Tag Archives: livestock

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas State University veterinarian is urging cattle producers to beef up their plans for managing heat stress in their herds, a challenge that costs the U.S. cattle industry up to $370 million in losses each year.

A.J. Tarpoff, a beef veterinarian with K-State Research and Extension, said cattle are resilient animals; they will often acclimate to hot temperatures.

But an accumulation of factors – including humidity, solar radiation, the color of their hide, diet and more – can drastically change a cow’s ability to withstand summer’s heat.

“It really is a multi-layer challenge,” Tarpoff said. “Each animal within a group or pen is not affected the same way. Animals with higher body condition scores, or with darker hides, or finisher steers and heifers that are getting ready to go to harvest are at higher-risk of heat stress.”

Tarpoff said heat stress decreases the reproductive efficiency and performance of cattle grazing on pasture. In confined facilities, heat stress often causes cattle to eat less, which also negatively affects their performance.

The human body cools itself on a hot day by sweating, called evaporative cooling. But Tarpoff notes that cattle sweat only 10 percent as much as humans, and panting is their primary way of dissipating heat.

“As temperatures rise and their heat load increases, they will start breathing faster,” he said. “They are dissipating heat through tiny droplets in the respiratory tract.”

Doing so, however, causes cows to eat less, setting them on a path to poor growth and future performance.

“This all has to do with heat load,” Tarpoff said. “The internal temperature of cattle will peak two hours after the hottest point of the day. So our strategy for keeping cows cool needs to be built around knowing that.”

Another factor is that cattle produce heat by digesting food, typically four to six hours after eating. “So if we feed animals within the wrong period of time, we can actually increase their heat load because the heat of digestion and the heat from the environment are building on top of each other,” Tarpoff said. “We want to keep that from happening.”

Tarpoff listed best management practices for helping to reduce heat stress in cows:

  • Handling. Receive, ship or move cattle only during the coolest parts of the day, preferably before 10 a.m.
  • Feeding. Modify feeding times. Feed 70 percent of the animals’ ration as late in the evening as possible, which puts the peak heat of digestion overnight when temperatures are likely cooler. Decrease feeding during the day.
  • Managing heat. Split cattle between pens or reduce stocking density. Maximize airflow by removing obstructions around facilities, including weeds. If feasible, install shade structures, which can reduce solar radiation and reduce the temperature on the pen’s floor. Install sprinklers to wet cattle down at night or early morning so as not to increase humidity.

Then, of course, there is the importance of providing water. Lots and lots of water.

“To put it into perspective, when the temperature goes from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees, a cattle will consume about double the amount of water,” Tarpoff said.

As a rule, he said cattle should consume “about five times the amount of water as the dry matter they are consuming.”

“Cool, clean and readily-available water is critical during heat stress events. We may have to increase the water tank capacity within a pen to meet these needs. Producers need to be prepared for that.”

Tarpoff said he follows two sources for help in making a decision when to put a heat stress management plan into full effect.

The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) maintains a seven-day forecast tool for the United States, taking into account temperature, humidity and solar radiation.

“The other tool I use is the Kansas Mesonet, which provides an animal comfort index,” he said. The Kansas Mesonet, housed at Kansas State University, is a network of observation towers located across the state that updates climate information every hour.

“I know that if we don’t have those night-time cooling hours, the animal won’t be starting each day at thermo-neutral, so they’re more at risk on the second or third day,” Tarpoff said. “That’s when we should start putting in some of these management strategies.”

For more information or assistance, contact your local extension agent.

The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates, the National Lamb Feeders Association and the Public Lands Council sent a letter to congressional leaders this week calling for additional support of the sheep industry in light of disruptions in the lamb and wool marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, we are asking that Congress raise the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority from the current $30 billion and make funds available immediately to ensure USDA has, with the oversight of Congress, the ability to respond to the needs of our domestic food and fiber producers,” read the letter to the Senate and House majority and minority leaders. “As you are aware, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program developed and administered by the USDA has helped bridge the initial gap caused by the loss of consumer demand and uncertainty in the livestock markets.

“However, the relief USDA has been able to provide was limited due to funding restrictions and therefore only covered producer losses through mid-April with funding provided by the CARES Act. Additionally, CCC funds intended to compensate for on-going market disruptions have proven insufficient. Our industry continues to suffer greatly and USDA’s ability to respond to current and future losses as needed is critical to our producers’ ability to continue to operate through what are easily proving to be the most difficult economic times anyone alive has ever faced.

