About amandalewishill

Amanda Hill aspires to be as good a cook as her momma and grandmothers, but she still has a long way to go. All attempts—good and bad—are tested by her patient and kind husband, who rarely gives a negative review. Contact Amanda at ahill@txfb.org or @amandalhill on Twitter.

Livestock Economist Says 2013 Hinges on Drought

Back home, we know a few things about drought. Living in Texas, we experienced an epic drought in 2011 and continue to feel the effects today. I’ve seen painfully dry pastures and cattle ranches that go back generations sell off the last of their herds. It’s just too expensive to feed their cattle.

Unfortunately, our neighbors to the north experienced the same last year. Feed prices reached $8 per bushel, and grass just didn’t grow. Feeding cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys was just too expensive. The drought took a toll on all of agriculture – especially livestock.

So, what can American farmers and ranchers expect in 2013? Will conditions improve? According to Dr. David Anderson, a professor and economist in Livestock and Food Products Marketing from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the answer is, “It depends.”

Dr Anderson

The fate of cattle, pork and poultry producers really depends on drought conditions across the country and resulting feed costs. If the drought subsides and feed costs come down, producers’ costs could decrease, making operations a little easier.

Demand also plays an important role. High retail prices for all meat have driven domestic demand down in the past few years. But Americans still want their steaks, chops and chicken – and they’re willing to continue buying at the grocery store.

Export markets are a promising outlet, as well. Demand for U.S. meat is strong as the global economy is improving and consumers around the world seek to improve their diets by including beef, pork and poultry.

In short, Dr. Anderson was cautiously optimistic about the outlook of meat production and sales this year. While we still are feeling the devastating effects of drought, U.S. meat and dairy products continue to be in demand and will persevere through this difficult time.

I know that in Texas, we’ll keep watching the skies and praying for rain.

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter (@amandalhill).

Discussion Meet Competitors Qualify for ‘Sweet 16′

We talk a lot about the need to start conversations about agriculture. There are many issues that farmers and ranchers currently face and will face in the near future that will require solutions through collaborative discussion. For the 2013 Discussion Meet contestants, these conversations already are happening as they participate in this year’s competition.

The AFBF Discussion Meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting where participants engage in a conversation about a topic important to agriculture. Competitors are evaluated on their ideas, cooperative discussion and collaboration with others.

The Discussion Meet began today with two rounds of competition. Panels of four contestants discussed issues like farm labor and how to engage Farm Bureau members who are not actively employed in agriculture. Judges then determined the top 16 contestants, who will advance to the Sweet 16 round at 8 a.m. Monday.

Congratulations to the 2013 Discussion Meet “Sweet 16″ competitors:

Dillon Kjerstad, Arizona
Diane Coderniz, California
Kelvin Moreno, Florida
Matt Bottoms, Georgia
Elizabeth Kohtz, Idaho
Ann Larson, Illinois
Julie Ann Thelen, Indiana
Dr. Stacy Vincent, Kentucky
Brooks Long, Maryland
Alysa Sanford, Michigan
Kristy Miron, Minnesota
Cory Williamson, Mississippi
Kulani Lawler, Missouri
Brad Heimerl, Ohio
Allison Honea, South Carolina
Chaney Mosley, Tennessee

Best of luck to all of the Sweet 16 competitors and stay tuned to find out who will be the 2013 Discussion Meet winner.

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter (@amandalhill).

Top Ten Finalists for 2013 Excellence in Agriculture Award

In agriculture, it takes all of us working together to provide a superior product for our customers, the American consumers who buy the food and fiber that we grow. From the families who raise crops on their land, to the veterinarians who provide care to livestock, to the ag educators who teach young students the importance of growing food in their area.

Every contributor to the process is vital to ensuring American agriculture remains a strong part of our country’s rich story.

The AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award honors men and women who make significant contributions to agriculture, but who do not receive their primary incomes from farming and ranching. Participants also demonstrate outstanding leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

These contestants from across the country understand that we must work together to give farmers and ranchers every opportunity to succeed. Without them, we could not move ahead.

The following Farm Bureau members have been named the top ten finalists for the 2013 Excellence in Agriculture Award:

Emily Eubanks, Florida
Drs. John & Marybeth Feutz, Indiana
Jarrod & Sarah Bowser, Kansas
William & Julie White, Mississippi
Kari Hanson, Montana
Alexandra Wright, New York
Steve & Mindi Clark, Oklahoma
David & Meghan Corvin, Tennessee
Kelby & Kathie Iverson, Utah
Dana Allen Fisher, Virginia

David & Meghan Corvin from Tennessee are among the finalists in the Excellent in Ag competition. Photo by Amanda Hill of Texas Farm Bureau.

David & Meghan Corvin from Tennessee are among the finalists in the Excellent in Ag competition. Photo by Amanda Hill of Texas Farm Bureau.

The winner will be announced tomorrow during the closing general session. Please join me in congratulating all of the finalists and other participants for their contributions to American agriculture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter (@amandalhill).

Top Ten Finalists for 2013 YF&R Achievement Award

We hear every now and then about the “greying” of American agriculture, that our farmers and ranchers are aging and no one is there to take the reins. Based on what I see this weekend at the AFBF Annual Meeting  – and from my friends back home in Texas – I know nothing could be further from the truth.

Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award contestants provide fantastic proof that the future of agriculture is in good hands. Members from across the country participated in this contest, first at the local and state levels and then advancing to represent their states this weekend at the national contest.

The YF&R Achievement Award honors a young member or couple who demonstrates the best of agriculture – farm growth, financial savvy, Farm Bureau leadership and more.

These folks are the cream of the crop. Spend a few minutes with any of the contestants, and you’ll feel energized and encouraged about the future of farming and ranching across this country.

Please join me in congratulating the following top ten finalists for the 2013 YF&R Achievement Award:

Dan & Mikki Hosman, Arkansas
John & Alicia Boelts, Arizona
Josh & Amy Farley, Florida
Chris & Marilynn Hopkins, Georgia
Orville & Jessica Haney, Indiana
Michael Springer, Kansas
Ryan & Misty Bivens, Kentucky
Brad & Minnie Bray, Missouri
Joshua & Julieanna Ogle, Tennessee
Nate & April Aker, Virginia

The winning member will be announced later during the meeting. Check back soon for the results of the YF&R Achievement Award contest.

In the meantime, fear not – the future of American agriculture most certainly is in good hands.

amandalewishill is Amanda Hill, associate editor at Texas Farm Bureau. Amanda writes for Texas Table Top, a blog engaging in conversations about food, nutrition and farming in the Lone Star State. She also helps manage Texas Farm Bureau’s social media efforts, including FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and more. Find her on Twitter @amandalhill).