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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

October 16, 2014

Five Nations Beef Alliance Meeting Concludes with Statement on
Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) concluded a successful meeting and tour in south Texas last week, capped by the unanimous endorsement of a public statement calling for all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations to support “gold standard outcomes” for beef that do not sacrifice important reforms for political expediency.

The annual meeting, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), unites beef industry leaders from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This year, members of the group toured several Texas beef value-chain operations, including McFaddin Enterprises Ltd., a fifth-generation ranch operated by NCBA President Bob McCan; King Ranch; Graham Land & Cattle, a 30,000 head feedlot; and Capitol Land & Livestock, one of the largest livestock dealers in the United States. The group also visited HEB, an important retail partner that offers a wide variety of beef cuts to consumers.

“The opportunity to bring producer leaders from across the world to Texas and showcase the beef industry in the United States was an honor for me and my family,” said McCan. “During the course of the week, we formed working relationships that cross political boundaries, and it’s those relationships that will benefit our producers in the United States as we work together to find common ground in the future.”

McCan pointed to the endorsement of the TPP statement as a sign that FNBA is already fulfilling the ambitious goals set out for the group.

“The statement we issued this week, calling for ‘gold standard’ outcomes for beef, is an indication of the strength of these relationships,” he said. “Science-based trade standards are something that benefit the global beef industry, and if we can agree to place that ambition above political expediency, cattlemen and women in each of the five nations will be better served.”

The statement also reaffirms FNBA’s prior statements on TPP and urges international negotiators to quickly reach agreeable terms that will help further beef trade and a fair and level playing field for producers in member nations.

For more information, please view the full release here.

USDA Announces Measures to Help Farmers
Diversify Weed-control Efforts

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Oct. 15, several steps that the USDA is taking to address the increase of herbicide-resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems.

“Weed control in major crops is almost entirely accomplished with herbicides today,” said Vilsack. “USDA, working in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), must continue to identify ways to encourage producers to adopt diverse tactics for weed management in addition to herbicide control. The actions we are taking today are part of this effort.”

On Oct. 15, the USDA announced several of the steps it is taking to help farmers manage their herbicide-resistant weed problems in a more holistic and sustainable way:

  • USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer financial assistance under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for herbicide-resistant weed-control practices that utilize Integrated Pest Management plans and practices.
  • Later this year NRCS will be soliciting proposals under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Program for innovative conservation systems that address herbicide-resistant weeds.
  • USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will actively promote use of best management practices (BMPs) in design protocols for regulated authorized releases of genetically engineered (GE) crops and will include recommendations for BMPs with the authorization of field trials of HR crops.
  • USDA is partnering with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and is providing funds to develop education and outreach materials for various stakeholders on managing herbicide-resistant weeds. Vilsack has directed Sheryl Kunickis, Director of the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, as the point person leading this effort with the USDA.
  • The issue of herbicide-resistant weeds has become one of increasing importance for agriculture. When herbicides are repeatedly used to control weeds, the weeds that survive herbicide treatment can multiply and spread.

    With EPA’s announcement on the registration of new uses for herbicide mixtures containing the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate (in the Enlist® formulation) in conjunction with new genetically engineered crop varieties, farmers are being offered one more new tool to better manage emerging populations of herbicide-resistant weeds in corn and soybeans crops. In its decision for 2,4-D use on genetically modified corn and soybeans, EPA has outlined new requirements for registrants as part of a product stewardship program.

    For more information, please view the full release here.

    19 ‘My American Farm’ Games Available on Tablets

    All 19 “My American Farm” games offered by the American Farm Bureau Foundation (AFBF) for agriculture can now be played online using any type of tablet, including all versions of Apple iPad.

    Thanks to a generous technology enhancement grant by DuPont Pioneer, each game was updated to enable online game-play on all tablets. Users can now simply visit through a PC/Mac or tablet and play all games with ease.

    My American Farm is an educational game platform launched in 2011 to engage pre-K through fifth-grade learners in agriculture. Today, the free site offers 19 agriculturally themed games and more than 100 free educator resources such as lesson plans, activity sheets and comics.

    In addition to the full online version, a condensed app featuring six My American Farm games was recently released for tablet devices. The app can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon for Kindle Fire at

    The My American Farm educational resource is a special project of the Foundation. The site and resources are made possible through the generous support of title sponsor DuPont Pioneer. To take advantage of the free My American Farm resources, games and activities, visit

    Make Time to Body Condition Score Cows

    The old tractor still runs, but because the fuel gauge is busted, you have to keep checking to make sure it has enough fuel to continue working. Whether you realize it or not, your cows function similarly to that old tractor.

    “Body condition scoring is looking into a cow’s gas tank to see how much energy reserve she has,” said Sandy Johnson, beef cattle specialist for Kansas State University (K-State) Research and Extension. “We need an idea of where she’s at as we manage her condition in relation to the quality of our forages.”

    A body condition score, or BCS, in cattle is a reflection of how well a cow is, or has been, meeting her nutritional requirements. Producers must provide that adequate nutrition to their cow herd. If a cow is not getting her required nutrients, the producer can’t expect her to do her job well, Johnson said.

    Producers should score individual cows from 1 to 9, with 1 being thin and 9 being overconditioned. A score of 5 or 6 at the time of calving is recommended to achieve timely rebreeding.

    Johnson said beef producers should regularly determine the average BCS of their herd. Now is a good time in the production season, when cows are either bred for spring calving or have fall calves at side, to score the herd and prepare for management through the remainder of fall and into the winter.

    “Intentionally writing down and tracking (body condition) will help you know what’s going on in your herd and help you plan for known changes in your cows’ nutritional requirements,” she said.

    Sometimes it’s difficult for producers to see body condition changes occurring in the herd, especially if they see the cows every day, she added. Producers should simply take a few moments to score the cows while they’re checking them. An easy way is to write down the numbers 1 through 9 and place a tally mark by the corresponding score for each cow. Writing down the scores is important, along with the date, as it helps keep track of any changes over time.

    For more information, please view the full release here.


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