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News Update

October 3, 2011

Central Oklahoma Cattle Conference Oct. 13 in Chandler

Cattle producers looking for management ideas that can improve the sustainability of their operations should register now to attend the Central Oklahoma Cattle Conference Oct. 13 in Chandler.

“Drought conditions are expected to continue next year, making recovery strategies relative to 2011 and marketing considerations for this year’s drought and beyond of key importance to producers,” said Cody Linker, Lincoln County Extension agricultural educator.

The 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 13 conference will take place at the Chandler American Legion Building. Registration at the door will begin at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $25 if preregistering in advance and $35 at the door. To preregister, contact the Lincoln County Extension Office at 405-258-0560.

“A sponsored meal is included in the registration fee, and so we ask participants to preregister if possible as it aids in our planning and helps ensure that we have sufficient numbers of meals, refreshments and conference materials on hand,” Linker said.
Conference sessions will focus on forage recovery strategies for 2012, livestock drought recovery and health issues, current and long-term cattle market considerations and drought-related management of livestock watering ponds.

Sessions will be led by specialists and experts with Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

“We’re also featuring a prescribed burn panel that will discuss both benefits and procedures,” Linker said.

To get to the Chandler American Legion Building: Turn west off State Highway 18 onto 6th Street and drive down the hill to Tilghman Park. The building is located in the southwestern corner of the park.

Anyone seeking additional information about the Oct. 13 Central Oklahoma Cattle Conference in Chandler should contact Linker at 405-258-0560.

2012 National Beef Ambassadors Announced

John Weber (Minnesota), Kim Rounds (California), Arika Snyder (Pennsylvania), Rossie Blinson (North Carolina), and Emily Jack (Texas) were chosen as the 2012 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual competition, funded in part by the Beef Checkoff, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Shisler Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn in Wooster, Ohio. Eighteen senior contestants, ages 17-20, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a place on this elite team of agriculture advocates and $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally, five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were given by the American National CattleWomen (ANCW) Foundation, Inc. For the past several years, one Beef Ambassador has also been chosen for a prestigious USDA internship in Washington, D.C.
This year’s contest also hosted a junior competition for youth beef industry advocates ages 12-16. Eleven passionate contestants vied for cash prizes, competing in two judged categories: Media Interview and Consumer Demonstration. The first place winner was Austin Gaspard (Louisiana), the second place winner was Abigail Grisedale (California), and the third place winner was Rachel Purdy (Wyoming). They all took home checks sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit for their top scores.

While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry within their family and with support from state CattleWomen, Cattlemen’s associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level receiving additional media training. After the event, as youth ambassadors, they speak to industry issues and misconceptions, while educating peers and others about food safety, nutrition and the Beef Checkoff Program at consumer events, in the classroom and online.

Visit or for more information or contact NBAP Manager Sarah Bohnenkamp at 303-850-3440 or

Webinar to Address Anaerobic Digester Use in the Southwest

The use of anaerobic digesters for livestock operations in the Southwest is the focus of the Renewable Energy Education Field Day planned for Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.

This webinar will examine technical, environmental and financial factors to consider when installing an anaerobic digester on a livestock operation. Specific attention will be given to the use of digesters with dry manure and the unique environmental issues and climatic conditions of the Southwest.

This virtual Field Day, which is free of charge, is targeted to dairy and beef producers in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Representatives of environmental and agricultural organizations working with livestock producers, as well as staff from state and federal agencies, are also encouraged to participate.

Farm Foundation NFP is organizing this webinar in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Speakers will include livestock producers with experience in operating an anaerobic digester, industry leaders working with various technologies used in anaerobic digestion, university researchers, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and representatives from government agencies, including the USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) AgStar program. Session topics include:

Webinar sessions will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MDT. The sessions are being taped and will be available for viewing for one year after the event.

There is no charge to participate but registration is required. Here are three ways to participate in the Oct. 26 webinar:

To register for the webinar or review the webinar curriculum, visit the Farm Foundation, NFP website. There is no charge to participate in this webinar, but registration is required.

This is the second Renewable Energy Education Field Day presented by Farm Foundation NFP and USDA agencies. Biomass was the subject of the first Field Day, which was in November 2010.

USDA Announces 2011 Beginning Farmer Awards and 2012 Request for Applications

Friday, USDA announced $18 million in grants to beginning farmers and ranchers at a press conference in Washington, D.C. USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan highlighted these recent awards that were funded through the 2011 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a competitive grants program administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). BFRDP was first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, and during the past three years has awarded more than 100 grants to organizations that provide training and technical assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan stressed the importance of BFRDP in supporting our nation’s beginning farmers, and spoke about the major challenges the country faces in transitioning our workforce to the next generation of people who will work the land. Merrigan cited that the average age of farmers in the U.S. is between 57 and 59, and that the forthcoming census of agriculture being conducted next year will likely show an increase from the 2007 Census.

“BFRDP is just the type of program we need to help beginning farmers succeed so they can create jobs and economic development in our rural communities,” said Adam Warthesen, a policy organizer with the Land Stewardship Project — a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota and an NSAC member group — adding that the next slate of beginning farmer and rancher policies and initiatives are in the works, with the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 set for introduction in Congress next month.

“As we’ve seen with BFRDP, the demand is strong and the need is there for community-based programs that support the next generation of farmers,” Warthesen said. “The Opportunity Act is a smart investment and important step toward creating cost-effective initiatives that can help new agricultural producers. It’s a jobs creator and momentum builder for the next Farm Bill and could not come at a better time.”

NSAC will be working with allies to gain support for this bill in both houses of Congress, and work to incorporate its provisions in the upcoming Farm Bill.
For fiscal year 2011, BFRDP projects were awarded in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Eight of the 36 grants announced were awarded to NSAC member organizations, totaling $4.8 million, and representing over a quarter of total program funding for 2011.

Earlier this month, NIFA also released the Request for Applications (RFA) for the next round of BFRDP funding for Fiscal Year 2012. Approximately $19 million will be made available for projects next year.

BFRDP grant projects address five major priority areas that provide technical and financial assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers, and include:

  1. 1. Production and management strategies to enhance land stewardship by beginning farmers and ranchers
  2. 2. Business management and decision support strategies that enhance the financial viability of beginning farmers and ranchers
  3. 3. Marketing strategies that enhance the competitiveness of beginning farmers and ranchers
  4. 4. Legal strategies that assist beginning farmers with farm or land acquisition and transfer
  5. 5. Other Priority Topics to enhance competitiveness and sustainability of beginning farmers and ranchers for the next generation

Additionally, grants may be awarded for educational enhancement team projects that assemble a team of experts to review beginning farmer and rancher curriculum and programs, identify gaps, and develop and disseminate recommendations and materials to address these gaps.

Click here for a complete listing of 2011, 2010, and 2009 BFRDP grantees and project descriptions.

For more information, see our Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill and the BFRDP website.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.


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