from April 17


FORUM PARTICIPANTS DISCUSS HARMONIZING TRICHOMONIASIS STANDARDS

     More than 140 state veterinarians, animal health officials, diagnostic laboratory personnel and beef industry leaders gathered April 3 in Omaha to discuss the harmonization of trichomoniasis standards. Those attending the one-day forum identified areas where harmonization among states can lead to more effective management and reduce confusion.
     “While we realize a one-size-fits-all program won’t work, the consensus is that standardization, or at least harmonization, of state regulations, collection of samples prior to shipping, shipping and handling samples and laboratory procedures can help eliminate confusion and benefit all involved,” said Colorado Department of Agriculture veterinarian Carl Heckendorf, who served as co-chair of the forum.
     In addition to agreeing elements of a trichomoniasis control program must be based on science, coupled with practical application, forum participants pinpointed several areas where harmonization among states could have significant value. Those include allowing test results to be valid for 60 days if the bull has not been exposed to breeding-age females; using PCR as the defining test; approving the pooling of samples in the laboratory; defining virgin status as bulls less than 24 months of age; managing the movement of infected cows; and following up with infected herds.

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from April 16

KANSAS BEEF ENDURANCE TEAM MEMBER TO RUN IN BOSTON MARATHON

     A Kansan is one of 10 Team Beef runners who will compete in the 118th Boston Marathon, April 21. Heath Larson, an airline pilot from Wichita and member of the Kansas Beef Endurance Team, has put in miles of training in preparation for the race. In addition, he knows nutrition is key to his performance.
     “Beef is a lean fuel that’s great for supper the night before a race and for a recovery/celebration afterward,” Larson said. 
     Team Beef is sponsored by the beef checkoff. Runners on the team wear special beef jerseys that make them stand out in a crowd. Each of the Team Beef athletes is prepared to answer questions about the importance of beef in the diet. Team Beef runners will be among 25,000 expected to take part in the Boston Marathon.

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from April 15

DISASTER PROGRAMS AVAILABLE FOR LIVESTOCK, FORAGE LOSSES

     Sign-up for USDA disaster assistance programs included in the 2014 Farm Bill begins today (4/15). The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) were made permanent in the bill and apply retroactively to October 1, 2011.
     LFP provides payments to eligible producers for grazing losses due to drought. Every Kansas county is eligible for LFP as a result of the drought in 2012. Many counties also are eligible for payments due to 2013 drought losses. LIP provides payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths due to adverse weather events such as blizzards and extreme heat.
     Information about the livestock disaster assistance programs can be found
here. Maps showing LFP-eligible counties can be viewed here.
     Farmers and ranchers should contact their local county Farm Service Agency office to schedule an appointment to complete the application process. For both programs, applicants must sign certification indicating their average annual adjusted gross income for the three prior tax years did not exceed $900,000.
     LFP requires producers to self-certify grazing acres, cattle class and numbers. For LIP, producers must document cattle losses as well as beginning and ending inventories.

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from April 14

VETERINARIANS NOMINATED FOR HALL OF FAME

     Voting is underway for five candidates nominated to the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame. The award will honor one beef and one dairy veterinarian who has made lasting contributions to the profession. Inductees will be recognized during the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Conference, September 18-20 in Albuquerque.
     The beef nominees are David Bechtol of Canyon, TX, a pioneer in the use of computerized record systems and diagnostics; Dallas Horton of Eaton, CO, a leader in promoting the concept of preventive medicine; and Ed Johnson of Parma, ID, who founded Johnson Research, a company to conduct clinical research on beef cattle health and nutritional performance.
     Veterinarians specializing in dairy who have been nominated are John Dahl of Waunakee, WI, who served in private practice for more than 20 years and worked for BouMatic for another 10 years; and Maarten Drost of Gainesville, FL, known for his groundbreaking work in embryo transfer technology, pregnancy recognition and fertility management at the University of Florida and University of California-Davis colleges of veterinary medicine.
     Members of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) and AABP may vote for one beef and one dairy nominee through their respective organization’s website. In addition to AVC and AABP, other organizations founding and sponsoring the Hall of Fame are Merck Animal Health, Bovine Veterinarian magazine and Osborn Barr.

