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NLPA News Brief
October 22, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

State Cattlemen’s Groups to USDA: Hands Off the Checkoff

By Mary Soukup, Drovers CattleNetwork, 10/16/14– How do cattlemen across the country feel about U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's idea to create a second Beef Checkoff Program? Bob McCan, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Texas cattle rancher, says 45 state cattlemen's groups representing more than 170,000 cattle breeders, producers and feeders have locked arms to tell the Secretary "hands off." "NCBA stands firmly behind our grassroots producer organizations and we will do everything we can to support their efforts. The checkoff belongs to cattlemen, not to the USDA or any administration," McCan says.

GIPSA NEWS: 10/15/14

Livestock and Ag Credit News

An 'Environmental Impact' Label for Beef?

By Eliza Barclay, NPR, 10/16/14—"Labels currently available to consumers … can be misleading, as information available about the management associated with those labels can be difficult to find and is often incomplete," Robin White with the National Animal Nutrition Program tells The Salt. "We need logical, clear labels that resonate with consumers while incentivizing the adoption of management practices that improve environmental impact," says White. After crunching the data with economic models, White and Washington State University with WSU economist Mike Brady found that consumers would likely pay as much as 10 percent more for beef products with an environmental label that emphasized water conservation. And that premium would allow producers to make changes that would bring about huge water savings in livestock production — some 76 to 129 billion gallons of water annually, they estimate.

White says that the only way an environmental impact label would really work would be to include land use and greenhouse gas emissions, too. All three are critical factors in how the industry affects the environment, she argues. So who might actually create and manage such a label? One possible candidate is the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, says White. It's a group that includes some the biggest names in the beef industry, as well as some environmental groups.

Farmers Hope New Steps Will Contain Epidemic Killing Piglets

By Tom Meersman, Star Tribune, 10/18/14—Two new experimental vaccines are available for sows, and pig farmers are ratcheting up biosecurity strategies, including high–tech truck washes that "bake" vehicles at high temperatures to kill the virus and prevent its spread. "The next six to eight weeks should be pretty telling" as far as how the virus spreads this year, said Justin Roelofs, swine specialist and financial services officer for AgStar Financial.

NPB Reports PEDv Survivability Result

Meat & Poultry, 10/17/14—Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) can survive in manure for at least four months, according to interim research results from work conducted at the Swine Veterinary Center, St. Peter, Minn. The Pork Checkoff funded the project. Research shows that PEDv is capable of surviving at least 14 days at 25°Celsius, (77°F) and greater than 28 days when stored at 20° and 4°C (68 and 39°F) .

Six Universities Launch Animal Ag Industry Climate Change Website

Bovine Veterinarian, 10/16/14—The $346 billion U.S. animal agriculture industry is already paying the price for an unstable climate with more frequent and extreme weather events that are devastating to individual producers and influence costs throughout the entire industry, a University of Nebraska Lincoln animal environmental engineer says.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate project has launched a website at to help. "Climate change costs this industry money; we need to understand and plan to reduce those costs," said Rick Stowell, a UNL Extension animal environmental engineer and the lead project investigator for the project. The website offers free, science–based educational resources and online training. Materials target all those working in animal agriculture that need to have a better understanding of the issues and consequences of climate change on the animal agriculture industry. It will be available through July 2016.

Livestock Producers Turning to Goats to Supplement Income

Mississippi Business Journal, 10/16/14—Goats are growing in popularity among Mississippi livestock producers who have limited acreage or want to diversify their farming business. "Since 2012, the overall number of meat goats in the southeastern region of the state has increased," said Mitch Newman, Greene County agricultural agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "More small farmers want to raise livestock to supplement other income, and some landowners have fragmented property, which makes raising cattle unrealistic."

Compared to cattle, goats that are managed well can thrive on fewer acres, reproduce more quickly and mature faster, Newman said. One cow can grow well on two acres of good pasture and can produce an average of two calves every 24 months. In contrast, six adult goats can thrive on the same area of quality land as one cow. A doe in optimal condition can give birth two to three times every 24 months and is more likely to have twins or triplets. Goats reach an ideal market weight between 60 to 80 pounds, depending on variations in breed and management practices, Newman said. As ethnic populations in the U.S. increase, consumer demand for goats is expected to continue to grow.

