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Orion Samuelson wants some insight into a couple of hot topics from today's news.

Samuelson Sez is a special feature of This Week in Agribusiness where Orion Samuelson shares his thoughts and insights into key issues of the day.

This Week in Agribusiness, June 24, 2017

Part 1

Orion Samuelson and Steve Bridge open this week's show with a look at trade with Cuba. David Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation, talks about President Trump’s relationship with trade. Ed Usset, University of Minnesota, tackles the Farm Challenge of the Week. And Farm Broadcaster Lynn Ketelsen, Linder Farm Network, Owatonna, MN, offers insight into key issues farmers in that part of the country are watching.

Part 2

Orion Samuelson and Steve Bridge talk markets with Paul Georgy, Allendale Inc. In Samuelson Sez, Orion asks viewers some questions for which he's seeking answers. And Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Patrick Haggerty and Matt McKnight, CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council, discuss dairy being exported to China. Orion Samuelson and Steve Bridge take a look at a few trade shows. And from the most recent Half Century of Progress, Max Armstrong talks with Mark Berkel, Alton, Illinois, whose tractor has a distinct sound.

Part 4

Steve Bridge talks with Jeremy Schultz, Consolidated Grain, and Ty Unangst, Rochelle, Illinois, and Doug Schroder, Mahomet, Illinois, about the future of the Illinois container industry. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Eastern United States. And in Max Armstrong tells the story of 1955 Minneapolis-Moine UB Special, owned by Richard Von Qualen, Kepmton, Illinois.

Part 5

Orion Samuelson and Steve Bridge continue their market conversation with Paul Georgy, Allendale, Inc.

Part 6                           

Orion Samuelson profiles Florence FFA in Florence, South Dakota, which was chartered in 1990; member Callie Mueller shares some work she does as part of the group. And Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at the weather for the week ahead, including his four week forcast.

Part 7

Orion Samuelson and Steve Bridge wrap up this week’s show with another installment of Freeways to Farms with Max Armstrong. Max talks with Dennis Wentworth, Downs, Illinois, about his father’s old tractor. Dennis also talks about how he uses technology in sync with his vehicles.  

1955 Minneapolis-Moline UB Special

Max tells the story of 1955 Minneapolis-Moline UB Special, owned by Richard Von Qualen, Kempton, Ill.

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to


You had to know they'd find plenty of fault with the new health care bill. Some senators say they will push for more money for opioid crisis. It is crisis across many of our states.

The pork industry needs more processing capacity and that new capacity is coming. A Sioux City, Iowa, plant will be up by Labor Day, rather than planned end of July opening. It will process 21,000 hogs a day.

Would you know poison hemlock if you saw it? Poison hemlock is spreading in southern Minnesota. It's toxic, flowering weed that can grow 8 feet tall. Poison hemlock has fernlike leaves and purple blotches on stem. All parts of plant are poisonous.

Heavy winds that came in with Tropical Storm Cindy washed up kitten. Employees at Tennessee Bureau of Investigations found cat in parking lot. They brought the cat inside and put in a box and fed it a couple chicken nuggets. The cat is at nearby shelter where it will be available for adoption if not claimed.


This has happened in a few areas in our region in recent months, a rash of overdoses. Bloomington, Indiana, latest with police responding to 10 overdoes from Wednesday afternoon to last night.

In his speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump made it clear he's not wild about wind energy. Trump reiterated support for coal. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley reiterated his vow to oppose Trump policies that negatively impact wind energy.

There are only few scattered pockets of drought across U.S., except in Dakotas, where there is widespread dry and drought conditions.

Retired Air Force Colonel William Hise and the estate of his late twin brother, Air Force Brigadier General James Hise gave $2.5 million to Southeast Illinois College in honor of their sister, Ella, who was a longtime teacher and art supervisor for Harrisburg Public Schools.

Farm Progress America, June 23, 2017

Max Armstrong shares a look at a report from two Boston University researchers who took a look at how crop failures could impact food supply in the future. The two professors note that more information is needed about the risk of failures in different regions at the same time.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Jes Aznar/stringer/Getty Images

Changes coming to Mandatory Price Reporting

National Pork Board Loading market hogs onto a semi trailer

You don’t have to pay real close attention to the happenings in our nation’s capital to know that there is constant motion. Of course, at other times it seems as though there is no activity taking place in the legislative chambers.

