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Changing Cattle Industry in the Midwest

Changing Cattle Industry in the Midwest

Missouri scientists speculate as the industry faces off against corn and soybeans

A changing cattle industry discusses new technologies and options for the future.

Recent shifts in agricultural return values could change the way our country’s farmers do business. The cattle industry is stumbling before lowered prices, while interest in cultivating other crops is growing.

In Missouri, pastures that once held cattle are being cleared to grow soybeans and corn. One Missouri publication cites the rising financial return of corn and soybeans for this change in practice. Farmers producing cattle are putting in much greater input for much less return. In fact, the number of cows in the northern counties of the state has decreased rapidly to make room for more crops.

This investment, however, may not be worth it in the long run. The United States Department of Agriculture has predicted that a high yield of corn due to excessive planting could cause prices for the vegetable to drop again.

At Missouri University’s Breimyer Seminar, experts in the cattle industry are urging farmers to use new technologies to revitalize the market. Insiders believe that use of new insemination technologies could allow farmers to choose which gender of cow to produce. Animal scientists speculate these changes, along with other genetic study and modifications, could lead to higher quality beef and more satisfied consumers, making cattle king once more.


Kansas beef producer hub

Your one-stop shop to find out how the Kansas Beef Council is using your Beef Checkoff investment in programs and resources that connect with both consumers and producers.

What is the beef checkoff?

From nutrition outreach and developing relationships with influential culinary professionals to reaching millions of young millennial families through targeted digital advertising, the Kansas Beef Checkoff Program is a producer-funded marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and international demand for beef. This is accomplished through promotion, research, new product development and a variety of other strategic marketing tools. The Kansas Beef Council is led by a volunteer board comprised of Kansas beef producers.

Watch this video to learn about some of our recent demand-building activities. Click HERE for more information on the Kansas Beef Council or contact a staff member by clicking HERE. Visit BeefBoard.org to learn more about national programs and the Cattlemen's Beef Board.


Midwest Farm And Livestock Directory

Putting a New Spin on Grain Bin Foundations | EQUIPMENT TALK
Two Perspectives on Farm Journal’s 2020 E-commerce Survey | PERSPECTIVES
Keep Messes, Pests Outside, and Save Money on Energy Costs | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Remote Grain Temperature Monitoring from TSGC | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
New Seed Lubricant Brings Multiple Benefits To Farmers | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Understanding Valve Lash and Diesel Exhaust Fluid | Hot Rod Farmer Minute
Wilson Rawls and the Story We All Know | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Agricultural Life Has Connections to Folk Culture | Farm & Ranch Life
Caught Between Yesterday and Tomorrow | Flags Across the Harvest
The “Prodigal” Daughter | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty: A Ray Of Sunshine | The Knightro Report

What’s New highlights
Organize Gear and Guns with Underseat and Truck Bed Storage Systems
Secure Ratchet Strap Tails in Seconds and Meet Safety Regulations
New Premium Modular UTV Bed Mounted Tool Storage and Transport System
Calf Half-Circle and Alley System from Winkel
Wrap Inline and Single Bales With One Machine
Livestock Markers Made for Use in Cold Climates

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021 Issue Highlights

Old Lessons, New Challenges | VIEWPOINT
Tax Reform is Top of Mind for Farmers | VIEWPOINT
Win Gift Cards, Help Your Favorite Spots Survive | OUR GUEST
New Seed Lubricant Brings Multiple Bene its To Farmers | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Easy Connect PTO Adapter | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Tips For Maintaining Herd Health Year-Round | HERD HEALTH
Thank You, Mr. Hipp. | Flags Across the Harvest
Ground Circuit Diagnostics and Repair Resurfacing a Flywheel | Hot Rod Farmer
Important Sustainable Ag Networks | Farm And Ranch Life
The Pickton Murders | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Are They Waiting for Us To Die? | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty: Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged | Knightro Report

What’s New Highlights
Calf Half-Circle and Alley System from Winkel
Wrap Inline and Single Bales With One Machine
New Alternator Offers Reliable Performance for Medium- And Heavy-Duty Applications
New Hybrid Tillage Solution Introduced by Great Plains
Brandt Expands Tillage Offering With High-Efficiency Land Roller
FarmlandFinder Announces an Online Farm Sale-Leaseback Program
New Carbon Program Aims to Help Farmers Generate and Sell Carbon Credits
New Premium Modular UTV Bed Mounted Tool Storage and Transport System
Keep Newborn Puppies Safe and Healthy with the Easy Loader’s Whelping Nest
New Plant Protection Solution for Gardeners is Like a “Mousetrap for the Garden”

JANUARY 2021 Issue Highlights

2020: It was a Hard-Fought Year | PERSPECTIVES
ATV or Side-By-Side/UTV: Find The Best ORV for Farm Use | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Weighing in on the True Value of a High-Quality Scale | EQUIPMENT TALK
The ‘Unsung’ Workhorses for Snow Removal | EQUIPMENT TALK
Proper Ground Circuit Diagnostics and Repair Flywheel Service | HOT ROD FARMER
Easy Connect PTO Adapter | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
5 Tips For Maintaining Herd Health Year-Round | HERD HEALTH
Why Not? | FLAGS ACROSS THE HARVEST
Sociable Farming | MOONWALKING ON TAILGATES
Diversity in Agriculture Has Survival Advantages | FARM & RANCH LIFE
Runnin’ On Empty: A 4-Her Go-Getter | THE KNIGHTRO REPORT
Am I Too Old to Plan? | KEEPING THE FAMILY FARM IN THE FAMILY

What’s New Highlights
Datamars Launches ‘Smart’ 46 Joule Energizer
Move Snow, Silage, Perform Grading Work and More With Your 4WD Tractor
New Heavy-Duty Fixed Tooth Brush Mulcher for Skid Steers from Baumalight
New Revolutionary Boom Truck Lead Pump from Puck Enterprises
De-Icing System from Emerson Prevents Costly Damage to Roofs
From On-Farm to On-Line: Soil Health Academy Announces ‘Regen Ag 101’
Non-Profit Uses American Pre-Tractor Farming Tech and Skills to Help Small-Scale Farmers in Developing Countries

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 Issue Highlights

Keeping Up With the Pace of Technology | PERSPECTIVES
E-Commerce Adds Choices, Competition, and Complexity to Crop Inputs | PERSPECTIVES
The 2020 Holiday Season Welcomes Farmers Into a New Era | PERSPECTIVES
Why Does “Hello” Often Mean “Goodbye”? | FLAGS ACROSS THE HARVEST
The ‘Unsung’ Workhorses for Snow Removal | EQUIPMENT TALK
Sprayer Winterizing Tips to Save You Time and Money | EQUIPMENT TALK
How to Properly Service Spark Plugs Biodiesel Basics | HOT ROD FARMER MINUTE
Scammed in the USA | MOONWALKING ON TAILGATES
The First Horse Trade that Got Me Started in Life | THE KNIGHTRO REPORT
Veterans Day Has Long-Standing Connections With Rural Life and Ag | FARM & RANCH LIFE
Farm Debt Realities The Election and Your Taxes | KEEPING the FAMILY FARM in the FAMILY

What’s New highlights:
Move Snow, Silage, Perform Grading Work, and More With Your 4WD Tractor
New Heavy-Duty Fixed Tooth Brush Mulcher for Skid Steers from Baumalight
Datamars Launches ‘Smart’ 46 Joule Energizer
Aftermarket Crop/Trash Aprons for John Deere, Case IH Corn Heads
Unique New Grain Bin Safety Product is a Defense in Grain Bin Sump Plugging

OCTOBER 2020 Issue Highlights

Let’s Keep Talking About Mental Health | PERSPECTIVES
Take a Lesson from the Humble Donkey | PERSPECTIVES
Rookies, Quick Studies and Jumping In | PERSPECTIVES
Optimize Strategic Tillage Results | EQUIPMENT TALK
Sprayer Winterizing Tips to Save You Time & Money | EQUIPMENT TALK
Hydraulic Hangar Door Doubles as a Mancave Wall | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
To Perfect Your Sport, Think Like a Leader | HERD HEALTH
Leak-Proofing Engine Sheet Metal & Small Engine Starting Woes | Hot Rod Farmer
My “Blue Plate Special” | Flags Across the Harvest
5 Books about Farming that Explain the Industry | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Runnin’ On Empty: “A Horse Trader’s Son” | The Knightro Report
Is Your Estate Plan Missing Something? | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Physical and Emotional Scars Accompany Healing for Farmers | Farm & Ranch Life

What’s New highlights:
New Grain Bin Safety Product is a Defense in Grain Bin Sump Plugging
Measure Moisture Content of Corn in the Field in Seconds
Improve Straw Chopper Performance of your JD Combine
Aftermarket Crop/Trash Aprons for John Deere, Case IH Corn Heads
Lift and Move Hog Carcasses Safely, While Reducing Labor Expense
SnowEx® Introduces Automatixx® Attachment Kits for Tractors
New Features on Elston’s GA-400 Gopher Getter
ROPS-Mount Directional Work Lights Swivel Up To 360 Degrees
Step-N-Secure® Lift Handle/Tie Down Post for All Major Full-Size Pickups

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020 Issue Highlights

Behind the Scenes: All the Good in the Hard Work Nobody Sees | PERSPECTIVES
Physical and Emotional Scars Accompany Healing for Farmers | PERSPECTIVES
13 Reasons to Bag Grain This Year | EQUIPMENT TALK
Hydraulic Hangar Door Doubles as a Mancave Wall | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Donna Kallner Educates on How to “Garage Sale” During a Pandemic | GUEST COLUMN
Is a Diesel Tuner Right For You, and Where Did the Coolant Go? | The Hot Rod Farmer
Stationary Dreams and the Dynamics of Motion | Flags Across the Harvest
The Coronavirus Makes an Empty Tank Feel Full | The Knightro Report
Possibilities for Hope During an Era of Multiple Threats | Farm & Ranch Life
Avoiding “Sudden Wealth Syndrome” | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
(Corn)holed Up in the United States | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Important Facts About Ticks | HEALTH MATTERS

What’s New highlights:
Lift and Move Hog Carcasses Safely, While Reducing Labor Expense
Measure Moisture Content of Corn in the Field in Seconds Without Shelling
ROPS-Mount Directional Work Lights Swivel Up To 360 Degrees
Step-N-Secure® Lift Handle/Tie Down Post for All Major Full-Size Pickups
Improve Straw Chopper Performance of your JD Combine
Syphon Spray System to Combat Covid-19 Introduced by Guardair
New Features on Elston’s GA-400 Gopher Getter

MAY 2020 Issue Highlights

Feeding the Economy in the Midst of a Nationwide Crisis | PERSPECTIVES
A Hemp Q&A with Andrew Kowalski | Ask The Expert
Understanding the Needs of Farmers and Ranchers: Danny Naples | Business Profile
Diagnosing with a Temperature Gun Octane Versus Cetane | The Hot Rod Farmer
What Technology Can’t Do | Black Ink
Getting Ready for Spring | Herd Health
It is More Than Steel | Flags Across the Harvest
The Return of the Rustler | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Refinements To The Agrarian Imperative Theory | Farm & Ranch Life
Be Your Own Beneficiary | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty: The Good Life (Part 2) | The Knightro Report

What’s New highlights
Line Of Min-Till Folding Box Drills Introduced by Great Plains
Precision Air Carts from Case IH Get New Features to Maximize Time in the Field
New Aluminum Grain Hopper Trailer from Jet Company
The UN-Towable Drill Updated for Safety and Convenience
New Hot Water Mini Trailer from Mi-T-M
Bobcat Introduces Line of Compact Tractors
One-Man Hole Digger from General Equipment

