November 20


     Potential changes in trichomoniasis regulations, a separate beef checkoff proposed by USDA and possible improvements to the government’s mandatory price reporting program will be among issues up for member consideration during the KLA Convention, December 3-5. Members can provide input on these and other issues important to their businesses during committee and council meetings, as well as the annual business meeting, at the convention.
     During the Animal Health and Identification Committee, members will hear how electronic certificates of veterinary inspection are being used in combination with the Kansas Animal Health Division’s USA Herds computer reporting system to enhance traceability efforts. The Natural Resources Committee agenda will include discussions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the U.S. proposal and the delisting of the longnose snake from the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. Members of the Tax Committee will hear an official from the Kansas Department of Revenue discuss the current use-value appraisal formula and be presented an update on important federal tax exemptions affecting agriculture that expired in 2013.
     The KLA Stockgrowers Council will hear a report on trichomoniasis in Kansas, including the locations of recent cases and potential changes in state regulations to require timely notification of owners neighboring an infected herd. Members of the Stockgrowers Council and Cattle Feeders Council (CFC) will be updated on a special working group’s recommendations for enhancements to the existing checkoff and an additional, separate checkoff being proposed by USDA. A representative from USDA Market News will make a presentation during the CFC meeting on what information is collected and reported through the government’s mandatory price reporting (MPR) program. With MPR reauthorization set for 2015, cattle feeders will have an opportunity to provide input on additional reports needed for efficient price discovery.
     Registration and hotel information for the KLA Convention is available here.  


from November 19


     The deadline to apply for cost-share funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is November 21. Funds available through the program will pay for up to 75% of the costs associated with environmental improvements on a farm or ranch.
     Projects eligible for EQIP funding include lagoons, pipelines for waste transfer, composting facilities, variable rate irrigation equipment used in waste application and phosphorus reduction equipment. EQIP also helps fund grazing land health improvements by providing financial assistance for brush management, water development, cross-fencing and other projects approved by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) specialists.
     For assistance in submitting an EQIP application, contact your local NRCS office. 


from November 18


 Lonesome Pine Ranch of Cedar Point was the reserve champion team at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo (WCRR), held November 6-9 in Amarillo. The team consisted of Bud, Troy, Frank and Makenzie Higgs; Jess Coirier; and Chris Potter. Jolly and Lord ranches of Colorado won WCRR.
 Kansas teams also won several individual events and awards. Arndt & Bailey of Emporia and Cottonwood Falls won the wild cow milking with the team of Ryan and Mike Arndt, Josh Lilley, Glen Collinge, and Wes and Richell Bailey. The calf branding was won by Stock & Diamond E of Redfield. Team members for Stock & Diamond E were Kolby Stock, Coy Hyer, Travis Duncan, and Andy and Colten Eck. The reserve top horse was Little Tee J Paul, owned by Cody Kendall with Beachner Brothers Livestock of Erie.
 Other Kansas teams participating in WCRR were Broken H & H Cross of Bronson, Buck Creek & Robbins of Cottonwood Falls and Scribner Cattle Company of El Dorado. Overall, 22 teams from across the country competed in the event.  


from November 17


     The second draft of the Vision for the Future of Water in Kansaswas distributed last week at the Governor’s Water Conference in Manhattan. The latest document is the result of the Brownback administration attending about 250 meetings around the state and collecting input from more than 12,000 Kansans since the project was announced in October 2013.
     While introducing the latest Vision document, Gov. Sam Brownback announced he was creating a Water Resources Sub-Cabinet to focus on water matters and a blue-ribbon task force to develop a balanced, affordable and sustainable method to provide financing for water resource management and protection. The guiding principles that directed the development of action items in the Vision plan state that solutions should be locally driven and flexible; policies and programs should not unintentionally penalize those who already have conserved water; conservation projects should be voluntary, incentive and market-based; and action is necessary now to ensure a reliable supply of water into the future.
     The strategies provided in the plan address water conservation, water management, technology, crop varieties and additional sources of water supplies. In the near term, the plan calls for tougher enforcement regarding over-pumping and the passage of legislation to authorize locally enhanced management areas outside the boundaries of groundwater management districts.
     Gov. Brownback’s administration will be collecting comments on the second draft through January 9. The KLA Water Committee will review and discuss the new plan at its November 21 meeting in Garden City. A copy of the latest plan is available here.
     During the conference, two KLA members were publically acknowledged for water conservation efforts. Supreme Cattle Feeders of Kismet was recognized for installing a water recycling system that has saved more than 90 million gallons of water since the technology was implemented. Wenstrom Farms of Kinsley, was featured as an early adapter of sophisticated irrigation scheduling techniques that can save up to 35% in water and energy. Wenstrom also has been a leader in the formation of the state’s water bank in central Kansas. 


