KCA Wraps up 20th Annual Convention and Trade Show
The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) hosted its 20th Annual Convention and Trade Show on November 9th and 10th at the Meridian Center in Newton, KS. The two-day meeting brought together producers from across Kansas and surrounding states. The convention began Friday morning, November 9th, with policy committee meetings. The schedule also included industry expert presentations, KCA’s annual membership business meeting, professional entertainment, a trade show, the annual benefit auction and banquet.
Kicking off the industry expert presentations on Friday was Kendal Lothman, Special Agent, Livestock and Brand Investigation Unit for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and KS Dept. of Ag. Based out of Great Bend, Lothman discussed felony livestock theft, felony livestock pharmaceutical theft, and brand violations as well as assisting the KS Dept. of Ag with animal health emergencies in Kansas.
There were two case trends Lothman noted in relation to the 116 cases opened over 54 counties since 2014; thefts stay consistent whether markets are up or down and the increase in cases at the end of grazing seasons. He noted a high prevalence of incidents resulting from the demand for illegal narcotics.
Lothman noted time is of the essence when reporting missing cattle due to low odds of recovery after 24 hours. Livestock markets are key in detecting and catching outlaws who steal livestock. Producers who make an immediate report to local law enforcement are listed in the KS Dept. of Agriculture Stray/Stolen Livestock Report and have a greater chance of recovering their livestock. The use of branding, ear tags, tattooing, DNA sample ID and unique markings were all noted as means of identifying cattle when there is a theft.
Dr. Don Coover, owner and operator of SEK Genetics, Galesburg, rounding out Friday’s expert presentations, discussed new technologies in Livestock Genetics and Animal Health. Dr. Coover covered SEK’s embryo collection and transfer service, IVF, artificial insemination (AI), AI training, heifer development, and veterinary services. SEK’s lab services include bioPRYN pregnancy testing for cattle, sheep, goats, and bison, BVD PI, Johne’s, Bovine Leukosis, Neospora, and CAE and OPP for goats and sheep. SEK is orientated toward advanced reproductive services and training, heifer development and sales, embryo transfer services and sales as well as herd health plans for producers. He educated participants on Neospora (the most common cause of spontaneous abortion in dairy and beef cattle in many parts of the U.S.), PI-BVDV, and Johne’s, BLV and CAE. In closing, Dr. Coover encouraged all cattle producers to invest in and develop an established and well-designed testing and reproductive program using blood preg test results for cows and heifers to ensure herd health and maximize profitability.
Copeland Insurance’s Lance Sharp and State Auto’s Stephanie Bittner presented the State Auto Farm & Ranch Affinity Program to participants on Saturday. They outlined the benefits of the State Auto Affinity Dividend Program. The program is free and available to all KCA members that own State Auto Farm and Ranch policies.
Dr. Tom Noffsinger, veterinarian and owner/member of Production Animal Consultation, Pierson Precision Auscultation and the Cattle Performance Enhancement Company presented attendees with expert education and knowledge on low-stress cattle handling and stockmanship. He focuses on efficiency and believes if people who handle cattle can understand basic stockmanship principles, they will see a positive shift in disease incidence, performance and safety of both the animals and the people.
Schwieterman, Inc.’s, Jason Guenther and Brady Charles, gave a market update and analysis of cattle and other commodity markets. The annual update continues to be one of the most popular presentations at the KCA Annual Convention. Participants learned the latest on national and global cattle price trends for feeder and live cattle (retail, captive supplies, packer margins, African Swine Fever, steer price projections) as well as grain price trends for corn, beans and wheat. The market update also provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the brokers.
Practicing Wyoming Attorney and cattle rancher, Tracy Hunt gave an intriguing and informative presentation on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). For the last five years, Tracy has been engaging audiences in the ag and cattle industry with this presentation and shared his research on the GRSB and the details of how this movement intends to assist multinational corporations in efforts to capture the live cattle supply chain away from independent cattle producers.
Shane New, K-State grad, stockman and owner of New Family Farms, Holton, KS, educated attendees on his collective period of trials and errors that resulted in established and verifiable results in his new-found approach to soil health and integrity. Shane explained his examination of fertilizer and topical-application inputs for his farm’s production and concluded there to be a more economical and conservation-minded approach to soil health on his own operation. One that did not include huge cost inputs for fertilizer and weed control. New also laid out his practices and beliefs including no-tilling, cover crops, rotation grazing, and adaptive grazing and how others can begin to implement a regenerative agricultural program for their own operation.