Sep 19, 2014
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Livestock Today

RSS By: Sara Brown, Beef Today

The Livestock Today blog is your place to learn the latest production news for the livestock industry.

Caught on Camera

Feb 07, 2014

It’s not often I’m on the other side of the microphone—being the interviewee instead of the interviewer—but that’s exactly what happened this week at the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Tradeshow. Thanks to our friends at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, I got in on part of their "ag"vocay challenge.

Check out my interview, and then go and watch the others. The contest will measure the number of views each video gets to win a mini Ipad.


Here’s my challenge to you: If the camera was on you, how would you have answered the questions that Adam Callaway asked me? Share your story—whether you raise organic or some other branded beef, or commercial beef—with the consumers that you know. Take the offense in your influence circles and share the positive message of beef.

Also, be sure to read the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s blog, right here on

Aussie Tour Talks Cattle, Grain

Jul 24, 2013

Genetics, grass and grain were top of mind for my Saturday morning, as I was invited to tag along with an Australian tour group that was visiting Sydenstricker Genetics, just minutes from our offices in Missouri.

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A mix of cattle and grain farmers, the group took to the pasture. Ben and Darla Eggers, managers of the farm, shared about genetic technology advancements, Missouri’s fescue pastures and bull development.

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"There were lots of questions about the performance that we expect here on a purebred operation," Ben Eggers says. "They were very complimentary about seeing cattle with good frame size."

About half the group were cattlemen and visited with Ben and wife Darla about grazing systems and the differences between forage types.

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After touring the Sydenstricker Genetics cattle operation and Sydenstricker’s Mexico, Mo., John Deere dealership, the tour stopped for lunch at the county fair down the road.

The Aussie farmers I visited with were very inquisitive—asking about how the 4-H and other youth programs were funded and what brings farm kids back to the rural areas. I shared about the Farm Bureau young farmer programs, other local networking opportunities and some of the ideas from other U.S. farmers have shared through the Farm Journal Legacy Project. One new offering from Farm Journal Media is the Top Producer Executive Network.

Grain handling was also a hot topic for the Australians.

Grain marketing is different for Australians, in that most farmers sell their grain to a trading house, who then in turn sells it to a processor. One farmer asked if American farmers have the problem of not getting paid when the grain is traded to a middleman. While there have been some cases of that, I shared that most U.S. farmers contract with and deliver grain directly to grain elevators or processors. 

He admitted to downloading the AgWeb phone app just moments before and watched as I pulled up the contract prices for the local elevators.

Across the table, another farmer shared a concern, which many of his neighbors also share, about the ADM purchase of GrainCorp, which will give ADM control of seven ports on Australia’s east coast—where 90% of the region’s grain is exported. While Cargill and other international companies have invested in Australian agriculture, the farmers are worried the purchase will give ADM a monopoly of the Australian wheat market.

Nearly 35 Australians made the trip to the U.S. Other stops included a tour of the Moline, Ill., John Deere factory and a tour of the Caterpillar factory.


McDonald’s Drops Angus Burgers

May 10, 2013

Bye bye, Angus Burger—you’ve been nickel-and-dimed off of McDonald’s menu.


This Associated Press article helps explain why: "At a time when the restaurant industry is barely growing, McDonald's has been playing up its Dollar Menu in ads to boost sales and steal customers away from competitors. Even if that hurts profit margins, executives say the strategy is critical to gaining market share and ensuring the long-term health of the company."


This isn’t the first shake-up to McDonald’s burger line-up. A few months ago, Reuters also reported on the McDouble and the Double Cheeseburger shifts on the Dollar Menu.


But remember, we are talking about a fast food chain. It uses a lot of U.S. beef (and arguably some from New Zealand and Australia). And 10% to 15% of its sales come from the Dollar Menu.


With competition like that, why did they think a premium, higher cost Angus burger would work anyway? Although, I will miss the tomato on top.


What do you think? Is this good or bad for U.S. beef?

Website Helping You Trade Cattle

Jan 14, 2013

To date, the site has posted over 1,000 listings, which translates into more than 108,000 head of animals listed.

Since launching a year ago, has helped buyers and sellers come together to trade cattle. To date, the site has posted over 1,000 listings, which translates into more than 108,000 head of animals listed, and has been visited by more than 100,000 people and received more than 1 million individual page views. Now the site is seeing both buyers and sellers coming back to the site to trade cattle. In January to date, the site is seeing repeat sellers, which were 10% so far.

"I would not have found the replacement females I was looking for had it not been for Cattle-Exchange." says Bill Dix from Iowa. He saw the cattle he wanted in Kansas and went right to them, saving a lot of time and money.

The benefit for buyers on the site is that it allows you to search for the type of cattle you are looking for and narrow results based on geographic location, breed and more. For sellers, allows you to provide detailed information on what interests buyers and also post videos and photos, which brings in more page views and potential buyers.

A buyer recently posted on's Facebook page: "Thanks Cattle-Exchange for hooking me up with the cattle seller. I picked up what appears to be a great large herd at a reasonable price today."

You can find out what has to offer by going to and also find of on Facebook and on Twitter @CattleExchange.


HSUS Hogs Facebook

Jul 27, 2012
Minutes after a photo of a pig, in an admittedly small, gestation crate and a poor choice of words comment from National Pork Producers Council, hundreds of comments from people have ensued today on Humane Society of America’s facebook post.
 FB HSUS gestation 7 27
All about a practice that was started to defend animals from the very cause it was charged with. Gestation crates were designed to help farmers protect sows during a natural aggressive state—when they have been weaned and are resting before being bred again.
Never mind that animals housed in confinement are fed better nutrition than "free-range" (go find it yourself) diets, and are able to have more healthy baby pigs.
A video put together by Kansas State University tells us more:

I’ve been seeing so many ag advocates use photos and words to spread positive messages about agriculture. Unfortunately, those who do not agree with agriculture practices can use the same tools. Don’t think that farmers don’t care about their animals. Nothing is farther from the truth. 
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