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Montana Stockgrowers meet, discuss cattle industry issues

The Montana Stockgrowers Association congregated in Miles City last week to learn, discuss policy and enjoy camaraderie with fellow ranchers from across the state. Three days of events filled the agenda, starting with committee meetings to update members and offer the opportunity to bring forth resolutions that guide the association in shaping policy and lobbying by the association. Representatives from various state and federal agencies spoke on current issues at the three committee meetings, which included Beef Production and Marketing; Land Use; and Tax, Finance and Ag Policy. No resolutions were presented at this time.

Thursday evening kicked off the event with a concert by classic country recording artist Moe Bandy, which was well attended and enjoyed by the community and MSGA members.

Friday morning MSGA 1st vice president Jim Steinbeisser, a rancher from Sidney, opened the general session remarking, “Every time you’re in Miles City you automatically think of the history of the Stockgrowers,” alluding to the meetings held 135 years ago with Granville Stuart at the helm that formed the basis of the original organization. He noted as he recently read a book Stuart authored, “Many of the issues they were dealing with in those days are still ones we deal with today: cattle theft, wolves and predators, property rights.” Steinbeisser said we are also dealing with a whole host of new issues, such as fake meat and ongoing dialog with state and federal agencies.

Friday’s keynote speaker was Don Schiefelbein, who, along with his seven brothers and three nephews, owns and operates Schiefelbein Farms, a large diversified farming operation in Kimball, Minn. Schiefelbein is also the chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association policy division. He shared some of the hot button items the NCBA is working on on behalf of ranchers.

“One of our key issues is trade, trade, trade,” said Schiefelbein. “We want to make sure we have an open and fair playing field for all of our ag commodities, and we’re working closely with President Trump to make sure markets are open for our agricultural products.” He added they are keeping an eye on “fake meat,” and making sure it is labeled as such. Thirdly, he said that ranchers need to be aware of and engaged in animal traceability programs.

Friday’s ranch tour of Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station highlighted current research projects, some sponsored in part by MSGA’s foundation, that include grazing after wildfire, cow longevity, heifer development and prenatal programming in cows. The Gala Dinner and live auction, followed by live music by Way Out West, provided entertainment and fundraising for the MSGA foundation.

A beautiful Saturday morning opened with the “Old Times Parade,” with all entries either horses or livestock. The $500 first place award went to the Cross 4 Ranch of Miles City; Dave Hayden and Jalyn Klauzer of Baker took second place and $300, and third place and $200 went to the Hinnaland Ranch of Circle.

“This year’s Mid-Year meeting was a great opportunity to engage with state and federal officials to discuss those issues that impact of our ranching operations,” said Jay Bodner, MSGA executive vice president. “It is important to have the latest information regarding taxes, state and federal legislation and animal health regulations and also have a direct link to those agencies detailing how issues affect our ranches. In addition to setting policy, MSGA always has some fun at these events, and the Moe Bandy concert and the parade are a few examples.”

The Montana Stockgrowers Association MidYear Meeting is one of two annual conventions held by the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The annual convention is in December. For more information or to join MSGA, visit www.mtbeef.org.

–Montana Stockgrowers Association

Nebraska Cattlemen Sends Three Participants to NCBA’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference

LINCOLN, NE (June 25, 2019) – Three Nebraska beef leaders participated in 10 days of intensive leadership training and a three-city tour showcasing every facet of the beef industry during NCBA’s 2019 Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC).

Reiss Bruning, Sarah Kabes and Chance McLean were the Nebraska representatives that participated in this year’s NCBA YCC program. They began their journey in Denver Colorado with classroom sessions providing background knowledge about NCBA and the work it conducts on behalf of its members and the entire beef community. Before leaving Colorado, the group toured Five Rivers Cattle Feeding’s Kuner Feedyard, JBS processing plant and a Safeway flagship store where they learned how beef is being marketed to consumers on the retail level.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity to meet so many other people in the industry to bounce ideas off of and to learn more about the industry I love” said Sarah Kabes.

The Nebraska natives along with more than 50 other participants then traveled to Chicago where they made stops at Hillshire Farms, McDonald’s global headquarters, and OSI Inc., one of the largest beef patty manufactures in the nation.

“NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference was an amazing experience, that covered all aspects from – Pasture to Plate. I am thankful for what our local, state, and national affiliates do to support the beef industry. This was an experience I will never forget. Thanks Nebraska Cattlemen for allowing me this opportunity” said Chance McLean.

The 2019 YCC class finished its whirlwind tour in Washington, D.C., where participants learned how NCBA’s policy work impacts their operations and the broader industry. After an in-depth policy issue briefing from NCBA’s lobbyists and staff experts, participants took to Capitol Hill, visiting more than 200 congressional offices to advocate for industry policy priorities.

“I felt very fortunate to be selected to attend the National Conference. Being a part of this powerful group of young leaders from across US was an incredible learning experience and networking opportunity that created invaluable lifelong relationships. The issues we individually face both politically and day-to-day are diverse and being able to discuss and understand how to solve those problems broadened our intellectual horizons and instilled a deep sense of confidence in everyone. I hope to use the vast amount of institutional knowledge we gained on this trip to build on the great foundation NCBA has established to ensure a bright and prosperous future for generations of cattlemen to come” said Reiss Bruning.

