from October 14


     NCBA is asking USDA to withdraw potentially damaging livestock marketing rules originally introduced in 2010 by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). USDA recently announced the latest GIPSA proposal includes an interim final rule on competitive injury and two proposed rules addressing undue preference. NCBA President Tracy Brunner said these provisions were troubling in 2010 and remain a major concern six years later.
     Proposed rulemaking initially undertaken in 2010 was quickly defunded by Congress at the urging of KLA, NCBA and other livestock groups. The organizations contended the GIPSA rule was a flawed concept that would limit producers’ marketing options, while adding layers of bureaucracy and opening the door to litigation.
     “These rules were flatly rejected by cattle producers six years ago and a strong bipartisan majority in Congress expressed their continual disapproval through a half decade of defunding,” said Brunner, a rancher and cattle feeder from Ramona.
     While USDA has excluded marketing arrangements from the latest proposal, competitive injury and undue preference provisions are included in the rule-making. Brunner said the rules are another government solution in search of a problem. If implemented as written, he said the rules would limit producer marketing options, compel buyers to offer lower bids across the board to avoid the appearance of preference and create a situation ripe for baseless legal challenge.
     NCBA remained engaged with USDA throughout the defunding period. Brunner said, once again, this administration has disregarded producer input and moved forward with regulations that would cause irreparable harm.


from October 20


     The 2017 Integrated Resource Management Redbook is now available from the KLA office. This pocket-sized book helps cattle producers efficiently record their daily production efforts. It has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, breeding records and more. It also contains a guide for judicious use of antimicrobials in cattle, Beef Quality Assurance best practices and proper injection technique information, as well as a calendar and notes section.
     To receive your book(s), mail a check for $5.00 each to the KLA office or call Sue at (785) 273-5115 with your credit card information.


from October 19


     Winners have been announced for the Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK) photo contest. Photos must have been taken in Kansas and express the mission of RTK, which is “To preserve Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations through the conservation of working landscapes.”
     Bruce Hogle of Overland Park was the grand prize winner in this year’s contest. His winning photo was taken at Chase State Fishing Lake during a prescribed spring burn. Crystal Socha of Augusta was the Fan Favorite category winner, receiving a record-breaking 323 votes on RTK’s Facebook page. More than 3,000 votes were cast in the Fan Favorite category, which included the top 25 photos chosen by RTK’s panel of judges.
     Winners in the remaining categories include: Landscape - Jason Ebberts, Overland Park; Livestock - Gail Griffin, Colby; People - Betty Morgan, Wichita; KLA member - Kate Hagans, Utica; and Youth - Ella Barrett, Grantville. Receiving honorable mention were photos from Tony Ifland of Cedar, Tom Gossen from Wichita and Carlton Heller of Emporia.
     All winning entries can be viewed here or on RTK’s Facebook page. Prizes for contest winners were sponsored by Wolfe’s Camera of Topeka.
     RTK will have photo stationery cards for sale throughout the year featuring the 10 winning photos. The cards can be purchased for $20 per 10 card set by emailing Samantha Weishaar at


from October 18


 U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week USDA is offering to purchase $20 million in cheddar cheese to reduce record supplies. Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935 authorizes USDA to purchase surplus food to benefit food banks and families in need through the government's nutrition assistance programs.
 While USDA projects dairy prices to increase through the rest of this year, many factors, including low world market prices, increased milk supplies and slower demand have contributed to a sluggish market for dairy producers. According to USDA, dairy revenues have dropped 35% over the past two years.  


from October 17


 The lack of a skilled workforce is a top inhibitor of growth for many Kansas agricultural businesses, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA). Employers taking part in the survey indicated numerous vacancies exist, including a significant number of entry-level positions requiring no advanced degree. More than half the current job openings are in agricultural mechanics, agriculture business and animal science.
 Employers specifically mentioned applicants lack basic skills such as written communication and applied mathematics. Also identified as lacking are the “soft” skills of motivation, time management and dependability.
 KDA conducted the first Kansas Agriculture Workforce Needs Assessment Survey in 2016. A total of 250 responses were received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses employing nearly 12,000 people. KDA will use the results in working with secondary schools and postsecondary educational institutions to develop partnerships that will help teach the skills needed by employers. 


