Tag Archives: agriculture

WASHINGTON -On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall will help kick off Taiwan’s 2019 Agriculture Trade Goodwill Mission across the U.S., an 11-state journey across the country to meet with state government officials, farmers, exporters, and related industries to explore business opportunities and cooperation. The tour will include a stop in Kansas to meet with representative of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“Taiwan is one of the top purchasers of U.S. and Kansas agriculture products annually,” Rep. Marshall said. “I am always excited for the opportunity to show off Kansas agriculture and am eager to welcome representatives of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture to Washington and help them kick off their travels across the United States.”

Each year, Taiwan buys more than more $4 billion in U.S. agriculture goods, making it one of the top consumers of U.S. products when broken down by per-capita consumption. The U.S. agriculture industry’s relationship with Taiwan is a long and productive one and represents a growing market for Kansas and U.S. products. Wednesday’s ceremony will signify the continuation of this important trade relationship.

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC) is requesting research and education proposals for its fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020. Proposals are due Oct. 15, and an individual may be listed as the principal investigator or educator on only one. The commissioners will review ideas for breeding, production and environmental programs; animal- and human-nutrition or food-safety studies; commercially significant, value-added projects that will use large quantities of soybeans; and domestic or international marketing and transportation programs.

More information about KSC’s priorities, complete instructions and application forms are available at https://KansasSoybeans.org/forms on the web or by calling the Kansas Soybean office at 877-KS-SOYBEAN (877-577-6923). Proposers who gain preliminary approval from the commissioners will make formal presentations Dec. 5-7 in Topeka or via teleconferencing.

The three-day funding meeting will begin at 8 a.m. each day. The commissioners also will discuss current projects, market-development activities, educational programs and administrative items. To obtain a complete agenda or to suggest additional topics for deliberation, contact KSC Administrator Kenlon Johannes at johannes@kansassoybeans.org or at the office.

The National FFA Organization announced this week a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from nearly 670,000 in 2018. National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl  says the membership growth “reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education.”

The top six student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership continues to increase.

This year, the organization has more than 100,000 Latino members, 45 percent of the membership is female with 52 percent of the membership being male. Females hold more than 50 percent of the leadership positions. FFA chapters can be found in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters. The organization is also supported by more than eight million alumni and supporters.

The Organic Trade Association this week announced the development of three online training courses to bolster its Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program. The training courses are designed for organic businesses, accredited certifiers and organic inspectors, with one of the courses a pre-requisite for businesses pre-enrolled in the program.

The Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program was launched by the Organic Trade Association earlier this year, and almost four dozen organic businesses have joined. The new anti-fraud courses will analyze where opportunities for crime in the organic supply chain most commonly occur, and offers education on the Organic Fraud Prevention Plan and how to put it into real on-the-job practice.

A spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association says the effort “will strengthen our ability to protect against fraud and maintain the integrity of organic.” The three online courses will be available in late 2019 and early 2020. Enrollment and program information is available on the association’s website, OTA.com.

MILWAUKEE – August 2019 saw increases in U.S. sales of self-propelled combines and 4-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. 2-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to August of last year, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

U.S. 4-wheel-drive tractor sales increased 19.3 percent in August compared to last year and U.S. August self-propelled combine sales increased 11.5 percent.

Total U.S. sales of 2-wheel-drive tractors in August increased 1.9 percent compared to August last year: under 40 HP 2-wheel-drive tractors increased 2.1 percent, while sales of 40-100 HP tractors decreased 1.4 percent, and sales of 100-plus HP tractors increased 13.6 percent.

For Canada, August 4-wheel-drive tractor sales were flat and self-propelled combine sales decreased 45.4 percent. August 2-wheel-drive tractor Canadian sales were mixed (9.1 percent increase for under 40 HP, 4.2 percent decrease for 40-100 HP, and .5 percent decrease for 100-plus HP).