–Nebraska Cattlemen

Black Hills Stock Show Summer Horse Sale

TSLN Rep: Scott Dirk

Date of Sale: June 23, 2019

Location: Central States Fairgrounds, Rapid City, SD

Auctioneer: Seth Weishaar


Top 5 horses – $23,300

Top 10 horses – $14,575

Overall sale – $7,532


Very nice lineup of horses for the sale. From finished arena horses, top ranch horses and started prospects. There was a horse to meet most any level of rider at the sale.

The top selling horse on the day was Onlyone Cat O Lena, a 2013 sorrel gelding from Paul and Jana Greimsman, Piedmont, S.D. selling to Doug Ginsbach, Evansville, WY for $47,500. This horse is a finished, switch end team roping horse that also works breakaway and has won money in the cutting pen. Out of High Brow Cat and double bred Peppy San Badger.

Selling at $43,000 was lot 25, WR Duelin Smart, a 2011 sorrel gelding sired by Duel Pep x Smart Little Lena. Tough all around family horse, finished in the roping pen, won money in the cutting pen and gentle enough for the entire family. Consigned by Seth Weishaar, Belle Fourche, S.D., purchase by Kenny Leiseth, Arnegard, N.D.

Lot 11, Poco Boonalena, a 2010 black gelding. Stout, flashy nice sized ranch horse sired by Boonalena Bayou x Mr Silver City from Sara Reed, Rozet, Wyoming, sold to Ed Wiesinger, Shadehill, S.D., for $10,000.

Lot 5, Frosty Sunny Drifter, a 2011 brown gelding out of Santa Cruz Drifter x PC Sun Wood consigned by Luke Morast, Halliday, N.D. sold to Pete Knight, Eagle Butte, S.D. for $9,000. All around ranch horse that scores well from the heading box.

Dees and Siggins win BFI, $120K in Reno

RENO, Nev. (June 25, 2019) – The flag at the 42nd Annual Bob Feist Invitational on June 24 was still moving at the end of the final run of 7.2 seconds when 26-year-old Lane Siggins began racing around the arena to celebrate the resulting $120,000 cash prize with partner Junior Dees, 21. The Arizona boys finally vaulted off their moving horses to throw their arms around each other.

“I felt like we were 9 seconds on that run, and when the announcer said 7, my hat just came off,” Siggins said later. “I’ve been practicing to win the BFI at my house since I was 5 years old. I was ready for that victory lap!”

The first-place prize at the BFI in Reno, Nevada, often marks the biggest win of a roper’s life. The anchor event of Wrangler BFI Week presented by Yeti, it’s held in conjunction this year with the 100th anniversary of the Reno Rodeo. The BFI is the most lucrative but challenging team roping event for professionals in America. Under the traditional format, the 100 best teams in the world are invited to rope six fast steers over an 18-foot head start, for a purse of more than $600,000 in cash and prizes.

A new award this year for the overall fastest time in the first five rounds was given in memory of former BFI champion and three-time fast-time winner Rickey Green. It went to Tyler Wade and Billie Jack Saebens, who clocked a 4.57 to win the third round.

Over five steers, Dees and Siggins became the high callback team, and would compete last. They watched six straight teams make clean runs, and needed an 8.47 for the aggregate win. Their 7.2 edged the six-head time of Oklahoma ropers Cale Markham and Brye Crites by about a second.

Crites, 25, said he’ll pay off his trailer with his portion of the $90,000 he won with Markham, 28. Crites works full-time in an in vitro fertilization lab in Welch, while Markham’s family produces ropings and has Animal Health Supply Inc., in Vinita.

Interviewed in the arena immediately after the celebration, Siggins said that Dees had just made him a superstar. In fact, this was just Dees’ second time in the BFI, but Siggins had been entering it since he was a teenager.

“As someone who grew up jackpotting, it’s been tough to never get past the first steer here,” said Siggins. “But Junior and I have chemistry. There’s no heat roping with him; no pressure. And we’re on the same page financially – if we don’t win, we have to go home. Thanks to John Thompson of Thompson Carriers for paying our entry fees.”

The Siggins family makes a living near Coolidge, Arizona, riding, training and selling roping horses. When Dees arrived at their house last fall, it was to further his own career riding and training horses. By March, he and Lane had become fast friends and began to enter rodeos together.

“We just click,” said Dees. “We get along; he’s like a brother to me. We just have fun and have had luck together.”

Dees spent his early childhood in Arizona, too, before cutting his teeth as a roper in South Dakota. In fact, during the BFI he was on the phone with his mentor, three-time NFR heeler Matt Zancanella, after every steer. Siggins got a little remote coaching, too, from “Zanc” after missing the haze on the first BFI steer.

“I’ve wanted to win this all my life,” said Dees, who basically grew up on the arena floor at places like the BFI, watching Zancanella compete. The Zancanella family also raised the horse Dees credits with his big win. Famous Dillon was sired by their barrel-racing stallion Lion’s Share of Fame – a full brother to Gun Battle, a racehorse with a speed index of 110.

“Dillon” had a half-brother on which Dees qualified for the NFR in 2017, but the horse suffered a career-ending injury last year. Just 8 years old, Dillon went to his first rodeo this spring. On the other hand, Siggins’ gray 12-year-old gelding, “Shooter,” is a veteran and performed so well that he won the annual Heel Horse of the BFI award from Montana Silversmiths. Registered as Amigos Sonita Las, he has foundation cow-horse breeding.

