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Articles from 2020 In June

USDA crop progress: Corn quality still on the rise

lamyai/ThinkstockPhotos Green corn reaching for the blue sky.

The latest USDA crop progress report, covering the week through June 28, shows that crop quality has been something of a moving target this year. Corn and soybean quality both moved higher, while spring wheat quality took an unexpected bounce lower last week. Winter wheat showed the most stability, with more than 40% of the 2019/20 crop now harvested.

Corn quality ratings moved from 72% rated in good-to-excellent condition up to 73%, which was in line with analyst expectations. Another 22% of the crop is rated fair (down one point from last week), with the remaining 5% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago). State-by-state quality ranges widely – click here to see how your state is performing so far.

Physiologically, 4% of the crop is now silking, versus 2019’s pace of 2% and the prior five-year average of 7%. Only 11 of the top 18 production states have made measurable progress at this stage, led by southern states, as expected.

Soybean crop ratings also improved by a point, although analysts expected USDA to hold them steady this past week. Now, 71% of the crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 24% rated fair (down a point from last week) and the remaining 5% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from last week).

USDA is no longer reporting planting progress this year for soybeans, noting that 95% of the crop is already emerged. That’s a faster clip than both 2019 (80%) and the prior five-year average (91%). And 14% of the crop is now blooming, versus 5% a week ago. That far exceeds 2019’s pace of 2% and stays moderately ahead of the prior five-year average of 11%.

Spring wheat crop quality took an unexpected tumble lower, meantime. Analysts expected USDA to hold crop ratings steady, at 75% in good-to-excellent condition, but the agency docked the crop six points, sending it to 69% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 25% is rated fair (up four points from a week ago), with the remaining 6% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week).  Large portions of the top six production states – Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington – are currently experiencing drought problems right now.

Physiologically, 36% of the crop is headed, which is much better than 2019’s pace of 20% but moderately behind the prior five-year average of 45%.

Winter wheat quality ratings improved slightly, with 10% rated excellent, 42% rated good, 32% rated fair and the remaining 16% rated poor or very poor. There is a lot of variance among the top production states, from Texas (34% in good-to-excellent condition) all the way up to Montana (87% in good-to-excellent condition).

Harvest pace is moving more slowly than analysts anticipated, with USDA reporting 41% progress through Sunday. That’s right in line with the prior five-year average and well ahead of 2019’s pace of 26%.

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report in its entirety for additional data on sorghum, cotton, rice, barley, pasture conditions and more.

National Hot Dog Month kicks off in July

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This July marks National Hot Dog Month, a full 31 days that celebrate one of America’s most iconic foods. Hot dogs are part of American culture, summer celebrations, travel and grilling traditions, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC). They also are synonymous with the nation’s independence, with Americans expected to eat 150 million hot dogs on July 4 alone. During peak hot dog season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume about 7 billion hot dogs.

“Let me be frank.  In a time when things feel uncertain, we can be sure of at least one thing: Hot dogs make people happy and make us feel less socially distant, whether we are sitting 6 ft. apart or meeting virtually,” NHDSC president Eric Mittenthal said.

Today, there are millions of different possible hot dog and topping combinations that meet a broad spectrum of nutrition needs, tastes, budgets and personal preferences. Like other prepared meats, NHDSC said Americans can enjoy hot dogs as part of a healthy diet. A standard beef hot dog is 190 calories, with 7 g of protein and 30% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B12, a crucial nutrient for normal metabolism, brain development in children and mental clarity in adults.

For the rest of the summer and beyond, NHDSC will highlight recipes on its social media channels using #WienerWednesday and will feature the best consumer-created #Wiener Wednesday recipes as well.

Recipe contest

As part of National Hot Dog Month fun, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, is partnering with The Food Renegades -- a division of digital marketing agency The Digital Renegades and a chef alliance on TikTok spanning more than 120 million likes, 5 million followers and over 150 million views per month -- to highlight innovative, fun recipes throughout the month.

With some of the most popular food and nutrition influencers on TikTok, The Food Renegades is inviting hot dog fans to show their creativity by developing a hot dog video that features a unique beef hot dog recipe. Hot dog lovers are encouraged to share their video using #WienerWednesday by July 22. The fan with the most-liked recipe will win $500. The winner will be chosen on July 22, which is National Hot Dog Day.

