from May 25
VETERINARY STUDENTS RECEIVE WHEELS FOR BUCKS SCHOLARSHIPS
The Kansas Livestock Foundation has awarded 26 scholarships totaling $27,100 for the 2016-17 school year. Three Kansas State University veterinary students with the career goal of being a large animal practitioner will receive $1,500 scholarships through the Merck Animal Health Ralgro Wheels for Bucks program. Jessica Eisenbarth, daughter of Connie and David Eisenbarth from Hoyt, will start her third year of vet school this fall. Megan McLaughlin, daughter of Julie and Daniel McLaughlin of Olathe, also will be a third-year vet student. Ellen Unruh, daughter of Edward and Darla Ouellette from Rantoul, will be a fourth-year vet student.
These scholarships are made possible by producers saving empty Ralgro wheels and turning them in at the KLA Convention each year.
from May 24
SOUTHEAST KANSAS FENCING SUPPLY DRIVE BENEFITS FIRE VICTIMS
Wilson County KLA Chair Russ Walker and his wife, Mary Sue, delivered 19 rolls of barbed wire and 300 steel posts last week to wildfire victims in Barber and Comanche counties. The fencing supplies were collected during April and early May at Fredonia Livestock Auction. Donors were provided a free meal at the Stockyard Restaurant, compliments of Brian Revard with Zoetis and Boehringer Ingelheim representative Ashley Hoff-McCabe.
This is one example of many local efforts by KLA members and allied industry partners across the state to assist fellow producers in their time of need. Anyone wishing to make cash contributions to assist those affected by wildfire with rebuilding fences and providing veterinary care to injured livestock can send donations to the Kansas Livestock Foundation, 6031 SW 37th Street, Topeka, KS 66614 or donate by clicking here.
from May 23
NEW ONLINE FED CATTLE AUCTION OPENS FOR BUSINESS THIS WEEK
The first sale of fed cattle on a new online exchange will take place May 25. Superior Livestock is offering the new platform, which allows buyers to procure market-ready cattle from commercial feedyards using an automated electronic method. The exchange website, http://fedcattleexchange.com, matches buyers and sellers.
Feedyards must enter showlists no later than 3:00 p.m. Central time Thursday for the weekly sale. Showlists then are made available to potential buyers at 8:00 a.m. Central each Friday.
Cattle will be offered for sale on a lot-by-lot basis. Lots with common ownership in a specific feedyard may be grouped for sale.
Buyers can increase a bid in 50¢/cwt. increments by clicking a “bid now” button. Prospective buyers also can enter a proxy bid allowing the exchange software to automatically increase bids by 50¢ increments until the cattle are purchased or the asking price exceeds the proxy bid. If feedyards choose to reject a sale, it must be done before the auction of the next lot has concluded and the seller must pay a fee of $10 per head to the buyer.
The goal of organizers is to increase frequency, transparency and depth of the negotiated fed cattle trade. For more information, go to http://fedcattleexchange.com or call Danny Jones with Superior Livestock at (405) 834-6690.
from May 20
HUNGRY SENIORS, KIDS BENEFIT FROM KLA COMMUNITY SERVICE
KLA staff spent an afternoon volunteering at a regional food bank earlier this week as part of a community service project called “KLA Cares Day.” While at the Harvesters facility in Topeka, the staff helped assemble 140 boxes of food items for seniors and packed 990 bags of food items for kids through the “BackSnack Program.”
“This was a good way for us to give back to the community where we live and work,” said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden.
Harvesters feeds hungry people primarily in a 26-county area of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Donated food is distributed to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies, including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and other feeding locations. Harvesters also serves as one of five regional disaster relief staging sites for Feeding America.
from May 19
PRESCRIBED FIRE SEASON ENDS WITH MOST ACRES BURNED IN SEVEN YEARS
Flint Hills ranchers and landowners burned more acres of native grass this year than any year since 2009. With the prescribed fire season completed, analysis by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) showed 2,322,434 acres burned in 17 Kansas counties making up the Flint Hills region. The top five counties in terms of acres burned this season were Chase at 318,679; Greenwood at 284,624; Butler at 245,921; Wabaunsee at 199,804; and Lyon at 174,213.
