U.S., China Finalize Details to Send U.S. Beef to China

Suzhou Commercial Area(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2017) – As part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action plan announced on May 11, 2017 by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, the Trump Administration today has taken important steps toward commercial shipment of U.S. beef and beef products to China for the first time since 2003.  These shipments are results of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue co-chaired by Secretary Ross and Secretary Mnuchin for the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang for China.  Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reached agreement with Chinese officials on final details of a protocol to allow the U.S. to begin the beef exports to China.  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the posting of technical documents related to the beginning of shipments.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

“Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class.  Since he was elected, President Trump has brought momentum, optimism, and results to American agriculture families that we haven’t seen in years and this agreement is a great example.  I commend the hard work of Secretary Ross, Secretary Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and our USDA representatives.  Without their dedication and persistence, this would have not been possible.  I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef they’ll want more of it.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross issued the following statement:

“President Trump is doing more to improve the U.S.-China relationship than any president in decades, and this final beef protocol agreement represents even more concrete progress. As we clear away long-standing issues like this one, focusing on near-term, verifiable deliverables, we are building a sound foundation for further discussions.  I look forward to engaging with our Chinese counterparts as we address more complex issues to the benefit of both our nations.”

Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement:

“The ‎reopening of China’s market to American beef is an example of the results-oriented approach this Administration has taken in our engagement with China. We will continue to work toward a more fair and balanced economic relationship with China by expanding opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement:

“I welcome China taking this important step to start allowing U.S. beef imports after shutting them out over 13 years ago.  The President’s firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible.  I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science.  America’s ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field.”

Background:

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted the requirements for its Export Verification program for U.S. establishments shipping to China, which will enable packers to apply for approval to export to China.  The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has also updated its online Export Library specifying China’s requirements for certifying U.S. beef being shipped there.

China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. However, the United States has been banned from China’s market since 2003. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion in 2016.  Until the ban took effect, the U.S. was China’s largest supplier of imported beef, providing 70 percent of their total intake.

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Farm Feature Friday: Woolfolk Farms – Jackson, TN

By Samantha Reese, TCA Intern

WF2Woolfolk Farms is a three generation family farming operation located in Madison County Tennessee. It was recognized in 1976 as one of Tennessee’s original Century Farm designees for over 100 years of continuous ownership and agricultural production by the same family. Here, I interview Matt Woolfolk, who writes about their family’s cattle, traditions, and passion.

How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

My father’s ancestors settled in Madison County in 1865. A lot of the land that is a part of the current farm traces back to the very beginning. Cattle have always been a part of the farm. The registered Hereford operation started in 1963 when Dad got involved in 4-H, and they have been a part of Woolfolk Farms ever since.

Tell us about your farm today.

Registered Hereford cattle are still the focal point of the operation. My dad (John) and older brother Scott run the operation, with the rest of the family pitching in when we can. There are two herds: a herd of registered Hereford cows, and a commercial herd that we utilize as recipients for our embryo transfer program. The focus of the WF program is selling bulls to commercial cattlemen. Every February, we sell 40-50 bulls at our bull sale in Columbia, and every other May we hold a female sale on the farm in Jackson. We use the show ring to promote our program. Since my brother started showing in 1981, there has been a member of the Woolfolk family showing Herefords every year. We have raised two American Hereford Association Southeast Show Heifers of the Year, as well as several other state and regional champions.

What I’m most proud of is how well Dad and Scott have developed their market to sell bulls. Selling Hereford bulls hasn’t always been easy in Tennessee, but they have been able to grow their customer base while continuing to improve the quality of the bull offering every year. The idea of selling 50 good Hereford bulls seemed far-fetched 10 years ago. Now it’s an annual goal for the operation.

WFWhat was your favorite part of growing up on the farm?

There’s always something to do when you grow up on the farm. Between cattle work, the hay field, and all the other chores that have to be done on a daily basis, you never get bored.

What have been some of the trials you or your family had to overcome?

We have to deal with the same challenges every other Tennessee cattleman has to deal with, such as weather and market fluctuations. But one of our biggest challenges is how hard it is to find good help. It’s a 100% family operation, but that makes it hard on everyone at home during the busy times of the year. The operation has grown, but the labor force is still the same.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?

