New Video's 03/13/2014
Back to basics and market outlook dominate Western Farm Show's livestock emphasis
By Susan Fotovich McCabe
The focus on livestock handling continues to grow in popularity at this year’s Western Farm Show. The show will again feature the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Stockmanship and Stewardship Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstrations, sponsored by the national NCBA Beef Quality Assurance program and MFA Incorporated, the Western Farm Show’s primary sponsor for 2014, as well as a new livestock seminar hosted by MFA.
The programs are scheduled for:
Feb. 21, 1:30 p.m.—Livestock Market Outlook with Glynn Tonsor;
Feb. 22, 10:30 a.m.—Stockmanship and Stewardship Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstration; and
Feb. 22, 2 p.m.—Stockmanship and Stewardship Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstration.
The livestock demonstration, now in its fourth year at the Western Farm Show, continues to draw a packed house with its information and practical tips for producers. It leverages the expertise of Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist Ron Gill, Ph.D., who will instruct attendees on how to better work and handle cattle by understanding livestock behavior.
“It sounds simple, but many producers don’t take the time to understand behavior and implement strategies that reduce stress, discomfort and distractions to livestock,” Gill said.
If done correctly, Gill said, the entire process can improve cattle performance, health and even handler safety. For example, he said, a simple process of acclimation can improve cattle health for life. Newer purchased or weaned cattle tend to gather in the corners of the corral or feeding pens. However, with Gill’s tips, it is possible to teach them that every space within the corral is safe and comfortable.
“Likewise, if you will take the time to run cattle through the processing facility correctly a couple of times without actually processing them, you’ll see an improvement in their health and reproductive rate, which positively impacts performance…and you can rely on less labor,” Gill said. “The benefits add up if you take the time to train them.”
Gill will also address the transport of cattle to reduce shrink. The Livestock Demonstration at this year’s Western Farm Show takes place at Scott Pavilion, located adjacent to the American Royal building. Admission to the livestock demonstration is free with a paid Western Farm Show ticket.
Of course, MFA Incorporated is a champion of proper cattle handling and facility designs. The Midwest-based regional farm supply and marketing cooperative serves more than 45,000 farmers and ranchers in Missouri and adjacent states. Its 145 company-owned MFA Agri Services Centers, combined with 24 locally owned MFA affiliates with 20 branch locations, works in tandem with its approximately 400 independent dealers. Mike Spidle, MFA’s director of Sales Livestock Products/Feed Marketing, says the Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstrations provide producers and Western Farm Show attendees with valuable tips.
“Every year that we have a booth at the Western Farm Show, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of livestock producers in attendance,” Spidle said. “So our efforts not only give them an opportunity to look at equipment, it provides them with a valuable market outlook to help them plan and make important decisions that will allow them to make a good living in the next few years.”
As part of its involvement in the Western Farm Show, MFA also will sponsor a seminar featuring Glynn Tonsor, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. Tonsor, who will provide a livestock market outlook, has expertise that spans issues throughout the meat supply chain. Through both applied research and firsthand knowledge with livestock production, Tonsor’s career deals in issues of animal identification and traceability, animal welfare and handling, food safety, and price risk management and analysis. His integrated research and extension program has resulted in multiple journal article publications and numerous outreach contributions. Tonsor’s presentation is in Wagstaff Theatre, inside the American Royal building.
“I’ll outline the economic situation and outlook facing cattle producers. The underlying supply and demand environment for cow-calf, stocker, and feedlot operators will be covered with a look at 2014 and beyond,” Tonsor said. “Among other issues interweaved in my presentation, I’ll discuss topics of key interest and economic importance to industry stakeholders, including herd expansion, beef demand strength, excess capacity resolution, beef production technology acceptance, as well as policy and regulatory uncertainty.”
Western Farm Show Manager Ken Dean said the show is excited to have MFA Incorporated on board as our primary show sponsor again and expand the livestock emphasis for 2014.
“MFA’s involvement with the livestock demonstrations, as well as its promotional efforts is a major asset to our show. These livestock demonstrations are becoming a must-see part of our Farm Show!” he said.