Page 1

WINTER 2010

Do Your Part ■ Sizing up Your Cows ■ CattleFax ■


30/30 vision. see horn fly free

30 days before Ày emergence throXgh /30 days after the ¿rst frost. WKDWRI )ocXs on horn Ày control all season and see a difference in your herd. It’s a fact; cattle that are bunched-up and stressed from the constant biting of horn Àies are not gra]ing and gaining as they should be. 7he ideal horn Ày control program starts with Altosid IGR in your feed supplement 30 days before Ày emergence to manage the Àies that have overwintered in your pasture.

Then, continue Altosid IGR throughout summer and into fall until 30 days after the ¿rst frost to help reduce horn Àies overwintering again. It’s 30/30 vision that will keep your cattle peaceful, pro¿table and horn Ày free all year long. ®

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Beef up herd health and weight gain by vaccinating ® with ENDOVAC-Bovi . with IMMUNE Plus® has been shown to increase average weight gain by as much as 186 pounds over the finishing cycle compared to a control group that did not receive the vaccine.* ENDOVAC-Bovi with IMMUNE Plus offers unprecedented cross protection against E.coli, Salmonella and Pasteurella; and it provides the longest lasting immune response on the market. Call an IMMVAC representative today at 800-944-7563 — where health is a science, and customer service is an art.

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Superior Science *Research results from Dr. R. F. Sprouse’s paper “$100 More for Your Feed Lot Steers” pgs 1-6, 2008. Findings from Feedlot Steer Trials 2006-2008 in cooperation with Knight Feedlot Inc. For more information or complete study results, call 800-944-7563. ®ENDOVAC-BOVI, IMMVAC and the IMMVAC LOGO are registered trademarks and IMMUNE PLUS® is a trademark of IMMVAC. ©2008 IMMVAC, All rights reserved.


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WINTER

NATIONAL CATTLEMEN • The Journal for America’s Cattle Producers

Volume 26 • Issue 1

12 18

15 National Cattlemen takes a look at how consumers are being influenced by misinformation about beef ’s environmental sustainability. Consumers say the debate has started to impact their buying decisions.

18 ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

Producers who didn’t have an opportunity to attend Cattlemen’s College® during the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show should be sure to read this summary of one of the educational workshops. This informative session helped producers understand the relationship between optimum cow size and efficiency and some of the challenges to achieving the best of both worlds. Watch our next edition of National Cattlemen for more in-depth coverage of the 2010 Convention.

22 LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

2009 was no picnic when it came to policy debates in Washington, D.C. In this article, NCBA staff take a look back at 2009 and also tell us about issues to watch for in 2010.

6 LEADERSHIP & SOLUTIONS Steve Foglesong is taking over as president of the largest cattle organization in the country. Learn more about Foglesong and his vision for an association that’s better able to respond to challenges.

8 AROUND NCBA NCBA members and staff have been making their voices heard by recruiting members and providing input on several policy issues.

10 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT “Go where you are needed,” is the mantra that NCBA members Deane and Nancy Thomas of Cobb, Wis. operate by.

DEPARTMENTS

ENVIRONMENT … OF BEEF DEMAND

FEATURES

15 DO YOUR PART FOR THE

12 CATTLEFAX The top team of analysts at CattleFax take a look at key factors to consider in the coming year and beyond for cattle markets, consumer demand and the general economy.

26 ALLIED INDUSTRY AND PRODUCT COUNCIL DIRECTORY NCBA appreciates the generous support of companies that are allied industry members and encourages you to support these partners by purchasing their products and services.

ABOUT THE COVER

Steve Foglesong, president of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on his ranch near Astoria, Ill.

www.NationalCattlemen.com Th is address takes you to National Cattlemen online.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reserves the right to refuse advertising in any of its publications. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association does not accept political advertising in any of its publications. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association does not accept advertising promoting third-party lawsuits that have not been endorsed by the board of directors.

www.NationalCattlemen.com

5


LEADERSHIP & SOLUTIONS 6

It’s a New Day

S

teve Foglesong has taken over the reins at NCBA and he believes with the changes that have been considered NCBA President over the past year, Steve Foglesong the association will be in a better position to tackle the issues head-on and to respond more quickly. “We’ve got work to be done and it’s important that our members take ownership in the changes that may occur within NCBA so that we can be more proactive in telling consumers, voters and legislators our story.” For Foglesong, telling beef producers’ story is “job one” and it will be his mission throughout his tenure as president. Foglesong is the owner of Black Gold Ranch in central Illinois where he and his family operate a cow-calf, stocker, feedlot and replacement heifer development program. He attended the University of Illinois where he received a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Foglesong is well-positioned to be a positive force for change within NCBA. Since attending the then National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) in 1988, he has been very active at the national level. He has held numerous positions within NCBA, including Membership and Association Services Committee Chairman, Region III Vice President and New Marketing Initiatives Committee member. He also was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission. While serving in these roles, Foglesong provided strategic direction for resource development to achieve the goals and objectives of the industry’s Long Range Plan. He also helped guide Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

the coordination between NCBA, state affi liates, beef councils and other industry organizations. He was appointed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board by the Secretary of Agriculture and also served on the Beef Checkoff Working Group. “Throughout the past year as president-elect of NCBA, it has become apparent that environmental regulations that place undue burdens on agriculture without clear benefits will be one of our foremost challenges in the coming year,” says Foglesong. “Our organization is known for having the scientific evidence to back up our positions on important issues, but unfortunately our governmental leadership doesn’t appear to be playing by those rules. As a result, we need to push harder as we move ahead.” During his tenure as leader of the largest cattle organization in the nation, Foglesong encourages members to take a more active role in government from the local to national level. “When we talk with legislators and their staffers, they have little to no connection with agriculture. Most people want to do the right thing, and it’s our job to provide them the information they need,” says Foglesong. “I see that knowledge gap as an opportunity,” he continues. “If we don’t fi ll that void and provide good information then someone else will. With so few of us in agriculture telling that story, we have to work that much harder.” Steve Foglesong and his wife, Linda, raised four children, Nate, Drew, Cole and Kaitlin. In his spare time, he continues to work on enhancing the wildlife habitat on the ranch and participates in local groups, including his county cattlemen’s association.

