February 2023 - National Cattlemen

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A shift is finally starting to be seen in La Niña’s pattern. What does that mean for producers?


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Todd Wilkinson is Ready to Stand Up for the Beef Industry

the things that I feel need to be changed. When I saw what can happen if you get both feet into it, I was committed and haven’t looked back since. I don’t regret a minute of all the hours I’ve spent in volunteer leadership,” Wilkinson said.

Now, Wilkinson steps into his biggest role of all, president of NCBA.

“I enjoy going into the different regions of the country, meeting new people, and hearing new perspectives and ideas. My philosophy going into this next year is that I’m going to put on boxing gloves and I’m going to be swinging for the industry. I think that the regulatory challenges that we’re going to face in the next couple of years are going to be daunting,” Wilkinson said. “I’m anything but a pacifist, so if this membership wanted to elect a guy that’s going to be ornery, well they’ve succeeded. I’m going to bring the same level of passion that I bring for my own family and business to this organization. I think it’s important to fight back and protect this industry from the people that want to put us out of business.”

Wilkinson’s focus during his time as president is going to be pushing back on issues that threaten the livelihoods of cattlemen and women across the country while bringing people together to stand as a united front.

“Aside from the cost of doing business being a challenge for us right now, I’m looking down the road at the regulatory environment that could pose a real threat to us,” he said. “We have to unite on these big issues and some common themes. If we don’t, we are going to get squished.”

When it comes to protecting his family, community and livelihood, Todd Wilkinson isn’t willing to back down. The same goes for the cattle industry as he takes the helm of NCBA this year. The son of a Marine Corps Master Sergeant, it’s ingrained in Wilkinson to stand up for what is right and what he believes in. His vision for the future is to unite the beef industry on issues that could impact all producers, and make sure those trying to put farmers and ranchers out of business understand the force they’re up against.

Although the town of De Smet, South Dakota, is probably best known for Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote the bestselling series ‘Little House on the Prairie’, it’s also home to Wilkinson and his family, who together own a cow-calf and feedyard business.

Wilkinson’s dad is the reason his family is involved in agriculture, and his first venture into the cattle business was feeding heifers through the winter as a nine-year-old. His payment was a heifer calf and from that he built a cow herd. The family operation has evolved over the years. In the early 1990s, they added a feedyard to the business and a backgrounding facility followed. Now, Wilkinson’s son is back on the operation and, together, they run between 250 to 300 cows and a backgrounding and finishing facility for Wilkinson Livestock.

While Wilkinson has been rooted in the beef business his entire life, he’s also pursued other interests. He went to college and played football while studying for a law degree. Wilkinson has practiced law for almost four decades and specializes in business transactions, estate planning and probate, real estate matters, and agricultural law.

“The area that I have developed a little bit of a niche for is agriculture matters and estate work. I work with producers in multiple states dealing with things that a lot of producers will recognize, like confined animal feeding operation permitting, farmland trusts and estate setups, and succession planning for farmers and ranchers; so, my clientele consists of people that I thoroughly enjoy working with,” Wilkinson said. “The running joke in my family is, I try to make enough money on the law side so I can lose it on the cattle side. Sometimes there’s more reality in that than you would think, but it’s been good balance for me in terms of being able to bring assets to our operation that allow us to grow.”

Over the years, Wilkinson has been heavily involved in local, state and national leadership roles, including serving as president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association. Having been a part of the agriculture industry his entire life, Wilkinson knew he wanted to have a voice in the beef industry’s decisionmaking process.

“If you run into me across the country, one thing that I will say time and again is if you’re going to be in the industry don’t just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. I have made it a commitment of mine to be very involved in trying to change

Wilkinson will make sure NCBA works to protect the cattle industry from regulatory attacks under Waters of the United States, the Endangered Species Act and emissions reporting, to name a few. The Farm Bill will be a large focus for NCBA in the coming year as the organization works to secure reauthorization of animal health provisions, expanding the accessibility and funding of risk management and disaster relief programs and protecting voluntary conservation programs. Tax issues are also top of mind in the coming year and Wilkinson’s expertise in this area was critical to backing down harmful tax proposals from the Biden administration last year.

Another focus for NCBA in the coming year is ensuring the industry is prepared for the threat of a crippling cattle disease outbreak and protecting the health and welfare of cattle herds. One focus for Wilkinson during his time as president will be traceability because he knows that a foreign disease outbreak could devastate the beef industry.

“Putting a tag in the ear of that breeding cow and being able to quickly find and identify that cow in the event of a disease outbreak could save my herd. And I want to save my cow herd because that’s the future of my operation. Every producer should be willing to do that to protect their herd. I don’t look at foreign animal disease traceability as a negative. I view it as an insurance policy to have some viability for the future.”

While his role as NCBA president, cattle operation and law practice will take up most of his time in the coming year, Wilkinson will always find time to give back to his community. One way he’ll do that is by continuing his work with the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation to put on the Prime Time Gala. This annual event raises money to provide beef to food insecure families throughout the state.

“We’re coming up on the 10th year of that event and, over the course of those 10 years, we’ve raised more than $1.4 million. The funding goes to support all the food pantries in the state of South Dakota, and we made one stipulation, that it has to be used to buy beef for those that are at a food disadvantage,” Wilkinson said. “I know producers are doing this kind of work with their local organizations and giving back to their communities in a variety of ways. We can’t lose sight of all the good our industry does, and we have to tell that story too.”

It’s clear Wilkinson is committed to the beef industry, and he’s excited to lead an organization like NCBA that brings together cattlemen and women to fight for common goals.

“Part of the reason that I’m doing this is to make sure that this industry is here for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. I want them to have the opportunity to come back to this piece of ground and run cattle 100 years from now. I’m passionate about NCBA, and I won’t back up an inch on my commitment to this organization. As long as I am walking this earth, I want to make things a little bit better and NCBA is one of those ways that I think I can do that,” Wilkinson said.

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID HATTIESBURG, MS PERMIT 142 NATIONAL CATTLEMEN’S BEEF ASSOCIATION 9110 E. NICHOLS AVENUE, SUITE 300 CENTENNIAL, CO 80112 FEBRUARY 2023 • Vol. 39, No. 4 • NCBA.org SOUTH CENTRAL 500-600 LB. STEERS WEEK OF 1/16/2023 IN THIS ISSUE $203.22 11.9% $181.61 $157.61 15.4% $136.61 LIVE FED STEERS $281.10 0.3% $280.27 CHOICE BOXED BEEF $7.12 21.1% $5.88 OMAHA CASH CORN 3 LEADERSHIP COMMENTS 12 WINTER CALVES 4, 6 125 YEARS OF NCBA Animal welfare and calf care are critical to producers. See how to care for your spring calves in cold weather. Look back through time as NCBA celebrates 125 years of dedication to the cattle and beef industry. 10 WOTUS
Learn about the latest developments with Waters of the United States.
Don Schiefelbein reflects on a year of service, and NCBA CEO honors 125th anniversary.
In the ‘70s, nutritionists started to scare people off red meat, so the Federation produced new educational material.
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Resilience and Reflection

Over the past year, it’s been my honor to serve as president of NCBA. It’s been a year of trials and triumphs, and I’ve been proud to represent an industry of cattlemen and women that continue to demonstrate resilience and an understanding that unity is the best way to achieve our mission.

As farmers and ranchers, we often find ourselves fighting the odds physically and mentally to endure the challenges that Mother Nature and other factors outside of our control hurl at us. As I write this column, I’m reflecting on a recent example of rancher resilience as many of us dealt with brutal winter weather conditions before the Christmas holiday, braving windchills and pushing through snowdrifts, hauling hay, and caring for livestock. Weather events always present unique challenges for us, but we do everything we can to prioritize the health and well-being of our animals. It’s year-round work and something we need to continue to share with consumers and policymakers alike.

This past year was defined by record-high inflation, a frustrating labor market, food supply-chain challenges and regulatory uncertainty. But it was also defined by the commitments farmers and ranchers make to conservation, animal welfare, technological innovation and product quality. I’m proud of the story we continue to share and the stance we took on the issues.

