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NLPA News Brief
May 24, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Real Story of U.S. Beef Most Favorable

Dr. Nevil Speer, Feedstuffs, 05/16/17—Fake news doesn't happen just in politics –– agriculture has its fair share, too. That reality was on full display recently by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) around its new report, "Less Beef, Less Carbon."

NRDC's press release explained that: "Less Beef, Less Carbon…shows that between 2005 and 2014, we reduced our per capita consumption of beef by 19%." The report contends that because Americans ate less beef between 2005 and 2014, we have effectively "avoided the equivalent of the annual tailpipe emissions of approximately 39 million cars."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. responded appropriately to the report, noting the connection between beef consumption and automobile emissions is "fallacious."

Per capita beef spending in 2010 was approximately $261, in 2015 that measure reached $340! Meanwhile, the U.S. population was about 309– vs 321–million persons in 2010 and 2015, respectively. Doing some quick math, that means U.S. beef spending increased nearly $28.5 billion in just five years.

NRDC conveniently ignores those facts; rather, the organization clings to squishy, anti–beef explanations to fit its activist narrative. Sujatha Bergen, NRDC policy specialist, tried to explain declining consumption as a ‘welcome side effect' of a growing anti–beef sentiment in the U.S. –– wanting us to believe consumers are choosing NOT to eat beef because it allegedly harms the planet.

That's disingenuous: disparaging general consumer perception of the U.S. beef industry is just plain wrong. The real story is a favorable one for the beef industry. That's the result of committed work during the past 20 years, resulting in an industry that's increasingly responsive to consumer demands. As a result, consumers continue to reward the beef industry for their efforts with their dollars. In the end, that's the only measure of business success that matters.

GIPSA NEWS: 05/17/17–05/22/17

Livestock and Ag Credit News

New NCBA Tools Decode Beef Labels for Consumers

AGDaily, 05/10/17—Find yourself often explaining the difference between grass–fed and grain–fed or what terms such as "antibiotic–free" and "raised without antibiotics" mean to consumers? New tools courtesy of the NCBA are now available to help answer these and many other questions about today's beef production.

"Today's consumer demands transparency and more information about how their food, including beef, is raised and grown," said Mandy Carr, Ph.D., senior executive director of Science & Product Solutions for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. "Cattle farmers and ranchers are committed to providing answers to their questions." Consumer research conducted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and funded by the Beef Checkoff indicates that consumers are confused about terms commonly found on labels such as "grass–fed" and "organic."

Additionally, some consumers have questions about the use of antibiotics in cattle production. Two new fact sheets walk consumers through how cattle farmers and ranchers use antibiotics in accordance with Food and Drug Administration guidelines and the choices consumers have when buying beef in their local supermarket. Decoding the Label: Know Your Beef Choices fact sheet & Antibiotics Use in Cattle fact sheet

Ag At Large: Hill–Climbing Cattle Help Protect the Environment

By Dan Curlee, Western Farm Press, 05/22/17—Well known for their happy dispositions, California cows are expected to be tested soon for their ability – or sheer inner satisfaction – for climbing hills. Some have it yet most don't.

Researchers and cattle producers want to know what drives some cattle to higher ground when given a choice. If the element can be found and isolated it may be bred into many range herds to encourage them to head for the hills.

We're not talking confined dairy cattle here, but the five million beef bovines that inhabit the state's 38 million acres of rangelands at various elevations. Most of the cows tend to enjoy grazing in pastures near creeks and streams at lower elevations.

A few, when given a choice, will head for the hills, apparently with delight. These are the animals researchers want to study.

It is an economical and practical benefit to cattle owners and for the environment for their stock to be spread both up and down hilly ranges. Too much grazing at lower levels wears out pastures, strains creeks and water supplies, accumulates manure and urine, and complicates calving while higher acreages often remain lush w ith free–flowing streams.

Swine Industry Advancements

National Hog Farmer, 05/17/17—Hog producers and hog production have seen great strides over the years, and much of that has come thanks to research done in both the public and private sectors.

Mike Tokach, a Kansas State University distinguished professor of animal science, says that research has allowed the swine industry to safely increase litter sizes and growth rates of finishing pigs.

"It is quite amazing when you look at where we were 20 years ago," Tokach says. "The average sow in the mid–1990s produced about 14 pigs marketed per sow, and today we are over 22 pigs marketed on that same sow base.

"Pigs grow about 30% faster than they did 20 years ago. That's fairly amazing if you ask me in terms of how fast an improvement we've made in the industry. And they do that with about 20% less feed per pound of gain than we did 20 years ago."

Sheep and Goats Meat Market Research Report Now Available at Research Corridor

By Jayvir Singh, Thrasher Backer, Missouri, 05/16/17—Research Corridor has published a new research study titled "Sheep and Goats Meat Market – Growth, Share, Opportunities, Competitive Analysis and Forecast, 2017 – 2025". The Sheep and Goats Meat market report studies current as well as future aspects of the Sheep and Goats Meat Market based upon factors such as market dynamics, key ongoing trends and segmentation analysis. Apart from the above elements, the Sheep and Goats Meat Market research report provides a 360–degree view of the Sheep and Goats Meat industry with geographic segmentation, statistical forecast and the competitive landscape.