APRIL 2020 Issue Highlights

Placing Seed and Fertilizer for Optimum Performance | Product Spotlight
Farm Management Software: Finding the Right Solution for Your Farm | Management
Vaughan Celebrates 60 Years of Innovation | Company Profile
High-Quality Fuel Additives Reducing the Impact of Heat Soak | Hot Rod Farmer Minute
Should You Choose a RADIAL or a BIAS Farm Tire? | Equipment Talk
Changing Consumer Attitudes Toward Beef | At The Table
Je Me Souviens (I Remember) | Flags Across the Harvest
To Greener (Virtual) Pastures | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Be Your Own Beneficiary | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
The Good Life: Part One | The Knightro Report
Feeding Birds Isn’t Just “For the Birds” | Farm & Ranch Life

What’s New highlights:
Make Your Job Easier with Lakeland’s New UTV Easy Feeder
New Aluminum Grain Hopper Trailer from Jet Company
New Hot Water Mini Trailer from Mi-T-M
The UN-Towable Drill from Little Beaver Updated for Safety and Convenience
High Capacity Top Auger Poly Tender from Simonsen-Ideal
Multi-Purpose Spreader Introduced by Stoltzfus Spreaders
New Electronic Flow Monitoring System from Wilger
New Residential Mower from Walker

MARCH 2020 issue highlights

Thoughts on the “40-Year Old Tractor Story” | Viewpoint
Don’t Be Led Astray By Fake Meat Marketing | Viewpoint
What Does Beef Production Look Like in 2030? | Viewpoint
Open the Door to Energy Efficiency | Product Spotlight
2020 World Ag Expo® Top-10 New Product Winners | Industry
New Book Spotlights Ranchers, Launches Rural Relief Fund | Industry
Simple Tips to Manage Cold Stress in Calves | Herd Health
The Story of My Life, Whispered to My Soul | Flags Across the Harvest
False Accusations Can Become Opportunities for Personal Growth | Farm & Ranch Life
There’s a Better Story to Tell | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Many Ways to Help the Next Generation | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty: The Six Thousand Dollar Question | The Knightro Report

What’s New highlights
Alliance Introduces Ag Radials With Unique Two-layer Lug Design
New Electronic Flow Monitoring System from Wilger
High Capacity Top Auger Poly Tender from Simonsen-Ideal
Updates to the “World’s Toughest Grease Gun
New Residential Mower from Walker
Farmers Unite to Launch U.S. Hemp Growers Association

FEBRUARY 2020 issue highlights

The 2019 Agriculture Year in Review | Viewpoint
Driving the Future of Agriculture with Innovation | Viewpoint
The Legacy of American Women in Agriculture | Viewpoint
“Open Water” Automatic Livestock Waterers Make Electrical Heating Unnecessary | Product Spotlight
Minimizing Energy Costs with Bi-fold & Hydraulic Doors | Product Spotlight
Simple Tips to Manage Cold Stress in Calves | Herd Health
How a Farm Family is Dealing With Alcohol Addiction | Farm & Ranch Life
Long-Term Care Insurance Can Protect You From Embezzlement | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
The “Swankiest” Steaks in the World | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Runnin’ On Empty, While Full On Opportunities | The Knightro Report

What’s New Highlights
High Capacity Top Auger Poly Tender from Simonsen-Ideal
Planter Stalk Stompers for John Deere 17700NT Planters
Powerful, Versatile Compact Bulk Transfer Grain Vac
Updates to the “World’s Toughest Grease Gun”
Barbed Wire Unroller and Offroad Auger Wagon Introduced by Feed Train
Iron Age’s Reinforcer Work Boot Series

JANUARY 2020 issue highlights

To Heal Political Rifts, Build a Better Mousetrap | Guest Column
Hitch Your Wagon to the Right Horse | Viewpoint
Opportunities Abound for Young People in Agriculture | Viewpoint
EPA Paraquat Requirements Place Spotlight on Closed Transfer Systems | Product Spotlight
Stoltzfus Spreaders: Pioneers in the Design and Manufacture of Lime Spreaders | Product Spotlight
Great Gift Ideas for All Occasions | Product Spotlight
Compact Meets Utility: Introducing Kubota’s New MX Series | What’s New
Promoting Growth and Grade: Pritchard talks implant dos and don’ts | Herd Health
How a Farm Family is Dealing With Alcohol Addiction | Farm & Ranch Life
A Reader’s Question Answered About Power of Attorney | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty, While Full Of Opportunity | The Knightro Report
A Very Merry Kentucky Fried Christmas | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Pine Cone Fire Starters, Storing Flower Bulbs and More Helpful Hints | Pennywise

December 2019 issue highlights

Someday Your Teachings Could Guide the Next Generation | Viewpoint
How Pest and Disease Management Will Look Different in the Future | Viewpoint
Scams Targeting Ranchers on the Rise | Industry
Ways that IF/VF Tires Affect Your Farm’s Bottom Line | Equipment Talk
“Open Water” Automatic Livestock Waterers | Product Spotlight
First Season of Use with Smart Tillage Tools From Case IH | Product Spotlight
Uncertainty is Hurting Agricultural Producers | Farm & Ranch Life
“Milking” With a One-Legged Stool | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Runnin’ On Empty, While Full On Faith | The Knightro Report
Cat Scat Coffee? Yes, It’s a “Real Thing” | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights
Compact Meets Utility: Introducing Kubota’s New MX Series
Mid-Sized Disk Harrow Introduced by Great Plains
ASV Breaks Into New Size Class with RT-50 Posi-Track® Loader
Oil Changing Made Easier with New Valve Series from Fumoto
All-Steel Cab for Mahindra Max 26 XLT Compact Tractors
Poly Fender Extension Fits Multiple J.D. Row-Crop Tractors

November 2019 issue highlights

Reasons Pest and Disease Management Will Look Different in the Future | Viewpoint
Farmers Stand Together for Clean Water and Clear Rules | Viewpoint
First Season of Use with Smart Tillage Tools from Case IH | Product Spotlight
Is Unmanned Aerial Weed Control Ready for Takeoff? | Technology
Increase Your Compact Tractor’s Performance with Radial Tires | Equipment Talk
Is Your Operation Prepared for Fire? | Management
Live, But Learn: Someday Your Teachings Could Guide the Next Generation | Black Ink
Getting Along With People Who ‘Tell Us What To Do’ | Farm & Ranch Life
Family Genetics Runnin’ On Empty | The Knightro Report
The “Lost Generation” of Farming Heirs | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Going Brown Beaver | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New Highlights
Crary®’s Revolution Ditcher™ Adds Powerful New Features
Complete Slide Door Packages from Plyco
Oil Changing Made Easier with New Valve Series from Fumoto
New Alliance Combine VF Tire Rated for 186% Load Compared to Standard Radial
An Easy, Affordable Monitoring Solution for Livestock Facilities
Easy-to-deploy, Affordable Web-based Monitoring from Onset
Solar Energizers from Patriot are Now More Portable
Eliminate Build-Up in Grease Traps, Drainage Pipes with All Natural Ingredients

October 2019 issue highlights

3 Reasons Pest and Disease Management Will Look Different in the Future | Viewpoint
Fake Meat Deserves the Same Regulations, Oversight as Beef | Viewpoint
Is Your Operation Prepared for Fire? | Management
Managing Farm/Ranch Transfer to Next Generation | Management
PTO Connections, the Quick and Easy Way | Product Spotlight
Understanding Mental Health is Important to Farmers, Survey Reports | Farm & Ranch Life
The Art of Our Family Survival | The Knightro Report
Passing on Property with Existing Contract for Deed | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Measuring the Value of Work | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights
Kubota Unveils Their Largest Tractor to Date
Concord Offers Two New Models of its NT30 Disc Drill with Integral Tank
Crary®’s Revolution Ditcher™ Adds Powerful New Features
Solar Energizers from Patriot are Now More Portable
An Easy, Affordable Monitoring Solution for Livestock Facilities
LockNLube’s Upgraded Professional Pistol-Grip Grease Gun
First-Of-Its-Kind Safety Device Detects Fire In Farming Equipment
An Endless Hot Water Supply Outdoors with New Hose Sprayer

September 2019 issue highlights

Is Agriculture Feeding the World, or Destroying It? | Viewpoint
A Four-Legged Farmhand: Farm Bureau’s Dog of the Year | Lifestyle
Upgrading LED Hazard/Warning Strobe Lights: Things to Consider | Equipment Talk
Dealing with Control of the Farm/Ranch and Generational Divisions | Management
A Simplified System for Keeping Track of Assets | Management
15 Important Facts About Ticks | Health Matters
The Underground Farm Scene | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Define Your Own Long-Term Care Health Decisions | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Bison is Connecting With Americans’ Eating Habits | Farm & Ranch Life
“Runnin’ On Empty”: The Family Episodes | The Knightro Report

What’s New Highlights
Smart Padlock Swaps Keys, Combinations for Fingerprints
Weigh Baby Calves Safely: Calf Catcher’s New Digital Scale
Environmentally-Friendly, Automatic Flying Insect Control
Bat Wing’s 5-Finger Design Feeds Short or Specialty Crops More Consistently, Evenly
USM Wear Tech Granted Patent on “Vertical Tillage Tool”
A “Helping Hand” for Zero-Turn Mowers
Can-Am Revamps Defender Lineup, Adds All-New 6X6 Model
LockNLube’s Upgraded Professional Pistol-Grip Grease Gun

August 2019 issue highlights

Concentration in Agricultural Production | Viewpoint
How Iowa Farmers Manage Manure Responsibly | Viewpoint
A Simplified System for Keeping Track of Assets | Management
Alfalfa Heaving: A Potential Concern for this Year’s Crop | Management
Monstrous Power for Equipment | Product Spotlight
Off-Road Replacement Wheels and Rims | Product Spotlight
Things to Consider Before Replacing Hydraulic or Bi-Fold Doors | Equipment Talk
Forgiveness is Greatly Needed These Days | Farm & Ranch Life
Cows in a Classroom “Deliver a Message” | Moonwalking on Tailgates
The “Dad & Mom Bank” | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
“Runnin’ On Empty”: Never Lose Hope | The Knightro Report

What’s New Highlights:
Haymaking is Simplified with this Versatile New Bale Handling Machine
New Spreader from Artsway Maximizes Load Capacity
Intelligent Camera Monitor System Completely Eliminates Blind Spots
Smart Padlock Swaps Keys, Combinations for Fingerprints
Weigh Baby Calves Safely: Calf Catcher’s New Digital Scale
New High-Speed Disc Offers Strategic Tillage and Aggressive Residue Manageme

July 2019 issue highlights

Meeting the Challenge of Rural Stress and Suicide | Viewpoint
What’s Behind That Recommendation to Reduce Red Meat? | Viewpoint
Considering Hydraulic or Bi-Fold Door Replacement? | Equipment Talk
Crankenstein : Monstrous Power for Equipment | Product Spotlight
Improve Reproductive Efficiency this Breeding Season | Product Spotlight
Cows in a Classroom “Deliver a Message” | Moonwalking on Tailgates
“Runnin’ On Empty”: The Introduction | The Knightro Report
Grandson Wants to Farm | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Outcomes of Substance Abuse Treatment Vary | Farm & Ranch Life
Before You Use That Steel Brush to Clean Your Grill Again | Safety

