Brangus Association Members Pass Bylaw Change

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) membership voted recently to pass the bylaw change pertaining to Ultrablack and Ultrared cattle by a 70 percent margin. After much debate and discussion, votes were cast to pass the amendment allowing IBBA members to breed up to Brangus utilizing Ultrablack and Ultrared animals.

“This initiative will allow the incorporation of new Angus genetics into the Brangus population by an alternate method compared to the traditional process starting with Angus and Brahman as the first cross,” said Dale Kirkham, a member of the IBBA’s Breed Improvement Committee, in the December 2012 issue of the Brangus Journal.

Like the traditional Angus x Brahman approach, using Ultrablacks to breed up to Brangus will require three crosses to reach purebred status. Offspring of the first cross Ultrablacks (Angus x Brangus) mated back to Brangus (Ultrablack x Brangus) are genetically 3/4 Brangus. When these individuals are mated back to Brangus (3/4 Brangus x Brangus), their calves will be 7/8 Brangus and considered purebred Brangus. According to the amendment to Section I of Article V in the IBBA Bylaws, those animals will now be eligible for registration in the IBBA registry database.

Members were allowed to vote by mail-in ballot until December 31, 2012, and in person at the IBBA business meeting Friday March 1, 2013. For more information, visit IBBA’s website at www.GoBrangus.com.

Junior Spotlight- Emily Jackson

IBBA features Emily Jackson in the Junior Spotlight. From Waco, Texas, Emily is the reigning Miss International Junior Brangus Association Queen and is actively involved in the IJBBA. Emily has a strong passion for the agriculture industry. She is currently a junior at Texas Tech University and wishes to be a lobbyist or an advocate for the agriculture industry, disproving false claims made by organizations with an anti-meat agenda. Watch the video to see how the IJBBA has made an impact on Emily’s life.

Find more videos on our website at http://gobrangus.com/videofeed/

Brangus Opportunity at 2013 NCBA Convention

Once again, Brangus breeders have a huge opportunity to partner with IBBA as well as other Brangus breeders to create a tremendous promotional atmosphere at the upcoming

NCBA Annual Convention and Trade Show
February 6-9, 2013, in Tampa, Florida 

The Cattle Industry Convention is the oldest and largest convention for the cattle business and one of the most well attended cattle industry events of the year. The convention and trade show create a unique, fun environment for cattle industry members to come together to network, create policy for the industry and to have some fun! If you’re in the cattle business, then you need to be in Tampa, Florida.

View the flyer to find out how you can partner with IBBA and participate in NCBA to take advantage of the opportunity to get in front of commercial cow/calf producers, feedlot operators and many other segments of the beef industry. Deadline to commit is December 15, 2012, and materials are needed by January 4, 2013.

2013 NCBA Member Participation Flyer

 

 

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Agriculturists, Will You Stand Up?

Did you know one in seven Americans work in agriculture-related jobs?
However, everyone is affected by agriculture.

Farmers Fight is a student-led initiative to reconnect American society to the world of agriculture. Beginning with university students, Farmers Fight encourages consumers to ask where their food comes from and give students, faculty, public officials, farmers and ranchers an opportunity to become “agvocates” for the agriculture community.

Pink Slime: What is it exactly?

After several days of following articles, posts, tweets, links, etc. about this topic, we think the following blog post on Common Sense Agriculture’s Blog is the most descriptive, accurate summary explaining what the media is calling ‘Pink Slime’. Feel free to tell us or Jeff what you think. Check out the links at the end of the post for further reading.

Enjoy!

Pink Shirts, Pink Ties and Pink Slime

By Jeff Fowle, Editor of Common Sense Agriculture’s Blog

“Pink Slime” has hit the media yet again in recent days. Several of my friends in social media have inquired what my thoughts were on a number of videos and news reports: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ‘70% of Americas Beef Is Treated With Ammonia,’ Fox News Report ‘Pink Slime in 70% Of Ground Beef,’ and ABC News ‘Where You Can Get Pink-Slime Free Beef,’ were the three most cited.

Can you imagine taking fresh picked fruit, misting it with ammonia hydroxide to eliminate bacteria, sticking it in a blender, cooking it, putting it in a jar and then selling it for human consumption? Most of us do, by purchasing jelly and jam to go with our peanut butter.

Can you imagine taking fresh picked lettuce or spinach, misting it with ammonia hydroxide to eliminate bacteria, putting it in a package, selling it, buying it, opening it, adding croutons, tomato and ranch dressing and then eating it? Many of us do, purchasing prepackaged salad to eat before supper.

