News Update
July 17, 2009

USDA Announces Results of Soybean Checkoff Request for Referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results today of the request for referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program (soybean checkoff).

USDA received only 759 requests for referendum forms at county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, which reflects approximately one-tenth of 1% of all eligible U.S. soybean farmers. Had 10% of the 589,182 eligible farmers — with no more than one-fifth of the 10% coming from any one state — requested a referendum, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture would have conducted the referendum on the soybean checkoff within 12 months.

USDA requires a soybean checkoff request for referendum period every five years. The most recent period took place from May 4 to May 29.

Farmers certifying that they paid the checkoff, which is one-half of 1% of the price per bushel sold, at any time during a period beginning Jan. 1, 2007, and ending Dec. 31, 2008, were eligible to participate in the petition for a referendum. Eligible farmers who did not want a referendum did not need to take any action.

— Adapted from a release provided by the U.S. Soybean Board.

Missouri Beef Tour set for August 29

The 2009 Missouri Beef Tour, Aug. 29, will provide an opportunity to see a broad range of cattle operations in south-central Missouri, said Justin Sexten, chair of the tour and beef nutritionist with the University of Missouri (MU) Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program.

The tour begins at 12:30 p.m. and will visit operations in Dent, Phelps and Crawford counties. Stops along the tour include a Hereford seedstock operation, a high-stock-density operation, a managed intensive grazing (MiG) system, a backgrounding operation and a silvopasture facility. The tour is free and advance registration is not required.

All of the owner/operators represent multiple generations of farm families, with most still farming on the original property. Owners will talk about the history of their farms and how their operating methods have evolved. An industry specialist will give a presentation on related subjects at each stop.

The first stop will be in Dent County at Oak Knoll Ranch. Leon and Helen Kreisler, who established the ranch in 1985, fall-calve their 123-head commercial Angus-based herd on 480 acres. They winter half the herd entirely on pasture while supplementing the other half with 1,500 to 2,000 pounds (lb.) of hay for two months in winter.

George Barnitz and his son Frank operate the 142-year-old Barnitz Farms. They manage a 450-head herd of commercial black and red Angus, calving in spring and fall. Barnitz Farms custom-backgrounds calves for South Ozarks Premier Beef Marketers (SOPBM). The Barnitzes and SOPBM recently participated in MU distillers’ grains experiments in their backgrounding operation. A highlight of the farm is a huge, red barn built in 1868, still in full use and maintained in its original condition.

Robert and Gretchen Thompson breed registered Herefords at Glengrove Farm, Rolla. The Thompsons keep 40-plus cows and calves and about a half-dozen registered performance-tested bulls on 160 acres. They calve in the spring and fall. The third generation on the property, Robert says he knows every one of his cattle by name and pedigree.

The oldest family farm on the tour, originally known as Parry Polled Herefords, was established by Mary Beth Parry Pogue’s family in the early 1800s. Mary Beth and Denny Pogue, who have full-time jobs outside the farm, manage a crossbred Angus herd of about 100 fall-calving cows. The herd grazes pasture 50 weeks per year. Last year, Denny experimented with grazing at high stock density on one-acre paddocks and found it cost-efficient.

The Pogues’ goals are to keep one cow per three acres in the grazing system without feeding very much hay, eliminate fertilizer supplements and sell 70-75 calves each year. They plan to fence the exterior boundaries and install free-ranging goats for brush management.

The tour will end at MU’s Wurdack Farm in Crawford County. There will be a tour of the managed grazing and silvopasture systems at the facility and a beef dinner for those who registered at tour stops during the day.

For more information, call Rex Ricketts at 573-882-4553 or Justin Sexten at 573-882-8154.

— Adapted from a release provided by the Commercial Agriculture Program, MU Extension.