Nobody cares more about their livestock than the people who work with them every day on the farm. We all get an undeserved bad reputation from those that don’t understand how much effort and sacrifice goes into taking the best care we can of our cattle.

What does it mean to be able to work with your family every day?

Unfortunately, my job has taken me from the farm, but I miss it every day. There are always challenges when working so closely with family, but my summers in college when I was able to be home on the farm every day were the most enjoyable.

Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?

Find the people that you admire what they’re doing in their operation, and learn as much as you can from them. I learned a lot working alongside my dad and brother, but being around others who don’t do things exactly the same as you do at home is just as valuable. For example, I took a trip to Florida with Justin Williams (TCA Director from Savannah) to a bull sale. When you’re locked in a truck with someone for 3 days, you can discuss a lot of ideas and learn from what others do differently that you can use to improve your own herd. I’ve been lucky to be able to have such discussions with great cattlemen across Tennessee and the rest of the country.  Also, when it comes to starting your cow herd, invest as much as you can afford to in the best cattle you can find. Starting with a good foundation will make building a strong herd easier.

What is your favorite beef dish?

Every year at the Woolfolk family Christmas, Dad grills steaks for the whole family and they are awesome!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Our family has all been active in leadership in the American Hereford Association. Dad and all 3 kids (Scott, Amy, and myself) were all TJHA President during our junior career. Dad was an AHA Board Member from 2007-2011 and was President in 2011. Scott has served on the Tennessee Hereford Association board and is still active as a TJHA advisor.  Amy was a National Junior Polled Hereford Director from 1995-1997 and was National Polled Hereford Queen in 1997. She’s now on the Mississippi Hereford Association board.  I was a National Junior Hereford Association Director from 2010-2013 and was Chairman in 2011-12. I don’t think there’s been another family that had the father as AHA President and children who were National Queen and NJHA Chairman.

Please visit Woolfolk Farm’s website for more information or “like” their Facebook page for updates.

Samantha Reese Begins Summer Internship with TN Cattlemen’s

Samantha Reese Head ShotMy name is Samantha Reese and I am the 19-year-old daughter of John and Marty Reese.  Along with my 15-year-old brother, Tanner, we live in Petersburg, TN on a small family farm.  My family, and extended family, are involved in many aspects of agriculture including dairy and beef cattle, row crops of corn, beans, wheat and tobacco.

I got started exhibiting beef cattle by helping my cousin with his show heifers and knew I would follow in his steps someday.  As I began 4-H in the fourth grade, I was able to exhibit my own cattle.  At first, I picked from our family herd of registered Angus cattle, but soon branched out to other breeds.  I got a loan to begin my own herd purchasing two heifers; one Angus and one Shorthorn heifer.  I worked to pay my loan back with show premiums and offspring I could sell.  As I paid one loan off, I got another to continue growing my herd of registered purebred and crossbred cattle.

My brother and I have been blessed to be able to travel to many states showing at the local, state, and national levels.  I also showed pigs and lambs and began raising chickens and selling eggs during high school.   I was active in 4-H and FFA events through high school participating in livestock judging, meat judging, public speaking, and job interview.  I was named State FFA Proficiency winner for Beef Entrepreneurship and Diversified Livestock.  I am also a member of several breed organizations, serving on the state junior boards for Simmental and Shorthorn Associations.

As I graduated high school, I received a scholarship for livestock judging at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.   I just finished my two years there where I served as Ag Club President and was selected Homecoming Queen for 2016.  I will transfer to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas in August where I will finish my degree in Animal Science.

The beef industry is something I am passionate about and have always enjoyed being active in it.  I enjoy volunteer work and have continued to be active in youth events while in college teaching and showing others what I have learned.  I truly look forward to and appreciate the chance to intern at The Tennessee Cattleman’s Association this summer.