The hits from Congress, corporations and regulatory agencies focused on climate policy came quickly at the beginning of the year, but we were ready. NCBA made sure the interests of the cattle industry were front and center when it came to attempts of regulatory overreach focused on water, the environment and greenhouse gas emissions. NCBA engaged in several issues related to endangered species and notched a win in federal court when a judge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted us intervenor status in a case challenging the delisting of the gray wolf. We also saw the President of the United States sign a National Security Memorandum recognizing that food security is national security. This is

an important step by bringing defense, law enforcement, intelligence and national security officials into the conversation with the industry to develop ways to protect our food system from the multitude of threats that exist in the world.

NCBA has gone toe-to-toe with multinational companies, federal regulators, Congress, and deep pocketed animal rights groups. We punch above our weight, but the work will never be done, and we appreciate you having our back by being an NCBA member. You understand the need to have an association working on your behalf on the real issues that threaten our way of life. Those threats include the potential for a crippling cattle disease outbreak or the looming issue of cellcultured and fake meat that might soon mimic the look, texture and even flavor of our real beef.

But it was also defined by the commitments farmers and ranchers make to conservation, animal welfare, technological innovation and product quality. I’m proud of the story we continue to share and the stance we took on the issues.

NCBA is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Since 1898, this organization has been a forum for cattle producers in every sector and region to discuss issues and build consensus. In my family’s operation, we all come with different perspectives, but we talk together, debate, and move forward with a united front. NCBA policy is set the same way. We each have vastly different business practices, and we face different regional conditions, but we all come together to drive policy forward. Through collaboration, we send a powerful message to policymakers. Our industry is strongest when we band together and fight collectively. This year, I was honored to lead that charge and am looking forward to fighting the good fight for years to come!


Years of the “Association of Associations”

As you look south out of the windows of NCBA’s headquarters office in Centennial, Colorado, you see a lot of rooftops. Those rooftops, however, sit on land that was once the ranch of John W. Springer. In the late 1800s, Springer was a rancher and member of the Livestock Committee of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade who was keenly aware of the challenges facing livestock producers across the United States. He understood the importance of a national voice to address issues such as range wars, cattle diseases, railroad monopolies, the packer trust and the U.S. Government. As a result, he and the Denver Chamber envisioned a permanent national association that would be an “association of associations” in its representation of livestock of all types. From Jan. 25-27 of 1898, 1,185 delegates came to attend the National Stock Growers Convention in Denver.

of that commitment made in 1898. He went on to state that the second axiom would be “breed the best in every class and you will own better farms, better barns, better homes...” Once again, the association set the stage for the decades of work that has been done to improve the quality of cattle and the beef eating experience. Springer referred to the association as being a “new regime” that would allow the industry to prosper as never before.


At the opening session of the convention, J.G. McCoy of Kansas exclaimed “organize or perish.” The hook was set, and the National Live Stock Association of the U.S. was formed with John Springer selected as president. The first state to join was the Colorado Stock Growers Association, now the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, followed by the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas, now the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The association has had many names over the years. In 1906, the name was changed to the American National Live Stock Association. From 1952 to 1977, we were known as the American National Cattlemen’s Association before the name evolved to the National Cattlemen’s Association. After the merger with the Beef Industry Council of the National Live Stock and Meat Board, we became known as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 1996.

While the name of the association has changed over the years, the issues remain familiar. In his inaugural address, Springer talked about the need to improve the way cattle were raised by stating, “Under our new methods of raising live-stock we can lay down as our chief axiom, take care of your live-stock and your live-stock will take care of you.” NCBA’s work in managing and implementing the Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program is a direct result

2022-2023 NCBA Leadership

President Don Schiefelbein

President-Elect Todd Wilkinson

Vice President Mark Eisele

Treasurer Joe Guild

Federation Division Chair Brad Hastings

Federation Division

Vice-Chair Clark Price

Policy Division Chair Buck Wehrbein

Policy Division Vice-Chair Gene Copenhaver

Immediate Past President Jerry Bohn

Chief Executive Officer Colin Woodall

Senior Editors John Robinson

Jill Johnson

Editor Sarah Drown

Contributing Writers Wendy White Hunter Ihrman

When it came to the Federal government, Springer’s comments on laws meant to provide “…the least amount of governmental interference compatible with the public good” and that “we need to be largely left alone, from a legislative standpoint…” resonate with NCBA’s position today of working to keep the government out of your business. They talked of “the stamping out of contagious diseases” much like we are talking about our Farm Bill priority of continued funding for the Food-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank. They talked of rail transportation issues much like we are working on maintaining our ELD exemption, expanding hoursof-service, and trying to increase truck weights and lengths. They mentioned the need for trade and of our ability in “feeding millions of consumers beyond the seas.” Even in 1898, our work to protect livestock access to federal lands was at the forefront of the issues discussed.

As I have read the transcripts of the early National Live Stock Association’s meetings and the history of our association in Charles Ball’s book Building The Beef Industry, I remain amazed at the ability of cattle producers to come together and build an organization that has stood the test of time. It was no easy feat, and the issues we have confronted throughout the past 125 years have tested every seam of this association. I believe the issues we must confront over the next 125 years will be even more challenging. Can we make it 250 years? The foundation is solid, but we will have to fight every day to stay on the land and keep beef in the center of the plate.

Springer said, “The men, or set of men, who are continually looking backward for inspiration; who are chuck full of calamity forebodings; who thrive on opposition to any and all measures; who are constantly quoting ancient history, are not fit to lead progressive, enterprising, 20th century Americans.”

I believe his words are as applicable today as they were in 1898 and keeping them in mind will help ensure that those attending the 2148 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show will equally admire what we are doing today.

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For ad sales contact Jason Jerome 303-850-3313, Summer Johnson 303-850-3346, Shannon Wilson 303-850-3345, Lindsay Clark 303-850-3339 or Kate Ramsey 303-850-3321.

Contact NCBA: 9110 E. Nichols Ave., Suite 300, Centennial, CO 80112 (303-694-0305); Washington D.C.: 1275 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20004 (202-347-0228). 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 any advertising promoting third-party lawsuits that have

not been endorsed by the board of directors. ©2023 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or part, without the prior written consent of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. KEEP

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remain amazed at the ability of cattle producers to come together and build an organization that has stood the test of time. It was no easy feat, and the issues we have confronted throughout the past 125 years have tested every seam of this association.

NCBA Celebrates 125 Years as a Producer-Driven Organization

“Coming together is beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” – Henry Ford

The true strength of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is found in its nationwide membership of cattle producers from all backgrounds. Whether you raise one head or 1,000 head of cattle, are first generation or fifth generation, your commitment to NCBA makes it the leading beef cattle organization in the country.

This year, NCBA celebrates its 125th anniversary, and to recognize the accomplishments of this organization, let us reflect on how far we have come. Many issues that producers faced when this association was formed in 1898 have been resolved through hard work and a unified voice, whereas some challenges have fluctuated with changes in congressional leadership and Mother Nature.

The Chicago International Livestock Show was held in the International Amphitheater Adjacent to the Chicago Stockyards. The show was home to beef, horse, swine, sheep and dairy shows.

Photo credit - www.cowsmo.com

The emergence of state cattle and livestock associations began in 1867 with the Colorado Stock Growers Association, followed in 1873 by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. As state associations increased, they tackled local and regional challenges like cattle rustling and state policies. However, in the 1890s, it became apparent they needed a national voice to address issues like animal diseases, marketing challenges, and government overreach.



National Cattle Growers Association of America (Chicago)



National Cattle and Horse Growers Association of the U.S. (St. Louis)

National Cattle Growers Association of America (Chicago)



It took trial and error before forming what is now the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Three attempts at assembling a national livestock group had already been made before two members of the Livestock Committee of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and Trade Board brought a lasting organization to life. These two men, Charles F. Martin and John W. Springer, had experience in writing, speech, ranching, politics and legislation between the two of them.

Martin and Springer had seen the ways the past three attempts to organize had failed, and they were determined to learn from those mistakes to create a lasting stock association. They established the National Live Stock Association (NLSA) at a business meeting in Denver in 1898 — in the peak of winter. Despite the chilly conditions, 1,185 registered delegates arrived with almost as many guests in tow. Springer made the case for a national organization in a speech to the crowd saying, “We shall, at this meeting, perfect an organization, national in its scope, broad in its objectives and absolutely free from the machinations of political promoters.” This meeting began the tradition of an annual convention to discuss business priorities and take action, which has continued today with the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show!


