Monday, December 8, 2014

Cattlemens Webinar Series: End of Year Tax Strategies for Cattlemen

Register Now for the free webinar on Dec. 9, 2014!
6:00 p.m. Mountain (MST)

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, there are very few options that taxpayers have to reduce their tax bill. With higher revenue this year and many unknown tax changes that may or may not be passed by Congress, it is important to understand the strategies that producers in agriculture have to keep Uncle Sam out of their pocket.

Presentation Descriptions:

Larry Kopsa, CPA

Larry Kopsa, CPA is a member of the firm Kopsa Otte located in York, Nebraska. As a principal in the 28 person firm, he is involved in all aspects of the practice with an emphasis on tax planning, succession planning and business consultation, along with firm management. Besides serving on the board of directors of the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce, Larry is active on numerous local, state and national organizations. He is a frequent speaker, has authored numerous articles for various magazines, and also serves as an adjunct professor at York College teaching Income Tax courses.

Colin Woodall, NCBA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
and Kent Bacus, NCBA Associate Director, Legislative Affairs

NCBA is focused on addressing tax extenders during the lame duck session of Congress and will focus on tax reform in 2015. Priorities for the lame duck include reinstating Section 179 expensing and 50 percent Bonus Depreciation to 2013 levels, as well as extension of the Conservation Easement Tax Credit and key Charitable Deductions. During the webinar we will also discuss upcoming tax reform efforts for 2015 and key provisions NCBA supports like estate tax (Sec 2032A), cash accounting, depreciation schedules, 1031 Like-Kind Exchange. Tune in and learn about these important tax provisions and how they may impact your operation.

Attend American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference

The American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) Annual Conference is scheduled for Jan. 11-14 at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac near St. Louis, Mo. The conference brings forage producers, researchers and industry representatives from across the country to share forage related research and information. 

Jan. 11 begins with the AFGC board of directors meeting. However, the main conference begins at 8 a.m., on Monday, Jan. 12 with the keynote speaker, Dr. Temple Grandin, a nationally known consultant to the livestock industry, presenting Tips for Low Stress Cattle Handling. Additional topics on Monday include: Hay Preservatives & Additives: Are they Economical?; Keys to Success When Making Baleage; Can I Afford to Spray for Weeds, and other topics. Tuesday, Jan. 13 the agenda includes several workshops on the following topics: Using Cover Crops to Expand Your Livestock Operation; Recent Improvements in Cool Season Grasses; Baleage Fundamentals and Using NIRS as a Tool for Better Forage Management. The conference concludes on Wednesday, Jan. 14 with several sessions focusing on Plant Breeding and NIRS and Forage Quality & Using NIRS Nutrition Results.

The Conference will also include a commercial exhibit area, poster presentations, Emerging Scientist Competition, numerous networking opportunities and other activities.

A complete program agenda and preregistration information is available at Early registration is due by Dec. 31 and one-day registrations are available. The AFGC Conference is co-sponsored by the Missouri Forage and Grassland Council and the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council.

AFGC is an international organization comprised of twenty affiliate councils in the United States and Canada with a total individual membership of about 2,500. Their primary objective is to promote the profitable production and sustainable utilization of quality forage and grasslands. Members represent members the academic community, producers, and private industry. Together, they unite in a common cause to promote and develop the forage industry.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Illinois Beef Checkoff Referendum Scheduled

IBA encourages a "Yes" vote to keep dollars in the state for beef education and promotion.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois beef producers will have the opportunity to approve a state beef checkoff program, controlled by Illinois cattlemen and women, that could generate additional funds to promote beef in Illinois.

Petitions signed by more than 700 producers were submitted to the Illinois Department of Agriculture requesting a referendum on the Illinois Beef Market Development Act. If approved, the 50-cent per-head that producers would pay into a state checkoff program would supplement the national checkoff program. The program will complement and extend current research, promotion of Illinois-raised beef, and efforts to educate the youth of our industry while strengthening beef demand in the marketplace. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will oversee the referendum process.

“Our current national checkoff started in 1986 and its buying power has been eroded by 56 percent due to inflation over the years,” said Reid Blossom, IBA executive vice president. “Just like input costs on the farm, the cost of promotion and education has risen. The industry must invest in order to reach Illinois consumers and ensure a viable beef business for years to come, and the proposed Illinois Beef Checkoff would help in a number of areas.”