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from April 11

KLA LEADERS DISCUSS ISSUES WITH CONGRESS, AGENCY OFFICIALS

     A group of KLA officers and staff was in Washington, D.C., this week for the NCBA Legislative Conference. The KLA contingent had appointments with each member of the Kansas congressional delegation. Key matters discussed included the need for immigration reform, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) waters of the U.S. rule, plus tax and trade issues.
     The KLA group also met with several regulatory agency officials and heard from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Topics during the agency appointments included the waters of the U.S. rule, lesser prairie chicken listing and the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. While meeting with U.S. Trade Representative officials, KLA and other NCBA state affiliates emphasized the importance of insisting Japan eliminate all tariffs on U.S. beef.

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from April 10 

BEEF INDUSTRY IMPROVING QUALITY GRADE

     Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Vice President Larry Corah said in a recent column called “Did you know?” the industry is producing the highest quality beef in nearly 50 years. The share of cattle grading Choice so far in 2014 is 67%, compared to the low- to mid-50% range a few years ago. Another 4% of the cattle have graded Prime this year. Corah said the number of cattle qualifying for the CAB brand is up from 24-25% a year ago to 26-29% in early 2014.
     Colorado State University meat scientist Dale Woerner points out marbling is the critical component in beef flavor, so as quality grade increases, consumer satisfaction goes up. Woerner said checkoff research, for example, shows 90% of Prime beef is desirable. Because flavor is the key driver in beef satisfaction and demand, Corah believes quality grade clearly is the industry target.

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from April 9 

OHIO CREATES STATE BEEF CHECKOFF, TEXAS SEEKING TO DO THE SAME

     The Ohio Department of Agriculture has certified results of a producer referendum to create a state beef checkoff. Ohio cattle producers approved the state checkoff referendum on a 72% “yes” vote. Collections will include $1.00 per head for the state program and $1.00 per head for the national program.
     Texas cattle industry groups have requested a producer referendum on a $1.00-per-head state beef checkoff. The Texas Department of Agriculture will conduct the referendum, with voting to take place June 2-6. If approved, collections will begin October 1 and any assessments would be refundable upon request. The program would be managed by Texas cattlemen and women serving on the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas.
     With the addition of Ohio, there now are eight state beef checkoff programs. Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington each have a checkoff to fund various beef programs.

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from April 8 

KLA MEMBERSHIP GROWS DURING FIRST QUARTER

     KLA membership increased 2.2% through early 2014. Total membership stood at 5,278 on March 31. Membership in the cow-calf, stocker and landowner segment is at the highest level in 20 years. Since the first of the year, more than 150 individual producers and ag-related businesses have joined as a result of local meetings, one-on-one conversations with KLA top hands and direct mail. The association welcomes these new members and encourages them to contact KLA if staff can be of assistance.
     Members of the Nemaha County KLA Committee recruited eight individuals at their annual meeting March 10, earning the group Recruiter of the Month honors and a $50 gift card. For information about the KLA Top Hand program, sponsored exclusively by John Deere, or for recruitment materials, contact
letty@kla.org or call (785) 273-5115.