Test bulls prior to breeding to avoid trich wreck

Peter Milota Jr./iStock/Thinkstock cattle

The long-term effects of spreading trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as trich, in a cattle herd can be much more devastating than simply having a number of cows open at the end of the breeding season, according to Boehringer Ingelheim.

“A small percentage of pregnancies will be affected the first year, but it’s typically the second or third year of a trich infection that really causes the economic losses,” said Dr. Joe Gillespie with Boehringer Ingelheim. “With multiple infected bulls breeding cows, you can see more than 50% of your cows open, which results in a huge reduction in production and profitability for a cow/calf producer.”

Cattle infected with trich continue to appear and act normally, so testing is the only way to confirm the presence or absence of this sexually transmitted disease in a herd, Boehringer Ingelheim said. To diagnose the disease, a preputial fluid sample is taken from the sheath of the bull’s penis.

Prior to breeding, Gillespie recommends testing bulls with one or both of the following methods:

1. A pouch culture is considered the “gold standard” of trichomoniasis testing methods, allowing the protozoa collected from preputial or vaginal samples to grow in a special medium.

“If you find a positive result with this test, you can have a great deal of confidence that you have a trich-infected animal,” Gillespie said. “Advantages of this test include ease of use and quick results, but occasionally, the culturing method will result in a false negative. This happens when the particular sample collected does not contain Tritrichomonas foetus organisms, but they are, in fact, still present in the animal.”

2. The other option uses a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which recognizes RNA or DNA fragments from trich-causing protozoa to confirm if cattle have been exposed to the disease.

“PCR testing doesn’t tell you if you have an active trich infection, but it can tell you if you have a history of trich infection in your herd,” Gillespie explained.

Ideally, trich testing will accompany an annual breeding soundness examination and be conducted by a certified veterinarian.

Multipronged approach

In addition to testing bulls prior to turnout each year, successful management typically requires a combination of protocols, which often include:

  • Testing bulls for trich three weeks after the breeding season, and culling any newly infected bulls;
  • Maintaining a closed herd or thoroughly evaluating cattle entering the herd for risk of trich;
  • Administering a vaccine that helps protect against the spread of trich;
  • Using artificial insemination, and
  • Practicing strict biosecurity measures.

“The economic impact of trichomoniasis is devastating, but you can prevent or overcome an outbreak by adhering to strategic management and prevention practices,” Gillespie said. “I’ve seen a producer with a 50% herd pregnancy rate get back to 90% by implementing a management plan that included a vaccination program and strictly using new, clean bulls or artificial insemination.”

It’s important to note that the risk of developing a trich infection varies among herds, so effective prevention and management protocols do not look the same for every operation. Furthermore, trich testing regulations vary by state. Gillespie strongly encourages producers to work with a local veterinarian to design a comprehensive trich testing and management plan unique to their herd.

U.S. red meat production rebounds significantly

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U.S. beef and pork production encountered significant challenges in April and May as COVID-19 outbreaks slowed or halted production. Further, many plants endured slowdowns as they implemented worker safety measures. This eventually led to some short-term meat shortages, raising concerns about available supplies. However, as U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and chief executive officer Dan Halstrom explained, production has rebounded significantly in recent weeks, underscoring the U.S. industry's ability to serve both domestic and international customers.

“There has been a lot of work within the supply chain on enhancements and improvements in response to COVID-19 at the live production level, the slaughter plant level and the logistical infrastructure,” Halstrom said. “Consequently, we are seeing dramatic rebounds in our ability to supply our customers both in the U.S. and globally.”

Halstrom reported that U.S. cattle slaughter for the week ending June 27 was at 680,000 head, up 4% from the previous week and 1.5% above a year ago. Live cattle weights averaged 1,369 lb., up 50 lb. from last year.

“This is the second-largest weekly kill in 2020 for the beef side,” he noted. “So, you can see from a production standpoint, we’re seeing dramatic improvement.”

Hog slaughter was estimated at 2.64 million head, up 11% year over year and the fourth consecutive week above year-ago levels, with live weights up 8 lb. from a year ago to 291 lb.

From a product mix standpoint, Halstrom explained that domestic demand is different from export demand, with international customers often purchasing cuts and products that U.S. consumers typically don’t.

“An ideal scenario in a livestock production chain is to maximize the value in such a way that we leverage the robust domestic demand, complemented by the export markets. Consequently, this rebound underscores our ability to service reliably not only our domestic customers but our international customers as well,” he said.