What’s New Highlights
Intelligent Camera Monitor System Completely Eliminates Blind Spots
VF Implement Tire from Alliance Designed to Reduce Compaction
Row-By-Row Flow Meter for Monitoring Liquid Applications
Safely Position Weighted Tractor Tires
New Spreader from Artsway Maximizes Load Capacity
Premium Round Baler Processes Wet & Dry Hay, Straw & Stalks
Easy, Affordable Monitoring Solution for Livestock Facilities

June 2019 issue highlights

How Farmers Hold onto Hope in the Tough Times | Viewpoint
He Who Plants a Tree, Plants Hope | Viewpoint
What’s Behind That Recommendation to Reduce Red Meat? | Viewpoint
Tireside Chat: Why Choose Tires over Tracks? | Equipment Talk
Five Documents Every Farmer Should Have | Management
Seven Fencing Tips for Cattle | Herd Health
Improve Reproductive Efficiency this Breeding Season | Product Spotlight
Hearing Safety Simple Tips | Ag Health Matters
Approaches for Distressed Farmers to Consider | Farm & Ranch Life
It’s Time To Switch Gears and Write a Book: Looking for a Sponsor | The Knightro Report
Options for Offsetting Income Taxes | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family

What’s New highlights
Premium Round Baler Processes Wet & Dry Hay, Straw & Stalks
Easy, Affordable Monitoring Solution for Livestock Facilities
A Quick, Clean and Easy Pavement Problem Fix
Universal ROPS-Mount Canopy Made from Lightweight Aluminum
Escrow Account Offered by AllHay.com Protects Customers
New Parts Cleaner & Degreaser from Lucas Oil Products

May 2019 issue highlights

Increased Certainty in Ag Should Breed Optimism | Viewpoint
Lowering the Stress Level of Farming | Equipment Talk
Spring Burndown Treatments for Winter Annual Weeds | Management
Avoid Insurance Gaps and Claims on Your Farm’s Most Common Pollutant | Management
Coping with Stress During a Crisis | Perspective
Stresses Of Farming Are Changing: Updated Understanding Is Needed | Farm & Ranch Life
One For All, And All For One: My Last Will and Testament | The Knightro Report
Caught in the Income Tax “Whirlpool” | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
The Biggest Mistake Farmers Make – Loving the Farm Too Much | Farm & Ranch Life
The Maple Syrup Process is Best Left to the ‘Experienced’ | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights
12-Ton Spreaders for Fertilizer, Lime Applications introduced by Loftness
Compact Track Loader from ASV Boasts Reliability and Serviceability
Narrow-Row Planter from Kinze Available for the Spring of 2020
Vettec Debuts New Thin Rubber Block for Dairy Cows
Natural Oral Nutritional Supplement Gives Spring Calves a Boost
New Whole-Farm Management System from Syngenta and Ram

April 2019 issue highlights:

How the PTO and 3-Point Hitch Can Work Smarter, Faster and Safer | Product Spotlight
Why Every Farmer Should be Doing On-Farm Research | Management
Seven Things to Know About China to Understand the Trade War | Perspectives
What Really Stinks About Celebrity Diet Advice | Our Guest
Choosing a Calving Season Based on Profitability | Herd Management
Increased Feeding Efficiency in Finishing Beef Cattle | Product Spotlight
Those Who Contributed The Most | The Knightro Report
Ag Recession Can Provide Opportunities for Creative Operators | Farm & Ranch Life
Finding the Story of the Family Farm | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Why Dad Won’t Make a Will?| Keeping the Family Farm in the Family

What’s New highlights:
New Rebuild Kits for Parallel Linkage Flange Bushings
Turn Tillage Into a High-Tech Operation, Regardless of Tractor Type
Cab Control Puts Easier Adjustments at Strip-Tillers’ Fingertips
New Radar Sensor Technology to Maintain Optimal Boom Height
Handle the Most Challenging Bales With the Ravage Bale Processor
Simple-to-Use Drone and Data Analytics Ecosystem Quickly Captures Field Data
Dew Maker for Dry Hay Introduced by Harvest Tec

March 2019 issue highlights:

Farm Bill Offers Hope for the New Year, and the Next Generation | Our Guest
Do You Have Too Much Tractor Tire? Bigger Isn’t Always Better | Equipment Talk
Spring Tillage: Is it Right for Your Soils? | Equipment Talk
Grower and Ag Pro Communication Increasing on Social Media | Management
Calving Seasons of the Mind | Herd Management
New Farm Bill Helps Distressed Farmers | Farm & Ranch Life
The Fat Attack: Reader Response to the “Fat” Issue | Knightro Report
Two Distinct Beneficiary Groups | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
A “Snowpocalypse” in a Different Land | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Home-Made Electrolyte Mix and More Helpful Hints | Pennywise

What’s New highlights:
Turn Tillage Into a High-Tech Operation, Regardless of Tractor Type
Planter Disc Opener Designed to Maximize Seed-to-Soil Contact
Convert Your Self-Propelled JD Sprayer to a High Clearance Model
Demco Adds Two New Models to Their Grain Cart Lineup
New Radar Sensor Technology to Maintain Optimal Boom Height
Modular Cow Monitoring Solution Now Supports Complete Lifecycle
New Load Bar Technology from Tru-Test Features an 11,000-Lb. Capacity
End Bunk Cleaning Problems Permanently with a Blow Hard Bunk Cleaner

February 2019 issue highlights:

The State of Digital Agriculture: Four experts weigh in | Viewpoint
What’s the Shelf Life of Your Ag Chemicals? | Farm Management
Cyber Security: Critical for today’s agribusiness | Farm Management
Boosting Power with the BELLE Single-Phase Motor™ | Product Spotlight
Political Incorrectness Can Be Problematic Or Useful | Farm & Ranch Life
Doctors Respond to the Fat Issue | The Knightro Report
Farm Progression Planning & Adult Children | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
History: Recalling the Fall of the Berlin Wall | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights:
3-Point Hitch Box Blade for 500+ HP Tractors
Cut Trees, Trim Limbs and Grind Stumps with One Saw
Horizontal Drum Mulcher Designed for Skid Steers
Row-By-Row Flow Meter for Monitoring Liquid Applications
Durable Cameras to Help Move More Snow in Less Eliminate Blind Spots
Demco Adds Two New Models to Their Grain Cart Lineup
Torwel’s New Heavy-Duty Snow Pushers

January 2019 issue highlights:

7 Common Questions About Transitioning to Organic | Our Guest
New Tech, Old Tech: When is it Time to Update? | Equipment Talk
Performance and Reliability Reach a Peak on the Farm | Product Spotlight
Moisture Measurement Simplified with Handheld Analyzers | Product Spotlight
Great Gift Ideas for All Seasons | Product Spotlight
Facing Financial Distress: Sound advice can help prevent costly traps | Managment
Fat: Is it Waste, or is it Taste? | The Knightro Report
What’s in a name? For the Family Farm, Everything | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Behavioral Healthcare Helped These Farmers Manage Stress | Farm & Ranch Life
Welcome Back This Christmas: Returning to the Peasant Poet | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights:
Safely Position Weighted Tractor Tires
Durable Cameras to Help Eliminate Blind Spots
Horizontal Drum Mulcher Designed for Skid Steers
Snow Pusher Lets You Move More Snow in Less Time
End-to-End Precision Solution Designed for Farmers
Monitor and Control Tillage Depth from Inside Your Cab

December 2018 issue highlights:

Moisture Measurement Simplified with Handheld Analyzers | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Rustic Style: The Original Windmill Ceiling Fans | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
To Heal Political Rifts, Build a Better Mousetrap | GUEST COLUMN
The Centerpiece of Christmas Remains the Same | The Knightro Report
The Most Memorable Christmas Gift Ever | Pony Tales by Ponty
Daylight Saving Time Changes Can Affect Farmers | Farm & Ranch Life
Reader Questions Financial Reasoning About Long-Term Care | Keeping the Family Farm
Farm Films to Enjoy this Winter | Moonwalking on Tailgates

What’s New highlights:
Solution for Case IH Flag Ship Transition Cones Without Removing Rotors
USM Wear Technologies Build Tougher Tillage Tools with Help from ISU
G4 Stalk Stomper from May Wes Wins an Award
Give Feedback, Get a Discount on the Feller Buncher FBS752
RPR Combine Concaves Available as Copperhead Concave Systems
Quick Connect Greasing Accessory Kit from LockNLube
New Off Road Side-by-Sides from Textron
MECHRON® 2240 Provides a Comfortable Environment for Four

November 2018 issue highlights:

To Heal Political Rifts, Build A Better Mousetrap | GUEST COLUMN
The Need for Faster, More Reliable Broadband Grows | EQUIPMENT TALK
Cooling in Rustic Styler with the Original Windmill Ceiling Fans | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Profit from Pelletizing Farm Waste with Vecoplan AG | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
How the Humble Nickel Helped Build the Pork Industry | The Knightro Report
A New Notion in Agriculture: A Floating Farm on the Ocean | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Why Some People Who Should Have a Will Do Not | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Alternative Crops That Agricultural Producers are Considering | Farm & Ranch Life
Electric Savings, Hydraulic Oil Remover and other Helpful Hints | Pennywise

What’s New Highlights
Shaping Technology Can Make All of Your Land Productive
Upgrade Your Sprayer Boom Full Aluminum Booms and Extensions
Tear Into Large Logs, Bore Into Stumps Efficiently
Monitor Bin Levels Safely, Efficiently with LevALERT®
Scouting App Speeds up ID’ing Weeds and Disease with Photo Recognition
Powerful, Reliable and Portable Generator For Less Than $1,000
Cool Large Spaces Without Breaking the Bank
Pet Hair Removal Made Easy and Environmentally-Friendly

October 2018 issue highlights:

Ag’s Future Rewritten: Changing Farm Structure and Tech | COMMENTARY
The Farm Economy is Not All Bad News | GUEST COLUMN
Profit from Pelletizing Farm Waste | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
8 Tips to Consider When Buying a Used Tractor | EQUIPMENT TALK
Sell it or Smell It: The market outlook is getting kind of stinky | The Knightro Report
Widow Should Take Time to Grieve First | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Optimism Can Be Important to Surviving the Farm Economic Recession | Farm & Ranch Life
Is David Hasselhoff the “Last bastion of Manhood?” | Moonwalking on Tailgates
Before You Use That Steel Brush to Clean Your Grill Again… | Chow Line

What’s New Highlights:
Scouting App Speeds up ID’ing Weeds and Disease with Photo Recognition and AI
Monitor Bin Levels Safely, Efficiently with LevALERT®
An Easy, Affordable Way to Upgrade Your Planter
ISOBUS Terminal with Single-Handed Operation
New Line of Mini Articulating Loaders Enters US Market
Powerful, Reliable and Portable Generator For Less Than $1,000
Cool Large Spaces Without Breaking the Bank

September 2018 issue highlights:

How to Test Hay Moisture Levels | Equipment Talk
Raising Farm Safety Awareness through Personal Stories | The Telling the Story Project
New World Record Set: Farmer Cuts 348 Acres of Hay in 8 Hours | Product Spotlight
Considering Solar Powered Water Pumping | Equipment Talk
Are Your Cattle Picking Up E. coli at the Water Trough? | Herd Health
The Doctors Finally Got It Right: Meat is Good for You | The Knightro Report
There is Hope When Dealing With Mental Illness and Addiction | Farm & Ranch Life
Business Planning with Three Kids and “Too Many Irons in the Fire” | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family

What’s New Highlights
Extend the Life of Your Corn Head Snout Points
A Pulse Crop Lifter With a Clever Design
One Person Can Stack Bales Quickly, Efficiently
Grain Bag Management Made Simple
Create the Perfect Ditch, Terrace or Waterway
Make Money with a Modular Pellet Production Plant
New Coupler Lock Keeps Thieves from Stealing Trailers
Biodegradable Film Leads to Big Yield Gains
Photosynthetic Corn Shows Increase in Yield

