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News Update

January 29, 2013

U.S. Trade Representative and Agriculture Secretary Announce Agreement to Further Open Japan’s Market to U.S. Beef

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions which pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Under these new terms, which enter into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps.

It is estimated that these important changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

“This is great news for American ranchers and beef companies, who can now — as a result of this agreement — increase their exports of U.S. beef to their largest market for beef in Asia,” said Ambassador Kirk. “This represents a significant and historic step in expanding U.S. beef trade with Japan and growing American exports and jobs here at home. We welcome Japan’s action.”

“Today’s announcement reflects another successful effort by the Obama administration that boosts the bottom line for America’s agriculture. We are in the most successful period in history for America’s agriculture sector, with agricultural exports this year expected to set yet another record,” said Secretary Vilsack. “We will continue our efforts to break down barriers and expand access for high-quality, safe and wholesome U.S. food and agricultural products to Japan and around the world.”

For more information and the full release, click here.

International Livestock Congress Coverage Online

Livestock industry stakeholders gathered in Denver, Colo., Jan. 15 for the International Livestock Congress–USA 2013, themed “Feeding the World II: Meeting the Challenge. Topics included telling the beef story, what consumers are telling us, worldwide beef industry update, sustainability, traceability, science funding, and advocacy. Click here for summaries of the event speakers.

NWSS History: Dan Green – Denver’s First Stockyard,
the Elephant Corral

The American Angus Association TV segment I Am Angus shares some of the best highlights from this year’s National Western Stock Show.

Click here to watch this segment on Denver’s first stockyard, the Elephant Corral.

NCBA Statement on Agreement to Further Open Japan’s Market to U.S. Beef

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has learned that as of Feb. 1, Japan will begin accepting beef and beef products from cattle under 30 months of age. The new terms and conditions expand market access from cattle under 20 months to cattle under 30 months. It is estimated that this change in protocol will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional exports of U.S. beef.

“This is great news for cattlemen and women and is a significant milestone in our trading relationship with Japan,” said NCBA President J.D. Alexander. “Japan is a great market for U.S. beef and we look forward to continuing to meet Japanese consumer demands. This move is an important step forward in paving the way toward greater export opportunities to one of our largest export markets.”

Through November 2012, Japan was the second largest export market for U.S. beef totaling $849 million and nearly 130,000 metric tons. Alexander added that this announcement is a shot in the arm to a market and producers facing continued drought, high input costs and increasing federal regulation.

Is It Time to Get Out of Beef Production?

Though competition for farmland and the greater profitability of raising crops has caused many beef cow-calf herd owners in Michigan to ponder their future, Dan Buskirk, Michigan State University Extension beef cattle specialist, said now may be the wrong time to leave the cattle industry because the calf feeder market has the potential to be very profitable this year.

To address this market opportunity, the Michigan State University beef team will offer “Feeding Michigan’s Beef Cow Herd in 2013 and Beyond,” a two-part Michigan State University Extension series, at three locations in Michigan. The series will address various feed alternatives for beef cow-calf herds and look at the economics of each.

“Michigan has the smallest beef cow herd in 60 years, and we have corn acres that appear next season to be climbing even higher across the country,” Buskirk said. “Feeder calf prices are already good. If we benefit from a good growing season in the summer in the Corn Belt and corn prices fall, calf prices will rally to some very profitable levels.”

Staying the course is one thing; doing the same old thing is another, and not what Buskirk believes that most Michigan beef herd managers should do. Times have changed, and the cow-calf industry must change with them.

“Predominantly feeding hay as a winter feed source has gotten too costly because of the high cost of machinery, fuel and fertilizer, along with this competition for land,” he added. “We must use more of our other, lower-cost winter feed sources in Michigan to remain competitive.”

For more information and the full release, click here.

Beef and Basketball Combines Information and Entertainment

Beef producers can get their fill of new beef technologies and information, followed by Iowa State University (ISU) men’s basketball at the third “Beef and Basketball” event in Ames Feb. 23. Sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the event includes three educational presentations, lunch from Hickory Park and attendance at the Iowa State men’s basketball game vs. Texas Tech University.