NATIONAL CATTLEMEN The Journal for America’s Cattle Producers

WINTER 2010 VOLUME 26, ISSUE 1 2010 Officers President President Elect Vice President Federation Division Chairman Policy Division Chairman Chief Executive Officer Publishing Team

Steve Foglesong Bill Donald J.D. Alexander Scott George Bruce Hafenfeld Forrest Roberts Holly Foster Jacque Matsen Rick McCarty Bethany Shively Don Waite Barb Wilkinson

To Learn More About NCBA Call 1-866-BeefUSA (1-866-233-3872) or visit www.BeefUSA.org. To receive e-mail updates from NCBA, contact Sheryl Slagle at sslagle@beef.org.

How To Contact National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: P.O. Box 3469, Englewood, CO 80155 (303-694-0305); Washington, D.C.: 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20004 (202-347-0228). National Cattlemen is a publication of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Published by Naylor, LLC 5950 NW 1st Place Gainesville, FL 32607 Phone: 800.369.6220 | Fax: 352.331.3525 Web site: www.naylor.com Naylor Publisher Kathleen Gardner Naylor Editor Elsbeth Russell Project Manager Troy Dempsey Publication Director John O’Neil Advertising Sales David Evans, Robert Shafer, Jamie Williams, Paul Woods Marketing Associate Erin Sevitz Advertising Art Reanne Dawson ©2010 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.


Save green on yellow. Enjoy NCBA special offers on yellow John Deere equipment. John Deere Construction and Commercial Worksite Products equipment take heavy lifting off your plate. From putting up hay and moving materials to working your land, you’ll get the job done with these Deere dozers, backhoes, crawlers, graders, excavators, and other productive full-sized and compact machines. What’s more, Ơexible Ɵnancing and purchasing programs are available to NCBA members. To put our full-sized or compact construction iron to work on your farm or ranch, Ɵnd your nearest dealer at www.JohnDeere.com/Dealer.


YOUR NCBA 8

Around NCBA Top Hand winners recognized Dr. Hugh McCampbell, Sweetwater, Tenn., is the NCBA top recruiter for fiscal year 2009. McCampbell signed up 82 new NCBA members between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009. This is his rookie year as a recruiter in the Top Hand Club. An NCBA member and a charter member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, McCampbell will receive several prizes, including a gift card to Cabela’s, for his efforts. “I appreciate the fact that the NCBA does a lot to educate the public about beef production,” says McCampbell. “It’s unfortunate that the general American public is so far removed from agriculture. It is important for every single member of NCBA to renew his or her membership, and recruit others, to keep beef on the table and cattle in the pastures.” Reserve champion Top Hand is Charles “Blue” Geier, California, Mo. A member of NCBA and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Geier is no stranger to the Top Hand Club, having recruited NCBA members for many years running. He was also the 2008 reserve champion. McCampbell, Geier and all of the other 187 Top Hand Club members from 33 states were recognized at the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 27-30, 2010 in San Antonio. Fifty-five Top Hands were awarded an exclusive Top Hand belt buckle for recruiting at least 10 members each. NCBA’s Top Hand Club was created to recognize outstanding NCBA producer-recruiters for their commitment to building a strong national organization. The Top Hand program is exclusively sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

Winter hits cattle country

Cattle trucks waiting out a snowstorm in Rockvale, Montana during one of the several snowstorms during December 2009 (Source: Dan McCarty, NCBA)

APHIS updating animal health programs The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reviewing two mandatory animal health programs important to cattle producers — bovine tuberculosis (TB) and brucellosis — to determine potential changes that will make both more relevant. As part of the review process, the agency released concept papers outlining proposed ideas and NCBA submitted comments on both papers. The 1917-era APHIS TB and 1934-era APHIS brucellosis programs have been successful due to cooperative efforts involving producers and state and federal animal health officials. The TB program has reduced the incidence of bovine TB in U.S. cattle to less than 0.001 percent. However, a number of hurdles, including wildlife reservoirs in the Northeast, knowledge gaps and inadequacies of current TB tests, remain significant hurdles to complete eradication in cattle. Brucellosis has been eliminated from the U.S. cattle population but remains in the bison and elk populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area, threatening the health of cattle in the area. The programs face a number of common challenges, including a lack of control and eradication of both

diseases in wildlife; lack of optimal cooperation among state and federal animal health and wildlife officials; lack of adequate federal research dollars for greater knowledge; and a lack of surveillance, prevention and eradication tools. Both programs need to be updated in order to meet these challenges and reach the ultimate goal of full eradication in the United States. While NCBA has some concerns with both concept papers, particularly regarding indemnity and producer responsibilities, the organization appreciates the work that APHIS has conducted on these important programs.

PLC works to support horse and burro management plan The Public Lands Council (PLC) and several national environmental groups met with senior Department of Interior (DOI) officials in December 2009 to discuss the department’s comprehensive approach to curbing horse populations on public lands. The DOI’s common-sense plan, announced last fall, recognizes both the importance of preserving wild horses and burros and the need to maintain productive, healthy, rangeland for multiple uses. The groups share a common interest in preserving the nation’s natural resources, which have been damaged by the over-population of wild horses and burros. DOI’s proposal would create new wild horse preserves in the Midwest and East where drought and


wildfire are not as impactful as they are in the West, which is currently home to the majority of wild horses. The plan would also manage population growth of wild horses through fertility control. The adoption process may become more flexible where appropriate, to provide an additional outlet for supporting the animals.