Some of the first priorities NLSA addressed were quicker and more humane railroad transportation, competition amongst packers, national and state quarantines, and increased education on industry topics for cattlemen. Some of the challenges they faced sound familiar today, but through producer-driven efforts, the NLSA, and now NCBA, achieved many wins in these areas since 1900. For example, through numerous meetings and letters of support, NCBA worked closely with the Biden Administration, Congress and other stakeholders to prevent a national rail disruption in December 2022. And NCBA has been a staunch supporter of increasing the national vaccine bank for foreign animal diseases like foot-and-mouth disease.

Over time, the NLSA splintered into NLSA and the American Stock Growers Association. But seeing that these two groups of producers were stronger together, in 1906, they merged and were renamed the American National Livestock Association (ANLSA).


National Live Stock Association of the United States (First successful national association)


American National Live Stock Association


American National Cattlemen’s Association


National Cattlemen’s Association


National Cattlemen’s Association

Advocating for its members and forming strong relationships with U.S. presidents and their staff has always been a priority of the nation’s largest beef cattle industry organization. During 1901-1909, when Theodore Roosevelt was president, he was a dear friend to then ANSLA President Murdo Mackenzie and association lobbyist, Sam Cowan. Roosevelt was a supporter of cattlemen and acknowledged them for their conservation of natural resources and their shaping of the American West. The work of this association and its partnerships with U.S. leadership led to wins such as the passage of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and re-establishing trade after the BSE outbreak by negotiating acceptance of the Source and Age Verification program to trade with Japan.

Continued on page 6

These are companies that have teamed with NCBA as corporate members, demonstrating their commitment to the beef industry. Their involvement 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 corporate members with NCBA (securing premium booth placement at the annual convention and trade show as well as other membership benefits), please call the Corporate Relations team at 303-694-0305.

Animal Health International


Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Inc. www.bi-vetmedica.com/species/cattle.html

Caterpillar www.cat.com

Central Life Sciences





Farm Credit Council

Huvepharma, Inc.


Corteva Agriscience™ www.corteva.com

Elanco Animal Health www.elanco.com

John Deere www.deere.com

Merck Animal Health www.merck-animal-health-usa.com

Micro Technologies


Moly Manufacturing


New Holland Agriculture www.newholland.com

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC www.purinamills.com/cattle

Ritchie Industries Inc.




Zoetis Animal Health


Animal Nutrition Neogen Norbrook, Inc. Rabo AgriFinance RAM Trucks ALLIED INDUSTRY PARTNERS 44 Farms ADM Animal Nutrition, Inc. Advanced Ag Products Agri-Pro Enterprises of Iowa, Inc. AgriWebb Alltech, Inc. American National Insurance Arrowquip A.T. Ferrell Company Inc. Bank of America Barenbrug USA Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Behlen Manufacturing Bimeda BioZyme Bush Hog Inc. Cargill Animal Nutrition Case IH CEAT Specialty Tires CME Group DATAMARS Livestock Dell Technologies Diamond V ENDOVAC Animal Health Farmers Business Network Fera Diagnostics & Biologicals Corp Ferrell Gas Food Safety Net Services Furst-McNess Company Gallagher Gravely, an Ariens Company Greeley Hat Works Hayden Outdoors Real Estate Hyundai Construction Equipment IMI Global International Stock Food International Genetic Solutions IVS Jorgensen Land and Cattle Kent Nutrition Group Kubota Tractor Corporation Kunafin “The Insectary” Laird Manufacturing Meat & Livestock Australia, Ltd. Micronutrients National Corn Growers Association Nationwide New Generation Supplements Noble Research Institute PBS Animal Health Phibro Animal Health Pneu-Dart Priefert Ranch Equipment QualiTech, Inc Quality Liquid Feeds Ranchbot Red Angus Assoc. of America R&R Machine Works RFD-TV Roper/Stetson/Tin Haul Apparel and Footwear South Dakota State University Stone Manufacturing Superior Livestock Supreme International Syngenta The Hartford Livestock Insurance The Vit-E-Men Co. Inc./Life Products Trans Ova Genetics U.S. Premium Beef Vaxxinova wVermeer Vitalix Vytelle Westway Feeds Wild River Y-Tex Zinpro Performance Minerals GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS (Minimum $100,000 Investment) PRODUCT COUNCIL American Foods Group Cargill Meat Solutions Certified Angus Beef Culver’s Darden Restaurants empirical Fareway Stores, Inc. Five Guys McDonald’s Corporation National Beef Packing Omaha Steaks Preferred Beef Group Tyson Fresh Meats CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY


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Celebrating 125 Years

Continued from page 4

As the 1940s rolled in, the Korean War impacted beef supply, demand, the black market and price controls. This and drought led to the “Great Beef Bust” of 1953. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there were many discussions about the need for national legislation that would support beef producers and beef consumption. The Beef Industry Council (BIC) of the National Live Stock and Meat Board was formed in 1963 to build beef demand. Later, in 1986, the Beef Promotion and Research Act was passed and began the national Beef Checkoff, where $1 of every beef animal sold is collected for research and promotion.

In 1977, the second big merger of the national association occurred between the American National Cattlemen’s Association and the National Livestock Feeder’s Association. Thus, the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) was born.


The late 1980s and early 1990s saw activist groups pick up steam in the U.S., especially with the EU ban on U.S. beef from hormone-implanted cattle in 1989. Activist groups and consumer misconceptions were a primary focus of NCA. The shift in consumer perspective was a surprise to cattlemen and women who had fostered healthy soils and grasslands for decades with the intention of their children and grandchildren doing the same. NCA focused on programs geared toward environmental stewardship, food safety and animal welfare. At the time, NCA and the Beef Industry Council of the Meat Board were contractors with the Checkoff’s governing body to conduct promotion, market research, and consumer and producer communication. However, there were growing discussions amongst cattle industry members and leadership that the industry would be stronger together. The idea to combine the Beef Industry Council and NCA was proposed in order to increase consumer education and drive beef demand. In 1996, the third and final merger of this organization took place. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was established and has continued the legacy as the leading voice of U.S. cattle producers.


At the 1996 Convention in San Antonio, delegates debated for two hours, then voted to terminate NCA and become part of the expanded National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Members used pink cards to vote. In the new NCBA, members of the Board of Governors vote with three colors of cards: red for the Policy Division, white for the Checkoff Division, and blue for the Beef Board.



Since 1996, NCBA and its membership have led the U.S. beef industry to many victories and through many challenges. NCBA led the charge to increase market opportunities for producers in the U.S. and abroad through trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, China and Japan. The association fought for financial relief for producers in all segments of the industry during one of the world’s largest health and economic disasters with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“I am confident that NCBA will continue to have strong leadership that works to forge strong relations with all ag trade groups,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “I fully expect that 25 years from now, NCBA will have even more influence than it does today if it continues to draw from our members’ grassroots ability to do the right thing for the consumer.”

According to Mike John, long time cattle producer and past Membership Committee chair, celebrating NCBA’s 125th anniversary demonstrates the resiliency not only of NCBA, but also of the cattle industry. NCBA members have a commitment to family values and traditions, which can be seen as multiple generations continue to be a part of this association.

NCBA continues to share with consumers and thought leaders that U.S. beef farmers and ranchers have been dedicated to social, economic and environmental sustainability for decades. As a result, the U.S. produces the most sustainable beef in the world. Farmers and ranchers are committed to continued improvement and

New Leadership, NCBA officers for 1996. (from left) President John Lacey, Paso Robles, California; PresidentElect Max Deets, Beloit, Kansas; and First Vice President Clark Willingham, Dallas, Texas.

innovation and to producing high-quality beef for generations to come.

“NCBA represents all sectors of the beef cattle industry, and that gives NCBA the unique opportunity to speak with a unified voice for the industry,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “Being the largest and oldest beef cattle trade association means we have developed trust and credibility. And NCBA’s presence in D.C. is what defends our way of life.”

Opinion Editorial: A Lesson from Europe

In December, I participated in meetings in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a stakeholder forum to strengthen relations between the United States and the European Union (EU). The events were hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG-AGRI). The stakeholder meetings included the Forum for the Future of Agriculture, the Collaboration Platform on Agriculture, and the 2022 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference. I was joined by Kent Bacus, executive director of Government Affairs for NCBA, and we participated in panel discussions on the challenges facing agriculture and ways to improve trans-Atlantic cooperation between producers and government.