DIRECT Act reduces red tape for smaller meat processors

USDA photo by Preston Keres Meat USDA label.jpg

U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (R., S.D.) and Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) introduced the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act. This legislation will allow state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines through e-commerce, providing small producers and processors with more options to market directly to consumers.

Currently, many states such as South Dakota and Texas have state Meat & Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) as “at least equal to” standards set under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Under the existing framework, however, state-inspected products can only be sold interstate if approved to do so under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping (CIS) Program.

The DIRECT Act would amend the retail exemption under FMIA and PPIA to allow processors, butchers or other retailers to sell normal retail quantities (300 lb. of beef, 100 lb. of pork and 27.5 lb. of lamb) of MPI state-inspected meat online to consumers across state lines. Because DIRECT Act sales occur via e-commerce, sales are traceable and could be recalled easily. The proposal also includes clear prohibitions on exports, to keep U.S. equivalency agreements with trading partners intact. The DIRECT Act will allow states operating under the CIS system to ship and label product as they currently do.

“As a result of COVID-19, meat processing plants across the country have been forced to close or slow operations, and as a result, we’ve seen a renaissance in small processors,” Johnson said. “Many states, including South Dakota, have inspection standards that are at least equal to what the federal government requires. This bill cuts through red tape and allows producers, processors and retailers to sell state-inspected meat and poultry direct to consumers through online stores across state lines.”

“America’s meat industry has been hit hard by financial challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic,” Cuellar said. “The bipartisan legislation will open up new markets for meat producers and processors by allowing meat inspected by the state to be sold online and across state lines. As a senior member of the [House] agriculture subcommittee on appropriations, I will continue to fight for the men and women who work every day to keep food on our table during these unprecedented times.”

This bill is supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA), American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Assn., U.S. Cattlemen’s Assn., South Dakota Cattlemen’s Assn., South Dakota Pork Producers Council and South Dakota Farm Bureau.

“Over the past few months, more Americans looked to e-commerce to purchase essential goods like beef, and an already booming online marketplace further evolved to facilitate purchases and meet consumer demands,” NCBA  president Marty Smith said. “The American beef supply chain must evolve to keep up with the speed of commerce and the demands of modern-day consumers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. supports the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions Act because it helps make it easier for the American cattle producer to meet the growing demand of the American consumer to purchase safe and delicious U.S. beef.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced a trend for consumers wanting to source beef directly from ranchers,” South Dakota Cattlemen’s Assn. president Eric Jennings said. “Two of the challenges South Dakota beef producers have faced in developing a direct sales market are a limited population of consumers and very few federally inspected processing facilities. Online sales represent an opportunity for our beef producers to expand their market beyond our limited rural population, but they have been restricted in their broader marketing efforts by prohibitions on interstate shipment of state-inspected meat, coupled with few federally inspected plants.”

Jennings noted that South Dakota has had an excellent state MPI for many years that is equivalent to federal meat inspection. “This bill will allow our producers more freedoms for interstate commerce while still providing a safe beef product for consumers,” he added.

“Small, state-inspected processors have filled the void for many producers this year when larger plants shut down. The DIRECT Act would allow state-inspected plants to sell their product directly to consumers across state lines,” said Scott VanderWal, vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “This presents a new opportunity for producers to reach consumers directly through online sales. Consumers wishing to directly order a South Dakota steak would be able to do just that.”

South Dakota Pork Producers Council president Craig Andersen said, “The bill that Rep. Johnson is introducing is a step to opening up more markets for our local state-inspected locker plants. [During] the last few months, these plants have gone to extraordinary levels to help keep pigs in the food chain. They are in need of extra market access for the product they produce. This bill should also make it easier for producers to harvest and give product to local charities.”

House acknowledges role ag plays in climate solutions

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Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive action plan Tuesday to promote a clean energy economy and combat climate change. The report lays out a series of policy recommendations for Congress aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead.

One of the main tenets of the plan is to help farmers and ranchers implement soil health practices that make their lands more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as extreme rainfall and drought.

In a one-page summary on agriculture, the plan notes that American agriculture has the potential to become a significant carbon sink and a crucial part of the climate solution. Climate stewardship practices, such as no-till and low-till farming, cover crops, diversified crop rotations, rotational grazing and improved nutrient management, increase carbon sequestration in roots and soils and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Specifically, the plan calls on Congress to increase carbon sequestration and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by boosting spending for new and existing conservation programs to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers eager to deploy climate stewardship practices.