USFWS finds prairie dog protection not warranted under ESA The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the black-tailed prairie dog does not warrant protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to a USFWS statement issued in December 2009, the decision was made “after a thorough review of all the available scientific and commercial information regarding the status of the black-tailed prairie dog and the potential impacts to the species.”

Farmers and ranchers are some of the best stewards of our nation’s grasslands. It’s important that they have the ability to utilize successful land-management and conservation techniques to maintain the proper balance between wildlife habitat and productive, healthy rangeland. The unnecessary listing of the prairie dog would have taken away critical management options, and in turn could have created grassland erosion and other natural-resource damage due to overpopulation. According to USFWS, there currently are 283 million acres of available rangeland for prairie dogs, and occupied habitat appears to be steady-to-increasing since 1961.

Governors proclaim “Thank Your Farmers and Ranchers” day In recognition of the 22 million Americans who work on farms and ranches or in related jobs, a number of state government officials and

agricultural secretaries issued a proclamation in November 2009 declaring a “Thank your Farmers and Ranchers” day in their respective states. Participating states were Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Coming in the next issue The Spring edition of National Cattlemen will feature a recap of the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show and also will include exclusive coverage of the Cattlemen’s College® and Beef Cattle Reproductive Strategies Workshop educational programs. If you can’t make the convention, this is the best place to get first-hand coverage of the entire event.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Go Where You’re Needed

E

ven though Deane and Nancy Thomas of Cobb, Wis. are very busy running a family-operated farming and cow-calf operation with their son, they still have found time to be active NCBA members and be recruiters for the association’s Top Hand Club, ďŹ nishing out 2009 in ďŹ fth place for Top Hand results. “My mother told me to go where you’re needed,â€? says Nancy. And, both she and Deane take that advice seriously. This hardworking couple is the epitome of NCBA Top Hands. They have been members of NCBA and its predecessor organizations since the early 1970s, and Deane has served as a director for the American National Cattlemen’s Association (ANCA), was a charter member of the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) and of NCBA. Nancy

Want a

currently serves on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). The couple is very active in coordinating the beef exhibit at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days that is hosted by a dierent county every year and uses that as one of their primary NCBA recruiting events. “We always try to promote the educational opportunities that people can gain as members of NCBA and the organization’s lobbying eorts on behalf of cattle producers,â€? says Deane. “Our motivation to become involved also stems from the integrity we have seen exhibited by the national leadership and we try to let potential members know how strongly we feel about the value of both the state and national organizations,â€? adds Nancy.

Deane and Nancy Thomas Cobb, Wis. While this couple’s natural friendliness and sincerity is sure to have been key to their being so successful as Top Hands, they also are good at understanding fellow producers’ concerns. “It’s always gratifying when we can sell a membership and we have always found that a personal contact is the best way to do it,� says Nancy.

$35/HEAD Premium?

A 10-year survey of a dozen U.S. auction markets shows calves of known Angus genetics received nearly $35/head more at auction in 2008 than non-Angus contemporaries. That’s the power of a registered Angus bull.

That’s the power of

ANGU$.

'SFEFSJDL"WF 4BJOU+PTFQI .0tXXXBOHVTPSHt   Š 2009-2010 American Angus Association

10

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Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

12/19/09 10:51:24 AM


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CATTLEFAX

YOUR MARKET UPDATE

Key Factors to Consider for 2010 and Beyond By CattleFax Staff

I

n a time when everyone has their eye on the economy, the cattle industry is no exception. Understanding the factors influencing your buisness will be critical to identifying profit opportunities in the coming year.

Cow-calf segment Beef cow numbers have declined in response to higher operating costs, lower prices and volatile weather in certain parts of the United States. Producers were marginally profitable on average, if at all, which created no incentive to grow. As a result, more consolidation into fewer and larger operations will continue. Look for the cowherd to begin to stabilize in the next one to two years. For those who have very competitive costs and solid performance, now is a good time to look forward and consider expansion opportunities. Calf prices should be considerably higher from 2011 to 2014.

Cattle feeding and beef packing segment The feeding segment remains overbuilt for the available supply of cattle. A limited amount of feeding capacity has been closed during the past few years and more will close in 2010 and 2011. Access to capital and credit will play a role in the rate of consolidation. The equity drain suffered by this segment during the past three years has been significant. Those who manage risk and focus on making and taking a more consistent margin will be in the best position to prosper in the years ahead. The packing segment downsized significantly from 2005 to 2008. Fed 12

Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

beef packing margins have improved in 2008 and 2009, but with the continued reduction in available numbers here in the United States, more fed cattle capacity is likely to be idled in the next two years.

beef demand will rebound anytime soon.

Inflation It’s not a question of if, but rather a matter of when inflation will ramp up and become a factor in the economy. During the second half of 2010, going into 2011 inflation is expected to become more noticeable. Global economies are rebounding faster than the U.S. economy and this will fuel increasing international demand for agricultural products from late 2010 going forward.

Recession, unemployment and consumer spending The current recession is coming to an end, but the recovery is expected to be slow and tedious. Unemployment will remain elevated (9% to 10%) through the first half of 2010, and is expected to gradually improve from mid-2010 through 2011. Once the gross domestic product (GDP) begins to grow at an improving rate, unemployment will decline at a more rapid pace. Even as the economy improves, consumers will continue to be more cautious with their money. The focus on saving more money and paying down debt will continue through 2010. This does not suggest that

CattleFax is a member-owned information organization serving producers in all segments of the cattle business. CattleFax was formed in 1968 by a group of progressive cattlemen who saw the value of a self-help system to collect, analyze and distribute information needed for good marketing and business decisions which has resulted in the largest private database in the country.

