from February 16


     Educational presentations geared toward cattle producers and seedstock cattle displays will be featured during the Kansas Cattle Drive, February 18 on Main Street in Buhler. The event will be hosted by Kansas State University Research and Extension and the Reno County Cattlemen’s Association.
     Speakers will cover topics including fall burning to control sericea lespedeza, stockmanship and beef cookery. K-State Range Cattle Nutrition & Management Professor KC Olson will discuss results of his multi-year sericea control research project in Geary County. Stockmanship clinician Curt Pate will perform demonstrations on low-stress cattle handling whether horseback or on foot. Chef Alli will do a beef cooking demonstration, while White City rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe talks about life on the ranch and how beef gets from pasture to plate.
     Seedstock suppliers from the region will showcase breeding stock in portable pens near Buhler High School. Breeders will be on hand to discuss genetics with commercial cow-calf producers.
     For more information, call Darren Busick at (620) 662-2371, email or go to the Kansas Cattle Drive page on Facebook.


from February 15


     Feeding industry pioneer Earl C. Brookover of Garden City is among this year’s nominees for the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame. Brookover built his first feedyard in 1951 based on the belief that the High Plains held tremendous potential for feed production and, combined with a moderate climate, would be ideal for commercial cattle feeding. His vision proved to be accurate, as southwest Kansas continues to be the center of the U.S. cattle feeding industry.
     The Brookover family has two commercial feeding operations at Garden City. Brookover Feed Yard and Brookover Ranch have a combined one-time capacity of 80,000 head. Second and third generations of the Brookover family run the business today.
     KLA is encouraging members to vote for Brookover by clicking here. The deadline for voting is March 31.  


from February 14


     Member input is needed at today's KLA Legislative Meeting and Dinner in Topeka. The meeting will take place at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Maner Conference Center. Following a complimentary lunch at 11:30 a.m., sponsored by Capital City Bank, KLA members will hear a bill review and discuss proposed legislation from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Those in attendance will explain how various bills would impact their livestock businesses during the social and dinner with state legislators starting at 6:00 p.m.
     During the bill review, the membership will consider proposed legislation dealing with taxes, water, noxious weeds, weight limits for trucks, private property rights and other important issues.  
     There is no cost for lunch or the bill review. The ribeye steak dinner is $35 per person, which can be paid at the door.


from February 13


     State legislators spent much of last week looking for a consensus and sufficient votes to pass a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to balance the 2017 state budget and establish a base for the 2018 budget. Senate leadership postponed debate and votes on bills that would cut an estimated $244 million in 2017 spending and raise about $288 million in additional taxes starting in fiscal year 2018. Most of the spending cuts are directed at K-12 and higher education expenditures. The tax package under consideration by senators includes an increase in individual income taxes and elimination of the 2012 non-wage business income tax exemption for LLCs, partnerships, subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships.
     The House Tax Committee passed a bill that may raise as much as $500 million by restoring a third tax bracket for joint filers making more than $100,000 and exempting the non-wage business income tax exemption.
     KLA staff weighed in on several ag-focused bills last week.

     Fee on irrigated water use - KLA testified in opposition to HB 2241, a bill that would create a new ½¢ per 1,000 gallons fee for water used in irrigation. Money generated from the proposed fee would be credited to the state's water plan fund.

     Water right impairment claims - KLA testified in support of HB 2099, which would require a senior water right owner seeking relief from a possible impairment by a junior water right owner to file a complaint with the chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources before a case could be filed in district court. Once the administrative process with the chief engineer was exhausted, the water right owners dissatisfied with the ruling would be able to appeal to district court. Current law allows a water right owner to file in district court first, before seeking relief from the chief engineer.

     Noxious weeds - The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing last week on HB 2246, which would make several changes to the state noxious weed law that was first implemented in 1937. Supported by KLA, the bill would give the Kansas secretary of agriculture the power to designate noxious weeds by recommending and adopting regulations. Current law requires noxious weeds to be designated by the Kansas Legislature.

     Member input is needed on these and other bills during tomorrow's (2/14) KLA Legislative Meeting and Dinner in Topeka. The meeting will take place at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Maner Conference Center. Following a complimentary lunch at 11:30 a.m., sponsored by Capital City Bank, KLA members will hear a bill review and discuss proposed legislation from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Those in attendance will describe how various bills would impact their livestock businesses during the social and dinner with state legislators starting at 6:00 p.m.