“Tanner Baldwin trained him, and I’ve had him three years now,” said Siggins, who tweaked his roping style to fit the horse. “I have always liked a tighter feel, to where I need to kick a horse up, but he is so free-rolling that I needed to change a little. I mostly watched Ryan Motes to learn his style, since his horses never take his throw away.”

Motes’ horse, incidentally, was the 2014 Heel Horse of the BFI. On the fresh steers in Reno, many horses anticipate the stop and cause heelers to miss their shot, hurry their delivery or struggle to dally. But Shooter is honest every time. In fact, Siggins asked Dees to make sure and face on a tight rope to prevent any slipped legs.

On the other end, Riley Minor won his record fourth Head Horse of the BFI award, courtesy of his defending PRCA/AQHA Head Horse of the Year, RK Tuff Trinket (“Bob”). Minor and his brother, Brady, were winning this year’s BFI after four steers with a 29.61, but a leg penalty in the fifth round dropped them to 10th callback. Bob also won the award in 2016, when the Minors placed sixth.

“I got this horse five years ago and he’s been the greatest blessing in my life,” Minor said. “This award means a lot here with this long score and hard-running cattle. Today, he scored so good that we should have been high call.”

Wrangler BFI Week presented by Yeti continues for three days following the 42ND BFI. For more information, visit www.bfiweek.com.

Complete results from the 2019 Bob Feist Invitational:

First Round: 1. Clay Smith and Jade Corkill, 6.62 seconds, $8,000; 2. Cale Markham and Brye Crites, 6.86, $6,000; 3. Charly Crawford and Logan Medlin, 6.87, $4,000; 4. Dustin Egusquiza and Jake Long, 6.93, $2,000. Second Round: 1. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Noguiera, 4.73 seconds, $8,000; 2. Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor, 5.09, $6,000; 3. Levi Simpson and Cole Davison, 6.23, $4,000; 4. Lane Ivy and Cesar de la Cruz, 6.29, $2,000. Third Round: 1. Tyler Wade and Billie Jack Saebens, 4.57 seconds, $8,000; 2. Britt Smith and Jake Smith, 4.66, $6,000; 3. Tanner Green and Jake Clay, 4.88, $4,000; 4. Chant DeForest and Bronc Boehnlein, 5.84, $2,000. Fourth Round: 1. Marcus Theriot and Colby Payne, 4.68 seconds, 8,000; 2. Garrett Chick and Ross Ashford, 4.95, $6,000; 3. Kolton Schmidt and Jeremy Buhler, 5.08, $4,000; 4. Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison, 5.29, $2,000. Fifth Round: 1. Clayton VanAken and Cullen Teller, 4.60 seconds, $8,000; 2. Lane Ivy and Cesar de la Cruz, 5.08, $6,000; 3. Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes, 5.18, $4,000; 4. Chase Sanders and Dan Scarbrough, 5.76, $2,000. Short Round: 1. David Key and Rich Skelton, 6.19 seconds, $4,000; 2. Rhett Anderson and Cole Wilson, 6.50, $3,000; 3. Pat Boyle and Jared Hixon, 6.59, $2,000; 4. Billy Bob Brown and Evan Arnold, 6.72 $1,000. Aggregate: 1. Jr Dees and Lane Siggins, 44.62 seconds on six, $120,000; 2. Cale Markham and Brye Crites, 45.84, $84,000; 3. Billy Bob Brown and Evan Arnold, 46.50, $59,000; 4. Aaron Tsinigine and Patrick Smith, 46.66, $35,000; 5. Rhett Anderson and Cole Wilson, 47.14, $23,000; 6. David Key and Rich Skelton, 47.43, $17,000; 7. Tom Richards and Nick Sarchett, 47.77, $15,000; 8. Pat Boyle and Jared Hixon, 51.70, $12,000; 9. BJ Campbell and Clint Harry, 52.70, $10,000; 10. Brandon Beers and Justin Davis, 52.75, $9,000; 11. Dustin Egusquiza and Jake Long, 53.47, $9,000; 12. Pace Freed and Dustin Searcy, 60.49, $9,000; 13. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 41.91 seconds on five, $7,000; 14. Coy Brittain and Colton Brittain, 42.96, $7,000; 15. Tate Kirchenschlager and Buddy Hawkins 45.46, $7,000.

Smith repeats as Hooey Junior BFI champ, wins $10K

RENO, Nev. (June 25, 2019) – Britt Smith of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, became the second-straight Hooey Junior BFI Championships Open heading champ on June 22, this time with defending national high school champion Breck Ward of Jerome, Idaho. The pair roped four steers in 34.58 seconds to split $20,000, edging Cash Duty and J.R. Gonzalez by two seconds.

The second annual event for kids 17 and under is patterned after the richest Open roping in America – the 42-year-old Bob Feist Invitational – held in conjunction with the half-million-dollar Reno Rodeo. It consists of the Jr. Open and the Jr. #10.5, which limits individual ropers’ classifications to #6. This year, both ropings served as direct qualifiers to the annual Jr. World Finals in Las Vegas, so the top five teams in each roping have now qualified to rope in Las Vegas.

Last year, Smith split $15,000 when he won the Jr. Open with Wyoming’s Carson Johnson, but the two didn’t have any luck together this year. Instead, Smith and Ward were the high callback team and needed an 8.4-second run to win the roping. Their 6.2 gave them the title easily, and the big cash paycheck plus a truckload of prizes. Ward, a 17-year-old No. 8 heeler, is the defending national high school team roping champion.