The Illinois Beef Checkoff is a voluntary 50-cent assessment on all beef cattle in Illinois collected at the time of sale. The funds from this collection will be controlled by farmers serving on IBA’s Checkoff Division of the Board of Governors and any cattleman not wishing to participate can have their full assessment refunded.

Alan Adams, a beef producer from Sandwich, said for him, reinstating the Illinois Beef Checkoff makes sense.

“Our industry is up against tremendous adversity,” Adams said. “The national checkoff has been successful in combatting those challenges, but more resources are needed to more aggressively confront beef industry issues that are critical to our way of life. The fast completion of the petition process and early backing from the Vote Yes coalition shows that Illinois beef producers recognize the need to further support our great industry.”

All beef producers in Illinois are entitled to one vote in the referendum. A producer is any person, regardless of age, who has owned or sold cattle in the previous year or presently owns cattle.

The referendum will be held during a 12-day window in February 2015 offering three ways a producer can cast a vote. Illinois producers are strongly encouraged to vote in-person at any Illinois FSA county office from Feb. 16-20 or at the Illinois Beef Expo in Springfield Feb. 19-22. If a producer is unable to access in-person voting locations, a mail-in ballot may be downloaded from the IBA website,, between Feb. 16-27 and postmarked no later than close of business Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Producers with questions about the procedures and eligibility for voting in this referendum or for more information on how funds generated by the assessment can be used, can contact the Illinois Beef Association at 217-787-4280 or visit

Illinois beef producers are being asked to consider a state checkoff in an effort to increase promotion and education efforts for beef.

Monday, December 1, 2014

CattleFax - Weekly Recap

Last week, live cattle were mixed, feeder cattle were lower as the grains were higher. Live cattle rebounded from being down early, finishing mixed, $0.65 lower to $1.00 higher. The gains occurred mostly in the upfront contracts. Feeder cattle were lower as deferred live cattle futures were lower. Feeder cattle closed $0.80 to $1.98 lower. The CME feeder cattle index was $240.69, $0.54 lower last Tuesday. Boxed beef values were stronger Tuesday as Choice was $1.17 stronger and Selects were $1.42 firmer. The grains had a positive day as soybeans led the way. Soybeans gained 14 to 17 ¼ cents. Wheat was close behind gaining 9 ¾ to 13 ¼ cents Tuesday. Corn was also strong adding 6 to 7 cents.

Check out today's Chart of the Day. For recent market news and analysis, visit

Monday, November 17, 2014

CattleFax - Weekly Recap

The fed cattle market in the North and South was not established at press time but the market tone was steady to stronger compared to the previous week. Boxed beef prices were higher for the week and are expected to strengthen over the next few weeks as supplies will remain tight and holiday buying will increase.

Feeder cattle were steady to $4 higher last week. Calves were steady up to $10 higher for calves that qualify for winter grazing programs. Slaughter cows were steady for the week.

Corn trended higher last week as harvest was only 4% behind the long-term average of 84% complete. The USDA's November grain production report came out last week, the USDA's November corn yield estimate was 173.4 bu/ac, .08 bu/ac below the October report.

Check out today's Chart of the Day. For recent market news and analysis, visit

Monday, November 10, 2014

BQA: Capturing value through quality beef

Cattlemen have a long-standing commitment to quality beef. Now, they can step up that commitment by participating in the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and participate in Illinois Beef Association (IBA) sponsored training and certification sessions.

Delivering a quality beef product to the consumer requires more than just superior genetics – trustworthy handling practices are the link that assures consumer satisfaction.

BQA is important to the cattle industry as it gives producers a set of best practices for producing a safe and high-quality beef product. It also gives consumers the assurance that the beef they eat is both healthy and wholesome.

The program covers best management practices such as proper handling and administration of vaccinations and other products, better cattle handling principles, profit tips, and insight to consumer preferences.

“Many producers leave with a sense of validation of the bulk of their practices, but an exited feeling that they have picked up on a few tips that can give them a competitive advantage in the beef market,” said Travis Meteer, state BQA coordinator. “BQA certification serves as hard evidence to the effort and level of care animals receive day in and day out. BQA approved practices lead to a safe, wholesome product that consumers demand. We have all made the comment – what is best for the animal is best for our bottom line. If you are talking the talk then BQA is walking the walk.”

