News – Livestock Winter 2017


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Wildland fire suppression costs exceed $2 billion
According to a USAgNet report, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that wildland fire suppression costs for the fiscal year have exceeded $2 billion, making 2017 the most expensive year on record. Wildfires have ravaged states in the west, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Rockies regions of the United States this summer. As the Forest Service passed the $2 billion milestone, Perdue renewed his call for Congress to fix the way the agency’s fire suppression efforts are funded. “Forest Service spending on fire suppression in recent years has gone from 15 percent of the 23 budget to 55 percent – or maybe even more – which means we have to keep borrowing from funds that are intended for forest management,” Perdue said. “We end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention, because we’re afraid we’re going to need it to actually fight fires. It means we can’t do the prescribed burning, harvesting, or insect control to prevent leaving a fuel load in the forest for future fires to feed on. That’s wrong, and that’s no way to manage the Forest Service.”

50th AABP Annual Conference sets attendance record
At the 50th Annual Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, held Sept. 14–16, 2017 in Omaha, Neb., veterinarians and many other professionals from across the country and the globe heard from industry experts in the conference program geared toward the 2017 theme, “What We Know That Isn’t So.” A record attendance of 1,432 individuals included 384 students, 137 American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioner (AASRP) members, 32 graduate students, five veterinary technicians, 150 accompanying persons, and 447 exhibitor representatives from 125 booths. Total attendance was 2,029 from 19 countries. The 50th AABP Annual Conference was once again held jointly with the AASRP.

Sales of organic ag production up 23 percent in 2016
According to Feedstuffs, sales of organic agricultural production continued to increase in 2016, when U.S. farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Results of the “2016 Certified Organic Survey” showed that 2016 sales were up 23% from the $6.2 billion sold in 2015. During 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11% to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15% to 5.0 million. The top commodities in 2016 included: Milk – $1.4 billion, up 18%; Eggs – $816 million, up 11%; Broiler chickens – $750 million, up 78%.

Tyson Foods to build $320 million poultry plant
According to USAgNet, Tyson Foods Inc. said it is planning to build a $320 million poultry complex in eastern Kansas, in response to strong demand for chicken. The company will build a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill, close to the city of Tonganoxie, in Leavenworth County, creating about 1,600 jobs. The company will contract with local farmers and ranchers to raise chickens. Production is scheduled to begin in mid-2019. The plant will have the capacity to process 1.25 million birds a week and is expected to generate an annual economic benefit of $150 million for the state of Kansas.

Beef exports continue above last year’s pace
According to MEAT+POULTRY, statistics released by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) show US beef exports stayed above last year’s pace in July while posting one of the highest monthly export value totals on record. Export value for pork dipped below its year-ago level for July for the first time in 15 months with export value down slightly as well. July beef exports were up 5 percent year-over-year and totaled 115,178 tons with export value up 18 percent from a year ago reaching $623.7 million, the highest since Dec. 14, 2016. For January through July, exports increased 11 percent in volume (784,145 tons) and 15 percent in value ($3.97 billion) compared to the first seven months of last year.

Wholesale prices of chicken-wings hit all-time high
According to the Wall Street Journal, sports bars and restaurants are facing record-high wholesale prices for chicken wings – and many are having to choose between raising menu prices, reining in promotions or cutting portion sizes. America’s favorite spicy, sticky appetizer has been a rare bright spot for casual-dining restaurant chains, which are struggling with declining traffic. A wave of chicken wing-themed deals and promotions has led to lower restaurant prices: The price of an average chicken-wing order at a full-service restaurant fell 18% in the 12 months through June to $7.23 from $8.85, according to NPD. In 2017, though, wholesale prices for chicken wings have climbed by almost 20% – to a record $2.09 a pound in August for jumbo whole wings, according to market-research firm Urner Barry.

NPPC applauds U.S. pork access to Argentina
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauds the Trump administration for negotiating U.S. pork access to the Argentine market, according to a release. Argentina was among several countries with non-science based barriers to U.S. pork imports. “U.S. pork producers are the most competitive in the world and we have long sought the opportunity to provide affordable, high-quality pork in Argentina,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff. “We thank Secretaries Perdue and Ross, and their teams at the USDA and the Department of Commerce, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and his team, for their diligent work to win Argentine market access.”

ImmuCell team expands
ImmuCell announced the hiring of Kathy Becher, Matt Scoville and Dale Miller. Kathy Becher joins the team in a dual role as customer service, and sales and marketing support representative. Her position focuses on building marketing relationships with animal health distributors. Before joining ImmuCell, she served as customer service and office manager at DAY 1 Technology, LLC. Matt Scoville serves as the regional sales and marketing manager for California, Arizona and Nevada. In this role, he establishes and builds relationships with animal health distributors, veterinarians, calf raisers, dairy farmers and cow/calf operators. Scoville held past positions as a large animal veterinary technician, in pharmaceutical warehousing and dispensing, and as an outside sales representative for Veterinary Service, Inc. Dale Miller joins the team as the regional sales and marketing manager for the northeast United States and Canada. Like Scoville, Miller will continue building relationships with distributors, veterinarians and producers. Previously Miller was a territory manager for AgriLabs and led Animart’s northeast sales and marketing team.

Zoetis launches
According to The Cattle Site, Zoetis recently launched, a comprehensive resource for managing against bovine respiratory disease, that causes up to 70% of deaths in feedlots and 89% of deaths in stocker operations. This interactive website provides producers, and their veterinarians, with information on: BRD education to help better understand strategies to combat this complex disease; Solutions that can help optimize cattle health and well-being; Good antibiotic stewardship; Disease management insights from veterinarians and producers. “BRD is already complicated, and our goal is to make a solution feel simple,” said Shawn Blood, DVM, Beef Strategic Technical Services at Zoetis. “When we talk about BRD Solutions, the solution is not necessarily just a product. It may be a product, multiple products, services or just good management practices. As BRD continues to be a costly threat to the health and well-being of cattle, costing the cattle industry around $1 billion each year, applying customizable BRD Solutions can help producers and veterinarians meet the needs of their operation to better manage BRD.”

Global pork production expected to be up in 2018
According to National Hog Farmer, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently updated their estimates of world meat production and trade. Their October numbers predict world pork production will be up 1.0% this year and up 1.8% in 2018. Except for the European Union and Japan, major pork-producing countries are expanding production. USDA/FAS is predicting that U.S. pork production will be up 3.6% this year and up 4.0% next year. They think Chinese pork production will be up 1.0% this year and up 2.3% next year. EU pork production is expected to be down 0.5% this year and down 0.2% next. Canadian pork production is forecast to be up 2.4% this year and up 2.0% next year. FAS expects world pork exports to be down 0.6% this year, but up 2.6% in 2018.