August 2018 issue highlights

The Rise of Biopesticides in Traditional Crop Production | Crop Science Feature
How to Fix Your Tractor’s ’Power Hop’ | Equipment Talk
Preparing for Pinkeye Season | Herd Health
Farmers are the Poorest Marketers, Yet Complain the Most | The Knightro Report
A Quick and Overly-Simple Explanation of Global Agricultural Politics | Ryan Dennis
Suicide Has Lasting Effects on Surviving Loved Ones | Dr. Michael Rosmann
Could Your Parent(s) Estate Pay up to $200,000 a Year for Elder Care? | Michael Baron
Worm Free Veggies, Tick Remover and More Helpful Money Saving Hints | Pennywise

What’s New highlights:
Make Money With a Mobile Pellet Production Plant from Vecoplan
Make Topsoil, Where and When You Want It with this Attachment
Hydraulic Tree Saw for Excavators Features Rotating Cutting Head
Heavy-Duty UTV Features Military-Grade Construction
Coupler Lock Keeps Thieves from Stealing Your Trailers
Work Smarter with a ROPS Carryall System for Tractors and Zero Turn Mowers
Trade Professionals Wanted to Test New WD-40 Products
Biodegradable Film Leads to Big Yield Gains

July 2018 issue highlights

Don’t Short Yourself – Go Long | The Knightro Report
The Long and the Short of it All | Pony Tales by Ponty
Why a Buy-Sell Agreement is Critical for this Family | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Farmers Hope For Improved Livelihoods In 2018 | Farm And Ranch Life
The Digital Harvest | Ryan Dennis
Simple Plant Watering Tip, Safer Ladder Steps and More Helpful Hints | Pennywise
How Tractors for Africa Empowers Growing Communities | Friends & Neighbors

What’s New highlights
Next-Gen Grain Vac from Conveyair™ Features Several Upgrades
Feedback from Farmers Leads to Improved Stalk Stomper from May Wes
New Roller Guides for Schumacher Easy Cut II Cutterbar System
Easily Lift the Side of Your Grain Vac with the New Vac Jack
Skid Steer Boom Mower for Heavy Grass, Brush Mulching
High-Speed WiFi for Rural Homes and Farms
Gate Accessories Made to Simplify Your Life
The TireGrabber is Now Available in the U.S.

June 2018 issue highlights:

Considering Solar Powered Water Pumping | Equipment Talk
Feed Train’s Mobile Bunk Feed Bins | Product Spotlight
Weighing in on the True Value of a High-Quality Scale | Equipment Talk
Trace Mineral Deficiencies and Herd Performance | Health Matters
The Wisdom in the Fable of “The Three Little Pigs” | The Knightro Report
Family Rifts, Estrangements and Estate Planning: Two Scenarios | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Why Some People (Especially Farmers) Avoid Behavioral Healthcare | Farm & Ranch Life
Wind-Watching in Another Land | The Milk House
Getting Rid of Skunk Spray, Free Bird Seed and More Helpful Hints | Pennywise

Whats New highlights:
The TireGrabber is Now Available in the U.S.
New Tool Lets You Easily Lift the Side of Your Grain Vac
Smart Soil Sensors with LoRa® Technology
New Wireless Grain Bin Fan Control App
Anhydrous Ammonia Knife Monitor Detects Blockages
First Skid Steer or Compact Tracked Loader With a Telescopic Boom
Heavier-Duty Portable Corral Introduced by Diamond W
Integrated Solar Energizer Covers 30 Miles of Fence
Simple, Fast, Economical Dehorning, Debudding
Smaller, Affordable Portable Shade System

May 2018 issue highlights:

New Lightweight, Low-cost Field Scouting Robot | Technology
Are Your Cattle Picking Up E. coli at the Water Trough? | Livestock Health
Eight Great New Mowers for Spring | Product Spotlight
The Most Underpaid, Unappreciated Men, and Women in Ag | The Knightro Report
Ultimatums May Best Help People Overcome Alcohol Addiction | Farm & Ranch Life
Missing the Boat on Long-Term Care Insurance | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
The Old, Dusty Farm Radio Remedy | The Milk House

What’s New highlights:
First Skid Steer or Compact Tracked Loader With a Telescopic Boom
Planter Mounted, Granular, On-Board Fertilizer Applicator
New High-Speed Tillage Implement for All Field Types
Integrated Solar Energizer Can Cover 30 Miles of Fence
New Self-Propelled Bedding Chopper from Valmetal
Smaller, Affordable Portable Shade System Now Available
Affordable, Lighter Weight Scissor Lift Attachments
New Spray Tire for Narrow-Row Crops from Kleber
Anhydrous Ammonia Knife Monitor Detects Blockages

April 2018 issue highlights:

Variable Rate Irrigation: 3 Ways to Make it Work on Your Farm | EQUIPMENT TALK
High-Performance Feeding Equipment from Feed Train, LLC | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Grain Cleaners that won’t “Break the Bank” | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
8 Great New Mowers | PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

“It’s not about how you sell ‘em, it’s about how you tell ‘em” | Knightro Report
Butter: It’s Always Good, Even When it’s 3,000 Years Old | The Milk House
More About Family Ownership Agreements and Wills | Keeping the Family Farm
Progress Update: Farm Family Dealing With Alcoholism | Farm & Ranch Life
Helpful Home Hints | Pennywise

What’s New highlights:
Innovations in Tillage: New All-In-One Machine Can Handle It All
DIY Professional Drainage: Save the Expense of Hiring a Contractor
Ag and Farm Supply Expands Spring Product Lineup
All-In-One Boom Height Control System Helps Producers Reduce Costs
Keeping Young Deer Safe: Sensor Developed to Automatically Lift Mower
Patented Technology Helps You Get Longer Wear from Your Wheel Track Sweeps
Lo-Profile Seed Tenders from Strobel Boasts New Innovations
Keep Sharp, Stiff Cornstalks from Chewing Up Your Expensive Tires
Cattle Ear Tags Controls Horn Flies, Face Flies, Lice and Spinose Ear Ticks
Facial Recognition Tech: Sensors Give Farmers Clear Picture Of Animal Health
New Online Hub Serves as Starting Point for Help Finding Drought Resources

March 2018 issue highlights:

Markets Don’t Find You – You Find Markets | The Knightro Report
The Difference Between a Family Ownership Agreement and a Will | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Born to be Broke: Is Farming and Profit Suited Like Water and Gasoline? | The Milk House
Divorce Is More Complicated For Farm Couples | Farm & Ranch Life
Help
Wearable Sensors for Plants Developed to Monitor Water Use | Technology
Grain Cleaners That Won’t “Break the Bank” | Product Spotlight
Why IF/VF Tires are Being Developed – ATG Explains | Equipment Talk

What’s New highlights:
Keeping Young Deer Safe: Sensor Developed to Automatically Lift Mower
Cleaner and Closer Cut, Tighter Turning Radius New Pull-Type Disc Mower
New Grease Guns and Storage Solutions from LockNLube
Modular Fence Line Bunk Feeders Offers Flexibility for Cattle Feeding
Compressed Air System Lets You Run Large Impact Wrenches, Tire Machines and More
Nano Biocatalyst Infused Product Increases Yield, Reduces Water Usage
All-In-One Boom Height Control System Helps Producers Reduce Costs

February 2018 issue highlights:

Biourbanism: A Modern Concept in Agriculture | FEATURE by Dr. Michael Rosmann
Are You Prepared for the Next Downturn in Agriculture? | The Knightro Report
How You Can Lose Without Losing | Pony Tales by Ponty
If They Build It, Will They Come? | Essays From My Farmhouse Kitchen
A Big Question Your Grown Farm Kids Want To Ask You, But Probably Won’t | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Specialization Has a Future in Agriculture, and in Unexpected Ways | Farm & Ranch Life
Man Versus Beefst: Transitioning from Dairy to Beef | The Milk House
Haybuster Helps Farm Rescue’s Livestock Feeding Assistance Program | PROFILE
New Self-Managing Drone Could Take Autonomy to the Next Level | INNOVATIONS
Off-Road Replacement Wheels and Rims | Product Spotlight on Hey Machinery

What’s New highlights:
Battery-Electric Compact Tractor from Fendt
Hopper Trailer Opener Improves Safety and Productivity
Newcomer to the UTV Market: CAT Brings on a Heavy-Duty Model
Versatile, Heavy-Duty Bale Shredder Designed to Last
Feed Any Bale and Save Time, Money With New Chainless Bale Feeders
New Polyethylene Livestock Waterers Accommodates Up to 200 Cattle
New Grease Guns and Storage Solutions from LockNLube

January 2018 issue highlights:

Meeting the Demand for Off-Road Replacement Wheels and Rims | Hey Machinery PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Innovations: Changing the Flow of Water | Brown Weight Valve PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Son-In-Law’s Drinking Habits Stresses Family Members, Threatens Future of Farm Operation | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Is it Fake News? Why Some People Draw Different Conclusions From the Same Information | Farm & Ranch Life
Man Versus “Beefst”: Transitioning from Dairy to Beef | The Milk House
The Stable Remains the Centerpiece of Christmas | The Knightro Report
You Can Eat Well and Save Time and Money | Pennywise

“What’s New” highlights:
Hopper Trailer Opener Improves Safety and Productivity
Versatile, Heavy-Duty Bale Shredder Designed to Last
Needham Ag’s New V8 Firming Wheel With Urethane Tire
Ag Leader Simplifies Connectivity in the Cab
New Polyethylene Livestock Waterers Accommodates Up to 200 Cattle
Large Calf Blankets Will Keep Your Animals Comfortable
Temporary Fence Kit Requires No Tools, No Sweat to Install
New App Makes it Easier to Identify, Manage Corn Ear Rots, Mycotoxins

December 2017 issue highlights:

Scammers Target Farmers, Ranchers: How to Protect Yourself | Quick Tips
When the Hunt Backfires | The Knightro Report
The Venison Connection | Pony Tales by Ponty
Everybody, Farmers Included, Does Things MacGyver Wouldn’t Do | Farm & Ranch Life
Estate Planning When You Have a ’Millennial’ in the Equation | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Artifacts are Reminders People Toiled on the Same Ground Long Before We Did | The Milk House

“What’s New” highlights:
Grain Bag Unloading Made Simple: Neeralta’s New Grain Bag Extractor
Single-Handedly Clear Fields With ‘World’s First Self-Loading Bale Mover’
Versatile’s New 4WD/DeltaTrack Models
New Disc Hay Mowers Width Ranges from 7’ to 10’
A Degreaser That Powerfully & Safely Gets the Job Done
Overalls Designed to Increased Farm Safet

November 2017 issue highlights:

Why 4-H is Worthy of Saving | The Knightro Report
My ‘Shining’ 4-H Achievement | Pony Tales by Ponty
Living Trust Versus a Will | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Generosity is a Hallmark of America’s Farmers | Farm & Ranch Life
Culture: Across the Sea, Some Farmers are Cut From a ‘Different’ Cloth | The Milk House
Corn is Our ”Yellow Gold” | Essays From My Farmhouse Kitchen
What I Wish Every Grocery Shopper Knew | Pennywise

