Tag Archives: livestock

Washington, D.C. – In response to concerns about cattle prices, Congressman Adrian Smith, the rest of the Nebraska delegation, and over 100 other members of Congress wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging implementation of assistance for producers as quickly as possible. Congressman Smith released the following statement:

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen first-hand the importance of food production and how much we rely on our producers. Despite the crucial role our cattle producers play in feeding our nation, they are now having to weather low prices and market volatility, among other constraints. We owe a great deal of thanks to our producers for feeding America. It is now our turn to provide the assistance they need during this unprecedented time.”

 

Phase III of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, known as the CARES Act, which was recently signed into law by President Trump, provides $9.5 billion in emergency funding and replenishes the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including livestock producers.

Full text of the letter:

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.

Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19.  While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers.

We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19.  This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.

The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security.  All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis.  As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.

With COVID-19 spreading across the state and nation, Governor Pete Ricketts has issued guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. Under those guidelines, Nebraskans need to implement improved personal health practices to slow the spread of the virus. These practices include keeping at least six feet between each person, coughing and/or sneezing into our elbows, washing our hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds, and refraining from touching our face, nose and eyes. In addition, public gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people.

Governor Ricketts has issued Directed Health Measures (DHMs) in several Nebraska counties that further restrict activities in those counties.*

For purposes of clarity, livestock markets are not considered gatherings under the DHMs issued by the state. It is important for livestock markets to institute changes to slow the spread of COVID-19 among their staff, sellers and buyers. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture strongly recommends that all livestock markets adhere to the following guidance:

Critically evaluate each auction to determine whether it needs to be held. If an auction can be postponed, please do so. If you decide to hold an auction, take the following protective measures:

  • Use technology to host virtual sales whenever possible.
  • Limit the number of customers at the sale to ensure everyone maintains at least a 6-foot separation between themselves at all times.
  • Sellers should leave the sale after unloading and watch it online.
  • Customers can make arrangements to pick up checks in the parking lot if they can’t wait for the mail.
  • Instruct any employee, seller or buyer exhibiting symptoms of illness to remain home and request that anyone who is a member of a population of heightened vulnerability to avoid areas where people are gathering.
  • Provide ample opportunities for visitors and employees to wash hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect all commonly-used areas frequently including restrooms and restock often with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.
  • Consider closing all parts of the auction market that are not directly associated with the sale to prevent people from co-mingling, including common seating areas.
  • Provide times for in-person viewing of the offerings to accommodate smaller groups.
  • If the auction market is being held within a county with a Directed Health Measure (DHM) – the livestock market café dining area must be closed. Pick-up, take-out, curbside or delivery of food items are allowed. If the county is not within a DHM, there can be no more than 10 customers at a time in the dining area, and they need to maintain six feet of distance from each other.
  • Clearly communicate and enforce your policies.

*Counties under Directive Health Measures can be found on Governor Ricketts’ website at governor.nebraska.gov

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The director of a Kansas State University veterinary laboratory that responds to animal health issues across the state says that while coronavirus is a disease familiar to livestock producers, it is not the same strain of the virus that is grabbing headlines across the globe.

The novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, is transmitted through humans. There is no evidence that livestock can transmit the disease to humans, and the food products from livestock cannot carry COVID-19 to humans.

“Producers are well aware that there is a (different strain of) coronavirus that is associated with neo-natal diarrhea, and there’s another one that we think is now associated with cattle respiratory disease,” said Gregg Hanzlicek, director of the production animal field investigations unit in K-State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

“But I want to make it perfectly clear that our cattle coronavirus has no relationship to the coronavirus that is currently circulating in humans. These coronaviruses are very species-specific. There is absolutely no indication that livestock can be carriers of COVID-19 and be a source of infection to humans, either through carrying it on their skin or their hair or anywhere else.”

He added: “Milk, eggs, beef pork…whatever proteins that are produced by livestock are absolutely safe to eat. People do not have to worry about those products carrying COVID-19 to the population.”

Listen to Gregg Hanzlicek on Agriculture Today

Hanzlicek said that producers are safe to go about the business of taking care of animals: “They need to minimize the amount of exposure they have to humans. At this point, they should keep on doing what they do every day with their livestock.”

Livestock producers who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should see their medical professional. If their livestock begin showing signs of illness, as well, Hanzlicek said they should contact their local veterinarian.

“The local vet will call the state or federal veterinarian and then a decision will be made whether to test those animals for COVID-19,” Hanzlicek said. “We don’t want to just start blanket sampling all animals. Again, with this virus, we do not believe that livestock are associated with spreading the disease.”

