NCBA officers

Gary Voogt, a Marne, MI seedstock producer, is the new president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). Read more about him at: beefmagazine.com/people/0101-voogt-plan-success/. Voogt succeeds Andy Groseta, a cow-calf producer from Cottonwood, AZ.

Steve Foglesong, who operates a cow-calf, stocker, feedlot and replacement heifer development program in Astoria, IL, was chosen as NCBA president-elect; Bill Donald, a third-generation rancher from Melville, MT, is vice president.

Elected to the NCBA executive team are: J.D. Alexander (NE), Federation Division chairman; Scott George (WY), vice chairman; Eric Smith (AL), Policy Division chairman; and Tracy Brunner (KS), vice chairman.

NCBA members also bid farewell to CEO Terry Stokes after 13 years of service. He is replaced by Forrest Roberts, who lists among his priorities: growing domestic beef demand, expanding access to foreign markets, and protecting the U.S. beef industry from actions that could impede a favorable business climate.

Trailblazer award

The Trailblazer Award, sponsored by Deere & Company, is bestowed annually by BEEF editors on industry volunteers whose contributions and farsighted leadership were instrumental in moving the industry forward. The 2008 award was presented to Mike Milicevic, general manager of Lykes Bros. Ranch, Okeechobee, FL. He spearheaded the development of a manual of best-management practices — produced in a consensus between producers, regulatory agencies and academia — that will soon serve as both a roadmap and vehicle to enhance and protect water quality in Florida. Read more at beefmagazine.com/people/award-winners/1101-milicevic-leads-regulations/.

CBB officers

New Cattlemen's Beef Board officers are: chairman, dairywoman Lucinda Williams (MA); vice chairman, cow-calf producer Dan Dierschke (TX); and secretary/treasurer, cattleman Tom Jones (AR).

Young Producers' Council

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) held the first meeting of its newly formed Young Producers' Council (YPC) at the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention. Created in 2008, YPC is open to members ages 18 to 35 and is intended to promote youth participation in both the beef industry and NCBA.

Dustin Dean, 32, Southwest regional director of Pfizer Animal Genetics in Pleasanton, TX, was elected YPC chairman. Steven Yardley, 25, of Yardley Cattle Company in Beaver, UT, is vice chairman.

Checkoff feedback

Producers continue to have a favorable opinion about the Beef Checkoff Program. A representative survey of 1,200 producers found 68% approve of the checkoff, down from 72% a year ago. The late December-early January survey also found that 83% feel the checkoff program has helped contribute to a positive trend in consumer demand for beef. About the same number believe the program has value in weak economic conditions and are confident the checkoff is on their side during a crisis. Roughly 70% of respondents feel the checkoff has contributed to the profitability of their operations. See the report at: www.beefboard.org/news/files/Checkoff%20in%20the%20news/Beefmemo0901b2.pdf.

National Stocker Award

Father-son team John Frank Pendergrass and John Paul Pender-grass, Charleston, AR, were formally recognized as 2008 National Stocker Award honorees. Sponsored by BEEF magazine and Elanco Animal Health, the program recognizes the nation's top practitioners in three categories: summer grazing, fall/winter forage and backgrounder/drylot. Open to any stocker or backgrounding operation that derives the majority of its cattle-based income from the stocker and backgrounding businesses, the 2009 nominations are now open at: www.nationalstockeraward.com. Read more on the Pendergrasses at: beefmagazine.com/people/ranch-profiles/1001-pendergrass-name-grown/index.html.

Top CattleWomen

Kristy Lage, Arthur, NE, is the 58th president of the American National CattleWomen, Inc. (ANCW). Lage has served ANCW and the beef industry on the local, state and national level. She and her husband Ron have a diversified farming and ranching business near Arthur, NE, with cow-calf and backgrounding, plus irrigated corn, alfalfa and pasture.

Ginny Lee, Valentine, NE, was named ANCW's 2008 Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year. An active member for 40 years, Lee has served on the board of directors, as secretary, on various committees and as vice chair and chairman of the National Beef Cook-Off Committee.

Beef backers

The National Beef Backer Award recognizes chain and independent restaurant operators that excel in menuing and marketing beef. This year's national winners include: Cattlemens Restaurants (Santa Rosa, CA) in the “Independent” category; Charlie Brown's Steakhouse (Mountainside, NJ) in the “Chain” category; and Merriman's Restaurants (Kamuela, HA) as the “Innovator of the Year.”