     There is no cost for the lunch or the bill review. Those who plan to attend the social and dinner can make reservations
here, by calling the KLA office at (785) 273-5115 or registration will be available at the door. Cost for the ribeye steak dinner is $35 per person.


from February 10


      Kenton Mangan of Tribune was named KLA Recruiter of the Month for December 2016. He signed up the most new members to earn a $50 Cabela’s gift card. The January 2017 prize went to Vernon Bohn from Dwight. Both will be entered in a grand prize drawing from monthly winners to be held during the 2017 KLA Convention.
     In addition to prizes for recruiting the most members for the month, these members also will receive KLA Top Hand prizes as they reach various levels throughout the year. The prizes include: 1 recruit - John Deere barbecue tool set; 3 recruits - John Deere Buck Talus knife; 5 recruits - Soft-side cooler with two tumblers; 10 recruits - $150 Cabela’s gift card; 15 recruits - pair of boots; 20 recruits - 30-30 rifle. In addition, the top recruiter of the year (minimum of 25) will receive a custom-made 20X felt hat from Greeley Hat Works.
     John Deere is the exclusive sponsor of the KLA Top Hand program.


from February 9


     The Kansas Beef Council recently conducted a checkoff-hosted webinar for Kansas physicians, nurses and dietitians. Sixty-nine health professionals from Kansas registered for “Pulse Check on Cardiovascular Health: A Current Look at Nutrition Strategies,” with 46 participating and receiving continuing education credits.
     Featured presenters for the January 24 webinar were Michael Davidson, MD, FACC, FACP, FNLA, clinical professor and director of preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (ranked as one of the top five lipid experts in the world) and Jan Tilley, MS, RD, of Jan Tilley & Associates. Davidson and Tilley discussed the history and impact of scientific research on nutrition recommendations for a healthy heart and shared practical tips for developing nutrition strategies for treating dyslipidemia. Specifically, they reviewed how high-carbohydrate/low-fat diets have been proven to be ineffective tools for achieving weight loss and improving cardiovascular disease. In contrast, they explained how increasing protein and fat intake, while decreasing carbohydrate consumption, especially refined and processed carbohydrates, can yield substantial results in improving health.    
     The webinar was recorded, and is available for viewing at  Health professionals who were unable to participate can watch the recorded webinar for continuing education credits. KLA members can direct local health professionals to this link for more information on the subject.


from February 8


     The incidence of positive trichomoniasis tests in Kansas cowherds has dropped significantly in recent years. Kansas animal health officials recently reported the Kansas State University Diagnostic Laboratory tested 10,000 bulls in 2016 and found one infected herd each in Ellis, Sedgwick and Miami counties. In comparison, more than 40 herds were found to be infected across the state in 2013 and 2014.
     “The downward decline in positive cases over the last four years can be attributed to several factors, including extensive outreach and education efforts by veterinarians, enhanced Kansas trichomoniasis movement regulations and an increased oversight and mitigation of positive cases in the state,” said Kansas Deputy Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith.


from February 7


     Tracy Brunner of Ramona completed a successful year as NCBA president during last week’s Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, TN. The Kansas cattle feeder and rancher told thousands attending the Opening General Session that his year of traveling the country has proven the American beef industry is strong.
     “We are cattlemen and women. We don’t just survive adversity; we thrive on challenge,” he said. “We find the opportunity always present as we supply the world with its favorite protein.”
     A number of other Kansans are picking up where Brunner left off by providing leadership for national organizations. Jerry Bohn of Pratt was elected as the new NCBA Policy Division vice chairman. Barb Downey from Wamego is the NCBA Region VII federation vice president. Debbie Lyons-Blythe of White City was appointed vice chair of the NCBA Ag and Food Policy Committee. Mary Ann Kniebel, also of White City, was chosen as NCBA Policy & Resolutions Committee vice chair. On the checkoff side, Stacy McClintock of Soldier will serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee.
     Hundreds of Kansans were part of the record-breaking 9,335 cattle producers and stakeholders who attended the convention in Nashville.  


