U.S. Beef Industry to President Trump: Please Help Get U.S. Beef Back into China

Beijing downtownThe National Cattlemen’s Beef Association this week sent a coalition letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the restoration of U.S. beef access to China when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. Leaders from the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the North American Meat Institute also signed the letter.

American beef producers have been denied access to China – a $2.6 billion import market — since 2003. Last fall China announced that it had lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef, but attempts since then to negotiate the technical terms of access have been unsuccessful.

“We believe that access to the large and growing Chinese beef market is essential to the future health of the U.S. beef industry,” read the letter, which was signed by NCBA’s CEO, Kendal Frazier. “We understand that you have many important issues to discuss with President Xi, but we strongly encourage you to take this important opportunity to convey the urgent need for China to reopen its market to U.S. beef.”

In 2016, American beef producers sold $6.3 billion worth of U.S. beef to customers around the world, with three of the industry’s top foreign markets located in Asia.

Click here to view the full letter.

UT Extension Names Franklin County Farmer as Tennessee Farmer of the Year

Mike and Krislyn RobinsonOn 3,300 acres in southern Middle Tennessee, Mike Robinson and his wife, Krislyn, have spent 32 years raising cattle and a family as well as planting, cultivating and harvesting a variety of row crops. All the labor has paid off in countless ways, but Mike’s most recent “harvest” is being named the Tennessee Farmer of the Year by University of Tennessee Extension.
The Robinsons live in the Belvidere community of Franklin County. Along with their twin sons Tracy and Kary, and their daughters Kaylee and Callie Pearl, they own and operate Sugar Tree Farms, which includes property in Franklin, Moore and Lincoln counties. The Robinson’s diversified operation includes a commercial Black Angus herd; corn, soybean, wheat and oat production; a feed store that sells bag and bulk feed; a Farm King Equipment dealership; a custom-hire enterprise; and a hay and straw market. If you look close, you may see a Jersey cow or two left over from 14 years of operating Sugar Tree Dairy.
Robinson was nominated to be Tennessee Farmer of the Year by Dallas Manning, the UT Extension Area Specialist for Farm Management for 10 Middle Tennessee counties, including Franklin County. Farmers from across the state were nominated for the honor by their county extension agents or by area farm management specialists.
Robinson will be introduced as the Tennessee Farmer of the Year in August at the Tennessee Farm Bureau President’s Conference in Franklin, Tenn.; at the Tennessee State Fair Hamburger Grilling Contest for Media, which is sponsored by the Farm and Forest Families of Tennessee; and at the UT Institute of Agriculture Ag Day celebration scheduled for September 30 in Knoxville.
Robinson is a self starter. He began farming when he was in the 11th grade after he borrowed $9,600 from his grandfather to buy 18 acres. “The business has just grown from there,” he says. Today, he is grateful for the family aspect of the operation. His wife and sons are integral to the business. “The farm couldn’t exist without the boys,” Robinson said, modestly. “There is too much to do without them.” His young daughters are in training on the farm and through 4-H, and they are happy to help with appropriate chores.
Robinson and his family have been involved in many agricultural and community activities over the years. He’s been a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau for 30 years, and has served as a voting delegate several times. He has also been a repeat member of the Farm Credit Advisory Board and served for more than a decade on the CFW Waste Management Board. In 1990 Robinson was named as Franklin County Conservation Farmer of the Year. Krislyn Robinson is a former elementary school teacher and home schooled their children. In addition to her duties on the farm, Krislyn is active with the local Tennessee Farm Bureau Women and teaches Sunday school at Lexie Church of Christ. Sons Tracy and Kary are also active in their community and enjoy participating in the Tennessee Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers program.
As Tennessee Farmer of the Year, Robinson will compete in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia. That competition chooses from among the top farmers from 10 southeastern states and is sponsored by Swisher International, Inc. The award recognizes excellence in agricultural production and farm management, along with leadership in farm and community organizations. The award also honors family contributions in producing safe and abundant supplies of food, fiber and shelter products for U.S. consumers. The overall Southeastern Farmer of the Year will be announced October 17.
This year Tennessee is the “Spotlight State” among the states participating in the Sunbelt Expo. A rotating honor, each year’s spotlight state highlights statewide contributions to agriculture. Planners for this year’s exhibit intend to showcase how the state’s agricultural industry is integral to Tennessee’s culture and tourism industry. A partnership of the UT Institute of Agriculture, the Tennessee Departments of Agriculture and Tourist Development, as well as many industry sponsors and other collaborators, the exhibit will spotlight how the soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee. The Sunbelt Expo runs from October 17-19. More information is available online at sunbeltexpo.com.
Robinson, who is truly appreciative of his statewide honor, is very excited to be representing the Spotlight State. “I told the boys it would be really exciting if the family could bring home the award to further spotlight Tennessee,” he said.

