by Danielle Beard
Parsons, Kansas —
The 40th annual KLA/KSU Ranch Management Field day was held Thursday, August 16 near Lyndon, Kansas.
The field day was sponsored by the Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas State University, Bayer Health Care, and Farm Credit Associations of Kansas and hosted by Rod, Lori, Clint, Candy, Darrell and Sandy Sturdy of Sturdy Farms in Lyndon.
The evening started with introductions of all the sponsors along with a few words of welcome from each sponsor’s representatives. The Sturdy family was then presented with a gift courtesy of KLA for hosting this year’s field day.
Scott George, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president elect started off the event as the first guest speaker.
“You all have some beautiful cattle in this area, along with some terrific cattle country.” George said.
A Wyoming native, George is the first officer of the NCBA to come from a dairy operation.
George explained that he became involved with NCBA because he is passionate about the cattle industry.
“I look at the cattle and look at the land I work and get an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to work in a field I love,” George said. “I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say the same about their jobs.”
He went on to say how much work NCBA and the beef checkoff put into making the public aware of the beef industry.
“They’ve done a lot of research to install public knowledge of nutrition,” George said. “As well as putting labels on beef packaging so the consumer will know how to properly cook it. Beef safety is a huge part of the checkoff’s mission.”
George said he was pleased to see the checkoff was able to successfully reinstall beef back into school lunch programs, that had previously adopted “Meatless Monday’s”
“It was important for us to show schools that beef is healthy, and is an important part of a diet.”
George said the research put into programs like these are all a part of addressing consumer’s concerns.
“If we don’t have consumer’s, then we, (cattle producers) are all out of business,” he continued.
George concluded his time by informing producers about the Humane Society of the United States and it's mission to completely eliminate animal agriculture.
"They are looking to put you and I out of business," George said. "HSUS does not want consumers to feel good about their product, the best way to counteract them is to educate and be a responsible producer."
The second main speaker of the evening was Tom Langer from the Kansas Department of Health. Langer's key point to his discussion was to inform the crowd about blue green algae.
"Quality of water is key," Langer explained.
Blue green algae has been here since the beginning of time. New ponds, or lakes are formed and then start their life cycle, he explained. Water sheds move during times of high water, but over time sediments settle and water levels lower, combined with the hot weather of the drought, and it’s the perfect set up for growing conditions of blue green algae.
"This bacteria needs nutrient rich water, warm temperatures, lots of sunlight, and calm winds," Langer said.
He explained that there are detrimental health effects on humans that swim or consume blue algae infected water, but there are also health risks for animals who drink blue algae contaminated water. He continued to say that livestock deaths from blue green algae were becoming more prominent.
"Take note of the conditions of your pond water," Langer said. "Then take the precautions and keep your cattle out of contaminated water."
Langer said the easiest way to tell if the water source has blue green algae is to take a mason jar, fill it up with the water, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, take it out of the fridge, without shaking the jar, and examine the contents. He said if there is a prominent green top layer then it's safe to say the water is blue green algae contaminated.
"There are two ways to judge if something is wrong with your water, the way it looks and the way it smells," Langer said. "If either seem suspicious then don't risk your animals health by letting them drink it."
For the final part of the field day K-State Southeast Area Agronomist Doug Shoup and K-State Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Dale Blasi held a question and answer session, giving producers and members of the crowd a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns about any current issues.
Blasi stressed the importance of taking inventory of forage, and dividing livestock into classes, and then prescribing different feeding methods to the different classes of livestock. Due to drought conditions, this is the year to preg check, sort cattle by body condition, and wean calves early, he said.
Shoup, on the other hand, answered many crowd concerns over baling corn stalks, fertilizing methods, and suggested alternative crops for grazing protein sources for livestock.
The evening concluded with opportunities for producers and the speakers to mingle amongst each other and enjoy a meal for everyone in attendance.£