What’s New highlights:
Grain Storage Cleanout: First-of-its-Kind Introduced
The World’s First Self-Propelled Round Baler Introduced by Vermeer
Track Product Improves Productivity, Saves Larger Implements Time in the Field
New Reel Disk Model, the Cobra Vertical Tillage Tool
Poly Snout Product Line Extension for Case IH and New Holland Corn Heads
Deep Ripper, Stealth Ripper with Replaceable Wing
High-Speed Rotary Finisher Now is Narrow Transport

October 2017 issue highlights:

Precision Agriculture Requires Precision Measurement | INNOVATIONS
County Fair Livestock Judges and the Litmus Test | The Knightro Report
The Heart of a Judge | Pony Tales by Ponty
What Everyone Should Want in Their Estate Plan | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
Better Options Exist to Improve Health Insurance for Farm and Rural Residents | Farm & Ranch Life
That Which Was Marked by Squirrel Tails | The Milk House
The Barns Museum | Essays From My Farmhouse Kitchen
October Surprises and Home-Made Disguises | Pennywise

What’s New Highlights:
New Fuel Trailers Can Keep Tanks Full This Season
“Knotter-Friendly” Baler Twine for High Density, Large Square Balers
Quickly Mulch Around Objects Above and Below Grade
28’ Wide Heavy-Duty Land Leveler for Field Leveling Introduced
New 10-Ton Ground Drive Lime and Fertilizer Spreader
Drop Trees in Any Direction With New Dangle Saw
New Attachments for No-Till Designed to Save Time, Labor
Self-Propelled, Automatic Feed Pusher Introduced
New Skid Steer Snow Pushers Introduced by Hiniker

September 2017 issue highlights:

The Humble Hamburger is a Great American Icon | Knightro Report
Why We love the 4th of July So Much | Pony Tales by Ponty
Estate Taxes and the “Political Pendulum” | Keeping the Family Farm in the Family
How Government and Industry Can Help Prevent Farmer Suicide | Farm & Ranch Life
That Which Was Marked by Squirrel Tails | The Milk House
If We Lived Our Lives in Reverse, What Would We Do Different? | Essays From My Farmhouse Kitchen
How Technology is Impacting Irrigation | In the Field

What’s New Highlights:
28’ Wide Heavy-Duty Land Leveler for Field Leveling Introduced
New 10-Ton Ground Drive Lime and Fertilizer Spreader
Quickly Mulch Around Objects Above and Below Grade
Drop Trees in Any Direction With New Dangle Saw
New Fuel Trailers Can Keep Tanks Full This Season
New Attachments for No-Till Designed to Save Time, Labor
Self-Propelled, Automatic Feed Pusher Introduced
New Skid Steer Snow Pushers Introduced by Hiniker
“Knotter-Friendly” Baler Twine for High Density, Large Square Balers

August 2017 issue highlights:

County Fairs: Still the Biggest ‘Show’ on Earth | The Knightro Report
The Road Most Travelled to the County Fair | Pony Tales by Ponty
Is The Quality of Secondary Education Declining in Rural America? | Farm & Ranch Life
The Last Crofter | The Milk House
When Faith Kept More People on the Farm than “Fortune” | Keeping the Family Farm
If We Lived Our Lives in Reverse, What Would We Do Different? | My Farmhouse Kitchen
In the Land of Survivors | Pennywise


A Timeline of Changes: Beef Cattle Farming in North America

The rapid pace of technological change has left no corner of society or industry behind, not even agriculture. It would be impossible to keep up with the food demands of our growing population if we relied on the farming methods of fifty years ago, let alone two hundred years ago. Whether improved farming techniques helped the population grow or the growing population forced innovation in agriculture, we’re going to take a look at the changes in beef cattle farming in the United States and Canada.

Cattle Farming From Colonization to the Civil War

European settlers kept cattle herds in America since at least 1525. In Canada, French and British settlers introduced cattle in large numbers about a century later. For the first two centuries of colonial history, herds were smaller and mainly for community subsistence.

United States

Population growth in the United States in the early 19th century created opportunities for commercial cattle farms, which took advantage of the enormous amount of land on the Western frontier. These farmers drove their cattle back across the Appalachians or used the river and canal systems to move the herds back to the eastern population centers. This system was far from efficient, but beef was not a major part of the American diet at the time.

The population expansion in the 19th century left beef suppliers struggling to keep up with demand. Herd sizes weren’t necessarily the issue. In the mid-19th century, Texas boasted ten head of cattle for every one person. But as large as the herds were in the western United States, most of the cattle were used only for their hides and tallow. It wasn’t until the introduction of the refrigerated rail car in the 1860s that Western cattle farmers had a way to get their beef to the hungry East Coast markets.

Canada

Beef cattle farming in Canada would not grow beyond its subsistence and small trade roots until the settlement of the western territories. Ontario, which was not a western territory but rather close to the population center, and British Columbia dominated the Canadian cattle market after the settlement.

Lack of borders in the Midwest and Western US allowed the Canadian cattle farming industry to grow hand-in-hand with the US industry, as ranchers would drive their cattle without fear of border transgression.

Commercialization in the Late 19th Century and Beyond

Thanks almost entirely to the refrigerated rail car, the number of cattle on Western ranches expanded rapidly. In fact, it more than doubled between 1880 and 1900.

The boom in beef production can’t be explained by herd sizes alone. Prior to this huge leap in technology and its corresponding boom in the beef industry, cattle farmers had scant resources and little incentive to fatten up their cattle. They weren’t selling their cattle for the meat, after all.

Now that the means existed to make the meat a profitable part of the animal, beef producers had to find a way to maximize this profit potential.

Four trends helped this along:

  • Cattle breed. First was the proliferation of the heartier, more muscular British breeds of cattle at the expense of the original Spanish Longhorn, introduced by Columbus and other Spanish explorers after 1493. The Longhorn wasn’t replaced in the American West, but rather crossbred with the British breeds to help introduce some of their desirable traits to the Longhorn herds.
  • Stockyards and feedlots. The second was the rise of the Midwest stockyards and feedlots. Texas and the other Plains states had plenty of open grazing land to raise the beef. Midwestern cities such as Chicago and Kansas City, however, had access to the railroad infrastructure, and therefore they could connect the cattle farmers to the beef market. The farmers would stage cattle drives to transport the cattle to these Midwestern cities, where they would be kept in stockyards and finished in feedlots. This finishing process allowed the cattle to pack on extra muscle mass in a shorter span of time, allowing the distributors to sell more meat per head of cattle.
  • Processing and packaging facilities. Previously, the best way to get fresh beef to consumers in large population centers was to ship the live cattle into the city and minimize the distance between the packaging center and the end consumer. Between the 1920s and 1960s, these processing facilities moved closer to the cattle operations in the Midwest. Refrigeration technology helped to ensure the freshness of the beef as a packaged product, which is cheaper and easier to ship than live cattle.
  • Federal highway system. In the 1950s these highways allowed beef distributors to expand their network beyond the rail lines, which led to another explosion in growth in the beef industry.

Canada’s beef processing industry grew in lock step with its American counterpart. American slaughterhouses prepared all beef for both domestic consumption and export, and the Canadians had a robust live cattle export industry as well.

Canadian cattle farmers also had to focus their energy on the more labor-intensive job of helping a herd survive their much harsher winters. Both the UK and the US provided the Canadian cattle industry with healthy markets throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Technological and Other Improvements

Transportation improvements alone weren’t responsible for advancements in the cattle industry. Corn-based diets allowed the stockyards and feedlots to pack more muscle and fat onto the cattle.

Breeding practices have produced near-perfect cattle herds that are resistant to most natural threats such as diseases. They’re also capable of producing maximum beef yields per animal without using any pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other artificial improvement practices.

The overall number of cattle has declined steadily and significantly since 1970. But thanks to improved feeding technologies and health practices, the US now produces more beef than ever before.

As with many manufacturing industries, the beef industry has benefited from economies of scale. In the last twenty years, the cattle farming sector of the industry has seen a decline of almost 175,000 operations, 144,000 of which had a cattle inventory of under 50 head.

The decline of 1,000-head-capacity operations has been met with an increase in 16,000 and 32,000-head feedlots over the same time period. Processing operations have consolidated once more into a few large, efficient operations. Current machinery has allowed for the largest cattle-processing operations to process over 4,000 head of cattle a day. As of 2013, only four companies produce 85 percent of the beef in the United States: Tyson, Foods, JBS, Cargill and Smithfield Foods.

Packing plants offer a variety of products thanks to specialized machinery and streamlined operations. Rather than selling off butchered beef by the side &mdash that is, an entire side of the cow, including all cuts of the animal &mdash boxed beef increased the reach of the packagers by allowing customers to choose their cuts. For example, a BBQ restaurant that only offers brisket or a restaurant that only offers a filet would prefer to buy only what they need.

Trends in the Cattle Farming Industry

The general trend of the cattle industry has been one of tremendous growth over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, as one would expect given the general trajectory of the economy as a whole.

Several reasons can be named for the steady growth of beef production:

  • Rise in per capita income
  • Growth of two-income families creating a boom in consumer income
  • Urbanization, meaning if you aren’t going to grow your own food, you are going to buy more beef

All of these trends have continued to present day, to some degree or another. This isn’t to say, however, that every figure associated with the cattle industry has grown, but declines are easily explained.

For instance, cattle inventory rose from a figure of 12.5 million heads in 1920 to a high of around 45 million in 1975.

In 2015, inventory dipped just below 30 million, the lowest figure since the 1950s. This can be explained by the growth in dressed weight of the cattle. In simplified terms, dressed weight refers to the meat and bones that make up the sellable portion of a beef carcass.

In 1975, the average dressed weight of the cattle in the US was 579 pounds. In 2015, that number was up to 817.

Overall, US beef production is indeed down from its height in the 1970s, but the value of that production has risen steadily. Most recently, the production of beef by weight declined over 10 percent between 2002 and 2014, but the value of that production more than doubled, from $27.1 billion to $60.8 billion. Beef cattle in 2015 is certainly in good shape financially.

US beef consumption steadily rose until the 1970s, and has been on a precipitous decline ever since. In 1937, the US consumed 56 pounds of beef per person. By 1964, that number was up to 100 pounds per person according to some sources, while others say we reached our peak on 1976 at 94.4 pounds.

Beef Quality Grading

On the regulatory side of the industry, no program has been as visible for consumers as the USDA beef quality grading system. Despite its age, this program has also undergone changes to help keep up with the times.

In 1917, the USDA began a voluntary grading process for the beef processing industry. By 1927 the grading stamps began to appear on beef packaging.

The rules and standards have undergone several revisions over the years, but the grading system provides a standard analysis of the quality of the meat. This analysis is based on the following factors:

  • Physiological age of the animal at the time of slaughter
  • The amount of intramuscular fat, known as “marbling,” present in the meat
  • An assessment of the yield of boneless tissue from the particular carcass

All of these factors combine to give the beef a grade using a quality grade term and a yield grade number.

The consumer-facing labels are a simplified version of the USDA grade. Beef processing facilities are not required to pay for a USDA inspector to grade their beef, but choosing not to means forfeiting the marketing clout and pricing stability that comes with the grades.

The grades are as follows:

  • Prime. This is the highest grade assigned by the USDA. It’s reserved for beef with the most marbling and best texture. The overwhelming majority of beef that receives this grade is sold to the hotel and restaurant industry.
  • Choice. The second-highest USDA grade, beef earning this label sells for a higher price in the retail market. It contains a fair amount of marbling and a pleasing texture.
  • Select. This is the lowest of the USDA grades. It’s likely found on the label at a supermarket and contains little or no marbling, and an unremarkable texture.
  • Standard and Commercial. Beef receiving these grades will rarely be marked with the USDA shields. It’s most likely sold at supermarkets as store brand or stew meat.
  • Utility, Cutter and Canner. These last three grades are not sold to the consumer as is. They’re instead used for anything from hot dogs to dog food.

