2018 Cattle Industry Convention Coverage


The 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is currently underway in Phoneix, AZ. Northern Ag Networks Lane Nordlund and Russell Nemetz are attending this years event. 

Every aspect of the cattle industry is represented at the convention and they are working to better the industry here in the U.S. Hot topics like trade, the 2018 Farm Bill, beef promotion, markets, government regulations, taxes and more are being worked on this week.

ANCW Elects New Leadership from Montana and Wyoming

The American National CattleWomen have elected their new officer team. And two women from Montana and Wyoming will be leading the ANCW.



Survey Shows Growing Approval of Beef Checkoff Program

An independent survey of beef producers found 74 percent continue to approve of the Beef Checkoff Program; this finding is 5 percent higher than the survey a year ago. Importantly, the more producers know about the program, the more supportive they are. The survey also found that producers are generally more optimistic about the cattle industry than they were a year ago. The random survey of 804 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research from mid-December 2017 until mid-January 2018. The survey found that in addition to stronger support of the checkoff compared to a year ago, a substantial majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff is a good value:

  • 76{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} say the beef checkoff has contributed to a positive trend in beef demand
  • 78{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} say the checkoff has value even when the economy is weak, 5{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} higher than last year
  • 65{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} say the checkoff contributes to profitability of their operations
  • 71{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} say the checkoff represents their interests, 4{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} higher than last year
  • 61{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} believe the checkoff is well-managed

In addition, while fewer producers (43 percent) said they remembered having seen, read or heard anything about the checkoff in the past six months, 86 percent reported the information they remembered was positive, 8 percent higher than a year ago.

“We are encouraged that three out of four producers continue to support the checkoff,” said Jo Stanko, Investor Relations Working Group co-chair. “On the other hand, it is concerning that fewer producers consider themselves ‘informed’ about the checkoff, and only 43 percent say they have seen, read or heard checkoff news in the past six months. Since most producers believe it’s important for the program to communicate to them checkoff results, it’s clear we will need to step up these communications efforts in the months ahead.”

The survey informs checkoff leaders of strengths and weaknesses in producer communications efforts and is used directly in developing an authorization request for the next year. See this year’s survey results as well as results from previous surveys.

For more information about your checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.

CattleFax Predicts Large Supply and Strong Demand in 2018

PHOENIX, ARIZ. (February 1, 2018) – CattleFax celebrated its 50th anniversary during the popular CattleFax Outlook Session at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. CattleFax Senior Analyst Kevin Good highlighted the industry’s profitability during 2017 and said the trend looks to continue into 2018.

CattleFax analysts told the audience U.S beef cow inventory increased 2.8 million head in four years, and an additional 200,000-400,000 head are expected to be added to the herd over the next few years. Good said there are growing supplies of protein coming to market during the year ahead, including large supplies of competing proteins, which will weigh on all beef prices.  

“We have a bigger supply of all proteins ahead in 2018. For the past year we were very fortunate to have solid export volume,” said Good. “We are forecasting trade to increase year-over-year in 2018, but still, the rate of production is out-pacing the rate of exports.”

Although beef production is expected to increase to 27.5 billion pounds during 2018, Good said current consumer demand is expected to remain good and potentially increase as retail prices moderate. He said CattleFax is predicting beef to remain a strong competitor against other proteins.

“Demand is robust on all fronts. Domestically, retail demand is increasing and beef is being featured more in the consumer markets,” said Good. “The retail and foodservice industries are doing very well and the solid economy in the United States is one of the main drivers as unemployment rates continue to decline and per capita income rises.”

Good said even though beef demand is high, leverage will continue to be a challenge for the feedlot and packing segments as shackle space becomes increasingly constrained by rising slaughter rates. With the growth in production, Good said he anticipates lower, but still profitable price levels for the cow-calf segment, while feeders and backgrounders will see their margins narrow.

Input costs are expected to remain manageable, with grain prices expected to remain steady. According to CattleFax, yields will drive corn prices in 2018-19 marketing year with no significant changes anticipated in acreage or demand. Futures corn prices are projected to range from $3.25 to $3.95 per bushel as supplies remain adequate. With more livestock to feed in 2018 and the smallest acreage on record in 2017, CattleFax predicts hay prices will increase $10-$15 per ton with additional weather-related price risks.

Drought conditions have been spreading across the United States since last winter with the Southwest being impacted the most. Art Douglas, professor emeritus, Creighton University, predicts a possible transition from La Niña conditions to a weaker El Niño by summer. U.S. weather patterns over the next three months will be dictated by La Niña. However, equatorial warming could shift drought patterns across North America by late spring and summer.