“I’d never heard of Breck until I’d seen him rope here last year,” said Smith. “That’s what’s so neat about this roping. They’re doing a great thing here, and it paid more this year. Hopefully it just gets bigger and bigger, and I’m so glad they have the #10.5, too, for the younger kids. What a cool way to prepare for the real BFI one day.”

In the #10.5, Cole Bunting and Stoney Boy Joseph won the aggregate with a four-head time of 35.57. They bested last year’s heading champ, Jett Stewart, and Nicky Northcott by four seconds to split $16,640.

Smith, a #8 header, is the youngest brother of defending world champion header Clay Smith. Britt entered the actual BFI this year, as well, with the third Smith brother, Jake. The pair placed second in the third round of the BFI on a run of 4.66 seconds to split $6,000.

“I can remember since I was little bitty, I’d watch BFI videos until I fell asleep at night,” said Smith. “You can play the same one over and over and always catch something new.”

While in Reno, Britt also competed in World Series of Team Roping contests just outside town and won an Open roping with Gonzalez for another $3,600 per man. His total cash haul during Wrangler BFI Week, presented by Yeti, came to $16,600.

Complete Results from the Hooey Junior BFI Open:

First Round: 1. Brayden Schmidt and Jaylen Eldridge, 6.96 seconds, $1,000; 2. Riley Rieken and Mason Pitts, 7.05, $800; Second Round: 1. Cash Duty and John Hisel, 5.69, $1,000; 2. Cutter Duckett and Jesse Hines, 5.92, $800; Third Round: 1. Cutter Duckett and Logan Moore, 5.34, $1,000; 2. Houston Hull and Zane Pratt, 5.56, $800; Short Round: 1. Peyton Walters and Carson Johnson, 5.27, $1,000; 2. Chase Sandstrom and Jesse Hines, 5.95, $800; Average: 1. Britt Smith and Breck Ward, 34.58 seconds on four, $20,000; 2. Cash Duty and J.R. Gonzalez, 36.60, $11,000; 3. Peyton Walters and Logan Moore, 37.63, $5,000; 4. Brayden Schmidt and Jaylen Eldridge, 41.21, $2,250; 5. Clay Cherry and Sterlin English, 44.33, $1,250; 6. Chase Webster and Zackery Lewis, 45.50, $1,000; 7. Tyler McKinney and Mason Pitts, 46.54, $1,000.

Complete Results from the Hooey Junior BFI #10.5:

First Round: 1. Gavin Hershberger and Jace Thorstenson, 6.88 seconds, $800; 2. Sylais York and Gavin Cardoza, 6.95, $640; Second Round: 1. Chase Webster and Beau Rees, 6.32, $800; 2. Cole Bunting and Stoney Boy Joseph, 6.87, $640; Third Round: 1. Ryan Bettencourt and Brock Grashuis, 6.32, $800; 2 Kaleb Heimburg and Hector Dukes, 6.80, $640; Average: 1. Cole Bunting and Stoney Boy Joseph, 35.57 seconds on four, $16,000; 2. Jett Stewart and Nicky Northcott, 39.77, $8,100; 3. Meason Ybarra and Rustin Baldwin, 41.22, $4,000; 4. Kaleb Heimburg and Hector Dukes, 47.26, $2,000; 5. Denton Parish and Grant Foster, 47.31, $1,200; 6. Chase Helton and Clayton Moore, 56.19, $960; 7. Pierce Wold and Dean Sherbo, 28.37 seconds on three, $960; 8. Rance Winters and Clayton Moore, 35.82, $600.

–Bob Feist Invitational

“Animal Welfare and What it Means to You: The Destruction of Animal Ownership through Deceptive Legislation”

“Animal Welfare and What it Means to You:

The Destruction of Animal Ownership through Deceptive Legislation”

(Billings, MT) – Montana Agri-Women will host Mindy Patterson of the Cavalry Group in a public forum at Prescott Hall at Rocky Mountain College at 6 p.m. on June 25.

Mindy Patterson is President and Co-Founder of The Cavalry Group, LLC, regularly advocating for and defending the constitutional and private property rights of law-abiding animal owners and animal-related businesses. Mindy specializes in working with animal related businesses, national animal associations, animal agriculture interests, and outdoor sportsmen, leading the charge in defending against the onslaught of anti-animal ownership ideology while challenging the infiltration of animal rights activism in government at the local, state and federal levels. To learn more about the Cavalry Group, https://www.thecavalrygroup.com

“We as agriculturalists know what it means to care for animals, and how important that care is to our livelihoods. We also know there is a marked difference between animal welfare and animal rights. Mindy Patterson is the most qualified individual to speak on such issues, and most importantly to advocate for continued animal ownership for all,” said Meghan Foran, President of MAW.

Montana Agri-Women (MAW) brings you this event to promote understanding and truth about topics that affect each one of us. The realization that agriculture plays a vital role the economic, social and environmental progress of Montana is important to the future of our state and nation.

Montana Agri-Women is a non-profit organization promoting a positive perception of agriculture and helping with the understanding of rural Montana issues to Legislators, regulators, consumers, and the general public. MAW is an affiliate of American Agri-Women, the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women, united to communicate with one another and with other consumers to promote agriculture. AAW members have been advocating for agriculture since 1974.

