While 2014 turned out to be a strong rebuilding year for much of the cattle industry, we saw a number of our policy priorities stalled due largely to the build up to the election and the regulatory zeal of this administration. While the drought receded from much of cattle country, hard hit for so many years, we saw new areas face difficult conditions. Thankfully a strong market helped mitigate these effects for many producers.
Sex sorted semen has been a part of the dairy industry’s A.I. arsenal for more than a decade and is now making inroads into the beef industry as producers realize its ability to help maximize profits, minimize the variables that cause financial loss and improve the sustainability of their herds. Traditional knocks against sexed semen were that it cost more per straw than conventional semen and produced lower conception rates. But innovations developed by Texas-based Sexing Technologies are closing the price gap between sexed and conventional semen while minimizing the gap in conception rates as well.
There are many obstacles to overcome when putting up quality hay, silage or fermented grains. These include: crop maturity, packing density, humidity, oxygen and plant moisture content. Silo-King®, a forage and grain treatment additive helps protect feedstuffs from these obstacles, while enhancing digestibility and feed efficiency.
There are two main goals when making fermented feeds: 1) rapid fermentation for maximum preservation of nutrients which happens at the beginning of fermentation; 2) providing a stable product during storage and feed out occurring at the back end of fermentation. Several different technologies are required to accomplish these goals from start to finish.
For 31-year old Kyle Hotz, of rural Lone Tree, Iowa, and a 5th generation farmer/cattle producer, raising cattle has truly been his life. “When I was eight years old, my dad took me over to West Liberty and I got my first heifer to show in 4-H,” remembers Hotz. Today, Kyle and his wife Angela, along with his dad Keith, own Hotz Farms (www.hotzfarms.com), a purebred Angus operation featuring 100 commercial cows along with satellite herds that through a very intense embryo transfer breeding program produces 20-40 top heifers for the Hotz Farm Elite Online Sale held each year in early November.
As we look forward to the current and future political landscape, one of the critical concerns for cattlemen and women, and for all small businesses nationwide, is a stable tax code. A stable tax code allows businesses to plan and manage profits and losses efficiently. The absence of a stable tax code, further adds uncertainty to an already volatile economy and commodity market. And while progress in this legislative session has been slow, at best, there may be momentum yet in 2014. This year, a number of tax provisions, important not only for the cattle industry but for the business community as a whole, expired. We lost key provisions like bonus depreciation, taking away our ability to accelerate depreciation schedules, and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) this week hailed the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, H.R. 1526, legislation to prevent the continuation of catastrophic wildfire events by improving federal forest management.
As calendar year 2012 comes to a close and we reflect back on the year, it’s hard to select only a few program highlights to share because there were so many. To be brief, we bring you the Top 5:
BOLD research: Registered Dietitians and other health professionals received factual, scientifically supported beef nutrition information following the publication of the remarkable checkoff-funded Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) research study published in January in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. News of the study reached thousands of health professionals through an educational webinar about beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet.
Mess with corn and soybean prices, you get record-high cattle prices.
The world’s top beef producer expects U.S. cattle prices will jump 20 percent to a record next year as rain on grazing fields and corn crops prompts ranchers from Texas to Nebraska to feed animals instead of sending them to slaughter. Beef output in the world’s biggest producing country will slide as much as 6 percent in 2013 because of reduced processing, JBS SA Chief Executive Officer Wesley Batista said in a Nov. 30 interview from his Sao Paulo headquarters. That compares with a 4.2 percent drop to 24.6 billion pounds (11.2 million metric tons) forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month.
While the drought is having a profound impact on crop production, thanks to ethanol production there is a larger and more flexible corn supply than was available during previous droughts of this magnitude.
“A USDA report confirms what we already knew that the drought’s impact on supply and price will be felt by corn consumers around the world,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw.
The following list from the IRFA gives 10 ways that ethanol production helps livestock farmers during the 2012 drought.
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