 

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USDA Encourages the Use of Food Thermometers to be Food Safe this Summer

closeup meat thermometer on stainless steel, utensil in the kitchenSummer is a time for family vacations, backyard barbecues and plenty of outdoor activities with food as the centerpiece. But before those steaks and burgers go on the grill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants to remind consumers to keep their family and themselves safe from foodborne illness by using a food thermometer to ensure meat and poultry is cooked to the correct internal temperature.

“The best and only way to make sure bacteria have been killed and the food is safe to eat is by cooking it to the correct internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “It is a simple step that can stop your family and guests from getting a foodborne illness.”

Recent research by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 34 percent of the public use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers. If you don’t verify your burger’s internal temperature, pathogens may still be present. When eaten, those hamburgers can make your guests and your family sick.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people suffer from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

So how do you avoid becoming a part of those statistics? Follow USDA’s four easy steps to food safety this summer.

Clean: Make sure to always wash your hands and surfaces with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry. If cooking outside or away from a kitchen, pack clean cloths and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

Separate: When taking food off of the grill, use clean utensils and platters. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.

Cook: Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat and poultry. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food.

  • Hamburgers, sausages and other ground meats should reach 160°F.
  • All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165°F.
  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and of beef should be cooked to 145°F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, and allowed to rest for three minutes before eating. A “rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys pathogens.
  • Fish should be cooked to 145°F.
  • Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside, and by using a food thermometer you can be sure items have reached a safe minimum internal temperature needed to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Chill: Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze immediately. Discard food that has been sitting out longer than two hours.

Need more food safety information? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or email or chat at AskKaren.gov.

Make the Most of Your Tobacco, Beef Operation

IMG_0956Presentations at Tobacco, Beef and More Field Day Provide Value for Producers

Whether you’re a beef cattle producer or a tobacco producer, you can learn useful strategies to make your operation more productive at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Tobacco, Beef and More Field Day.  It takes place on Thursday, June 22, at the Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center in Springfield. Admission is free.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. CDT at the field day assembly area off Oakland Road. Field tours begin at 8:45. Arrive early so you can tour the trade show and educational displays. The complete program is available online at http://highlandrim.tennessee.edu.

Tobacco Tours will introduce visitors to a new dark fire variety, guide them in selecting the right liming material, and cover best practices for managing foliar diseases like angular leaf spot. Visitors can also learn about the practice of chemically topping burley tobacco, including appropriate rates, optimal timings, and the varieties that respond best to this method.

Beef Tour presentations will include information on pasture management and weed control in pastures and hay fields. Other presentations will cover drought management and proper location of water in pastures.

Additionally, visitors can choose to take an overview tour of the Highland Rim AgResearch Center.  Learn about the Center’s history, current research programs, and its important role in Tennessee agriculture.

The tours will conclude at approximately 12:30 p.m. when visitors will be treated to a delicious lunch (steak sandwich, chips, cold drinks).

More details are available at http://highlandrim.tennessee.edu and on the Highland Rim AgResearch Center Facebook page. For additional information, or to request an accommodation for accessibility, please contact the Highland Rim office at 615-382-3130.

Pesticide re-certification points will be available for Categories 1, 4, 10 and 12.  Attendees can earn three points per category.

Cattlemen Applaud Gov. Terry Branstad’s Confirmation As Ambassador to China

Beijing downtown

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, released the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be the U.S. Ambassador to China:

“As the six-term governor of a state with more than $10 billion in annual agricultural exports, Terry Branstad is an ideal person to help facilitate the U.S. beef industry’s return to the Chinese market for the first time in 13-plus years. Ambassador Branstad has said that he intends to serve American-produced beef at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and America’s cattle producers look forward to working with him to make that a reality as soon as possible.”

In addition, Mike Cline, president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, said:

“Ambassador Branstad has been a great friend to Iowa cattlemen and the agriculture industry as Governor of Iowa. He has shown a great commitment to the growth of beef and other agricultural exports, and we look forward to the work he will do on behalf of all Americans in his new capacity as Ambassador to China.”

Fall Calving Season May Yield Higher Returns for Southeastern Beef Producers

edited IMG_8859The vast majority of cow-calf producers in Tennessee and the Southeast using a defined calving season have long favored spring calving; however, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have evaluated the risk and returns for a fall calving season, proving once again that timing is everything.

