JUNE | JULY 2022 • VOL. 61 | ISSUE 3
C A L F N E W S . N E T
THE ENVIRONMENT JUNE | JULY 2022
13 A SERIOUSLY WRONG ROAD
THE FUTURE OF WATER IN THE WEST
STOP THE GOVERNMENT LAND GRAB IN EVERY ISSUE
22 Meet One Female Shaping the Illinois Cattle Industry 23 Jim Whitt, OSU Graduate of Distinction 24 Earned Success 26 Education of a Lifetime Part 1 SPECIAL FEATURES
3 Index of Advertisers 3 Events Calendar 5 Gypsy Wagon 18 Chuteside Manner 38 Recollections 39 Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef? 40 On the Human Side 41 Gatherings 42 Baxter Black 43 CALF's Featured Lady
10 Prime Points 11 Rumblings From the Great White North 12 All In 16 Whitt & Wisdom 20 Beyond the Ranch Gate
On The Cover: Cows and calves enjoy a spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
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June 1-4 BIF Research Symposium & Convention Las Cruces, N.M. Be efim p rove ment.org June 3-12
Brute Cattle Equipment/
Rawhide Portable Corral..................... 19 ServiTech............... 13 Stuart Products......21 Texas Feed Fat Co. Inc...................14 U.S. Roundtable for Sunstainable Beef..................17, 28
Dodge Mfg Co..........3 CHR Hansen Inc....42 Callicrate Banders..43 Cobett Company ......3 Johnson Concrete Products................. 40 Kunafin "The Insectary .......14 Merck Animal Health..................... 44 Midwest Mixer Service................... 21 Norbrook, Inc. ...34-35
Beef Empire Days Garden City, Kan. Beefempiredays.com June 3-4 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska Weeping Water, Neb. Cattlemensball.com June 9-10 Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear Meeting Valentine, Neb. Nebraskacattlemen.org June 22-25 IFCA Finals Roping Sterling, Colo. Feedlotcowboys.com July 25-28 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting Reno, Nev. N cba.org
Editor & Publisher Betty Jo Gigot | (620) 272-6862 National Account Manager Jessica Ebert | (785) 477-1941 Designer & Production Manager Tayler Durst | (402) 910-9012 Ad Accountant/Subscription Manager Micky Bu rch Copy Editor Larisa Willrett | Lariat Services Contributing Editor Walt Barnhart Contributing Editor Micky Burch Contributing Editor Blaine Davis Contributing Editor Chris McClure Contributing Editor Burt Rutherford Contributing Editor Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor Will Verboven Contributing Editor Megan Webb, Ph.D. CALF NEWS The Face of the Cattle Industry June | July 2022 Vol. 61 Issue 3 Published bimonthly by B.J. Publishing
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Where to start on this windy May day in Colorado? We are looking at the environment in this issue of CALF News , and the spring/summer of 2022 is certainly full of challenges for all of us. Dry and windy and fire danger alerts and devastating fires have everybody on edge as do higher and higher prices and the lack of supplies and parts. Contrast the price you pay for a gallon of diesel and what you can get for an acre of land, and you’ll know something might be a little out of kilter. A call from our printer yesterday was a shadow box of what we all are facing. The cost of paper is sky high and not available in many cases. Staffing is almost impossible, according to my rep, and parts almost impossible to find if the printing press has a problem. I jokingly told him that our family out in Kansas had found parts for their farm equipment on Amazon after searching every other source, including the manufacturer. The bottom line is that we will pay whatever we have to for paper and be glad to have it, and printing costs will go up 15 percent. Just thankful I don’t need baby formula. Those poor moms. On another subject, always the optimist, we here at CALF News have done a redesign of the company and of the magazine, as you have already noticed by the cover. Always aware of our place in the cattle industry, we strive to edify and entertain you every other month with a cadre of the best writers and production staff, keeping you up on the REAL place for our product and our people in an ever-evolving world. We also are using the issue to brag on several of our staff. Jim Whitt received a major award from Oklahoma State, Patti Wilson was written up in a national publication, Jess Ebert spent nine days in Dubai, and Larisa Willrett was honored by the Illinois Beef Association. On the lighter side, my story in Recollections this time is a walk down memory lane with a twist. After a long business relationship with the Schwertner family at Capitol Land and Livestock, my friend Jim Schwertner made national news by offering Elon Musk 100 acres (about half the total floor space of the Pentagon) of free land if he would move Twitter from California to Texas. I guess the number of calls Jim has had are FROM OUR PUBLISHER
astronomical and he has done interviews as far away as Japan. Since most of Musk’s businesses are in the immediate area and Jim thinks Texas is the best place to do business these days, he was putting his money where his mouth is. Will be fun to see what happens going forward. If you want to see one of the best advertisements for beef, visit The History Guy on YouTube and watch the video from May 16 titled “Salisbury Steak: The First Fad Diet.” It tells about the health benefits of beef in spades. As you can see from the picture, it has been graduation party time in Colorado. Celebrating with me were my grandson, Ethan, (left) a junior at Wesleyan University who will attend Oxford in the fall; Ripley, my great niece, who was celebrating her high school graduation at the party and will go to the University of Arizona; and grandson Griff (right) who also just graduated and will be at the University of Colorado, Denver. I also have grandkids just finishing welding degrees, joining the Navy for 10 years as a pilot and one in medical school, to name just a few.
