from August 25

FINALISTS NAMED FOR KANSAS LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD

     The Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) and Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK), have announced three finalists for the 2016 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. Named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award honors Kansas landowners who excel in the voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
     Finalists for the award are Randall and Nicole Small of Neodesha; Ted and Brian Alexander from Sun City; and the Vorhees family of Fredonia. The overall winner will receive a check for $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold during the KACD Convention, November 21 in Wichita.
     The Smalls practice rotational grazing and plant cover crops on their combination cow-calf ranch and crop farm. They have built wildlife-friendly fencing and created quail habitat surrounding crop fields.
     Located in the Red Hills, Alexander Ranch has offered custom grazing in a rotational system for nearly 30 years. The Alexanders have done extensive clearing of Eastern Red Cedar trees and increased native plant and wildlife diversity.
     Rotational grazing also is practiced on Lazy VJ Farms, owned by the Vorhees family. Cross fencing has been added to prevent overgrazing. They have created wetlands, buffers and riparian areas to improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat.
     RTK was founded by KLA members in 2003. The organization assists ranchers and landowners who voluntarily pursue conservation easements on their ranch or farm. RTK’s mission is to preserve Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations through the conservation of working landscapes.

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from August 24

EVENT IN ABILENE KICKS OFF A YEAR OF CHISHOLM TRAIL FESTIVITIES

     Abilene is launching a year-long celebration leading up to the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail in 2017. “Trails, Rails and Tales,” September 2-4, 2016, will open the festivities by honoring Joseph McCoy, the Illinois cattle buyer who was instrumental in extending the trail from Wichita to Abilene. Within a few short months of his arrival, Abilene was transformed from a quiet whistle stop on the railroad to a bustling Cowtown filled with drovers, cowboy legends, influential ranchers and tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of Wild Bill Hickock or Jesse James.
     One of the highlights of the Labor Day weekend event will be a Longhorn drive through the streets of Abilene. The drive will end with the herd being loaded on train cars. Other events for the weekend will include a parade, concert by Red Steagall, western melodrama, cowboy poetry and a chuckwagon breakfast.
     A detailed schedule and further information are available at the Trails, Rails and Tales Facebook page, by clicking here or by calling (785) 263-2231.

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from August 23

CHECKOFF CAMPAIGN AIMS TO INCREASE BEEF USAGE AMONG MILLENNIALS

 A new checkoff-funded digital advertising campaign targeting families was launched in early July. Families in Motion is primarily geared toward millennial parents looking for easy-to-prepare, nutritious meals. The campaign provides this influential segment of the consuming public with cooking techniques, nutritional information and recipes to meet their needs.
 The campaign is being promoted through a wide variety of digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as Google search and banner advertising. One of the cornerstones of the campaign is online videos designed to inspire beef usage and inform consumers about beef’s health benefits.
 State beef councils in Kansas, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska are enhancing the reach of the national campaign, which is focused on consumers in highly populated areas. Visibility and frequency of the beef messages will be extended to the four Midwestern states through a video campaign conveying the important role of beef in the lives of active millennial families.

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from August 22

KJLS IMPLEMENTS NEW LEAD CHALLENGE IN 2016

 New in 2016, the Kansas Junior Livestock Show (KJLS) will be offering exhibitors an opportunity to compete in the KJLS LEAD Challenge. The challenge is an educational and advocacy event that provides an opportunity to learn about current industry issues, including animal health and welfare, modern agricultural production, water, sustainability and more. Competition in the LEAD Challenge encourages KJLS exhibitors to develop not only the ability to show livestock, but also a more well-rounded knowledge of animal agriculture.
 All youth exhibiting at KJLS are eligible to enter the challenge. Exhibitors in the senior division will compete in showmanship, go through an interview process and take a written exam. Juniors will compete in showmanship and be interviewed. The awards ceremony will be held at the conclusion of beef showmanship, Sunday, October 2. Additional components will be introduced over the next two show seasons, with 2018 being the first year of the full KJLS LEAD Challenge.
 Exhibitors interested in participating in this year’s challenge can register online at www.KJLS.org or call the KJLS main office at (316) 706-9750. The deadline to register for the challenge is August 31.