Selecting an optimal calving season involves a complex set of factors including nutritional demands of brood cows, forage availability, calf weaning weights, calving rates, seasonality in cattle, feed prices and labor availability.

Until now, information regarding profitability and risk associated with spring and fall calving seasons in the southeastern United States has been limited. Addressing this limitation, researchers assessed the potential trade-offs in risk and return of using a fall calving season rather than a spring calving season, while considering the seasonality of cattle and feed prices for least-cost feed rations.

Using simulation models based on 19 years of data, UTIA researchers determined that the fall calving season, calving between mid-September and mid-November, was most profitable and had the smallest amount of variation in profits, meaning fall calving was less risky.

This may seem counterintuitive, as spring calving produces heavier calves at weaning and feed costs are lower. The increased profitability of fall-season calving is due to the higher prices the calves can bring at weaning and an increase in calves weaned per cow.

Information from this research can help cow-calf producers in Tennessee and other southeastern states as they navigate the complex decision of choosing a calving season. Additional information can be found in the associated UT Extension publication Fall Versus Spring Calving: Considerations and Profitability Comparison.

“While this research indicates possible advantages for fall calving, it is also important to consider the additional costs associated with switching seasons and labor availability in the fall when crops are harvested,” says Chris Boyer, assistant professor for UT’s Agricultural and Resource Economics Department.

County Extension agents are available to help producers evaluate if fall calving is beneficial for their herds.

Fall Versus Spring Calving: Considerations and Profitability Comparison is available at no charge online at the UT Extension publications website:extension.tennessee.edu/publications. Simply search for the publication by title.

Tennessee Valley Livestock Conference Registration Now Available

Bales of hay and a fenceThe Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, along with the Tennessee Dairy Producers Association, Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, and North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association, is holding the first annual Tennessee Valley Livestock Conference in White Pine on June 27. This event is sponsored by the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.

Headlining the conference is radio personality Trent Loos, who will be discussing his role on President Trump’s agriculture advisory committee and other issues relating to cattle producers. Following Loos will be Extension Specialists Dr. Andrew Griffith and Dr. Gary Bates from the University of Tennessee, addressing the topic of grazing management. Afterwards, there will be lunch served and a live cattle grading demonstration, presented by Jodee Inman from USDA’s Livestock Marketing department. Following that, there will be a live cattle health demonstration, presented by Extension Specialists Dr. Justin Rhinehart and Dr. Lew Strickland. Additionally, Royce Towns from the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative will be speaking on summer fescue. Lastly, Rob Holland from the Center for Profitable Agriculture will present on direct marketing meat cuts and live animal sales for custom harvest. Also during the day, attendees can learn about new livestock products from the trade show exhibitors.

This conference will be held from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Registration is 20 dollars per attendee which includes lunch. This rate will be available until June 20. Registration after that date will be 30 dollars per attendee. There is a hotel block rate available at the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Morristown by mentioning the TCA’s event.

Information and the registration form are available at www.tncattle.org or in the current issues of the Tennessee Cattle Business magazine.

2017 Grass-Fed Beef Conferences Scheduled for Two Locations

Angus on pasture webFor the second consecutive year, University of Tennessee Extension will offer cattle producers a “one-stop” opportunity to learn about producing and marketing grass-fed beef. This year’s conference offers new materials and speakers for the benefit of those interested in grass-fed beef production.
Called the Grass-Fed Beef Conference, the educational workshop will be held on two dates at two locations in 2017: June 28 in Spring Hill, Tenn., and June 29 in Athens, Tenn. Both conferences will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and adjourn at 4:30 p.m.

The same conference sessions will be provided at both Spring Hill and Athens locations. Educational topics will include:

  • Considerations for Grass-Fed Finishing
  • Developing a Forage System for Grass-Fed Beef
  • Grass-Fed Beef Nutrition
  • Branding and Labeling Considerations for Grass-Fed Beef
  • Grass-Fed Beef Producer Experiences –Video Farm Tours

Consumer interest in purchasing local meats from farmers that use specialized production practices has motivated many cattle producers to adopt grass-fed beef production systems on their farms. Special claims such as “Grass-Fed” or “Pasture-Raised” are increasingly used on meat product labels, promotional materials and in popular press. According to UT forage specialist and conference presenter, Gary Bates, “Transitioning from a conventional cow-calf operation to pasture-based cattle finishing can present many challenges and often entails a knowledge base and skill set distinct from more traditional pasture management programs.”

