Iowa’s new heifer development program

Iowa Cowmaker Elite, the Iowa Beef Center’s new heifer development program, is up and running. The purpose of this long-term project is to help Iowa’s beef producers select, manage and develop high-quality heifers year after year. Information from Iowa Cowmaker Elite females will be compiled and used for constant improvement in Iowa’s cowherd. For more information, visit the Iowa Cowmaker Elite page at www.iowabeefcenter.org/iowacowmaker.html.

Cattle Conference October 16 near Clay Center

The Nebraska Extension will hold a conference October 16 to address DNA technology in beef, in Clay Center, Nebraska. Experts will discuss genetic selection tools and recent research discoveries over the past year. Other presentations will include feed efficiency, genetic control of water intake, genetics of feed and leg structure and new “single-step” genomic evaluations. For additional information, call Matt Spangler at 402-472-6489 or email mspangler2@unl.edu.

Wildfire expenses hit record levels, Montana remains in Flames

Largely overlooked by the media, fires continue to burn in the Northwest U.S. The USDA shows the cost of fighting wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017, a new record. Agriculture Secretary Perdue is using the new figures to reevaluate the U.S. Forest Service budget. Although farmers and ranchers have been battling flames for months, additional fires are possible. Ranchers have met to figure out how to save as many acres as they can. Experts say the only way to end the 2017 fire season will be fall and winter rain and snowfall in the mountains.

Florida and Georgia cattle hit by Irma

Hurricane Irma raced through Florida and Georgia cattle country. The beef cattle industry appears to be less impacted than the dairies, which are running on generators. Most fences remained intact to keep beef cattle from moving onto roads. A spokesman for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association reports that he has not heard of the widespread loss of cattle as farmers and ranchers wait for the waters to recede.

Wyoming hosts 2017 Range Beef Cow Symposium

The 2017 XXV Range Beef Cow Symposium (RBCS) will be held November 28-30 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Nationally recognized speakers will present a variety of topics to help cow-calf operations. First organized in 1969 in Nebraska, and held every other year, the RBCS is organized by the animal science departments of Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, South Dakota State University and University of Wyoming. Additional information, including agenda, registration and lodging is available at www.rangebeefcow.com.

Florida meat industry prepares for Irma

Florida’s cattle producers raise more than 1.6 million cattle and calves, ranking 17th nationally for cattle production. Since Hurricane Irma is threatening Florida, the states of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi have waived their intra- and interstate movement and import requirements for livestock so that endangered animals may be moved to safer locations. Miami Purveyors, Inc., a meat distributor, has serviced all equipment and generators, communicated with vendors, shippers and suppliers to put deliveries on hold, backed up all records, and exchanged emergency contact information among employees and customers.

Assistance available for flood damaged ag land in Texas

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas, has established two special Environmental Quality incentive Programs (EQIP) sign-ups to help farmers and ranchers who suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality resulting from Hurricane Harvey. EQIP is available for necessary repairs caused by high winds, rainfall and flood waters. The second EQIP special enrollment specific to agricultural livestock mortality and carcass disposal is open and available to immediately assist ranchers in the disposal of livestock carcasses. This special sign-up ends September 22, 2017.

Quapaw Tribe to open $5 million meat processing plant

The Quapaw Tribe recently opened its new, $5 million meat processing plant in northeastern Oklahoma. The facility is the first USDA-inspected processing plant on a reservation that is owned and operated by a Native American tribe. The beef and bison processing plant, located in Quapaw, is a natural expansion of its agriculture program that includes a herd of Black Angus cattle as well as a bison herd. The meat products will be distributed under the Quapaw Cattle Company name.

Too soon to tell Harvey’s impact on Texas cattle

Although many cattle producers moved their coastal herds inland to higher ground, others were caught by Harvey’s horrendous rain and flooding. Cattle either drowned or strayed from their home pastures. The 54 Texas counties that have been declared a disaster area contain more than 1.2 million beef cows. That’s 27 percent of the state’s cowherd. Sale barns and fairgrounds are holding stations for livestock. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are working with state agencies to coordinate relief and support efforts for ranchers.

How to support Hurricane Harvey victims

Humanewatch.org warns consumers to choose wisely when donating funds to avoid scams. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) website provides updates, a hotline providing tips and information, a list of holding facilities for relocating livestock, contact info for AgriLife Extension agents and TSCRA Special Rangers who can provide immediate help and information. Visit http://tscra.org. TSCRA also directs folks to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund at http://www.texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/DisasterAssistance/STARFund.aspx, which uses private donations to rebuild fences and other relief efforts.