from December 17
CONGRESS PASSES TAX PACKAGE INCLUDING KEY PROVISIONS FOR AGRICULTURE
The U.S. Senate voted yesterday (12/16) to approve the tax
extenders package containing key provisions for small businesses,
including farms and ranches. On a 76 to 16 vote, senators passed the tax
extenders bill previously approved by the U.S. House. The bill now goes
to President Barack Obama for his signature.
NCBA President Bob McCan said passage of the legislation is good
news for the cattle industry because it encourages economic growth and
provides greater certainty in the tax code. Of particular benefit to
agriculture are section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation. Section
179 allows a higher deduction level for some capital expenditures, like
machinery and equipment. During 2013, farmers and ranchers were able to
expense up to $500,000 in capital investments, but the amount was
lowered to $25,000 this year.
“For large equipment purchases and other capital investments,
cattle producers need certainty in order to properly plan for their
businesses,” said NCBA Director of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus.
The retroactive extension covering this year again leaves producers
operating under an expired tax code in 2015. Bacus said this could add
the needed pressure to complete a comprehensive tax reform deal next
from December 16
STATE AGENCIES COMBINE FORCES TO INVESTIGATE CATTLE THEFTS
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Department of
Agriculture (KDA) have entered a joint agreement intended to enhance the
state’s ability to investigate cattle thefts. Schmidt formed a new
Livestock/Brand Investigation Unit within his office’s Consumer
Protection Division. According to Schmidt, combining the law enforcement
authority of the attorney general’s office with the livestock
investigation authority of the KDA Division of Animal Health (DAH) is an
efficient way to address the problem.
“This agreement is a great example of finding efficient ways for
government to better serve the people of Kansas,” said Schmidt.
The attorney general has hired longtime Kansas lawman Kendal
Lothman to lead the new unit. Lothman has been a law enforcement officer
for 22 years, including six as Kiowa County sheriff. In his new
position, he will respond to requests from local authorities for
assistance in cattle theft investigations.
Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Bill Brown also welcomed the new
collaborative effort. He said having an investigator in the field will
provide support for local law enforcement and the DAH brand program.
Ranchers, feeders and dairymen who suspect thefts should contact
their local sheriff. These agencies will, in turn, request assistance
from the attorney general’s office if needed.
from December 15
CONGRESS PASSES APPROPRIATIONS BILL
The U.S. House and Senate last week passed the
2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, funding much of the government through
September 30, 2015. According to NCBA President Bob McCan, a rancher
from Texas, the bill contains many priorities for livestock producers.
Included in the bill is a provision instructing U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture Tom Vilsack to submit a report with his recommendations for
changes in the federal law required to bring the country-of-origin
labeling program into compliance with international trade obligations.
This report would need to be submitted within 15 days of the appeal
decision from the World Trade Organization or by May 1, 2015, whichever
The bill also directs Secretary Vilsack not to implement a
duplicative beef checkoff and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
to withdraw the waters of the U.S. interpretive rule. In addition, it
contains language to continue defunding of the GIPSA provisions and
language on a number of other environmental regulations. Specifically,
the bill prevents funding for the EPA to require cattle producers to
obtain greenhouse gas permits for livestock and to prevent mandatory
reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.
from December 12
KLA SUBMITS COMMENTS OPPOSING SUPPLEMENTAL CHECKOFF
This week, KLA submitted comments to USDA in
opposition to the creation of a separate beef checkoff. At the recent
convention, KLA members expressed their support for an increase in the
checkoff assessment rate to adequately fund effective beef
demand-building programs. At the same time, the member-passed policy
opposes the creation of a supplemental beef checkoff under the 1996
Generic Checkoff Act.
KLA members determined a beef checkoff program administered under
the 1996 act would give more power to the federal government, allow for
an increase share of the checkoff funds to be used for administrative
costs and not ensure a coordinated state and national partnership.
KLA comments were submitted in response to a notice of inquiry
distributed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Several
national organizations representing beef producers continue to work
toward industry consensus on enhancements to the current beef checkoff.
from December 11
BAUER WINS TOP RECRUITER AWARD
The KLA membership year wrapped up December 4 with a total of 5,002
members. Eighty-two individuals and county committees recruited a total
of 197 new members for the 2014 Top Hand contest, sponsored exclusively
by John Deere.
Jake Bauer of Oakley signed up 42 KLA members, the most recruited by anyone since 1991. The Anderson County Committee signed up 21. Both Bauer and
Anderson County will receive 30-30 rifles. Bauer also will be awarded a
hat from Greeley Hat Works for being top recruiter of the year.
Other top recruiters included Clint Sturdy, Lyndon, with 10; the
Nemaha County Committee with eight; Vernon Bohn, Dwight, with seven; and
the Phillips County Committee with five.
Harper County joined the ranks of those qualified for a seat on the
KLA Chairmen’s Circle by reaching the 35-member mark this fall. They
will be represented by Travis McIntire of Argonia.