Curt Rincker, a Simmental breeder from Shelbyville, places a lot of value on the BQA program because it was designed by cattlemen for cattlemen and has the research and results to back it up.

“When I realized the improvements made in recent beef audits due to injection sites, I felt it was equally important for the cow-calf sector to also apply the same beef safety practices,” Rincker said.

Rincker’s education through the BQA program has enhanced his day-to-day management practices and enhanced animal well-being on his farm.

“I’ve made a real effort to follow proper injection site guidelines along with more frequent needle and syringe changes during routine vaccinations,” he said. “Practicing more patience in cattle handling procedures and an improved understanding of cattle movement through the BQA program, not only takes stress off of my cows, but takes some stress off of me to. It’s a win-win for all on my farm.”

According to Buzz Iliff, Wyoming Vet Clinic veterinarian, the industry has seen good evidence that a calmer animal stays healthier and provides a much better product in the tenderness of the meat.

“From personal experience, it is gratifying to see producers adopt and follow BQA guidelines and improve their operations,” Iliff said. “More importantly, keeping good treatment records and strictly following withdrawl times on any antibiotics and medications will insure a safer product.”

At the end of the day, the consumer is the industry’s demand driver. If that consumer is willing to open up their wallet, as an industry, we need to produce a consistent product that gives the beef buyer a great eating experience time and time again.

Even at beef’s current high retail prices, John Lundeen, NCBA senior executive director of market research, said consumers are willing to pay the price, but expectations for quality have also risen.

“The checkoff-funded Consumer Beef Index study measures demand drivers and we see taste topping the charts with safety and value following close behind,” Lundeen said. “Those characteristics along with confidence in the beef industry’s production practices are often how consumers describe quality.”

He added that consumers are stepping up to the case and purchasing the product because cattlemen have done a great job to continuously improve their production practices. But, it can’t stop here – the industry is in a strong point now, but producers need to continue to invest in education and keep the momentum going.

“Without a doubt the end-result of all of the BQA guidelines and practices that we as BQA certified producers use, is a safer end-product for our beef consumer. Being BQA certified is the right thing to do and has continued to improve the perception of beef from gate to plate,” Rincker said.

Cattlemen are invited to attend BQA training sessions this winter sponsored by the IBA to learn about the latest best management practices and become BQA certified. There is a $25 registration fee payable at the door to cover the cost of meals and training materials and reservations are encouraged by contacting the IBA at 217-787-4280.

The meetings will begin at 6 p.m. with a meal followed by the training session.

Dates and locations are:
  •          Dec. 2, Litchfield, Lincoln Land Community College Arts & Technology Building –               Multipurpose Room
  •          Dec. 4, Quincy, Adams County Farm Bureau Building
  •          Dec. 9, Paris, Edgar County Fairgrounds – Multipurpose 4-H Building

Striving to Sustainably Feed the World: 2014 Illinois Commodity Conference

The 2014 Illinois Commodity Conference is set for Nov. 25 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal. The conference represents a great opportunity for farmers in Illinois to see coalition-building and how the state agricultural commodity organizations are working together to improve agriculture as a whole. 

Striving to sustainably feed the world is the main focus of the conference with breakout sessions geared toward the environment and regulations, markets, and other hot-button issues. Following lunch and an annual awards ceremony, the conference keynote speaker, Rob Meyers with PepsiCo, will discuss his company’s push toward sustainability - what their customers want, how they define sustainability and their marketing initiatives, and how farmers will be involved and impacted.  


7:30 a.m. – Registration Opens
8-10 a.m. – ICGA Annual Meeting
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. – A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the GMOs 
Go Down, Richard Levick
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Breakout sessions
          Farmers Needed: Field to Market – Rod Synder
          Water Quality Control – Caroline Wade, Mike Plumer
          The Intersection of CAFO and WOTUS – Lauren
Lurkins, Ted Funk
12:15 p.m. – Lunch
12:45 p.m. – Awards Ceremony 
         John Sullivan honored with Friend of Ag Award
1:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Rob Meyers, PepsiCo
2:15 – 2:30 p.m. – Wrap up with Association Leadership
2:30 p.m. – Ice Cream Social

Registration and a fee is required. Register prior to Nov. 15 - $65 and after Nov. 15 - $90. Contact the Illinois Beef Association for help with registration at 217-787-4280.