“Our initial estimated economic impact to the American sheep industry forecasts a loss of at least $353 million in 2020, and it is clear now that we will eclipse that number. We were pleased that lambs and yearlings (less than 2 years of age) and wool were included as eligible commodities under CFAP. Since the release of the program details, we have submitted additional data through the USDA’s Notice of Funds Availability filing in the Federal Register showing that replacement and cull ewes also exceeded the Department’s 5 percent loss threshold for eligibility under CFAP.

“The inclusion of replacement and cull ewes, even under the existing coverage dates, would significantly help our industry move toward recovery. This inventory class makes up nearly two-thirds of our sheep flock. That said, it is clear that to provide coverage to all segments and all regions of a widely diverse agricultural industry, a second (and possibly even subsequent) round of temporary assistance is necessary. Many producers in our industry are only now feeling the full effects of the pandemic’s impact; and as was the case for replacement and cull ewes, we are only now able to quantify those losses with sufficient economic data to meet the USDA’s threshold under CFAP.

“Therefore, we request that additional borrowing authority be made available through the CCC to allow the USDA to extend the CFAP, or similar temporary assistance, as well as any additional funding required to cover losses suffered by American agriculture post the current coverage eligibility; including the 2020 lamb, ewe and wool crops.”

 

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) wishes to issue an important reminder to those applying for grants under the following programs: Small Business Stabilization, Livestock Producer Stabilization.

Be reminded that there are two major steps to completing an application. After filling out an online eligibility form, those who are eligible will receive a confirmation email containing a confirmation number and a link to the full application. You are not finished applying at this point. You must use the link to then complete a full application. Those who do not complete a full application will not receive a grant.

Remember that there is still time to apply for each of the grant programs listed and described below, which are intended to provide support and assistance to Nebraskans negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov for more information or to begin the eligibility confirmation and application process. Call the Get Nebraska Growing hotline at 855-264-6858 if you encounter technical difficulties.

  • The Small Business Stabilization Grant Program provides grants to small businesses of 5-49 employees that were impacted by the coronavirus and meet certain eligibility requirements. Applications are due on June 26 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

  • The Livestock Producer Stabilization Grant Program provides grants to eligible livestock producers of 1-10 employees that have endured revenue or employment losses due to the pandemic. Grants for both programs can be used to cover business operating expenses. Applications are due on July 1 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

  • The Workforce Retraining Initiative will provide funds to all of the state’s community colleges for scholarships and workforce training enhancements. In turn, the community colleges will award scholarships to individuals who are unemployed or underemployed due to the coronavirus, in order to prepare them for employment in high-demand career fields. Prospective students will be able to apply for the scholarships online through Nebraska community college websites starting in July. More information is forthcoming.

  • The Rural Broadband Remote Access Grant Program will result in new internet connectivity in communities where work-from-home, tele-education and telehealth opportunities have been limited due to inadequate or non-existent high-speed internet service. Broadband providers, with the support of local community officials, can apply for the grants through July 2, 2020.

  • The Gallup Back to Business Learning Journey will fund admission to a Gallup-led leadership training course for a total of 75-100 leaders from eligible small businesses. The course promotes skills that will help businesses refocus and thrive following the pandemic. Businesses can apply through July 2, 2020.

 

Saint Paul, Minn. – Midwest Dairy announced registration is now open for the third annual Dairy Experience Forum to be held virtually on Wednesday, July 15. This one-day, online event will take place in three, 90-minute segments, featuring industry experts who will share actionable consumer insights, future forecasting and thought leadership ­– all to help the dairy supply chain drive demand during today’s rapidly changing food and beverage climate. Discussions will address questions such as “How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted food and beverage trends?” and “What’s next for dairy?”

“Building on the foundation of the past two Dairy Experience Forum events, we’re proud to bring representatives from the entire dairy supply chain together once again, especially given current circumstances and the rapidly changing shopping habits of consumers,” said Molly Pelzer, CEO, Midwest Dairy. “During these challenging times, it’s crucial we remain at the forefront of inspiring thought provoking conversations that will drive dairy innovation and fuel dairy demand. We’re excited to bring this virtual format that will offer people across our 10-state region the opportunity to join these dynamic discussions from the comfort of their own home.”