Constant motion is one thing true of most bills as they work their way through the process, such as we will find out as the health care debate ensues shortly.

Hog producers will be happy to hear that Mandatory Price Reporting, though authorized for five years, is a fluid, living and breathing rule.

As hog markets evolved over the years, MPR was seen as a way to improve transparency of markets and price discovery. Initially approved in 1999 as the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, MPR was reauthorized in September 2015, and is up for reauthorization in 2020.

Five years can be a long time to live with rules, especially when dealing with hog producers’ markets. Recent changes to the law have added prices for wholesale pork cuts, export sales data, a new “Negotiated Formula” category, and a requirement that hogs sold after a 1:30 p.m. reporting deadline be included in the next day’s price report.

During the recent World Pork Expo, Taylor Cox with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, told our friends at Swinecast that AMS is always open with industry groups, keeping an open ear and door to their concerns. At the end of March, AMS met with pork industry stakeholders and new reporting guidances already have, or are about to, take effect.

AMS is already accepting emailed inquiries from producers to verify their reported swine trades at

Effective July 3, all swine packing companies subject to Livestock Mandatory Reporting will report their swine purchases under the following new guidance, if applicable:

  • Swine purchases based on the CME Lean Hog Index:
  •  All purchases of swine where the base price is based on the CME Lean Hog Index as the pricing mechanism should be reported as a Swine or Pork Market Formula Purchase. These hogs are currently reported as Other Market Formula Purchases.
  •  Any swine purchases formulated off of a future or option will continue to be reported as Other Market Formula Purchases. Following implementation, AMS will update the published reports by placing “Futures/Options” underneath the Other Market Formula label as a descriptor on the reports.
  • Formula purchases where the base price is known
  •  Any formula based purchases of swine where the base price is known at the completion of negotiation should be reported as a Negotiated Purchase.
  •  Any swine purchases using a formula price with an undetermined price at the completion of the negotiation will be reported as either a Negotiated Formula Purchase or a Swine or Pork Market Formula Purchase depending on the terms and times associated with the purchase.

Effective July 7, AMS will begin publishing the National Weekly Negotiated Sales Pork Reports (LM_PK610 and LM_PK611) on Friday afternoon of the current week instead of Monday morning of the following week.

Cox says AMS values to input from the livestock industry, “we enjoy the regular feedback.” He adds that some changes in the statute itself will require action from the House and Senate, and though the current MPR authorization is good until 2020, work is already under way for the next version. “We need to report to Congress in March of 2018, so we’re working on that now and we look forward to reauthorization,” he tells Swinecast. “We like to be adaptive” to the industry.

And who says government doesn’t listen?

Agriculture unhappy with Cuba announcement

Thinkstock Two fists, one with a Cuba flag and one with U.S. flag

U.S. agriculture is not happy with President Trump’s announcement on placing new restrictions on Cuban travel and business. The new policies will ban U.S. companies from doing business with Cuban companies that are controlled by Cuba’s military or intelligence agencies and will limit some tourism.

The Cuban military is known to control a significant amount of the Cuban economy, especially hotels, tour bus companies and supermarkets.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says, “We urge the administration to exercise caution in rolling out any new restrictions on doing business with Cuba that would limit our agricultural export opportunities. We should be doing more, not less, to encourage U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.”

The U.S. Grains Council says, “While the announcement today will make our efforts in Cuba more difficult — and almost certainly cost U.S. corn farmers sales in the short term — we have every intention of continuing our work there to build long-term, mutually beneficial trade.”

Under the administration’s new policy both countries will continue to maintain their embassies. In reaction to the president’s announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reminds everyone how many U.S. presidents have wanted to wait until the Castros are not in power. He says, “We have the patience, the resistance” to wait out Trump.

Groups file suit to require COOL
R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Spokane, Wash., against the USDA seeking to require meat to again be labeled if it’s produced in other countries and imported into the United States.