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Donates $6,000 to Wildfire Relief

Fire ResourcesIn early March, several wildfires in the Great Plains caused an unfathomable amount of damage to ranch lands and communities. Cattlemen and women in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado lost land, livestock and loved ones as the fires quickly spread out of control. The total amount of land burnt was in the millions of acres and several thousand head of livestock were killed or badly burnt, leaving ranchers with nothing or very little.

The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) is helping in the recovery efforts by offering a donation of $2,000 to each of the states with the most destruction, for a total of $6,000.

“The cattle industry is a tight knit community so when we see the images and hear about the devastation of the wildfires we feel like we have to do something,” said Charles Hord, executive vice present of TCA. “Those cattlemen are going through a difficult time and we wanted to do something to help them out.”

TCA was told that those affected ranchers’ greatest needs are monetary donations, as well as fencing supplies.

“It could have easily been us in this situation,” said Steve Anderson, President of TCA. “And if it wasn’t for these folks, we’d be without business. Most stocker calves grown Tennessee are grazed in the states that were hit hardest by the fires. We have to lend a hand in times of need. It is just the right thing to do.”

TCA is asking that anyone who is interested in donating to this cause to visit www.beefusa.org which is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association website. They have compiled a list of all the relief efforts and will continually update it as new needs arise.

E-commerce Workshops for Farmers to be Held This Spring

Locations Are Memphis and Jonesborough

Is e-commercebigstock--145831646 (1) right for your farm? To help farmers answer this question, the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture will conduct “E-commerce for Direct Farm Marketers” workshops in Memphis on April 18, 2017, and in Jonesborough, on May 9.

The e-commerce workshops are designed to give direct marketing farms and agritourism operations an overview of the basic concepts and options for selling products online. The workshops provide information on software options for online farmers markets, online marketplaces, social media platforms, business websites, and event ticket sales. The workshops will feature presentations from direct marketing enterprises in Tennessee who use e-commerce to market their products and improve their operating efficiencies.

“Several e-commerce software options are designed specifically for the needs of direct farm marketers, are easy to implement and use, and are economically priced. Producers do not need extensive knowledge in computer programming to incorporate e-commerce into their marketing strategy,” says Chuck Grigsby from the Center for Profitable Agriculture.

A recent study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen estimates that online grocery sales could rise from their current levels of approximately 4 percent to account for as much as 25 percent of total food and beverage sales by the year 2025. “The growing popularity of online grocery shopping and direct delivery food services targeting the convenience-driven and health-conscious consumer presents local producers with a unique opportunity to incorporate e-commerce into their marketing activities,” says Grigsby.

In addition to the educational sessions, the Memphis workshop includes a tour of a local food hub that uses e-commerce software to sell and distribute locally produced foods to retail and wholesale customers in the Memphis area. The workshop in Jonesborough replaces the food hub tour with two special business strategy trainings on digital branding and digital storytelling for local food producers.

Both workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. local time. Registration is required for the Memphis workshop by April 13. Registration is required for the Jonesborough workshop by May 4.

Pre-registration and pre-payment of $20 per person per event registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Workshop location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to the workshops. Register online now athttps://tiny.utk.edu/ecommerce.

Funding for these workshops has been provided, in part, through the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center and the United States Department of Agriculture. These workshops fulfill a Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) requirement in only the Producer Diversification Sectors: Fruits and Vegetables, Agritourism, and Value-Added.

For more information about these workshop, visit the website for the Center for Profitable Agriculture: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa. Look for a link under the “educational events” menu.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Value-Added Meat Marketing Workshop to be Held May 2

For Livestock Producers Interested in Direct Marketing

grilled steak stockIf you’re a producer who is planning to sell meat directly to consumers, then jot down this date to attend free training. University of Tennessee Extension is hosting a workshop on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, for producers who are interested in marketing individual meat cuts or live animals for custom processing. The event is being hosted by the Hickman and Dickson County Extension Offices, and the information will apply to those marketing beef, pork, lamb and goat meat, but will not be relevant to poultry producers.

One of the event organizers is Vickie Witcher, Dickson County Extension Agent. “More and more consumers are interested in purchasing meat products direct from local livestock producers, so there is a need for direct farm marketers to understand the applicable regulations,” she said. Troy Dugger, Extension Agent from Hickman County, added, “The educational workshop will review the basic regulations involved with selling meat cuts to customers at farmers markets or direct from the farm. It will also help folks better understand how to minimize risk when selling live animals for custom processing.”

Rob Holland, director of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, will be the featured speaker. “More than 35 value-added beef workshops have been taught across the state in recent years. With the strong interest by consumers in buying local foods directly from local farmers, more and more livestock producers are becoming interested in marketing meat cuts to local customers or selling live animals for custom processing. This workshop will address some of the regulatory considerations for both of these marketing methods,” Holland said.