Hanzlicek said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has relaxed its rules just a bit to allow producers to consult with a veterinarian through ‘tele-medicine’ – that is, communicating sickness to a veterinarian by phone or online technology.

“The veterinarian is not necessarily required to make a trip to actually look at the animals,” thus maintaining ‘social distance’ guidelines for humans, Hanzlicek said.

The K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which tests samples for suspected livestock disease, remains open during the university’s limited operations status. Hanzlicek said the lab is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Hanzlicek and others also are still available to travel throughout Kansas to help local veterinarians diagnose suspected livestock disease. The staff can be contacted by calling 785-532-5650, or through its web site, www.ksvdl.org.

Hanzlicek said the FDA also maintains a useful site with information for livestock owners regarding COVID-19.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — People of all ages walking around wearing ear buds seems to be a common sight in society today. Often it leads a person to wonder, “What are they all listening to?”

For cow/calf producers interested in learning practical information to address the challenges of raising beef cattle, it just might be the Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute weekly podcast.

BCI Cattle Chat is a 25-30-minute podcast lead by moderator Brad White, BCI director and veterinarian will be posting its 100th episode on March 27, 2020. The weekly podcast features beef cattle health and management advice from Kansas State experts Bob Larson, veterinarian; Bob Weaber, beef cattle extension specialist; and Dustin Pendell, agricultural economist.

Those four began the podcast in July 2018 to bring together experts from the Kansas State College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine, White said.

“The goal of the podcast is to effectively communicate relevant, practical information for beef producers and veterinarians through this format,” White said. The format includes 5-8 minute segments on an array of beef cattle topics.

White said their listenership continues to grow. “Last month there were 5,474 downloads from 26 countries.”

With an increasing number of listeners, the podcast team continues to receive listener questions from Kansas and around the globe.

“Our team really appreciates the questions from listeners and the feedback we receive on the podcast. The listener questions allow us to directly address topics important to producers,” White said.

He also values the discussions that happen on the podcast, especially the ones with outside guests who join on occasion. Many of these guests are well-recognized experts in their field.

“I enjoy the interaction with our team and guests because everyone has a different perspective and we can discuss many sides of an issue,” White said.

To listen to this podcast search for BCI Cattle Chat wherever podcasts are found.

The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service statistical reports remain on schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including the March 26 Hogs and Pigs and March 31 Prospective Plantings reports.

NASS reports the agency also continues to collect data for all upcoming reports, asking farmers and ranchers to complete their surveys online, if they don’t already respond that way. To protect the health and safety of producers, partners, and employees, NASS has suspended in-person data collection at least until April 3, 2020.

NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “We are making every effort to produce the U.S. crop, livestock, and economic statistics that the nation counts on, but to do that responsibly, we are following guidance to slow the spread of coronavirus.” Ensuring that responses are returned on time means little or no additional outreach is needed.

USDA says online response is faster and more convenient for producers. To respond online at agcounts.usda.gov, producers will need their unique 17-digit survey code from the questionnaire or letter received in the mail.

Livestock limit down as it was on expanded limit.  Not a lot of proteins moving with cancellations because of Coronavirus.  How does the cattle & pork producer try to focus & find the positive?  Basis continues for the corn steady.  Feed demand will have added pressure to the grains-almost a domino effect.  How will the slow down and fuel issues effect the ethanol plants.  March planting intentions report outlook.

WASHINGTON – A rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would undermine the intent of the Packers and Stockyards Act, according to comments submitted today by National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew.

 

Established in 1921, the Packers and Stockyards Act exists to “to assure fair competition” in the livestock, meat, and poultry industries and “to safeguard farmers and ranchers. . .from unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and monopolistic practices.” The rule in question, which outlines criteria for determining if a company has shown “undue or unreasonable preferences or advantages” for one farmer over another, does little to achieve either goal. On the contrary, it would provide few, if any, protections to farmers while shielding corporations from legal challenges to abusive and anticompetitive actions.

 

In a statement, Larew echoed the organization’s earlier concerns with the rule and urged the USDA to develop clear and specific criteria that would offer meaningful protections to family farmers and ranchers.

“There has long been a massive power imbalance between family farmers and the poultry and livestock industries, a fact that Congress tried to remedy nearly a century ago with the Packers and Stockyards Act. But the Act has lacked the teeth it needs to provide even the most basic protections to farmers and ranchers. As a result, they have been subject to discrimination, price fixing, predatory contracts, and other unfair treatment.

 

“We were hopeful that by more clearly defining ‘undue or unreasonable preferences,’ this administration was finally taking steps towards balancing the relationship between farmers and corporations. Unfortunately, this proposed rule may just make the situation even worse. Not only does it fail to safeguard farmers from abusive practices, but it may also make it harder for them to litigate such practices.