Betty Jo Gigot I started out this column looking at the state of the world and finish it knowing we all will be fascinated to see how all these interesting and talented young people move forward in the world we are leaving them. My faith is in mine and in yours.
CALF NEWS NEW STAFF
AD ACCOUNTANT & SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER
MICKY BURCH, her husband, Kolby, and their son, Miles, are the sixth and seventh generations, respectively, on the family farm from her mother’s side, located in eastern Nebraska, where they own and operate a sheep operation. She grew up on a commercial cow-calf, yearling and hay operation in central Nebraska, and was active in 4-H and FFA, showing cattle and sheep. Micky earned her degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has spent more than a decade working in the agricultural publications industry and in production agriculture.
DESIGNER & PRODUCTION MANAGER
TAYLER DURST is a Nebraska native who grew up on her family's farming and cattle operation. Charolais and Maine-Anjou cattle are her favorites, and junior leadership opportunities within those breeds helped shape her into who she is today. Tayler currently resides in Washington, Kan., with her husband. They remain an active part of his family's Red Angus and Simmental cattle operation. Tayler is a graduate of Hutchinson Community College and Kansas State University, where she studied animal science and business. She also developed a passion for communications work while in college, which drove her career path as a freelance ag communications specialist. When she’s not working, Tayler enjoys doing CrossFit, taking photos of livestock, playing with her dog, Lady, and relies on good coffee and Jesus to get her through the day.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
BETHANEY PHILLIPS is a digital director, writer, and social media professional based in the Midwest. She has worked in digital marketing for 12 years and holds bylines at Insider, Business Alabama, and weekly posts at We Are the Mighty website. A Kansas native, Phillips lives with her family in a rural farm town where they are raising two young boys. Her hobbies include gardening, reading fiction, and eating hamburgers with pickles and mustard.
JORDAN ERICKSON founded Conceptualized Design in 2011. Jordan’s admiration of design, technology and web design made him a valuable designer, search engine optimization specialist and digital marketer on the internet. Jordan’s passion to lead into the future of web design and digital marketing has turned his skills into what Conceptualized Design is today: a full-service WordPress web design, hosting, management and digital marketing agency. From concept to reality, Jordan’s comprehension of business needs and visionary ideas have aided businesses, both large and small, in diverse markets, not only dominate their industries but thrive online.
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Planning for Your Ranch’s Future: Advice for Succession Planning
Owners and their successors should also consider the following as they engage in these conversations: • Don’t make plans strictly based on limiting tax burdens. Plan for long-term viability and business continuity.
Contributed by Farm Credit Mid-America
There are plenty of uncertainties for farmers and ranchers today, but the future of the operation they’ve worked hard to build and sustain does not have to be on that list. While succession planning may not be at the top of a rancher’s mind as they grapple with the many challenges facing the industry, a sound succession plan should be something they have or are working to create today. This plan should be refined and communicated with others associated with the operation over time to ensure a smooth transition when the time comes. It’s not uncommon for cattle producers to question the need for and value of succession planning. But failing to plan today could lead to much larger issues down the road.
It could also mean transitioning the operation to another seasoned producer with many years of experience. Regardless of the situation, the rancher should move forward with choosing, grooming and educating his or her successor about the ranch’s unique needs. In many cases, finding someone who has off-farm experience as a successor can bring valuable insights and experience to the operation later on. Once the successor is identified, it is essential that this individual (or individuals) transition into their new leadership role over time. This includes allowing them to learn from triumphs and mistakes made along the way. It also means meeting regularly to review the operation’s records and financials as well as marketing and risk management plans together.
Plan for cash outside the business to support the retirement of the current owner or owners. Keep in mind that selling land or equipment to the new owner in order to provide retirement funds could drain cash flow for the ranch. Keep in mind that buying out a sibling or other family members associated with the operation could drain needed cash from the operation. Use other financial vehicles to compensate any family member who will not be part of the operation going forward. Carry adequate life insurance to fill a gap that could result from the unexpected death of the primary owner. If there is no successor in place, the operation will need cash on hand until a transition plan is in place. Manage the ranch’s debt and cash in a way that anticipates transition. Growth, specifically late growth for the sake of transition, is not always required or appropriate. Plan for long-term, multi- generational growth. Doubling ranch or operation size in each generation to sustain more families is not necessarily an appropriate or good goal.
Begin by Selecting a Successor
Get Financials in Order
Every ranch should have an informal board of directors – people who are the owner’s trusted helpers and advisors. This “board” should include the operation’s lender, financial advisor, accountant, attorney and insurance agent (to name a few). These individuals should be part of regular conversations that focus on capital management, which is critical for a succession plan to be successful. These can be difficult conversations, and their third-party perspective can be beneficial. Lenders are an important voice in those crucial conversations because they will help the current owner ensure assets that are necessary for liquidity, future borrowing, growth and expansion aren’t tied up.