U.S. Cattle Industry Grapples with Quality Versus Quantity

By Theopolis Waters, Reuters, 10/17/14—Cheaper feed and the removal of a feed additive are bringing U.S. beef lovers juicier steaks, leaving the industry wondering whether to muscle up cattle before slaughter or aim for more fat, which enhances flavor. If consumers are willing to pay more for tastier beef, packers may have to decide between tonnage and taste. "At the end of the day it boils down to consumers who are willing to pay more, but it darn sure better be a good product," said Jim Robb, director of the Colorado–based Livestock Marketing Information Center.

A Balanced Diet For World Food Day: Bugs, Groundnuts And Grains

By Eleanor Kibanoff, North Country Public Radio, 10/16/14—What's for dinner on World Food Day? How about a humble meal of dried termites stirred into a sukuma wiki stew? With a side of sorghum couscous? World Food Day was invented by the United Nations in 1979 and first celebrated the next year. One goal is to promote underutilized, highly nutritious foods for the 800 million people in lower–income countries who can't easily prepare balanced meals.

We asked Action Against Hunger, a nonprofit group, to cook up a list of foods that could make a big nutritional difference — and yes, the list includes termites: The same bug that could destroy the wood in your home is a highly nutritious food: 35 percent protein and a good source of calcium, iron and zinc. Termites can be dried like beef jerky and then later added into any meal for a protein boost. These bugs are typically harvested from the mounds they construct and live in.

Global Livestock News

U.S. Wins WTO Trade Enforcement Dispute for Farmers

The Prairie Star, 10/18/14— The U.S. has won a major victory at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on behalf of the nation's farmers and poultry industry, U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman has announced. A WTO panel found in favor of the U.S. in a dispute challenging India's ban on U.S. agricultural products such as poultry, meat, eggs and live pigs, allegedly to protect against avian influenza. The panel agreed that India's ban breached international trade rules and was imposed without sufficient scientific evidence.

"This is a major victory for American farmers. The WTO panel agreed with the U.S. case that India lacks any scientific basis to restrict U.S. agricultural products, including U.S. poultry products," Froman said. "Our farmers produce the finest –– and safest –– agricultural products in the world. "This is the fourth major WTO victory the U.S. has announced this year as we continue to unlock economic opportunity for our workers, farmers and businesses. This victory affirms the administration's commitment to ensuring WTO members play by the rules, and that America's farmers, workers and businesses get the fair shot they deserve to sell made–in–America goods under WTO rules."

Global Beef Demand Has Begun to Run Ahead of World Supply

AgriLand, 10/20/14—It is accepted that suckled beef production is vulnerable at EU and world level, even though trans–global consumption, which is already increasing, is expected to soar as more middle class professionals in China, India, South America, Russia, South East Asia and the Middle East make beef their preferred meat purchase. This is a contradiction that can only result in beef being retailed at much higher prices at both EU and world level than it is at present – especially if the provenance of the product is backed by even higher production credentials than it is now. The problem at global level is that extensive suckler beef is running out of land.

Global Livestock News

NPPC Urges Changes to COOL

PorkNetwork, 10/20/14
—Following the release today of the World Trade Organization's decision on the U.S. meat labeling law, the National Pork Producers Council urged the Obama administration and Congress to fix the law to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

As expected, the WTO ruled that the mandatory Country–Of–Origin Labeling (COOL) statute violates U.S. international trade obligations by discriminating against Canadian cattle and pigs and Mexican cattle. COOL requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and slaughtered. The decision could allow the two countries to place tariffs on U.S. imports. "The United States must avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico," said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. "Retaliatory tariffs on pork would be financially devastating to U.S. pork producers." But, pointed out Hill, tariffs likely would be placed on a host of U.S. products, including non–agricultural ones.

USDA to Launch New Farm Bill Program to Help Provide Relief to Farmers Affected by Severe Weather

USDA News Release, 10/21/14—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. The Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, available nationwide for farmers of select crops starting next spring, allows eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

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