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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Monthly Archives: July 2010

I found the discussion at the wheat producers meeting in Burkburnett this morning interesting for two reasons. First, there was unanimous agreement that the speculators are the reason for the recent price run-up as there are no fundamentals to support the movement. And second that even though we all see a growing world supply of wheat and a downward trend in world-wide usage, nobody wants to grow less wheat. The consensus was we need a better type of crop insurance based on revenues rather than bushels.

It seems to me that a better strategy would be to figure out how much less higher protein wheat we need to grow to stabilize the price at a profitable level, not ask the government to guarantee a set revenue.

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Small, non-farm businesses in Wichita County are now eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the United State Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought, above-normal temperatures and associated wildfires that occured in Wichita County from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.

SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster.

Eligibility for these working capital loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent, a maximum term of 30 years, and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

The deadline to apply for these loans is December 14, 2010.

information and application forms are available by calling 800.659.2955 or by email at: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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European Researchers found that men and women gained over four pounds of weight over a five-year period for every extra 250 grams of meat they consumed daily over dietary recommendations. 250 grams of meat is roughly equal to a 450 calorie steak.

A total of 103,455 men and 270,348 women aged 25–70 years of age were studied between 1992 and 2000 in ten European countries. The objective was to assess the association between consumption of total meat, red meat, poultry, and processed meat and weight gain after five years of follow-up study.

When participants who had had previous illnesses or were likely to misreport what they were eating were removed from consideration, processed meat had the strongest association with weight gain over a five-year period. Poultry was also linked to weight gain — in fact, it was the meat most strongly associated with annual weight change. The researchers reported red meat was only weakly linked to weight gain.

Their conclusion, a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management.

The findings appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The science here looks pretty good; I just have a problem with the way the media presents it. It is a bigger story to plaster a headline that says “meat linked to weight gain” while the science says that eating excessive amounts of meat is linked to weight gain. The second thing that may happen is red meat will point out that chicken is more closely linked to weight gain and the poultry producers will point out that processed meat products are the problem. Dividing producers will only confuse consumers and drive them to alternative protein sources.

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Producers are encouraged to attend the Cattle Trails Stocker Conference on July 24 at the MPEC Center in Wichita Falls. This conference is a joint effort between Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

The vision of the conference planners is to create an annual conference that will provide wheat producers and/or stocker cattle operators the most up-to-date information on topics that influence wheat and stocker cattle profits, said. In effect, the conference will assist those producers in driving their cattle to profits.  

The conference takes its name from the vast area of agricultural production between the Chisholm Trail and the Great Western cattle trails of the late 1800’s, both of which started in south central Texas and moved up through central and western Oklahoma.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Mike Bumgarner, vice-president for the Center for Food and Animal Issues, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. The Center was created in May 2009 to engage farmers, ranchers, consumers and others who have connections to animals in a public dialog over the proper role of animals in society.

Taking a pro-active approach, Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 2009 creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The Ohio Farm Bureau played a large role in getting that constitutional amendment on the ballot, he said.

If Texas producers don’t take a pro-active approach in creating legislation on safe handling and caring of livestock, someone with other intentions may do it for us, as in the cases in California, Arizona and Florida.

Additional speakers include faculty from both Oklahoma and Texas. Important topics of marketing and outlook, animal health, wheat pasture research and wheat production will be covered.

The conference will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and end at 4:30 p.m.  Registration is $20 per person and includes educational materials, a copy of the Cattle Trails Stocker Conference Proceedings, refreshments and a noon meal for those who have pre-registered.

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The Texas Wheat Producers Board and the Texas AgriLFIE Extension Service are hosting a wheat producer meeting on Friday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Burkburnett Community Center located at 735 Davey Dr. in Burkburnett.

Wheat Producers Board representative Kody Bessent noted that the topics for the open dialog meeting includes: wheat market issues, disease and insect problems plus a question and answer session. Local Wheat Board member Fred Dywer will also make comments.

All producers are encouraged to attend. The program is free and open to the public.

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According to Cheryl Baldwin, vice president of science and standards and non-profit certification organization Green Seal the food industry lags all others in environmental sustainability performance.

Speaking at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, Baldwin suggested one way food makers could improved their scores would be to use less meat in their products.

She explained that since 50 percent of the environmental impact for food makers is the agriculture production of the foods they process, using “lower intensity agricultural products,” is one of several actions they can take.

Meatingplace reporters asked her what advice she had for meat processors. She suggested understanding the production methods used to feed and raise animals, making sure they are treated humanely and looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of processing methods.

She told attendees that grass-fed animals created a lower carbon footprint than those that were grain fed.

This statement points out that either researchers and commodity groups have not done their job in educating the public on the facts concerning our industry or anti-livestock groups don’t really care about the environment, just about forcing a veggie diet on the population.

Earlier this year a study by the University of New South Wales published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicated beef produced in feedlots had a slightly smaller carbon footprint than meat raised exclusively on pastures. And more recently, Washington State University scientists concluded that improvements in U.S. beef industry productivity have reduced the overall environmental impact of beef production over the past decade.

Armed with the science, producers and their commodity groups should go to the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and Food Expo organizers and demand a retraction by Baldwin. Every livestock producer needs to speak-up in their community and make such the science-based information is out there; otherwise those against us will use emotion and misinformation to change our industry and lifestyle forever.

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has assessed the cost of various biofuels tax credits against their energy security and environmental benefits. CBO estimated the blender’s tax credit for ethanol will cost $7.6 billion this year. The report also concluded that, “After adjustments for the different energy contents of the various biofuels and the petroleum fuel used to produce them, producers of ethanol made from corn receive 73 cents to provide an amount of biofuels with the energy equivalent to that in one gallon gasoline.” Senator Bingaman noted, “Corn-based ethanol plays an important role in our nation’s transportation fuel mix. Thanks in part to corn-based ethanol, U.S. oil import dependence peaked in 2007, and is expected to decline further until 2035. But corn-based ethanol is now a mature technology whose market share is protected by an aggressive Renewable Fuel Standard. And ethanol prices are currently well below gasoline prices, making it even harder to justify the existing subsidy.” The ethanol blender’s tax credit expires Dec. 31, 2010.

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