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NLPA News Brief
September 2, 2015
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Don't Preach to the Choir

By Jennifer Carrico, High Plains Journal, 08/31/15—Beef is good for you. In fact, the American Medical Association says red meat is a great source of zinc, iron, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium for a healthy diet. I teach my kids the importance of eating beef, and fortunately, we have a freezer full of our own beef ready for the grill anytime.

Recently, Consumer Reports released a report about food safety and sustainability in the beef industry. The report talks about how ground beef can make you sick if not cooked properly. Shouldn't all food be cooked properly? I am always surprised when a waiter or waitress asks me how I want my burger cooked. I like my steak cooked to medium–rare, but I never would get a hamburger cooked less than medium.

The Center for Disease Control says foodborne illnesses are not only seen with meat, but also with milk, nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, and raw fruits and vegetables. We hear about alerts concerning all these items, but for some reason when the meat industry is mentioned, it becomes a target for attacks. In May, the CDC said in 2014, rates of infection from a serious form of E. coli and one of the more common Salmonella serotypes decreased compared with the baseline period of 2006–2008.

The Consumer Report article talks about how raising cattle in a pasture or organic method makes better beef and is better for the environment. While I'm not knocking the method as fulfilling a niche market, saying it is better for the environment is certainly questionable. Suggesting all beef should be raised on a pasture is literally not possible.

Jude Capper, who is a livestock sustainability consultant in Bozeman, Montana, did extensive research on how both grass–fed and feedlot beef production impacts the environment while on staff at Washington State University. She found feedlot beef production has a smaller land footprint and generates less pollution than grass–fed beef.

"If we switched to all grass–fed beef in the United States, it would require an additional 64.6 million cows, 131 million acres more land and would cause 135 million more tons of greenhouse gas emissions. We’d have the same amount of beef, but with a huge environmental cost," says Capper.

Furthermore, feedlot fed beef uses 45 percent less land, 76 percent less water, 49 percent less feed, and produces 51 percent less manure and 42 percent less carbon.

GIPSA NEWS: 08/26/2015

Livestock and Ag Credit News

WOTUS Ruling Creates Confusion

By Alison Rice, AgWeb by Farm Journal, 08/28/15—As attorney general of Oklahoma, where the EPA's controversial "Clean Water Rule" supposedly goes into effect today, Scott Pruitt sounds fed up—and understandably so. On Thursday, a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the implementation of the "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule, which extends EPA's jurisdiction to even small streams on private land, saying it posed a risk of "irreparable harm." That decision applies to the 13 states involved in that particular case, and many expected it to cover the other 37 states that have lawsuits pending on the very same regulation.

But the EPA on Thursday said the hotly debated rule would go into effect on Friday, Aug. 28, as planned everywhere but those 13 states. "This is highly unusual," Pruitt told Mike Adams on Agri–Talk Friday. "Historically when an agency at federal level has been enjoined or prevented from doing something … the agency will apply that injunction … to itself across the country." LISTEN HERE.

Rancher Fights $16 Million EPA Fine for Building Pond

By Bob Yuruh WND TV, 08/29/15 — A rancher who obtained the state permits he needed for a stock pond on his acreage near Fort Bridger, Wyoming, then received approval from the state when it was finished now is facing the possibility of fines totaling millions of dollars because he didn't get a permit from the federal government. A lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, however, argues federal law clearly exempts stock ponds from EPA rules, so he shouldn't even have had to contact the agency.

The foundation is representing Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson against the EPA compliance order threatening him with $37,500 in fines per day. During the 14 months that Johnson has contested the EPA's claim, his potential liability has risen to more than $16 million.

"We are challenging an outrageous example of EPA overreach against a private citizen who has done nothing wrong," said PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood. "Andy Johnson constructed a pond for his livestock by damming a stream on his private property with no connection to any navigable water. Under the plain terms of the Clean Water Act, he was entirely within his rights, and didn't need federal bureaucrats' permission."

Company Aims to Ship Fresh Water from Alaska to Drought–Plagued California

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 08/28/15—An Alaska company is planning to be the first to ship massive amounts of fresh water to drought–plagued California, potentially as much as 10 million gallons a month. "We are prepared to deliver bulk water now, and we are currently working with customers who hope to be able to take delivery by the end of the year," Alaska Bulk Water CEO Terry Trapp said in an email.

Trapp, who used to run a bottled water company, would perform the feat by shipping the water on a tanker. The water would be taken from the Blue Lake in Sitka, where the company has rights to up to 9 billion gallons of "some of the most pure water on Earth," he said.

California's drought is now in its fourth year, and 97% of the state is experiencing dry conditions, sparking water shortages and huge wildfires. Even though it's been unusually hot and dry this year in Alaska — which is suffering one of its worst wildfire seasons on record — there's plenty of water in Sitka, Trapp said. "Sitka resides in a temperate rainforest and has not had any problems with drought," he said. "Sitka receives about 100 inches of rainfall per year."

The hang–ups? Finding available, affordable ships and developing the infrastructure to offload the water on the other end.

Satisfying Grass–Fed Beef Demand, Not So Easy for Ranchers in Northern Arizona

By Melissa Sevigny, Knau Arizona Public Radio, 08/28/15 —Demand for local, sustainable beef is on the rise. But getting into the alternative beef business isn't easy. In drought–stricken Arizona, grass and water are in short supply, and the infrastructuret–like processing plantst–isn't in place for robust local markets. So how does grass–fed beef get from pasture to plate? LISTEN HERE.