Beef marketers used to label their products as “Grade A Prime” or “Grade A Choice.” The letter grades A through E were used to assign a value to the maturity of the carcass.

Almost all cattle farmers and processors can afford to bring their beef to market at the highest quality Grade A designation. The maturity letter grades are now combined with the marbling grading to produce the final Prime/Choice/Select designation. As a result, one will no longer see a letter grade on beef packaging.

The Future of Beef Cattle Farming

Beef consumption trends will continue, and there are a few factors to consider for the future. As the American diet evolves and consumers gain a better understanding of their food, the role of different proteins will continue to evolve.

The continuing discussion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other bioengineering technologies will certainly impact all aspects of the agriculture industry. Foreign markets will provide both new opportunities for growth and bring new competition to the domestic beef industry.

It is difficult to predict what the future will look like, but one prediction is easy: the industry will continue to evolve.


Meat industry blamed for largest-ever � zone' in Gulf of Mexico

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

It is expected that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will this week announce the largest ever recorded dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to be larger than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast for July – an expanse of water roughly the size of New Jersey.

Nutrients flowing into streams, rivers and the ocean from agriculture and wastewater stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then decomposes. This results in hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, in the water, causing marine life either to flee or to die.

Some creatures, such as shrimp, suffer stunted growth. Algal blooms themselves can cause problems, as in Florida last summer when several beaches were closed after they became coated in foul-smelling green slime.

America’s vast appetite for meat is driving much of this harmful pollution, according to Mighty, which blamed a small number of businesses for practices that are “contaminating our water and destroying our landscape” in the heart of the country.

“This problem is worsening and worsening and regulation isn’t reducing the scope of this pollution,” said Lucia von Reusner, campaign director at Mighty. “These companies’ practices need to be far more sustainable. And a reduction in meat consumption is absolutely necessary to reduce the environmental burden.”

The Mighty report analyzed supply chains of agribusiness and pollution trends and found that a “highly industrialized and centralized factory farm system” was resulting in vast tracts of native grassland in the midwest being converted into soy and corn to feed livestock. Stripped soils can wash away in the rain, bringing fertilisers into waterways.

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is identified by the report as a “dominant” influence in the pollution, due to its market strength in chicken, beef and pork. Tyson, which supplies the likes of McDonald’s and Walmart, slaughters 35m chickens and 125,000 head of cattle every week, requiring five million acres of corn a year for feed, according to the report.

This consumption resulted in Tyson generating 55m tons of manure last year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with 104m tons of pollutants dumped into waterways over the past decade. The Mighty research found that the highest levels of nitrate contamination correlate with clusters of facilities operated by Tyson and Smithfield, another meat supplier.

This pollution has also been linked to drinking water contamination. Last week, a report by Environmental Working Group found that in 2015 water systems serving seven million Americans in 48 states contained high levels of nitrates. Consuming nitrates has been linked to an increased risk of contracting certain cancers.

“Large parts of America are being plowed up for corn and soy to raise meat,” said von Reusner. “There is very little regulation so we can’t wait for that.

“The corporate agriculture sector has shown it is responsive to consumer concerns about meat production so we hope that the largest meat companies will meet expectations on this.”

The report urges Tyson and other firms to use their clout in the supply chain to ensure that grain producers such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland employ practices that reduce pollution flowing into waterways. These practices include not leaving soil uncovered by crops and being more efficient with fertilizers so plants are not doused in too many chemicals.

The US is an enormous consumer of meat, with the average American chewing through 211lbs in 2015. A study released earlier this year found that US beef consumption fell by nearly one fifth from 2005 to 2014, possibly due to concerns over health or the environment. A new increase is now expected.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, beef and pork production is forecast to grow significantly over the next decade, driven by lower feed costs and healthy demand. By 2025, the average American is expected to eat 219lbs of meat a year. Just 3% of Americans follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

This voracious appetite for meat has driven the loss of native forests and grasslands in the US and abroad, releasing heat-trapping gases through deforestation and agricultural practices. Agriculture produced 9% of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, according to the EPA.

A spokesman for Cargill said the company was an “industry leader” for sustainable practices, pointing to its efforts with environment groups to address air, water and soil quality in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.

“Protein consumption is growing globally and we are working to meet increased consumer demand with sustainably and responsibly produced foods and supply chains,” said the spokesman. “We are dedicated to protecting animal welfare, reducing environmental impact, increasing transparency and keeping workers and consumers safe.

“We also continue to improve livestock feed efficiency. Over the last 15 years we have seen an overall trend in reducing the volume of feed for each pound of beef produced.”

A Tyson spokeswoman said “we don’t agree with the group’s characterization of our company but share its interest in protecting the environment.”

“It’s true the livestock and poultry industry is a major buyer of grain for feed, however, the report fails to note that a large percentage of corn raised in the US is used for biofuel and that a significant portion is used for human consumption,” she added.

“Tyson Foods is focused on continuous improvement. We are constantly looking to improve and lead the industry, so that we can deliver sustainable food to people every day at a scale that matters to the world.”

Archer Daniels Midland were also contacted for comment prior to publication.


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Extending artificial insemination to beef cattle

One of the reproductive tools for the beef industry discussed in depth at the 10th annual Aldam Stockman School last year was the use of fixed-time artificial insemination. Sabrina Dean explores the concept as explained by three international speakers at the event.

Experts say that fixed-time artificial insemination is a cost-effective method of producing genetically superior replacement bulls and heifers. Photo: FW Archive

Professors Reuben Mapletoft, Cliff Lamb and Michael McGowan all agree on one thing: fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) is an invaluable tool to help beef cattle farmers manage production and boost profitability.

FTAI is readily available to the beef industry. What all three speakers find strange, though, is that despite evidence of its potential, uptake of FTAI by beef cattle farmers remains slow in many parts of the world.

What is FTAI?
As the name implies, FTAI relates to the timing of artificial insemination (AI). The method makes use of oestrus synchronisation to artificially inseminate cattle at a set time.

Lamb, from the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in the US, says that FTAI can assist in optimising management and improving efficiencies, and can even enable greater weaning percentages and weights.

He explains that the most important benchmark in a beef operation is the percentage of heifers that achieve an early first calving.

“Those females which became pregnant in the first 21 days of their first breeding season produced on average 0,75 more calves over their lifespan than heifers that only became pregnant later,” he says.

Mapletoft, of the Department of Large Animal Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, says accurate oestrus detection remains one of the biggest impediments to success with AI.

According to Lamb, research shows that up to 20% of cows are mistakenly detected as being on heat when they are not, with oestrus detection rates in the dairy industry often lower than 40%.

“In other words, if you go and check oestrus and the cows are all cycling, you’ll probably pick up only about 40% of those that are on heat.”

He adds that with FTAI, the aim is to ultimately achieve synchronised cycling in a herd, but all animals are inseminated whether oestrus is detected or not, thus eliminating oestrus detection efficiency as a possible contributor to reduced pregnancy rates.

Mapletoft emphasises, however, that the ultimate success of oestrus synchronisation and FTAI programmes centres on the concept of controlling follicular wave dynamics and ovulation.

He explains that FTAI requires synchronous growth of a dominant follicle coupled with synchronous ovulation at a predetermined time. This is done with hormone treatments such as estradiol (which synchronises growth of a new ovulatory follicle and then ovulation) and a progestin device (which extends the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle).

Another option is the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)/porcine luteinising hormone (pLH), which can also be used to synchronise growth of a new ovulatory follicle and subsequently the timing of ovulation.

All the speakers highlight that many other factors can affect the success of an FTAI programme, including the body condition of the cows, effective pre-synchronisation planning, nutrition and management.

Shorter breeding season
Lamb emphasises the value of FTAI as a reproductive management tool by sharing experiences with a trial herd at the University of Florida that he worked with from 2006. He recalls that before they started, the breeding season was 120 days, which he considered too long.

The 300-head cow-calf operation comprised about 50% Angus/Simmentaler-type cows and 50% Brangus and Braford cows.

“In a beef cattle operation, getting a cow pregnant is more economically important than any other thing you can select for,” he says.

From the beginning, every action they took was aimed at ensuring conception. This included a set of rules for the cows, one of which was not making excuses for individual animals considered phenotypically correct or valuable.

Every female had to calve for the first time by the age of 24 months and thereafter had to calve every year. The production rules were that the cow had to provide sufficient resources for the calf and maintain condition.

They also eliminated cows that displayed a bad temperament, explaining that stress and disposition may have a negative impact on fertility.

The researchers applied these and several other rules, and in 2008 started the FTAI process. They began by performing AI on the heifers, followed by the cows one week later.

However, due to the late breeding season of the prior year, late cows necessitated a second and third round of AI.

The following breeding season, the researchers were still working on three cow groups but reduced the length of the season.

By year three, they were down to just two cow groups. By year four, according to Lamb, every cow was eligible to be artificially inseminated on the first day of the breeding season.

“We cut the length of the breeding season in half over four years, from 120 days to about 62 days.”

Data revealed that overall pregnancy rates increased by 10% in this operation, from 80% to 85% in 2006 and 2007, before introducing FTAI, to 93% in 2013. Lamb adds that they also recorded increases in the value derived per calf of about US$87 (R1 200) from 2006 to 2008, with the change in value per calf increasing to US$169 (R2 300) by 2013.

Cost-effective
McGowan, from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland in Australia, evaluated the economic return from use of FTAI in a genetic improvement programme.

He believes that FTAI is a cost-effective method of producing genetically superior replacement bulls and heifers, adding that the rate of genetic improvement is greater with FTAI than with natural mating.

McGowan says the technique can also significantly increase the rate of change in selected traits, such as when changing from a primarily horned to a polled genotype.

In addition, because synchronised cows conceive over a short period, they calve over a short period, which greatly helps application of best-practice management.

He shared insights into a research project spanning several years in which the cost of producing a calf via natural mating and FTAI was compared. Three groups were compared:

  • Group one (G1) was a herd of 200 Brahman cows paired to purchased bulls, all animals of average ratings in terms of the Jap Ox Index (see box)
  • Group two (G2) was a herd of 40 cows put to a single bull ranked in the top 10% of the index
  • Group 3 (G3), the FTAI herd, comprised 200 cows synchronised and inseminated with semen from bulls in the top 10% of the index.
    Bulls produced from genetically elite sires in the first year would then be used for mating in the third year.

In estimating the return on investment, the team also accounted for genetic gain, with no genetic gain measured for G1 and no bulls retained from this group for breeding in year three.

Both G2 and G3 exhibited calf genetic improvement (CGI), based on the equation [(Sire Jap Ox Index) – ($20)]/2 = CGI. Two bulls were retained from G2 and five sires from G3.

The cost per calf (CPC) calculation looked at the cost per bull used, or alternatively ovulation and semen costs. It also factored in the number of bulls used, total bull costs, labour costs and mating costs.

The CPC for G3 remained consistent, averaging nearly A$47 (about R470) in year one and year three. This group produced 142 calves in both years, all progeny by average genetic merit bulls.

The interesting data came from G2 and G3. In the first production year, G2 produced 28 calves considered progeny of a bull of high genetic merit at a CPC in year one of just over A$370 (R3 700).

By year three, the size of the G2 breeding herd doubled to 80 cows. The resultant CPC dropped to just over A$10 (R100) in the third production year with a total of 57 calves produced.

However, G3, the FTAI herd, ended year three producing 142 calves at a CPC rate of only A$4,35 (R43), less than half the cost for G2 and one-tenth the cost of the CPC for G1.