ISU Extension livestock economist Lee Schulz will provide a 2013 beef cattle market outlook; new ISU Extension beef specialist Patrick Gunn will present, “Heifer and young cow management;” and John Rodgers from Pfizer Animal Health Technical Services will present, “New thoughts on cow-calf health and reproduction.”

ISU Extension beef specialist Joe Sellers said the cost for the entire event is just $15 per person, but those interested should act quickly because of limited availability.
“Preregistration is required by Feb. 15 and there is a limit of two tickets per operation,” he said.

People can RSVP with their local Pfizer representative or by calling Sellers at 641-203-1270 or Dan Loy with the Iowa Beef Center at 515-294-1058.

The program brochure is available by clicking here.

Statement by AFBF President Regarding Bipartisan
Senate Immigration Principles

“The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is encouraged by the immigration reform principles put forth by a bipartisan group of eight Senators. We are especially pleased the senators recognized that agricultural labor provisions must be part of any substantive effort to reform immigration policy. We are hopeful that this will provide the needed framework to move forward during the 113th Congress with a legislative solution for America’s agricultural labor shortage.

“We will continue to work through the Agriculture Workforce Coalition in our efforts to ensure that America’s farmers, growers and livestock producers have long-term access to a steady supply of skilled agricultural workers. We think the best way to do this is through a modern agriculture worker visa program. We will continue to work with members of Congress and the Obama administration to ensure any resulting program is fair, flexible and works to help us feed our growing nation. We also support efforts that would allow experienced laborers the opportunity to earn an enhanced status for the roles they have played in helping us keep our farms running and American agriculture strong. Both elements are critical to an agricultural immigration reform package.

“Immigrant laborers play a vital role in tending our crops and livestock, and we are encouraged by the bipartisan reform efforts. American agriculture needs a legal and stable workforce and farmers from across our nation are ready to support a solution that reaches that conclusion.”

East Texas Livestock and Pasture Management School
Now Accepting Students

Even though parts of Texas have had relief from the drought, grain and fertilizer prices remain high, which makes efficient pasture management as critical as ever to livestock producers, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Set for March 26-28 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, the three-day Pasture and Livestock Management Workshop is now accepting students.

Though billed as being for novice ranchers, the school teaches both beginners and the experienced to get the most “bang for their buck,” according to Gerald Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant breeder, Overton, and one of the school instructors.

“Actually, high feed-grain prices means efficient forage production is more important than ever,” Smith said “It’s simple. More forage for less money means more profit.”

And while costs everywhere else are going up, Overton center faculty have worked to keep the cost of the school level, said Monte Rouquette, AgriLife Research forage scientist and another program instructor. Registration for the three-day school is $350, which includes meals, including lunches, barbecue, a steak dinner, continental-style breakfasts, break refreshments and educational materials.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Study Shows Kansas Cropland, Pasture Values Higher
than Traditional Reporting Methods Indicate

A new Kansas State University (K-State) study indicates that using sales transaction data in determining the value of Kansas farmland shows a higher — in some cases significantly higher — value for the land than the traditional survey method derived from producer estimates of farmland value.

“The current growth in land values and the many businesses and personal decisions affected by these values warranted more extensive analysis to obtain estimates that were less aggregated than either the state or crop reporting district-level values that were available,” said K-State Research and Extension Agricultural Economist Mykel Taylor. “For this study, we obtained sales transaction data from the Kansas Property Valuation Department, which reflect agricultural land sales in Kansas.”

A paper outlining the study is available online at Farm Management: Leasing.

Taylor, along with K-State agricultural economist Kevin Dhuyvetter, embarked on the study in part because state budget cuts in 2009 forced changes in the way land values are reported in Kansas. Prior to 2009, the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service (KASS) conducted farmer surveys which allowed land values to be reported at the crop reporting district (CRD) level. There are nine such districts in the state.

“Unfortunately, the CRD-level estimates reported by KAS were discontinued in 2009, so, now, no official government-reported data exist of regional values,” Taylor said.

KASS does, however, report state average values for irrigated, non-irrigated, and pastureland, based on an annual survey of agricultural producers, asking for their estimate of the value of cropland and pastureland they operate.

For more information and the full release, click here.


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