from November 14


      Today is the last day to submit comments objecting to the waters of the U.S. rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The rule would place virtually every river, creek and stream, along with vast amounts of neighboring lands, under the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials project the proposed EPA rule would increase the number of classified stream miles subject to federal jurisdiction from the current 30,000 to 174,000. It would make it impossible for farmers, developers and landowners to know what routine business practices could be carried out without obtaining an expensive federal permit.
     KLA members are encouraged to submit comments to EPA opposing the rule by going here. A decision on whether to finalize, modify or revoke the proposed rule is expected in 2015.



from November 13


     Eleven-year-old Mollie Beaver of Wichita has been chosen as one of four finalists in the NCBA National Anthem Contest. Other finalists hail from Colorado and Texas. The overall winner will sing the national anthem at the Opening General Session, as well as the Friday Night Event, at the 2015 Cattle Industry Annual Convention February 4-7 in San Antonio.
     To vote for Beaver, click here. Online voting will take place through November 24. Only one vote per day, per person is allowed. The winner will be announced December 8.



from November 12


     An investigative journalist will discuss the possible unintended consequences of Americans being told to cut back on saturated fat for more than 40 years during the KLA Convention in Wichita. Nina Teicholz will present convincing evidence that nutritional advice to eat less meat and dairy has led to increased obesity, diabetes and heart disease during her December 3 presentation, sponsored by Micro and Bayer. Years of research she conducted on this issue are the basis for her widely acclaimed book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”
     Teicholz believes by acting on conventional nutrition advice to severely limit the saturated fat in animal proteins, people inadvertently may be consuming more calories from foods that don’t deliver much in terms of nutrients. The book includes more than 100 pages of notes and citations backing up her theory.
     Prior to her presentation, KLA members and guests will dine on nutrient-dense ribeye steaks provided by Tyson Fresh Meats. Dinner is sponsored by INTRUST Bank.
     The preregistration deadline for the KLA Convention is November 19. Registration and hotel information is available here.



from November 11


     The Choice Retail Beef Index and the All Fresh Beef Demand Index (AFBDI) rose by 3.9% during the third quarter of 2014, according to Kansas State University Associate Professor of Economics Glynn Tonsor. He said this marks the 16th year-over-year increase in the last 17 quarters in the AFBDI.
     Tonsor explained the most recent demand increase reflects the combination of a 4.6% decline in per capita consumption and an 11.3% increase in inflation-adjusted prices. This confirms the tight supply situation has been coupled with an extensive period of demand improvement.
     “There is nothing forcing consumers to pay this much more for beef and the fact they are voluntarily doing so is a very positive thing for all industry stakeholders,” said Tonsor.  


from November 10


     Despite unified opposition from mainstream cattle organizations, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack last week proceeded with a proposed beef checkoff separate from the existing $1.00-per-head program. The new checkoff would be established under a 1996 federal act that allows for more government control and less producer influence over checkoff investments than the existing program created under a separate act in 1985.
     Official notice of the proposal appears in today’s (11/10) Federal Register. USDA is seeking public input on a number of questions related to the proposed new checkoff. KLA and NCBA will provide comments opposing the proposal prior to the December 10 deadline.
     KLA and 44 other state cattlemen’s associations representing 170,000 members sent a letter to Vilsack last month urging him to abandon efforts to establish an additional beef checkoff under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. The grassroots cattle organizations expressed deep concern that USDA’s unilateral action would harm the success of the existing checkoff. NCBA strongly supports the position taken by state affiliates.


from November 7


     The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) hosted a meeting yesterday (11/6) of air quality officials from Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma to review impacts from smoke caused by late March through April 2014 prescribed burning in the Kansas Flint Hills. Representatives of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and Lincoln-Lancaster County (NE) Health Department presented data confirming smoke from the Flint Hills drifted and settled into Lincoln March 29-30; April 5-6; April 11-13; and April 17-19. Officials said this caused the air quality index to spike into the “very unhealthy” category. It was reported that on April 18, 2014, the area of the U.S. with the worst air quality was Lincoln, NE, which is in Lancaster County.
     KLA staff and members present at the meeting, held in Manhattan, provided insight into the importance of annual prescribed burning and the limited number of days each spring that burning can safely be done. It also was pointed out ranchers try to burn when atmospheric conditions are not projected to cause air quality problems in high population areas like Kansas City, Wichita and Lincoln, NE.
     KDHE reported it will consider changes to the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan (SMP) that account for potential impacts to Nebraska and Iowa population centers. KLA members will have opportunities before March 2015 to learn more details regarding such changes