The 2020 Dairy Experience Forum will begin with a live consumer focus group where attendees will hear first-hand from consumers about how they make their purchasing decisions, how their shopping behaviors may have changed due to COVID-19 and their thoughts around dairy products and farming. Following the focus group, there will be virtual small group breakout sessions to discuss the information that was shared and brainstorm how the supply chain can learn from and use these key learnings to continue to connect with consumers and increase demand.

Other presentations will include:

  • “The New Normal: Post-COVID-19 and the Dairy Category,” presentation from Larry Levin, Executive Vice President of Market and Shopper Intelligence at IRI. With milk currently one of the top 10 fastest growing e-commerce categories – it’s up 279 percent from one year ago – and dairy outpacing total store dollar growth since the beginning of the pandemic, Levin will explore areas of opportunity for maintaining the category growth seen in-store and online during the pandemic.
  • The Environmental Solutions Panel, comprised of a dairy farmer, cooperative processor and consumer branded product manufacturer will discuss how dairy is the environmental solution when it comes to producing food that is good for consumers and good for the planet, digging into the industry’s 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.
  • Food trend expert Mike Lee will take a deep dive into how the 21st century eater is shaping the future of food and dairy, as consumers disrupt the marketplace and demand that food fulfills their needs at the intersection of health, sustainability and experience.
  • “The Secret to Navigating Change,” will come from Harris Ill, who will share about how important it is to tell your own story to create clarity and navigate change.

“This annual event provides important insights that spark continued conversations with dairy farmers and the dairy supply chain for months to come. It also provides an opportunity for us to come together and discuss how we can collaborate to build a strong future,” said Allen Merrill, Corporate Board Chairman, Midwest Dairy. “I look forward to this year’s lineup of experts that are sure to push us outside of our comfort zones and move the dairy community forward together.”

Dairy farmers and industry members alike can register by visiting www.dairyexperienceforum.com.

Livestock producers across the state have been adversely affected by manufacturing closures and changing consumer demand due to COVID-19. This has translated into dramatic reductions in revenue. The SBS Grant allocates working capital to help cover Nebraska livestock producers’ operating expenses, enabling them to return to stability and profitability.

Steve Wellman, Director of Agriculture for the state of Nebraska explains why they put this program together…

Who is eligible?
Nebraska livestock producers with 1 to 10 employees that have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment since March 13, 2020, are eligible to apply. The following industries are eligible:
– Beef Cattle Ranching and Farming (NAICS 112111)
– Dairy Cattle and Milk Production (NAICS 11212)
– Hog and Pig Farming (NAICS 1122)
– Poultry and Egg Production (NAICS 1123)
– Sheep/Goat Farming (NAICS 1124)

Funds Distribution
Nebraska Dept. of Economic Development expects to award individual grants of $12,000 to eligible businesses, for a total of approximately $330,000,000. Nebraska Livestock producers must have at least 20 animal units. Two-thirds (2/3) of gross income must come from Farming or Ranching. The State of Nebraska will be providing transparent reporting on the CARES Act funds and names of recipients will be made public.

 

How can the grant be used?
Livestock producers can use the SBS grant as working capital to pay for operating expenses, with the purpose of helping the producer maintain or bounce back during the period of economic downturn.

 

Preparing to apply
A PDF version of the full application can be found here to be used in preparation. Please note that DED will NOT accept PDF applications. You must use the hyperlink in the Eligibility Certification to submit your application.
– Download the User Guide Here – https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Business-Stabilization-Application-Guide.pdf.
– Download Preparation PDF Here – https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NE-Business-Stabilization-Livestock-Application.pdf.

See the Application Guidelines for more information on eligibility, the use of funds, instructions on how to apply and the selection process.

Download Application Guidelines PDF Here – https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Small-Business-Stabilization-Program-Guidelines-for-Businesses-and-Livestock-Producers.pdf.

 

How to apply
If eligibility requirements are met, the grant-seeking livestock producer should submit an electronic Eligibility Certification to DED by the deadline below. The Eligibility Certification will be used to verify that the livestock producer is a Nebraska taxpayer that has employees in the state. If the livestock producer is validated, it will receive an invitation to submit a full application, which must be submitted by the deadline below.

For a business, you will need the following: Business Name, Email, State ID (tax ID).