The global perspective
According to Mapletoft, in line with global trends, Canadian dairy farmers had embraced AI, with roughly 80% of cattle in the industry there inseminated artificially, as opposed to covering by a live bull.

In the beef industry, this figure was only 5%. Mapletoft says that these figures have not changed substantially over the last four decades.

McGowan provides a similar statistic, saying that a study into the use of AI by beef producers in northern Australia revealed that in 2010, fewer than 1% of commercial producers were using it.

“That has changed dramatically but it’s still low compared with the situation in New Zealand and Argentina, for example,” he says.

Mapletoft says it was reported recently that the use of AI in South American beef herds is near 10%, primarily because of the use of FTAI.

According to Prof Edward Webb, deputy dean of research and postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria, 92% of AI being done in South Africa is in the dairy industry.

“The beef industry is not adopting AI and I don’t understand why,” he says.

At the other end of the scale is the South American country of Brazil, which is estimated to be using AI on approximately 15 million beef cattle per year. South Africa has only about 12 million cattle in total.

Lamb uses Brazil as the poster child of a country that has embraced FTAI.

He recalls that he was part of the team that first introduced FTAI in Brazil in 2001 and says the country has adopted the technology “at a phenomenal rate”.

Brazil is not only using synchronisation and AI to achieve genetic improvement, but is also using it as a reproductive management tool.

He adds that where most beef producers have excuses on why FTAI won’t work for them, Brazil has realised that they need excuses on why they need to do it.

Email Prof Cliff Lamb of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in the US at [email protected]

Email Prof Reuben Mapletoft of the Department of Large Animal Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, at [email protected] and

Email Prof Michael McGowan from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland in Australia at [email protected] .


Future bright for genetic progress in beef industry

LOVELAND, Colo. — As beef industry leaders got a glimpse of the future of genetic improvement in cattle, what they saw was more opportunity on the horizon.

Several speakers outlined emerging technology that will speed beef improvement during the Neogen International Genomics Symposium at the 2018 Beef Improvement Federation annual conference.

Mitch Abrahamsen, executive vice president of Recombinetics, outlined the company’s approach to gene editing in agricultural and human medicine applications.

“For livestock, our initial focus is on animal welfare and health,” Abrahamsen said. His company uses gene editing to express traits that naturally occur in a species, which in effect more efficiently delivers breed improvements. Traditional breeding efforts to reach the same goals may take years, or decades, and through inbreeding may reduce genetic diversity.

The firm is focusing on costly, endemic health and welfare issues. For example, some breeds of cattle do not grow horns (polled), while other breeds do. “Traditional breeding for the polled trait is inefficient and comes at a high productivity cost. Precision breeding with gene editing can do this faster, all while retaining genetic diversity,” he said.

His firm recently announced it was working with Semex to introduce hornless genes into commercial dairy cattle. The work will reduce injury between animals caused by horns and eliminate dehorning.

“The precision breeding technique makes small adjustments to an animal’s genome. In this case, we make use of the natural repair function to replace the horned gene with a naturally occurring polled gene. This provides a direct and lifelong impact on animals’ well-being and health,” Abrahamsen said.

Gene editing processes like TALEN and CRISPR-Cas 9 promise to quickly and precisely make these kinds of improvements. The technique also is bringing an end to surgical castrations of male piglets. Recombinetics and its commercial partners DNA Swine Genetics and Hendrix Genetics are working to bring the castration-free trait to market as a new tool in the pork industry, he said.

The technology also holds promise to reduce porcine respiratory and reproduction syndrome, a virus whose last outbreak cost over $650 million, and other threats to animal health. Enhanced swine genetics would enable pigs to stay healthy and prosper when exposed to a virus and pass that trait on to future litters. Similar effects that improve disease immunity in cattle would reduce losses as well as cut costs of treatment with antibiotics or other products.

Gene editing will be useful in agricultural applications to help sustainably feed a hungry, growing world while bringing new benefits to human medical research on challenging health problems like cancer or inherited diseases, Abrahamsen said.

Matt Barten, founder and CEO of Embruon, addressed how genotyping of cattle embryos will speed seedstock herd improvement. His company uses DNA screening of cattle embryos from donor cows to help producers plan selection and breeding decisions before embryos are transferred to recipient cows. Barten said the technology is derived from human reproductive medicine and added that his company had recently opened an in vitro fertilization clinic to go with its genetic screening of embryos.

Economic analysis Barten presented, compiled by a Kansas State University specialist, showed that a moderate-sized cattle breeding operation could easily cut tens of thousands of dollars from expenses by pre-screening embryos. The savings come mainly from using a smaller herd of recipient cows to achieve a producers’ production goals. Embruon helps assess genetic merit before cattle are born.

Barten said that the ROI analysis addresses cost savings but did not get into the higher prices earned by selling groups of offspring with higher genetic merit.

“It stands to reason that when you are making decisions about which embryos to implant, you will choose to invest in developing those of higher genetic merit,” he said. “Those bulls or females will be worth more at sale and thus can improve profit potential.”

JR Tait, director of genetic product development at Neogen, outlined how the company’s commercial beef DNA profiles help producers speed herd improvement. He described how Igenity gene markers work in crossbred and straightbred cattle with Angus, Red Angus, Simmental, Hereford, Limousin and Gelbvieh backgrounds. The product is uniquely designed to work in mixed-breed cattle.

“This allows producers to use genomics to choose their best commercial heifers out of their high genetic potential bulls for cross-breeding programs that take advantage of heterosis. These practices work together well to speed herd improvement,” he said.

Rounding out the conference was Stewart Bauck, vice president of genomics at Neogen. “The Beef Improvement Federation is 50 years old this year,” Bauck said, noting that BIF unites academic, breed leaders and cattle producers to empower change.

Igenity was introduced to the beef market at the 2003 BIF conference, he said, and is now 15 years old, adding that GeneSeek began operations as a university-related start up in 1998 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“Who would have known 50 years ago that we could, for about $30, assay the blueprint of life on a practical scale for any cattle producer? Who would have guessed that we’d read the DNA of unborn bulls and pick the very best ones to raise? And now we look at ideas like gene editing, which give us precise, safe and natural tools to rapidly solve long standing challenges to animal health,” he said.

“As we consider the advances of the last 50 years, and honor those who have made so many important contributions, it is very exciting to think about what will come next,” Bauck said.

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MISSISSIPPI MEAT PACKERS ASSOCIATION

In 1955, under the leadership of Mr. John H. Bryan, Sr. and Mr. John Bowman of Bryan Brothers and Jackson Packing Company, respectively, the larger meat companies organized an association of their own. This organization was the Mississippi Independent Meat packers Association, and membership was restricted to Mississippi-owned and-operated meat packing plants. In 1967 this organization elected Dr. Robert W. Rogers as its first Executive Secretary, a position that he still holds. In 1971, the Mississippi Frozen Food locker Association merged with the Mississippi Independent Meat Packers Association and renamed this organization the Mississippi Meat packers Association in 1974. At this time the membership requirements were changed to allow membership for Mississippi owned and/or operated meat packing and processing plants. This organization is considered by many to be one of the strongest and most influential state meat packer associations in the U.S. This is true because some of Mississippi&rsquos finest leaders have served as officers or directors through its tenure. Some outstanding leaders which have contributed to this success were and are: John H. Bryan, Sr., W. B. Bryan, John H. Bryan, Jr., George W. Bryan, Ernie Hicks, Roy Greene, Fox Haas and Reece Griffin (Bryan Foods Inc.) Ferrell Spicer, Todd Agnew, E. A. Jernigan, Billy Maddox, Wiley Miller and Henry Lemmons (Mid-South Packers) Don Williams and David Childress (Pioneer Beef Co.) Don Swanson, Walter Huffman and Jim Jennings (Hernando Boneless Beef Co.) Bill Graves (Winona Packing Co.) Narry Dedeaux and Walter Legett (Dedeaux Packing Co.) John Bowman, Ernie Jenkins and Howard Kelly (Jackson Packing Co.) Pete Vincent (Vincent International) Gordon Comer and Jimmy Comer (Comer Packing Co.) Herman Long (General Meat Co.) Jimmy Tant and Chuck Hutchinson (Valley Farms) Pat Barnes (Little Princess Foods) Ray Millette and Harold Neville (Owen Brothers Packing Co.) Joe Mosby (Mosby Packing Co.) Buddy Scarbrough (Jackson County Packing Co.) F. L. Passbach, Sr. and F. L. Passbach, Jr. (Passbach Meats Inc.) Don Manley and Russell Corey (Boetler and Corey) Blair Warner (Randy&rsquos Steaks) David Essary and Bill Wallace (Jitney-Jungle Stores of America) James Triggs and J. C. Bufkin (Pine-Burr Packing Co.).

The associate members (or suppliers) have always been a vital part of the Mississippi Meat Packers Association. Any history of the association or the meat industry in Mississippi would be incomplete without mentioning some of the colorful individuals of this group. Some of the more memorable suppliers that have served and/or are serving the Mississippi meat industry are: E. H. Bush, Kenny Bush and Mike Bush &ndash Rebel Butcher Supply Bruce Wells, Rodney Schiltz, Arthur Sullivan and P. D. Bartholomew &ndash Griffith Labs Ed Gazeway and Tom Gazeway &ndash A. C. Legg Spice Co. Casey Gray &ndash Pee Dee Spice Co. Kayo Dottley &ndash Dottleys Spice Mart Ralph Heflin, Tony Inzinna &ndash John R. White Co. Bill Keeler, Mike Miller &ndash Oxford Chemical Co. Bob Million, Joe McDermid, Al Heavey &ndash Baltimore Spice Co. Harry Pursley &ndash Cudahy Dasing Co. Lew Peggs &ndash Omeco-St. John Co. Harry Davenport, Bob Goostree &ndash Tee Pak, Inc. John Copeland, Sal Gaglia &ndash Union Carbide Inc. Ned Morris &ndash Jamison Door Co. Homer Brown, Don Davis, Al Copeland &ndash Southern Saw Service Bill Casey &ndash Milwaukee Seasoning Labs Dan Flynn &ndash Shamrock Inc. Harry Sparks &ndash H. L. Sparks and Co. Gene Boynton and Buster Monk &ndash Cryovac Inc. Bill Simon &ndash Griffin Industries Owen Vickers, Jim Kennedy &ndash Birmingham Hide &mp Tallow Co. Dean Kittell &ndash Flavorite Labs Noel Hall &ndash Standard Laboratory Red Summerlin &ndash Industrial Scales &mp Sales Ellis Bryant &ndash KOCH Inc. Buford Moyers &ndash Hobert Inc. Stan Frost &ndash Curwood Inc. and Denny Denmon &ndash Denmon Equipment Co.


Meat Market Slaughter : Food: Competition in meatpacking is dwindling as three big companies gain market share and power. Smaller competitors and state regulators are alarmed.

By the end of the week, it was hard to deny that something was wrong in the meatpacking industry:

Monday, March 5: Specialty meat processor Doskocil Cos. of Hutchinson, Kan., filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. its major competitors--the so-called Big Three meatpackers--are all angling to snap up the company’s slaughtering facilities, a Doskocil spokesman said.

Thursday, March 8: Farmstead Foods of Albert Lea, Minn., announced the immediate closure and liquidation of plants in Albert Lea and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, throwing nearly 3,000 workers out of their jobs.

Friday, March 9: Oscar Mayer Foods Corp. announced that it would close its Vernon processing plant by the end of September, laying off nearly 550 employees, most of them older workers who had labored at the plant for more than a decade and who hadn’t had a pay raise since 1980.