Geographically, the Sheep and Goats Meat Market report comprises dedicated sections centering on the regional market revenue and trends. The Sheep and Goats Meat market has been segmented on the basis of geographic regions into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW).

The RoW segment consists Latin America and the Middle East & Africa. The Sheep and Goats Meat market has been extensively analyzed on the basis of various regional factors such as demographics, gross domestic product (GDP), inflation rate, acceptance and others. Sheep and Goats Meat Market estimates have also been provided for the historical years 2015 & 2016 along with forecast for the period from 2017 – 2025.

Online Tool Connects Cover Crop Farmers, Cattle Producers

By Janelle Atyeo, Tri–State Neighbor, 05/18/17—Farmers with cover crops have land to graze. Ranchers have cattle with nowhere to go. Now the two have a way to connect and work out a grazing lease.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture launched the Cropland Grazing Exchange Program this spring. The online tool has users register the location of their fields or their livestock herds. An interactive map at us/cge, allows users to browse the available land and animals and work out an exchange.

The website also has information on creating a lease agreement, guidelines on herbicide restrictions and other considerations for custom grazing.

Kelly Anderson runs the program for the department of agriculture. She knows the benefit of having cattle on crop land, but for her, the exchange is easy.

Combining cropland and cattle has a big benefit for soil health, Anderson pointed out. Cattle can be used to harvest a cover crop. They turn forages into nutrients at the same time they help break up crop residue.

"You really do get better benefits from actually having livestock on the field," Anderson said.

Global Livestock News

Terry Branstad Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China

By Jason Noble, Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register, 05/22/17—Gov. Terry Branstad won confirmation as the U.S. ambassador to China on Monday, signaling the end of a five–decade career in Iowa politics and public life and the beginning of a monumental challenge as President Donald Trump's emissary to the United States' leading geopolitical rival.

Branstad, 70, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on an 82–13 vote after a lengthy but uncontroversial nomination. When he resigns as governor later this week, he will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, making her the state's first female chief executive.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a boy from a small farm in Leland, Iowa, would one day have the opportunity to represent my country and my state on the world stage," Branstad said in a statement following the vote. " I look forward to working with both my friend President Donald Trump and my old friend President Xi Jinping for the mutual benefit of both of our countries and the rest of the world."

He'll leave the Iowa Statehouse as the longest–serving governor in American history, presiding for more than 22 years and seeing the state through the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, the prosperity of the 1990s and the post–Great Recession economic recovery of the past six years.

U.S. Beef Access to China Market Should Be a Win–Win

By Jenny Schlect, AgWeek, 05/22/17— The announcement that China will begin importing U.S. beef in July brought cheers from many in the cattle industry, and for good reason: The country's large population has increased its meat consumption substantially in the years since it closed off its market to U.S. beef.

"From a producer standpoint, it's a win–win," says Kevin Good, senior market analyst at Cattle Fax, an information and analysis service on topics related to the beef and agricultural industries.

Since 2003, China has increased its beef imports substantially. The USDA in September 2016 said China imported $2.3 billion in beef in 2015, with the increase fueled by middle–class growth.

Now that China has said it again will allow imports of U.S. beef beginning July 16, there is some speculation about how much of an impact the move will have at the sale ring. Good says many unknowns remain about what conditions China will place on the beef it imports, including source verification, age restrictions, use of implants and the use of ractopamine.

Global Livestock News

Perdue Defends White House Budget

By Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, 05/23/17—In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended the cuts in President Trump's fiscal 2018 budget.

Perdue said Trump promised to realign government spending and that's what he's done.

"I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump president," Perdue said. "I think many believe, as I do—I just don't think it's moral to continue to kick a 20 trillion dollar debt down to our grandchildren, without any relief."

The budget includes significant cuts to USDA programs and would eliminate more than 52–hundred positions throughout the agency—a 5.5 percent reduction in workforce.

"I don't think there's any reason to try to sugarcoat this. I've communicated with our team at USDA and just said, ‘Look, when times are tough, we just dig down and do more'. And that's what we'll do here," he said.

Court Overturns Rule Exempting Livestock Farms from Air Quality Testing

By Terence Corrigan, Times–Gazette, Tennessee, 05/14/17—A federal court of appeals issued a ruling April 11 that could immediately lay additional regulatory and financial burdens on Tennessee farmers who raise chickens and other livestock in large numbers. The court ruling, if it stands, will require farmers, starting this year, to monitor and report air emissions of certain pollutants.

One effect, too, is that the price of chicken for consumers would likely rise dramatically due to the high cost of air quality monitoring.

The large operations that will be affected are those that raise thousands of animals in tight quarters, called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs, such as the ubiquitous chicken barns in rural Bedford County. There are currently 28 permits for CAFOs in Bedford County and 332 statewide. This ruling is just the latest round in a decade–old legal dispute between the EPA and environmental groups over the issue of atmospheric releases of pollutants from livestock operations.

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