The lawsuit claims that when the USDA changed the requirement in March 2016 it violated the nation’s Meat Inspection Act. Public Justice says, without country-of-origin-labeling, “domestic ranchers and farmers tend to receive lower prices for their meat because multinational companies can import meat and misleadingly present it as homegrown.”

In 2015, the World Trade Organization ruled against the U.S. COOL requirements and in favor of the case brought by Canada and Mexico. The WTO said Canada and Mexico could retaliate against U.S. products by imposing $1.1 billion in tariffs. Congress in December 2015 repealed COOL requirements for beef and pork by eliminating the COOL provisions from the Agricultural Marketing Act. Congress did not, however, address the language in the Meat Inspection Act.

Ag groups support FMD and MAP
A group of 179 national and state agricultural organizations sent letters to the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees strongly urging them to fully fund USDA’s export programs — Foreign Market Development Program and Market Access Program.

The organizations remind the subcommittees how important agricultural exports are to the farm economy and much of this success is the result of the FMD and MAP. A July 2016 study of export demand by Informa Economics IEG, working with Texas A&M and Oregon State University, found that FMD and MAP generated a return on investment between 1977 and 2014 of $28.30 in export gains for every additional $1 spent on foreign market development.

FMD and MAP are responsible for 15% of total agricultural export revenue. The study also found that if the two programs were eliminated, which the administration is proposing, agricultural exports would decline by $14.7 billion per year.

Those signing the letter include National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Renderers Association, North American Meat Institute, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Doud nominated to be USTR ag trade ambassador
Gregg Doud has been nominated by President Trump to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief agricultural negotiator or agricultural trade ambassador.

Doud is a popular choice with the agricultural community. He is currently serving as president of the Commodity Markets Council. Previously, he served on the Senate Agriculture Committee in helping with the 2014 farm bill, and served for eight years as chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association where he was deeply involved in trade policy.

Doud is a graduate of Kansas State University with a master’s degree in agricultural economics. The agriculture community is pushing that Doud be confirmed quickly. He needs to be in place with the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations expected to begin in August.

Don't be overwhelmed in calculating drug levels in swine feed

National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz A sign reading "No Admittance Disease Prevention Area KEEP OUT" outside of a hog barn by feed bins.

By Ralph D. Wilson, Pharmgate Animal Health
Since the first of the year, feed medications that were once readily available over-the-counter to treat swine diseases, now require the diagnosis and direction of a veterinarian. A stumbling block in the effort to fill out the Veterinary Feed Directive forms correctly is the space for listing the drug level as grams per ton. Additionally, estimating the amount of ration for the treatment period is troublesome. Regulations today call for an integrated, close relationship between the producer, veterinarian and the feed supplier. A great deal of information is required to have precise estimates of the modifiers of feed intake, and hence drug intake. This column will attempt to show examples of calculating drug levels in different scenarios and estimating the amount of feed required.

The proper dosage should be paramount in our efforts to treat animals in our care. Under-dosing of drugs could result in improper treatment, continued sickness and even death of the patient. Over-dosing of drugs is irresponsible and could lead to residue in the food we are producing. Food and Drug Administration Guidance for Industry 233 states that the VFD form will have a space for the veterinarian to populate with the drug level in the feed in “Grams per Ton.” The relative importance of drug level has arisen from the many decades of manufacture and floor-stocking of medicated feeds. Samples could be taken at inspection time and compliance could be determined, so as to ensure fairness to purchasers and safety from over-dosing mistakes. The trouble at the farm is that drug level does not ensure proper dosing unless the modifiers of feed intake are conveyed from the pork producer to the veterinarian of record and coordinated with the feed supplier.

The veterinarian has a very difficult time in filling out the drug level portion of the VFD form, mostly because he/she is working with insufficient information from the producer and feed supplier. The VFD is much easier when the veterinarian is working in concert with the producer and feed supplier. In the process of establishing the Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship, communication lacks as to the modifiers of feed intake. The VFD form only calls for the estimated number of animals, but the veterinarian must also know the weight of the animals and the feed intake. Now, more than ever before, the veterinarian, the producer and the feed supplier must communicate and work together. When all parties work in concert, the VFD is much easier and more likely correct. When the veterinarian is left to assume/guess the feed intake, the drug level is data left to interpretation and judgement as to correctness by an outside inspector. This is a major point to cause a veterinarian concern and give him/her cause to prefer alternative treatment methods.

