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NLPA News Brief
July 23, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Conference in Brazil

Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14—The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), announced today that it will host the first Global Conference on Sustainable Beef at the World Trade Events Center in São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 2–5, 2014. As part of the conference, GRSB will release its long–anticipated definition of global sustainable beef and highlight exciting new developments in beef sustainability.

"GRSB is a global, multi–stakeholder organization focused on improving the sustainability of the beef value chain. We view sustainability as a journey of continuous improvement where economic, societal and environmental factors are balanced to achieve sustainable outcomes" said Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, the North American subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world's largest meat processing company, which is headquartered in Brazil. "It is imperative that the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and consumption of beef, as well as civil society and allied industries, work together to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to their sector, their operations, our society and our planet."

The conference's theme, "Sustainable Beef: Building a Vision for Our Future," sets the framework for the roll–out of GRSB's principles and criteria.

GIPSA NEWS: 07/22/14

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary "Cowspiracy"

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Daily, 07/21/14—A new documentary entitled, "Cowspiracy," paints the beef business in a very negative light, citing cattle as the sole reason we have sustainability issues on our planet. Ranchers will need to"beef" up on their beef production facts to help balance out the conversation about sustainability and animal agriculture.

I haven't seen the documentary "Cowspiracy" yet, but after viewing the trailer and reading some of the publicity for it, I'm sure it won't be one any cattle producer will enjoy watching. The trailer points to a dark "sustainability secret" which is the "one single industry destroying the planet more than any other." According to the trailer, this industry is responsible for global warming, water shortages, methane emissions, species extinction, and the ocean dead zones. "Cowspiracy" places the blame on livestock production. It's clear the film's producers are anti–meat and anti–food animal. The documentary debuts this summer, and I'm sure it will make more than a few viewers feel guilty about consuming their beloved cheeseburger. That's why it's up to us to share the factual information about beef production and the environment.

I encourage everyone to visit reference sites like or check out our Earth Day page for resources on this topic.

Thinking About Herd Expansion? Keep These Points In Mind

By Harlan Hughes, BEEF Magazine, 07/02/14—Expanding a beef herd in 2014 means doing so at a time of record expansion costs. In addition to the record opportunity cost of not selling 2014 heifer calves at weaning, the economic challenge is further compounded by the fact that the early years of herd expansion reduce the net cash flow of the existing beef cowherd. It will take five annual calf crops to cover the added costs of these 2014 added replacement heifers. By then, I fully expect calf prices to have weakened.

The bottom line is that it takes a high–profit herd to make it through a major expansion, especially with today's record–high expansion costs. So, be sure you enter into expansion only if you have a highly profitable beef cowherd.

Investing in the Future of the Beef Industry

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association via Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14—The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) recently announced Texas cattle producers voted to establish a state–level Beef Checkoff program. The referendum passed with broad support, and I believe this a positive step forward for the Texas beef industry.

Since the U.S. Beef Checkoff Program was established in 1985, we have seen added value to the beef cattle you and I produce. However, lately we have been operating under a few disadvantages. Well funded groups, such as The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have worked tirelessly to push their anti–meat agenda and tried to put us out of business. Additionally, the drought has caused a reduction in cow herds, which in–turn has resulted in lower collections for the national checkoff program. These are some of the reasons I believe the Texas Beef Checkoff was needed. We must face these challenges head–on and make sure we are doing everything possible to promote our product and educate consumers.

Is Beef A Luxury Food Or A Staple?

By Nevil Speer , BEEF Magazine, 07/15/14—The rising price of beef stirs lots of discussion about the industry's ability to maintain competitiveness over the long run. Several weeks ago, this column discussed a comparison of price trends at the meat counter over time. In all of this, one of the questions that often arises is whether beef will ultimately be priced so high that it becomes perceived by consumers as a luxury item (vs. a staple item).

WLSB to Require Livestock Health Certificates Within 10 Days of Import

Casper Journal, 07/18/14—Wyoming State Veterinarian, Dr. Jim Logan, announced that, due to cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) recently found in Colorado and Texas, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) is now requiring that all livestock imported from any state where the disease has been diagnosed must be accompanied by a health certificate written within 10 days prior to entry into the state. Livestock animals include horses, cattle, sheep, goats and swine.