“Although the numbers are flat to positive for the year, we and the industry remain cautious about the overall Ag economy,” said Curt Blades, senior vice president of Ag Services at the Association of Equipment manufacturers.

The full reports can be found in the Market Data section of the AEM website under Ag Tractor and Combine Reports.

U.S.: https://www.aem.org/market-data/statistics/us-ag-tractor-and-combine-reports/

Canada: https://www.aem.org/market-data/statistics/canadian-ag-tractor-combine-reports/

LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman issued statements following news that radical anti-agriculture groups had called for a moratorium on livestock production in Nebraska.

“Let’s be clear: The out-of-state environmental lobbying groups rallying opposition against our family farmers in Nebraska are anti-agriculture,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Left unchecked, they would destroy our way of life.  This attempt to stop livestock development in Nebraska is a part of the ‘meat is murder’ movement led by radical groups who want to end livestock production around the globe.  I urge Nebraskans in our local communities to rise up and protect family farms and stand with our livestock producers across our state.”

“Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and it is extremely disheartening to learn that there are groups of citizens in our own state that are working to essentially eliminate the livestock industry,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “As the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, I strongly support all aspects of Nebraska agriculture and the farmers and ranchers that work tirelessly contributing to Nebraska’s economic well-being through livestock production.  CAFO’s are well thought out and planned operations across Nebraska with plans that work to address environmental impacts, nutrient management and animal health to efficiently deliver a high quality, safe food supply.”

The following statement can be attributed to Craig Head as spokesman for the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “Livestock farming is part of the heritage and fabric of Nebraska and a critical part of Nebraska agriculture. Enacting a statewide moratorium to stop new livestock farms would be the equivalent of halting the growth of rural Nebraska. Livestock farms support our rural communities, strengthen our state’s economy, and keep Nebraska strong.”

“The notion that a moratorium is needed ignores the realities of what farmers must do to build and operate a new livestock farm. Nebraska farmers go through an extensive process and must adhere to numerous local, state, and federal regulations, governing everything from where barns can be located, to how they operate for the protection of natural resources and the environment. A moratorium on Nebraska livestock farms, as has been proposed by some environmental and activist groups, would be nothing short of a disservice to Nebraska farmers, our rural communities, and our state.”

A U.S. banking regulator says more farmers are falling behind on loans held by community banks when compared to last year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says it’s watching for more risks in the ag sector. In its quarterly report, the FDIC didn’t refer directly to the Trump Administration’s trade war with China, which began in 2018. In a prepared statement, officials say, “We continue to monitor risks in the agriculture sector from low commodity prices and farm incomes.” The FDIC says the share of long-past due farm loans held by community banks, which are the major agricultural lenders, was 1.28 percent in April through June, up 13 basis points from the same time last year.

The ratio captures the share of farm loans that are at least 90 days past due, or those loans which no longer accrue interest because of repayment doubts. Reuters says commodity prices have been hurt over the past year by a U.S.-China trade war that’s led to higher Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, including soybeans.

Outcomes from the inaugural American Lamb Summit were clear: all segments of the industry need to further improve lamb quality to keep and attract new customers and become more efficient to recapture market share from imported lamb. Yet, it was just as clear that production technologies and product research put industry success within grasp.
“I have never been so enthusiastic about our industry’s opportunities, but we just can’t allow ourselves to be complacent or accept status quo,” said Dale Thorne, American Lamb Board chairman, a sheep producer and feeder from Michigan. Thorne stressed, “the end-game is profitability for all aspects of our industry.”
The Summit, sponsored by the American Lamb Board (ALB) and Premier 1 Supplies, brought together 200 sheep producers, feeders and packers from all over the country to Colorado State University (CSU) in Ft. Collins, CO, August 27-28, 2019.
The conference included in-depth, challenging discussions ranging from consumer expectations, business management tools, realistic production practices to improve productivity and American Lamb quality and consistency, to assessing lamb carcasses. Sessions were carefully planned so that attendees would gain tools for immediate implementation.
“We can’t keep saying ‘I’ll think about;’ we have to realize that change is required for industry profitability,” Thorne emphasized.
The Lamb Checkoff Facebook page features summary videos from the sessions and additional resources. The Lamb Resource Center is the hub for all Lamb Summit information, as it becomes available.
Consumers redefine quality