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from August 19

SERICEA CONTROL STUDY ON DISPLAY AT JUNCTION CITY
YIELDS “STUNNING” RESULTS

     Kansas State University research has shown late summer prescribed burning dramatically cuts seed production and thus the proliferation of sericea lespedeza in native tallgrass pastures. The results were on display yesterday during the KLA/K-State Ranch Management Field Day on the Moyer Ranch near Junction City.
     K-State Range Cattle Management Professor KC Olson told the 185 ranchers and landowners attending the field day that he and others involved in the study had unearthed “stunning” results showing sericea lespedeza seed production on pastures burned September 1 was .01% of those treated with spring burning.
     “This proves sericea lespedeza is not bulletproof,” said Olson.
     At 75¢ per acre to burn, Olson said this management method was much less expensive and vastly more effective than chemical treatment at $11 to $16 per acre. More findings from Olson’s encouraging research will appear in the November/December Kansas Stockman.
     K-State veterinarian Mike Apley explained to producers the challenges of controlling anaplasmosis next year when the Food and Drug Administration’s new veterinary feed directive (VFD) is in place. Chlortetracycline, considered medically important for humans and, therefore, subject to VFD, will be limited in mineral for anaplasmosis control. Apley said under the new VFD limit, a 1,500 lb. cow would have to eat a pound of mineral in 24 hours to get 2 mg. of the drug per pound of body weight per day. Many veterinarians consider that level to be inadequate to control the clinical signs of anaplasmosis. Adding chlortetracycline to address the disease through feed will be considered off-label and prohibited under VFD, making anaplasmosis control even more challenging.
     Apley said ranchers and feeders need to get with their veterinarians and feed distributors before the end of the year to make a VFD compliance plan.
     Ranch owner Rod Moyer, who has both cow-calf and stocker interests in his operation, displayed his cattle handling facilities during the field day. He said a good facility minimizes risk to employees and allows cattle to be worked efficiently. Sorting alleys have solid sides to make for more efficient cattle movement. Cattle handlers can sort three directions out of the tub. Once the cattle enter the snake on the way to the processing chute, there is another sort gate that leads to a special calving chute with open sides and easy access to the cow or heifer. Moyer said this chute makes it easier to help deliver a calf.
     Sponsors of the Junction City ranch field day were Bayer HealthCare – Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas.

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from August 18

CATTLE MARKETS, VFDS DISCUSSED AT WALLACE FIELD DAY

     The cattle market and new veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations were hot topics at the August 16 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Wallace. Nearly 100 ranchers and feeders came together at Bertrand Cattle Company to learn and socialize. Third-generation rancher Brent Bertrand and his wife, Shilea, welcomed attendees to the ranch, which consists of a Red Angus-based commercial cowherd, stocker operation, backgrounding yard and cropland.
     CattleFax analyst Ethan Oberst told the field day audience he disagrees with USDA projections that the cowherd is expected to expand by 650,000 head in 2016, with 2017 being the inventory peak before dropping off in 2018. He believes expansion will slow nearly to zero next year.
     “I don’t think we are going into liquidation yet, but what’s happened in the markets lately has slowed the expansion mindset,” Oberst said.
     Calf prices will continue to decline, although he doesn’t foresee the huge drops seen in 2015 and early 2016. There is, however, still room for profit in the cow-calf sector, according to Oberst, especially with the long-term weather forecast looking wetter than normal.
     Oakley veterinarian Wade Taylor spoke about VFD, which goes into full effect January 1, 2017. He reminded producers that as of early 2017, in order to feed antibiotics, a producer must obtain a VFD from a licensed veterinarian before purchasing the feed from a mill or distributor. The producer, veterinarian and retailer or mill must keep records for two years on why the cattle were prescribed the feed, what the feed was, how many head consumed it and for how many days.
     Other than more paperwork, Taylor highlighted the biggest concern as being that cattle cannot be fed an antibiotic for an off-label use. For example, there are no feed-use antibiotics labeled to treat footrot or pinkeye. He encouraged ranchers and feeders to form a plan early and work closely with their veterinarian to find alternative ways to treat these illnesses and remain compliant with the new federal regulation.  
     K-State Beef Systems Specialist Justin Waggoner talked about stockmanship. Brent Bertrand assisted him with a cattle handling demonstration on a group of yearling heifers. Look for more on this presentation in the October issue of the Kansas Stockman.
     Bayer HealthCare - Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas co-sponsored the event.   