For an individual (sole proprietorship), you will need the following: Name, Email, Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, Date issued for DL, Adjusted gross income for most recent tax return

 

Application deadlines
Eligibility submission opening date – June 15, 2020 at 8 am CT
Eligibility submission deadline – June 26, 2020 at 5 pm CT
Eligibility notification date (via email from the State) – June 15, 2020 – June 26, 2020
Application begin date – June 15, 2020 at 8 am CT
Application deadline – June 26, 2020 at 5 pm CT

 

Questions?
Contact: 855-264-6858 or click here…. https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/ag-grants/.

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and trade. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says, “despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.  While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.

April beef exports were down six percent from a year ago to 98,600 metric tons, with value falling 11 percent to $600.9 million. For pork, April volume reached 264,000 metric tons, up 22 percent from a year ago but the lowest since November 2019. Export value was $682.8 million, up 28 percent year-over-year but the lowest since October 2019.

Markets are trying to push positive.  Data is starting to show the economy is bouncing back.  More gas purchases.  A rebound started in the month of May.  Dollar is going down, selling treasuring.  All supporting the commodities.  NASDAQ is within 1 ½ % of high.  Dow Jones up roughly 40% of where it was in March.   Exception to all of this is corn as it seems to get shorted.  More buying by China of beans.  Weather pattern & what we are seeing moving forward.    Livestock:  Product prices are in a free fall.  Price fixing in the poultry industry-how did that effect the livestock markets today?

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Early on in the COVID-19 virus pandemic, it looked like agriculture might be an area that would maintain some semblance of normalcy. Farmers and ranchers tend to work in more solitary conditions than people working in suburban and urban office buildings and service industries, so would be less likely to get sick themselves. They could go on helping produce the world’s food supply.

That sense of security, if there was one, was short-lived however, with shifts in demand linked to closed restaurants and schools disrupting food supply chains, compounded by new coronavirus outbreaks among meat packing plant employees that resulted in temporary closures and more disruption to livestock marketing channels.

Using 2019 Kansas Farm Management Association members’ average net farm income as a baseline, a team of Kansas State University agricultural economists is estimating that net farm income in 2020 will fall from an average of $110,380 in 2019 to $14,358 in 2020, a drop of 87%.

The 2019 number was bolstered in large part by Market Facilitation Program payments provided to farmers to buffer the disruptive effects of trade disputes with other countries that were occurring prior to the pandemic.

Not all Kansas farms are KFMA members, but the data provides insight into the profitability and financial structure of Kansas agricultural producers.

“The COVID-19 virus has impacted nearly every aspect of life and Kansas agriculture has not been exempt,” said Gregg Ibendahl, farm management specialist with K-State Research and Extension.

He and colleagues Daniel O’Brien and Kevin Herbel recently authored A Preliminary Estimate of 2020 Kansas Net Farm Income. Even without considering the 2019 MFP payment, the decline would be 71%.

similar article looking more in-depth at the livestock sector was written by agricultural economist Glynn Tonsor.

Grain farms, which comprise about two-thirds of all KFMA operations, are expected to earn a lower net income than in 2019, but similar to 2019 without the MFP payment. Crop insurance and government program payments will help make up for a shortfall in grain prices.

The extension agricultural economists estimate that farms focused more heavily on livestock production – about one-third of KFMA farms – are expected to fare worst, with the average net farm income falling from $35,552 (without the MFP payment) to a negative $14,934, a decline of 142%.

The estimates do not take into account payments that might come from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 19.

The economists noted that at the beginning of 2020, Kansas farmers were coming off a year when net farm income had risen four years in a row.

“Producers were hopeful that 2020, with the trade agreement with China in place, could at least match the profitability of 2019,” Ibendahl wrote in the article. “However, the coronavirus has drastically altered those expectations.”

The authors, he said, provided the estimates to give farmers guidance about how the virus might affect their net farm income this year.

They estimate that most revenue sources – beef, milk, swine, corn, soybeans, wheat and grain sorghum — are expected to decline in 2020 compared with 2019, although less so in wheat and grain sorghum than the other commodities.

Offsetting the lower revenue in 2020 is a potential for higher government payments (primarily in the Price Loss Coverage program for some crops) and some lower expenses, especially for fertilizer and diesel fuel, Herbel said.