–Montana Agri-Women

Video Games Offer Clues to Help Curb Animal Disease Outbreaks

Video Games Offer Clues to Help Curb Animal Disease Outbreaks

As Asia and Europe battle African swine fever outbreaks, UVM research shows how farmers’ risk attitudes affect the spread of infectious animal diseases and offers a first-of-its kind model for testing disease control and prevention strategies.

Strengthening biosecurity is widely considered the best strategy to reduce the devastating impact of disease outbreaks in the multi-billion-dollar global swine industry, but successfully doing so all comes down to human decision-making, a University of Vermont study shows.

The study, published June 25 in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, is the first of its kind to include human behavior in infectious disease outbreak projections – a critical element that has largely been ignored in previous epidemiological models. Incorporating theories of behavior change, communications and economic decision-making into disease models gives a more accurate depiction of how outbreak scenarios play out in the real-world to better inform prevention and control strategies.

“We’ve come to realize that human decisions are critical to this picture,” said Gabriela Bucini, a postdoctoral researcher in UVM’s Dept. of Plant and Soil Science and lead author of the study. “We are talking about incredibly virulent diseases that can be transmitted in tiny amounts of feed and manure. Ultimately, controlling these diseases is up to the people in the production system who decide whether or not to invest and comply with biosecurity practices.”

Seeking to understand the role of human behavior in animal disease outbreaks, the researchers designed a series of video games in which players assumed the roles of hog farmers and were required to make risk management decisions in different situations. Observing how players responded to different biosecurity threats provided data used to simulate the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) – one of the most severe infectious diseases in the U.S. swine industry – in a regional, real-world hog production system.

The number of pigs that contracted PEDv was shown to be highly dependent on the risk attitudes of the farmers and producers in the system and a relatively small shift in risk attitudes could have a significant impact on disease incidence. According to the study, getting just 10 percent of risk tolerant farmers to adopt a risk averse position with stronger biosecurity measures reduced the total incidence of PEDv by 19 percent. Keeping the disease under control required at least 40 percent of risk-takers to change their attitudes.

“The risk attitudes and human decisions that we’re incorporating in the model are really powerful,” said Scott Merrill, co-author and researcher in the Dept­. of Plant and Soil Science and Gund Institute for Environment. “If we can change the way people behave, then we have a chance to make some dramatic impacts and avoid a devastating outbreak.”

Getting Serious About Games

Merrill and Bucini are part of a team of researchers in UVM’s Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab who are designing interactive “serious” games and computational models to understand complex systems. Developed by Merrill, along with Chris Koliba and Asim Zia in the Dept. of Community Development and Applied Economics and Gund Institute for Environment, the SEGS Lab places research subjects in a virtual world where researchers can monitor their behavior – an approach that may help eliminate some of the biases that can occur with traditional surveys.

Their work in the area of animal disease biosecurity is part of a $7.4 million multi-institutional biosecurity initiative led by UVM animal science researcher Julie Smith that’s aiming to inform policies that collectively reduce the impact of pests and diseases on food-producing livestock in the U.S.

The PEDv outbreak model is grounded in data derived from the biosecurity video games, which found that people behaved differently depending on the type of information they received and how it was presented. In one game, players were given several different risk scenarios and had to decide whether to maximize their profit or minimize their risk. Players presented with a 5 percent risk of their animals getting sick if they ignored biosecurity protocols complied only 30 percent of the time. However, when the risk level was presented visually as “low risk” on a threat gauge with some built in uncertainty, rather than numerically, players complied over 80 percent of the time.

“A simple thing like going out the wrong barn door can have a huge impact,” said Merrill. “With the game data, we can see big differences in the economic and disease dynamics as we change the type of information we’re delivering, and the way it’s delivered.”

Rising Global Threat

Infectious diseases like PEDv pose a continuous risk to U.S. hog producers, one that is increasing with the consolidation and globalization of the industry. The diseases are highly contagious and the effects can be catastrophic. PEDv was first detected in the U.S in 2013. Within one year, it spread to 33 states and wiped out as many as 7 million pigs, or 10 percent of the nation’s agricultural swine population.

Since then, U.S. producers have ramped up biosecurity measures, but PEDv remains endemic in the U.S. and new and emerging pests and diseases are on the rise. An ongoing outbreak of African swine fever in Asia has decimated pig herds across China, the world’s largest consumer of pork, and pork prices are expected to hit record levels in 2019.

“Biosecurity efforts are often voluntary, but are critical to prevention, especially when there are no vaccines or treatments available,” said Smith, principal investigator of UVM’s animal disease biosecurity project. “We have to understand where people are on the risk continuum, their barriers and challenges, and their ability to act. That information is critical to the response.”

The Animal Disease Biosecurity Coordinated Agriculture Project is funded with a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-69004-23273. Collaborating research and extension faculty are based at the University of Central Florida, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Montana State University and Washington State University.

–Gund News

Wyoming Stock Growers Association announces new officers

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Stock Growers Association announced the addition of several new Officers: Scott Sims, David Kane, Dan Frank, JW Rankin and Brad Mead. The new appointees bring extensive knowledge of Wyoming’s agriculture industry to the association’s leadership. We look forward to working with them as we continue to serve the livestock business and families of Wyoming by protecting their economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, custom and cultural interests.

Previous First Vice President Scott Sims, has been announced the President of the WSGA. Sims resides in Albany County. Sims’ goal is to make ranching possible for the next generation of ranchers in Wyoming by providing opportunities to do so.