550 LB Steer Calf Price 160

Cycle Lows

140

120

Cycle Lows

Cycle Lows 100

80

60

40

20

0 80

82

84

Source: CattleFax 2009-2015 projected

86

88

90

92

94

96

98

00

02

04

06

08

10

12

14


Join host Kevin Ochsner for new episodes of NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen! Story highlights include: New NCBA President Steve Foglesong 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention Highlights Visit to Greeley Hat Works


YOUR BUSINESS

Do Your Part for the Environment … of Beef Demand By Rick McCarty

S

ustainability. Pay attention to that word. It is showing up more and more in critical dialogue about agriculture and particularly in discussions of animal agriculture and its environmental effects. Why should cattle producers care? Because limiting livestock production and reducing meat consumption keep emerging as potential solutions to curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Blaming beef for global warming Protestors in Copenhagen for the United Nations’ (U.N.) climate conference in December handed out vegetarian sandwiches and encouraged delegates to consider livestock “an environmental hazard.” According to one protestor quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the talks, “If the world sharply reduced its meat consumption, we

would significantly reduce the amount of methane.” The finger pointing is coming from more influential corners as well. For example, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a vegetarian, has said diet change is important because of the “huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems” associated with raising cattle. Pachauri also was recently quoted saying leaders at the Copenhagen meetings should consider a tax on beef. Singer Paul McCartney has been in the media advocating for “Meatless Mondays,” in hopes that cutting back on meat consumption will become as acceptable as recycling for protecting the environment. The attention being paid to beef and environmental issues has been increasing since 2004. The number of media stories focused on beef and the environment nearly doubled from 2004 through 2009, with the biggest

jump occurring between 2007 and 2008, when the number of articles increased 36 percent. What happened? The release in November 2006 of a report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization called “Livestock’s Long Shadow” (LLS). The most widely reported conclusion from LLS is that eating meat contributes more to GHG emissions than the entire transportation sector. The report executive summary (not the data presentation) claims livestock production accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases emissions, which is greater than the emissions from all use of vehicles that burn fossil fuel. Consumers seem to be picking up on the claims. A checkofffunded consumer survey conducted in December 2009 found that 29 percent of American consumers said they were very or somewhat likely to cut back beef consumption to www.NationalCattlemen.com

15


YOUR BUSINESS reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An additional 15 percent said they already had taken that step. Interestingly, more consumers were willing to reduce beef consumption than were willing to carpool or take public transportation in order to reduce emissions — even though they viewed personal automobile transportation as a highly significant source of greenhouse gases. But is it true that if U.S. consumers reduced beef consumption it could have an important effect on global warming? The simple answer is — no. The explanation is a bit more complicated.

The facts According a recent paper, “Clearing the Air: Livestock’s Contribution to Climate Change,” published in the scientific journal Advances in Agronomy, there are several problems with the simplistic conclusions drawn from “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” “Despite oft-repeated claims by sources ranging from the United Nations to music star Paul McCartney, it is simply not true that consuming less meat and dairy products will help stop climate change,” says University of California Davis researcher and air quality expert Frank M. Mitloehner. In fact, Mitloehner says “Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.” Global versus United States. The first problem with applying LLS

to the United States is that the 18 percent figure is a global estimate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inventory of U.S. greenhouse gases and sinks, all of agriculture accounts for just 6 percent of total man-made GHG emissions, with less than 3 percent specifically associated with livestock production. Cars versus cows. A number of media articles, including one published by New Scientist in 2009, reference the LLS report to erroneously claim that ruminant belching of methane is a major source of greenhouse gas when compared to transportation. In “Clearing the Air,” Mitloehner points out that the LLS GHG emission figures for the livestock and transportation sectors are not comparable. LLS arrived at its numbers for the livestock sector by adding up emissions from farm to table, including the GHG emissions from growing animal feed; from animals digesting the feed; and from processing meat and milk into foods. On the other hand, the transportation analysis only considered emissions from the fossil fuels burned while driving rather than similarly adding up emissions from “well to wheel.” Mitloehner calls the LLS comparison between livestock and transportation “lopsided” and a “classic apples-to-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue.” In addition, according to U.S. EPA data, the transportation sector

accounts for at least 26 percent of total man-made GHG emissions compared to less than 3 percent from livestock production. 18 percent? The 18 percent statistic cited by the FAO clearly has no relevance to individual countries, especially those with technologically advanced livestock production systems, but it also has been questioned for being much higher than the calculations from other organizations such as the World Resources Institute. One reason the FAO greenhouse gas emissions figure is so high is because it factors in CO2 emissions estimates for Amazon deforestation. Writing in the October 2008 special report on meat in The Ecologist, Simon Fairlie, editor of The Land magazine, said: “… to attribute [these emissions] solely to the global meat industry distorts the picture in several ways: first, because 99 percent of meat and dairy products are not rainforest beef; second, because it is debatable to what extent cattle ranching is the driving force behind deforestation.” The forgotten recommendation. Those who cite “Livestock’s Long Shadow” as evidence that intensive or confined livestock production is worse for the environment failed to understand the authors’ intentions. In fact, the report projects a doubling of meat consumption by 2050 with the bulk of that growth occurring in developing countries. The FAO, in claiming that livestock production is harmful to

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YOUR BUSINESS water, air, land and biodiversity, also laid much of the blame on extensive production systems in developing countries. The solution oered is a shift to intensive production systems accompanied by increasing size of operation, driven by economies of scale. In that regard, the United States might be considered a model for land management and livestock production practices. As The Ecologist noted in its October 2008 report, â€œâ€Śthe authors of “Livestock’s Long Shadowâ€? are no doubt amused that a report advocating factory farming should ďŹ nd favor with so many environmentalists and vegans.â€?

quantity of water used to raise food is becoming equally important and the issue is moving from simply activist rhetoric to public policy discussions.