This was my third trip to the European Union since August 2022, and I felt I was finally getting a well-rounded opinion of European agriculture and the struggles facing European farmers. On a previous trip, I spent a couple days with the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association and heard first-hand how over-regulation can have a devasting effect on farms. Likewise, this trip gave me an opportunity to hear similar stories from European producers who are facing tremendous headwinds.

Over the last couple years, there has been a push for stricter regulations and increased red tape for European producers mostly driven by climate change, food security and emissions, but it goes even deeper than that. There has been a push for more organic foods, plant-based diets and small farms while eliminating fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, large farms and some segments of animal agriculture.

What is the impact of increased government overreach on producers in the 27 countries that make up the EU? From 2010-2020, the number of farms decreased by 25%. More than 3 million farms went out of business. If you do the math that comes out to more than 800 farms a day. Yet, discussion was minimal on farm retention, succession or profitability.

In 2023, the European Commission will spend €38 billion on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) payment scheme to “incentivize young farmers and counter a decline in rural population” while addressing food security concerns and meeting climate change goals (though overall commodity production is not forecasted to increase anytime soon). The CAP is portrayed as an attempt to address “environmental sustainability” and “animal welfare” but does little to help EU farmers

become more competitive or efficient.

Global food security is a serious issue, and the disruptions of the past few years created more problems for vulnerable populations. In 2019, 135 million people worldwide suffered from food insecurity. That number rose to 349 million in 2022, and that number is expected to increase. Exports and imports help address food insecurity issues, but there is a shortage of people who are willing to produce food. Europe, like the U.S., has an aging agricultural work force and younger generations who are less likely to engage in agricultural production due to lack of profitability. It goes beyond that as the EU develops strict and sometimes completely unrealistic trade policies, some that have already been passed down to the U.S. producer, and others that will continue to come down the pipeline. European farmers are more aligned with U.S. views on food security, but their government policies are being driven by special interests and activists rather than farmers. At the forums, there were no clear and convincing arguments presented to show that moving toward organic production methods, moving away from livestock production, and restricting trade will strengthen European food security.

Why is it important that NCBA has a seat at the table in these stakeholder meetings? Why is it vital to have grassroots representation at these meetings? I may have been a little too straightforward in my panel discussion when I asked for a show of hands of all the producers that were represented in the room. I challenged the organizers if they want proper representation the percentage of producers should not be less than 5%, it should be at least 50% or more. These conversations are important not only for NCBA members, but all cattle producers need to recognize that there are several negative connotations surrounding U.S. cattle production, words like factory farming, lack of animal welfare standards, misuse of environment, etc. There is nothing more untrue about U.S. cattle producers, and meetings like these are an opportunity for others to come face to face with an actual beef producer, some for the first time. All it takes is a couple photos of the Nebraska Sandhills, talking about our Beef Quality Assurance standards, and talking about the work we are doing to better the environment, and opinions can be changed.

We need agriculture, we need producers, and we need freedom to grow food.

Jaclyn Wilson is a fifth-generation cattle producer operating Wilson Flying Diamond Ranch, a commercial cow-calf operation in Nebraska. Wilson is the chair of the NCBA International Trade Committee.
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Not So Fast: The Next Herd Expansion Will Take Time



It is expected that beef production will be in a relatively predictable decline for the next several years due to more than four years of U.S. cow herd liquidation and a cowcalf segment that will eventually look to rebuild, but the beef supply chain should also see the cattle producing and processing segments proceed with more caution over the next 10 years.

This is the topic of the latest RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness report that is available to Rabobank clients online and will be shared with attendees of the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention during a Learning Lounge presentation at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, February 2, in the NCBA Trade Show.

The report and discussion in New Orleans will allow industry participants to better understand some of the market forces that are likely to shape the next cattle cycle and help them navigate what looks to be a slower, more calculated transition into the next cow herd rebuild.

The price volatility and boom-and-bust nature of the recent cattle cycle’s (2014-present) cow herd expansion and processing capacity exhaustion continue to be echoed by participants, even as the next cow herd rebuild remains years away.

Yet, the supply chain is already building out additional infrastructure with three new regional processing plants in some phase of fundraising or construction, and the reality is the payoff for that investment is still years away.

Cow herd liquidation and rebuilding phases generally take years to develop within each cattle cycle — well beyond the initial onset of environmental and/or economic conditions that spur those transitions. The 2022 annual culling rate will reach a record high near 13.4%. Expect the 2023 culling rate to be closer to 12%.

Data suggests a culling rate near 10% is needed to simply stabilize the U.S. beef cow herd. That means the best-case scenario is some level of stabilization arriving in 2024, and the timeline from previous cow herd expansions suggests it will take until 2025 or later to see meaningful herd rebuilding.

Another consideration for the cow herd rebuild is the state of the beef heifer population. Potential herd replacement numbers are near two-decade lows. USDAreported feeder cattle and calf sales show the percentage of heifers selling in auctions, online sales and direct sales peaked in the past year and are moving back to historical norms. From January to June 2022, heifer feeder cattle and calves made up 40.7% of all sales. That was an all-time high for that period in the 18-year dataset. The third quarter heifer mix declined to 38.3%, the fourth-highest value during that time. While fourth-quarter values increased seasonally to 39.7%, moving to within a percentage point of the long-run average.

While the heifer sales trend appears to be turning, the cow-calf segment is not prepared to add breeding inventory yet. The level of retention by U.S. farms and ranches remains considerably smaller than the start of the previous rebuild and reinforces that the supply chain is two or three years away from any meaningful increase in bred heifer and cow numbers and likely two or three more years away from additional cattle slaughter. Patience is necessary.

U.S. cattle producers and processors will likely also face more competition for protein consumers and feed resources over the next several years. This could flatten the curve on any

upward moves in beef and cattle prices — stifling industry optimism and slowing the start of the next herd rebuild.

All else equal, tighter beef supplies lead to higher consumer prices, but that market fundamental will most likely be challenged by a larger available pork and broiler supply as the next cattle cycle begins. And without a significant pullback in total protein supplies, expect cattle and beef price rallies to come under more pressure in the next cattle cycle.

Per capita consumption of the top three animal proteins came in just short of 210 lbs. per person in 2022 — a record high. Contrast this to when the U.S. cow herd rebuild started in 2014. Total per capita supplies were at a 23-year low of 183 lbs. With inflation reducing the spending power of the U.S. dollar by nearly 15% since spring 2020, there will be ample competition for beef in the domestic market — at a cheaper price.

Furthermore, increased competition for feed grains and oilseeds is changing the cost structure for livestock and poultry operators as the beef industry transitions into the next cattle cycle. Prices for feedstuffs have adjusted to all-time highs the last two years with drought, global conflict, logistics disruptions, energy price increases, renewable energy market growth, higher farm input costs and a lack of feed alternatives.

The risk is that eventually the feed bill needs to be passed along to the consumer through higher beef prices. But as mentioned earlier, ample pork and poultry supplies offer cheaper alternatives. Consumer pushback could limit beef and cattle market upside and stifle upstream demand for feeder cattle and calves if higher feed prices persist.

Another daunting challenge for a cow-calf segment approaching the next herd rebuild is rising interest rates. The next expansion phase has not even materialized, and the prime loan rate is at 7.5% — exactly double what it was in 2014. All else equal, cow-calf producers will pay an extra $400 per head in interest for a $2,000 bred heifer today compared to one at the beginning of the previous cattle cycle if rates hold steady from here. The total interest payment would be nearly 2.5 times the size of the one made during the previous rebuild (Figure 1).

From 2009 to late 2015, the bank prime loan rate remained unchanged at historical lows of 3.25%. Those low-interest rates removed a significant barrier of entry at the start of the nation’s previous cow herd expansion. Rates did increase from 2016 to 2019 at a rate of around 0.25 percentage points every 4.5 months on average during that period — ultimately peaking at 5.5%.

Higher interest rates go beyond simply increasing breakeven costs for cow-calf operators. They also temper enthusiasm and limit the aggressiveness of the next cattle cycle.

New producers will most likely be more limited in their ability to enter the marketplace, and existing producers will be less likely to take on the risk associated with expanding a cattle operation compared to the beginning of the current cycle.

The book has not closed on the recent cattle cycle just yet. The U.S. cow-calf producer is still locked in a herd liquidation mindset today. Even if cow slaughter slows and heifer retention improves, it could be two more years until the breeding herd stabilizes and the thought of rebuilding materializes. Until then, the entire U.S. beef sector needs to prepare for a relatively fluid supply situation that will take years to work through the system.