David Kane was elected as the first vice president. Kane lives and ranches in Sheridan County. Kane’s goal for WSGA is for all members to voice their ideas and concerns for the betterment of the organization and industry.

The new Region II vice president is Dan Frank. Frank lives in Laramie County near Meriden. Frank’s goal is to carry on and strengthen the association’s mission of protecting the viability of the cattle industry in Wyoming.

JW Rankin of Converse County was elected as the Region III vice president. Rankin’s goals for WSGA is focused on working to advance Wyoming’s cattle industry by taking an active position to ensure the industry moves in the right direction while fending off attacks.

Brad Mead was elected Region IV vice president and hopes to increase awareness about the benefits of membership and participation in the Wyoming Stock Growers Association across a broad spectrum of producers and wildlife advocates.

The new officers were elected on Friday, June 7, during the Business Meeting held by the WSGA membership in Gillette, following the 2019 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention. Learn more at http://www.wysga.org or call (307) 638-3942.

–Wyoming Stock Growers Association

Co-op witness calls for certainty on cross-hedging, no user fees

Farmers and their traders need either the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or Congress to provide certainty that cross-hedging, a practice used to hedge risk for commodities that do not have futures contracts, is bona fide, a representative of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives told the Senate Agriculture Committee today at a hearing on the reauthorization of the CFTC.

“It is NCFC’s view that any federal speculative position limits rule should not unduly burden commercial end-users who utilize derivatives markets for economically appropriate risk management activities,” said Joe Barker, director of brokerage services for CHS Hedging, a subsidiary of CHS Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative and a grain, energy and foods company in Minnesota.

“Specifically, we have continued to advocate that the CFTC recognize common commercial hedging practices, such as anticipatory hedging and cross hedging, as bona fide hedges in that rule.”

Barker explained that companies buying, shipping and selling durum wheat use contracts for other types of wheat to hedge risk. He said the CFTC may address the bona fide hedging question in a rule but said, “I would encourage this committee to also keep a close eye on the bona fide hedge definition as the rule is rewritten.”

Barker also said that the CFTC needs resources to do its job properly, but urged the committee not to impose user fees.

“Agriculture is a high-volume, low-margin industry, and incremental increases in costs, whether passed on from an exchange or imposed directly on a cooperative trickle down and impact farmers,” he said.

“We fear a further increase in cost structure due to higher transaction costs would discourage prudent hedging practices. To be clear, a user fee would result in an increase in risk being absorbed in the agriculture community, and would likely reduce the desire for participants, such as agricultural producers, to hedge their price risk.”

But Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, disagreed, saying the CFTC desperately needs the money to deal to enforce the Dodd-Frank law and deal with emerging issues such as cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies.

Kelleher said “a small CFTC funding fee would not harm market liquidity.”

He noted that the fee would be small compared with execution fees.

“The decision to hedge or not can make a difference of tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to an individual farmer or business,” Kelleher said.

“It is inconceivable that true end-users or their customer — facilitating brokers —would be driven away from the market by a modest fee in this general range. The case for CFTC self-funding through transaction fees has only gotten stronger over the last several years, as trading volume has steadily increased.”

Barker said that the CFTC has “largely resolved administratively” most of the Dodd-Frank issues such as record-keeping requirements on end users, but credited the committee with “encouraging CFTC to ensure that the agriculture industry has affordable access to risk management tools.”

Barker also said that the agriculture markets “are in a period of increased volatility fueled by ongoing international trade negotiations and an extremely wet spring that has cause the slowest corn and soybean planting progress on record. The trade issues have led to dramatic price swings in the prices of grain, livestock and dairy markets over the past 12 months.”

Thomas Sexton, president and CEO of the National Futures Association, said that, in the reauthorization, Congress should also provide certainty that if there is a shortfall in customer segregated funds, the term “customer funds” would include all assets of the FCM [futures commission merchants] until customers had been made whole.”

A district court decision cast doubt on the validity of the CFTC’s rule to that effect, he said, saying “Congress should remove that doubt and ensure that customers have priority if there is a shortfall in segregated funds.”

Walter Lukken, president and CEO of the Futures Industry Association, an organization that represents clearing firms, exchanges, clearinghouses, trading firms and commodities specialists, technology vendors and law firms serving the industry, said FIA also supports “legislative clarification to resolve legal uncertainty in futures commission merchant bankruptcies as to the definition of “customer property.”

“The sanctity of segregated customer funds remains an important tenet of the CFTC’s customer protection regime and FIA stands ready to assist the committee on this clarification,” Lukken said.

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that she finds it “very troubling” that the CFTC appears ready to push through new customer protection and cross-border rules before Heath Tarbert, President Donald Trump’s Senate-confirmed nominee for CFTC chairman, takes over in July.

–The Hagstrom Report

Leaving a mark: Family recalls Klempel’s love for branding, football and life

“I’m sorry.”

“There’s been an accident.”

“He died.”

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

The tiny, tightly-knit community of Reva, South Dakota, is still numb with the shock of the news that came Wednesday, June 5. Seventeen-year-old Jaxon Klempel died when his pickup rolled while he was driving home from a neighbor’s branding. Jaxon’s parents, Josh and Erin (Lermeny) Klempel and his older brother Jaden and younger brother Jace are trying to find a new normal with the middle son of ‘the Klempel boys’ suddenly gone from the family circle.

