from April 24

LATE-SEASON BURNING PROVES BENEFICIAL IN
SERICEA LESPEDEZA CONTROL

     Preliminary results from a four-year research project at Kansas State University show prescribed burning late in the growing season provides substantial control of sericea lespedeza. K-State Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management Specialist K C Olson said while using fire in August and September seems to stress sericea and cut the plant’s seed production, native grasses are not disturbed by a late burn.
     Spring-burned sericea produced about 350 to 370 seeds per plant, said Olson. In contrast, sericea burned August 1 averaged seven seeds per plant and sericea stands burned September 1 yielded zero seeds per plant.
     If the next three years of the study continue to yield positive results, it could prove beneficial to producers using intensive early stocking systems. Olson envisions producers with large sericea populations burning after cattle are taken off grass rather than before turn-out. He anticipates there will be some sacrifice in cattle performance, but with burning costs substantially less than chemical control, the trade-off may be worth it.
     “We can probably accept slightly lower steer performance if we can save $15 an acre in chemical cost,” said Olson.  

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from April 23

TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY LEGISLATION GAINS INITIAL APPROVAL

     The U.S. Senate Finance Committee passed legislation yesterday that would give the president of the United States Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Supported by NCBA and a host of other ag groups, the bill was approved on a bipartisan vote of 20 to 6.
     NCBA President Philip Ellis said he was pleased to see the committee pass the proposed legislation without amendments. TPA would give the sitting administration the ability to negotiate international trade agreements that Congress could only approve or disapprove, but not amend. He urged Congress to pass the bill without delay.
     “Current and future free trade agreements give us the ability to take our beef, the best protein in the world, to the 96% of the world’s population that lives beyond our borders,” said the Chugwater, WY, rancher. “Trade and greater access to markets around the world mean the future to my ranch, my kids and my grandkids.” 

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from April 22

RALGRO WHEELS EARN CASH FOR STUDENTS IN YOUR COUNTY

     KLA members should save empty Ralgro wheels to help generate cash for scholarships. The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) generated nearly $6,000 from the collection of empty Ralgro wheels delivered by members to the 2014 KLA Convention. For every empty Ralgro wheel collected this year, Merck Animal Health will donate $1 to KLF for scholarships.
     New in 2015, the county that collects the most empty Ralgro wheels will earn a scholarship for a qualified college student in their county. Wheels will be allocated to the appropriate county upon collection. The winning county will be announced at the KLA Convention. Ask neighbors and cattle colleagues if they have empty Ralgro wheels you can turn in for cash and help your county win a scholarship! 

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from April 21

RALGRO WHEELS EARN CASH FOR STUDENTS IN YOUR COUNTY

KLA members should save empty Ralgro wheels to help generate cash for scholarships. The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) generated nearly $6,000 from the collection of empty Ralgro wheels delivered by members to the 2014 KLA Convention. For every empty Ralgro wheel collected this year, Merck Animal Health will donate $1 to KLF for scholarships.
     New in 2015, the county that collects the most empty Ralgro wheels will earn a scholarship for a qualified college student in their county. Wheels will be allocated to the appropriate county upon collection. The winning county will be announced at the KLA Convention. Ask neighbors and cattle colleagues if they have empty Ralgro wheels you can turn in for cash and help your county win a scholarship!

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from April 20

SUBMIT COMMENTS ON DIETARY GUIDELINES BY MAY 8     

     Livestock producers are encouraged to submit comments asking USDA to reinstate the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations on lean meat. A link to the official government website and sample comments is available here. The comment deadline is May 8.
     The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s draft report sends a confusing nutritional message by leaving lean meat out of what it considers a “healthy dietary pattern.” The value of lean beef, however, is mentioned in a footnote.
     Through formal comments, NCBA is encouraging U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to pick up where the committee fell short by making changes that clarify red meat’s role in a healthy diet. NCBA has provided scientific information throughout the committee’s process of revising the dietary standards. Some of the documented research showing the benefits of beef was ignored by the committee. 