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How Producers Can Prepare for FDA Guidance #263

Beef Cattle Specialist Veterinarian, NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Cattle producers prioritize animal health and welfare daily. Part of responsible cattle care is utilizing the tools we have judiciously and at the appropriate times. The Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has produced guidelines on the judicious use of antimicrobials that the cattle industry has been following for many years. The threat of antimicrobial resistance is very real, and the agricultural industry is working towards minimizing its risks. Using antibiotics judiciously can help slow the rate of potential antimicrobial resistance development and keep these products working longer. Efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance are present in both human and animal health realms.

As mentioned in December’s issue of National Cattlemen, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) will implement their Guidance for Industry (GFI) #263 which instructs animal drug companies to voluntarily change labels so that antibiotics, which are medically important for human medicine and currently available over-the-counter (OTC) for animals, will require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian for legal use. These product labels will be transitioned from OTC to “prescription only” over the next few months. In practical terms, this means that livestock producers will need an established

veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) before purchasing prescription antibiotics.

A VCPR is legally defined by state and federal statutes as well as by the American Veterinary Medical Association. An established VCPR allows the veterinarian to diagnose and treat animals, prescribe medications, and issue Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs) or health certificates. Because the VCPR is required to be renewed annually, a yearly consultation with your veterinarian is recommended where multiple facets of the operation are evaluated, goals for the next year are set, and potential interventions are considered. This meeting and farm visit can provide in-depth understanding of the operation’s capabilities and limitations which can help shape future recommendations. For those producers who already have an established VCPR, they will likely not see much change after the guidance is enacted.

FDA Guidance #263 will be fully enacted in June 2023, and the first preparation step that producers can do is establish a VCPR. BQA has an example VCPR on their website (bqa.org) for producers to use. Cattle producers who do not regularly consult with a veterinarian or have an existing VCPR will need to work on establishing one prior to the deadline. The benefits of a VCPR go well beyond prescription writing, as veterinarians can be a valued partner on the cattle operation. Developing annual vaccination, feed sampling, nutrition consults, biosecurity or

Continued on page 10

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New WOTUS Rule Revives Decades of Uncertainty

As many families were relaxing between Christmas and New Year’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was hurriedly finalizing a new “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule and adding to the regulatory uncertainty that has plagued cattle producers for decades.

“The timing of this rule could not be worse,” said NCBA Chief Counsel MaryThomas Hart. “It’s bad enough that the EPA unveiled this rule when many farming and ranching families are enjoying the holidays, but the Supreme Court is currently considering Sackett v. EPA, which will likely impact the WOTUS definition. The EPA’s final rule seeks to directly preempt ongoing Supreme Court litigation, leaving farmers and ranchers with more questions than answers.”

The release of this new WOTUS rule in the midst of a Supreme Court case has only added to the uncertainty cattle producers have faced the last 50 years. On average, the federal government has changed the definition of WOTUS every 3.8 years since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, leading to decades of confusion.

“The Sackett case is an opportunity to finally solidify the EPA’s proper jurisdiction,” Hart said. “NCBA has long fought for a consistent WOTUS definition that offers clarity for producers.”

The Biden Administration’s WOTUS definition is detrimental for cattle producers and landowners across the country. In an attempt to strike a balance between the 2015 Obama definition and 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule, EPA only created new confusion for regulated stakeholders. Features like ephemeral tributaries that only carry water after a precipitation event, or isolated features that do not contribute to downstream water quality, are neither categorically jurisdictional or exempt. Instead, these features are subject to caseby-case jurisdictional determinations, creating a resource-intensive and costly new burden for cattle producers.

While the new rule is highly concerning, there is one bright spot. EPA’s proposed rule, first issued in December 2021, included no jurisdictional exclusions for agricultural features — even following the use of these valuable carveouts in both the Obama and Trump-era rules

“NCBA worked quickly to tell the Biden administration how harmful the loss of these agricultural exclusions would be,” Hart said. “We also encouraged our members to speak up and their comments to the EPA were crucial for retaining the exemption. Our producers’ voices were heard loud and clear.”

The final definition excludes many important agricultural features including

FDA Guidance #263

Continued from page 8

preconditioning programs are many ways to incorporate a veterinarian’s expertise to your operation. Veterinarians are trained to evaluate individual animals within a herd system and provide integrative management plans to prevent diseases or problems from occurring in the future. This would be a good time to sit down with your herd veterinarian and discuss common treatment protocols for your individual herd. Having a protocol acts as a training tool for anyone caring for the cattle, and it also plans ahead for what medications you may need.

When seeking veterinary care, the availability of a veterinarian may be a challenge for some rural areas. Some ideas to find available large animal veterinarians in your area include:

• Speaking with your community or other ranchers

• Getting involved with local or state cattlemen’s associations

• Reaching out to extension agents or universities (including veterinary schools)

• Discussing opportunities with state Veterinary Medical Associations

It is important to note that these products are not being removed from the marketplace. Rather, they are being transitioned from OTC to veterinary oversight to help combat overuse/ misuse. While these affected products will not be abruptly removed this summer, the products may start to become hard to find as local feed or farm supply stores choose not to restock. Do not go out and stock up on these products. Having an excess amount of product will risk having too much product that expires before it can be used. As discussed in the BQA guidelines, expired product is less effective and risks higher treatment failure. Responsible antimicrobial use involves receiving veterinary input and only purchasing products when needed. Some businesses may decide to not stock these products after June 2023 because they are not legally considered a “pharmacy”, which requires the ability to review veterinary authorizations and track veterinary prescriptions. As such, discuss with your veterinarian about how to best access these products.

Each operation is unique, and finding a veterinary practice that supports the needs of your operation is essential. Veterinarians are one branch of your operation’s resource team and can help with short-term and longterm goals towards profit and sustainability. Building a comprehensive management plan for your herd with your veterinarian will help you and your operation adapt to unforeseen obstacles, improving animal welfare, antimicrobial stewardship, and cattle care factors in the future.

prior converted cropland, certain ditches, and stock ponds. The final rule also contains a definition for prior converted cropland, attempting to align USDA and EPA standards and reduce confusion.

However, without a clear definition, cattle producers are left with the most concerning aspect of this new WOTUS rule: case-by-case determinations. This approach — a failure to tell regulated stakeholder what is “in” and “out” — requires cattle producers to ask the government if they have a regulated water feature on their property instead of providing a definition that allows landowners to make the determination on their own. Without clarity, features that are dry for most of the year or with no impact on downstream water quality might suddenly have the same federal protection and permitting requirements as a large lake, river or ocean. In the past, such ambiguity has led to landowners conducting activity on their private property, such as constructing a dam to establish a stock pond, only to be surprised by an enforcement action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA. These “gotcha” violations can lead to years in federal court and thousands of dollars in unnecessary expense.

NCBA’s concerns about the final rule extend beyond its substantive impacts. EPA chose to issue this final rule while the Supreme Court is also actively considering the definition of WOTUS. On Oct. 3, 2022, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sackett v. EPA, a case which concerns a couple in Idaho who purchased lakeside property to build their dream home. While the facts of the case are not farming-related, this case will have a significant impact on the future definition of WOTUS. This is the fourth time that the Supreme Court has considered the definition of WOTUS — and the first time for six of the nine sitting Justices. A decision is expected this Spring 2023. NCBA requested that EPA pause its rulemaking until the Supreme Court issued it’s Sackett opinion. The Agency’s impatience will likely lead to more rulemakings on this important issue in the next two years.

Throughout last year, NCBA encouraged members to send letters to the EPA calling for a clear WOTUS definition and explaining how WOTUS impacts farms and ranches outside of Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 cattle producers from 44 states submitted feedback to the agency. NCBA also mobilized cattle producers to share their stories at EPA and Army Corps listening sessions and participate in agency roundtables. These events provided policymakers with the cattle industry’s perspective on the new WOTUS rules.

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Keep Those Babies Warm! Calf Care in Cold Weather

One of the most discussed subjects in the agricultural community (at least in my experience) revolves around the weather. This winter has already thrown some memorable temperatures at cattle producers. December brought record-breaking windchill to much of the country in addition to snow and ice. Extreme weather presents unique challenges for cattle caretakers and many of you were likely preparing for these events in the days or weeks prior to them occurring. Keeping cattle dry, out of the wind, and properly fed during the cold is an arduous task especially when you are also caring for your human team. Animal care and welfare are always top of mind for cattle operations, even more so during these extreme events.