Your part

More than global warming Greenhouse gas emissions now have become more than a question about whether agriculture is contributing to global warming. EPA recently ruled that GHG emissions are a public health threat. Th is means more scrutiny of emissions from cattle and the possibility of future reporting requirements and added regulation. It also is likely that water will be the next major sustainability issue for the beef industry. Previously, water issues for agriculture have been focused more on water quality. There now are strong indications that the

T

dard in S afet y

TG ET GA RE AT RR TE E U UR

Rick McCarty is vice president of issue analysis and strategy for NCBA and has been with the organization for 20 years.

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an ew St N A

So what can an individual beef producer do? Start by incorporating the best environmental practices on their operation. And then educate neighbors, community leaders and policymakers about how beef is environmentally friendly. In many cases, those voting with their dollars or voting on bills have very little knowledge about what it takes to put food on their plates. And they’re particularly misinformed about what comprises truly sustainable agriculture. For many, it’s as simple as buying local or organic. For example, the Heinz Family Foundation in 2009 gave a Heinz Award to Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms for his innovation in sustainable agriculture. The honor came with a healthy financial reward for Salatin, who runs an organic farm in Virginia and spoke out against “factory farming� in this summer’s documentary “Food, Inc.� Pitting one production method against

another is not the answer to helping consumers understand what it takes to provide food for people locally, nationally or globally. Clearly it’s more important than ever to help decision makers understand that sustainability doesn’t mean 40 acres and a mule; but instead, it means modern production practices that continue to evolve based on research to provide food for a growing population into the future while protecting environmental resources. Beef producers also must support their membership associations and commodity promotion programs in efforts to quantify and communicate the environmental footprint and benefits of raising beef. Until the beef industry can get more reasoned and balanced science — such as the “Clearing the Air� article — published, producers won’t have the data they need to defend against misdirected legislation or take advantage of carbon credits for environmentsaving practices.

12/16/09 6:12:52 PM

www.NationalCattlemen.com

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PRODUCER EDUCATION

YOUR BUSINESS

18

One Size Does Not Fit All By Holly Foster

Editor’s Note: This article summarizes one of the sessions held at the recent 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show during the 17th annual Cattlemen’s College® sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health. Look for more exclusive coverage of other Cattlemen’s College® sessions and the entire convention in the next issue of National Cattlemen.

O

ptimum cow size and its relationship to efficiency is a topic that has been visited and revisited more times than most cattle producers and university researchers would care to remember. And, after all that talk and debate, it appears that the answer for the question, “What is the optimum size cow?,” is still, “it depends.” J.D. Radakovich, Jen Johnson and Barry Dunn, Ph.D. of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, which is affi liated with Texas A&M University at Kingsville, focused on the topic of efficient cattle production during one of the Cattlemen’s College® sessions at the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Efficiency in beef cattle production has been researched for more than a century, but is a topic still fraught with misunderstanding. A longaccepted definition of efficiency is the ratio of total costs to total animal product from females and their progeny over a given period of time. Sounds simple, right? A concise academic definition however, does not translate completely to real-life production and economic pressures. “Defining optimum efficiency in the cattle business is complicated,” says Radakovich. “Overall efficiency in cattle is a combination of biological

Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

efficiency, or the ratio of feed consumed to beef produced, and economic efficiency, or dollars spent to dollars returned. While the two are related, they are not identical.” “At the ranch level, there is a distinct potential for environmental and biological interaction,” says Dunn. “The animal that is efficient in low-feed environments is not the animal that is efficient in high-feed environments.” Managing for these constraints often means that it is not a simple question of selecting the right “type” or size of animal. Rather, on top of selection, you should think about how your breeding system and complementarity between breeds can increase production efficiency more quickly and economically than just selection pressure adds Dunn.

Economic versus biological efficiency Cattle genetics pioneer Gordon Dickerson may have said it best when he said that selecting for efficiency does not necessarily mean that you

are selecting for profitability. In the cattle industry, the need to balance maternal traits with carcass traits has often meant that biological efficiency in a given environment does not automatically transfer to an economic payoff. According to the speakers at Cattlemen’s College®, part of the reason for this phenomenon is due to segmentation of the beef industry. The cattle that perform well at the ranch level on grazed forages are not always the cattle that perform the best in a feedlot situation. So, defining the optimum biological type for your operation also means that you have to understand not only your feed resources at the ranch level, but consider how, and at what stage of production, your calves will be marketed. While the presenters concluded that nature and the environment of your operation play an important role in determining the final expression of an animal’s genetic potential, Continued on Page 20


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YOUR BUSINESS Continued from Page 18 determining the “right” size cow can also depend greatly on a ranch’s marketing plan and point of sale. Selling calves at weaning is different than retaining ownership through the feedlot and means that you may have to select for a different type of cow to “optimize” her production. “For the majority of cow-calf producers in the nation, the most efficient cow is the one with the highest milk potential that can, without reducing the percentage of calves successfully weaned, repeatedly produce a calf by bulls with the growth and carcass characteristics valued most in the marketplace,” says Dunn. “In a retained ownership situation, calf growth due to maternal milk production is less critical because the calf ’s own growth potential has a longer period of time to result in profit for you, but if you sell at weaning, maximizing pre-weaning growth is advantageous,” says Johnson.