The workshop will be held at the Tennsco Community Center in Dickson and will include dinner for those who preregister by April 24. The workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m. CDT. There is no cost to attend but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Contact Vickie Witcher at 615-446-2788 or by e-mail: vwitcher@utk.edu.

For more information about the workshop, visit the website for the Center for Profitable Agriculture: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa. Look for a link under the “educational events” menu.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Scholarships Available to Angus Youth

a0b1b89eb3538af9d9e41def94050edbPrepare for May deadlines, and apply for Angus Foundation and American Angus Auxiliary scholarship opportunities.

The American Angus Association strives to provide students with opportunities to benefit themselves and the future of the cattle business.

Through scholarship programs offered through the Angus Foundation and the American Angus Auxiliary, Angus youth passionate about the beef industry are provided financial support to further their education.

Current high school seniors and college students should take note of the deadlines and details for each scholarship program listed below.

The Angus Foundation offers general scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in higher education. Angus youth meeting the eligibility requirements for the Angus Foundation’s 2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship Programs will be considered by the Angus Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee. As in past years, other specific and special criteria scholarships administered by the Angus Foundation will also be available. Scholarship recipients will be recognized at the 2017 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Des Moines, Iowa.

A long-standing scholarship awarded through the Angus Foundation is the $1,000 Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)/National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) Scholarship. Applicants must have at one time been an NJAA member and must currently be a junior, regular or life member of the American Angus Association, along with being an incoming sophomore, junior or senior in college majoring in animal science, meat science, food science, agricultural communications or a related field of academic study. A recipient will be honored at NJAS in July.

The Allied Angus Breeders Scholarship, also through the Angus Foundation, will provide $1,000 to three students who use Angus genetics in their seedstock or commercial operation. Applicants must be enrolled in a junior college, four-year college/university or other accredited institution for fall 2017. They can be an entering freshman or a continuing student in any undergraduate program. Applicant or the applicant’s parents/guardians must have transferred or been transferred a registration paper in the last 36 months (on or after May 1, 2014).

Applications for all Angus Foundation scholarships are available online at www.angusfoundation.org and must be postmarked by May 1 and mailed to Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation, 3201 Frederick Ave., Saint Joseph, MO 64506.

The American Angus Auxiliary awards scholarships to the top five male and top five female applicants selected from finalists chosen in the applicant’s home state. Each state auxiliary is eligible to submit one male and one female application to the national contest. The winners will be announced during the 2017 NJAS closing ceremonies.

In addition, the five finalists for the Miss American Angus contest are selected from the top national female applicants who have indicated an interest in competing for the title.

The application for American Angus Auxiliary Scholarships is also available online. Interested junior Angus members who are high school seniors may download the application, access directions and general information through the scholarship section of the Auxiliary website.

Applications from the state contact must be postmarked by May 1. For specific state and local Auxiliary scholarship deadlines and information, visit the Auxiliary website, or contact your state or regional Angus Auxiliary.

Additional questions about the American Angus Auxiliary scholarships can be directed to Leslie Mindemann, scholarship chairperson, at 262-593-8836 or lesmindy@gmail.com.

Performance-Tested Bulls to be Sold at Auction

SrBullTestHosted by University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Thirty-eight performance-tested bulls will be sold at public auction on Thursday, March 9. The Junior Bull Test Sale will take place at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The gavel drops at noon CST.

The sale will feature 29 Angus bulls, along with three Simangus, and a pair each of Hereford, Maine Anjou and Simmental. All bulls have completed UT Extension’s 84-day test that evaluates post-weaning performance measures, such as weight gain, breeding soundness and overall health.

The evaluations also include DNA testing that can improve the accuracy of genetic predictions, allowing producers who purchase these bulls to make better breeding and management decisions for their herds. This testing will also qualify buyers for additional cost-share reimbursement dollars from the Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program.

Top-gaining honors in the Junior Bull Test class went to a consignment from Mills Angus Farm in Cookeville, Tennessee. This bull averaged a gain rate of 6 pounds per day, finishing at 1,236 pounds and a 6.2 frame score. A consignment from White Ridge Angus in Chuckey, Tennessee, came in second with an average daily gain of 5.65 pounds.

Interested buyers can attend the live sale in Spring Hill, or participate through tele-video sites located at the Clyde Austin 4-H Center in Greeneville, Tennessee, or at the Brehm Animal Science Building, located on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sale catalogs are available online (ag.tennessee.edu/AnimalScience/Pages/BullTestProgram.aspx), or you can pick one up at any UT Extension office. Catalogs will also be available at the sale.

The purpose of the Bull Testing Station is to provide a standard, impartial post-weaning gain test that will furnish records that will be useful in breeding programs. The Station also provides a market for completely performance-tested bulls and serves as an educational tool for beef cattle improvement.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.