Selecting the ranch’s next owner should begin with an open, transparent dialog about future plans with any family currently involved in the operation. At the end of the day, producing cattle is a business, not a birthright. In some cases, the owner may not have children or other family members who are interested in assuming responsibility for the ranch. If that is the case, the rancher should move forward with selecting a successor outside of the family. This could include finding a young or beginning rancher who wants to enter the industry and becoming a mentor to that individual with the intent of coaching them to take over the business.
Finally, when it comes to planning, do not rely on what a neighbor or parent did. Remember that no single blueprint fits everyone, but everyone needs a plan.
ABOUT FARM CREDIT MID-AMERICA Farm Credit Mid-America is a leading provider of reliable, consistent credit and financial services to more than 134,000 farmers, producers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. As part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, the cooperative helps to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture by remaining a reliable, consistent source of credit to farmers and ranchers. To learn more, visit e-farmcredit.com.
Producers can manage their land much better than government bureaucrats.
STOP THE GOVERNMENT LAND GRAB
By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor
THE STILL-LINGERING 30 by 30 program was described by the Biden administration as a way of “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.” But by scraping away the fluff, ag-state leaders and private property rights advocates contend 30 by 30 is a fierce effort by radical environmental groups to place private land under government control. President Biden signed Executive Order 14008 just after his inauguration last year. It set a goal “of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” Margaret Byfield, executive director of American Stewards of Liberty (ASL), outlined the pitfalls of 30 by 30 while speaking at March’s Southwest Beef Symposium in Tucumcari, N.M. ASL is a non-profit organization working to protect private property rights and the liberties they secure. Byfield warns producers and other landowners that 30 by 30 is an unconstitutional policy “that moves us from a nation founded on private property principles to one controlled by the administrative state.” A forum aimed at toppling the program,“Stop 30 by 30 Summit,” was
held on Earth Day, April 22, in Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts headed the summit. Ricketts was one who countered Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and his efforts to promote President Biden’s 30 by 30 agenda. Other speakers were former Sec. of Interior David Bernhardt and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).“Experts came together to fight the largest federal land grab America has ever faced,” Byfield said. “We [ASL] challenge the policies that seek to undermine America’s ability to produce the food, fiber, energy and minerals our nation needs. We confront the radical environmental movement, which believes the administrative state, not individuals, should determine how people use their land.” Ricketts has been a 30 by 30 opponent from the beginning. He said the 30 by 30 policy “parrots the policy goals of radical environmental groups. For years, environmental groups have sought government support for policies that are harmful to agriculture and a productive economy. “In Nebraska, 97 percent of our land is privately owned,” he said.“Getting to 30 percent would require a major federal
intervention that would trample on both the state of Nebraska’s sovereignty and individual property rights. Setting aside that much land and water for conservation would also devastate food production, our rural communities and our state’s overall economy.” Biden’s executive order directs the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and other heads of agencies to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of American lands and waters by 2030. Byfield said there are concerns in Congress that this order would add to the many acres of U.S. land already under federal control. That land equals roughly 12 percent or 289 million acres as of 2020. Many farmers and ranchers take part in federal conservation programs. However, Byfield said,“It’s not often publicized that programs that pay landowners for conservation activities create a federal nexus to the property, giving the administration an avenue to [further] control the use of private land.”
Major ag groups still voice concerns over the 30 by 30 plan’s potential
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to overstep private property rights. Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) president, addressed the measure early in 2021. He hit on it again earlier this year at the AFBF convention. “America's farmers and ranchers have enrolled 140 million acres in conservation programs,” Duvall said.“We have tripled our use of renewable energy on the farm. And we are producing more with less while protecting our land, air and water.” Despite less news about the program, the Stop 30 by 30 Summit organizers believe uneasiness remains that Uncle Sam may try to make himself too welcome on your ranch or farm. “If agriculture stands up and says ‘no,’ this thing [30 by 30] cannot get through,” Byfield said. Managing Production Inputs While producers are concerned about further government infringement onto private property, as well as setting new regulations on land leased from the government, higher production input costs are also creating more headache for them.
Francisco Abello, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economist, told SW Beef Symposium attendees that managing input costs requires precise information.“Producers need to know their exact costs, just like a ‘regular business’ [outside of agriculture],” he said. “Long-term vision is needed. That and a business plan keeps us focused on our short-term goals and potential impacts and [helps] be prepared for future problems.” Ranchers need to anticipate higher costs and possible supply chain disruptions of inputs, Abello stressed. He suggested that producers: • Measure and analyze past performance • Build budget and breakeven prices • Push for permanent cost control and resource optimization • Make long-term projections He said better cattle price risk management would be helpful for producers who lock in high input costs to protect against further cost increases.
“These practices should help maximize profits,” Abello concluded.