During the session, CattleFax analysts predicted fed cattle prices lower than prior year levels, averaging $115 per hundredweight (cwt.). Good said fed cattle prices are likely to face resistance near the $130 level, with downside risk in the upper $90 range. He predicted bargaining position will continue to favor cattle processors and retailers, with profit margins at or above 2017 levels.

CattleFax projected 750-pound steers will average $1 lower than 2017 levels at $145/cwt., with a range from the upper $120s to $160/cwt. Meanwhile, U.S. average 550-pound steer calves will see a trading range from $170/cwt. at the spring high to an average price in the upper $130s, during the fall marketing season. For the full year, calf prices are expected to average $158/cwt.

To see more from the CattleFax Outlook Session or to become a member, visit www.cattlefax.com.

Cattlemen Release 2018 Policy Priorities

PHOENIX (Feb. 1, 2018) — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today unveiled its 2018 Policy Priorities, which will guide the group’s lobbying efforts in Washington over the coming year. The document was released at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix.

This year’s Priorities focus on five main categories: the 2018 Farm Bill, Trade and Market Access, Regulatory Reform, Antimicrobial Use, and Fake Meat.

Some of this year’s priorities are familiar to longtime industry watchers. Like last year, NCBA will work to ensure that the pending Farm Bill includes full funding for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank, protects conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and prevents market-disrupting policies like mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). 

Likewise, the group’s regulatory-reform efforts will again focus on finding a permanent solution to an electronic logging devices mandate, modernizing the Endangered Species Act, and replacing the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

New to the Priorities list this year is an emphasis on antimicrobial use – specifically the aim to secure clean Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) reauthorization and continuing the Key Technologies Task Force action steps on antimicrobials. Another new emphasis in 2018 will be a focus on protecting the industry and consumers from fake meat and misleading labels on products that do not contain real beef.

“With tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, and new access to the Chinese market, we had some big victories in Washington last year, but this is no time to take a break, and 2018 promises a mix of new and familiar challenges,” said incoming NCBA President Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation California rancher. “We’re going to continue to ensure fair access to foreign markets, fight against unnecessary regulation, make sure the Farm Bill addresses our needs, and guarantee that consumers have the ability to purchase a safe, healthy, and accurately labeled protein source.”

Cattlemen Applaud Dropped Hold on Doud, Urge Senate to Approve Nomination ASAP

PHOENIX (Feb. 1, 2018) – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is dropping his hold on the nomination of Gregg Doud to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

“This is great news for America's cattlemen and women, and for all agricultural producers. We're glad that Senator Flake has finally heard our call for him to drop his hold and allow Gregg Doud to start working to improve market access around the world for our producers. With talks continuing on NAFTA, the Korea-US trade agreement, and access to many other markets still up in the air, it's imperative that the U.S. Senate now move as quickly as possible to confirm Doud's nomination.”

EDITORS NOTE: NCBA last week distributed mock “Missing Person” fliers featuring Doud's likeness at the NAFTA negotiations in Montreal. To view the poster, click here.

NCBA Recognizes Arizona Ranch with National Environmental Stewardship Award

PHOENIX – (February 1, 2018) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today announced the Jim O’Haco Cattle Company of Winslow, Arizona, as the winner of the 2017 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award was presented at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona.

Established in 1898, Jim O’Haco Cattle Company is owned by Jim and Jeanne O’Haco and encompasses about 60,000 acres in eastern Arizona. Much like other ranching families, the precedent for environmental stewardship was set long ago when Mr. O’Haco’s grandfather first came to the country from the Basque Pyrenees in Europe. Two generations later, Mr. O’Haco has spent his lifetime continuing the legacy and implementing land management programs to restore grazing land and improve water infrastructure on his family’s operation.

A notable property improvement was the installation of the High Point Well. Initiated over a period of ten years, the well features 42 miles of buried pipeline, supplying water to 60,000 acres of land. The increased water access has not only benefited grazing conditions, it has restored habitat and increased wildlife populations throughout the ranch. Water improvements were coupled with efforts to manage invasive juniper and other brush. Much of this progress has been supported through partnerships with state and federal agencies, including the Arizona Game & Fish Department, and the United States Forest Service, as well as local conservation groups.

“Caring for our natural resources is a shared ambition and point of pride among livestock producers,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden. “Jim is a true conservationist and partner of his community. His leadership is an example to us all.”