The modifiers of intake are impossible to know without a great deal of prior information from all concerned. The producer, feed supplier and their nutritionist must help the veterinarian with all this information, or the intakes will be based solely on generalized assumptions. Modifiers of intake include energy density, sex, stage of production, age, temperature, feeder space, genetics, access to water, feeder adjustment and activity, just to name a few. If these factors are known beforehand and are of sufficient magnitude, they must be included in the calculations going into grams per ton.

Examples of calculations
The feed medication claims and dosages for swine were derived from trials with ad libitum feeding. Knowing this should give the veterinarian confidence in this method of disease treatment. Natural variation in intakes should not give the veterinarian-of-record concern as the same occurred in the proofing trials. That is unless the animals are to be limit fed, as in sows, or the modifiers of intake are sufficiently large. It will always be easier when the VFD information is populated with the consensus of the veterinarian, the producer and the feed supplier.


There are examples of a single drug level appearing on the labels of MFA products for swine. An example would be Aivlosin 17% which has a single inclusion rate of 0.5 pound per ton of feed resulting in 38.6 grams per ton. Another would be the Chlortetracycline/Sulfamethazine combination products which are added to obtain a set 100 grams per ton of CTC and 100 grams per ton of Sulfamethazine. Additionally, there are chlortetracycline products which are indicated to be fed at 400 grams per ton. The VFDs for these swine indications are relatively easy to populate the drug level space.

MFA products which are intended to be fed at a rate per unit of bodyweight involve a bit more effort. Even in this case the math is easy and assumptions fit a great many situations. Let’s show an example.

Example of 80-pound grower pigs being treated with Chlortetracycline at the rate of 10 mg/lb. wt./day.
From Table 2, we find that 80-pound pigs eat 4.0 pounds of feed daily on full feed. The 80-pound pig needs 800 milligrams per day of CTC. (80 lb. X 10 mg/lb. wt./day = 800 mg/day.)

2,000 divided by 4.0 lb. = 500 daily feedings times 800 mg/day = 400,000 mg/T., or 400 g/T.

Or, alternatively, 80 lb. times 10 mg/lb. = 800 mg; divided by 4 lb. feed = 200 mg/lb. or 400 g/T in the feed

In this case the VFD would be populated with 400 grams per ton, with feeding directions that the 80-pound average pigs be full fed with the intended average intake of 4.0 pounds to provide 10 mg/lb. wt./day.

A great many typical situations for growing hogs calculate to 400 grams per ton. It is when you start to incorporate intake modifiers into the situation that you arrive at different answers. Gilts eat less than barrows. Warm temperatures reduce intake. Added fats reduce voluntary intake. Limited water access reduces intake. There are genetic groups which indeed do eat smaller meals and result in improved feed efficiency and leaner gain.

Ractopamine for swine is estimated to reduce feed intakes by 6%. The major point being that the veterinarian will need to be alerted to these intake modifiers if they are going to be used in the calculations for grams per ton.

There are examples of combination claims in which one drug is included at a set rate while the other is indicated at rates based on weight. Such is the example of the combination claim of Tiamulin and Chlortetracycline. The Tiamulin is to be added at 35 grams per ton and the Chlortetracycline is recommended at 400 grams per ton, but actually is flexible with the 10 milligrams per pound of bodyweight per day indication.

Example of limit feeding 450-pound sows to a feed intake of 4.5 pounds per head with a chlortetracycline pulse at 10 mg/lb. wt./day.
2,000 lb. divided by 4.5 lb. = 444 feedings times 4,500 mg/head (450 lb. X 10 mg/lb. wt./day = 4,500 mg/day) = 1,998,000 mg/T., or 1,998 g/T. (This situation would be rounded to 2,000 g/T in a practical situation.)

Or, alternatively, 450 lb. times 10 mg/lb. = 4,500 mg; divided by 4.5 lb. feed = 1,000 mg/lb., or 2,000 g/T in the feed. In this case, the VFD would be populated with 2,000 g/T, with feeding directions that the average 450-pound sow should be limit fed 4.5 pounds of complete medicated feed daily.

