from July 22

POLICY APPROVED INCLUDES RESOLUTION ON FUTURES ACCOUNTABILITY

     More than 700 cattle producers were in Denver earlier this month for the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting. KLA officers, staff and other volunteer leaders attended the meeting to help NCBA and its state affiliates create the framework for policy guiding the national organization.
     Specifically, members renewed a resolution opposing any regulations, legislation or policies that limit methods of marketing cattle. One of the new resolutions approved supports initiatives between cattle producers, the CME Group and other market participants to increase transparency; level access to information and transactions; and foster an environment that builds confidence in the ability of the hedging community to effectively manage forward price risk using futures and options on Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle contracts.
     Another new resolution directs NCBA to work with the Livestock Marketing Association in suggesting updates to the federal Packers and Stockyards Act. The resolution specifically mentions extending protections in the act, such as custodial accounts, prompt payment and bonding, to producers who sell cattle through online and video auctions that work on a commission or other fee basis and handle or offer to handle the proceeds. Language in this resolution also seeks to make modern forms of electronic payment a permissible option if prompt pay requirements are met.

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from July 21

USFWS REMOVES LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN FROM THREATENED LIST

     Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) officially removed the lesser prairie chicken from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife. This action fulfills a court ruling earlier this year that vacated the agency’s listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The court found FWS failed to make a proper evaluation of a multistate conservation plan, in which Kansas participates, when it listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened.
     Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt praised the decision, saying it was “good news for private property rights, the rural Kansas economy and common sense.” He said there is a pending lawsuit, which Kansas joined in 2014, challenging the sue-and-settle tactics used by private interest groups that ultimately spurred the listing. Before resolution in the case is sought, Schmidt said assurances will need to be made that the federal government will not later change its mind on the lesser prairie chicken or “shift its regulatory zeal to another species.”
     Schmidt’s concerns seem founded as federal officials indicated the removal doesn’t mean authorities have concluded the lesser prairie chicken didn't warrant federal protection for biological reasons. FWS said it will be undertaking a thorough re-evaluation of the bird’s status and the threats it faces using the best available scientific information to once again determine whether a listing under ESA is warranted. In the meantime, KLA staff is working with the Kansas congressional delegation to get an appropriations rider to put a pause on future listings until voluntary efforts are given a chance to work.

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from July 20

BEEF SUSTAINABILITY GROUP ACHIEVES KEY DEVELOPMENTS

 The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) held its second annual general assembly meeting last week in Denver. USRSB is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in March 2015 to shape the sustainability framework for the U.S. beef industry. Key accomplishments in the first year include officially recognizing the importance of the U.S. beef industry life cycle assessment (LCA), identification of six high-priority beef sustainability indicators and agreement to a tiered assurance framework.
 The checkoff-funded LCA continues to be the gold standard for measuring continuous improvement in key areas of sustainability. Agreed upon indicators include animal health and well-being, land resources, water resources, air emissions, worker safety and efficiency and yield.
 A tiered assurance framework will start with the development of education and training resources and self-assessment tools. USRSB will not have a role in second-party or third-party verification of any production practices. 
 KLA and other NCBA affiliates are founding members of the organization. USRSB has nearly 100 member organizations. John Butler with the Beef Marketing Group will serve as chairman of USRSB during the coming year. For more information and results of USRSB efforts, go to www.usrsb.org.      

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from July 19

TAKE STEPS TO ALLEVIATE LIVESTOCK HEAT STRESS

     The high pressure system influencing the High Plains and Midwest weather could have dangerous ramifications for livestock. Cattle and other livestock subjected to the combination of high temperatures and humidity, low wind speeds and high solar radiation can experience heat stress and, in some cases, death.
     Veterinarians and animal scientists are suggesting steps ranchers, feeders and dairymen should take to provide relief and ensure animal welfare. Among the recommendations are increasing airflow around confined areas by taking down winter windbreaks, providing shade, using light-colored bedding such as chopped hay or straw and wetting the surface of pen mounds in the morning.
     The National Weather Service, in conjunction with USDA, issues daily livestock heat stress maps designed to make producers aware of weather conditions that could adversely affect livestock health. A link to these maps can be found throughout the summer months on the front screen of www.kla.org under the "Timely Links" section.  