Nemaha County continues to lead the association in total members
with 125. Rounding out the top five counties are Pottawatomie with 94,
Anderson at 85, Butler with 83 and Riley at 81.
from December 10
LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS APPROVE POLICY TO GUIDE KLA
KLA members adopted policy addressing their
business interests during the annual meeting, December 3-5 in Wichita.
Resolutions on the beef checkoff, Clean Water Act regulations, the
threatened listing of the lesser prairie chicken and trichomoniasis were
among those drawing members’ attention. The process started in
committee and council meetings and concluded with final approval by the
general KLA membership.
“KLA policy is developed through broad member input and
constructive debate,” said KLA President Jaret Moyer, a cattleman from
Emporia. “The resulting resolutions will direct officers and staff as we
represent the membership on various issues during 2015.”
An existing resolution on the beef checkoff was amended to support changes in
the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act that would authorize an
increase in the assessment rate. It goes further to oppose creating a
supplemental beef checkoff under the Commodity Promotion, Research and
Consumer Information Act of 1996. Compared to the 1985 act, the 1996 act
gives more control over checkoff decisions to the federal government,
allows for an increased share of funds to go toward administration and
does not ensure a coordinated national/state partnership.
KLA members chose to retain a resolution opposing legislation that
would expand federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, including the
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current proposal to redefine
“waters of the United States.” The resolution urges EPA and other
agencies to recognize the abilities of states to best manage water
Policy was amended to support the inclusion of grazing lands in the
4(d) Rule for the lesser prairie chicken. The rule currently grants
incidental take protection to routine ag practices on land cultivated
within five years preceding the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as
threatened, but does not afford the same protection to grasslands used
in livestock production.
Another resolution amended by KLA members supports changes to state
law or regulations requiring timely notification of the owners of
neighboring herds by Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal
Health officials when a confirmed case of trichomoniasis is discovered.
The membership voted to retain policy supporting regulatory and/or
statutory changes to the current country-of-origin labeling program that
would bring the U.S. into compliance with international trade
obligations and avoid trade disruptions or retaliatory action.
Another retained resolution encourages EPA to resist proposals that
lower the air quality standards for ozone levels and recognize air
quality problems caused by prescribed burning are a rare event for which
cities should not be penalized for nonattainment of clean air
The list of amended resolutions contains one that supports state
law authorizing local enhanced management areas (LEMAs), but specifies
the chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources can only approve a
LEMA if it is supported by a unanimous vote of affected water right
holders. This same policy supports legislation to allow unused
appropriated water from a multi-year flex account (MYFA) term permit to
be rolled over for use in a subsequent MYFA.
KLA members support state legislation that would create a Kansas
conservation easement funding source. The same resolution opposes state
legislation that would prohibit Kansas landowners from voluntarily
agreeing to a perpetual conservation easement agreement.
Long-standing policy suggesting the livestock industry is best
served by the process of free enterprise and free trade was reaffirmed.
Members oppose narrowing the business options or limiting the individual
freedom of livestock producers to manage or market their products.
from December 9
MEMBERS ELECT EMPORIA, EUREKA CATTLEMEN TO KLA LEADERSHIP
KLA members elected Emporia rancher Jaret Moyer
as president for the coming year during last week’s annual convention in
Wichita. Matt Perrier, a seedstock cattle producer from Eureka, was
chosen as the new president elect of the 5,000-member organization.
Moyer’s ranch is focused on growing light cattle using a
combination of Flint Hills pastures and a backgrounding facility. He
also is president of Citizens State Bank and Trust Company, with
locations in Woodbine, Bremen, Gypsum and
Moyer serves on both the KLA Executive Committee and KLA Board of
Directors. He is a member of the KLA Stockgrowers Council and previously
served as the KLA director for Lyon County. Before moving to the
Emporia area in 2003, he was involved in the Phillips County KLA
Committee. Moyer is a past chairman of the Kansas Beef Council. He is on
the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Board of Directors.
Moyer serves on the Federation of State Beef Councils Domestic Consumer
Preference Committee and Value Subcommittee. He is a past member of the
NCBA Retail Committee. Moyer is the current president of Flint Hills
Beef Fest, which is the annual celebration of the state’s grass cattle
Moyer has been actively involved in leadership development
programs. He is a past participant in the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s
Conference. Moyer has attended the KLA Leadership Conference. He also
graduated from the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program.
He graduated from Kansas State University in 1992 with a degree in
animal science. Moyer later completed course work at the graduate school
of banking in Madison, WI.
Moyer and his wife, Shawna, have two daughters. Arissa is a junior
at K-State studying ag economics. Sarah is a senior at Northern Heights
High School in Allen.
Perrier represents the fifth generation of his family’s registered
Angus and ranching operation in Greenwood County. Dalebanks Angus
started as a sheep farm in 1867. It has maintained a registered Angus
herd continuously since 1904. Today, the seedstock cattle operation
produces genetics for the commercial cow-calf producer.
The list of industry leadership positions he has held is lengthy.