It also calls for an expansion of U.S. Department of Agriculture resources, research and partnerships to provide more education, outreach and technical assistance to agricultural producers. In addition, it calls for additional support for on-farm renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to help farmers reduce on-farm fuel use and emissions.

The plan seeks to preserve farmland from development and prevent the conversion of natural spaces to agricultural use in order to maximize carbon sequestration. Financial and technical challenges often can be barriers to farmers and ranchers in implementing conservation practices. Many farmers also must contend with encroaching development and may see selling their lands as the best path forward.

The recommendations ask Congress to increase support for beginning, young and socially disadvantaged farmers and to incorporate climate-smart agriculture into programs for new farmers.

The plan also calls for efforts to reduce food waste and transportation emissions by supporting local and regional food systems and developing waste reduction goals and initiatives.

"The report highlights the tools and resources Congress must provide to equip farmers to adapt to extreme weather and to contribute to the climate solution through carbon sequestration, emissions reductions and increased resilience,” National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) policy director Eric Deeble said. “As Congress moves forward with climate legislation, NSAC urges legislators to include agriculture proposals such as those outlined in the select committee's report. Sustainable and regenerative approaches not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon; they also provide additional environmental and economic benefits to farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

Ethanol included in strategy

Renewable fuels, such as ethanol, are included as one key piece of the strategy. Among the report’s many recommendations are development of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), broad deployment of carbon capture and storage and incentivizing increased agricultural carbon sequestration.

Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) president and chief executive officer Geoff Cooper said, at first blush, the report offers an important acknowledgment about reducing carbon impacts from the nation’s transportation sector.

“RFA agrees with the committee that widespread use of liquid fuels and internal combustion engines will continue for decades to come, and we welcome the recommendation to create a nationwide technology- and feedstock-neutral low-carbon fuel standard,” Cooper said. “The committee correctly points out that the LCFS policy model already has a proven track record and that renewable fuels have played a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the California LCFS. We also concur with the committee’s position that high-octane, low-carbon fuels could deliver substantial carbon benefits at a low cost in the years ahead.”

While the report offers only broad recommendations, Cooper underscored that the yet-to-be-developed details surrounding potential implementation of the recommendations will be crucially important.

“The big picture presented in the report is promising, but the devil is always in the details, and those details won’t be hammered out until the committees of jurisdiction begin crafting legislation based on these recommendations,” he said. Cooper cited life-cycle assessment methods, the carbon intensity reduction curve, land use measures and the interaction of a national LCFS with state programs and the national Renewable Fuel Standard as examples of “details that matter.”

In 2018, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) issued a white paper -- “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol” -- illustrating how life-cycle modeling needs to better reflect modern-day farming practices and ethanol production technologies and why increasing ethanol use is part of the solution to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, ACE helped lead a diverse set of stakeholders in developing a framework to encourage new low-carbon fuel markets in the Midwest. Its January 2020 report, “A Clean Fuels Policy for the Midwest,” describes how properly crafted policy can spur low-carbon fuels, reduce costs to consumers and provide meaningful economic benefits to farmers and biofuel producers.

“The select committee’s report not only cites our Midwest clean fuel policy framework as a positive example of progress; it also mirrors our recommendations to reflect the best-available science for life-cycle assessments and reward farmers and biofuel producers using climate-smart practices that reduce carbon emissions, store soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions,” ACE CEO Brian Jennings said. “While the select committee also recommends what it describes as a ‘zero-emission vehicle’ standard, we believe a new vehicle program needs to be technology neutral and include production of more flexible-fuel vehicles that can take full advantage of carbon-negative ethanol fuels.”

Specialty proteins may aid nursery pig growth

National Pork Board pigs at a feeder

In order to combat pig performance and health issues related to the weaning process as well as to reduce mortality and morbidity during the postweaning period, antibiotics have been used at sub-therapeutic and therapeutic levels in nursery feed for pigs for more than five decades, according to Iowa State University researchers L.A. Ruckman, A.L. Petry, S.A. Gould and J.F. Patience.

However, they noted that growing concerns about antimicrobial resistance, consumer demands and government regulation of antibiotics in animal feed have prompted the pork industry to seek dietary methods to reduce or eliminate antibiotic use during the nursery stage, such as via the inclusion of specialty proteins in nursery diets.