Commenting on his family’s on-going stewardship efforts, Jim O’Haco said, “Two things in life that I’ve always wanted to do and I think I have mostly accomplished them; have quality cattle and help the environment. The job’s not done; we can always improve. We learn from our past and keep on improving.”

Each year, six families are recognized with regional Environmental Stewardship awards, with one being honored as the national winner. Established in 1991, the award identifies outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry. The program is generously sponsored by companies and federal agencies who share the industry’s commitment to caring for the environment and protecting natural resources. The four sponsors – Dow AgroSciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, McDonald’s, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – partner with the National Cattlemen's Foundation in an effort to promote environmental stewardship throughout the beef supply chain.  

Photos of the award ceremony can be accessed here.

Past national ESAP recipients include:
Black Leg Ranch, McKenzie, ND – 2016
Maggie Creek Ranch, Elko, NV – 2015
Rock Hills Ranch, Lowry, SD – 2014
Frank and Sims Price Ranch, Sterling City, TX — 2013

Arby's: Going Big With Beef


In a time with many retail and food service companies are making excuses for the meat they serve, Arby’s has placed it at the center of their business plan. This week Montana cattlemen and women attending the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, AZ heard why one of America’s largest restaurant chains is going big with beef.


“Here’s the thing, America is a meat and potatoes country let’s face it and what’s America’s favorite meat? It’s beef by far. And that’s why we are the only fast food restaurant to have four types of beef that consumers can enjoy every day” says Jim Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer for Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. 

He says “We sell 130 million pounds of beef a year and counting. So, we’re proud to be not just America’s favorite roast beef sandwich place but also the place to see what they can also get in the future like our 13-hour smoked brisket or Angus steak sandwiches.”

Arby’s also appreciates the relationship they have with America’s beef cattle producers.

“I would like to tell them thank you because we don’t have a business if they’re not successful. We are going to continue to create great demand in the United States for beef and different types of beef and we want to make sure we work with them to have a supply of quality product to continue to deliver quality experiences for our guests” says Taylor.

Beef is at the heart of the “We Have The Meats” campaign and cattle producers are fundamental to the success.

He says “It’s really broken thru and been fantastic. It’s a tag line that honestly everyone knows. When you have something like that you know you’re onto something. So, in a world where everyone is talking about kale, broccoli, smoothies and this type of stuff, what people remember is “We Have The Meats” when they think of Arby’s now. We’re thrilled with that and we’re going to keep at it.”

For cattle producers, the Arby’s “We Have the Meats” and the beef industry’s “Beef It’s What’s for Dinner” is truly a match made in heaven.

Report Release: U.S. Beef Cattle Identification and Traceability Systems

Background: The 2016-2020 Beef Industry Long Range Plan included the following strategic objective:

Adopt Animal I.D. Traceability Systems – Secure the broad adoption of individual animal ID traceability system(s) across the beef community to equip the industry to effectively manage a disease outbreak while enhancing both domestic and global trust in U.S. beef and ensuring greater access to export markets. Critical and immediate: Conduct a feasibility study to understand the economic opportunity of opening new and expanding markets…and the lost opportunity in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

Report: US. Beef Cattle Identification and Traceability Systems: Opportunities, Obstacles and Incentives Across the Value Chain by World Perspectives, Inc.
The report developed by World Perspectives, Inc. (WPI) was based on the following methodologies:

  • 600-plus respondent quantitative survey.
  • 90-plus interviews with industry participants (all sectors).
  • 23 discussions with state cattle and beef associations.
  • 20 previous academic/government studies reviewed/analyzed.
  • 15 years of data analyzed for demand modeling and economic projections.
  • 9 global systems reviewed via direct interviews with foreign industry association and government officials.

The report addresses an issue that the industry acknowledges needs action, and it contains the information necessary to consider animal identification and traceability in a new framework, including the following conclusions and recommendations:
The industry should be proactive in continuing the discussion of animal identification and traceability based on the framework laid out in the report.
Moving forward, the basic tenets of an ID and traceability system(s) should be [that a system(s)]:

  • Is industry driven.
  • Is managed and overseen by an entity that includes both private and government interests.
  • Maintains data privacy.
  • Is equitable to all industry sectors.
  • Is compatible with common industry practices.
  • Operates at the speed of commerce.
  • Is credible in domestic and international markets

The full report is available online here.

NCBA Applauds Two-Year Delay of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule

WASHINGTON (Jan. 31, 2018) – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to delay implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule for two additional years:

“Today’s action from EPA and the Army Corps ensures the 2015 WOTUS Rule never comes back. We thank Administrator Pruitt and his team for this prompt action which protects agricultural producers across the country and we look forward to the next steps — repeal and replace.”