Value-added activities related to processing and marketing can also create hurdles for producers transitioning to grass-fed beef. Other conference presenters include UT extension specialists in beef nutrition and marketing, and University of Kentucky livestock and forage management extension economist, Greg Halich, co-author of the publication “Producer’s Guide to Pasture-Based Finishing.”

Pre-registration for each conference is required by June 20, 2017. The cost is $40 per person per event. Lunch will be provided. To register, go online to https://tiny.utk.edu/grassfedbeef17.  Conference location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to the events. The conference qualifies as one educational course requirement for TAEP Producer Diversification Value Added Sector only.

In addition to the general conference sessions, a free, pre-conference tour of UT’s Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (MTREC) in Spring Hill will be offered on June 27 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CDT. The pre-conference tour will show participants some of the current forage and livestock research being conducted, including information on:

  • Native warm-season grass trials
  • Integrated crop-livestock systems
  • Intercropping annual cash crops with forages

The pre-conference tour is free to registered participants from either the Spring Hill or Athens conference locations, but an additional pre-registration is required.

Funding for these conferences has been provided, in part, through the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center and the United States Department of Agriculture.

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

TENNESSEE CATTLEMEN’S DONATES $2,500 TO UTIA FOUNDATION

10The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) Board of Directors recently voted to contribute $2,500 to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) Foundation, in support of the 4-H Junior Livestock Programs. These projects are part of the “Developing Champion Youth Endowment” which was spearheaded by recently retired Extension Specialist Dr. Jim Neel.

Dr. Neel’s efforts have focused on raising funds to ensure the future of the 4-H Livestock programs. These programs offer Tennessee youth valuable educational opportunities through raising, exhibiting, and judging livestock and horses.”

65,000 boy and girls from across Tennessee enrolled in the Junior Livestock programs in 2016.

“Consider a gift in support a continue to the legacy,” said Dr. Neel. “Invest not just in our youth, but in our future.”

TCA felt the investment in these programs was the right thing to do. “TCA Board of Directors voted to give this money to the Developing Champion Youth Endowment to support the future of the livestock programs, but also as a thank you to Dr. Neel for all he has done to support youth development and the future of our industry,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “Multiple generations have benefited from Dr. Neel’s efforts and many more will in the future.”

To help youth learn lifetime lessons of leadership, work ethic, cooperation and financial management, consider a gift to UTIA. Online contribution is available at www.advanceUTIA.com/championyouth or call (865) 974-5779. Gifts may be tax deductible.

The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) Board of Directors recently voted to contribute $2,500 to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) Foundation, in support of the 4-H Junior Livestock Programs. These projects are part of the “Developing Champion Youth Endowment” which was spearheaded by recently retired Extension Specialist Dr. Jim Neel.

Dr. Neel’s efforts have focused on raising funds to ensure the future of the 4-H Livestock programs. These programs offer Tennessee youth valuable educational opportunities through raising, exhibiting, and judging livestock and horses.”

65,000 boy and girls from across Tennessee enrolled in the Junior Livestock programs in 2016.

“Consider a gift in support a continue to the legacy,” said Dr. Neel. “Invest not just in our youth, but in our future.”

TCA felt the investment in these programs was the right thing to do. “TCA Board of Directors voted to give this money to the Developing Champion Youth Endowment to support the future of the livestock programs, but also as a thank you to Dr. Neel for all he has done to support youth development and the future of our industry,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “Multiple generations have benefited from Dr. Neel’s efforts and many more will in the future.”

To help youth learn lifetime lessons of leadership, work ethic, cooperation and financial management, consider a gift to UTIA. Online contribution is available at www.advanceUTIA.com/championyouth or call (865) 974-5779. Gifts may be tax deductible.