KDHE reported prescribed fires in the Flint Hills and southeast Nebraska contributed to exceedances of air quality standards in Lincoln, NE, April 13 and Omaha, NE, April 14. Drifting smoke from Flint Hills prescribed fires also contributed to an exceedance of air quality standards April 4 in the Wichita area. KDHE officials are expected to make a formal appeal to EPA requesting these three events not be used to penalize the affected cities for air quality regulatory violations.
from May 18
NOMINEES SOUGHT FOR KANSAS LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD
Sand County Foundation, the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) and Ranchland Trust of Kansas are accepting applications until May 29 for the 2016 Leopold Conservation Award. Given in honor of the renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the $10,000 award honors Kansas farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.
Applications for the award must be postmarked by May 29 and mailed to KACD, c/o Jim Krueger, 1008 2500 Avenue, Abilene, KS 67410. Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner or landowners may nominate themselves.
The award will be presented November 21 at the KACD Annual Convention in Wichita. For application information click here.
from May 17
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DROPS LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN APPEAL
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced last week it was dropping its appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Permian Basin Petroleum Association et al. v. U.S. Department of Interior et al. This announcement came after FWS filed a Defendant’s Notice of Appeal April 29 to challenge the earlier district court ruling. In that ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas vacated the FWS listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
At this time, the district court order striking down the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species becomes permanent. It is widely expected, however, that FWS will attempt to restart the listing process in an attempt to cure the defects articulated by the district court. KLA and NCBA will be working with members of Congress to try and prevent that process from occurring before voluntary conservation measures are allowed to work.
In the last two years, the species has seen significant population increases, with additional growth expected to be reported on a survey currently being completed.
from May 16
YSA CLASS TOURS AGRIBUSINESSES, RETAIL BEEF OUTLETS
The 2016 KLA Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) class was in the Kansas City area last week for the second session of the year. Members spent three days learning more about the agribusiness and retail beef industries.
Merck Animal Health, exclusive sponsor of the program, hosted the class of beef producers from across Kansas at its office in DeSoto. Attendees were given an overview of the animal health industry by Merck staff, took a tour of the research farm and participated in a discussion on how to connect with others based on various personality types to create strong and effective relationships.
Stops were made at Kansas City Steak Company and SYSCO to provide the YSA group with a better understanding of the link between the processing plant and the consumer’s plate. Both companies distribute high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. Kansas City Steak Company also has a successful mail-order business, shipping beef products directly to consumers in all 50 states.
The group received a firsthand look at various ways beef is marketed in the meatcase while visiting Bichelmeyer Meats and Sprouts Farmers Market. The Bichelmeyer family has been providing hand-cut meat to consumers for 70 years.
In addition, YSA members had the chance to visit with consumers about the beef they produce while distributing sirloin samples at two Hy-Vee grocery store locations. The young producers answered shopper questions about animal health, beef nutrition and cooking methods.
Class members also heard from staff at Bartlett and Company about risk management in the cattle and grain industries and toured Harvesters – The Community Food Network, which provides meals for 181,000 people per week.
The class will meet again in September to tour Kansas beef and dairy operations.
from May 13
BILLS PROVIDING WILDFIRE RELIEF, UPDATING BRAND LAWS
SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recently signed two bills of importance to the state’s livestock producers. One provides sales tax relief for ranchers affected by the spring wildfires in Kansas. The other updates Kansas brand laws.
KLA supported the bill, passed by the Legislature, providing a one-year sales tax exemption for property and services purchased in 2016 that are necessary to construct, reconstruct, repair or replace fences damaged or destroyed by fire during the 2016 calendar year. Taxpayers may file for a sales tax refund after July 1, 2016, for fencing and associated labor costs incurred during the first half of this year. Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City and Rep. Kyle Hoffman from Coldwater largely were responsible for convincing a conference committee to include this provision in the tax bill. Following the bill signing ceremony, Hoffman (pictured, right) was thanked for his role by KLA Associate Counsel Tucker Stewart.
The other bill signed by the governor updates the state’s brand laws, many of which date back to 1939. It repeals the county-option brand law that was authorized in three Kansas counties, but is currently not in use. The bill also will modify current law requiring producers bringing branded cattle into Kansas from another state to obtain a brand permit from the animal health commissioner. Language in the bill, which was supported by KLA, grants an exemption for cattle brought to Kansas for grazing or feeding for less than 12 months.
from May 12
DIETITIANS LEARN ABOUT AG INDUSTRY, BEEF NUTRITION
The Kansas Beef Council (KBC) has had a busy slate of activities this spring reaching health professionals in Kansas and across the U.S. Recent programs addressed hot-button topics in production agriculture and highlighted the limitations of observational research to draw conclusions about diet and disease.
