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News Update

February 13, 2012

North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation
Offers Four Collegiate Scholarships

The North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation (NDSF) will be awarding four collegiate scholarships in 2012. Applications are due March 1 and will be awarded during the North Dakota Stockmen's Association (NDSA) 83rd Annual Convention & Trade Show in Fargo, N.D., Sept. 27-29.

Included in the offering are two $500 Junior Scholarships, awarded to college sophomores who attend a North Dakota college or university, maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and are pursuing a beef-related career, including, but not limited to, animal or range science, pre-veterinary medicine, agribusiness, ag communication, or farm and ranch management.

Two $500 Legacy Scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors, college freshmen, sophomores or juniors enrolled at any college or university who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA and have an interest in the beef industry. There are no major requirements to apply for the Legacy Scholarships. Applicants for both scholarships must be NDSA members or children of NDSA members. Find applications and other scholarship requirements online at

The NDSA developed the NDSF in 2008 to advance the state's beef industry through education, scholarship, building, research and leadership opportunities. Most contributions to the NDSF, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, are tax deductible. For more information about the Foundation, its scholarships or the NDSA, call 701-223-2522 or visit us online at

Agriculture Future of America Offers Scholarships
for Students in Agriculture

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, securing scholarship support becomes a top priority for students and parents. Agriculture Future of America (AFA) understands this need and works to assist young people pursuing agricultural-related careers by providing academic financial support and by partnering with other organizations to offer scholarship opportunities. Listed below are scholarship opportunities currently available through AFA and its partner organizations.

AFA National Leader and Academic Scholarships. The AFA National Leader and Academic Scholarship program seeks to identify young leaders in the agriculture and food industry. This scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors enrolling in agriculture-related, four-year degree programs across the nation. Selection for the scholarship enables young leaders to enter AFA's leader development program and receive an academic scholarship for their freshman year of college. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is March 15, 2012.

For award details, eligibility criteria and to apply, visit In 2012, Water Street Solutions will partner with AFA to provide five AFA Leader and Academic Scholarships to students from the states of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio. These students will be identified through the general AFA Leader and Academic Scholarship application. High school seniors and current college students are eligible to apply for these scholarships. Three letters of recommendation are required for this scholarship. Students wishing to apply for this scholarship should fill out the general application for AFA National Leader and Academic Scholarships.

William J. Collins Scholarship. The William J. Collins scholarship was established to honor Collins upon his retirement from AgriBank, recognizing his many years of service. This scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors who are children of AgriBank district employees. Scholarship applicants must be planning to pursue a bachelor's degree in an agriculture-related, four-year degree program, or have expressed intent to complete a four-year degree in the United States. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is March 15, 2012.

For more information and to apply, visit For questions about any of the scholarships listed above or to learn more about AFA, please contact Emily Page at 888-472-4232, or AFA is also actively involved in assisting agriculture students with their efforts to find internships. Contact the AFA office if you would like assistance.

Cattle Producers Advised to Use Caution
as Prices March Higher

Cattle producers should be mindful to not get too caught up in reacting to high market prices, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

When Jason Johnson, AgriLife Extension economist from Stephenville, showed a slide to several hundred cattle producers at the Blackland Income Growth Conference in Waco, it caused many to gasp and begin conversations about profit potential.

"I put this (slide) up there not to make you salivate, but to put things into perspective," Johnson said. "You can get into a bind making certain decisions during prosperous times." He advised producers not to overstock due to the potential for continued drought conditions in Texas.

But if the dry weather patterns tend to alter from last year's devastating drought, "if we get some rain, you've got a real good shot at making some good money here. The price outlook is really looking good," Johnson said.

To play it safe, Johnson said producers might want to consider stocking at 75% of normal capacity.

"That way if we get 80 to 90% normal rainfall, you won't have to cut into the bone of the herd to destock," he said. "If we get normal rainfall or better, there are many alternatives available to harvesting excess forage."

Target prices for the first quarter of 2012 for 500-600 pound calves are $1.45 to $1.50, which has already been exceeded this year, Johnson said. That trend is likely to continue with a historic shortage of beef cows not seen in the U.S. since 1952.

Profitability for Texas ranchers relies on using the availability of forage and reducing the amount of purchased feed, Johnson said. "The (calf) prices are there; the challenge for us is to produce a calf cheap enough," he said.

The outlook for corn prices continues to be on the upswing, Johnson said, due to declining carryover stocks from last year. He expects feed prices to remain level or increase a bit "due to these supplies and the renewable fuel standard tapping into corn to make ethanol."

Texas hay prices continue to be a threat to profit margins for ranchers, he said.

"You can spend a lot of money raising that $1.50-per-pound calf on hay," he said. "Cattle producers might want to consider storing hay supplies for up to two years if ample rainfall is received this spring and summer, and if enough hay is harvested.

"Saving two years worth of hay supplies allows you to sidestep a year like 2011 when hay prices were out of sight."

Ranchers can also consider the many weather-related insurance products as a hedge against drought conditions, Johnson said.

With 2011 federal income tax returns set to be filed in mid-April, Johnson said cattle producers can consider deferring taxes on the sales of excess breeding livestock if the proceeds are used to purchase replacements within the next two years.

"You don't have to pay tax on excess sales due to drought," he said. "If you normally sell one-fifth of your breeding animals, anything in excess of that one-fifth you can defer taxes on and use those proceeds for replacement."

A second tax-management option applies to non-breeding livestock. Ranchers whose principal business is farming and ranching can defer taxes on sales proceeds resulting from disaster conditions for up to one year, Johnson said.

There are several online spreadsheets made available by AgriLife Extension economics that can assist ranchers with management decisions, Johnson said. For more information, go to

Show Your Love This Valentine's Day With a T-Bone for Two

February is a month dedicated to expressing affection. This year, food is the language of love. According to a survey conducted on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, on Valentine's Day, Americans would rather have a nice meal than a card, flowers, chocolate or even a gift, and 62% of Americans said steak is their most desired Valentine's Day meal.

In celebration of Valentine's Day, consider these statistics that reveal Americans hold a special place in their hearts for beef, especially when sharing special moments with family and friends.

It's also important to know that many of the most popular steaks are lean. Research shows naturally nutrient-rich lean beef can easily be part of a heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering diet. There are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government guidelines for lean. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef is only 150 calories and provides 10 essential nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins. All of these nutrients are needed to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Show your loved one how much you care this Valentine's Day by preparing this delectable T-Bone Steak for Two recipe. It's an easy recipe that lets you choose a complementary sauce of your choice. Take a little time and relax. Let this beef dinner be your ticket to creating a spark that lasts throughout this winter season.

For more healthy beef recipes and information contact Holly Swee, director of nutrition and consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council at 605-224-4722 or Beef It's What's For Dinner.


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