Tag Archives: livestock

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.”

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.

LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan had reached an initial agreement on key parts of a U.S.-Japan trade deal.

 

“For Nebraska, our trade relationship with Japan is one of our most important,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Japan is Nebraska’s number four export market, largest direct international investor, and largest international market for beef, pork, and eggs.  Thank you to President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for working with our friends in Japan on crafting a trade deal.  Getting this trade deal done and lowering tariffs for our beef and pork is vital for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers as well as our Japanese customers.”

 

NEBRASKA AND JAPAN’S TRADE RELATIONSHIP

 

Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest export market, with over $1.1 billion worth of exports in 2017.  The country is Nebraska’s largest direct international investor with Japanese companies employing about 9,400 people in Nebraska.  They are Nebraska’s number one international customer for beef, pork, eggs and number two for ag exports overall, corn, and wheat.

 

  • Beef:  $412.1 million – #1 market
  • Pork:  $262.7 million – #1 market
  • Corn: $242.4 million – #2 market
  • Soybeans and Soybean Products: $78.5 million
  • Eggs: $21.2 million – #1 market
  • Wheat: $17.8 million – #2 market