Ordinarily, a health certificate is required within 30 days of importation. Logan said the 10–day requirement will remain in place until further notice. In addition, the health certificates need to include a statement from the issuing accredited veterinarian that the animal(s) have been visually examined, show no signs of infection and have not been exposed to any VS–infected animals.

APHIS Posts May 2014 Scrapie Report

ASI Weekly, 07/18/14—The May 2014 report for the National Scrapie Eradication Program has been posted HERE, (PDF). Published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the report reviews the current progress of scrapie eradication in the United States.

Eight source flocks (including two goat herds) and three infected flocks were designated in fiscal year 2013. As of May 31, 2014, two source flocks and three infected flocks have been designated in fiscal year 2014. At the end of fiscal year 2013, the percentage of cull sheep found positive at slaughter and adjusted for face color was 0.015 percent. This measure of prevalence has decreased by 90 percent since slaughter surveillance started in fiscal year 2003.

USDA Offers PEDv Reporting Instructions, Other Details

National Pork Board via PORK Network, 07/15/14—The USDA has followed up with more specifics on how to understand and comply with its Federal Order on June 5 that requires pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECDs) that meet the case definition. The details currently available, including the newly revised SECD Herd Plan Requirements and other instructions on potentially reimbursable expenses, can be found HERE.

Global Livestock News

Researchers Use "Big Data" to Track Zoonotic Diseases

By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/17/14—About 60 percent of diseases are zoonotic, or can pass between humans and various animal species, and understanding the pathways and complex relationships between pathogens, hosts and environmental factors is key to improving control strategies.

To untangle some of those relationships, researchers at the University of Liverpool in England are developing the Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) database with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The researchers have built a database team member and epidemiologist Dr. Marie McIntyre, says is "matchless in scale, and has the capacity to hold data on all known human and animal pathogens, when detailed information becomes available."

The database has been used in efforts to trace the history of human and animal diseases, predict the effects of climate change on pathogens, produce maps of which diseases are most likely in some areas and categorize the complex relationships between human and animal carriers and hosts of numerous pathogens.

Beef Industry Benefits from Trade Deals

Australian Associated Press via Daily Mail AU, 07/16/14—The (Australian) federal government's free trade agreements with Japan and South Korea will benefit Australia's beef industry over time, the nation's biggest beef producer says. Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) chairman Donald McGauchie says AACo hopes to gain exposure to rising incomes in Asia and the associated rise in demand for premium food.

"The federal government's recently announced free trade agreements with Japan and the Republic of Korea are welcome and will benefit the Australian beef industry over time," he told AACo's annual general meeting in Brisbane on Thursday. Mr McGauchie said the free trade deal with South Korea, signed in February, would help protect Australia's beef sector from increased competition from the United States.

Global Livestock News

Proposed FSIS Rule Would Track Raw Ground Beef Sources

Beef Producer, 07/17/14
—The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service on Wednesday said it is proposing to require that all makers of raw ground beef products keep records to further protect consumers by ensuring retailers can trace sources of ground meats.

Retail outlets regularly make ground beef by mixing cuts of beef from various sources. This proposal, if finalized, will require them to keep clear records identifying the source, supplier, and names of all materials used in the preparation of raw ground beef products.

EPA in Hot Water Over Proposed CWA Rule

By Mary Soukup, Drovers CattleNetwork , 07/21/14—Despite a recent public relations campaign through Missouri farm country to attempt to calm the waters about the proposed changes to the definition of "Waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act, EPA continues to take heat from farmers and ranchers, and lawmakers.

After initially calling the proposal "ag friendly" and agreeing with EPA that it "clarifies Clean Water Act jurisdiction, maintains agricultural exemptions and adds new exemptions, and encourages enrollment in USDA conservation programs," the National Farmers Union last week sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking more information about what water and land features will fall under federal jurisdiction if the rule is finalized as it is proposed. NFU was not the only farm group raising concern with the proposal last week. The American Farm Bureau Federation, has been a vocal opponent of the proposal with its Ditch the Rule campaign.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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