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September 20, 2017
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Cattlemen Disadvantaged Without Country Of Origin Labeling

By Eric F. Nelson, High Plains Journal, 09/18/19—Point 1: What do you do if you enter into a bad deal? You renegotiate it. Current trade arrangements allow Canada to practice COOL on meat sold in their country. They were smart enough to have negotiated for that ability from the get go, so let's renegotiate and label. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and U.S. cattle producers need to be able to differentiate their product. It's Marketing 101.

Point 2: Without COOL in place, cattle from Mexico can be imported into the United States, slaughtered, processed and then the end product can be shipped to China labeled as product of the U.S.

Point 3: Reread Point 2.

Point 4: The meat industry has pushed for animal ID regulations for years. What good does a positively identified animal do if the packing industry can't track it through their system? They can track it through their system, or identity of the animal would not be a big deal to them.

Point 5: The United States is the largest beef consuming country in the world and without COOL, entities will do all they can to profit by selling lesser quality beef to unknowing U.S. consumers at the expense of U.S. cattle producers. U.S. beef is the world's best. It deserves to be labeled as such not just in China and Japan, but also in Denver and Chicago.


By Seymour Klierly, HIgh Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, 09/11/17— I'll revisit a topic I've written about before—Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL.

Ultra–conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren recently spoke at the Ranchers–Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America convention in South Dakota, ranting on the unlawful COOL program. Lahren has railed on this issue before on her canceled television show on "The Blaze," and she felt the backlash from ranchers on social media. Still, she keeps opening that door, giving false hope to a few ranchers.

"This won't stop. I'll keep talking until we get COOL," she said. "Most logical, common sense, regular Americans, even those not in this industry, anyone with common sense, knows this is needed. I can bring this message to the consumers. They want to know where their meat is coming from."

My message, as well as the message of the federal government, is also clear—if Americans want to know where their food comes from, buy the meat that has the label. It's as simple as that. Any meat company can voluntarily add COOL information if they wish. The WTO only ruled that the U.S. cannot make COOL mandatory.

GIPSA NEWS: 09/14/17 – 09/18/17

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Consumers Shift Attention to "Cultural Concerns"

By John Maday, Editor, Drovers, 09/18/17—Consumer perceptions of beef quality involve what you produce, and also how you produce it. Conducting a new National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) every five years achieves a few distinct goals. First, it allows the industry to track results in addressing quality concerns identified in prior audits, and the reports have documented significant progress. Each audit also tracks the ongoing evolution of public perceptions regarding beef quality.

In the early audits, physical defects dominated the challenges identified . Some of those challenges persist, but the most recent audits show, as beef becomes more consistent, consumers have shifted some attention toward more "cultural" concerns, such as "how and where cattle were raised" which ranks in the top–five concerns in the 2016 NBQA.

Global Farm Economy Seen As ‘Nuanced,' FAPRI Report Says

By Larry Dreiling, High Plains Journal, 09/18/17—After several years of declining prices for many agricultural commodities, the outlook now is more nuanced. So says the latest baseline update for U.S. agriculture markets published by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.

Large global supplies continue to weigh on markets for several major crops, but strong demand has provided support to U.S. livestock sector prices.

The report provides an update of the 2017 FAPRI–MU long–term baseline to reflect information available in mid–August 2017. It assumes that current agricultural and biofuel policies will continue, including recently announced Brazilian tariffs on U.S. ethanol and U.S. duties on biodiesel imports. The global economy is assumed to grow at a modest pace, as forecast by IHS Markit in July 2017.

Re–Visiting Production Stats

By Dan Murphy, Farm Journal's PORK, 09/09/17
—Common wisdom suggests that cropland's being wasted growing feed, not food, and that the level of livestock rations cannot be sustained. But a new UN report says: Wrong on both counts.

If there's a bad boy that industry critics love to demonize — other than any person on Earth who consumes animal foods, that is — it's the world's farmers.

Why? Because they're stupidly growing feed crops to be eaten by livestock, not people, that's why. All that corn they harvest every year shouldn't be mixed into poultry or pig rations; it should be ground up and cooked into the ever–popular cornmeal mush, which is a wonderful centerpiece for any meal. Just ask the more than one billion people alive today who can't afford to eat anything else.

Of course, the ultimate solution to both global hunger and food security, those same critics insist, is for everyone to simply stop eating meat and dairy altogether. Replacing those lost calories for the six billion people who currently consume such foods is to be taken care of by shoveling all that corn and soy onto dinner plates, as opposed to feed bins. As a new analysis from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization reported, however, punctured some of those cherished activist truisms, however. For example:

  • 86% of global grain production is not edible by humans
  • The world's livestock also require less feed per kilogram of meat yield than previously estimated closer to 3 kilograms of feed per kilogram of meat
  • A combination of genetics, better veterinary care and improved diets can increase yields and reduce the amount of feed required to produce meat, poultry and dairy foods.

