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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

September 30, 2013

American Agri-Women Join Efforts
with Canada to Host 38th Annual
Convention in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Women involved in agriculture from throughout the United States and Canada will convene in Niagara Falls, N.Y., for the 38th annual American Agri-Women (AAW) convention. Attendees will gather tools and resources, advocate for agriculture, learn about current issues and promote truths about agriculture.

The post-convention tour on Sunday, Nov 10, includes a visit to Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards and Lamb Farms Inc. Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards are a unique agri-tainment farm, as well as vineyard and brewery. Becker Farms sells local products from their farm store, as well as gives tours, hayrides and wine tastings. Also included is a visit to Lamb Farms Inc. in Oakfield, N.Y. This farm is one of western New York's finest and largest dairies, as well as New York’s largest Kosher dairy. The farm grows all of their own crops and is very well known for marketing their dairy cattle genetics.

For more information, please view the Angus Journal’s Virtual Library calendar of upcoming events here.

House Rule Passage Should Pave Way for Farm Bill Completion

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement Sept. 28 after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a rule that would relink farm programs and nutrition programs:

“Today’s actions should pave the way for the farm bill to be completed this year. Extending the 2008 Farm Bill again is not an adequate solution. While it is obvious we will not have a completed farm bill by its expiration on Sept. 30, I urge House leadership to appoint conferees so that the process of conferencing the Senate and House versions of the bill can begin right away.

“NFU will continue to advocate for a five-year, comprehensive farm bill to be completed in the next month.”

NFU to USDA: Reject COOL Rule Extension Request

National Farmers Union (NFU), the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and American Sheep Industry Association sent a letter Sept. 27 to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman urging USDA to reject an extension to the implementation of country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) followed a carefully considered, open and transparent process as it crafted this rule,” the letter stated. “We believe the rule complies with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling and is consistent with U.S. law. We strongly support it and your efforts to defend it.”

This letter was prompted by a recent letter to USDA and USTR from packer-producer organizations and foreign interests seeking to postpone the enforcement of the updated COOL regulations that went into effect May 23, 2013. The regulations provided a six-month grace period for companies to come into compliance with the rules, and that period has not yet ended.

In a recent ruling, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the preliminary injunction request for a delay of implementation because the court found that the plaintiffs had not established a likelihood of success on their claims that the revised COOL regulation violates the first amendment or that the revised regulation exceeds the agency’s authority, among other findings.

“Farmers, ranchers and consumers have waited too long for meaningful country-of-origin labeling standards and we strongly urge USDA to enforce those regulations which have been carefully scrutinized and revised and that will bring the United States into compliance with its WTO obligations,” the letter stated. “The revised regulations published by USDA will provide consumers with enhanced information that will reduce the confusion about the food they buy.”

For more information, please view the full release here.

Afraid of What Your Employees Might Say?

Managing employees can be tough. As employers, in agriculture or otherwise, we have decisions we need to make every day — decisions that need to be implemented by our employees. Therefore, it is important to consider the impact of decisions on employees, and their ability to implement them amid everything else they are already doing.

Good management starts with how we view employees and how we “manage” them. If we’re “old school,” believing in a “command-and-control” approach, then were not going to ask them for input. This management mindset expects that most employees can’t be trusted, that employees won’t exercise self-control, that employees are lazy by nature and that they have little ambition. If that’s your management mindset, why would you ask for input?

The problem with this is that is assumes that you, as the manager, have the best knowledge, that you are complete in what needs to be known, and that your decisions cannot be improved. Experience should tell us that is not the case. The reality is decisions that get talked about and debated are usually better decisions.

What is the alternative management mindset? What if you held the opposite view of the statements listed in the command-and-control mindset? If we really value employees and respect them, then we need to involve them. If trustworthy, ambitious people are going to be what drives your business forward, then it makes perfect sense to ask them for input on decisions. They need to become partners with you in reaching the goals of your business.

They can only do that if they know and share the goals that you have set.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Inoculating Legume Seeds Key to Successful Forage Stand

Legumes grow in partnership with bacteria called rhizobium to help feed themselves nitrogen, but having the right bacteria matched for each legume species is essential to gaining a good forage stand.

Species of the legume family, which includes peas, beans, vetches, alfalfa, clovers and others have the ability to convert nitrogen from the air into a usable form for the plant to grow, but to do so the seeds need bacteria in the soil. This bacterium is called rhizobium.

“Legumes are interesting in that they are able to ‘fix’ nitrogen,” said Dirk Philipp, assistant professor of forages for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “This way we do not have to apply nitrogen fertilizer to forage legumes, resulting in a cost savings.”

Rhizobia bacteria grow into the root hairs of the legume plants and develop nodules. This arrangement allows the bacteria to tap into a source of carbohydrates while providing the plant with nitrogen. If the soil doesn’t have enough bacteria, the plant can’t fix nitrogen. This is where seed inoculation comes in.

“Legume seeds can be coated with water-soluble clay that has the rhizobium in it,” Philipp said. “Luckily, many seeds today come pre-inoculated. The good news is that producers don’t have to worry about inoculating certain species anymore, but the bad news is some plant-specific inoculants are hard to come by for seeds that still require inoculation.”

Without inoculation, the legume plants have to rely solely on available soil nitrogen. If there is not enough — or any — the plants won’t fix the nitrogen and won’t increase the nitrogen that can be recycled back into the soil, which is beneficial to other crops. For more information, please view the full release here.


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