As farm kids, I think there are some things that we can all relate to that not everyone else can. We’re a pretty cool group of people, so can you relate to these ten things? Continue reading
Does the exceptionally high soybean yields in recent years mean soybean yields are increasing relative to corn yields? Gary Schnitkey, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois, recently examined this question. Using state yield data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service for 1972 to 2017, Schnitkey examined corn and soybean yield trends across the Corn Belt to see if soybean yield increases are outpacing those in corn. For Nebraska, Schnitkey found the state average corn yield increased an average of 2.0 bushels per year between 1972 and 2017. At the same time, the average soybean yield increased by .65 bushels per year. The soybean yield-to corn yield ratio averaged .30 over the period and did not exhibit any trends. (see Figure 9 below). The soybean-to-corn yield ratio was .34 in 2016 and .32 in 2017. Continue reading
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Nebraska’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrunk 4 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Nebraska had the worst first quarter economic performance of any state. The BEA attributed the dismal economic performance to the slumping agricultural sector. Other plains states, also dominated by agriculture, saw their economies shrink in the first quarter as well. Iowa’s economy contracted 3.2 percent; South Dakota’s fell 3.8 percent; and Kansas fell 0.7 percent. Texas saw the greatest first quarter growth at 3.9 over the fourth quarter. The country as a whole saw real GDP increase 1.2 percent in the first quarter, and the BEA’s first estimates real GDP growth for the second quarter at 2.6 percent.
Not all the news on the economic front was bad for Nebraska. Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska Dept. of Labor announced Nebraska’s monthly increase in non-farm employment in June was 0.6 percent, the third highest in the nation. Nebraska’s non-farm employment in June reached 1.031 million jobs. Also, the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported that its most recent leading economic indicator predicts rapid economic growth later this year. The indicator is a composite of economic factors like building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, manufacturing hours, and the value of the dollar. All components of the indicator rose in June, resulting in an increase in the economic indicator of 2.75 percent, suggesting a rapidly growing Nebraska economy at the end of the year.
Nebraska’s agricultural economy will continue to struggle in 2017. The most recent projection indicates 2017 net farm income will fall 16 percent, the fourth consecutive year net farm income will have fallen. Thus, agriculture will continue to dampen the state’s economic growth. The first quarter numbers are surely evidence of this fact. However, it appears the non-farm economy is picking up steam, offsetting the agriculture slump which should help the state post modest economic growth soon.
Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, and milk. Add the bread crumbs, onion, and salt.
2. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
3. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place the meatballs on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400º for 12-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in the ketchup, honey, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add meatballs to the sauce. Carefully stir to evenly coat. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
6. Serve as appetizers or as a mealtime meat dish.
Yield: 5-4 dozen, depending on meatball size
Have you ever considered why pigs have notches in their rather than have an ear tag? Well I have the answers! First of all, ear notching is used to tell you what litter the pigs are from and individually which pig it is. The pig’s right ear shows the litter number. The pig’s left ear shows the individual identification in its litter.
People ear notch pigs for a way to have a permanent ID for each pig because it is inexpensive, other pigs can’t chew on the ear tag, and it never falls out like an ear tag would. You ear notch a pig when they are one to three days old. When you are ear notching them you want to make sure to leave ¼ inch between notches to make sure that you can easily read the notch. You also want to make sure you make the notch deep enough in that it will not grow shut. You need to make sure that you don’t notch their ear too deep because that could cause their ear to be torn.
Now pigs can have ear tags too. For instance, when I take my pigs to the fair they receive an ear tag that way they don’t become confused of who’s is who’s in the show ring. They are still ear notched though.
Ear notching is a great way to permanently mark each pig that way farmers can identify them. I hope your questions have been answered of why pigs are ear notched rather than have an ear tag. Now you can identify a pig
When I was a freshman in college I remember one weekend I had some friends ask me what I was going to do that weekend. I told them that I had to go home to help my family pair, sort, vaccinate, and move our cattle out to our summer pastures. To my surprise they would ask, “Why do you have to vaccinate them and sort them out?” At first I was shocked, I thought to myself, how would people not know why ranchers have to do that? But I took a step back and remembered that not everybody grew up in a ranching community and have been around cattle their whole life. After I told them why they seemed very interested in it and was glad they learned something new! So, I thought I would tell more people about why ranchers do this to their cattle.