 

“The Packers and Stockyards Act is supposed to protect farmers from corporations – not the other way around. To comply with the true intent of the Act, the USDA must revoke the proposed rule. In its place, the agency should develop criteria that are clear and specific and provide family farmers and ranchers the protections they need and deserve.”

One of the largest agricultural-based events of the year closed Wednesday for public safety reasons, amid the spread of the new coronavirus. In a statement, organizers of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo said, “In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close.”

The statement continues, saying, “Having to close early is extremely difficult as guests, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes and entertainers look forward to the 20 days of the Rodeo each year. In 2019, there were more than 2.5 million visitors to the event from 75 countries.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic Wednesday, sparking a chain reaction of events getting postponed or canceled because of the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also announced the cancellation of its Young Farmer And Ranchers conference set for this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Registration is now open for the 2020 World Pork Expo presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Attendees, media and exhibitors can complete their registration by visiting the World Pork Expo website. This year’s trade show will be hosted from June 3 to 5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We are thrilled to continue the tradition of the World Pork Expo this year,” said David Herring, NPPC president, and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “There’s truly something for everyone at the Expo — from the trade show to networking. Anyone in the pork industry is encouraged to attend!”

With 360,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 500 exhibitors are planned for the 2020 World Pork Expo.

Continually Maximizing Indoor and Outdoor Trade Show Space

Organizers plan to take advantage of all the space available in order to give attendees and exhibitors the best experience possible. Of the 500 plus companies attending the show, they will be displaying products and services from animal health, nutrition, build and equipment, financial marketing, genetics and more.

The Expo will be held in the Varied Industries Building and the Jacobson Exhibition Center, outdoors on Grand Avenue and the areas between the two main buildings. Attendees are encouraged to explore the fairground space to experience all the Expo’s offerings.

“We’re currently making adjustments around the show to maximize the flow of the entire trade show. This will help with show continuity for years to come,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPCC.

Company-sponsored hospitality tents will continue to be around throughout the fairgrounds. Organizers are expecting 60 plus tents this year, giving industry representatives an opportunity to network with producers and employees in a more relaxed setting.

The trade show will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 3-4, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 5.

Start Planning Your Expo Experience

The Expo is packed with three days of learning and networking opportunities, events and activities. More than 15 educational and informational seminars are free to attend. These seminars address innovative production and management strategies, and current issues and topics related to the pork industry.

Other activities you won’t want to miss include:

  • MusicFest — Join us on Thursday evening to relax and enjoy free live music and refreshments. Stay tuned to find out who this year will feature!
  • Big Grill — Stop by and enjoy a free pork lunch during all three days of the Expo. More than 10,000 lunches are served! Lunches are available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn about current legislation, regulation, and public policy issues that impact pork production.

Additional Registration Information

Registration is now available online until May 28. Tickets include entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during pre-registration including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old). Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 3-5 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork await you.

CURTIS, Neb. – Beef cattle evaluation holds great appeal for 10 Aggie students from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

“Our students engaged in a highly competitive contest at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Beef Cattle Judging Contest in Kearney recently,” said Doug Smith, livestock judging coach, and professor of animal science and agriculture education.

Youth of FFA and 4-H ages competed in junior, intermediate and senior divisions, along with the 2-year and 4-year college teams in evaluating beef cattle at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.

Sophomore and freshmen team members from NCTA competed among 27 teams and 150 individuals in 2-year colleges. Teams were comprised of five students.

Twelve teams and 72 students from 4-year colleges also competed. The college divisions evaluated 12 classes of cattle and gave eight sets of oral reasons.

Animal placings and reasons are combined for an overall score. Teams and individuals are ranked by highest points.

The NCTA Aggie Sophomore team was 6th high team in placings, 13th high overall and 17th in reasons, Smith said.

The top Aggie judge was sophomore animal science major Garret Lapp of Adamsville, Ohio, who was 4th in placings and 24th overall.

Other members of the sophomore team are Seth Racicky, Mason City; Camden Wilke, Columbus; Emily Riley, Norton, Kansas; and Matt Stichka, Mullen.

NCTA’s freshmen were ranked 21st in both placings and overall team, and 23rd in reasons.

The freshmen were led by Lauren Nichols, Scottsbluff, with teammates Jose De La Cruz, Columbus; Avery Bermel, Randolph; Bailey Johnson, Hastings; and Melody MacDonald, Fullerton.

The next contest will be in mid-March when the sophomore team travels to the Houston Livestock Show.