from October 21


     The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced yesterday that mandatory U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) violates international trade rules by discriminating against Canadian and Mexican livestock. According to NCBA President Bob McCan, WTO’s decision brings the U.S. meat industry one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two countries that are among the largest buyers of American beef and pork.
     Canada’s list of products subject to possible trade retaliation include U.S. live cattle and hogs, as well as beef, pork and many other food products. Mexico has yet to release its list of targeted items.
     “NCBA has maintained there is no regulatory fix to bring the COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligations or that will satisfy our top trading partners,” said McCan. “We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”
     NCBA and KLA contend COOL adds cost to the system without any offsetting benefit for livestock producers or consumers. Increased costs are experienced when segregation at processing plants is required by the COOL law. Consumers are not willing to pay more for labeled U.S. beef, meaning these costs are simply being absorbed in the system and reducing net income to the industry. 


from October 20


     KLA staff provided comments at an October 16 hearing held by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission on the longnose snake. The topic of the hearing was the commission’s proposed regulation to delist the snake and several other species as threatened or endangered under the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act (KNESCA).
     Information provided by KLA supports the proposed delisting. KLA testimony stated the longnose snake is abundant in numbers and the original listing was the result of inconclusive information on prevalence of the species.  
     KLA originally became involved in the issue two years ago when the discovery of longnose snake habitat temporarily disrupted the construction and operation of a feedyard and dairy in southwest Kansas. Since that time, KLA staff has advocated for KNESCA reform, including the delisting proposal being considered by the commission.


from October 17


     Livestock producers attending the December 5 Industry Information Session at the KLA Convention will hear about beef industry efforts to provide sustainably produced beef to consumers. The program, sponsored by Elanco, will highlight Walmart’s efforts to source sustainably produced goods throughout its product line, as well as the beef industry’s efforts in this area.
     Walmart executive Brittni Furrow will describe how they are working with KLA, NCBA and other state cattle affiliates to identify priority areas for enhancing sustainability. NCBA Director of Sustainability Research Kim Stackhouse will explain how the checkoff-funded life cycle analysis provides a benchmark to help beef producers identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their businesses.
     KLA members are encouraged to take advantage of the online convention registration option by clicking here. Room reservations can be made by calling the Fairfield Inn & Suites at (316) 201-1400, Drury Plaza Hotel - Broadview at (800) 325-0720 or Hotel at Waterwalk at (866) 822-6274. Be sure to tell the hotels you are with KLA. No rooms remain at the Wichita Hyatt, which is convention headquarters.

from October 16


     Entries from Montana, Kansas, Nebraska and Washington are winners of the 2014 American Royal steak competition. Thompson River Ranch of Marion, MT, was grand champion of the grain-finished category. The reserve champion grain-finished steak came from KLA member Bichelmeyer Meats of Kansas City, which has served customers in the area since 1946 and also owns the Silkville Ranch at Williamsburg.     
     In the grass-fed division, Got Grass-fed of Plainview, NE, was the grand champion. The reserve grand champion grass-fed steak was entered by Merrill Cattle Company/Beefalo Meats of Ellensburg, WA.     
     Beef producers from across the nation submitted ribeye steaks for the contest. Each steak was prepared in an identical manner, cooked on a grill, sliced into one-inch cubes and served to a panel of expert judges. Points were assigned for flavor, juiciness and texture. The winners were announced October 8 in Kansas City.


from October 15


      KLA and 44 other state cattlemen’s associations sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack 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, representing 170,000 members, expressed concern this unilateral action by the secretary of agriculture will harm the success of the existing checkoff. NCBA strongly supports the position taken by its state affiliates.     
     According to NCBA, the 1996 act would allow more government control and less producer influence over checkoff investments. Rancher and feeder control of the current beef checkoff was built into the 1985 act partially through the involvement of state beef councils. This grassroots direction helped the checkoff maximize the return on investment to stakeholders. Cornell University research shows the checkoff returned $11.20 to beef producers for every $1 invested from 2006 to 2013. Recent surveys show 78% of producers support the checkoff.     
     “Through state beef councils, grassroots producers invest and direct programs that build demand for their product at the state and national level,” said KLA President Jeff Sternberger, a cattle feeder from Garden City. “By comparison, the 1996 act is a top-down, federally controlled program that not only fails to recognize the role of states, but places the control and administration of promotion dollars in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”      
     A checkoff enhancement working group, which includes NCBA and 10 other national organizations, has been meeting since 2011 to discuss potential improvements to the existing program. When one of those groups defected, Secretary Vilsack announced he would begin drafting a proposed rule to implement a supplemental beef checkoff under the 1996 act.


