Animal agriculture is a necessary and important part of our lives. Livestock and poultry farmers provide food; help support our communities by generating tax revenue, support local business through purchasing fuel and equipment, create jobs, and consume local products, like grains and oilseeds. The corn, soybean and livestock industries are brought together on multiple fronts and normally share the same goals.
Not only are corn and soybean meal used as abundant livestock feed source, the crop and livestock industries have worked together on a number of regulatory issues. Many of the concerns local citizens have about livestock, especially large livestock operations, often referred to as Confined Feeding Operations (CFO) or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) revolve around manure. A small minority of local citizens are concerned that the manure will spill out of large lagoons or pits or even run off fields when the farmers apply the manure as nutrients to the crop fields. Additionally, local citizens worry about the smell of the operation or other nuisances that may come from livestock barns.
Because of this, joint interests include topics related to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Areas of close cooperation include dust particulate matter, odor issues, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) of the Clean Water Act. Indiana Soybean Alliance has worked for several years with professors at Purdue University on issues related to odor to help livestock farmers have the tools to help place barns and apply manure with the minimum possible odor burden on the rural neighbors. This information and background can be found at: https://engineering.purdue.edu/~odor/setback.htm
Farmers and ranchers know the evolving political landscape on the national, state and local levels affect both corn and livestock industries. Working together on animal welfare, confined animal feeding operations and other common interests has proven very beneficial. ISA and ICMC also collaborate with state livestock groups on projects that promote the beef, dairy, pork, poultry and egg industries within Indiana.
When corn and soybeans are sold to livestock producers in Indiana to feed livestock and poultry that will eventually be exported, more value is added to the corn and soybeans through the export of the meat and poultry products than direct export of the corn and soybeans. Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council are members of U.S. Meat Export Federation and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.
Through these organizations, corn and soybean farmers fund programs to help develop new markets or expand current markets for Indiana meat and poultry products. Indiana ranks 8th in the country in exports of livestock animals and red meat with $377 million in exports each year, while poultry and poultry products such as eggs rank 6th in the country with a value of $265 million.
Business and Production Education
ISA and ICMC Livestock Initiatives include funding research projects at Purdue University that address issues directly affecting livestock farmers. Both organizations fund research and educational programs with Purdue University and other partners that include studies:
- Looking at distillers grains in diets for layers, specifically higher inclusion ratesfocused on egg quality.
- Online tutorials that focus on helping Indiana farmers and associated businesses prepare for a new fertilizer and manure applicator rule in the state. These tutorials also provided livestock producers with information on new CAFO and Confined Feeding Operations (CFO) regulations in the state.
Both corn and soybean farmers want to work to help livestock farmers be profitable. They recognize that with price volatility that is now part of the corn and soybean markets, helping farmers learn how to use risk management tools is important to their long-term financial sustainability. The livestock initiative is working with partners like Ivy Tech to help develop programs to educate livestock farmers of all sizes on business management.