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from July 18 

CATTLE GROUPS DISAGREE WITH HANDLING STANDARDS IN PROPOSED RULE

     NCBA and KLA filed comments last week on a proposed USDA rule addressing organic livestock and poultry standards. The proposal would establish animal welfare and livestock living condition standards through the National Organic Program. This would be the first time specific welfare standards were contained in federal law and, according to industry analysis, could create a dangerous precedent if applied to conventional agriculture.
     “Organic programs are marketing programs and therefore not the place to prescribe animal welfare practices,” said NCBA President Tracy Brunner of Ramona.
     In its comments, NCBA and KLA informed USDA the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program is the gold standard for cattle care and handling recommendations. If USDA is looking to provide guidance to organic producers, NCBA and KLA suggested certification through the BQA program.
     While Brunner said the cattle industry supports voluntary marketing programs like the National Organic Program, creating a separate set of animal handling standards could be confusing. He suggested efforts by USDA to set a secondary animal welfare standard will inevitably mislead consumers into thinking cattle in an organic program are handled differently than conventionally produced cattle.
     “Consumers need to clearly understand regardless of what product they choose to buy, the commitment to safety, quality and animal welfare remains the same,” said Brunner.
     NCBA and KLA encouraged USDA to withdraw the proposed rule and work with all producers to draft new language.

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from July 15

KANSAS CATTLEMAN ELECTED TO FEEDERS HALL OF FAME

     Cattle Empire founder Paul Brown was inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame earlier this week during ceremonies in Denver. Brown started in the cattle business in 1961 to complement his farming operation. Today, Cattle Empire, headquartered in Satanta, has a one-time capacity of 245,500 head in five facilities and is the fifth largest cattle feeding operation in the U.S. Several generations of Brown’s family are actively helping manage the business today.
     Jim Allen, who spent time working at AID Feedyard in Ulysses and Garden City Feed Yard, was named recipient of the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award. This award is dedicated to exceptional feedyard employees. Allen spent more than 45 years in the cattle feeding industry.
     CattleFax Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Blach was presented the Industry Leadership Award. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership, provide exemplary service and make significant contributions to the cattle feeding business.
     Bob Gottsch, founder of Gottsch Cattle Company, was inducted with Brown into the Hall of Fame. The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to recognize and honor outstanding men and women in the cattle feeding community. Founding partners of the Hall are Merck Animal Health, Drovers/CattleNetwork and Osborn Barr.

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from July 14

WILDFIRE RELIEF FUND TOPS HALF A MILLION DOLLARS

     The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) Wildfire Relief Fund has raised $518,194 to help those who lost livestock, fence and hay supplies during extensive wildfires across the state earlier this year. There were 785 donors from 31 states and 93 Kansas counties. These individuals, organizations and companies made donations ranging from $10 to $69,000. KLF leadership thanks all of those who generously donated to the disaster fund.
     A special committee will meet this month to review applications and determine how the funds will be disbursed. The committee will include representation from the local areas affected by wildfire, KLF and KLA.  

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from July 13

BOOK ROOMS NOW FOR THE KLA CONVENTION IN WICHITA

     Members should reserve hotel rooms soon for the KLA Convention, November 30 through December 2 in Wichita. Room blocks tend to fill quickly, especially at the headquarters hotel, the Wichita Hyatt Regency, so reservations should be made as soon as possible.
     Rooms are $112 per night at the Hyatt and can be reserved by calling (888) 421-1442. The Drury Plaza Hotel-Broadview, at (800) 325-0720, has rooms for $129 per night. Rooms at the Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites are $109 and can be booked by calling (316) 201-1400. The Hotel at Waterwalk, with a convention room rate of $109 per night, can be reached at (316) 263-1061. When making reservations, tell any of the hotels you’re with KLA to receive the special convention rate. To reserve rooms online at any of these hotels, click here

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from July 12

BIG STEERS REPORTED STOLEN FROM CHASE COUNTY PASTURE

     Matt Peterson of Council Grove has reported the theft of 50 steers from a pasture six miles west of Americus. The steers are thought to have been stolen sometime between June 20 and July 10. All of the cattle are branded CP on the left hip. The steers weigh about 900 lbs. and are mostly black, with some reds and Charolais crosses.
     KLA is offering a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this crime. The reward applies because Peterson is a KLA member.
     Anyone with information on the steers should call Peterson at (785) 466-3230.  

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from July 11

RANCH FIELD DAYS SET FOR LARNED, WALLACE, JUNCTION CITY

     This year’s KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Days will be held August 15, 16 and 18. The Froetschner family’s Bar F Farms near Larned will host the August 15 event. Bertrand Cattle Company of Wallace is the site for the August 16 field day and the August 18 event is scheduled for Moyer Ranch near Junction City.
     All three of the field days start at 4:00 p.m., include informational sessions and conclude with dinner. Bayer Healthcare - Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsors of the field days.

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