While caring for adult cattle in this cold weather is one thing, caring for young calves has its own challenges. Due to their body size, young calves can be more susceptible to the effects of cold weather and maintaining a constant body temperature can be difficult. The thermoneutral zone (TNZ) is the temperature range at which an animal maintains its normal body temperature without needing extra energy. Many factors can influence the thermoneutral zone, including age of the animal, wind, moisture, hair coat length, sunlight, bedding and rumination. Newborn calves have a TNZ between 50-78°F while a calf that is a month old can have a TNZ between 32-78°F. Cold stress in calves can occur when temperatures stay below 50°F. When ambient temperatures fall outside of the TNZ ranges, the calves need to have extra energy to maintain their body temperature which can come from nutritional and environmental interventions.


Colostrum management is of utmost importance for a newborn calf as this will provide passive immunity and a highly nutritious meal for the calf to keep itself warm. Once calving season starts, it is important for calves to receive that colostrum in the first four hours of birth as it will protect the calf from infectious diseases through passive immunity in addition to providing nutrition for warmth. Work with your veterinarian to discuss what colostrum replacers verses supplement products are best for your operation for times when the dam’s colostrum is not available.

A general rule of thumb is that for every degree below the TNZ, the animal’s

the cold (potentially wet) ground and help improve thermoregulation. Deep, clean and dry bedding should be provided regularly during cold weather.

Providing adequate shelter for your herd is especially important in cold weather. Windbreaks using trees, bales or equipment can be very useful. Bringing calves indoors or to a protected area can help them maintain their body temperature. Warming boxes, kitchen floors and living rooms have also proved to be a good source of warmth. Taking a tip from our partners in the dairy industry, calf blankets can be used for insulation. These are best used in younger calves that are not ruminating yet.

On a ranch visit recently, a creative strategy utilized straw bales stacked in a semicircle shape, with straw bedded on the ground. The area was fenced off by a taller wire of electric fence which allowed the calves to move freely in and out of the area when they needed to eat. The cows were prevented from entering the area which meant less contamination from the adults.

Animal Health and Biosecurity

As the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program highlights, areas of care overlap with one another. Nutrition and environmental factors can positively or negatively impact animal health and immunity. It is important to remember that calves are susceptible to diseases due to a developing immune system in the first few months of life, even with quality colostrum and proper environmental management. Keeping calves separated by age (i.e., have groups of calves born within 14 days of each other) will decrease risk of scours and other disease spread.

Hygiene is extremely important for growing calves and especially with cold/wet weather. If you are using the same equipment for warming calves (blankets, barns, living rooms, anything), it is vital to clean and disinfect that equipment often so the new calves are not exposed to older animals’ illnesses. In addition, there are many zoonotic diseases that calves can carry that can infect humans (especially children or people with weakened immune systems), so be vigilant in cleaning areas where calves and humans overlap. When using bedding, fecal material can accumulate if the bedding area is not rotated, so cleaning out soiled bedding often will help decrease illness spread.

Caring for calves during cold weather takes some extra creativity and effort but will positively affect those calves in the short term and set them up for success in the long

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La Niña Set to Fade Away in the Coming Months

La Niña conditions continue to fade, which will mean a pattern change coming our way through the year. This subject is critical to our industry, as we have seen the negative impact of La Niña grow during the past few years. By no means do I mean to imply that getting rid of La Niña will fix everything, but for the majority, it will be better for beef and agriculture if its influence is gone. Problem is, El Niño can spread drought across the northern states, so there is not a win-win for everyone.

Putting this latest La Niña episode (three winters in a row now) in the rearview mirror will mean improving drought conditions, a more favorable growing season and regenerating soil health. How long it takes to tackle all those obstacles remains to be seen, but we will be on our way.

The latest forecast for La Niña takes that pattern down to only a 14% probability of existence this spring and down further to a 10% likelihood by the summer. What takes its place is the next question, and for a time, we will be sitting in a neutral phase, which means neither La Niña nor El Niño controls us. That neutral phase may last several months before allowing a chance for El Niño to gain traction through the summer into the fall and next winter.

El Niño’s probability of developing by summer is 39% likely but climbs to more than 50% likelihood by the fall. Here is a look at that forecast; the chart below shows the odds (percentage chance) of having one of the three phases in place during the months ahead. For example, the tallest gray bar is in March-April-May and is the highest probability of a neutral pattern. Still, red bars (El Niño’s forecast odds) increase to be the highest of the three by August-September-October.

A quick explanation, the Pacific Ocean from South America toward Southeast Asia will fluctuate between colder and warmer than normal surface water. This impacts how storms develop over those parts of the ocean, which causes changes globally in how the weather pattern is positioned.

To be cooler than average, the sea surface is in La Niña which promotes drought for North America. If that ocean warms above average, called El Niño, it promotes storminess for much of the country.

Granted, as is always the case with weather, we shall see. Let us assume, however, that we have either neutral or El Niño conditions in place for the second half of the year. How might that look in terms of precipitation? Here is a comparison between those two patterns for the summer and the fall. The green areas show historically wet regions, and oranges indicate drier than normal spots.

Spring Outlook by Region

Northwest: Even if La Niña has weakened, there will be residual impacts to the region. This will favor some periods of precipitation and mountain snows. Precipitation, in most cases, will be enough to break even for the season. Temperatures will remain cooler than average for the season.

West: The wetness of winter will subside. Similar years of the past and model projections indicate near normal to slightly drier than average conditions for March through May, however, the surplus from winter will carry over to benefit the start to growing season. Temperatures will be closest to average for the north, but southern areas will see warmth take over.

Southwest: Drier than average conditions will cover most of the region, particularly over New Mexico. Soil moisture will continue to be an issue on the Plains to start the growing season. The northwestern mountains of Colorado and the Wasatch Range in Utah will continue to receive snowpack albeit near average. Temperatures will warm above average for the season, as much as one to two degrees warmer than normal for New Mexico, southern Colorado and eastern Arizona.

Northern Rockies: Hit and miss moisture for the mountains and plains. The probabilities of above versus below average precipitation are equal. Areas with snowpack will likely see that melt and runoff before soils thaw enough to absorb much of that moisture. Temperatures will be coolest to the west and north. February through March hold on to chances for sharp drops in temperatures. Yet, with a rapid warmup in April and May the season will average out to near normal temperatures overall.

South: Western areas will continue to fight against poor soil conditions as odds favor a drier than normal forecast here. Toward the east, however, east Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi have better odds of a wet pattern. A warm outlook, like last year, with temperatures several degrees warmer than average for the period.

Upper Midwest: Like the Northern Rockies/ Plains, moisture will be hit and miss. The spring likely ends near normal for the region’s precipitation. And snowpack will be mostly runoff for the Mississippi versus soils until we thaw. Near-normal temperatures for the season following some cold snaps in March.

Between those comparisons for summer and fall, you can see how adding El Niño (bottom images) can dramatically change the outlook. In both cases, it is better historically than leaving La Niña and her widespread drought patterns in place.

Although I believe we transition out of La Niña, I question the speed at which we see dramatic pattern changes around the country. I wrote a lot about how a drawnout transition would look in the previous issue of the National Cattlemen. For now, it is best to consider the neutral phases as the best forecast guidance for the summer. Slow or not, a transition from La Niña will lead to several things. Among them: The chances for hail and wind outbreaks drop when we are no longer in a La Niña phase. The risk of hurricanes also decreases as El Niño increases its strength. Additionally, we will have better chances to recover water levels for the Colorado River Basin and the Mississippi River. So, there will be plenty of changes to watch during the year.

Ohio Valley: A favored area for precipitation to the benefit of the start to growing season and runoff for the Mississippi. The highest probability country-wide for moisture sits smack dab on this region. With the moisture comes nearly normal temperatures throughout, trending warmer than average for the south as the season progresses.

Southeast: Producers to the north and west in this region will fair the best with spring moisture, others will tend to be normal to drier than normal and the driest conditions spread across Georgia and Florida. Warmer than normal temperatures expected for the spring, warmest to the west and south.

Northeast: Moisture near the Great Lakes will continue to be more than normal, with the rest of the region in neutral chances for wet versus dry. Temperatures should break even on the season.