from October 14


 Beef producers from all segments of the business are encouraged to participate in a survey that will help establish a benchmark and course of action for the industry. The survey of the checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit will collect producer information and opinions. That information will be added to the audit’s traditional production research to provide an in-depth snapshot of where the industry stands in terms of supplying quality beef to consumers.
 Survey responses will be completely anonymous. Input from the cow-calf, stocker, feeder and dairy sectors will be part of the detailed picture of the U.S. cattle and beef industry.
 Since its inception in 1991, the audit has provided the industry a meaningful set of measurements relative to the quality of the U.S. beef supply. Conducted every five years, the survey results provide direction to individual supply chain decision-makers on how to improve the quality and value of U.S. beef for both domestic and international customers.
 The 2011 National Beef Quality Audit showed the industry has made significant progress in improving beef quality. It also suggested changes for further improvement in product integrity and eating satisfaction. Similar information is expected in the 2016 audit, with final results to be released next summer. Producers can take the survey here


from October 13


     The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) is accepting applications for 2017-18 scholarships sponsored by the CME Group. NCF will award 10 scholarships of $1,500 each to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.
     Applicants must submit a one-page letter outlining their career goals related to beef production and marketing. The letter should be accompanied by a 750-word essay describing an issue facing the beef industry and solutions to the problem. Students must be graduating high school seniors or full-time undergraduates enrolled at a two- or four-year college.
     The scholarships recognize and encourage talented students who will play an important role in the future of beef production in America. Those studying education, communication, production or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying.
     Online applications must be submitted by October 31. To apply or learn more about the scholarships, click here.  


from October 12


     CattleFax Chief Executive Officer Randy Blach will try to make sense of a brutal year in the cattle market and share expectations on the trends that will shape the livestock, grain, protein and energy markets over the next 12 to 24 months during the KLA Convention in Wichita. His presentation will come December 1 during Beef Industry University, sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas.
     Beef cowherd expansion and record-large pork and poultry production have been some of the major drivers influencing this year’s market. Blach will forecast trends for those three variables, as well as provide an outlook for feed costs, energy prices, interest rate expectations and export prospects.
     The KLA Convention will take place November 30-December 2. KLA members should have received a convention brochure in the mail last week. Complete the registration form contained in the brochure and return it to the KLA office or click here to register online.
     Convention headquarters at the Wichita Hyatt Regency is sold out. Additional room blocks for the convention are at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at (316) 361-2104, Hotel at Waterwalk at (866) 822-6274 and Drury Plaza Hotel - Broadview at (800) 325-0720.   


from October 11


     The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key Deer at the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key, FL. This is the first screwworm infestation in the U.S. in more than 30 years.
     Animal health and wildlife officials at the state and federal levels are working to jointly address the finding. Response efforts will include fly-trapping to determine the extent of the infestation, release of sterile flies to prevent reproduction and disease surveillance to identify any additional cases.
     New World screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals. Adult flies generally do not travel more than a couple of miles if there are suitable host animals in the area. New World screwworm is more likely to spread long distances when infested animals move to new areas.
     Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Bill Brown said the affected area is limited to one or two islands in the Florida Keys. It was first confirmed in a deer and later found in two dogs and a pot-bellied pig. He said a quarantine is in place and an incident management team is on-site to address the disease. According to Brown, this situation “poses very little risk to Kansas livestock.”


from October 10


     Cattle producers from across the country, representing every segment of the industry, were in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss market volatility issues as part of the expanded NCBA-CME Working Group. Over the course of two days, the group met with CME Group cattle officials, the three members of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and congressional leaders to brief them on issues cattle producers are facing and examine possible solutions.
     The full NCBA officer team joined task force members for the meetings. NCBA President Elect and Working Group Chairman Craig Uden said the organization is committed to finding a solution that works for all market participants.
     Uden said while the CME Group has taken some of the steps NCBA has suggested, like adding messaging limits, volatility has not been significantly reduced and convergence remains a concern. He suggested when the market doesn’t react normally to clear external factors, it sends false signals to cattle producers who are making decisions on herd retention and expansion.
     “Without clear and correct economic signals, future production decisions are affected and our ability to meet domestic and foreign demand is threatened,” said Uden.
      NCBA leaders will continue working with the CME Group and CFTC to reduce market volatility and support the role of the futures market as a risk management tool.