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NLPA News Brief
July 30, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

"New" Study Repackages "Old" Anti–Beef Claims

By Troy Marshall, BEEF Magazine, 07/24/14—This week, a new study was published on the environmental impact of livestock production. In reality, however, "new" isn't the appropriate word to describe this research as it's just a repackaging of the pseudo–science and false assumptions that previous studies have cited.

The researchers looked at the environmental impact of each calorie consumed of beef, pork, poultry, eggs and dairy. The report states that cattle require 28 times more land, 11 times more irrigation water, release five times more greenhouse gases, and consume six times more nitrogen than the other livestock categories. These numbers are not 100% inaccurate but are misleading due to the fact that cattle have only one offspring each year and the gestation interval is so much longer than the other species. The U.S. beef industry has made tremendous strides in improving efficiency in the amount of resources that go into beef production, but cattle's maintenance requirements are significantly higher than the competitive protein species.

The land claim is absurd, as we don't run our animals 100% in confinement settings, nor does the overall industry desire to. Ranchers are rightfully proud of the way they raise their animals and it's an amazing thing to produce such nutrient–dense, high–quality protein from land that is too marginal to produce food in any other way. These scientists consider the rumen inefficient despite that it allows sunlight to be converted into food in an incredibly effective manner. The report was like reading verbatim the propaganda that usually emanates from anti–beef groups.

GIPSA NEWS: No new posts this week.


Livestock and Ag Credit News

Antibiotic Use In the Livestock Industry

KRVN Radio, 07/25/14—Rural Radio Network Shalee Peters with Leanne Saunders, President of Where Food Comes From Inc., discussing antibiotic use in the livestock industry and issues they face with consumers. This coming off of Cargill's announcement to have their suppliers stop using Growth Promoting Antibiotics. Listen HERE.

CAFO Gets Court Win

By Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs FoodLink, 07/23/14—When three high–powered trial lawyers announced four separate cases against Maxwell Farms in 2009, their goal was to wipe out concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Indiana, declaring it "ground zero" in a food fight over how Indiana farmers would produce pork and milk.

Instead, courts recently ruled in favor of the farms and backed Indiana's Right to Farm Act as constitutional. These lawsuits were seeking damages from farms for creating a nuisance with regard to odor, manure management practices and farm location. Under scrutiny were Maxwell Farms' 5,000–head sow unit, 17,000–head nursery and two contract grower finishing units with an 8,000–head capacity each.

In each of the four cases, Vorhees found that the plaintiffs failed to prove negligence in the way the farms were operated and located. Every U.S. state has a Right to Farm Act that protects farms using commonly accepted agricultural practices from being considered a nuisance in agriculturally zoned areas. Legislatures in all 50 states consider the act the U.S.'s ability to protect its own food, fuel and fiber production.

Ruling On Antibiotics in Livestock Reversed

Wall Street Journal, 07/24/14
—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn't required to hold public hearings to evaluate the health risks of widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling in 2012 by a district court that sided with several health and consumer organizations that sued the FDA after the agency decided against holding the hearings.

The health groups want the FDA to withdraw approval of using penicillin and tetracycline in animal feed to make cattle and other livestock grow faster. They say the practice has been linked to an increase to human resistance to antibiotics, while industry groups argue the issue needs more study. The appeals court found that the FDA isn't required to hold the hearings because it's made no official finding that the antibiotics pose a health risk. The agency claims it has addressed the situation by initiating a voluntary program that encourages the industry to use the drugs "judiciously," saying public hearings consume too much time and resources.

Alternatives for Replacement Beef Heifers

By Burke Teichert, BEEF Magazine, 07/23/14—At the recent Beef Improvement Federation meeting in Lincoln, NE, Rick Funston, a University of Nebraska beef cattle reproductive physiologist, presented research results indicating that, contrary to general belief, heifers don't need to achieve 65% of expected mature cow body weight to achieve acceptable levels of pregnancy. In fact, the heifers in his study were in the 50–55% range of expected mature cow body weight, and were developed on low–cost feeds.

In Funston's research and in other places, the cows produced from "minimally" developed heifers are proving to be better cows in their rebreeding rates and calf weaning weights. "Minimal" doesn't mean they're underdeveloped or that protein supplementation is unnecessary. The timing of breeding and calving will determine when supplementation is needed to keep heifers gaining weight before breeding and between breeding and calving as a first–calf heifer.

Wisconsin Farmer Creates Mobile Shade Machine to Keep Livestock Cool

By Rick Barrett, Journal Sentinel, 07/26/14
—From a distance it looks like an enormous satellite dish or something NASA created for a mission to Mars, but step closer and you will quickly see it's a "shade machine" used to keep livestock or people cool on hot days.

Vince Hundt, a beef farmer from Coon Valley, came up with the idea after watching cattle suffer in the heat because there wasn't enough natural shade for them even in an idyllic pasture. "It just didn't feel good, as a farmer, to see that. They were literally panting," Hundt said.┬áSo two years ago he and a couple of recent graduates from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and UW–Madison created what they now call a mobile shade machine — about 1,200 square feet of relief from the sun that can be moved as needed.

The canopy is large enough to provide shade for about 50 cattle at a time, although some farmers who use it say that's a bit crowded and usually not all of the animals will be under it at once. The shade material is black polyethylene cloth that allows air to pass through. It absorbs heat from the sun, pulling it upward and creating a light breeze under the canopy through what's known as a chimney effect. It can be 20 degrees cooler under the shade machine than in direct sunlight, according to Hundt.