Prior to the annual Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (KSAND) Conference, KBC partnered with the Kansas Farm Food Connection, of which KLA is a member, to show the documentary “Farmland” to registered dietitians as a pre-conference activity. Following the movie, participants had the opportunity to ask questions about agriculture to a panel of farmers, ranchers and scientists, including White City rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe, Lawrence organic farmer Scotty Thellmen, Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson and University of Nebraska GMO expert Tom Clemente.
During the conference, KBC sponsored sessions by Kevin Maki, PhD, CLS, FNLA, FTOS, FACN, president and chief scientist with MB Clinical Research. Maki used red meat and cancer as a case study to explain the limitations of observational research and helped 160 dietitians better understand the evolving nature of scientific inquiry. He also discussed current nutrition recommendations for heart disease, including the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study.
from May 11
BQA CERTIFICATIONS ON THE RISE
Nearly 2,000 ranchers, feeders and dairymen took advantage of the free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification period during late winter and early spring this year. Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), the promotion allowed producers to go through BQA training in cattle handling, animal well-being and the proper use of animal health products.
This is the sixth year BI has sponsored BQA certification through online modules created and maintained by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University. During that time, more than 25,000 producers have become certified.
The BQA program is important to the cattle industry as is provides livestock producers a set of best management practices for producing quality beef. It also gives consumers the assurance that the beef they eat is both safe and wholesome. To become BQA certified, visit www.bqa.org.
from May 10
SCHULZE NAMED RECRUITER OF THE MONTH
Norton County KLA Chair Brandon Schulze earned Recruiter of the Month honors for April. Schulze visited with several non-members prior to their annual KLA county meeting, encouraging them to attend. That effort paid off as nearly 60 individuals heard from KLA Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Aaron Popelka about state and federal issues of concern to livestock producers during the meeting. In addition, Kansas State University Extension Feedlot Specialist Chris Reinhardt provided an update on the veterinary feed directive.
Schulze will receive a $50 Cabela’s gift card for his efforts and be entered in the drawing for a $250 card to be awarded at the KLA Convention December 1. So far this year, a grand total of nearly 1,800 individuals have attended 24 local meetings hosted by KLA across the state.
from May 9
WHITE PAPER CONFIRMS LIVESTOCK A SMALL CONTRIBUTOR TO GHG EMISSIONS
A new scientific white paper clarifying the role of animal agriculture in total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions finds the U.S. livestock sector has one of the lowest environmental impact systems in the world. University of California, Davis Professor Frank Mitloehner, an air quality specialist, said leading U.S. scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have calculated U.S. livestock production accounts for 4.2% of total GHG emissions, with beef representing 2.2% and dairy at 1.37%.
Mitloehner put the 4.2% livestock contribution in perspective by comparing it to EPA figures of 27% of GHG production for the transportation sector and 31% from the energy sector. His analysis indicated if all Americans practiced Meatless Mondays as some climate change advocates suggest, it would reduce U.S. GHG emissions by .6%. A beefless Monday per week, he said, would cut total emissions by only .3% annually.
The reason the U.S. livestock sector has the lowest carbon footprint per unit of livestock product, Mitloehner concluded, is the efficiency of producing more protein with fewer animals. For example, the average U.S. dairy cow produces 22,248 lbs. of milk per year, compared to the average cow in Mexico producing 10,500 lbs. He said this means it takes two cows in Mexico to produce the same amount of milk, which doubles resource use and waste output.
Mitloehner said now is the time to end the rhetoric and separate fact from fiction surrounding the livestock industry’s influence on climate change. He said agriculture worldwide will need to engage in a path of efficiency similar to U.S. livestock production to meet the food needs of a global population expected to grow from three billion people today to nine billion by 2050.
from May 6
MAY IS BEEF MONTH IN KANSAS
Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed May as Beef Month in Kansas. He acknowledged how vital the Kansas beef industry is to the state’s economy, generating more than $9 billion annually.
Kansas is home to 6.25 million cattle as of January 1, 2016, which is more than twice the human population of 2.9 million. The state ranks third nationally in the value of beef and veal exported, at $787.7 million in 2014. In addition, the industry supports more than 48,400 jobs in Kansas.
“Kansas is one of the most important beef states in the country, and is known across the globe for the high quality of its beef,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey.
During the month of May, the Kansas Beef Council will be highlighting the importance of the state’s beef industry and emphasizing the role beef plays in a healthy diet. For example, consumers are hearing beef provides 10% of 10 essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins, all in less than 10% of the daily calorie intake recommended by the federal government.