In situations where feed resources are moderate such as in the arid West, biological types that are more moderate in genetic potential for growth and milk traits are typically more efficient because of higher conception rates, underscoring the importance of reproductive traits at the cow-calf level. However, in another study referenced by the speakers in their presentation that compared calvings between small, medium and large Brahman cattle, once the largeframed cattle had reached their third calving and their full growth potential, they were more efficient than their smaller counterparts. “It’s not a simple answer of smaller or larger-framed animals being more or less efficient, and understanding that concept means you have to understand metabolic weight,” says Johnson. “The average elephant weighs 220,000 times as much as the average mouse, but only requires 10,000 times as much energy in the form of food calories to sustain itself.”

Radakovich adds that this is because of the mathematical and geometric relationship between body surface area and volume, defined by Kleiber’s Law. Kleiber was a Swissborn biologist who began working at the University of California, Davis in the Animal Husbandry Department in 1929. His observation that, for the majority of animals, their metabolic rate scales to the ¾ power of the animal’s mass means that a cat, having a mass 100 times that of a mouse, will have a metabolism roughly 31 times greater. “The bigger the animal, the more efficiently it uses energy,” says Radakovich. “The practical application of this law in ranching is the calculation of stocking rate.” However, the speakers stressed that maintenance energy should not be confused with efficiency. Cows with low maintenance energy requirements are not necessarily the most efficient, as efficiency not only includes inputs, but is also a reflection of outputs.

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YOUR BUSINESS The methods by which we measure efficiency in the cattle industry also have confounded determining what is most optimal in terms of cow size. Calculating efficiency based on weaning weight divided by mature cow weight is a common practice, but research has shown that it may not be any better estimate of efficiency than weaning weight by itself. The speakers cautioned attendees at the Cattlemen’s College session that the commonly accepted association of cow weight to feed requirements is tenuous because feed intake involves a variety of factors such as stage of production, sex, quality of forage and environmental stress. “There has been a lot of research addressing efficiency in cattle populations,” says Radakovich. “But what you have to also understand is there are a lot of different ways to measure efficiency. Should you measure by the individual cow, by the ranch or by an entire industry?” So, when it comes to selecting a cow size that is right, no one size fits all situations. Rather, it means taking a holistic approach to managing your feed resources with selection decisions and your breeding program to develop an outcome that meets your individual operation’s constraints. To help guide that process, Dunn advised the audience to ask the following questions to develop the best plan for their farm or ranch:

1. What are the feed resources like in your operation? If you operate in the Southeast, your forage production will be much different than the resources available to someone raising cattle in Nevada. 2. When do you sell your calves? This question not only influences the type of cattle you should be selecting for, but may even influence your entire breeding program. 3. Are you selecting for the right level of growth? The answer to this question has constraints related to both biological and economic efficiency. 4. Do you have a breeding system that helps you improve efficiency? Keep in mind that efficiency has both biological and economic constraints, so while a specific cross-breeding system might be your best answer to fitting your cattle to their environment, market-driven factors such as targeting a specific alliance may mean that the economic efficiency of your operation is not enhanced. There are antagonisms that exist between different stages of production in the cattle industry, and it is your role to balance both the environmental and economic limitations under which you operate to determine what is “right.” Holly Foster is a fourth-generation cattle producer and freelance writer based in California.

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(Florfenicol and Flunixin Meglumine) Antimicrobial/Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug For subcutaneous use in beef and non-lactating dairy cattle only. Not for use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older or in calves to be processed for veal. BRIEF SUMMARY (For full Prescribing Information, see package insert.) INDICATIONS: RESFLOR GOLD is indicated for treatment of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) associated with Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Histophilus somni, and control of BRD-associated pyrexia in beef and non-lactating dairy cattle. RESIDUE WARNINGS: Animals intented for human consumption must not be slaughtered within 38 days of treatment. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Use of florfenicol in this class of cattle may cause milk residues. A withdrawal period has not been established in pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. WARNINGS: NOT FOR HUMAN USE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. This product contains material that can be irritating to skin and eyes. Avoid direct contact with skin, eyes, and clothing. In case of accidental eye exposure, flush with water for 15 minutes. In case of accidental skin exposure, wash with soap and water. Remove contaminated clothing. Consult a physician if irritation persists. Accidental injection of this product may cause local irritation. Consult a physician immediately. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) contains more detailed occupational safety information. For customer service or to obtain a copy of the MSDS, call 1-800-211-3573. For technical assistance or to report suspected adverse reactions, call 1-800-219-9286. PRECAUTIONS: Not for use in animals intended for breeding purposes. The effects of florfenicol on bovine reproductive performance, pregnancy, and lactation have not been determined. Toxicity studies in dogs, rats, and mice have associated the use of florfenicol with testicular degeneration and atrophy. NSAIDs are known to have potential effects on both parturition and the estrous cycle. There may be a delay in the onset of estrus if flunixin is administered during the prostaglandin phase of the estrous cycle. The effects of flunixin on imminent parturition have not been evaluated in a controlled study. NSAIDs are known to have the potential to delay parturition through a tocolytic effect. RESFLOR GOLD, when administered as directed, may induce a transient reaction at the site of injection and underlying tissues that may result in trim loss of edible tissue at slaughter. ADVERSE REACTIONS: Transient inappetence, diarrhea, decreased water consumption, and injection site swelling have been associated with the use of florfenicol in cattle. In addition, anaphylaxis and collapse have been reported postapproval with the use of another formulation of florfenicol in cattle. In cattle, rare instances of anaphylactic-like reactions, some of which have been fatal, have been reported, primarily following intravenous use of flunixin meglumine. Made in Germany Intervet Inc. Roseland, NJ 07068 ©2009, Intervet Inc. All rights reserved. May 2009