“You know the possibility of losing a child is there,” Jaxon’s father Josh Klempel shared, “but you never imagine it.”

The teenager loved anything ranch related, and especially loved brandings.

“We had to plan our work around the boys’ schedule for the last few years,” Josh said.

Jaxon’s younger brother, Jace, laughed, remembering how they told their parents they had to get on their branding calendar a month early, or they’d be out of luck for having the boys’ help at home!

In the midst of their grief, Josh said it helps a little to know that Jaxon spent his last moments doing what he loved best. Helping a neighbor brand.

“He wouldn’t have any regrets,” Josh said. “From the time they were little all the boys were in the back pushing calves, and he was itching to get up front to run the table. As soon as he was big enough, he was doing the next job.”

Jaxon’s family shared that he loved sports and outdoor activities: hunting, fishing, horseback and motorcycle riding. And football.

“Jaxon ran track to have a good time,” his mother, Erin, remembered, “And he played basketball to be with the kids. While he put his heart and soul into everything he did, he was never competitive for the sake of being competitive except for football.”

“He loved football. That was his passion,” Josh concurred. “He was proud to play for ‘his’ Harding County Ranchers.”

Jaxon always took things in stride, and always had a smile. Even when he broke his thumb during the first of four football games at a Wall Jamboree. “He didn’t tell his coach because he didn’t want to be taken out of the game,” Erin said, “So he played all four games with a broken thumb. On our way home through Rapid City I asked him if he wanted to stop and get it looked at. ‘Nope.’ He said. ‘I’m hungry. Let’s go to Famous Dave’s and eat.’”

“He ate his meal with his hand in a cup of ice,” Josh added.

Jaxon’s ability to live life as it came and roll with it showed in every area except for hunting.

“When it came to hunting he was very flexible,” Josh said. “He would get his heart set on a particular deer, and the whole school bus would know that was the deer he was after.”

But then things had a way of changing.

“Even if that big buck was in his sights, he would find the oddball every time,” Jace remembered.

Two years ago Jaxon helped guide some visiting hunters to fill their tags, and he had so much fun he didn’t even want to apply for his own tag.

“He absolutely loved it,” Erin said.

While Jaxon enjoyed sports of all kinds, academics were not his favorite.

“He really struggled in school for many years,” Erin said. “He had dyslexia and dyscalculia, so it was hard for him till he was able to take some extra classes and get help from teachers who understood the problem. The last two years he was finally flourishing in school.”

This didn’t mean everything was perfect, though; Jaxon was known for his poor spelling abilities. “You knew if he got ahold of your phone and texted someone with it because of the spelling errors,” Erin laughed.

“There were some spelling errors in his obituary, and we left them,” Josh said, “Because he always made mistakes in his spelling.

“Mostly he enjoyed anything he could do so that he didn’t have to do ‘real’ school,” Erin said.

“If he could do it with his hands he was happy,” Jace agreed.

“He really loved the mobile unit,” Erin said. This educational service provided through the Northwest Area School Districts brought a new study unit every semester, including skills ranging from small engine repair, welding and electrical work to health and graphic design.

“Jaxon had an ability to learn hands on,” Jace said.

Jaxon’s future plans included studying Diesel Mechanics at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota, and then returning to his community to start his own shop in the area.

“He was very mindful about what path he wanted to take and how to pursue it,” Josh said. “He also wanted to continue with the ranch and raising cattle. He really loved anything ranch related. And he had the patience for it. It just came naturally to him.”

The only animal Jaxon didn’t get along with was the family’s rooster.

“We had chickens a few years ago, and they had a hate/hate relationship,” Erin remembered. “The boys all liked to sleep outside, and one morning Josh woke me up saying, ‘You’ve got to see this!’ There was the rooster, standing about three inches away from Jaxon’s head. He had singled Jaxon out.”

Jaxon also had a steady girlfriend, Alayna Tomac of Webster, South Dakota. “A distance of three hundred miles is ideal for a teenage relationship,” Jaxon’s parents laughed. “They really had to get to know each other. They talked every night, and even read the Bible together over the phone. For the last two and a half years she spent a couple of hours every day in our living room with us—on video chat!”

“That was annoying,” Jace put in!

“We always said Jaxon was an ‘old soul’ from the time he was little,” Erin said. “If we were at a wedding dance or some event, you wouldn’t usually find him with the kids his age. He’d be sitting with the old farmers talking farming. He had a habit of being early to bed and early to rise. He’d get up around four thirty or five and be to bed by eight. He’d just lay down and go to sleep.”

Jaxon would sometimes express frustration with kids at school or on his sports teams who didn’t give it their all, step up, and take responsibility. He had no interest in the typical teenage drama at school either.

“He was never in the cliques in school because he had no time for drama,” Jace said.

“He knew that life was so much bigger than all of that,” Josh agreed.

Jaxon’s coaches at the Harding County School filled a special role in his life. While he loved sports and excelled at several, he may not have started out with a large amount of natural talent.

“Jaxon was not graceful,” Jace said.

But Jaxon learned early on that making an effort in sports gets noticed even if you’re not the star player on the team. Eighth grade was Jaxon’s first year in basketball. As he prepared to make the transition between Junior High and High School, he received a letter from coach Matt Weakland along with the “Most Improved Player” award.