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from April 7 

LEGISLATURE APPROVES STATE TAX PROVISIONS SUPPORTED BY KLA

     State lawmakers adjourned late last night (4/6) after narrowly passing an education package that included enhanced funding for education as directed by the Kansas Supreme Court. Legislators will wrap up the 2014 Kansas legislative session when they reconvene late this month for the veto session. Before first adjournment, legislators took action on several bills of importance to KLA members and the livestock industry.
     The House and Senate gave final approval to a conference committee report on SB 265. This bill contained two KLA-supported provisions regarding the income tax treatment on sales of breeding stock and a sales tax incentive for new and expanding livestock facilities. Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign SB 265.
     The conference report on SB 265 contains the income tax bill (HB 2642) that will allow livestock owners to offset the gains from the sale of breeding livestock with schedule C, E and F ordinary income losses. This change is applicable starting with the 2013 tax year, but producers will need to wait until July 1 to file an amended 2013 tax return.
     Also included in the SB 265 conference committee report is a sales tax incentive for the expansion or reconditioning of livestock facilities (SB 202).  If a producer invests at least $50,000 in the construction or refurbishment of a livestock facility (beef, pork, lamb, dairy) after July 1, 2014, purchase of the materials will be exempt from sales tax.
     Another bill supported by KLA, HB 2447, passed the House and Senate and was sent to the governor for his signature last week. This measure would protect private landowners from frivolous lawsuits due to injuries of unauthorized intruders.
     Prior to adjournment, the Kansas Senate debated and voted down SB 323. The bill, opposed by KLA, would prohibit voluntary conservation easements from being perpetual in duration.
     While it was anticipated lawmakers would consider an amendment to increase the statewide property tax valuation of agricultural land during the school finance debate, the proposal was not offered prior to first adjournment. The proposal was contained in SB 450, a bill introduced late in the session to change use-value calculations, including a repeal of allowing real estate taxes as an expense for calculating the landowner’s net income. As reported earlier, SB 450 would increase the statewide assessed valuation of agricultural land in Kansas by about $2.45 billion, or nearly 170%.
     When legislators return April 30, a conference committee likely will consider SB 276. The bill would establish the state as the sole authority governing regulation of lesser and greater prairie chickens in Kansas. In addition, a House-Senate conference committee is expected to finish discussions on a pending measure (SB 147) that would authorize the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s State Conservation Commission to acquire and administer conservation easements necessary for the mitigation of impoundments sponsored by watershed districts. KLA supports SB 147.

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from April 4 

KLA MEMBERS MEET WITH STATE OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS WATER

     Members of the KLA Cattle Feeders and Dairy Councils recently participated in a series of meetings about water with Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter and other state officials. The meetings in Scott City, Garden City, Ulysses and Dodge City gave KLA members an opportunity to provide input on the state’s 50-year water visioning process.
     Gov. Sam Brownback and his administration have engaged stakeholders from across the state to gather input on the future of water resources in Kansas. Discussions have included what role the state should play in water conservation and ensuring water policies allow continued economic growth.

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from April 3 

BOEHRINGER OFFER FOR FREE BQA CERTIFICATION EXPIRES APRIL 15

     Ranchers, feeders and dairy producers have until April 15 to earn free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIVI).  Through a partnership with the checkoff-funded BQA program, BIVI is paying the $25 to $50 fee for producers to become certified via online training courses offered by the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University. The BIVI sponsorship also includes financial support for BCI.
     BQA incorporates proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. Training covers the judicious use of antibiotics, proper cattle handling techniques and other best management practices. Ranchers who initially embraced the program to ensure better quality beef for consumers have reported the secondary benefit of increased profitability as the practices are implemented.
     This is the second year BIVI has sponsored BQA certification. More than 3,500 producers nationwide took advantage of the offer to become certified during the 2013 promotion. To earn certification or become re-certified, click
here.

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from April 2

“FARMLAND” DOCUMENTARY MAKES KANSAS CITY DEBUT

     A special advance screening of the new, feature-length documentary "Farmland" was held last night in Kansas City. About 150 people were on hand to watch the film as guests of the Kansas Farm Food Connection, a coalition of ag organizations that includes KLA.
     "Farmland" offers an intimate, firsthand view into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers across the U.S. Producers featured range from a Texas cattle rancher to an organic produce grower in California. Award-winning filmmaker James Moll captures the emotion and passion of their high-risk, high-reward jobs as they work to put food on the world’s tables.
     The documentary will be released nationally May 1. It will be distributed in more than 60 major markets. The New York premier will be April 17 during the Tribeca Film Festival. "Farmland" also will be part of film festivals in Cleveland, Atlanta, Nashville and Newport Beach.
     Go to
www.farmlandfilm.com to watch the trailer or locate a theater where "Farmland" will be screening. The documentary was produced by Moll’s Allentown Productions, with generous support from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

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