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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

January 28, 2016

Register for Raising the Bar

The National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) hosts Raising the Bar leadership conferences each year as a way to encourage its members to travel, meet other NJAA youth and learn more about the Angus business. Raising the Bar conferences will take place in two locations this spring, and juniors are encouraged to take note of upcoming deadlines.

The University of Arkansas will host a Raising the Bar conference March 3-6 in Bentonville, Ark.; and South Dakota State University will be the host April 7-10 in Brookings, S.D. The tentative schedule for both conferences includes a campus tour, educational workshops, farm and ranch tours, as well as social activities and games.

Made possible through donations to the Angus Foundation, the NJAA’s Raising the Bar conferences are an opportunity for junior members to experience college campuses across the country, learn about careers in agriculture and connect with other cattle enthusiasts.

Registration for the Arkansas event is due by Feb. 1. To attend Raising the Bar in South Dakota, you must be signed up by March 1. To participate, visit the NJAA website to download registration forms. The $100 registration fee covers lodging, conference meals and materials.

For more information, please view the full Angus news release online.

On Target: A Look at the ‘Growing’ Cow Herd

We’ve seen a declining inventory of beef cows since the 1970s, with a couple of partial recoveries. Now that a fairly steady 20-year decline hit bottom a year ago, we have to wonder how many cows our market and resources can sustain.

CattleFax estimates the beef cow inventory grew from around 29 million at the start of 2014 to 30.7 million head as 2015 came to a close. Depending on consumer responses and producers’ ability to satisfy the growing demand for higher quality, some economists suggest the United States could support 33 million cows or more by the end of this decade. It remains to be seen how steady the expansion can be in the face of a near-30% decline in calf prices that could discourage producers from retaining as many replacement heifers.

Those are big-picture concerns, and “big” is a word to examine in the smaller picture of individual cow size, as well. Any talk about how big our cow herd can be must include how big our cows have become and why.

For more information, please view the full Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.

Cattle Market Pressured by Heavier Weights

More feedlot placements than expected, coupled with large supplies of cold storage beef, will pressure cattle prices in the near term, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock economist.

David Anderson, livestock economist in College Station, said the recent Cattle on Feed report released by the USDA depicts fewer heifers placed on feed, signaling continued expansion among producers across the country.

“The report has indicated the running themes we have had throughout 2015, which has been fewer placements and a trend in placing heavier animals,” he said. “This is being driven by fewer cows and calves in 2014 and continued in 2015. There were heavy financial losses by cattle feeder operators in 2015. They paid premiums for those animals and then the market dropped lower, forcing them to hold onto to those feeders and add more gain to compensate for the premium they paid.”

The USDA report indicated placements were slightly lower, about 1% less than the year before, Anderson said.

“More cattle were placed weighing over 700 and 800 pounds while total placements declined,” Anderson said.

For more information, please view the full Texas A&M release online.

USDA Seeks Proposals for Market-based
Wetland Protection Systems

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Jan. 28 the establishment of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. Through the program, NRCS will provide $9 million to help states, local governments or other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks that restore, create or enhance wetland ecosystems, broadening the conservation options available to farmers and ranchers, so they can maintain eligibility for other USDA programs.

“Over the past seven years, USDA has worked with private landowners to enroll a record number of acres in conservation practices, and we are seeing significant reductions in nutrient runoff and greenhouse-gas emissions. Wetland Mitigation Banks will give farmers and ranchers more conservation options, so they can find the best solution for their land and circumstances, and produce even more results,” Vilsack said.

Wetland mitigation banking is a market-based approach that involves restoring, creating or enhancing wetlands in one place to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. Wetland mitigation banking is commonly used to compensate for wetland impacts from development, but can also be used to offset impacts from agriculture.

For more information, please view the full USDA news release online.

NFU Women’s Conference Provides
Management, Leadership Skills

National Farmers Union (NFU) concluded its annual Women’s Conference, marking another successful year of providing women with important skills and guidance to confidently manage risks on their farming and ranching operations.

“This conference offers women of all ages the opportunity to come together to network, refine their leadership and farm management skills, and learn from agricultural experts and leaders,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Family farm operations and agribusiness board rooms alike benefit from the views and ideas provided by women in our industry.”

The event, which began on Saturday and was hosted in Clearwater Beach, Fla, included farm tours, networking sessions and breakouts on leadership training, financial planning and Farm Bill programs. Participants also heard from special guests, including Lilia McFarland, new farmer coordinator at the USDA; Bridget Holcomb, executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network; Shannon Ferrell, associate professor at Oklahoma State University; and Gary Matteson, vice president for Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach at Farm Credit.

The conference programming was sponsored by Farm Credit, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation, NFU Foundation, and AgrAbility.


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