The three companies reflect sweeping changes in the meatpacking industry--technological advances that make older plants obsolete, increased competition from meats such as chicken and consolidation of the industry--that make it increasingly difficult for smaller firms to compete with the Big Three meatpackers.

“The change in concentration in the beef-packing industries is just beyond any historical precedent,” said John M. Connor, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. “I think it’s just a matter of time before the Big Three beef packers learn to cooperate (with each other) rather than compete in the aggressive way they have been in the last three years.”

It’s also just a matter of time before pork processing becomes as concentrated as beef, according to agricultural economists and industry analysts. The watershed year for concentration in the beef industry was 1987 the 1990s could be that threshold time for pork.

Concentration--when a small number of companies control a large share of an industry--is far from merely an abstract concern. It affects workers, farmers, consumers, contends John Helmuth, assistant director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Affairs at Iowa Sate University.

Because of concentration, “not only have meat prices gone up for consumers, but at the same time prices paid to (farmers) have gone down,” Helmuth said. “Wage rates have gone down. I think that what we’re seeing is that . . . (the big) meatpacking plants are able to keep more of their own profits.”

The Big Three meatpackers--IBP Inc. of Dakota City, Neb., ConAgra Inc. of Omaha, Neb., and Excel Corp. of Wichita, Kan.--dispute such arguments, saying that concentration brings greater efficiency, higher prices to livestock suppliers and lower costs to consumers.

“Concentration is not unique to the meat industry,” said Gary Mickelson, spokesman for IBP. “Others have experienced similar changes. . . . The meat industry is responding to a changing market reality and increasing competition from other protein sources. It’s an extremely competitive industry. The companies that were paying the high wages are not there anymore.”

Today, the Big Three beef-packing firms have about 70% market share, and the top four pork-packing plants currently control about 40% of the pork we eat.

By May, the market share for the largest pork packers will increase again, as IBP opens a new pork-packing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, a facility that will be able to slaughter 15,000 hogs each day.

And as concentration intensifies, legislatures and advocacy groups around the country are gearing up to do battle with the Big Three:

* The attorneys general from five Midwestern states have asked the Justice Department to launch an antitrust investigation into the Big Three’s business practices. In an April 12 letter, the attorneys general from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Montana said “there is growing concern over the continued competitive viability of this industry and the enhanced prospect of collusive anti-competitive activities taking place.”

* A handful of state governments are looking into legislation that will do what they contend federal laws have failed to accomplish--bring competition back to the meatpacking industry.

* The National Cattlemen’s Assn. appointed a task force in late 1988 to conduct a year-long study of concentration in the beef industry. The study was published in October. Its top recommendation was that “no more mergers or acquisitions of beef slaughter facilities by the Big Three packers be allowed.”

* The Center for Rural Affairs, an agricultural think tank in Walthill, Neb., will unveil a set of proposals at the end of April recommending such controversial actions as a federal cap to keep any single company from controlling too much of the meat market. That cap would be significantly lower than the market share already controlled by any of the Big Three companies, said Marty Strange, the center’s program director.

* Since the end of January, conferences addressing consolidation have been held throughout the country by interested industry groups. While the organizations vary greatly along the political spectrum, their messages are similar: Stop the Big Three now.

Actually, the message might have been “Stop the Big Three--again.” This isn’t the first time that there has been a call for meatpacking regulation. Agricultural economists love to point out that 1990 is the 100th anniversary of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which was created in part to break up the so-called Beef Trust, or Big Four. The act was not particularly effective.

So when the Federal Trade Commission was established in 1914, one of its earliest actions was an investigation of the five largest meatpacking companies. The investigation’s result was a 1920 consent decree in which the “trust,” now the Big Five, agreed to forgo further consolidation and to sell stockyards, railroad equipment, refrigerated warehouses and meat stores.

Just for comparison’s sake, in the 1880s, the Big Four controlled 85% of the beef market. In the 1920s the Big Five controlled 71% of the beef market. Now that the Big Three control 70%, nothing’s being done about it, critics contend.

“Where have our antitrust laws been these past 10 years?” Helmuth wonders. “There have been zero Sherman Act violations brought by the Justice Department since 1980.”

When you’re talking market share in beef and pork, IBP is the indisputable king. It incorporated in 1960 as Iowa Beef Packers and now controls 32% of the national beef market and 15% of the pork market. IBP is a public company whose majority shareholder is Occidental Petroleum, which owns 50.5% of the stock.

Although ConAgra has been in the red meat business since the early 1980s, it occupies the No. 2 spot with 21% of the beef market and 9% of the pork market.

In its 1989 annual report, the company describes itself as the only major U.S. food company operating across the food chain:

“We have major businesses in crop protection chemicals, animal feed, fertilizer, specialty retailing, . . . grain processing, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, seafood, processed meats, dairy products, potatoes and a broad array of consumer frozen foods.”

Its acquisitions throughout the 1980s exemplify the decade--one of the most volatile periods in the meatpacking industry. The operates 17 plants under a half dozen banners.

Companies such as ConAgra say size is the only thing that saves them--enormous, efficient, one-story plants and lots of them, technologically up-to-date plants where animals can flow in one end alive and out the other as product.

“You have to have the economies of size, operate the plants on double shifts, get as many head through there per day as possible to be competitive,” said Gene Meakins, vice president of public relations for ConAgra Red Meats Cos. in Greeley, Colo. “You’re dealing--even in good times--on very narrow margins.”

Not everyone buys that argument, though. G. Edward Shuh is dean of the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and headed up a group of agricultural economists that produced a study called “Competitive Issues in the Beef Sector: Can Beef Compete in the 1990s?”

A major point in the study, Shuh said, is that, while some consolidation does save money, the Big Three have eclipsed any economy of scale by getting too big. If the top four meatpackers operated enough big plants to exhaust all economies of scale, the study said, concentration would only range from 24% to 48% instead of 70%.

The major meatpackers consider concentration a natural byproduct of intense competition in a difficult industry. Its critics, however, point to the high costs that concentration has incurred: As the big have gotten bigger, the small have gone out of business.

Between 1972 and 1987, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 400 slaughtering packers shut down and some 40,000 jobs were lost. The concentration in beef-packing alone tripled between 1977 and 1987, an occurrence that is “simply outside the realm of experience,” according to the Humphrey Institute study.

Litvak Meat Co. opened its doors in Denver more than 50 years ago, slaughtering about 150 calves daily and employing a half-dozen workers. At its peak, in the mid-1980s, the slaughterhouse processed 1,200 head of cattle each day and had 200 employees.

At one point, Litvak’s Denver neighborhood supported at least 15 similar enterprises within a radius of two miles. Today they’re all gone, including Litvak Meat, which shut down in 1988, a casualty of concentration.

“We weren’t able to buy the live cattle due to the fact that these Big Boys, ConAgra and Cargill (which owns Excel) needed more numbers and outbid us,” said Leonard Litvak, chairman and chief executive of the defunct company. “The FTC allowed it. I don’t think the FTC could stop it. I even wrote the Justice Department I never heard back.”

Then there are the farmers, particularly those who operate feedlots and fatten cattle for slaughter. After studying beef prices for a decade, Bruce Marion found that purchase prices paid to farmers were between 0.5% and 1% lower in areas of greatest concentration than they were in areas where many packinghouses operated.

“If you start looking at it from the standpoint of how much do cattle feeders lose in a year that they would have gotten if they had more competitive markets, you’re talking about $50 million a year,” said Marion, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Workers at meatpacking plants have also lost out through concentration and the closure of plants, according to economists and union representatives. In the 1950s, the meatpacking industry instituted cost of living increases for hourly workers, said Patrick Luby, a vice president and economist at Oscar Mayer Foods Corp.

“During the early 1980s, lower-paying companies were expanding,” Luby said. “They had no cost of living agreements. They drove out the old-line pork packers. Many of the plants were sold to new ownership, closed and reopened with lower pay scales. The labor costs did come down or level off.”

The same was true for beef, according to Lewie Anderson, a United Food & Commercial Workers Union vice president. And the union did little to stop it, Anderson said. In fact, industry watchers agree that the union’s strength has greatly diminished.

“The Big Three have not only slashed worker wages, but they have kept the wages of workers depressed for a protracted period of time,” Anderson said in “Return to the Jungle,” a position paper written last year. And concentration has affected wages throughout the industry.

Henry Lopez, a meatpacker at Oscar Mayer’s Vernon plant, hasn’t gotten a raise in the past 10 years. An hourly wage of $10.69 sounded good in 1980, but living at that level for a decade makes it tough to afford such things as health care and college tuition for his two daughters.

Early this month he got the news that the UFCW and Oscar Mayer had negotiated a 25-cent hourly raise, but that did little to improve Lopez’s spirits or those of his more than 500 colleagues. Because by the end of September, the Oscar Mayer plant will close.

“Here’s this company I gave 20 years of my best labor to, and they’re throwing us out the door,” Lopez said. “I don’t understand why I have to leave. I know I’ve given them my best.”

While wages have been depressed because of concentration, Oscar Mayer officials said their plant will close “because the cost of doing business at that plant has steadily increased,” said James Aehl, corporate spokesman. “It has become increasingly difficult to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive industry.”

The Vernon plant was built before World War II and has been renovated several times since, Aehl said. But it’s still a relatively small five-story facility in an era when “new breed” plants are bigger and only one story tall. Multistory plants lose efficiency because meat must be moved from floor to floor instead of flowing through from processing to warehousing.

“You have machinery in plants being technologically bypassed,” Aehl said. “A little bit of this is consumer change in eating more poultry products. We have not closed a large poultry plant.”

Nicholas Spaeth, North Dakota’s attorney general, said antitrust concerns in the meatpacking industry have grown sufficiently in the Midwest that the Justice Department should step in to investigate.

North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana together “considered trying to launch an investigation on our own, but the meatpacking industry is a national industry,” Spaeth said. “We don’t have the resources. The states involved are relatively small and rural.”

The Justice Department has received the letter, but no investigation is planned to date, said Joseph Krovisky, a department spokesman.

“Justice is aware of the concern expressed by meat-producing groups about concentration in the industry,” Krovisky said. “It has carefully monitored the industry in the past and will continue to do so. We do not have any action pending against any of the meatpackers.”

Which basically leaves any action up to the states themselves. Groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Assn. are calling for an end to concentration, but not a breakup of the largest packers. And the National Farmers Union is working with several states to get legislation passed that will do that.

In Kansas, legislation has been introduced to prohibit large packing plants and grain companies from owning and operating feedlots, said Bruce Larkin, a Democrat who represents the state’s 62nd District. “I’d like to see the individuality stay in the operations and maintain more competition.”

The legislation’s intent: antitrust. Its future: questionable.

“It hasn’t been killed,” he said. “But for all practical purposes, it is not going anywhere this year.”

CONCENTRATION IN THE MEATPACKING INDUSTRY

Source, Department of Agriculture

PLANT CLOSURES: IOWA AND NEBRASKA

Between 1969 and 1989, the following beef plants were closed in the states of Iowa and Nebraska, displacing an estimated 7,000 workers.

1 Omaha, Nebraska Armour B.C. Dressed Beef Wilson American Beef Palmayer Beef

3 Grand Island, Nebraska Swift

4 Lincoln American Stores

1 Des Moines, Iowa Swift Wilson

5 Council Bluffs American Beef

6 Sioux City Needham Pack Raskin Pack Meyer Pack Mid-States

Source: United Food and Commercial Workers Union

Maria L. La Ganga is a Metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She has covered six presidential elections and served as bureau chief in San Francisco and Seattle.

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