Improving Preg Testing Successful herds cannot afford to see low pregnancy rates. Ky Pohler, associate professor chairman of Texas A&M Pregnancy and Developmental Programming, said producers should know the pregnancy status of their herds to help improve nutrition management and marketing plans. He noted that whether using rectal palpation, ultrasound or PAGS (pregnancy associated glycoproteins) chemical tests to determine pregnancy, producers should use a preg-testing program that is proven in their operation. “Ultrasound testing provides near 100 percent accuracy,” Pohler said, adding that ultrasound and PAGS testing should be conducted after 28 days of gestation.“Producers need to be ready to make [culling] decisions on open cows.” In addition, decisions on culling of open and even pregnant cows must also be considered if drought continues to scorch pastures. It will be a touch-and-go situation, noted Dave Dubois, New Mexico State University climatologist. “There is a 40 to 50 percent chance that La Niña will continue through summer,” he said.“Nearly all of west Texas and eastern New Mexico were far below the average precipitation from October through February [and well into spring].” With that, and even harsher drought forecasts, it’s a virtual guarantee that ranchers and other landowners will make better decisions than federal government bureaucrats in managing their pastures and other land against environmental conditions.
Margaret Byfield, executive director of American Stewards of Liberty, warns against the government's 30 by 30 “land grab” program.
Cattlemen: Leaders, Innovators, Icons
As cattlemen, we know there is constant pressure, whether from the environment, financial hardships or policy that impacts our operations. The best we can do is unify and expand our knowledge base to face these issues together. Taking time to share management practices is a step toward innovative management decision making that expands operations and allows the next generation to live off the land. Now, more than ever, with the lingering effects of COVID, the continued war in Ukraine, and the drought pressure on grass and hay stocks, beef producers must think smarter and act most efficiently. Cutting the Fat I n the previous 12 months, the cost of used cars and trucks has shot up by more than 40 percent. Agriculture inputs like fuel, fertilizer, equipment and manufactured goods will continue to be a burden on operation profitability in 2022. Already this year, cow harvest numbers are higher than the past three years. With the cattle inventory shrinking, we should expect to see some financial reward for calves and fed cattle sales this fall. However, it is going to be harder for operations to have persistence and be sustainable to make it to that moment of relief. The U.S. cattle population is No. 3 in size, yet supplies one-fifth of the world’s beef from 6.2 percent of the world’s cattle. Cattlemen show efficiency daily through genetic and nutritional resource selection for their supply needs. Although cattlemen are efficient at what they do, identifying where there is loss will yield more opportunity for efficiency improvement.
It will likely take a team of people with both inside and outside perspectives to help an operation reduce inputs and maintain profit. Producers should explore evaluating renewable resource management, utilizing advanced or precision technologies to reduce costs and waste, and capturing lost revenue from valued goods like scrap metal, sales of manufactured equipment, and leasing out machinery or land for more income streams. Stewardship, a Sustainable Icon Cattle producers are a key to the global food system. Our advancements in genetics and sustainability not only impact operation success, but we are responsible for keeping the American beef industry strong and efficient. Cattle producers are natural stewards. As a result, they can serve as a food-chain icon to encourage Americans to reduce food waste, trust where their food comes from and, like Paramount Network’s Yellowstone , put more cowboy desire into the everyday American conversations and apparel selection. Americans’ deeper understanding about the industry may be good for cattlemen in more ways than one. From beef and leather sales to environmental knowledge, we have a great story to share that I believe Americans and others outside of this country will enjoy!
By Megan Webb, Ph.D. Contributing Editor
DO YOU THINK that decision making is developed on either fear or greed? What drives you to make those tough calls, and when you do, how do you explain these directions to your family or employees? When I can take the time to share with my team why I’ve made a decision, I’ve helped cultivate their thinking, and their understanding becomes clearer. Though this took extra time and may have taken away from work in the field, it demonstrates my passion and investment in their learning. These moments of leadership led by passion often occur during the morning meeting before the day’s events begin and are often circumvented there at the day’s end. These daily decisions have ripple effects, and the connection time permits employees to be on the same page and move the business in a parallel direction. This time also reduces fears and concerns that owners and operators may have. It’s a chance to clear the air, build courage, and add imagination and determination to do the job at hand. This ingrained courage among workers will ultimately help the business prevail in times of uncertainty. Cattlemen can use these regular meetings as a type of courage builder to set achievable goals with the whole team on board.