462672_Intervet.indd 1 3/5/09 8:21:24 AM

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21


YOUR CAPITOL CONCERNS

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

2

009 ushered in a new president and new challenges for the beef industry. Whether it was addressing the misinformed claims of activists or educating policymakers, NCBA continues to be on the front lines advocating for cattle producers. Activists attacked the industry from many fronts—making allegations on issues ranging from the environment to animal welfare. NCBA confronted these attacks by activating our members to promote their product and lifestyle. We continued our educational campaign in the press and in the halls of Congress, where we conducted Beef 101 briefi ngs for House and Senate staffers on food safety and animal health. Congress debated a number of bills that would have added significant costs for beef producers, and NCBA was largely successful in preventing these provisions from becoming law. For instance, proposals to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct on-farm inspections of livestock were removed from food safety legislation. NCBA also prevented the inclusion of a proposal that would have banned the use of antibiotics in livestock. NCBA scored another win for ranchers by successfully persuading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to add an additional weight category to the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) for non-adult beef cattle, non-adult dairy cattle, and non-adult buff alo/beefalo. LIP has historically set the weight categories for assessing market value at less than 400 lbs and more than 400 lbs, which has caused undervalued assessments for livestock losses. The new weight category will ensure producers are more fairly compensated for losses. And while health care dominated the Congressional agenda, climate change was a hot topic that will no doubt be picked up by lawmakers again in 2010. NCBA helped improve the House bill significantly by getting agriculture exempted from the carbon emissions cap and getting it included in a list of eligible off sets. We remain opposed to the bill, however, because it will

22

Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

significantly raise the costs of fuel, electricity, feed, fertilizer and equipment for cattle producers. When climate change comes up for debate in the Senate in 2010, NCBA will continue working to improve the bill. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also took steps towards emissions regulations meant to mitigate climate change. EPA published a fi nding claiming that greenhouse gas emissions are an endangerment to public health and the environment. Th is sets the stage for greenhouse regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and would give EPA unprecedented control over every sector of the U.S. economy. Although it was based on uncertain science, because of this rule, EPA will be able to tell farmers that they can only emit a certain level of greenhouse gases. If


YOUR CAPITOL CONCERNS

farmers go over that amount, they can incur severe penalties and be forced to curtail production. The rule also sets the stage for citizen suits against large and small businesses that are the backbones of the U.S. economy. In addition, increased energy costs associated with this ruling will be devastating for agriculture and the public as a whole. NCBA fi led a petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn EPA’s rule because it lacked an adequate basis for determining man-made greenhouse gases are dangerous to human health. The issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is sure to continue in 2010, and NCBA will be at the forefront of the debate—ensuring agriculture isn’t harmed by ill-planned regulations and legislation. Food safety also is likely to be a hot issue in 2010. NCBA remains committed to leading the beef safety charge. Beef producers have invested more than $28 million since 1993 in beef safety research. Th is has helped develop best practices to reduce E. coli O157:H7 incidence. Furthermore, the beef industry as a whole spends approximately $350 million each year on testing, interventions and research to ensure beef safety. Th anks to these efforts, the incidence of E. coli illnesses in the United States has declined. The estate tax will be another pressing issue for the cattle industry this year. The House recently passed a bill to permanently extend the death tax at 2009 levels, without indexing for infl ation. Farmers and ranchers are unfairly penalized by the death tax, with farm estates fi ve to 20 times more likely to incur death taxes than other estates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one-in-10 farm estates will owe death taxes in 2009. Frequently, these assets already have been taxed two or three times. Farmers and ranchers are land rich and cash poor, and families often are forced to sell off land, farm

equipment or even the entire operation to pay off taxes. Th is tax is not only detrimental to America’s farming and ranching families, but also to our ability to feed our nation. NCBA is working with the Senate to pass meaningful death tax reform for agricultural estates. NCBA will also continue to keep a close eye on any efforts to regulate dust. The EPA is proposing to regulate coarse particulate matter (dust) at a level of 12 to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Th is is lower than the levels of dust that naturally occur in many western states. In fact, some national parks—free of construction and other “artificial” dust-causing activities—would violate the limits of this regulation. Coarse particulate matter is nothing more than the dust kicked up by cars on dirt roads, tractors tilling fields or cattle stirring up dirt. Studies do not show that rural dust is a health concern. EPA’s regulations would severely limit our ability to raise livestock and could be prohibitive for economic growth and development throughout the West. NCBA is fighting this illogical regulation. In 2010, EPA will also consider the E15 blend waiver petition, which would allow for the inclusion of up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline—an increase of fi ve percent over the current level. NCBA is urging EPA to delay its decision until an independent and

www.NationalCattlemen.com

23


YOUR CAPITOL CONCERNS comprehensive assessment is complete to determine how any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard will affect corn and cattle markets. In 2008, livestock producers experienced significantly higher feed costs as a direct result of competing demands for corn and by higher energy prices. From January of 2008 through July 2009, cattle feeders lost a record $5.2 billion in equity due to high feed costs and economic factors which have negatively affected beef demand. Projections show that increasing the blend percentage from 10 percent to 15 percent would require an immediate 4.5 billion gallons of ethanol, and would require approximately 1.6 billion bushels of corn, which is nearly equivalent to the amount of corn used by the cattle industry in an entire year. Federal oversight of competition in cattle markets will be another big issue in 2010. USDA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced a series of workshops over the coming year to examine competition within agriculture, including cattle markets. Multiple studies have examined the issue of competition within the cattle industry, and they have shown that many of the concerns are unfounded. DOJ has ample authority to investigate antitrust violations in the agriculture sector. Nevertheless, NCBA supports full enforcement of the existing laws by USDA’s Grain Inspection