Graduate Students Recognized Through 2022 W.D. Farr Scholarship

Colorado State University (CSU) graduate students Ashley Schilling of Timnath, Colorado, and Lane Giess of Pierz, Minnesota, have each been awarded a $15,000 W.D. Farr Scholarship by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF).

The annual W.D. Farr Scholarship program, established by NCF in 2007, recognizes outstanding graduate students who plan to pursue careers furthering the beef industry.

Schilling and Giess were selected from 21 applicants based on their academic achievements, leadership and commitment to the advancement of the beef industry. They will be recognized during the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, Feb. 1-3, in New Orleans.

Schilling graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and is pursuing her master’s and PhD in animal science from CSU as well. Her involvement in 4-H and raising livestock as a youth instilled a passion for production agriculture and feeding consumers. Schilling’s graduate work focuses on advancing sustainable solutions for beef systems, and she hopes to educate industry professionals, producers and the public about how the beef industry supports environmental, social and economic sustainability across the value chain.

“This scholarship is giving me the opportunity to holistically investigate some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for future agriculturalists and to expand my knowledge of livestock systems and the innovations that will support future agri-food supply chains,” Schilling said.

Giess grew up on his family’s

seedstock cattle ranch in central Minnesota and quickly learned the value of genetics. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Kansas State University, Giess was accepted to Colorado State University’s animal science doctoral program. He is studying quantitative animal breeding and genetics with an emphasis in developing genetic evaluations to improve fertility, longevity and the economic sustainability of commercial cattle. Giess is looking forward to contributing to the advancement of genetic technologies making cattle producers more profitable.

“Receiving the W.D. Farr Scholarship will help me become a better researcher, a better leader and validate my commitment to the beef industry,” Giess said.

The scholarship honors the successful career of the late W.D. Farr who was a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation. Farr was the first president of the NCF and served as president of the American National Cattlemen’s Association, which later became the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Farr died at age 97 in August 2007.

The NCF advances the future of the beef industry by assisting in the education of the next generation of beef industry professionals. For more information about NCF and the W.D. Farr Scholarship, visit NationalCattlemensFoundation.org


www.NCBA.org NATIONAL CATTLEMEN 15 www.AgRiskAdvisors.com Sunup to sundown, we work tirelessly for you, even before you have a policy Our advisors can use our propriety tools including daily interval reports, weekly weather updates and daily Livestock Risk Protection rate emails. Don’t get stuck with just an agent, hire an Advisor! www.AgRiskAdvisors.com (303) 539-9300 (303) 539-9300
Ashley Schilling Colorado State University
Lane Giess Colorado State University

Cattle on Feed Patterns – 2023

On Dec. 1, cattle on feed hit the lowest December figure since 2016. Placements were higher than expected, which helped boost this number, but generally speaking the number of cattle on feed is expected to decline into 2023. Drought induced placements in the late summer and fall of 2022 will keep cattle on feed numbers from breaking off sharply until those cattle have been marketed. LMIC expects sharp declines for cattle on feed numbers not to occur until the second or third quarter of 2023.

In the last cattle cycle, cattle on feed inventory rose substantially in 2011 to reach more than 12 million head on feed, a 15% increase from the low in that year. Through the spring of 2012, cattle on feed numbers lost about 1-2% every month from the prior month, before dropping 3.5% month over month in June. New calf crop placements did allow total on feed numbers to rise from the lowest levels over the summer, but December 2012 was 5.8% less than 2011’s figure.

This year cattle on feed numbers have been building in the fourth quarter which is a normal seasonal pattern, but often December is the high point of the year. However, in 2021 and 2022 it has not been. December 2022 was half a million head under the high point of the year — February. This was about a 4.2% drop within the year. Smaller calf crops in 2022 and expected in 2023 point towards the long-term downward trend of smaller numbers of cattle on feed. The seasonal pattern will likely show smaller declines in the first quarter of the year though and a low in the summer before the 2023 calf crop is placed. That would imply the tightest cattle supplies for the year will likely hit in the summer of 2023 and may pose a strong counter-seasonal price move similar to 2022. This pattern has happened in the last two years where the summer quarter has started the rally into the close of the year and mirrors other declining cattle supply situations.

Management decisions at the feedlot may result in cattle being pulled ahead or held longer depending on a variety of circumstances, but the real wild card to cattle prices will be demand in 2023. There is a relatively bleak economic picture that has developed over the rest of the world, and it remains to be seen how much the U.S. will be impacted. There will very likely be some demand impacts. Economists have been noting the potential for some time that consumers may swap beef in their shopping cart for other proteins, but we have not seen much evidence of that so far. However, the household financial picture continues to deteriorate: rising revolving debt, lower savings rates, higher interest rates, and high inflation are all feeding into that picture.

LMIC is forecasting fed cattle prices moving exponentially higher in the next two years with the annual average peak being in 2024 or 2025. Projected supplies will continue to decline in 2023, and the cow herd is unlikely to move into an expansion phase very quickly based on the volume of heifers moving through slaughter channels. But the other component is, should cattle supplies and a recovering economic recovery overlap, the impacts to fed cattle prices will be stronger and add fuel to the upside on prices.

Drought continues to be in the back of everyone’s mind and another round for cowcalf country would continue to push the LMIC timeline for peak prices out another year (2025). For feedlots, drought would mean enduring high feed prices and more careful management of input prices. Feeder cattle prices would be in a tricky spot of high feed costs limiting upside potential and short cattle supplies limiting downside price risk. Which one wins out in the push-pull side of that equation might depend on demand for beef in the medium and short term, but in the long run, smaller calf crops will favor feeder cattle prices increasing year over year for the next few years.

Higher Prices and Opportunities in 2023

At the start of 2023, cattle producers are in a more favorable position than any time the past several years. In the final week of 2022, the cash fed cattle market rose to not only the highest price of the fourth quarter, but the highest price of the year. Historically, ending the year on such a strong note tends to be a positive sign for the following year. Leverage has shifted back in the favor of the producer, which sets the stage for improved cow-calf profitability over time.

The U.S. cattle inventory increased by 6.3 million head from 2014 to 2019. That inventory has since declined by about 4.7 million head, confirming that the cattle cycle is still relevant. Overall inventories are expected to decline the next couple of years.

Fed slaughter dropped off significantly in December, even beyond the aggressive decline that was forecast. At the same time, the fed cattle market strength to close the year was a clear reflection of a tightening front-end cattle supply. The expectation of a stronger fed market in 2023 was already well-established. The market is also expected to unfold with a more traditional seasonal price pattern, much different than the last several years.

Steer and heifer slaughter is expected to decline substantially in 2023. Cow slaughter is also set to drop from the 2022 cycle highs. Combined, these factors will lead to a decline in overall beef supplies in the next several years.

The forecast for a higher and more seasonal fed market is driven predominantly by fed slaughter expectations. The chart attached outlines the current slaughter forecast, which currently calls for a roughly 750,000 head decline from 2022. This is the result of declining on-feed inventories and a reduced feeder cattle supply.

While strong packing margins boosted slaughter to start the year, expect a notably reduced slaughter pace in the coming months. Fed cattle supplies are seasonally the tightest in January to April, while the placed-against supply and carryover are also starting the new year much smaller than recent years. The reduced fed cattle supply was a primary reason for the smaller slaughter and strong price trend in December.

The tighter fed cattle supply will limit downside price risk in the coming weeks through this seasonal weak spot for the fed cattle market. The post-holiday slump is more likely to manifest this year in the form of limited upside rather than substantial downside. The mid-$150s should provide strong support on a U.S. average basis.

Beef demand remains strong both domestically and internationally. Beef prices were less volatile in 2022 and will continue to move higher on average in 2023. As spring beef demand approaches, expect the fed market to resume the uptrend.

Steer & Heifer Slaughter

Tighter fed cattle supplies and reduced beef production from recent years should outweigh demand challenges, moving beef and cattle prices higher. As a result, the spring rally in fed cattle prices has potential for highs up into the mid-$160s.

A seasonal market implies a meaningful price decline from the spring highs into the summer lows. Fed cattle supplies will remain below year-ago and cattle feeder leverage much stronger. However, the largest fed cattle supplies will occur in the late spring to early summer.

The beef will be pressured off the spring highs and leverage will need to incentivize a larger slaughter pace compared to early-2023. There are plenty of variables that can move between now and early summer, but the current expectation is for summer price risk to the low $150s.