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Veterinary Shortage – It All Depends MANY FOLKS MAY have seen the TV reality show featuring veterinarian Dr. Pol. It's amusing and intriguing bureaucratic hurdles are making the situation worse. Rumblings From the Great White North
watching a veterinarian going about his daily business in such an enthusiastic manner. However, it's not that realistic for many livestock operators who either can't afford expensive vet services or don't even have a local vet to call for help. The latter is the case for many cattle producers in the more out-of-the- way places in western Canada. I refer specifically to large animal veterinarians, not city pet vets. Part of the issue is that there are not many young, graduating veterinarians who want a career dealing with large, dangerous animals under difficult conditions in remote areas with no way of making a viable living. Another problem is that most small/medium-sized livestock producers would rather do their own veterinary work and not hire expensive professional vets. Even those vets who do large animal veterinary work usually need a robust pet business to make their business viable. I should note that this shortage situation doesn't usually affect feedlot operators or intensive hog, dairy and poultry operations. That's because they usually have animal health service contracts with large animal veterinary companies that provide ongoing health monitoring and emergency services on an as-need basis. Here in Alberta, even those vet firms providing health services to large livestock operations are seeing a growing shortage of large animal vets. One would expect veterinary colleges and vet associations to take steps to address the shortage problem. Up here, human nature and political and
First is the demographics of vet college graduates – the vast majority are city-bred young ladies who want to be pet vets, go into research or join government service. I suggest that few graduates, male or female, are interested in the perils of large animal vet services in remote areas. Vet colleges in Canada are acutely aware of the shortage and want to change how vet students could be streamed into specializing in small animal, large animal or equine specializations. But they are being thwarted in that common- sense approach because they can only graduate veterinary generalists if they want to be accredited by the American
By Will Verboven Contributing Editor
(and government licensing entities) seem to erect unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that thwart immigrant vets coming to Canada. They must pass language and qualification tests and have Canadian field experience. The tests alone can cost up to $15,000. It means, for instance, that a Danish veterinarian with 25 years of experience and is a graduate from a vet college older than any in North America is treated the same as a new Canadian graduate with no experience. This is an insult to those immigrant vets and a real loss to the Canadian livestock business, which could use more highly experienced large animal veterinarians. This is not unique to the veterinary profession: the same bureaucratic hurdles face other immigrant professionals. Part of that problem is the underlying nature of professional associations. They were never set up to encourage immigrant professionals; they are there to protect the interests and integrity of their members. Unfortunately, the vet establishment has developed a severe case of inertia in seeking a cure. Maybe we need to call Dr. Pol for an injection of common sense.
Veterinary Medical Association accreditation program. Why an
American professional entity has such power over every vet college in Canada has been lost in the mist of time. There is no reciprocal arrangement – that being every American vet college does not have to be accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. It may all be a matter of convenience, but the U.S. accreditation process has thwarted any significant changes that Canadian vet colleges are trying to initiate. The right thing to do would be for the American Veterinary Medical Association to turn over Canadian vet college accreditation to their Canadian counterpart. There are hundreds of other professional associations and licensing authorities in Canada and the United States that have made reciprocal arrangements to recognize and accept each other's authority in their respective countries.
But there is more, national and provincial professional vet associations
All In Environmental Stewardship
a piece of the puzzle. Keeping animals healthy is important for efficient resource utilization, but overuse of antibiotics can impact water quality as well as our ability to control and stop disease outbreaks. Focusing on prevention rather than treatment is key. Much of that must occur prior to receipt at the feedyard, but insistence on proper handling of livestock prior to our receipt can help. It may seem like a small thing, but making certain all equipment is in good working order and replacing older, inefficient engines with newer ones can make a difference. Maybe a couple of electric golf carts or some type of ATV for running around the yard would be possible? We all can reduce the amount of waste we produce. Instead of bottled water, how about a water cooler? Speaking of waste – I don’t know how many times I’ve stopped and picked up net wrap or bale twine or empty cans and bottles that were just laying around because they “escaped.”
has had the solids precipitated out to water those trees via drip system? The trees would provide a windbreak, screen from prying eyes and beautify the premises. What if packing plants also made trees a part of their water management programs? I visited a vegetable processing plant a number of years ago that had irrigated pasture as part of their wastewater management plan. They utilized those pastures for grazing yearlings. Packaging is another area of concern. Our landfills are full of packaging from all kinds of products, but Styrofoam trays and clear plastic make up a part of that. We have even moved to shrink-wrapped packaging from the local locker plant. Perhaps we need to reconsider paper? Food waste is something we don’t really think about from the production side of the business – especially since almost every possible scrap of an animal is utilized in some fashion. However, tons and tons of food are thrown away every day – including uneaten beef. Maybe we need to consider smaller serving sizes? Water is likely to become the most critical resource globally in coming years due to increasing population. In much of the cattle feeding areas of the country, it is already reaching critical supply levels. Rather than mining underground aquifers, which are most frequently used, is there a way to harvest atmospheric water? If you’ve ever read the Dune books by Frank Herbert, or seen the movies, you’ll know what I mean. We don’t really think about it in regard to the environment, but judicious antibiotic use is
By Chris McClure Contributing Editor
I HAVE TO ADMIT that there is a streak of environmentalist in me. It’s a practical type of environmentalism, but it sometimes makes me step back and question some of the views prevalent in the industry. Namely, we tend to point the blame at others while they are point- ing at us as the culprits. The reality is that we are all responsible for the environment, but the only part of it we can truly affect is what is around us. As I think along those lines, a few thoughts come to mind related to the cattle feeding industry. Please keep in mind that I haven’t researched relevant laws or restrictions that might impact some of these thoughts; I just want to throw a few things out there. • Excessive heat can have a significant impact on cattle performance. Shade might be a way to help mitigate some of that negative impact, but shade
All of this is just thinking out loud. I’m sure there is absolutely nothing new in what I have written, but it is often good to be reminded. If we all will keep the mindset that our local environment is our responsibility, the result will be a better world for us all and give us a better reputation with the general public.
is expensive to construct, so how about solar panels on the top? I suspect there are some government grants or at least some tax incentives that could help with the cost. One carbon sequestration method is to plant trees. Would it be possible to plant windbreaks around some of our facilities and utilize lagoon water that
The reality is that we are all responsible for the
environment, but the only part of it we can truly affect is what is around us.