Beef quiz bowl

Penn State University (PSU) is the 2009 National Collegiate Beef Quiz Bowl champion, presented by the National Cattlemen's Foundation. Team members include: Kristina McAllister, Amy Shollenberger, Jennifer Rassler and Elizabeth Smith, and advisors Dan Kniffen and Christopher Raines.

Four regional championship teams participated — PSU, Kansas State University, University of Kentucky and the University of Wyoming. Each team was comprised of four animal science students who answered a series of questions relating to all areas of the beef industry during a double-elimination competition.

America's top stewards

Yon Family Farms of Ridge Spring, SC, is the 2009 National Environmental Stewardship Award winner, recognized for its “whole-farm” commitment and leadership in conserving natural resources.

“The Yons are what you would call everyday environmentalists,” said Dave Petty, chairman of the Environmental Stewardship Award selection committee and 2001 national award winner. “They protect water quality, improve soil health and have enrolled every acre they manage into some type of conservation program or easement.”

Kevin and Lydia Yon, both Clemson University graduates, started a farm with their three children that they hope will be a family legacy. In 12 years, their farm has grown from 100 acres and 100 cows to 1,500 acres of crop, hay and pastureland and more than 800 brood cows, most of which are part of the family's diversified Angus seedstock operation.

“You're never done improving the land. We see something every day we want to work on and make better,” Lydia says. Read about the Yons and the other regional winners at: beefmagazine.com/pasture-range/Environment/0101-esap-honor-nominees/.

Nominations for the 2009 award are now open; for more information, visit www.environmentalstewardship.org.

Long-term outlook

Here are the highlights of the U.S. cattle industry's long-term outlook, according to Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax:

“Per-capita beef supplies will decline 1.5-2.0 lbs. during 2009. Supplies are expected to continue to decline into 2011.

“Per-capita meat supplies (beef, pork and poultry) are expected to decline nearly 4 lbs. during 2009. This will be the largest year-to-year decline since 1981-82.

“Demand will be the biggest wildcard during 2009-2010, both domestically and globally. The magnitude of the current recession suggests this will be the longest and one of the deepest of any time in history. Demand is expected to remain soft through 2009, but exports are still expected to grow compared to 2008.

“Production costs will moderate during 2009 compared to last year. Costs will remain elevated, but should decline slightly for the year in total.

“The single biggest opportunity for the U.S. beef and cattle industry is expanding market access for U.S. beef products.

“Opening the Japanese market to product less than 30 months of age could add nearly $4/cwt. to the fed market and $10/cwt. to the calf market.

“Mexico and Canada are two of the largest export destinations for U.S. beef. Non-tariff trade barriers, like mandatory country of origin labeling, are short-sighted legislation for an industry trying to compete in a global marketplace. If the U.S. were to lose access to Mexico and Canada, it would negatively impact the market by nearly $50-$60/head on all classes of cattle.”

Weather outlook

Climate expert Art Douglas delivered his 32nd annual weather outlook to attendees of the “CattleFax Outlook 2009” session in Phoenix last month.

“Cold La Niña conditions along the equator will continue to keep the tropical jet stream weaker than normal across the southern tier of states. With a weak jet, late winter and spring drought will continue to strengthen from California into Texas and the Southeast. Drought impact will be most severe in California and Texas and sections of the Piedmont.

“The heavy snow pack in the northern Corn Belt will retard spring warming and result in excess soil moisture from the eastern Dakotas into Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern sections of Iowa and Illinois. This will not be favorable for early field work in the upper Midwest. La Niña conditions are forecast for the late spring, which should result in normal to slightly below normal rainfall in the central Corn Belt.

“Assuming La Niña conditions persist into mid-summer, the best bet is for a slightly warmer and drier summer from the northern Rockies into western portions of the Corn Belt. The summertime ridge of high pressure across the nation should be stronger than normal due to the combined effects of La Niña, a warm Atlantic and a cold East Pacific. This combination typically favors a relatively active summer monsoon pattern in the Southwest.

“Argentina and Uruguay continue to be gripped in severe drought while crop areas of Brazil appear to be progressing well. Only slight improvement is likely in the crop in Argentina during the next month. Australia continues to be gripped by drought in the southern two-thirds of the continent while the north is enjoying a healthy summer monsoon. If La Niña conditions persist into July and August, winter rain areas of southern Australia could show improved wheat and grazing conditions in their upcoming winter.”