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Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to prevent unfair competition or collusion within the cattle industry. NCBA believes in free-market principles in the buying and selling of cattle and cattle products. NCBA will be closely following the workshops to ensure they don’t result in unintended consequences for the industry—including efforts to dictate how producers can or cannot market their livestock. American cattle producers deserve the opportunity to market their cattle in a way that works best for their individual situation. NCBA will also continue working to expand trade opportunities in 2010. There were a number of successes in this area in 2009, including meaningful progress toward a compromise in the longstanding trade dispute between the United States and European Union (EU) over the use of growth promotants in cattle. The deal gives the U.S. beef industry new duty-free access to one of the most valuable markets in the world. However, there remain a number of trade challenges that need to be overcome in 2010. In early January, Taiwan disregarded a carefully negotiated science-based bilateral beef trade protocol which would have brought the country into compliance with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. Despite the recent agreement to allow a full reopening of the Taiwan market to U.S. beef, lawmakers in Taiwan announced that additional restrictions would be placed on U.S. beef imports, due to alleged safety concerns. These concerns have no basis in scientific fact. Taiwan is a valuable market for U.S. beef producers, with record sales in the last three years. Th rough October of 2009, U.S. producers had sold $114 million in beef products to Taiwan, despite trade restrictions. Further access to this market would be lucrative for NCBA members. Between environmental regulations and climate change, estate taxes and trade, 2010 will likely prove to be yet another challenging year for the beef industry. As a member of NCBA, you can be sure your concerns are being voiced in the Capitol and around the country.

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Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

7/29/09 11:05:06 PM

Hot Topics to Watch in 2010 • • • • • • •

Climate Change Legislation Greenhouse Gas Regulation Death Tax Dust Regulation Ethanol Blend Waiver Federal Oversight of Cattle Industry Competition Beef Trade Barriers


TIME FOR A

FEVER-REDUCING 00:02

00:00

1

BACTERIA-KILLING

FAST-ACTING

2

02:03

00:51

ONE-DOSE 02:10

INTRODUCING

BRD TREATMENT 04:51

RESFLOR GOLD is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works against the three major bacterial causes of BRD and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in one.

Watch the video at www.resflorgold.com Time-lapse photos were taken of a randomly chosen calf during an actual trial conducted at a Research Facility in Canyon, TX, on October 14, 2009.

Ask your veterinarian about RESFLOR GOLD. For subcutaneous use in beef and non-lactating dairy cattle only. Not for use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older or in calves to be processed for veal. The effects of florfenicol and flunixin on bovine reproductive performance, pregnancy, and lactation have not been determined. When administered according to the label directions, RESFLOR GOLD may induce a transient local reaction in the subcutaneous and underlying muscle tissue. Full product information on page 21. Resflor Gold is property of Intervet International B.V. or affiliated companies or licensors and is protected by copyrights, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Copyright © 2009 Intervet International B.V. All rights reserved. RES-02G 1 Exhibits bacterial activity against some strains of Mannheimia haemolytica and Histophilus somni. 2 The correlation between in vitro susceptibility data and clinical effectiveness is unknown.


These are companies that have teamed with NCBA as allied industry members, demonstrating their commitment to the beef industry. Their involvement and investment strengthens our future. NCBA members are urged to support these partners in turn by purchasing their products and services. Those who would like to become allied industry partners with NCBA (securing a premium booth placement at the next annual convention and trade show), please call the association marketing team at 303-694-0305.

Allied Industry

Directory Gold Level Sponsors (minimum $100,000 investments) AgriLabs www.agrilabs.com Bayer www.bayer-ah.com Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. www.bi-vetmedica.com

Dow AgroSciences, LLC www.dowagro.com Elanco Animal Health www.elanco.com

John Deere www.deere.com Merial www.merial.com

Intervet/ScheringPlough Animal Health www.intervetusa.com www.spah.com

Micro Beef Technologies www.microbeef.com

Pfizer Animal Health www.pfizer.com Purina Mills, LLC www.cattlenutrition.com

Allied Industry Council Allflex USA, Inc. Alpharma Barenbrug Cargill Animal Nutrition Health

Central Life Sciences CME Group Leo Burnett USA Monsanto

Novartis Animal Health U.S., Inc. Novus International

Pioneer, A DuPont Business Y-Tex Zinpro Corporation

Allied Industry Associates ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. American Live Stock Inc. Beef Magazine Lextron, Inc.

Midwest PMS, Inc. Nutrition Physiology Co., LLC Priefert Manufacturing Company

Ridley Block Operations SmartLic Supplement Feed In A Drum U.S. Premium Beef, Ltd.

Vigortone Ag Products Walco International, Inc.

Allied Industry Partners Agriculture Engineering Associates Alltech, Inc. AniPro Caterpillar Certified Angus Beef Certified Hereford Beef Croplan Genetics Destron Fearing Faegre & Benson, LLP Grow Safe Systems, Ltd

Hartford Livestock Insurance Kent Feeds, Inc. Kunafin “The Insectary” Lallemand Animal Nutrition Meat & Livestock Australia, Ltd. Miraco/Gallagher Moly Manufacturing New Holland

Noble Foundation Nova Microbial Technologies Phibro Animal Health PlainJan’s Quali Tech, Inc. Rabobank International Ritchie Industries Inc. Roto-Mix Stone Manufacturing Temple Tag

Teva Animal Health Tru-Test US Bank Varied Industried Corp. Vitalix The Vit-E-Men Co. Inc./ Life Products Western Farm Credit Association WW Livestock Systems Z Tags North America

Product Council Members American Foods Group Beef Products, Inc. Booker Packing Company Cargill Meat Solutions Darden Restaurants DuPont Qualicon

26

Winter 2010 National Cattlemen

Gilroy Foods & Flavors H.E.B. IEH Laboratories Kraft Food/Oscar Mayer Lobel’s of New York

McDonald’s Corporation National Beef Packing Outback Steakhouse Sam Kane Beef Processors Smithfield Beef Group, Inc.

JBS Swift & Company Tyson Fresh Meats Wal-Mart Stores Wendy’s International


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