News Update
Feb. 15, 2011

More Than 5,000 Steaks Donated to Show Appreciation for Fort Bliss Soldiers and Families

More than 5,000 soldiers and family members stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, enjoyed a complimentary steak dinner this weekend, courtesy of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, in partnership with the All-American Beef Battalion (AABB), a beef industry coalition that supports service members and their families through “steak feeds” held on military bases across the country.

The celebratory event, held on Saturday, Feb. 12, offered a fun-filled agenda of sports competitions, live music and prizes before culminating in a special dinner featuring delicious, high-quality premium black Angus steaks from the Kansas beef producer.

“On behalf of the 700 employees at Creekstone Farms, we wanted to express our sincere appreciation for the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces,” said Jim Rogers, vice president of marketing for Creekstone Farms. “This small gesture was the least we could do to honor the sacrifices these soldiers, along with their families, make every day for our country.”

— Release by Marketwire.

Statement by Secretary Vilsack on the Release of the Farm Financial Forecasts for 2011

On Monday, Feb. 14, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the release of the Farm Financial Forecasts of 2011:

“Today’s report predicting strong financial performance in the agriculture sector for 2011 is good news for producers and indicates that economic improvement is underway in much of rural America. Potential record or near record prices for commodities like corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton reflects the fact that our trading partners continue a strong demand for food and fiber produced by America’s farmers. President Obama has called on America to ‘win the future,’ and today’s report is an indication that our farmers continue to be the most productive in the world.

I am heartened that net farm income is projected to increase about 20%, or almost $16 billion, from the previous forecast. That’s the second-highest figure since the mid-1970s or, as we stated in the briefing room, the second highest inflation-adjusted value for net farm income recorded in the past 35 years.

“Also, farm asset values are up and farm household income for 2010 and 2011 is expected to increase after falling in recent years. The increase in income is accompanied by a corresponding drop in government payments to the lowest figure since 1997. This shows that the safety net, which helps producers in times of low commodity prices, is working as intended.

“While overall the report is positive, especially for producers of grains and fiber, it is a concern that farmers continue to face an increase in expenses for key inputs, including feed, fertilizer and fuel. Additionally, after a strong recovery in 2010, the report projects a revenue decline for livestock farm businesses in 2011 and continued income and loan repayment concerns for dairy farmers. Higher feed costs are a primary factor.

“Still, the report’s projection that net cash farm income will exceed the recent historical high of 2005 is an indication that America’s overall farm economy is improving, especially in the Heartland and in the Mississippi River region. The Obama Administration has focused on helping farmers and rural small businesses find profitability in the marketplace and success in the global economy. Today’s report is an indication that effort is succeeding.”

To read the report click here.

— Release by USDA.

Livestock and Floods Do Not Mix

Livestock producers need a plan for moving their animals and hay to higher ground before floodwaters start rising.

“Make arrangements now in case cattle and other livestock need to be moved, or have a plan to utilize other facilities in case of flooding,” says Charlie Stoltenow, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service veterinarian.

“Livestock and floodwaters do not mix,” he adds. “Trying to rescue cattle and other large livestock in deep-water situations is a dangerous and losing proposition, and it can be deadly both to the animal and you. Water temperatures are near freezing, and there’s floating ice and debris.”

Heavy snowfall this winter makes flooding likely in some parts of North Dakota.

“As with last year, areas may flood that have not seen flooding before,” Stoltenow cautions.

This could be a problem for livestock producers because calving often occurs in low-lying, sheltered areas. Also, hay production was above average in 2010, and some of this hay is being stored in areas with a high risk of flooding, such as low spots in fields and along creeks and rivers, and on the wrong side of roads that could wash out.

More than 100,000 cattle, including calves, were estimated to have died in North Dakota in the springs of 2009 and 2010. Many were trapped by floodwaters. Flooding also prevented producers from reaching feed supplies for their livestock.

“It is easier to move or blow snow on top of frozen ground to get to your hay now than it is to try to fight 3 feet of mud with 3 feet of water on top of that,” Stoltenow says. “Early February may be too soon to move a lot of snow to accomplish this, but producers should have their contingency plans in place by mid-March, if not sooner.”

Having feed supplies on hand is important because producers can’t count on feed or fuel assistance being available during a flood. If feed supplies run short, NDSU’s FeedList website — — may be able to help. It’s a place producers can go to find feedstuffs for sale. It’s also a place for feedstuff sellers to market their supplies.

— Release by NDSU.

Women in Ag Conference Set For March 11

The eighth annual Women in Agriculture regional conference is scheduled for Friday, March 11, at the Martin Community Center in Marshall, Mo.

Keynote speaker for the conference is Susie Oberdahlhoff, known as the “Erma Bombeck of Agriculture.” Oberdahlhoff, or “SusieO” for short, uses wit, humor and her life experiences as a farm wife and a preacher’s kid to bring an inspirational message to audiences around the country. Susie and her husband farm near Bowling Green, Mo.

New at this year’s conference will be a special presentation on estate planning by Judge Hugh Harvey, Saline County probate court judge.

“In the past, Harvey’s smaller breakout sessions have been standing-room-only, so organizers decided to make the popular program available to everyone,” said Cynthia Crawford, University of Missouri (MU) Extension family financial education specialist and member of the conference planning committee.

Breakout sessions include gardening with native plants, with a tour of the Martin Center’s on-site rain garden and outdoor nature center; health issues with dietitian Stacey Winter and MU Extension nutrition specialist Lynda Johnson; a session on agritourism with Brad Fahrmeier of Three Trails Winery; how to do an energy audit of your home or farm; and a session with Crawford about how to get your life organized.

Cathy Barton and Dave Para will again provide lunchtime entertainment, celebrating the musical traditions of Missouri and the Ozarks.

Organizers emphasize that men shouldn’t let the title of the event put them off. “This event presents a wealth of information in a fun environment,” Crawford said. “While the focus of the conference is placed on women agriculturalists, anyone and everyone is invited.”

In addition to Crawford, conference organizers include Parman Green, Anita Elson, Becky Plattner, Jared Singer, Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, Allen Voss and Steve Wooden.

A full schedule of events and registration information is available at Cost for the conference is $12 in advance and $15 at the door. This includes all sessions, conference materials, lunch and entertainment.

The day begins with coffee and registration at 8:30 a.m. Events kick off with the keynote speaker at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

Call the MU Extension Center in Saline County at 660-886-6908 for more information.

The conference is sponsored by MU Extension, Lincoln University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

— Release by MU Extension.

— Compiled by Mathew Elliott, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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