Heifer Development Program Begins
In a joint effort to rebuild the state’s declining beef herd, the University of Tennessee (UT) Institute of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative will begin a development program for 100 beef heifers consigned by farmers from across Tennessee.
Nationally, the state has dropped from ninth in beef cattle production to 13th in the past two years due economic and weather-related factors. Currently, the state hosts about 864,000 beef cows.
In December 2012, Tennessee’s governor issued a challenge to make the state No. 1 in the Southeast in the development of agriculture and forestry. With beef producers located in every county in the state, enhancing beef cattle production is a natural priority for the state’s agricultural community, said Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, who supports the initiative.
UT is looking for producers willing to consign heifers to the pilot project. Facility construction began late in 2014, and the first shipment of heifers should arrive in October 2015. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will offer Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) scholarships to producers who participate in the project to help defray a portion of their management costs. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Tennessee.
Cargill Sells Lockney Feed Yard
Cargill Cattle Feeders LLC sold its Lockney, Texas, feedyard to Lofton Trust, a family-owned cattle operation based in California. The feedyard opened in 1970 and was purchased by Cargill in 1986. It has capacity for 60,000 cattle and employs 20 people. The Lockney feedyard will operate under Western Cattle Feeders LLC. In 2013, Cargill said the closure of Lockney was related to the shutdown of the company’s Plainview, Texas, beef processing facility. Lofton Trust was in the midst of an expansion of its operations when a southern California beef processing plant closed, resulting in the need for a new feedyard location. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Texas.
Concern Over Private-To-Public Lands
Conservation groups are buying up private land in Oregon and turning them over to the state to become public land. Recently, Western Rivers Conservancy bought the Rattray Ranch in Gilliam County and announced plans to sell a portion of the land to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Oregon cattleman Keith Nantz is concerned about the high amount of private land turnover. He fears the land won’t be properly taken care of as “public agencies are already over extended and can’t take care of what they already have,” he says. Others are concerned Oregon residents might not understand the impact of private land turnovers. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Oregon.
Drainage Districts Target of Lawsuit
Three northwest Iowa counties are the bull’s-eye for heated discussion about farmers and their impact on water quality. In January, the board of trustees for the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), announced it intended to file a citizen’s suit under the Clean Water Act against the boards of supervisors in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties, who oversee the county drainage ditches. DMWW claims there are illegal discharges from tile systems feeding into drainage ditches. During public comments at the board meeting, cattleman Bill Couser of Nevada noted that farmers have invested a great deal of money to protect water quality. Data shows average nitrate levels in the Raccoon River have trended lower the past 15 years. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Iowa.
Join Us At Cowboy College
Beef Today will host two Cowboy Colleges in 2015 to educate attendees on animal health and best management practices. The Cow-Calf Cowboy College is June 16 to 17 in Denver, Colo. The Feedlot Cowboy College will be Sept. 15 to 16 in Wichita, Kan. Both programs will be led by Dan Thomson, DVM, Kansas State University, with presentations by Mike Apley, DVM, Kansas State University, and Tom Noffsinger, DVM.
Last year’s inaugural Cowboy College for feedlot cowboys drew 135 attendees from 17 states. For more information and to register, visit www.BeefToday.com/CowboyCollege.
MBA 2.0 Released
The checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program has released a new set of five lessons focused on the beef life cycle from pasture to plate.
MBA 2.0 includes courses on The Beef Community, Raising Cattle on Grass, Life in the Feedyard, From Cattle to Beef and “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” MBA graduates are encouraged to update their advocacy knowledge base by completing the new courses.
To access the new MBA classroom, use the log-in information contained in a Jan. 14 email to all graduates. Questions about the new log-in process or the modules should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the lessons, MBA graduates will learn how to answer consumer questions on issues such as the use of hormones and antibiotics, grass- versus grain-finishing cattle, feed containing GMO grain and how to choose and cook the right beef cut for a great eating experience.
For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/ Cattlemens_Notebook.