Fort Dodge Animal Health Legacy Scholarships Awarded

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) and Fort Dodge Animal Health recognize the importance of and demand for bovine veterinarians and production agriculture professionals. Today, five students were recognized for their commitment to the beef industry. Three doctorate of veterinary medicine and two animal science undergraduate students each received a scholarship in the amount of $5,000 as part of the Fort Dodge Animal Health Legacy Scholarship program. The five recipients were selected from a pool of qualified candidates from 29 different universities across the United States.

Veterinary Medicine scholarships were awarded to Amy Daley, New Castle, Colo.; Timothy Perano, Jackson, Calif.; and Jeremi Wurtz, Valley, Neb. Daley will receive her degree from Colorado State University in 2011; Perano from the University of California, Davis in 2012 and Wurtz from the University of Nebraska in cooperation with Iowa State University in 2012.

Undergraduate scholarships were awarded to Robert Laux of Petersburg, Mich., and Brody Wallis of Atoka, Okla. Both are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in animal science and are graduating in 2010. Laux attends Michigan State University; Wallis attends Oklahoma State University.

For more information, visit

— Adapted from a release provided by the NCF.

Seven U.S. Cattle Operations Recognized for Environmental Conservation

Seven beef farms and ranches, representing a wide range of sizes and types of businesses, were selected as regional winners of the 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award. For almost two decades, the beef industry has recognized outstanding commitment and leadership in conservation.

In this 19th year of the award, honorees include a certified organic ranch in Northern California; a farm in southwest Georgia that raises crops, livestock and timber; and a family-owned business with calf operations and feedyards in locations across north Texas and New Mexico.

“The Environmental Stewardship Award program gives us an opportunity to honor the men and women of the beef industry who demonstrate leadership on environmental issues, and provide them with a platform to share their best practices with other farmers and ranchers throughout the country,” said Dave Petty, chairman of the Environmental Stewardship Award selection committee and the 2001 national award winner.

The regional award winners are being recognized at The Cattle Industry Summer Conference, taking place this week in Denver. A national winner will be selected from among the regional winners and announced in January at the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas.

Choosing just one family from each region can be challenging for the 22-member selection committee, as most of America’s cattle farmers and ranchers are proactively employing a variety of sustainable practices, according to data from a recent survey funded by The Beef Checkoff Program. In fact, 85% of farmers and ranchers agree conservation is a key to their success.

“The seven regional winners come from all parts of the beef industry and country,” Petty said. “They are outstanding examples of how the people who provide consumers with nutritious and delicious beef are earning a reputation as everyday environmentalists. They are proof that conservation can be as good for business as it is for the environment.”

Regional recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award serve as a model for others seeking to improve and protect the environment. This year they include:

  • Region I: Young’s Cattle Co., Belmont, Ohio - An Angus-based cow-calf and cattle backgrounding (feeding) operation.
  • Region II: Greenview Farms, Screven, Ga. - A 2,800-acre family business that produces Polled Hereford cattle, hay and row crops including cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts, pecans, vegetables, annual forages, pine straw and timber.
  • Region III: Eckenfels Farm, Sainte Genevieve, Mo. - An operation managing herds of Angus, Hereford and Simmental cattle in two different locations.
  • Region IV: Stoney Point AgriCorp, Inc., Melissa, Texas - A family-owned operation which raises Holstein calves to be sent to finishing yards for further feeding and heifers for the dairy industry.
  • Region V: Pape Ranches, Daniel, Wyo. - An operation comprised of more than 10,000 acres of rangeland and irrigated hay land where Hereford-Angus crossbred cattle are raised.
  • Region VI: Leavitt Lake Ranches, Vina, Calif. - A certified organic, grass-fed cow-calf and yearling ranch on 39,000 acres near the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • Region VII: Daybreak Ranch, Highmore, S.D. - A commercial cow-calf operation whose owners also no-till farm corn, sunflowers, oats and wheat.

The Environmental Stewardship Award is presented each year by (NCBA) and the NCF, and is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). For more information, or to nominate a cattle farmer or rancher, visit

— Adapted from a release provided by NCBA and NCF.

— compiled by Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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