Even with the MFP payment, 18% of KFMA farms lost money in 2019. In 2020, an estimated 40% of those farms will lose money. Nearly 70% of farms will earn a net income below $50,000, which is far below the typical family living needs, Herbel said.

“This is expected to be a difficult year for nearly every Kansas producer,” Ibendahl said, but added that the analysis is not the end of the story.

In addition to the new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security Act (CARES) and the CCC Charter Act have collectively committed to providing $16 billion in direct assistance to producers of non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy and specialty crops that have experienced a significant price loss between mid-January and mid-May and/ or face significant additional marketing costs.

The team plans to continue to follow developments and will update their estimates in coming months as the government programs are finalized.

More information about agricultural economics and the COVID-19 pandemic are available on www.agmanager.info. Other resources linked to living with COVID-19 are available on the K-State Research and Extension COVID-19 page.

LINCOLN, Neb. May 28, 2020 – In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 42,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of April 12-18, 2020, up 40 percent from the April 2019 reference week, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 35,000 during the week of January 12-18, 2020, up 40 percent from the January 2019 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $15.93 per hour during the April 2020 reference week, up 2 percent from the April 2019 reference week. Field workers received an average of $15.89 per hour, down 24 cents. Livestock workers earned $14.59 per hour compared with $13.42 a year earlier.

The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $15.20, was up 60 cents from the April 2019 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.5 hours during the April 2020 reference week, compared with 42.9 hours worked during the April 2019 reference week.

Farm operators in the Northern Plains Region paid their hired workers an average wage of $16.41 per hour during the January 2020 reference week, up 4 percent from the January 2019 reference week.

Field workers received an average of $16.83 per hour, up 19 cents. Livestock workers earned $14.63 per hour, up 121 cents. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $15.55, was up 85 cents from the January 2019 reference week.

Hired laborers worked an average of 40.9 hours during the January 2020 reference week, compared with 42.9 hours worked during the January 2019 reference week.

Access the National publication for this release at:
https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/x920fw89s

Find agricultural statistics for your county, State, and the Nation at www.nass.usda.gov

Today the FSA will start accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program  CFAP  through Aug. 28, 2020.  Nebraska FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner is reminding those in agriculture that this is a three-month enrollment period to work through.  There is an  anticipation for  a very large number of applications due to the broad scope of commodities included in this program and the likelihood that it will include customers who do not routinely do business with FSA.

The FSA has shared some key points to remember as we work through the sign up process:

 

  • Office status – While Governor Pete Ricketts continues to update Directed Health Measures that have allowed businesses to open at various levels across the state, Nebraska FSA offices are subject to direction from USDA headquarters. Currently, we remain open for business only via phone appointments and using email, mail, fax and online tools. We are not available for in-person traffic in our offices at this time. Our staff has been operating this way since mid-March, and we have many tools in place to facilitate business and complete the CFAP application process with customers.
  • With that said, please encourage folks to visit the CFAP website by typing farmers.gov/cfap into their internet browser. This website is well-organized and detailed. It has a payment calculator that will help producers understand the information needed to complete an application, and it even allows the producer to convert the data entered into the calculator into an actual application that they can print, sign, and submit to their local FSA office. We know folks are accustomed to walking into their county office for service, but we believe use of the website will be an important option for implementation in our current environment.
  • USDA has set up a toll-free number to also assist customers who have questions. That number is 877-508-8364. This can serve as a good first stop for customers so that they are better prepared for a successful county FSA office interaction, whether that be through a phone appointment or submitting an application they prepared online.
  • Regarding funding, CFAP is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
  • The key phrase you will hear associated with defining whether an eligible commodity is covered through CFAP is “the commodity must be subject to price risk.” We understand that already there are specific questions as to how this applies to contracted commodities. FSA is working to update the CFAP website to further explain this issue. We will share more information on this subject as it becomes available.

In addition, Nebraska FSA will present on CFAP during two upcoming online sessions:

  • Thursday, May 28, noon-1 p.m. CT: Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook Live Event: Watch the presentation on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Facebook page live. The presentation will be archived for later viewing on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook page and the Nebraska Farm Bureau website at www.nefb.org/covid-19.
  • Thursday, June 4, noon-1 p.m. CT: Webinar hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Economics Department as part of its series, “COVID-19’s Impact on Nebraska Ag.” To register, type go.unl.edu/manage2020 into your internet browser. The session will be recorded and available on the website after the event.