Longhorns Ahead of Herd in More Ways Than One

By Audra Brown, Clovis (NM) News Journal, 07/24/14—'Tis the season for bull–buying. The choices are many and so are the dollars. It's a critical decision point for any cattleraiser. For a beef producer like me, the end game is all about pounds, and color.

That's right. Color. Why? I'd love to know. But the truth is black cattle will bring a premium that other shades don't. And spots? Don't even get me started. Some cattle buyers will cut out a spotted calf faster than a cripple. But I just hauled three, skinny little longhorn bulls home. Considering the downsides, why would a longhorn be importantin a beef operation? Two words. Calving heifers. Calving for the first time is an iffy business — and a big, pretty, beefy baby doesn't help.

Enter the longhorn bull. That's the bull we put on the heifers that first time around because it keeps those first calves small and makes calving as close to easy as it can get.

Livestock and Biofuels Projected to Outpace Crops in Next Decade

By Hembree Brandon, Delta Farm Press, 07/28/14—The greatest growth in world crop production over the next decade is forecast to be in oilseeds, up 26 percent according to the latest Agricultural Outlook analysis by the Organization for Economic Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The expansion of oilseeds and coarse grain production will be driven by strong demand for biofuels, particularly in developed countries, and growing feed requirements in developing nations, the report says. Firm meat import demand from Asia, along with herd rebuilding in North America, will keep prices above the average of the previous decade, adjusted for inflation. Beef prices are seen rising to record levels and poultry should overtake pork as the most–consumed meat product.

Research Reveals Genetic Influence On Beef’s Health Profile

By Burt Rutherford, BEEF Magazine, 07/24/14—Can beef producers improve the healthfulness of beef through genetic selection? New research says yes. As research continues, and as the beef industry is more successful in getting closer to its consumers, traits that affect the nutrition profile of beef may loom larger in selection indexes. "Research is very important, looking at how much we have of those components and what role they play in a healthy diet," says Raluca Mateescu, a University of Florida geneticist. "They're novel and needed traits. We have an opportunity to really change the way beef is portrayed to the consumer."

Global Livestock News

U.S. Group Overhauls China Business in Meat Safety Scandal

By Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada, Reuters, 07/28/14—A leading U.S. meat supplier said on Monday that a Chinese unit at the center of a food safety scandal had issues that were "absolutely inconsistent" with the group's high standards. "This is my company and events like these have a personal toll … they simply don't represent the values I stand for or those of my company," Sheldon Lavin, the millionaire chairman, CEO and owner of Illinois–based OSI Group LLC told a news conference in Shanghai. OSI said it was suspending operations at Shanghai Husi Food and would review all its China plants in a bid to limit further damage after losing two major customers.

KFC and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc last week severed its ties with OSI, while the Japan and Hong Kong units of McDonald's Corp said they were ending their relationship with the U.S. meat processor's Chinese unit following allegations it mixed expired meat with fresh produce. David McDonald, OSI's president and chief operating officer, said the group was making senior management changes in China, and will set up a quality control center in Shanghai to better supervise its business. It will also bring in global experts to survey the China operations and improve auditing, including constant visual surveillance and extensive employee interviews.

Meat Processor Generates Its Own Energy

ABC Rural AU, 07/25/14
—The beef industry has been on the defensive this week after a report from the U.S.; the report highlighted the industry's carbon emissions. But northern New South Wales processor Bindaree Beef is trying to prove its green credentials. It's planning to build a bio–gas plant to generate energy by burning methane from cattle waste, including effluent and the contents of cows' stomachs, known as 'paunch'. The waste will be pumped into a sealed container with bacteria that will produce methane to power boilers.

Development manager John Clements says it will be an Australian first. "Almost all of our power comes from coal, and this plant will replace half of that power. Our carbon emissions of around 33,000 tonnes will drop to 16,000 and probably even further. There's no reason why other processors can't do the same thing."


Global Livestock News

USDA Announces New Programs to Assist Sheep Producers

The Prairie Star, 07/28/14—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today two new programs to assist the sheep industry with the production and marketing of their products in the United States. Through the new Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, approximately $1.5 million in grant funds are now available to assist the sheep industry. Additionally, AMS' existing verification program for small–scale livestock producers will now include opportunities for the grass–fed sheep industry.

"USDA is committed to working with sheep producers as they continue to provide quality products and increase their returns here at home," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos. "The Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, as well as inclusion in the USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers, will create new opportunities for growth and innovation within the sheep industry."

What Does the Reporting Mandate for SECD Mean?

By Beth Ferry, Michigan State University Extension, Madonna Benjamin, Michigan State University Extension and Nancy Barr, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development via Bovine Veterinarian, 07/23/14—The USDA issued a federal order on June 5, 2014 requiring reporting of SECD, which includes PEDv and (PDCov). As the USDA works to implement this ruling, producers are asking what will now be required of them. Beginning on June 5, 2014 producers, along with veterinarians and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) are required to report positive PCR tests for Novel Swine Enteric Coronavirus Disease to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services office (USDA APHIS VS) or their state veterinarian's office. This requirement is for new cases or reoccurrence of the disease and will be mandatory with every positive PCR result, whether clinical signs are present or not.

NLPA News Brief

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Prepared by Polly Welden

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