After all the cows give birth to their calves in late spring, most ranchers move their cattle out to new pasture for the summer, a place where they will be comfortable all summer to roam and graze as they please. But before you can move them away from home you need to do some housekeeping duties first. First my family separates the good, healthy pairs. We only want to send our top notch, healthiest cows and calves to new pasture. So we separate the healthy pairs. In case you didn’t know, a pair is both the cow and her calve, the calves are still very young and need their mom’s milk for nutrients and to grow better. After we get the best, healthiest pairs separated, we need to sort the calves away from the cows. After we sort them it’s time to run them through the shoot.
You need to sort the cows from the calves because you use different sizes of alleyways and shoots. Once you get them in the shoot, the procedure is the same. Each cow, calf, and bull, get two shots. One shot helps prevent pink eye, respiratory problems, and intestinal problems. While the other shot is just some vitamins to help keep them healthy. You also pour a certain about of pour on over their backs. Pour on is a liquid that you pour over the backs of them. This helps prevent flies from bothering them as much during the heat of the summer.
After all of this you load them up in trailers. Calves go on separate trailers than the bulls and cows because they could get trampled. Once they are loaded you take them to your desired location. Over the coarse of the summer you need to check on them frequently. Ranchers have to make sure they have enough salt and mineral for them just so they are getting extra nutrients and sometimes ranchers will give them a sweet treat called cake. Cake is little cylinder like pellets that you give to them as a treat; they taste very good to the cows and are full of nutrients so ranchers like them too. Ranchers also have to check on them to make sure the flies aren’t bothering them too much. If the flies are bad, we will spray more pour on over them.
Moving cattle out to graze over the summer is an exciting time of the year for ranchers. It gives them a much-needed break after the hard, cold, and long calving season. Ranchers love to check up on their cattle and make sure they are doing okay. Once Fall hits it’s time to take them home. When they get home it’s not long before the calves are sorted away again and taken to sale barns to be sold. This is quite possibly the biggest day for ranchers, as they will make most of their money for the year. Sale day is also either a sad or happy day for them, depending on whom you ask! Then they start all over again in the spring with calving out their new calves.
This little stinker was a little over a week old at the time of this picture. This is the best time to do things like notch the pigs ears for identification, give the pig some iron and penicillin to help fight against all the infections that these little guys are very susceptible to, castrate the boars, or males, so they are less aggressive in adulthood, and clip their needle teeth which also help stop the spread of infection! Theses are some things that animal rights organizations would have us skip out on. But because my conventional farm goes through these essential procedures these little piglets are given the best possible chance to thrive and live happily! About 5 months ago I named this cutie Rudy.
Fast forward about 5 months and we have some awesome perspective on the life of a show pig! This is Rudy, the baby pig from five months ago that we just got done “processing.” That means that we notched his ears, vaccinated him, docked his tail, and castrated him. All of these things serve a purpose, and if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them!
If we fast forward Rudy’s life about 4 weeks later, we’re vaccinating him again just to keep him healthy and then moving him to a new facility on our farm called the nursery. This process is called weaning. At the point of weaning, young piglets are still drinking their mother’s milk, but their main source of food comes from a starter feed.
About three months later we bring Rudy into our show barn. Our show barn, like the majority across the state of Nebraska, is kept at a very nice and cool temperature no matter how hot it is outside. My sister and I clean all our show pigs’ pens at least once a week and feed them twice a day. At this point in time, Rudy is on a 16%-18% protein feed, which is insuring his efficiency. Our state fair hogs get walked between 3 to 4 times a week, so that when we take them to state fair they’re comfortable in the ring.
At state fair during showmanship, I was asked what was the biggest problem in the swine industry today. I thought about the Chinese pork industries growing bigger and bigger every year, I thought about the PED virus, but out of these problem I know where the real problem lies. Advocacy. Companies and organizations like Chipotle and HSUS are using their networks to ruin the reputation of all aspects of agriculture, notably the swine industry. If we don’t tell the consume what is going on on our farms, we will lose the consumer. The world that we’re living in today is desperate for information, even if it’s cheap. The cheap information that they’re buying into are the stories that HSUS and PETA are giving them. I know the relationship between the farmer and the consumer needs some help. I also know the relationship between the animals in their care and the producer is completely different than what it is perceived to be. The consumer should know what is going on in the barn or in the field, and as a youth ag advocate, it is my job tell them.
Since attending the Agricultural Issues Academy at State FFA Convention last year, I’ve started my own blog. Ag Issues Academy opened my eyes to the miscommunication that is happening not only global, but right in my town and state. The link to my blog is listed below if you’re interested in what my farm looks like and its relationship with our animals.
Read more from Cheyenne here: https://youthagricultureadvocates.wordpress.com/