What are the requirements for detecting and preventing drug residue in the milk supply? The dairy industry provides to all dairy producers the tools to help understand and implement drug residues in the milk supply. Dr. Karen Jordan, Dairy Farmers of America, provides insight on the procedures and documents available to dairy producers [video].
Dr. Tara Smith, Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, provides an update on livestock-associated staphylococcus aureus. Dr. Smith provides details on what the disease is and how does it impact humans, livestock management, and farm operations. From the 2011 Antibiotic Use In Food Animals conference, October 26-27, 2011, Chicago, IL, USA.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner provides some practical reference stories from Europe on the viability of standard small operations that would struggle to produce the quantity of food for the growing population. His example story is from the first ‘Bioenergiedorf’ (bioenergy village) Jühnde, in the heart of Germany, where the inhabitants are implementing 21st century energy production systems on top of dairy operations utilizing 1960's production technology.
Most of the dairy barns have not been modernized since the 1960s-’70s, and the scale of production has always been extremely small, especially to someone like me, who is used to California dairies and other concentrated feeding operations. A 100-head dairy is considered a large operation in this idyllic village and other places throughout central Europe.
Dr. Mitloehner highlights that the small dairy farm approach traditional in Europe actually creates a larger carbon footprint than larger operations with 1000's of cows. Dr. Mitloehner advocates for a global green revolution in animal agriculture, "coupled with technology transfers, to supply a growing demand for animal protein, while providing environmental stewardship by using sustainable and modern production practices."
Dr. Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, provided an update on the state of the meat and poultry markets. His main take away is that the demand continued to struggle late 2011.
The bad news is that these "annual" numbers for 2011 have been getting worse and worse as the year has progressed.
Steve reminds us that the indexes only describe how demand is changing, not why a change is occurring. He believes consumer incomes and spending was the major negative force in the domestic market in 2011.
Charts below from Paragon Economics, using USDA data.
While you may or may not like the HSUS, they do have a plan and know where they need to go. Everyone in agriculture needs to leverage this HSUS information to help advocate (aka agvocate) their agriculture, farm, and ranch story.
Using software and people to highlight issues is not new. But using it in agriculture is picking up steam. Food+Tech Connect and Gojee brought together journalists, tech designers, food/ag policy experts, and data gurus to explore the 2012 US Farm Bill. The goal was to highlight issues and extract data to support conversations and debate.
Terry Feldheim of the Farm Credit Service of America highlights the support underpinning land prices at these levels.
What is sustainable ag lending? That really comes down to a concept what is sustainable at given prices. We look at farmers and ranchers, asking if they can cash flow $4.50 corn? If he can cash flow that, he has a much higher probably of sustaining the volatility that comes at us.
The operations that will get loans must have strong working capital positions and actions in play to reduce any debts as quickly as possible.
Speaking at the recent Kansas State Swine Day, Analyst Joe Kerns with the International Agribusiness Group had some soothing words for producers dealing with volatile feed costs.
When you take a look at the economics right now, the USDA has the US plugged in for 5 billion bushels in order to go to ethanol for the calendar year 2012. With or without the subsidy, there is still enough motivation, enough profit within the ethanol industry that I don't see any way we are going to let our foot off the gas. Every ethanol plant is running full tilt.
The US EPA Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule was developed because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. This new ruling applies facilities that have a total capacity to contain over 1320 gallons of oil, including gasoline, crop oil, vegetable oil, or animal fat. Fat can be an element for many feed mills, even fat in 55 gallon drums. Facilities must have a plan in place to prevent the spill entering waterways. The plan does not have to be submitted to the EPA, but must be in place upon inspection.