Why Gender Roles Are Becoming Obsolete in Agriculture

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine, 08/31/15—For women in agriculture, breaking down gender stereotypes and keeping up with the men has been a century's–old struggle. Today's modern agricultural woman is making her mark and makes up one–third of the nation's farmers and ranchers. A new documentary captures some of the struggles of women in ag, and a blog post explains how dads view their little farm girls.

I recently read an article titled, "Daddy's little girl holds new meaning on the farm." Written by Traci Tiernan for, the article is about how gender roles aren't as important when it comes to working on the farm or ranch.

I also recently heard about a new documentary titled, "Good Ol Girl" (See trailer of video HERE) that chronicles the developing stages of three Texas ranches owned and operated by women. One is a single mother of five and a cancer survivor. Another is a young lawyer who is set to inherit her family's ranch. The third is a 70–year–old widow who is fighting to keep her husband's legacy alive, so she can pass on the ranch to her grandson. The video investigates a wide variety of women's issues set in an industry that has been historically ruled by men.

With U.S. Beef Production Down, It's Pork's Time to Shine

By By Barbara Soderlin, Omaha World–Herald, 08/30/15—Burger prices have gone up this year at Barrett's Barleycorn Pub & Grill, but the pork tenderloin sandwich special is holding steady at $9.95. Falling pork prices are good news for restaurant owner Karen Barrett–Jeffrey and her customers, who buy all of the oversized pork loin sandwiches her staff hand–bread, cook up and serve — 100 total across Thursday and Friday each week.

"The food business is a tough business," Barrett–Jeffrey said. "You've got to watch your prices. When prices drop," she said, "It always helps."

Pork prices have fallen this year as the industry recovered quickly from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that killed more than 7 million piglets in 2013 and 2014. Retail pork prices in July were down 6.7 percent from last July, while beef was up 10 percent.

Global Livestock News

US Beef Quota Reaches Trigger–Point: Already Signs of a Market Emerging for Traded Quota

By Jon Condon, BEEF Central, 09/01/15—The Department of Agriculture advised exporters overnight that 85pc of Australia's 2015 US beef quota has now been utilised – the milestone which now triggers distribution arrangements for the remainder of the quota year. Already there are signs that a market is emerging for traded quota between stakeholders. It leaves 15 percent (about 63,000 tonnes) of the quota to be allocated to individual exporters for use over the next 11 weeks, until the start of the new quota year in November, based on their volume performance in the previous two years. This is the first time Australia's US Quota has been triggered in a decade.

Nanotech Could Rid Cattle of Ticks, with Less Collateral Damage

By Ben Coxworth, GizMag, 08/31/15—If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment. Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.

According to the university, conventional tick–killing insecticides can be absorbed by the cow's gastrointestinal tract. From there, they make their way not only into the muscle tissue and milk, but are also passed in the manure – there, they can kill both grass and insects such as bees. Additionally, some tick strains in Mexico are building up a resistance to some of the most commonly–used insecticides. This means that many cattle–treatment products consist of a mixture of chemicals, which drives the price up and increases the toxicity.

The new externally–applied preparation, developed by a team led by chemists Enrique Angeles Anguiano and Fernando Alba Hurtado, utilizes an unnamed type of nanoparticles to kill ticks at all of their life stages – egg, nymph, pupa and adult. It's said to be easy to synthesize (it's done in a single step), and is 99.5 percent effective while still retaining low toxicity. It is not absorbed into the cow's digestive tract, and is reportedly not harmful to the environment or to people handling it.

Global Livestock News

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Updated 2015 U.S. Farm Income Forecast

USDA News Release, 08/25/15—U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:

"Today's farm income forecast is heartening for all Americans. The past several years have seen unprecedented highs in farm income, and despite the fact that farm income is forecast to be down from record levels, today's projections provide a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable and resilient in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western United States remains gripped by drought. Thanks to its ability to be competitive through thick and thin, American agriculture remains fundamentally sound, supporting and creating good–paying American jobs for millions.

"The American agriculture success story is not celebrated often enough. That success is due, in part, to U.S. farmers' bold willingness to seize opportunities in new markets, both domestic and foreign, and harness the best of American technology and innovation. At the same time, markets continue to expand for locally–grown food, a market valued at $11.7 billion last year, and America's biobased economy has emerged as a new frontier for U.S. growth. The country's biobased industry contributed 4 million jobs and $369 billion to the economy in 2013, while displacing about 300 million gallons of petroleum–equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. American agriculture achieved record exports last year and USDA continues to pursue strong new trade deals so that farm and ranch businesses don't miss out on new markets for their products."

FDA Releases Antimicrobial Progress Report, Announces Public Meeting

Bovine Veterinarian, 08/24/15—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its third progress report highlighting its recent actions to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials in food–producing animals. The applications initially affected by Guidance For Industry #213, which calls on animal drug sponsors of approved medically important antimicrobials administered through medicated feed or water to voluntarily remove from their product labels indications for use related to growth promotion, and bring the remaining therapeutic uses of these products under the oversight of a veterinarian by December 2016.

All of the affected drug sponsors have committed in writing to making the changes described in the guidance. Some of these sponsors have already started implementing the recommended changes to their affected antimicrobial products: three applications have been converted from over–the–counter to prescription dispensing status; production indications have been withdrawn from one application; and 32 affected applications have been completely withdrawn.

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