Perrier is a past chairman of the KLA Stockgrowers Council. He currently
serves on the KLA Board of Directors and the NCBA Board of Directors.
Perrier is a member of the NCBA Ag and Food Policy Committee.
He attended the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference and served as chairman
of the group in 2007. Perrier also has attended the KLA Leadership
Perrier is a member of the Kansas Animal Health Board and Greenwood
County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, of which he is a past president.
He is a past member of the U.S. Premium Beef Nominating Committee and
Kansas Angus Association Board of Directors. Perrier is a past president
of the Greenwood County Cattlemen’s Association and previously served
as vice president of the Greenwood Preservation Society, which helped
restore the Greenwood Hotel.
He graduated from K-State in 1996 with a degree in animal science.
Prior to coming back to the family business, he was director of retail
and foodservice programs for the Pennsylvania Beef Council and served in
several staff capacities, including as a regional manager, for the
American Angus Association.
Perrier and his wife, Amy, have four children: Ava, Lyle, Hannah and Henry. They are expecting a fifth child in mid-March.
from December 8
BLACH SAYS ELEVATED PRICES MAGNIFY NEED TO MANAGE RISK
Randy Blach said record setting cattle prices in 2014 have been the
result of a perfect storm – decreased cattle numbers, PED virus in
pork, a decline in poultry production and an increase in beef demand.
But speaking at last week’s KLA Convention during Beef Industry
University, sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, he
warned ranchers not to “let the good times catch you off guard.”
“Part of my duty is to wake you up,” said Blach, the executive vice
president of CattleFax. “These numbers don’t happen very often, so
enjoy it, but don’t go to sleep.”
He said pork, egg and poultry production is on the rise going into
2015. Blach reminded KLA members to be aware these additional protein
supplies will be available in the market.
Blach sees calf prices softening somewhat, but expects ranchers
will sell calves in the low $2/pound-range for years to come.
“Prices at $2.50 to $2.70 is a bonus, but we can make a lot of money in the low $2 range if we manage costs,” said Blach.
He said if the fed cattle market starts to soften, the feeder
market will as well. And with high prices, volatility can cause large
price moves in the market. Now is not the time to ignore risk
management, he stressed.
“Some think they don’t need hedges. But make sure you have
protection. It’s not the time to be wide open with what we are seeing,”
from December 5
HERRING, BLACH LEAD BIU DISCUSSION
Pay attention to the markets and take advantage of opportunities.
That was the theme both Friona Industries President and Chief Executive
Officer James Herring and CattleFax Executive Vice President Randy Blach
shared during yesterday’s KLA Beef Industry University at the KLA
Convention, sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas.
Herring, who spoke about the history of building Friona Industries
into one of the largest cattle feeding businesses in the U.S., shared
that the company was losing $450,000 per month when he started. Knowing
consumers ranked one in four beef eating experiences as unsatisfactory,
Herring set out to develop a system of procuring, growing, feeding,
harvesting and selling a consistent, quality beef product to consumers.
By paying attention to market signals and managing risk, Herring
developed a plan resulting in 139 different brands of beef originating
Managing risk was a sentiment echoed by Blach, who said to enjoy these
times of record-high prices, but “don’t go to sleep.” He said today’s
prices are a result of a major supply shock that developed during an
uptick in demand.
Blach said part of his duty is to wake people up, as they are
getting too comfortable. He expects prices to soften, but remain
profitable in the coming year. Volatility in the market, he said,
demands risk management.
from December 4
TOP STUDENTS EARN RECOGNITION
The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) honored 22
students last night during the Cattlemen’s Banquet at the KLA Convention
in Wichita. These high-achieving youth were awarded a total of $24,700
for excelling scholastically, in their communities and in livestock
KLF scholarship winners, their hometowns and schools they’re
attending are Jody Baragary, Tonganoxie, Kansas State University; Sarah
Bellar, Howard, Fort Hays State University (FHSU); Eric and Tyler
Blythe, White City, K-State; Lindsay Bulk, Riley, K-State; Tristan
Davis, Princeton, K-State; Callahan Grund, Wallace, Fort Scott Community
College; Jacob Hagenmaier, Randolph, K-State College of Veterinary
Medicine (CVM); Brooke Jensen, Courtland, K-State; Ryan Kinsler,
Kingman, FHSU; Leigh Ann Maurath, Oakley, K-State/Manhattan Christian
College; Brayden Miller, Garnett, Emporia State University; Kaitlin
Morgan, Deerfield, K-State; Arissa Moyer, Emporia, K-State; Tyler
Murray, Wheaton, Mid Plains Community College; Kacey Rieger, Powhattan,
FHSU; Stetson Schmutz, Salina, K-State CVM; Catherine Sharp, Humboldt,
K-State; Reid Shipman, Manhattan, Allen County Community College;
Barrett Simon, Leon, K-State; Gavin Swearngin, Lawrence, K-State; and
Ashley Zelenka, Wilson, K-State.
Congratulations to all!