“That letter meant a lot to him,” Erin said. “He learned that his effort would shine through even if he wasn’t the most talented.”

Other coaches that played a special role in Jaxon’s life included Jr. High football coach Waylon Sabo, High School head football and basketball coach Jay Wammen, and Track Coach Ron Slaba.

Ron also worked as a para-professional at Harding County High School for the last two years, and so had a unique perspective on Jaxon’s academic struggles and growth as well as his athletic achievements.

“I got to see him in study hall every day,” Ron shared. “He was a special kid. He had a unique ability to balance being a kid, having fun, and pushing buttons with an ability to understand the big picture of life that’s unusual for a kid his age. He would come in every morning, plop into a chair in my office and put his size 17 feet on my desk with a chuckle and ask me how it was going. I knew every single morning when I walked into class that Jaxon would be there, and I enjoyed my work in part because I knew he was going to be there and he was going to make it fun. But he could also sit down and talk calf prices, fencing, and how he was going to have to help out at home when his dad had knee surgery and how he planned to make sure he got his homework done even though he would miss some school because he was needed at home.”

Over the last two years Mr. Slaba watched Jaxon grow from a child with learning challenges to a young man who made the Honor Roll.

“All kids go through that stage where they say that school is just a waste of time, and Jaxon used to say ‘School’s not for me,’” Mr. Slaba remembered. “But he had a huge amount of respect for his parents’ wishes that he get his degree, and once he understood the importance of getting his High School diploma he decided to buckle down and get it done. But he knew how to be a kid at the same time, and loved to push peoples’ buttons—-both with his classmates and with adults—yet knew to keep it fun and what lines not to cross.”

During the 2019 season, Ron enlisted Jaxon as an assistant track coach of sorts after Jaxon injured his knee in basketball.

“Jaxon was pretty down about not being able to jump this year, but when I told him we still needed him as a teammate and suggested that he could be my unofficial assistant he brightened up. By the time we got to the conference meet his knee was better, and he came to me and said, ‘Coach, I think I’m going to jump. We need more points as a team.’ I wouldn’t let him jump, but he ran the 300 meter hurdles and the 400 meter dash back to back. That was incredibly challenging physically.”

Jaxon had never run the 300 meter hurdles before, yet he won an Honorable Mention in the Little Moreau Conference that day.

“I leaned on him pretty hard to help me get his teammates ready for their events,” Coach Slaba said. “He was a real team player. He was such a genuine kid. There was nothing fake about him. He didn’t do things for people just for recognition or appearances, he really cared about others. I learned so much from him. On the track, the football field, or in the basketball court he never compared himself to others. He was not out there trying to be better than other players. He was always asking ‘How can I be better?’ but he wasn’t trying to best anyone else. He was just trying to be the best player that he could be each day.”

“In this day and age it’s easy to be pretty discouraged about the state of humanity with all the things we hear on the news,” Ron said. “Out here we’re lucky, we still get to raise our own kids the way we choose. We still have really good kids in our society, and Jaxon was the best of who we are. Getting to interact with these kids is the best part of coaching and teaching, and I loved Jaxon like my own. He was one of those kids I was lucky to know. He really touched my heart.”

While Jaxon was undoubtedly proud of his achievements in sports, his parents know he was most proud of his family. He always had time for a high -five for his young cousins on the sidelines of the basketball court and would often take time to sit down and play tractors with them.

“You could always find Jaxon with a little kid on his lap,” Erin said. “He was never too busy to just go hang out, whether it was with kids his age or with his three year old cousin.”

“Jaxon was proud of where he came from,” Josh said. “You could tell.”

As Jaxon’s family grieves, they are still confident that Jaxon would want them to remember what was most important to him.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” Jace said. “Just go out and live life and enjoy it.”

“Enjoy those around you and take time to build a deep relationship with them,” Erin said. “We have a family habit that every time we leave the house we say ‘I love you. Have a good day.’ Jaxon would reply with ‘I love you too’—in his quick boy way. I’m so thankful we made a point of doing that.”

“We had no idea how many people Jaxon had touched,” Josh said. “The turnout for both the family service and the funeral was incredible. Jaxon loved brandings, so before the burial we invited anyone Jaxon had left his mark on to bring their branding irons and leave their mark on his casket, and as we branded the casket more and more irons were brought out. It was amazing to realize how many people he had impacted.”

After election as FAO director-general, Qu speaks to conference

Qu Dongyu, the Chinese vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, who was elected Sunday to be the next director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, spoke briefly to the FAO delegates after the results were announced.

Qu said he is committed to the FAO principles of fairness, openness, justice and transparency, and promised to be an impartial and neutral leader. He also committed himself to the United Nations sustainable development goals.

Qu, the first Chinese and the first Communist to run the FAO, also said he was “grateful” to his “motherland,” which has engaged in “40 years of successful reform” in agriculture.

A Chinese official also told the delegates that Qu’s election “demonstrates you have confidence in China as a contributor to global food security.” He also noted that China was one of the founding members of FAO and said “China will continue to deliver on its obligations to FAO.”

FAO posted a video of the secret ballot election and of the statements that followed as well as a link to an FAO document that includes Qu’s biography and those of the candidates from France and Georgia who ran against him.

Qu received a total of 108 votes out of 191 cast, constituting a majority in the first round.

The election took place during the 41st session of the FAO Conference, the highest governing body of the organization, which continues through Saturday.

–The Hagstrom Report