This post is not intended to promote, nor condemn the practice of utilizing ammonium hydroxide, but rather to present some facts and allow you to make your own decisions. This is not a “new” process, nor is it solely utilized by the meat industry. The questions are those that I have been asked over the past four days.

1.       What is ammonium hydroxide?

Ammonium hydroxide is ammonia mixed with water and is found naturally in the air, water, soil, all plants and animals and is produced by the human body. All living things need proteins, which are made up of twenty different amino acids. Plants and micro-organisms can make most amino acids from nitrogen in the atmosphere, but animals cannot. Ammonia is a very important in the nitrogen cycle, protein synthesis and helps maintain the body’s pH balance.

2.       Is ammonia really used in food processing?

Ammonia in a variety of forms is used for leavening, pH control and surface finishing. Ammonium bicarbonate and phosphate are used as leavening agents ‘yeast food’ and dough strengtheners and are listed as acceptable in natural and organic food markets. Ammonia hydroxide, while already present in muscle tissue, is added to muscle that is not immediately packaged (more on this later) to change the pH to eliminate and reduce risk of ecoli and salmonella bacteria. The list of foods that ammonium hydroxide is used in includes: cheeses, chocolate, pudding, relishes, jams, fruits, vegetables, cereals, sports drinks and beer, to name a few. Remember, ammonia is naturally occurring and plays a vital role in maintaining health of both plants, animals and humans.

3.       Is ammonium hydroxide safe?

In 1974 the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) listed ammonium hydroxide as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). It is also recognized as being safe by other countries, the European Union, the JECFA (Joint Expert Committee of Food Additives) of the U.N.’s FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and the WHO (World Health Organization). Ammonia vapor can be harmful at high levels, as can consumption of the liquid form. While it is possible, in theory, to consume a lethal level of ammonia, because of its very strong smell and taste, a human or animal would be repulsed and unlikely to actually eat it. When used in the processing of fruits, meat and vegetables, only food grade ammonium hydroxide is utilized and the ammonia evaporates prior to packaging.

4.       Do they really use ‘dog food’ meat?

Hamburger is muscle and fat tissue that is not sold as retail cut. Trim, the muscle and fat that is cut away from steaks, roasts and stew meat, has always been utilized in hamburger. As a rule of thumb, younger animals yield less hamburger; older animals tend to yield more hamburger.  The reason that older cattle yield more hamburger is simply due to the fact that their muscle tissue tends to be tougher and less desirable in the form of steaks Younger cattle are typically more tender, thus more of their carcass goes to retail cuts. Whether an animal is young or old, fat is trimmed from the muscle and then added back in order to package a hamburger product that is “lean.” I share this because historically all the trim was utilized in hamburger. However, in the 80’s, “lean” became the demand and so the trimmings of fat were removed and used for other purposes, ie dog food. It was quickly realized that there was a tremendous amount of high quality lean beef being lost in providing “lean” product and so a process to stop the waste was developed. For me personally, when I have a steer, heifer or bull cut and wrapped for the freezer, I have our butcher put all of the trimmings into hamburger. I like the fat. Fat is where the flavor comes from and without it, patties fall apart.

5.       Is the process described in the reports accurate?

Trimmings and cuts deemed to be low value (the chuck and top round most often)  are set aside for use as hamburger, sausage and other products. All of the muscle is trimmed by hand to establish a lean product and trimmings. The trimmings are then heated and put in a centrifuge to separate the remaining muscle from the fat. It is then “misted” with ammonium hydroxide to drop the pH and address the potential risk of ecoli and salmonella due to the heating and it evaporates; it is not “poured” in, or thrown in a washing machine as depicted by Jamie Oliver. The lean product then has fat added back to it in an amount to provide a “lean” label and have the ability to maintain the form of patty. As a side note, some carcasses are “too lean” and fat has to be added to the lean in order for it to retain its shape as patty; fat often from another carcass. Also, as a personal note, where I have my beef cut and wrapped, I ask my butcher to add some pork fat to my hamburger to add a unique flavor…the essence of bacon J.