Petition to Tighten Rules on Livestock Facilities in Iowa Fails

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, 09/18/17—The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission denied a petition Monday that would have made it tougher for animal feeding operations to be built in Iowa.

Petition supporters sought to strengthen the state's master matrix — a scoring system designed to give local residents input on proposed animal feeding operations — saying the changes would better protect people living near livestock facilities from odor and water pollution.

But opponents said the petition would make it so difficult to get a passing score, it would result in a statewide moratorium on livestock facilities. That's a controversial proposal for a state that's a national leader in pig, egg, turkey and cattle production.

Environmental groups Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch filed the petition.

Iowa Uses Satellites to Uncover 5,000 Previously Undetected Animal Confinements

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, 09/15/17—Iowa has about 5,000 more pig confinements and cattle lots across the state than originally believed, a report to the federal government last month shows.

That's nearly 50 percent more animal feeding operations than the state initially inventoried. "It's clearly too easy for confinements to slip under the radar," said Jess Mazour, an organizer at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. "This is an industry that's gone unchecked." The Iowa Department of Natural Resources discovered the facilities through satellite imagery, used to complete a comprehensive survey required under a 2013 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Of the 5,063 facilities discovered through satellite imagery, the state says nearly 1,300 of the newly discovered facilities could require some level of state oversight.

And the state estimates that about half — or 630 facilities — will require on–site inspections, said Ken Hessenius, Iowa DNR's Spencer office supervisor.

Still, it's unlikely the operators of the newly discovered facilities violated state law, said Hessenius, who helped compile the state's report to the EPA. Iowa DNR believes most of the facilities are too small to require government oversight, under state law.

Producers Culling Cows Early

Feedtsuffs, 09/18/17—The bulk of U.S. beef cattle operations wean calves in the fall months and also select cows for culling. This year, however, the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) said many cow/calf operations in the drought–affected northern High Plains states already have begun culling after pregnancy checking earlier than normal.

Over a cattle inventory cycle (typically 10–11 years), seasonal cull cow prices typically are lowest in the fourth (fall) quarter of the calendar year (usually November and sometimes October or December). The long–term average decline in cull cow price is about 10% between September and November. Last year's drop in the southern Plains was 19% (about $13.25/cwt.). December 2016 posted the lowest cull cow price, LMIC noted.

Cull cow prices this fall are expected to decline compared to recent levels by average percentages, according to LMIC.

Global Livestock News

Argentina Poised to Re–Enter League of Top Beef Exporters

By Mike Verdin, Agrimoney, 09/18/17—Argentina, which a century ago became a world power on the back of its beef exports, is poised to re–enter the top 10 shippers, helped by the end of trade curbs, and a herd rebuilding from near–50–year lows.

Argentine will in 2018 export 350,000 tonnes of beef, the US Department of Agriculture bureau in Buenos Aires said, in their first forecast for next year's supply and demand for the South American country.

Exports at that level would exceed by 70,000 tonnes volumes expected for 2017, and represent the strongest shipments since 2009 – when high slaughter rates encouraged by drought sent exports up 56% year on year to 621,000 tonnes.

Taiwan Conditionally Lifts Import Ban on Japanese Beef

Asian Review, 09/18/17—Taiwan on Monday conditionally lifted a 16–year–old ban on beef imports from Japan, clearing a major roadblock in negotiations on an economic partnership agreement, the government announced.

The Executive Yuan, the executive branch of Taiwan's government, said on its website that the new measure comes into force with immediate effect.

Nearly 95 percent of Taiwan's beef is imported. Last year the United States was Taiwan's No. 1 beef supplier by weight and value, followed by Australia and New Zealand.

Global Livestock News

USDA Makes Disaster Resources Available to Rural Development Borrowers

USDA News Release, 09/19/17—The United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development is providing tools and resources to help rural communities recover from the devastation brought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue highlighted today. The emergency procedures will provide additional flexibility for Rural Development borrowers and community partners to help them recover as quickly as possible and ensure they have what they need to rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.

"Our team at Rural Development is devoted to supporting rural communities ravaged by the recent hurricanes," said Secretary Perdue. "We are committed each day to the recovery effort, collaborating with federal, state and local partners to begin to rebuild."

USDA Rural Development has provided disaster recovery assistance by coordinating with private partners to restore utilities to rural communities in hurricane–affected regions.

Rural Development is helping businesses and utilities that are current USDA borrowers by considering requests to defer principal and/or interest payments, and to provide additional temporary loans. Current USDA single–family home loan customers may also qualify for assistance. Borrowers can contact their local Rural Development office to obtain information on potential assistance. Additional information may be found HERE.

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