Ruckman et al. conducted an experiment to compare the effects of spray-dried porcine plasma protein (SDPP) and dried egg protein (DEP) — without or with in-feed antibiotics — on growth performance and markers of intestinal health in nursery pigs raised in commercial conditions. Their research was recently accepted for publication in Translational Animal Science.

For the 42-day study, the researchers randomly assigned 1,230 pigs with an initial bodyweight of approximately 4.93 kg at 15-18 days of age to one of six dietary treatments that were arranged as a 2 x 3 factorial of in-feed antibiotics (without or with) and a specialty protein additive: none/control, porcine SDPP or DEP.

Diets were fed in four phases, with phases 3 and 4 being a common diet across all treatments, Ruckman et al. said. Specialty protein additives were fed in phase 1 (days 0-13) at 3% SDPP and 0.20% DEP and phase 2 (days 13-26) at 2% SDPP and 0.10% DEP. Antibiotics were fed in phases 1-3 at: 662 mg/kg of chlortetracycline in phase 1, 28 mg/kg of carbadox in phase 2 and 441 mg/kg of chlortetracycline in phase 3.

Ileal tissue and blood samples were collected from 48 pigs (eight pigs per treatment) on day 20.

The researchers noted that the pigs experienced naturally occurring health challenges in weeks 2 and 4.

According to Ruckman et al., in the diets without antibiotics, inclusion of SDPP and DEP increased average daily gain (P = 0.036) and average daily feed intake (P = 0.040) compared to controls. However, in the diets with antibiotics, neither specialty protein increased average daily gain or average daily feed intake compared to controls, while SDPP did increase these parameters versus DEP.

The SDPP and DEP diets decreased the number of individual medical treatments compared to controls (P = 0.001), the researchers said.

Diets containing antibiotics increased (P = 0.017) ileal mucosal interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist, Ruckman et al. said, and feeding DEP reduced (P = 0.022) the concentration of mucosal IL-1-beta compared to controls but not SDPP.

There was a trend for SDPP and DEP to increase the villus height-to-crypt depth ratio compared to controls (P = 0.066).

Ruckman et al. concluded that SDPP and DEP improved the growth performance of weaned pigs in the absence of antibiotics, but neither improved growth compared to controls when feeding standard antibiotic levels.

They added that the specialty proteins had a positive effect on health, and both the specialty proteins and antibiotic inclusion were able to modulate some markers of intestinal inflammation and morphology.

COVID-19 unveils opportunities amid chaos

traditional retail meat case

It was already largely known that the food supply chain was tight, but during a recent webinar, Joe Weber, executive vice president of growth and business development at Smithfield Foods, said the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed it.

“It’s not just a just-in-time supply; it’s really a just-in-time supply,” he said. “As a society, we’ve got to think about that going forward and how we adapt to that.”

The industry needs to be better prepared for crisis, Weber added.

“I think the good thing coming through this is [that] we’ll all be stronger: the people will all be stronger, corporations will be stronger, relationships with everybody in the system will be stronger,” he said. “We’re not over the COVID by any stretch of the imagination; we have to continue to keep people safe and provide food.”

Bill Even, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board, shared research by the board that found that 89% of consumers believe it is important to address the flaws in the supply chain that were exposed by COVID-19. Seventy-three percent of consumers say they support changes, even if it means paying a higher price for pork.

Automation, robotics, e-commerce and improved traceability and transparency come to the forefront as potential solutions for the being better prepared in the future.

“Everyone’s trying to work on automation and robotics, and that’s going to be further continued as you think about COVID-19,” Weber noted.

Traceability and transparency have been critical and will continue to be critical, he added.

“There are a lot of people asking legitimate questions,” Even said, adding that consumers need to have confidence that what they see on packaging is accurate.

Consumer trends gain momentum

According to Weber, there is no doubt that some consumer food trends have been accelerated due to the pandemic. Digital was the largest one, as well as health and wellness, with a specific focus on fresh as opposed to value-added foods.

“Maybe consumers have more time, so they have more time to prepare,” he suggested.

Additionally, Weber said there has been a focus on trying alternative products, including plant-based proteins.

Some trends, however, lost ground during the pandemic, including sustainable packaging. “Hopefully, we’ll get past that when COVID’s over. You’re seeing people less concerned about packaging, and we need to find solutions around that,” Weber said.