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By Walt Barnhart Contributing Editor A SERIOUSLY WRONG ROAD
Climate change zealots who sound alarms about a pending climate apocalypse that will soon destroy the planet won’t think much of the book False Alarm . Neither will climate change deniers who believe the topic is just the product of liberals intent on controlling our lives. That’s because the author, Bjorn Lomborg, is a climate change believer who thinks activists, the media and politicians have gotten way off course when it comes to the subject, and that the “rhetoric is vastly exaggerated.” He presents a strong, well-researched, rational argument that, while climate change exists, it is not the end of the world. Furthermore, he believes policies currently being taken to address the problem are worse than ineffective, they’re counterproductive. Scary stories told in the media just don’t hold water, Lomborg says. But in this respect, the believers are single minded. The world, they say, is going to end, and nothing but a focus on the climate matters. But their cries ignore the science. For one thing, global warming is causing an unprecedented greening of the world. Because of increases in carbon dioxide over the past three decades, upwards of half of the world’s vegetated area is getting greener, whereas only 4 percent is browning. Reforestation and more intensive agriculture also contribute to the earth’s greening. Hurricanes may be increasing in intensity, but people are getting better at living through them, and global climate- related deaths have decreased tremendously since 1920. Lomborg also thinks zealots often don’t put the topic into context. For instance, humans adapt to climate changes – something few current models touted by activists acknowledge. We find ways of reducing risks and increasing comfort. Airplanes, electric cars, smaller families, solar and wind power, vegetarianism – Lomborg puts these and other climate issues into context, showing where advocates and the media have made critical mistakes. He even demonstrates how the lauded Paris Agreement will accomplish next to nothing, even if all of its promises are kept, reducing the increase in temperature rises by the end of the century to a paltry .4 degrees F. Reports from the United Nations have revealed that the last decade of climate action has resulted in … nothing. And most everything being proposed by climate activists will lead to nothing as well. “Even if the entire rich world stopped all its CO 2 emissions today and never emitted another ton of CO 2 – an utterly devastating scenario some twenty times stronger every year
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TEXAS FEED FAT CO., INC.
than the 2020 global COVID-19 lockdowns – it would only reduce global warming by the end of the century by less than 0.8 degrees F.” An economist and visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford who was named by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People of the World, Lomborg doesn’t exit without presenting five ideas for good policies to address climate change. The first is a moderate but increasing global carbon tax, which he admits might make the world better but not by a lot. The second is for research into green innovation that will reduce the use of fossil fuels. Adaptation is also on Lomborg’s list, which involves looking for ways of protecting humanity from natural disasters, rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. Research into geoengineering to impact climate also might help. Finally, increasing the prosperity of poorer countries will let them take actions that will put them on better footing for a future with higher temperatures and results from climate changes. Fear mongering is just unwarranted, Lomborg says. In almost every way, life on earth is better than ever before. We have doubled life expectancy since 1900, people are more literate, and we’re living in generally peaceful times. There have been substantial cuts in air pollution, higher agricultural yields, improved access to clean water – the list goes on. While it will have an overall negative impact on the world, climate change will pale in comparison to global positives, Lomborg believes. And reducing global warming is only one of many things we can do to make the world a better place.
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“Even if the entire rich world stopped all its CO 2 emissions today and never emitted another ton of CO 2 – an utterly devastating scenario some twenty times stronger every year than the 2020 global COVID-19 lockdowns – it would only reduce global warming by the end of the century by less than 0.8 degrees F.” – Bjorn Lomborg
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well-funded Extension Service. Third, Hagedorn maintains that the most important player in holistic theories is the farmer/ rancher who is hands-on each and every day in environmental responsibilities. Producers need to be willing to accept constructive information and communicate with the end user, the consumer. ADM Animal Nutrition is striving to educate livestock producers on environmental stewardship, hosting in-person meetings, as well as corroborating with universities through the Extension service.
