from November 25


     Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) and Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK), has awarded Sproul Ranch of Sedan the first Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. The $10,000 award and crystal depicting Aldo Leopold was presented to the Sprouls November 23 at the KACD annual convention in Wichita. It honors Kansas landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
     Sproul Ranch is a 2,200-acre native grass stocker operation in Chautauqua County. When Bill Sproul and his family purchased the ranch, it had a long history of overgrazing and was rapidly transforming into woodland. After removing the invasive plants, the tall, native prairie was managed through patch-burn grazing. While the cattle graze the burned areas, the unburned grass accumulates, providing wildlife habitat and fuel for future burning.
     When the drought reduced forage production, Sproul cut stocking rates to help the land recover. This meant deferring grazing on some rangeland altogether. This is part of Sproul’s approach to conservation, which is “letting the prairie dictate what I do.”
     “We know firsthand the conservation and stewardship of the Sproul family,” said RTK Board Chairman Bill Eastman. “It is with great pleasure we see their efforts and leadership recognized with an award that epitomizes the conservation movement in America.”
     The Leopold Conservation Award is named in honor of renowned conservationist and author Aldo Leopold, who called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. Award applicants were judged on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community leadership and multiple-use benefits. 


from November 24


     Members will have the ability to provide input on issues affecting their business interests at the KLA Convention, December 2-4 in Wichita. The membership will hear issue reports and discuss and approve resolutions on matters important to the livestock industry during committee and council meetings Thursday afternoon.
     Animal Health & ID Committee members will hear a review of the current Animal Disease Traceability program and be brought up to date on the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. The agenda for the Natural Resources Committee includes an update on the Kansas Smoke Management Plan and a report on Water Conservation Areas. Tax Committee members will hear about possible changes to the Kansas tax system and the status of the state budget. The committee will discuss the current property tax lid, which will be addressed during the upcoming legislative session, and several recent proposals that would have increased taxes on agriculture.
     Kansans serving on the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) will give a report to the KLA Stockgrowers Council. Members of the Stockgrowers Council also will hear a KLA staff outlook on the 2016 Kansas legislative session.
     Members of the KLA Cattle Feeders Council (CFC) will hear an update on the progress of USRSB. In addition, the CFC agenda includes a report on the record dividend declared by the KLA workers’ compensation pool.
     Both the Stockgrowers and Feeders Councils will consider amendments to current KLA policy regarding animal identification and traceability. The new beef industry long-range plan suggests a more comprehensive individual animal identification program.
     Registration, schedule and hotel information is available here. Members and guests can register on-site once the meeting starts at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita.


from November 23


     NCBA and 38 other ag groups have sent a letter asking U.S. House and Senate leadership to take up legislation addressing expired tax extenders. The letter focused on Section 179 and bonus depreciation, which allows farmers and ranchers to write off a greater share of capital expenditures the year purchases are made rather than depreciating these assets over time.
     Under the expired law, the maximum amount a small business can immediately expense when purchasing business assets is $25,000, adjusted for inflation. The remainder must be depreciated over time. Groups signing the letter encouraged Congress to restore the maximum amount of expensing under Section 179 to $500,000, as it was in 2014. Congressional leaders also were asked to reinstate the expired 50% bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets, including ag equipment and buildings.
     NCBA President Philip Ellis, who will speak at next week’s KLA Convention in Wichita, said it is critical to address these provisions for long-term business planning purposes. He said greater certainty in the tax code would support small businesses and rural America.  


from November 20


     Certified Angus Beef (CAB) has launched a free app for smartphones and tablets that is designed to help consumers easily purchase, prepare and enjoy a variety of beef roasts. Roast Perfect, available for both Apple and Android devices, helps consumers select the right roast for the occasion and determine how many pounds will be needed for the number of people being served. It features recipes accompanied by video tutorials and step-by-step directions, as well as a roasting timer.
     “The ultimate goal is to give consumers more confidence in cooking beyond ground beef dishes and steak,” said CAB Assistant Director of Digital Marketing Margaret Coleman.
     A new survey funded by CAB and the beef checkoff found nearly a quarter of consumers never have cooked a beef roast and 43% cook one or less per year. Consumers cited “not enough time” and “don’t know how” among reasons for not roasting. The survey showed 30% consider beef roast appropriate for a holiday meal, making now an ideal time to introduce the app, according to Coleman.


from November 19


Animal and human health experts recently gathered in Atlanta, GA, for a meeting hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) to discuss antibiotic resistance. Key stakeholders within the livestock and human health communities worked on developing strategies for reducing antimicrobial resistance.
     Under the direction of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Chief Evaluation Officer Tom Chapel, attendees worked in groups to create a road map for decreasing antibiotic resistance, while continuing to provide a safe and adequate food supply.
     Kansas State University Professor of Production Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology Mike Apley, one of the speakers at the NIAA forum, said it seems inevitable that producers and veterinarians will need to keep more detailed animal treatment records. He said this is part of greater antibiotic stewardship.
     According to CDC, discussions about reducing resistance also are taking place in the human health community, making it natural for both sides to work together.  