How much feed is needed?
The feed supplier and producer now need to determine how much feed is needed for the indicated duration of treatment. The same care should be given to determining the amount of feed to be produced as was given to calculating the grams per ton. Producing and presenting too little feed could lead to insufficient duration of treatment of the disease and poor results. Too much feed means the duration of treatment will proceed too long and is not permitted by inspectors. State inspectors have stated that excess feed would have to be manually removed from tanks and feeders. While incredibly unpractical, it has been said that it would be required. The prospect of this has given pause to veterinarians and producers, causing them to choose alternative methods of treatment.

Estimating the amount of feed for the duration of treatment can be successfully accomplished. Some MFA products are indicated to be fed for set time periods, like feed “as the sole ration for 14 days”. Others state ranges like, “Feed continuously for not more than 14 days” or “Feed continuously for 7-14 days.” The MFAs with feed duration ranges make the decision for the amount of ration to be produced more flexible. Still, there is a desire to manufacture a proper amount to achieve desirable treatment results.

Example of feed required for 50 head of 120-pound pigs for 14 days
There is more than one way to accomplish this task.

First, using Table 1, the estimated intake for a 120-pound pig is 4.93 pounds. 14 days times 4.93 pounds equals 69 pounds times 50 head equals 3,450 pounds. This would be an under-estimate since it would not account for pig growth and increased intake over the 14 days.

Another estimate, using Table 2, would be to use the difference in total feed intake from the 98-day old pig weighing 119 pounds (259 pounds) from the total feed intake 14 days later (333 pounds). 333 pounds minus 259 pounds equals 74 pounds times 50 head equals 3,700 pounds. This estimate should be more accurate as it takes into account that feed intakes increase as the pigs grow over the 14 days of treatment.

Another method would be to use an estimated average intake over the period. Table 2 says that the pig would be 148 pounds after 14 days of growth. Looking at Table 1 again, the 148-pound pig would be eating a calculated 5.38 pounds. The average intake over the 14-day period would be ((4.93 + 5.38)/2= 5.155 pounds).

5.155 times 14 days equals 72.17 pounds times 50 head equals 3,608.5 pounds. Or, one could use the estimated intake at the midpoint of 105 days in Table 2, which is 5.24 pounds. The calculated feed needs would be 3,668 pounds. This estimate using average intake over the period would be a conservative amount but more accurate than just using the starting level of intake.

The producer and feed manufacturer would choose from these estimates which gave them the greatest confidence in providing the proper length of treatment.

The issue of mixer batch size is a problem that may not have easy answers. Mixers do the best job of mixing when filled to the designed proper level. However, this will rarely match precisely the estimated amount needed to provide the desired length of treatment. Rounding up too far to match mixer batch sizes can lead to left over medicated ration in the feeders and confrontation with inspectors.

Filling the space on VFD forms with the proper grams per ton is not an insurmountable task. Far from it. Then too, determining the exact amount of feed to produce is not without issues. However, make no mistake, it becomes an easier task when information from all parties — the veterinarian, the producer and the feed supplier — work together to improve the accuracy of the data and strengthen the VCPR.

Aivlosin is a registered trademark of ECO Animal Health Inc.

Megan Zawacki joins AgriLabs

AgriLabs is pleased to announce Megan Zawacki has accepted the position of customer service representative for vaccines, effective June 12.

Zawacki will provide customer service support to the biological manufacturing division, Antelope Valley Bios, and AgriLabs in support of our custom vaccine product lines. She will handle all customer inquiries, sales orders and services relating to vaccine products and provide administrative support to the manufacturing division.

“Megan’s strong background in the animal industry and her experience in customer service will prove to be an asset to our team. We feel her motivated nature and team-focused attitude make her a great addition and above all, our commitment to satisfying our customers’ needs,” remarks Tonya Willson, vice president of operations for AgriLabs.

Zawacki graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor of science in Equine Science and a minor in coaching. She has worked as a veterinary assistant/client care representative for Nebraska Animal Medical Center and most recently for the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture as an assistant admissions and recruiting coordinator.