Beck’s announces expansion

Earlier this week Beck’s Hybrids announced a major expansion to their marketing territory.  Beck’s Hybrids vice-president Scott Beck says that adds quite a few acres of corn, soybeans and wheat to their marketing area.

“Because of our expansion down into Henderson, Kentucky with our new distribution and practical farm research location that better enables us to serve farmers in Tennessee,” he says.  “So we’ve added the western 2/3 of Tennessee, where their cropping ground is, as well as the eastern 1/3 of Kentucky.”

In total, Beck’s has added about 1 million acres of both corn and soybeans and 500,000 acres of wheat to their marketing area.  That brings the total number of acres in their marketing area to between 43 and 44 million, or close to 1/3 of the production acres in the Midwest.

Last July, Beck’s purchased its first permanent location in Kentucky.  The 150-acre property, located in Henderson, Kentucky, will include a distribution center that provides educational and agronomic support.

AUDIO: Scott Beck, Beck’s Hybrids (1:20mp3)

Horses at the North American

From the Quarter Horse Show, to Draft Horses to the 33rd annual North American Championship Rodeo, if you like horses the Kentuck Exposition Center in Louisville and the North American International Livestock Exposition is the place to be.

Audio: Claude Brock, NAILE (3:00 MP3)

North American underway in Louisville

The 2011 North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) is underway at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville and Claude Brock tells Brownfield that even with the economy struggling livestock numbers are holding steady.

“We have a record number, we think, of market swine,” Brock said. “Beef is up, sheep is about level and dairy is going to be about level, alpacas, dairy goats and so on. remain level from year-to-year.”

In addition to the livestock shows, the North American also hosts a number of livestock judging contests.

“We are to all of the world’s major youth livestock judging contests, ranging all the way from the premier event, which is the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest, all the way to the Dairy Quiz Bowl,” said Brock.

The North American runs thru Friday, November 18, the complete show schedule is available online.

Audio: Claude Brock, NAILE (7:50 MP3)

Kentucky cattleman focuses on policy issues

Don Pemberton of Hopkinsville, Kentucky is the vice-chair of NCBA’s policy division.  We visited with Pemberton about the three key policy issues facing cattlemen—government regulations, the GIPSA rule and free trade agreements—as well as his own cattle operation back home in western Kentucky.

AUDIO: Don Pemberton (6:50 MP3)


Farm moms seek ‘common ground’ with urban counterparts

Seeking to find “common ground” with their urban counterparts, a group of Iowa farm moms are part of a new campaign to showcase the common values betweens farmers and consumers.

The program is called Common Ground.  The National Corn Growers Association and the United Soybean Board are piloting the program in five states—Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana and Kentucky. 

One of the participants, Jill Vander Veen of Hartley, Iowa, explains how Common Ground is different from other efforts to connect with consumers.

“This is different because we’re trying to put a face with agriculture—and we’re trying to talk to these mothers directly that are making the food decision,” says Vander Veen, “and when they go to the grocery store, we don’t want them to have any question about what they’re buying and where it comes from.”

The farm moms will reach out to their urban counterparts through a variety of venues—including grocery store appearances, speaking opportunities, blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  Vander Veen says one of their goals is to help dispel myths about crop protection products and livestock antibiotics. 

“We just want to clear up that we use those products as needed—it’s not an overuse and they’re not getting passed down to the consumer,” she says. “We’re following all the guidelines that we need to follow when we use those products.  And we’re putting the same food on the table—our table—that they’re putting on theirs.”

The Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Corn are helping sponsor and coordinate the Common Ground program in Iowa.

AUDIO: Jill Vander Veen (6 min MP3)

USB trip an “eye opener” for Kentucky farmer

Kentucky farmer Barry Alexander grows soybeans, wheat, corn, beef cattle and dark fired tobacco. As a participant in the United Soybean Board 2010 See for Yourself Program, Alexander said his eyes were opened.

“The world is a lot more advanced than my perspective before I came outside of the country.” He added, “We may not being doing everything that we need to do to stay the leader in agriculture.”

The size and sophistication of PROAN, one of the largest farms in Latin America, was a true eye-opener for the Kentuckian.

“We have had vertical integration in the United States for several years but nothing to the extent of what they have for vertical integration. They integrate it from the very ground level all the way through the top.”

Alexander believes farmers should get more involved in what the USB is doing.

“Most people don’t realize what their voice is with USB and if they get more involved it’s going to get our story out and is going to have this opportunity to stay in the soybean business for years to come.”

Conversation with Barry Alexander

Countdown continues to World Equestrian Games

With the countdown at just over 5 months to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games the excitement of the games coming to Lexington, Kentucky September 25th through October 10 continues to build as well. To begin, Susanna Elliott with Alltech, the games title sponsor tells Brownfield there are a number of firsts associated with the games.

Audio: Susanna Elliott, Alltech (3:00 MP3)

Animal care standards bill advances in Kentucky

A bill to create a Livestock Care Standards Commission in Kentucky has been passed by the Kentucky House and could soon be headed to the governor for his signature.

The legislation—which is backed by Kentucky Farm Bureau—is designed to limit groups such as the Humane Society of the United States from trying to get tougher livestock care rules implemented in the state.  If approved, the new commission could recommend on-farm animal care regulations to an existing state agriculture board, which could adopt them.

Livestock entries strong at NAILE

Livestock entries for the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) underway at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville are up.

“Every animal classification this year is showing a slight increase and some a good sized increase,” said Claude Brock, Director of Media Operations for NAILE.

In addition to the livestock shows, Brock says the North American will feature a rodeo the middle weekend of Expo, they host educational tours for about 7000 school children and judging contests.

“All seven of the major national high school, 4-H, FFA, Junior College and Sr. College judging contests take place during the North American International,” Brock said.

The 36th Annual North American International Livestock Exposition runs thru November 20 in Louisville.

AUDIO: Claude Brock, NAILE (4:55 MP3)