to reduce methane production in ruminants. Some methane-mitigating products are available on the market now. One specific example of research and development at the company is the study of heat mitigation in beef cattle, and the effects of relieving heat stress on feed matter intake and growth. The development of RumeNext ® is the result of measuring production response in finishing cattle during hot summer months in Nebraska. The inclusion of RumeNext ® with Rumensin ® led to heavier cattle at the completion of the study and a positive effect on average daily gain (ADG). Total feed costs and cost of gain (COG) were less for those cattle fed the combination vs. Rumensin ® alone. Another example is the extensive study of yeasts and their benefits in cattle rations. Studies are showing that yeasts have demonstrated the potential to positively affect both young and mature animals as well as unborn calves, supporting the body’s defense responses. Primarily, they have shown a beneficial impact on immune systems and repair of damaged tissue by adhering to gut pathogens. Environmental stewardship focuses on reducing carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints associated with production systems. Precision nutrition focuses on reducing over-formulation and optimizing resource utilization. ADM’s team members consult with livestock producers to incorporate proactive practices that enhance their management and utilization of available ingredients and resources. Thankfully practical, ADM Animal Nutrition realizes that agriculture needs to preserve economic viability in order to be sustainable in the most basic sense. Put simply, farmers and ranchers need to make a profit in order to survive; consumers are totally dependent upon this fact in order to maintain an affordable food source. For more information, visit www.feraah. com/ferappease .
REACHING BEYOND the manufacture of livestock feeds, ADM Animal Nutrition is striving to educate producers, forming leaders in environmental stewardship. Their key goal may be defined as “responsibly balancing ruminant diets with cost- effective, precision-nutrition solutions, supporting dairy and beef producers as leaders in environmental stewardship. Optimized feed and animal efficiency means a reduced environmental footprint while sustaining a reliable food supply.” Thanks to Chris Hagedorn for sharing his expertise on this topic. Hagedorn is an experienced ruminant business manager with ADM Animal Nutrition. Achieving Sustainability ADM Animal Nutrition’s philosophy of environmental stewardship may be summed up in a three-tiered, holistic approach that includes enhancing animal health and welfare, minimizing environmental impact and preserving economic viability. Who should be responsible for educating agriculturalists in achieving these goals? The most fundamental entities are universities and private companies providing basic and applied research along with teaching opportunities in which every interested party may participate. Second, the federal government helps facilitate sustainability methods through grants and educational programs. Cost-share opportunities in building rotational grazing facilities and solar- powered wells are examples, as is a ADM’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION By Patti Wilson Contributing Editor
The Increasing Role of Technology
More frequently, technology plays a part in the communications tying these three entities together. Although Hagedorn prefers face-to-face meetings while conducting producer continuing education, he says there are several other acceptable means of communication. YouTube videos may be pulled up at any hour of the day, as well as additional video platforms currently available. Universities and private companies are an excellent source of video information, providing seminars both live and archived via the internet. Face-to-face interaction remains the most rewarding method because people ask questions freely and share ideas spontaneously. Analyzing the Three Pillars of Sustainability ADM Animal Nutrition’s holistic management is comprised of three pillars. The first is health and well-being of livestock, which may also be termed as basic animal husbandry. Proper nutrition is a cornerstone that ADM Animal Nutrition has researched and developed since the company’s founding. They are at the forefront of proactive applications to moderate antibiotic use, recognizing the need for continuing research and training in this ever-evolving area. Other important considerations in the husbandry arena include developing feed additives
Whitt & Wisdom
By Jim Whitt Contributing Editor Sunlight Is the Best Disinfectant
In director Frank Capra’s classic film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , James Stewart is cast as Jefferson Smith, who is appointed by his state’s governor to fill the term of a senator who has just passed away from a heart attack. Mr. Smith is a true patriot, a naïve young idealist who quotes Lincoln and Washington. He is appointed not because he is a patriot but because Jim Taylor, the political boss that controls his state, believes Smith is so naïve that he’ll pose no threat to the boss’s corrupt political machine. Mr. Smith arrives in Washington wide-eyed and innocent but soon has his idealism shattered by the cynicism of politics and the press. When he authors a bill to build a boy’s camp along the banks of a creek in his home state, he discovers the land has already been bought up by the political machine for a dam project. He meets with Joe Paine, his state’s senior senator, to ask about the dam and Taylor’s graft. Sen. Paine was elected many years earlier and, like Smith, came to Washington as an idealist. But he succumbed to the siren song of Jim Taylor and soon became a pawn of the political boss. Paine tries to talk Smith into keeping his mouth shut and playing ball. When the Senate convenes the next day Smith rises to address the deficiency bill, which includes the dam project. Paine claims that Smith is lying and has in fact bought the
land for his own gain. He calls for Smith’s expulsion from the Senate and in a committee hearing participates in the framing of Smith with a supporting cast of lying witnesses and forged documents. Unfortunately, the Taylor machine controls all the media in the state. Every newspaper and radio station brands Senator Smith as a corrupt liar who should be removed from office. The truth never makes its way back to his home state. He is fighting a lost cause. This film was made in 1939 but is just as applicable today. In politics, the best way to defeat your opposition is to simultaneously demonize them, then silence them. When Elon Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter, there was a firestorm of criticism from leftist media. And it was simply because Musk claims to be a proponent of free speech. We can deduce then that the same media fears free speech and fears that they will no longer control Twitter with Musk at the helm. In an obvious attempt to counter free speech the Department of Homeland Security launched the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) almost immediately after the announced sale of Twitter to Musk. The DGB sounds like a 2022 version of The Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s book 1984 . In 1984, Ministry
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of Truth employees revise and recreate articles and other forms of media to be utilized as government propaganda. The Washingto n Post published an editorial under this headline: “Ignore the Hysteria Over the Disinformation Governance Board.” Sounds like a directive from Big Brother. Like Mr. Smith, Mr. Musk is being demonized by a political machine that aims to silence him. This machine is orchestrated by global political boss George Soros, according to Matt Polumbo, author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros . Polumbo writes that the list of news outlets that have criticized Musk’s takeover of Twitter includes those represented by journalists that serve on Soros-funded boards. The list includes the New York Times, Seattle Times, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fortune Magazine, ABC, USA Today, The Washington Post, NPR, CBS, Huffington Post, New Yorker, Sacramento
Bee, Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press. Twenty- six non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups signed a letter encouraging advertisers to boycott Twitter because of his commitment to free speech, stating “Under Musk's management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.” Musk responded to the letter via two tweets:“Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let's investigate …” and “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Free speech is sunlight. In the end, Mr. Smith is vindicated by shining the light of truth on a corrupt political machine. Let’s hope Mr. Musk accomplishes the same.