Bottom line: Calves, feeder cattle, fed cattle, breeding females and bulls will all bring higher prices in 2023. There remains inflation, weather and input cost risk, however the change in supply and the associated price move should provide better profit opportunities in 2023.

C-N-10 11/18/22 10.7 10.9 11.1 11.3 11.5 11.7 11.9 12.1 12.3 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Mil. Head CATTLE ON FEED US Total, Monthly Avg. 2016/20 2021 2022 Data Source: USDA-NASS Livestock Marketing Information Center C-N-16 11/18/22 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Percent NET FEEDLOT PLACEMENTS As a Percent of Marketings, Monthly Avg. 2016/20 2021 2022 Data Source: USDA-NASS, Compiled by LMIC Livestock Marketing Information Center 450 460 470 480 490 500 510 520 530 540 550 560 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Head (1,000s) Month Wkly. Avg. F.I.
5-Yr. 20 21 22 F23 Source: USDA, CattleFax forecast
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Beef consumption rose 33% between 1963 and 1976, and even though consumers were eating more beef, they were buying it at lower prices and producers struggled to remain profitable. Nutritionists also started warning consumers about eating too much red meat, and the government began making recommendations to consume less beef and eat more chicken and fish. Producers recognized the need to increase beef demand nationally and protect the industry’s image.

In 1972, the Beef Industry Council (BIC) placed full-color, full-page ads in women’s magazines with the theme “Nothing Beats Beef.” This type of campaign was a first for BIC, and several state beef councils contributed funding to extend the message locally. In addition to the colorful magazine ads, full-color in-store displays were made available to retailers and press releases and scripts for radio commercials were sent to food editors.

As the Federation of State Beef Councils celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, let’s step back in time and look at successful projects that have created a strong state/national partnership through the decades. We are cruising into the ‘70s when polyester and platform shoes were the fashion of the disco era, and momentum for a national Beef Checkoff program began to build.

With support of the American National Cattlemen’s Association (ANCA) and the BIC, the American National CowBelles started the National Beef Cook-Off in 1974 to generate publicity for beef. Early cook-offs encouraged use of more economical cuts of beef from the chuck, round and brisket or ground beef, and entries were judged on appearance, ease of preparation, originality and taste. In 1979, funding from the BIC made it possible to include contestants from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The successful national contest continued for four decades and resulted in tasty beef recipes that generated positive media attention and millions of impressions for beef.

In 1976, the BIC celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by creating the “Bicentennial Beef Cookbook,” which featured beef dishes from America’s first 200 years and reached 100,000 consumers. In addition to recipes, the book featured historical information about the cattle industry, tips on preparation and storage as well as nutrition information. The release of the cookbook generated positive publicity for beef in newspapers across the country, and industry organizations used the book for special campaigns and promotions.

During the 1976 National Beef Promotion Workshop, the first “Sizzler Award” competition took place with state beef promotion programs competing for bragging rights. States submitted their most effective campaigns, which were judged on originality and effectiveness. The Oregon Beef Council’s “Beef Gift Certificate” campaign received the first top “Sizzler” nod.

Educating both consumers and health professionals about beef’s nutritional profile also started to take center stage. Full-page advertisements in professional journals brought the beef nutrition message to physicians, nutritionists, dietitians and home economists. In addition, consumers were reached through ads in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Time, Newsweek and Better Homes and Gardens. Focusing on beef’s positive nutritional attributes, the ads reassured consumers that beef is the food they’re “right to like.” Later in the decade there was a drive to initiate the first national Beef Checkoff assessment. While 56% of producers voted in favor of the measure, in a 1977 referendum it failed to earn the required two-thirds approval to pass. A second referendum also failed, by a more significant margin, with only 35% voting in favor of the program. It would take nearly 10 more years before the national Beef Checkoff came to fruition, but that’s a story for next month.

It’s very important to the New Mexico Beef Council that we’re involved in the Federation because collectively we’re stronger as beef councils and the federal program. We not only are able to plan programs together, but we’re able to leverage our money.

-Dina Chacon-Reitzel, Executive Director, New Mexico Beef Council (Established 1979)

For more information about the Federation of State Beef Councils, visit www.NCBA.org/federation. Next month we’re going back to the future to the ‘80s when the Beef Checkoff began, and big hair was in.

United States of America Bicentennial. NASA unveils the first space shuttle, the Enterprise. The first commercial Concorde flight takes off. The average price of a new house was $43,400. The cost of a postage stamp was 13 cents. The world population was 4.14 billion.
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Outdoor Billboards Making a Comeback


went up 10.6% and grocery prices rose 12% compared to the year before. However, prices for roasts dropped by 7.4% and steaks fell by 8.1% during that same time period.1

It takes a lot to capture a driver’s attention as they are speeding down the highway, but when a larger-than-life sign tells onlookers “Don’t Drive Hungry. Eat Beef.” people notice. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff, is always looking for new and exciting ways to educate today’s consumer about beef’s taste, nutrition and versatility. While outdoor advertising may not be a new method for sharing beef’s positive message, new technology is bringing billboards back to the marketing mix.

“We rely on consumer research and insights to help us determine the best advertising tools to promote beef, and in what markets,” said Martin Roth, NCBA’s executive director of digital media. “We also need to track results to be sure we are using Checkoff dollars effectively and efficiently.”

In the past, understanding the impact of outdoor advertising was cumbersome at best, with limited data available to measure success. With today’s traffic tracking technology, geo-location services and mobile data, gathering results is much more accurate.

Traditional advertising like outdoor billboards, whether static (printed) or digital (electronic), target beef’s message in metropolitan markets across the country where consumers live, work and play. Extending the message to a wide audience also helps reach consumers who may not otherwise learn about beef.

Outdoor billboards made a return

during the 2022 Summer Grilling campaign, promoting the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand in Cleveland, Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Twenty-four billboards, which featured pictures of tasty beef and catchy taglines, caught the attention of drivers along busy throughfares in these markets and generated nearly 38 million impressions.

Beef was also the focus of 15 billboards along major highways in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Orlando and San Francisco this past holiday season reminding consumers that beef is “The Gift of Flavor.” With state beef council support, an additional billboard was installed in Indianapolis and six more boards were posted in Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. The billboards generated nearly 10 million impressions, with an additional 6.2 million impressions in Indiana and Tennessee.

“We are receiving positive feedback from state beef councils and from producers who are seeing the billboards along major highways in their states,” said Cullan McNamara, associate director of marketing at NCBA. “It is exciting to see these outdoor billboards performing so well, giving us one more tool to reach consumers.”

Outdoor advertising will continue in 2023, reaching even more markets from coast to coast. Look for Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. billboards popping up in a city near you promoting beef throughout the year.


The price drop for roasts in November is the largest decrease in six years. IRI reports beef sales rose 2.5% in November as at-home dining increases.


Weather records were broken across the United States during what was the coldest Christmas for many states in 30 years. Temperatures plunged 40 degrees in just 30 minutes in Wyoming on December 21.1

From December 18 to December 28, there were more than 1,000 news mentions of ranchers and cattle dealing with the cold conditions. An increase of more than 400% from the previous 10 days, as news outlets focused on efforts to protect livestock.1


The severe cold snap jump-started a surge of recipe posts for warm comfort food. News mentions of beef stew increased 146% during the final week of 2022.1


In 2022, Tattooed Chef stock lost half its value. The CEO of the plant-based alternative company told Forbes he’s considering selling meat. Salvatore Galletti said, “the interest in plant-based has slowed, but the demand for food is still as great as ever.” Forbes reports profits for Tattooed Chef fell from $23 million in 2020 to $5 million last year. Forbes also received attention for another story titled, “The dumb money driving the plant-based meat boom.” Coverage of these stories had a potential reach of more than 400 million.1


Salon and MSN also questioned consumer attitudes around plantbased alternatives. Headlines from December included, “Is plant-based meat a failure?” and “Our love affair with fake meat couldn’t last.”1

TRENDING IN FOOD & MEDIA ARMS #010423-04 1. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. (2023). Traditional and social media listening dashboards Retrieved from Meltwater: www.meltwater.com Nationwide, there were 906,000 news mentions about inflation in December. Only 7,340 or less than 0.001% of those mentions included ‘beef’ somewhere in the story.1 The Consumer Price Index for November showed food prices
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