The number-one takeaway on the consumer side during the pandemic was that “people really understood what’s real,” Even said.

“You get back to first principles,” he explained.

When people realized that they were going to be sheltering at home, that they needed to feed themselves and their families and that restaurants were closing but the grocery stores remained open, they started trying to find things that were familiar, fresh and would provide them with protein, Even said.

“This presents an opportunity for agriculture. We’ve got the public’s attention,” he said.

Consumers often take it for granted, but COVID-19 brought to light the necessity of essentials.

The National Pork Board particularly ramped up digital engagement since consumers were relying heavily on the internet for help, as revealed by an increase in home cooking-related search engine questions.

“We spent a lot of time just trying to meet the consumer where they’re at,” Even said.

July 2020 issue of Feedstuffs available online

The July 2020 issue of Feedstuffs is now available online to subscribers. Among the top stories are:

  • CFAP payments already helping producers
  • Poultry execs indicted in price-fixing case
  • Beef packers under federal scrutiny
  • States working through vast hog backlog
  • Ethanol industry due for major transformation
  • Rising sales bust 'death of dairy' myth
  • Animal ag weighs in on COVID-19 blame game
  • Extensive animal Nutrition & Health section
  • Monthly Ingredient Market prices
  • And more.

Access the July 2020 issue at: https://editions.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=665189

The Feedstuffs Beef Report, included with the July 2020 issue of Feedstuffs, can be accessed at: https://lsc-pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=664916

Names in the News: July 2020

Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Names in the News business people silhouettes

To submit an announcement for Names in the News, please email it to Kristin Bakker at [email protected]


OBITUARY — Aviagen Turkeys, Lewisburg, W.Va., announced that Terry Conroy has passed away. Conroy had a long career in the turkey industry, working with AgriStats, Cargill and Butterball before joining Aviagen Turkeys in 2012. He was a leader in processing plants, performing yield analyses and improving plant efficiency and worked with many companies to help them obtain data in order to generate trends.


AGBIOME, Research Triangle Park, N.C. — Gerald Coward has joined the company as chief financial officer. Coward will lead the finance team. He was previously with Fresh Food Group.


AG SOLUTIONS NETWORK, Moline, Ill. — Zac Neppl has joined the company as national sales manager. Neppl will be responsible for growing the membership base.


AMERICAN SEED TRADE ASSN., Alexandria, Va. — Lainey Wolf has joined the association as international programs coordinator, effective July 13.


ANIMAL AGRICULTURE ALLIANCE, Arlington, Va. — Emily Solis has joined the association as communications specialist. Solis will help with the execution of issues management and communication efforts. She was previously with the Maryland Farm Bureau.


ANUVIA PLANT NUTRIENTS, Winter Garden, Fla. — Brett Bell has joined the company as executive vice president, account management and sales for the agricultural business. Bell will be responsible for national accounts and sales in agricultural markets, leading efforts to build existing retail and distribution alliances while creating new customer partnerships for sales of SymTRX. He was previously with Landus Cooperative.


ARDENT MILLS, Denver, Colo. — Angie Miller has joined the company as vice president of sales. Miller will lead sales strategies, create consistent value and deliver customer experience. She was previously with Bayer Crop Science.


CHR. HANSEN HOLDING A/S, Hoersholm, Denmark — Lise Skaarup Mortensen has been appointed chief financial officer, effective Oct. 1. Mortensen will help further develop the digital, data analytics and productivity agenda. She was previously with Microsoft.


FAST GENETICS, Saskatoon, Sask. — Jeff Kayser has been appointed technical production specialist. Kayser will be responsible for providing support to customers, internal production and third-party multiplication, consulting on biosecurity protocols, implementing research trials and collecting data and assisting in producer meetings and education.


ILC RESOURCES INC., Urbandale, Iowa — Travis Dillinger has joined the company as transportation coordinator. Dillinger will be responsible for managing customer deliveries, growing the company's relationship with carriers and supporting the company fleet. He was previously with C.H. Robinson.

Matt Fischbach has joined the company as sales manager. Fischbach will be responsible for the geography including Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. He was previously with MWI Animal Health.


INDIANA STATE POULTRY ASSN., West Lafayette, Ind. — Rebecca Eifert Joniskan has joined the association as president. Joniskan was previously with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.