“Consumers are ours to win or lose,” said Michael Uetz, managing principal of Midan Marketing. His extensive research with meat consumers shows that the definition of quality now goes beyond product characteristics, especially for Millennials and Generation Z’s. “It now includes how the animal was raised, what it was fed, or not fed, impact on sustainability and influence on human health,” Uetz said.
“Your power is in your story. You have a great one to tell about American Lamb,” he advised.
Lamb production tools
Increasing flock productivity, using genetic selection, and collecting then using production and financial data were stressed as critical steps for on-farm improvements. “The best way to improve productivity is to increase the number of lambs per ewe,” said Reid Redden, PhD, sheep and goat specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. “Pregnancy testing your ewes should be part of a producer’s routine. Not only can open ewes be culled, but ewes can be segmented for the number of lambs they are carrying for better allocation of feed,” he said.
While genetic selection is now common in beef, pork and both Australian and New Zealand sheep, the American Lamb industry’s slow adoption is hindering flock improvement and giving competition a definite advantage, said Rusty Burgett, Program Director, National Sheep Improvement Program. The cattle industry offers an example with how it uses EPDs (expected progeny differences) to select for traits. “We can do the same with our tools, but we must get more sheep enrolled into the program,” said Tom Boyer, Utah sheep producer.
Carcass and meat quality
Understanding what leads to quality American Lamb on the plate means looking beyond the live animal to carcass quality, stressed Lamb Summit speakers involved in processing and foodservice.
Individual animal traceability is ultimately what is required to give consumers the transparency they are demanding, said Henry Zerby, PhD, Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. A lamb producer himself, Zerby was straight-forward to the Summit participants: “Being able to track animals individually to know if they were ever given antibiotics, how they were raised, through the packer is on the horizon. We need to realize and prepare for that.” US lamb processors are implementing systems at various levels and offer programs for sheep producers.
Lamb flavor has been an industry topic for decades. Dale Woerner, PhD, Texas Tech University meat scientist, has been conducting research funded by ALB. He explained that flavor is a very complex topic, influenced by characteristics such as texture, aroma, cooking and handling of the product, and even emotional experience. “Lamb has more than one flavor profile, affected by feeding and other practices,” he explained. Summit participants tasted four different lamb samples, which illustrated Woerner’s points about various preferences and profiles.
“By sorting carcasses or cuts into flavor profile groups, we can direct that product to the best market,” he said. The American Lamb Board is currently in the final phase of lamb flavor research with Texas Tech University and Colorado State University identifying consumer preference of American Lamb and identifying those flavor profiles in the processing plant.
What’s next
 
The Summit was designed to instill relevant, meaningful knowledge that can be implemented immediately to address both current and future needs. It also sought to inspire collaboration, networking and information sharing across all segments and geographic regions of the American Lamb industry.
“If we work together to implement progressive production changes throughout our supply chain, we can regain market share from imported product and supply our country with more great-tasting American Lamb,” concluded ALB Chairman Thorne. ALB hopes that attendees left the Summit with multiple ideas to do just that.

Negotiators from the United States and China will meet face-to-face next month. Chinese officials told reporters Thursday the agreement was reached in a phone conversation this week.

China’s Vice Premier visited over the phone Thursday morning with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Following the call, China announced negotiators plan to travel to Washington next month for high-level talks, and will continue consultations through September ahead of the meeting in October.

The announcement from China comes as President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week that China wants to reach a deal with the United States. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has yet to confirm the planned October meeting, but did say discussions will take place in the coming weeks.

The tit-for-tat trade war with China has dropped U.S. ag exports to China from more than $20 billion in 2017, to $9 billion last year. A breakthrough in negotiations would be welcome news for agriculture.