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CHUTESIDE MANNER Exploring the Frontier of Animal Health
By Patti Wilson, Contributing Editor
Who Is Doing This? Jon Oatley, a reproductive biologist with Washington State University (WSU) leads a team that includes researchers at WSU, Utah State University, University of Maryland and the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. How Do They Do It? A Project Topics article published by Ajisebutu Doyinsola this year reported that Oatley and his team used the gene- editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, to “knock out a gene specific to male fertility in the animal embryos that would be raised to become surrogate sires. These male animals were all born healthy. They later received transplanted sperm-producing stem cells derived from donors.” Later yet came confirmation of active donor sperm being produced by the experimental male subjects. The process to this point (transplant to sperm production) takes three to five months. Tests done in mice have yielded healthy offspring carrying the donor’s genetics. Who Needs It? Beneficiaries of the technique would first include goat or swine breeders in remote or underdeveloped areas who don’t have access to AI technology; goats (an important source of global protein) must be inseminated laparoscopically requiring a surgical procedure. A reproductive specialist and sterile facilities are needed. Swine semen is almost always used fresh for better conception results. This makes access to superior boars and prompt transport of semen strategic to success. Dechow also mentioned an additional possibility: “Stem cells from a newborn bull calf could be transplanted to a mature surrogate sire to facilitate sperm production well before that bull calf
becomes sexually mature. Stem cells could, in theory, be harvested from a developing fetus even before a calf is born. Because fetal germline stem cells are present early in fetal development, it is conceivable that semen from a bull calf will be produced even before that calf is born!” Public Perception Natalie Grover, science correspondent for The Guardian , wrote in September 2020, ”Sometimes … it’s not appreciated that we have been engineering animals for probably 10,000 years, ever since domestication of livestock. They were combining genetic material through forced reproduction and therefore engineering a genome that may not have developed just through animal natural selection … We’re just doing it in a more precise and efficient manner.” Regardless of any success on a scientific and practical level, real- world, widespread use of surrogate sires will ultimately come down to public acceptance. Government regulatory consideration will no doubt come into play because surrogates are made through a gene-editing process. This may prevent them from entering the food chain. However, the donor genetic material (sperm) is not genetically altered. Only time will tell on the outcome of an upcoming (and unnecessary) moral conundrum. Allison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D., a University of California scientist, said in The Guardian article,“The technology is unlikely to be commercialized if regulated as a genetically modified organism (GMO).” Consequently, researchers have a long struggle in proving this technique acceptable in public perception. She stressed, “Perception plays a role in shaping regulation, which is subject to being swayed by activist groups that have historically mounted intense opposition.
The Latest Reproductive Development
Chances are pretty good that if you’ve owned beef cows, you are familiar with artificial insemination (AI). You’ve either employed the process in your own herd or purchased breeding stock that’s the product of a technique this country has practiced for 75 years. It has vastly improved our livestock genetic base in every specie. Technology Pushes Forward We have seen advancements in AI, including improvements in semen handling (remember glass ampules and ice water?), better insemination guns and more protection against contamination, all of which have improved conception rates. More than 8.7 million units of beef semen sold in the United States last year – a testament to the success of this process. Timed AI and heat synchronization have also evolved over the past 50 years; embryo transfer and cloning followed more recently. The latest development in reproductive technology is one to blow your imagination into the next county. A group of scientists is developing “surrogate sires.” According to Chad Dechow in a February 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman article,“A surrogate sire produces sperm like any other male, but with one key difference: The sperm they produce is not their own. They produce sperm using cells from a genetically superior donor male.” Simply, a surrogate candidate must have functional testes that can produce sperm. He must also be incapable of producing his own sperm. Sounds bizarre, right? Dechow goes on to say that decoupling that connection was elusive, but it has recently been accomplished. Mice, goats and swine have successfully surrogated; development in cattle is well underway.
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