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from August 17

WAGGONER ADDRESSES CATTLE HANDLING, FACILITY DESIGNS AT LARNED FIELD DAY

     Cattle handling was one of the featured topics at the August 15 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day. More than 120 producers and industry partners gathered at Bar F Farms near Larned for the educational event. Bar F is owned by the Froetschner family and consists of a cattle operation and farming business.
     K-State Beef Systems Specialist Justin Waggoner told attendees there are four fundamental principles to remember when working with cattle: 1) cattle want to see you; 2) cattle want to go around or by you; 3) cattle want to be with other cattle; and 4) cattle want to go back where they came from when pressured. Waggoner demonstrated with a pen of heifers the effectiveness of applying appropriate pressure and adjusting according to animal response. He said going in the same direction as the cattle will decrease their speed. Moving against the direction of the cattle will have the opposite effect.
     “It’s important to work on stockmanship before you have a job to do,” said Waggoner. “With a little practice, the cattle will learn how to react to the pressure-release method of handling.”
     He also highlighted options for the best cattle working facility designs, specifically focusing on the Bud Box. Designed by renowned cattle handling expert Bud Williams, the Bud Box is a facility layout that allows the handler to position themselves correctly to facilitate cattle flow out of the box into either the alley leading to a chute or to a trailer load out. Waggoner encouraged those looking to build a Bud Box to visit http://tinyurl.com/hsahaxp for instructions. The dimensions will vary based on whether the producer is planning to handle cattle on foot, on horseback, or both.
     Another topic on the field day program was ag land values. CoBank Certified Appraiser Keith Crow said he believes land prices are beginning to plateau. Land values in Kansas recently decreased by 7.4%, with rental rates going down 5.5%. Average pastureland value in the U.S. is at $1,330/acre, compared to $577/acre in 2000.
     The purpose and status of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef also was discussed during the Larned field day. This subject will be highlighted in the October issue of the Kansas Stockman.
     Bayer Animal Health and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas sponsored the event, which was recognized as the 50th KLA/K-State Ranch Management Field Day in the 20-year series.

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from August 16

MEMBERS INVITED TO RANCH FIELD DAYS AT WALLACE, JUNCTION CITY

     Two more KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Days this week will give ranchers and others a firsthand look at low-stress cattle handling and working facilities. The field days will take place today (8/16) at Bertrand Cattle Company of Wallace and Thursday (8/18) at Moyer Ranch near Junction City. Each will begin at 4:00 p.m. with registration and conclude with a free beef dinner at 6:45 p.m.
     K-State Beef Systems Specialist Justin Waggoner will demonstrate how to handle cattle using low-stress techniques at today’s event near Wallace. He’ll be joined on the program by CattleFax analyst Ethan Oberst with a beef industry outlook and Oakley veterinarian Wade Taylor, who will explain the requirements and implications of the new veterinary feed directive (VFD).
     The Thursday field day at Junction City will feature K-State Range Cattle Nutrition & Management Professor KC Olson discussing the use of late-season prescribed burning in his multi-year sericea lespedeza control research project on Moyer Ranch. Waggoner will be joined by owner Rod Moyer for a discussion about low-stress handling techniques and the ranch’s cattle handling facility. K-State veterinarian Mike Apley will explain how cow-calf producers might control anaplasmosis next year under VFD restrictions on antibiotics in livestock feed and mineral.
     Directions and additional program details for the field days can be found here. Bayer HealthCare - Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsors of the ranch field days.