from February 6


     KLA staff provided testimony on several issues last week at the state Capitol, starting with opposition to proposals that would repeal the sales tax exemption on farm machinery and equipment and the sales tax exemption for qualified feedyard and dairy construction projects. KLA and other ag organizations also voiced opposition to HCR 5004, a constitutional amendment that would grant county governments home rule authority. The home rule bill would grant excessive authority to counties and endanger individual property rights of landowners.  
     The association provided testimony in support of SB 47 and HB 2097, which would increase fees for the state’s animal facility inspection program for pet animal breeders, rescue networks and shelters. KLA supports SB 47 and HB 2097 because the legislation would provide a more equitable source of fees to support the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) Division of Animal Health.
     HB 2032, which would increase fees charged for stockwater use, was the subject of hearings last week in the House Water and Natural Resources Committee. KLA testified in opposition to HB 2032.
     KLA offered amendments to SB 61, which is before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The bill would extend the 2018 sunset of KDA dairy inspection fees to 2028. KLA proposed an amendment that would strike a current exemption for dairy manufacturers located on a dairy and replace it with a similar exemption if the manufacturer was located on a dairy and processed less than 6,000,000 lbs. per year.
     The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on a KLA-supported bill that would increase the legal gross vehicle weight from 85,500 lbs. to 90,000 lbs. for trucks equipped with a six-axle semi-trailer combination. KLA testified HB 2095 would increase efficiency, decrease transportation costs, relieve driver shortages, and provide more uniformity with the maximum weight laws among other agricultural states in the region.
     Below is a brief summary of additional bills introduced last week in Topeka:
     Irrigator fees - HB 2241 would charge ½¢ per 1,000 gallons of water used for irrigation. Money generated from the proposed fee would be credited to the state water plan fund.
     Noxious weeds - Two KLA-supported noxious weeds bills were introduced last week. HB 2246 would give the state secretary of agriculture the power to designate noxious weeds after a recommendation from an advisory committee. SB 117 would allow counties to designate the wild blackberry plant as a noxious weed within their jurisdiction.
     Conservation easements - The House Federal and State Affairs Committee recently introduced HB 2199, which would authorize county commissioners to regulate the granting of conservation easements. KLA opposes HB 2199.
     Deer permits - The House Agriculture Committee introduced HB 2208 at KLA’s request. This bill would allow landowners to obtain and transfer hunt-on-your-own-land deer hunting permits to nonresident deer hunters.
     These and other bills will be discussed during the KLA Legislative Meeting, February 14 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. The day will start with a complimentary lunch, sponsored by Capital City Bank, at 11:30 a.m. KLA legislative affairs staff will review bills under consideration at the state Capitol from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The day will conclude with a social and dinner for KLA members and Kansas legislators starting at 6:00 p.m. Members who plan to attend the dinner can make reservations here or by calling the KLA office at (785) 273-5115. Cost for the steak dinner is $35 per person.


from February 3


     Expect cattle markets to be more stable in 2017 than the past three years. During this week’s CattleFax Outlook Seminar at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Chief Executive Officer Randy Blach said despite a decrease in volatility, the forecast still is for lower market lows and lower highs as the herd continues to expand in the coming years and beef supplies increase. Price pressure will come from record pork and poultry production, with beef expected to establish a new tonnage record sometime during 2018-19. 
     Blach suggested a shortage of available labor at processing plants to keep pace with increased beef production will put the packing sector in the driver’s seat. He and other analysts said packers must remain profitable to move larger protein supplies, which likely will translate to a smaller percentage of margins per animal passed down to cow-calf producers, stocker operators and cattle feeders. 
     “With limited processing capacity, the leverage shift in the marketplace will continue toward the packing, retail and foodservice segments for the time-being,” said Blach.
     CattleFax projects fed cattle to average $110/cwt. during 2017, with prices ranging from the low-to-mid-$120s/cwt. and downside risk in the mid-to-upper-$90s/cwt. The forecast is for 750 lb. feeder steers to average $130/cwt., with a range of $115 to $140/cwt. Prices for 550 lb. steers are expected to average $150/cwt., according to CattleFax, while trading in a range from spring highs around $170/cwt. to fall lows in the $130s/cwt.


from February 2


     USDA’s January 1 cattle inventory report indicated cow numbers continue to be on the rise. According to CattleFax analyst Lance Zimmerman, total cow numbers are the largest since 2009, reaching 40.6 million, an increase of 2.7%. The number of cows that calved in 2016 was up 3% from the previous year, with the total number of replacement heifers increasing 1%. Zimmerman indicated this is the largest number of beef replacement heifers on U.S. farms and ranches since 1997, suggesting the cowherd likely will see additional growth into 2018, and perhaps even 2019, if margins and weather cooperate.
     Overall, the U.S. cattle inventory increased 1.8% to 93.6 million head, pushing cattle numbers to the largest level this decade, according to CattleFax data. The Kansas cattle inventory saw the same upward trend in 2016, with all cattle and calves in the state as of January 1 totaling 6.4 million head, up 2% from a year earlier. Beef cows totaled 1.57 million head, up 6%. Milk cows totaled 150,000 head, also up 6%.