In conclusion, I leave you with the following thoughts. Ammonium hydroxide is naturally occurring and safe for consumption. Trimmings are used with low value muscle for making hamburger and sausage and to eliminate the risk of ecoli and salmonella, are misted with ammonium hydroxide. I do not like “lean” hamburger and instruct my butcher to include all of the trimmings, no fat missing (sometimes adding pork fat), so I can barbeque juicy and flavorful burgers. However, I also eat burgers at fast food establishments, diners and café’s and trust that they are safe to consume, despite being dryer and a bit less flavorful due to its lean nature. I leave you to make your own decision, but I for one will continue to eat burgers that contain lean beef retail trim (also referred to as ‘pink slime’) and wear pink shirts and ties.

Here are some additional links for reference:

Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT) Is A Safe and Wholesome Beef Product

BPI Ground Beef Gets Support From Food Safety Leaders

Engineering A Safer Burger

First Generation Producers: A Success Story

Photos and Story by Brittni Drennan
IBBA Communications Coordinator

If you have picked up the latest Jan/Feb issue of IBBA’s FRONTLINE Beef Producer, then you have seen the Jasik family featured on the cover of the publication. Just a few short years ago, this father and son partnership established “Jasik Hay Farms”, now a successful, family-owned commercial cattle operation. They breed their commercial cows to Brangus bulls and market Brangus Gold commercial replacement females. A first-generation farm, this young family has a refreshing perspective on the cattle industry.

Jasik Family The Jasik’s Story
There are a few producers in our demanding, competitive industry who inspire all of us to work harder, be more optimistic, and strive daily to achieve our goals while building integrity instead of just a product. These hardworking cattlemen were building fence with their fathers before they were old enough to go to school and driving tractors well before they had their license. They are those kind of producers whom you hold a high respect for. Meet the Jasik family.

Dustin grew up in the little quiet town of Pleasanton, Texas, where he learned all about the cattle business from his dad, Larry. Dustin worked alongside his dad and followed his every step. Everything Dustin knows about feeding cows, herd management, buying bulls and even fixing fence, he learned from his dad.

“My dad is my biggest influence. He raised me and he’s my best friend,” Dustin said. “We help and learn from each other. I guess that’s how we make it as partners.”

Larry and Dustin partnered to establish “Jasik Hay Farms”. They now run close to 500 Brangus cows for commercial production and have 1,300 acres for coastal hay production, but it was not a short road getting to that point. Dustin started his own business from scratch at age 14 when his dad helped him buy his first set of cows. Just three years later, he leased some land and bought 50 Brangus cows. Dustin, who solely through perseverance and hard work, built a successful business without having anything handed to him.

“If you’re starting from scratch, you have to start out small and grow from there,” Dustin said. “We started from nothing 18 years ago, and being a first generation farm sets us apart.”

Dustin’s biggest critic, he said, is his wife, Kate. The young couple met at a dance after Kate moved from Comfort to Pleasanton when she was 18. Kate was unfamiliar with the agriculture industry growing up, and had limited knowledge about the cattle business. Much like Dustin learned from his father, Kate learned from her husband and took new challenges head on.

“I didn’t know anything about cattle before I met Dustin,” Kate said. “He taught me everything I know. Now we just like to drive around and look at cattle on the farm together.”

Kate contributes significantly to the success of the business. While the guys are sorting cows, she examines the quality and helps with culling. With a smile on her face the size of Texas, Kate doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She drives the tractor and helps harvest hay in the summer.

Kate also does the marketing work for the family business designing and placing advertisements, managing the website and publicizing the farm on Facebook. She said there are numerous advantages to using social media, and she uses several venues to publicize the family’s achievements and create awareness and publicity for their business. Using platforms such as Facebook directs people to their website and increases visibility. After advertising their big win in San Antonio last year, Kate said she saw an increase in traffic to their Facebook page and website.

“Social media is a source of free advertising that increases publicity without the cost of print advertising,” Kate said.

Other than exploiting Facebook and the farm’s website to increase interaction with customers, Kate is working on starting a blog. She said because more and more people are joining the social media movement, it is advantageous for producers to utilize these new tools to more effectively communicate with a new audience.

“I think there are a lot of younger people wanting to stay in the ag business but don’t have the resources. Advocacy draws people to our industry,” Kate said, “and our industry must keep up with the times and explore new ways to communicate with young people.”

Between feeding cows and helping her husband, Kate does not miss a beat even with a little one on her hip. The couple had a boy, Barin, in May 2011 and are proud to raise him on a farm learning the cattle business just like Dustin did.

“We live here on the farm and working together allows us to spend more time together,” Dustin said. “We get a lot of joy being able to raise our son on the farm and look forward to teaching him a lot.”

The Jasik family has faced difficult challenges just like other producers have recently. Dustin attributes their continued success to being self sufficient with their hay production and the quality of their Brangus cattle.