from November 18


     The program at the KLA Convention will provide members and guests everything from inspiration to practical information. Highlights for the December 2-4 meeting in Wichita include a military hero who will describe how he survived a perilous experience in a hostile country and a veterinarian with clarification of a new rule on antibiotic use.
     Retired Army First Sgt. Matt Eversmann, who was immortalized in the epic movie “Black Hawk Down,” will headline the Wednesday evening banquet. He will focus on attributes that brought him through a harrowing experience alive in 1993 and how those qualities can lead to success in business and in life. His appearance will be sponsored by Zoetis and Micro.
     Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson will explain what the government’s new Veterinary Feed Directive means for ranchers, feeders and dairymen during his Beef Industry University presentation, sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas. The Jones professor of epidemiology and production medicine at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine will clarify how certain antibiotics soon will require veterinary approval on a case-by-case basis for the product to be included in livestock feed.
     The preregistration deadline for the KLA Convention is November 20. An online registration form, schedule and hotel information can be found here.



from November 17


     Lonesome Pine Ranch of Cedar Point beat out 22 other teams from across the country to win the 20th World Championship Ranch Rodeo (WCRR), November 12-15 in Amarillo. The team won the ranch bronc riding and wild cow milking and placed in the team branding average to capture the title. Members of the Lonesome Pine team were Frank, Bud, Troy and Makenzie Higgs, Chris Potter and Travis Duncan. The team set an arena record in the wild cow milking with a time of 18.7 seconds.
     The cowboys and cowgirl from Lonesome Pine won the 2015 Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo at Medicine Lodge. Lonesome Pine finished as reserve champions the last two years at WCRR before winning the title this year.
     Sandhill Cattle Company of Earth, TX, finished as the reserve world champions this year. Third place was JO Bar Ranch & Hatchet Ranch of Lordsburg, NM, and Hachita, NM.
     Other Kansas teams placing in the top 10 of the average in individual events at WCRR were Stock Ranch & Diamond E of Redfield, Keith Cattle & Robbins of Morris/Chase/Allen counties, Broken H & H Cross of Bronson and Lazy B of Ellsworth County.
     Teams competing at WCRR must qualify at a sanctioned event. Contestants must be working ranch cowboys and cowgirls.


from November 16


     The KLA workers' compensation program will issue a record $1.5 million dividend to pool members during next month’s convention in Wichita. According to KLA Senior Vice President Rich McKee, who serves as administrator of the program, the dividend is largely due to an increased emphasis on safety.
     “KLA members have made feedyards a safer place to work,” said McKee. “That hard work is what made this record dividend possible.”
     McKee said the mission of the work comp program is “to prevent accidents and save lives.” He said if that is accomplished, “everything else falls into place.”
     With the announcement of this dividend, the KLA work comp program will have returned more than $2.1 million to its members during the past 12 months. The size of dividend each member receives is determined by individual safety records. Members with an average safety record will receive dividends amounting to about 25% of their premium. Those members with good safety records will have more than 60% of their premium returned in the form of dividends.
     All KLA members are eligible to apply for the program. For more information, contact McKee ( at the KLA office. 


from November 13


     The American Royal Board of Directors has named Lynn Parman as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. She succeeds Bob Peterson, who is retiring from the position. Her employment is effective November 16.
     Parman brings a strong understanding of agribusiness and the animal health sector to the job. She currently is associate director of community and workforce affairs for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. Parman’s previous experience includes six years as vice president of bioscience development for the Kansas City Area Development Council. She directed the team responsible for the creation, launch and successful execution of the KC Animal Health Corridor brand.
     “I look forward to working with our engaged board of directors and talented staff to develop a strategic plan to ensure a strong future for the American Royal,” said Parman, who lives in the Kansas City region with her husband and 12-year-old daughter.  


from November 12


     Bourbon County KLA Chair Lafe Wilson of Uniontown earned recruiter of the month honors for October by signing up five new KLA members. He will receive a $50 Cabela’s gift card for his accomplishment.
     Wilson is in a five-way tie for fifth place in the 2015 Top Hand Membership Contest, which will come to an end December 3. Leading this year’s race is Russ Walker, Altoona, with 25 new members. The Coffey County Committee is in second with 11 and the third place Anderson County Committee has 10. In fourth is the Nemaha County Committee with seven. Sharing fifth place honors with Wilson at six recruits each are Gene Barrett, Grantville; Vernon Bohn, Dwight; Andy Larson, Green; and Daniel Mushrush, Strong City.
     All these individuals and groups have received a set of leather coasters, a John Deere Buck knife and steak knives with the Eat Beef message for signing up one, three and five recruits, respectively. In addition, those reaching 10 new members will receive a complimentary registration to the KLA Convention. Fifteen new members earn the recruiter a pair of boots and those getting 20 or more receive a Marlin 30-30 rifle.
     John Deere is the exclusive sponsor of the KLA Top Hand contest.