from October 14


     Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt joined 10 other state attorneys general and six governors in signing a letter formally objecting to the waters of the U.S. rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letter suggested the proposed rule would place virtually every river, creek, stream, along with vast amounts of neighboring lands, under the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Many of the these features, according to the state attorneys general and governors, are dry the vast majority of the time and already are in use by farmers, ranchers, developers and homeowners.      “States, by virtue of being closer to communities, are in the best position to provide effective, fair and responsive oversight of water use, and have consistently and conscientiously done so,” the letter read.      The joint letter asserts EPA’s proposed rule unlawfully and unconstitutionally seeks to exercise federal jurisdiction over local water and land use management. Under the rule, landowners would be forced to obtain expensive federal permits for certain management practices.
     “This federal power grab is unnecessary, unwise and contrary to the Clean Water Act,” said Schmidt. “The proposed rule needs to be withdrawn.”
     The deadline for public comment on the proposed rule is November 14. KLA members are encouraged to submit comments through the link provided on the front page of A decision on whether to finalize, modify or revoke the proposed rule is not expected until 2015.   


from October 13


      Meade County Feeders has reported two 500 ml bottles of Draxxin and miscellaneous tack stolen from the feedyard located north of Meade. The items, which were stolen the night of October 8, represent an estimated loss of $4,500. The locks were cut off the front gate, gas pumps, veterinarian’s room and horse barn.
     KLA is offering up to a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime. Anyone with information on the stolen items or those involved in this theft should call Meade County Feeders at (620) 873-2252 or the Meade County Sheriff’s office at (620) 873-8765. 



from October 10 


     The third installment of the KLA Young Stockmen's Academy (YSA) was held October 6-8, with the group touring various segments of the beef and dairy industries in southern and western Kansas. Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of the YSA program.
     The first stop on the tour was at Bechtel Ranch near Eureka. Veterinarian and ranch owner Roger Bechtel discussed his cow-calf/stocker operation and conducted a Beef Quality Assurance injection site demonstration for the class. Stops also were made at McCurry Angus Ranch near Burrton and CB Farms of Preston. John McCurry told the group the focus of his family’s Angus seedstock operation is to raise high-quality bulls that meet the needs of their commercial cow-calf customers. All McCurry bulls are DNA tested, which can provide as much information on a young bull as if he had recorded more than 20 progeny records. Berry and Carla Bortz, owners of CB Farms, gave an inside look into their operation, which consists of a commercial cow-calf herd, registered Angus seedstock operation, feedyard and farming business. The Bortzes finish all their own calves, along with some purchased from bull customers, and market each through U.S. Premium Beef. One of their primary goals is to increase the number of Certified Angus Beef and Prime carcasses produced each year.    
     During a tour of the milking parlor at Royal Farms Dairy near Garden City, manager Kyle Averhoff told the YSA class the dairy milks about 6,500 cows twice daily and markets more than 13 million pounds of milk per month. Jeff George, manager of Finney County Feeders near Garden City, highlighted various aspects of the feedyard, including a newly built feed mill, which is used to customize rations for each pen of cattle. The group also toured the Cargill beef plant in Dodge City.


from October 9


     Tucker A. Stewart joined the KLA staff as associate legal counsel this fall. Born and raised in Kansas, Stewart has been involved in every aspect of his family’s cow-calf operation, Mid Continent Farms and Jones Stewart Angus Ranch, near Washington. The exposure to farming and ranching gives him a unique perspective on the practice of law.  
     Stewart obtained an associate degree in agriculture from Butler Community College and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Kansas State University. He was a member of the livestock judging teams at Butler and K-State. Stewart graduated with honors from the Washburn University School of Law, where he helped found the first ag-related student group, the Washburn Agricultural Law Society. While in law school, he worked in the legal departments at the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Dairy Farmers of America.
     Stewart joins KLA as a part of the legal and government affairs staff where he will use his background and education to assist members with legal questions and lobby at the state capitol. Stewart also will help coordinate the KLA Dairy Council. 


from October 8


     Stock & Diamond E Ranches of Redfield won the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo, held September 26-27 at Medicine Lodge. The team won both the cattle doctoring and team penning on its way to the title. Team members were Kolby Stock, Travis Duncan, Coy Hyer and Andy Eck.
     The second place team was Scribner Ranch of El Dorado. The team consisted of John, Daniel, Doug and David Scribner. Third place was Arndt & Bailey of Emporia and Cottonwood Falls, featuring Ryan Arndt, Glen Collinge, Wes Bailey and Josh Lilley. Beachner Brothers of Erie was fourth place, with a team including Cody and Calvin Kendall, Kris Vitt and Ty Swiler. 
     Other individual event winners were Austin Rathbun from Lazy B Ranch at Ellsworth in the ranch bronc riding, Beachner Brothers in the wild cow milking and Arndt & Bailey in the calf branding.
     The all-around cowboy was Kolby Stock with Stock & Diamond E. “Little TJ Paul,” ridden by Cody Kendall of Beachner Brothers, was named the all-around horse for the third time. 
     Stock & Diamond E previously had qualified for the World Championship Ranch Rodeo next month in Amarillo, meaning Scribner Ranch rolls into the qualifying slot for the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo. Beachner Brothers, Lonesome Pine of Cedar Point and H+/Broken H of Bronson qualified for Amarillo through earlier events, bringing the total to five that will carry the Kansas flag at the world championships.