“We drive on quality in our replacement females. That’s what we raise and what we market,” Dustin said. “We’re not necessarily trying to grow in numbers. We focus on quality and strive to keep satisfied customers, raising what they want and need, and that’s heifers that will breed easily, milk well and handle well.”

Dustin mentioned several reasons why he breeds his commercial cows to Brangus bulls. He said the primary reason he likes Brangus is the breed’s ability to perform in the harsh South Texas climate. Brangus cows breed back more easily, are more docile, handle better and have very little udder problems from what Dustin has experienced. Additionally, he said they always seem to top the market without fluctuating.

“There’s a market for Brangus bull calves or female calves. Brangus adapt well to different climates, they’re hardy, good quality and good breeders with good mothering-ability,” Dustin said.

Dustin said he responds to their customers’ needs and continually focuses on improving quality. To ensure this high quality, Dustin and Larry enroll their females in the Brangus Gold program, a service provided by the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) that verifies Brangus genetics in commercial females.

“Having been using Brangus Gold for a year, [it] validates quality. The tags reassure our customers who are buying our replacement females that we’re breeding to registered Brangus bulls,” Dustin said.

The Jasiks take pride in the business they have built. They consider their biggest reward winning the San Antonio All-Breed Sale Overall Grand Champion in 2011. This was only the second time in the last 19 years that the Brangus breed received the title. They have also had several Breed Champion Brangus Bred Heifers and Pairs over the last eight years.

The Jasiks have an inspiring story to tell- one of tough challenges and many triumphs. Families like the Jasiks motivate us to work harder and live better.

“You can’t just give up the first dry spell you hit,” Dustin said. “You can’t give up because it will pay off in the end.”

Find out more about the Jasiks and their operation by visiting their website at www.jasikhayfarms.com.

DOL Proposed Rules could have Critical Effect on Agriculture

New Department of Labor rule will all but eliminate kids under 18 working in agriculture

by Jill Dunkel, FeedLot Magazine

UPDATE: The Department of Labor has extended the comment period on this rule to December 1, 2011. You may submit comments by either of the following:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to the online rulemaking portal. Then click the “Submit a Comment” box found at the top of the page.

• U.S. Mail: Send your comment to Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210.

Odds are, many of us involved professionally in agriculture had some type of ag job growing up. Maybe you hauled hay on your ranch or your neighbors’. Perhaps you cowboy’d in the summers and on weekends for extra cash. If your family farmed, you most definitely spent some time inside a tractor as soon as you were old enough to see over the steering wheel.

But if the Department of Labor (DOL) has their way, those days spent helping, learning and contributing to an agribusiness will come to an end for many teenagers. The Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938, which established child labor laws, includes an exemption for agriculture allowing children under 16 to work on farms and ranches. However, a proposal from the DOL seeks to remove that exemption.

The proposal would place new limits on “hired farm workers” under the age of 16, and in some cases 18, restricting their ability to work on horse farms, ranches and auctions. Specifically, the rule would prohibit workers under the age of 18 from working in feedlots, or auction barns, and would also not allow workers under 16 from herding livestock on horseback, on foot or from a motorized vehicle.

Basically, the DOL believes that it’s too dangerous for anyone under 16 to work around livestock. There is an exemption if the teenagers are working on farms or ranches owned by their parents, however farms or ranches that are owned as partnerships with other family members are not exempt.

If this rule becomes law, no longer will ranch kids get to go brandin’ with their parents. Today’s youth won’t be allowed to get a job cleaning horse stalls, feeding cattle, or hauling hay. They won’t be given the opportunity to learn alongside an experienced mentor and develop a love and passion for animal agriculture while developing a strong work ethic.

Joe Parker, Jr., president of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association said this in his comments submitted to the DOL: “Our youth are a key component to ensure the future of agriculture remains strong and prosperous, and we must continue to afford them the opportunity to be involved at a young age. There is no measure to the valuable experiences and extraordinary work ethic young people gain through working in the cattle industry.”

Initally, public comment was being accepted through November 1, however ag organizations have requested a 60-day extension to the comment period.

Other related articles:

Drovers- http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/Farmers-encouraged-to-comment-on-DOL-proposed-rules-131097708.html

US Dept. of Labor- http://www.dol.gov/whd/CL/AG_NPRM.htm

Delta Farm Press- http://deltafarmpress.com/government/agriculture-facing-major-changes-child-labor-laws