LALLEMAND ANIMAL NUTRITION, Blagnac, France — Laurie Guillot has joined the Ruminant Center of Excellence based at UMR MEDIS, INRAE Rhone Alpes Auvergne-University of Clermont Auvergne as research project leader. Guillot will lead research projects applying molecular biology-based approaches to document the mode of action of company products and will develop new methods and models. She was previously with INRAE.

Dr. Ana Rodiles has joined the Monogastric Center of Excellence as senior scientist. Rodiles will lead bioinformatics analysis trials on pets, fish, shrimp and horses and will work with research and development in these fields. She also will develop and test new models in the field of bioinformatics and will train the research and marketing teams.

Richard Scuderi has joined the Forage Center of Excellence in Chazy, N.Y. Scuderi will lead research projects applying -omics technologies to characterize company bacteria strains and investigate the application of forage inoculants during ensiling and subsequent animal performance during feedout. He was previously with Mercer Milling Co.


LAND O'LAKES INC., Arden Hills, Minn. — Heather Malenshek will join the organization as chief marketing officer, effective Sept. 8. Malenshek will oversee business-to-consumer and business-to-business branding and marketing strategy and will be responsible for building marketing competencies across all businesses and geographies. She also will have oversight for the FLM Harvest subsidiary.


LEGACY SEED COMPANIES, Scandinavia, Wis. — Colin Steen has been appointed chief executive officer. Steen will lead all commercial, administrative, operational and financial aspects of the organization, working with the board to establish strategic direction. He was previously with Syngenta Ventures.


LOUIS DREYFUS CO. HOLDINGS B.V., Rotterdam, Netherlands — Michael "Mike" Gelchie has been named chief executive officer, effective Oct. 1, 2020. Gelchie was most recently chief operating officer.

Ian McIntosh will retire as chief executive officer in September 2020.


MICRONUTRIENTS, Indianapolis, Ind. — Robert Boss has joined the company as project manager in collaboration with the Nutreco Industrial Projects Team.


NATIONAL GRAIN & FEED ASSN., Arlington, Va. — Randy Gordon will retire as president and chief executive officer in March 2021. Gordon has served the organization for nearly 43 years.


NOBIS AGRI SCIENCE, Plainwell, Mich. — Caroline Knoblock has joined the company as dairy nutrition and management consultant. Knoblock was previously with Provimi.


OSBORNE INDUSTRIES INC., Osborne, Kan. — Chevy Davidson has been named North America sales representative for livestock equipment. Davidson will assist in the distribution of pig management equipment in the Midwest U.S. He was previously with Ag Property Solutions.


QUALITY TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, Elgin, Ill. — Dr. Mark Blakley has been appointed to the Field Technical Services team. Blakley will focus on customer support in layers and turkeys. He was previously with Butterball LLC.


TECHMIX GLOBAL, Stewart, Minn. — Hannah Burken has joined the company as research technician. Burken will help the innovations team with product prototypes and research support as well as product development and implementation.

Dr. Michael Reid has joined the company as international ruminant health manager. Reid will bring technical and direct research expertise to ruminant customers and producers. He will have commercial responsibilities with some key distribution and manufacturing partners in Europe and will work with team members to implement educational and training programs for commercial customers and at the farm level. He was previously with Nutribio Ltd.


TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY, Lubbock, Texas — Ashutosh Verma has joined the School of Veterinary Medicine as associate professor of microbiology. Verma was previously with Lincoln Memorial University.


TROUW NUTRITION USA, Indianapolis, Ind. — Daniel Baker has been promoted to managing director Cluster USA. Baker was most recently director of marketing and innovation for Cluster USA.

Kelly McMillan has joined the company as director, U.S. marketing and innovation. McMillan was previously with AgriSync.


VERAMARIS, Delft, Netherlands — Yann Le Gal has joined the company as retail manager, Europe. Gal was previously with Mytilimer.

Herve Hartmann has been appointed general manger of the production facility in Blair, Neb. Hartmann was previously with DSM.

Alexander Hillmann has joined the company as chief financial officer. Hillmann was previously with Evonik.


VETSINA ANIMAL DIAGNOSTICS, Midlothian, U.K. — Dr. Peter Wells has been appointed chairman. Wells was previously with Novartis Animal Health.

Dr. Simon Wheeler has been appointed chief executive officer of the newly formed company.


WATERWAYS COUNCIL INC., Washington, D.C. — Tracy R. Zea has been named president and chief executive officer. Zea was most recently vice president-government relations.