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from April 17

FULL ESTATE TAX REPEAL APPROVED IN THE U.S. HOUSE

     The U.S. House voted yesterday (4/16) for a full repeal of the federal estate tax. All five House members from Kansas were among those voting for the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. The final vote count was 240 to 179.
     NCBA President Philip Ellis said the estate tax, commonly called the death tax, is a punitive tax on farmers and ranchers that is inaccurately framed as a tax on the rich. The Wyoming rancher said all too often at the time of death, ranching families are forced to sell land, farm equipment, parts of the operation or take out loans to pay off the tax liabilities and attorney’s fees.
     “The estate tax is a disservice to agriculture because we are a land-based, capital-intensive industry short of funds and with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due,” he said.
     Ellis urged the U.S. Senate to vote for a full repeal of the death tax soon.
     At the end of 2012, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which provides a permanent exemption from the estate tax of $5 million per individual, $10 million per couple and raised the top tax rate to 40%. While the legislation provides some relief for farmers and ranchers, Ellis said the underlying problem of taxing estates at death needs to be addressed.  

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from April 16

UTILITIES “CONSUMED IN PRODUCTION” ARE EXEMPT FROM SALES TAX

     New personnel at utility companies occasionally overlook certain sales tax exemptions for agricultural operations. Utilities, such as electricity to run irrigation pumps or livestock waterers, qualify as “consumed in production” and are not subject to state or local sales tax.
     If a utility is not considered “consumed in production,” it still can qualify under the exemption for agricultural operations. In this case, the exemption only applies to state sales tax. Local sales tax would be assessed.
Residential utilities also are subject to local sales tax, but not to state sales tax. Producers are encouraged to check their monthly bill to ensure sales tax is being properly assessed. Contact the KLA office for further assistance. 

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from April 15

MEETING TO FOCUS ON INVASIVE GRASS SPECIES CONTROL

     A meeting is scheduled for April 24 in Manhattan to discuss threats to the native prairie presented by Old World Bluestem varieties. Caucasian and Yellow Bluestem are considered long-term invasive threats to the natural integrity of native rangelands, hay meadows and prairies in Kansas and other states in the central Great Plains.
     Native rangeland managers, county officials and road department staff are encouraged to register by calling (785) 537-4385. Registration is $10 and includes lunch. To get a lunch count, interested persons are asked to call ahead and register. The meeting will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Ashland Community Center south of Manhattan.
     Speakers will include Oklahoma State University Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management Karen Hickman, who conducted research on Old World Bluestems as part of her PhD work at Kansas State University in 1996. K-State Range Research Scientist Keith Harmoney and Konza Prairie Biological Station Site Manager Tom VanSlyke both have been involved in Old World Bluestem control projects and will share their experiences during the meeting.
     Costs to landowners of the expanding Old World Bluestem invasion include a substantial reduction in forage value and livestock weight gain. In most cases, cattle avoid these invasive varieties when native grasses are available.  

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from April 14

#BEEFSONMYPLATE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED     

     NCBA continues to put pressure on the secretaries of USDA and Health and Human Services to reinstate the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendation on lean meat. Ranchers and other stakeholders are being asked to post pictures of how beef fits in a healthy diet through a social media campaign titled #BeefsOnMyPlate. Pictures can be posted under this hashtag on either Twitter or Facebook.
     “Let’s post our pictures and show them a variety of healthy diets that include lean beef,” said NCBA President Philip Ellis, a Wyoming rancher.
     Ellis called it “unfortunate” that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee failed to review all the science showing the value of lean meat in the diet. The committee’s draft report, subject to revision by the agency secretaries, sends a confusing nutritional message by leaving lean meat out of a “healthy dietary pattern.”
     According to Ellis, the secretaries have the opportunity to pick up where the committee fell short and finish the scientific review of red meat’s role in a healthy diet. NCBA repeatedly has provided scientific information throughout the committee’s revisionary process showing beef’s role in a healthy diet.

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from April 13

FREE BQA CERTIFICATION COMES TO A CLOSE APRIL 15

     KLA members have until April 15 to take advantage of free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BI). BQA certification can be accomplished by clicking here.
     The online modules, created by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, are customized to meet the needs of producers in the cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy sectors. Participants will learn best production practices in areas including cattle handling, animal well-being and the proper use of animal health products. In addition, many who have become BQA-certified report adopting these practices has increased animal productivity and profitability.
     This is the third year BI has sponsored the BQA certification promotion. Through the program, more than 16,000 producers have become certified since 2013. 

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