Cattlemen's College Celebrates 25th Anniversary at 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show

Phoenix, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2018)  A total of 994 cattlemen and women acquired information that will help make their operations more successful Jan. 30-31 during the 25th annual Cattlemen’s College in Phoenix, Ariz. Held in conjunction with the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, the event has become known as one of the cattle industry’s most in-depth and helpful educational events. Since first established, Cattlemen’s College has been sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health.

“The speed at which our industry is changing can be intimidating,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “Our sessions help cattle producers stay abreast of the issues that affect both their day-to-day operations and their long-term objectives. Those leading the sessions have gone through many of the issues facing the producers in the audience. Having this guidance is helping the industry face the future.”

Among the topics in the sessions were genetics, antibiotics, infectious diseases, imports and exports, engaging with federal agencies, cattle ID, calf management, and many others. Information on cattle handling and other issues was also provided in a live cattle demonstration area.

Keynote speaker at the session Jan. 31 was Jim Taylor, chief marketing officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., the operator and franchisor of more than 3,300 Arby’s restaurants nationwide. During his presentation, Taylor offered his audience an inside look at Arby’s “We Have the Meats” marketing campaign.

“America is still a meat and potatoes nation,” Taylor told the audience. “The appetite for beef has never been bigger.”

Arby’s sells more than 130 million pounds of beef a year, Taylor said, and his company “intends to keep that growing.” He said the core of the Arby’s business would be meat, and the primary meat in the assortment would be beef. “We offer a lot of meats, but beef will remain the heart and soul of the Arby’s experience,” he said.

Taylor applauded the cattlemen in the audience who are expanding, because “without you growing your operations, we wouldn’t have a business.”

“Cattlemen and women know Cattlemen’s College for its stimulating and thought-provoking approach that help them maximize their profit-building potential, and this year was no exception,” said White. “No matter what their interests, those attending the sessions came away with great ideas for improving their work back on the farm or ranch.”

Audio presentations from the 2018 Cattlemen’s College will be available online following the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. Those unable to attend the event in Phoenix can take advantage of this online option at http://www.beefusa.org/cattlemenscollege.aspx

Cattlemen and Women “Blaze a Trail to Phoenix” for 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show

Phoenix, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2018) – Thousands of cattlemen and women blazed a trail to Phoenix for the start of the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, which started today. The event runs through Feb. 3.

Holding their meetings at this event were the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“Every year the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show hosts members from every segment of the beef industry,” said NCBA President Craig Uden. “Not only is the event a great opportunity for attendees to network and learn about the newest technology and science to improve their operations, but it’s also when we set public policy for 2018. We’ll also manage to enjoy some sunshine while we’re in Phoenix. If you’re connected to the cattle industry in any way, it’s not too late to blaze your trail and join us this week.”

Early arrivers to Phoenix had the opportunity to attend a Pre-Convention Agriculture Tour on Tuesday with stops at the Caterpillar Eloy Dealership, T & K Dairy, Caywood Farms and Queen Creek Olive Mill.

On Tuesday afternoon, Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for producers’ operations, kicked off by celebrating its 25th anniversary.

SiriusXM The Highway’s host Storme Warren emceed the opening general session on Wednesday afternoon, with Ree Drummond, host of Food Network’s show The Pioneer Woman, sharing her keynote “From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.” Drummond is a writer, photographer and ranch wife, helping run a cow-calf operation outside of Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband, Ladd Drummond.

“The one thing I learned right away is how much cattlemen care about the animals they raise,” said Drummond, who grew up in the city before living on her ranch in Oklahoma. Following the Convention’s opening general session, the NCBA Trade Show opened its doors, with over seven acres of indoor and outdoor floor space, and over 350 exhibitors showcasing the industry’s latest products and technology.

Other highlights this week include the “Phoenix Fiesta” hosted at Corona Ranch with country artist Paul Bogart, a keynote speech from former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott on Friday morning, and the “Cowboy Comedy Club” with comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from Whose Line Is It Anyway, and founding member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Bill Engvall.

The Convention will wrap up Saturday morning with a meeting of the NCBA’s Board of Directors, where official public policy positions will be set for the coming year.

Cattlemen's College: Livestock Handling and Stockmanship

Lane Nordlund reports from the 25th Annual Cattlemen's College with tips for livestock handling and stockmanship. 

Northern Ag Network 2018

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x