3 years ago

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan


APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES associations and the Virginia Cattlemen's Association allow the smaller producer to benefit from the price advantage of selling feeder cattle in larger, more uniform lots. Limitations With only a small percentage of the feeder cattle being finished in Virginia, the state's producers are dependent upon out of state cattle feeders for a market. The modest cattle feeding industry in Pennsylvania provides the closest market outlet for Virginia feeder cattle. With the exception of Pennsylvania, the last few decades have seen the major cattle feeding areas move farther away from Virginia. The feeder cattle producer must ultimately pay the cost of transportation to the feedlot. Virginia's growing human population will increasingly provide challenges to the cattle industry. The demand for land on which to build homes and businesses will keep the price of land relatively expensive. Livestock producers may expect closer public scrutiny in the areas of water quality, animal well being and nuisance ordinances. In its third year, the Virginia Quality Assured (VQA)feeder cattle program ontinues to be a successful alternative in offering buyers a certified value-added product. Over 3000 head of VQA certified feeder cattle were sold during 1999 at a distinct price advantage. The Virginia Quality Assured feeder cattle program was initiated by the Virginia Cattlemen's Association for those feeder cattle owners who believe in producing a valueadded product. The value added is in the form of an improved health program and can additionally include improved genetics for growth. The VQA program has four levels of certification: Gold tag, Gold tag with "W," Purple tag, and Purple tag with "W." Gold tag - Vaccinated against 7 strains of clostridial, IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV and Pasteurella. Castrated, dehorned and healed. Heifers guaranteed open. Gold tag with "W" - Same health program as Gold tag with the calves weaned at least 30 days and drinking from a water trough and eating from a feed bunk. Purple tag - Same health program as Gold tag. Calves sired by bulls which meet minimum requirements for yearling weight EPD. Breed of sire identified on the tag. Purple tag with "W" - Same health and genetic requirements as the Purple tag with the calves weaned at least 30 days and drinking from a water trough and eating from a feed bunk. The VQA tagged feeder cattle were marketed through several different methods during the year. Many of the cattle were sold in commingled load lots through telo-auctions or in board sales during graded sales. The roughly 3100 head of VQA feeder cattle sold in 1999 ranged from 3-weights to a few 9-weights. Approximately 75% of the VQA cattle ranged from 500 to 700 pounds. When compared to similar weights, breeds, and grades of cattle in other special graded sales held the same week, the 1999 VQA cattle brought a premium of $2 per hundredweight. The 1999 premium for VQA cattle was down from the first two years' prices and may have been the result of the distributed marketing Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 6

APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES season last fall. Estimates to process cattle to qualify them for VQA certification run about $6.50 per head including labor. Three Year History VQA Feeder Cattle vs. Special Graded Sales Steers Heifers Weight Premium $/Cwt. Weight Premium $/Cwt. 500-599 lb.+ $3.90 400-499 lb.+ $3.21 600-699 lb.+ $3.79 500-599 lb.+ $3.12 700-799 lb.+ $0.99 600-699 lb.+ $2.81 Before producers go to the effort to VQA-certify calves, thought should be given to the marketing method for the cattle. Simply showing up at sale with a load of VQA tagged calves without previous contact with market operator is likely to lead to disappointment. Additionally, experience has shown that a VQA tag will tend not to help the sale price of inferior quality cattle. The Virginia Quality Assured feeder cattle program is less than three years old. The reputation of VQA cattle is now being established with potential buyers. The buyer feedback to this point has been basically excellent. Effort is being devoted to specifically follow up with buyers of VQA cattle to insure the program is truly generating value-added feeder cattle. Historically, livestock producers have been least likely among agricultural producers to market their production through cooperatives. The primary livestock marketing cooperatives are regional livestock marketing cooperatives, which coordinate live animal marketing, and are members of the National Livestock Producers Association (see; and Farmland Industries, which slaughters and processes hogs and cattle through its Farmland Foods and Farmland National Beef Packing subsidiaries (see These cooperatives, though, are traditional in the sense that membership is open and members are not obligated to deliver a specified amount of their production. Examples of new generation cooperatives in the livestock industry are limited. The primary successes have been North American Bison Cooperative (a model even though bison are not technically classified as livestock) and U.S. Premium Beef, which is a partner with Farmland Industries in Farmland National Beef Packing. In addition CROPP (Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool, also known by their brand name Organic Valley) markets organic meat for their members. In addition, there are a number of very small cooperatives that are marketing to local niche markets, however, our information on these groups is limited. Recently, a number of pork marketing cooperatives have been formed based on the new generation concept. However, the operations of these groups have been limited. Iowa Premium Pork is currently offering live animal marketing and risk management services to their members through one of the regional cooperatives discussed above. American Premium Foods is doing a limited amount of custom slaughtering. Prairie Farmers Cooperative is building a slaughter and processing facility in Dawson, MN with an Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 7

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