch OD round tube gates. Not only does the gate wheel provide a smoother and easier means of opening and closing gates, it’s designed to prevent normal sagging of gates as well. The gate anchor is designed for 1-3/4 inch to 2 inch OD round tube
ucation and your drive to be in animal science,” Elfers said. You can find out more information about the academy, by visiting youthlivestock.ksu.edu. For questions, contact Academy Director Sharon Breiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-532-6533.
gates. This handy tool is simple to use and will hold a gate open for easy livestock movement, making any shorthanded day a breeze. Finally, the three new gate latches can be opened one-handed from the inside or outside. The latches are designed for round tube gates ranging from 1-1/4 inch to 2 inch OD. The latches provide a simple and secure way to keep livestock contained and can be padlocked for increased security. Patriot is proudly owned by TruTest Group and is backed by over 70 years of experience in quality, innovative fencing. Trust Patriot to give you powerful, reliable protection for all your fencing needs. For more information, please visit patriotglobal.com or call 800-874-8494.
THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN.
Introducing the New Y-Tags™ One-Piece Tagging System from Y-Tex .
It’s high noon for old-fashioned ear tags, because the new Y-Tags one-piece tagging system is about to run them right out of town. Y-Tags feature a revolutionary new Surgi-Tip™, advanced materials and exclusive 100% PureLaser™ imprinting for superior retention, rugged durability and readability that’s guaranteed for the life of the animal. Plus, Y-Tags are a cinch to apply, no matter what brand of one-piece tagger you like to use. To learn more about the toughest tags around, visit www.y-tex.com or your nearest livestock products retailer.
Y-Tags™, Surgi-Tip™ and PureLaser™ are trademarks of Y-Tex Corporation. © 2017 Y-Tex Corporation.
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