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from August 15

MEMBERS INVITED TO RANCH FIELD DAYS AT LARNED, WALLACE, JUNCTION CITY

     Three KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Days this week will give ranchers and others a firsthand look at low-stress cattle handling and working facilities. The field days will take place today (8/15) at Bar F Farms near Larned, Tuesday (8/16) at Bertrand Cattle Company of Wallace and Thursday (8/18) at Moyer Ranch near Junction City. Each will begin at 4:00 p.m. with registration and conclude with a free beef dinner at 6:45 p.m.
     Today’s program at Larned will include a live cattle handling demonstration and suggestions for the best cattle working facility designs from K-State Beef Systems Specialist Justin Waggoner. CoBank Certified Appraiser Keith Crow will take a look at central Kansas land values and factors that may cause fluctuations in the future. White City rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe and KLA Feedlot Division Executive Director Clayton Huseman, both involved with the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, will explain the goals and objectives of the group.
     Waggoner will demonstrate how to handle cattle using low-stress techniques at Tuesday’s event near Wallace. He’ll be joined on the program by CattleFax analyst Ethan Oberst with a beef industry outlook and Oakley veterinarian Wade Taylor, who will explain the requirements and implications of the new veterinary feed directive (VFD).
     The Thursday field day at Junction City will feature K-State Range Cattle Nutrition & Management Professor KC Olson discussing the use of late-season prescribed burning in his multi-year sericea lespedeza control research project on Moyer Ranch. Waggoner will be joined by owner Rod Moyer for a discussion about low-stress handling techniques and the ranch’s cattle handling facility. K-State veterinarian Mike Apley will explain how cow-calf producers might control anaplasmosis next year under VFD restrictions on antibiotics in livestock feed and mineral.
     Directions and additional program details for the three field days can be found here. Bayer HealthCare - Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsors of the ranch field days.

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from August 12

CME OUTLINES CHANGES IN LIVE CATTLE FUTURES CONTRACT

     The CME Group has proposed changes to the Live Cattle contract. Among the changes are upgraded quality grade specifications, a delay in distant contract listings and a seasonal discount on cattle tendered to the Worthing, SD, delivery point.
     Pending Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approval, CME would increase the par quality grade for the contract to 60% Choice and 40% Select, up from 55% and 45%, respectively. This change will be effective for the October 2017 contract. The exchange also will delay listing any contracts beyond October 2017, citing a need for greater cash market transparency.
     A discount of $1.50/cwt. would be applied to cattle delivered to Worthing. The discount, if approved by CFTC, would be effective for the October contract only and begin next year.
     NCBA has a special working group in place to address issues ranging from futures market transparency to contract specifications. The working group will provide feedback to CME regarding future contract changes. 

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from August 11

JUNCTION CITY FIELD DAY TO FOCUS ON SERICEA BURNING RESEARCH,
CATTLE HANDLING

     The effects of late-season prescribed burning to control sericea lespedeza will be on display during the August 18 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Junction City. K-State Range Cattle Nutrition & Management Professor KC Olson is conducting a multi-year sericea lespedeza control research project on Moyer Ranch, which will host the event. He will share his findings and lead a tour of the control plots.
     Ranch owner Rod Moyer will be on the field day program to discuss and demonstrate his cattle handling facility. Following through on the topic, K-State Beef Systems Specialist Justin Waggoner will outline the benefits of handling cattle using low-stress methods.
     K-State veterinarian Mike Apley will update ranchers on the requirements and implications of the new veterinary feed directive (VFD) when it is fully implemented January 1, 2017. He will explain how cow-calf producers might control anaplasmosis under VFD restrictions on using antibiotics in livestock feed.
     Moyer Ranch is a cow-calf and stocker business. Directions to the ranch are available here.
     The field day at Moyer Ranch starts at 4:00 p.m. and concludes with a free beef dinner at 6:45 p.m. KLA members are encouraged to attend and bring a neighbor or guest who might be a prospective member. Bayer HealthCare - Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsoring the Junction City field day.

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