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NLPA News Brief
April 23, 2014
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Runners Fueled with Beef at 2014 Boston Marathon

By Melissa Slagle, Beef Board News Release, 04/22/14—The national beef checkoff, through its Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), partnered with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council to ensure that runners fueled up with beef prior to the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21. More than 36,000 of the world’s most elite athletes – up by 9,000 compared to 2013 – ran the Boston Marathon on Monday morning.

National Beef Ambassador Team members Tori Summey, Justana Von Tate and Sierra Jepsen were on site to distribute about 3,000 lean beef sticks, recipe brochures and beef nutrition information to expo participants. Visitors enjoyed talking with the Ambassadors about how cattle are raised and the ways to incorporate lean beef into an athlete’s diet.

GIPSA NEWS: 04/22/14

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Silvopasture Incorporates Trees, Grass, Livestock

By Martha Blum, AgriNews, 04/22/14—Silvopasture combines agriculture and trees to create a sustainable farming system.

"Silvopasture is the intentional combining of timber, livestock and forage production," said Jay Solomon, University of Illinois Extension environmental and energy stewardship educator. "The trees provide long–term returns, and the livestock and forage generate annual income."

It is not just turning the cows out in the timber to graze uncontrolled and unmanaged, stressed Solomon during a presentation at the Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference.

McDonald's gives Cargill "Best of Sustainable Supply" Awards

Drovers CattleNetwork, 04/22/14—McDonald's, one of Cargill's largest global customers, honored Cargill today with seven "Best of Sustainable Supply" awards, including two category winners for community impact and economics.

McDonald's bestows the awards to recognize outstanding supplier leadership in helping provide a safe, sustainable and assured supply of food and products for its customers, and to encourage the sharing of best practices in sustainability.

The Climate Police Are At It Again

By Burt Rutherford, in BEEF Daily, 04/22/14—The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a draft report that, once again, questions the value of livestock production and animal protein in the diet. The report, titled "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change," looks at many human activities and attempts to not only tie them to climate change, but to suggest ways those activities can be changed to mitigate the effects of climate change on the globe.

The 18 authors of the agriculture and forestry chapter make some key recommendations. They include soil carbon sequestration through land management changes, no-till farming being chief among them; increasing crop yields and livestock feeding efficiency; reducing food waste; and…drum roll, please … pursuing changing human diets away from food animal production.

Beef industry sustainability expert Jude Capper says that, in 2007, cattlemen were significantly more environmentally sustainable than they were 30 years ago. Her analysis shows that today’s farmers and ranchers raise 13% more beef from 13% fewer cattle. When compared with beef production in 1977, each pound of beef produced today produces 18% fewer carbon emissions; takes 30% less land and requires 14% less water. In short, between 1977 and 2007, U.S. beef producers reduced their overall carbon footprint by 16%.

Bundy Case Is A Requiem For Property Rights In America

By Troy Marshall, My View From The Country, Beef Daily, 04/17/14—I think many, if not most, cattlemen can't understand why Cliven Bundy is considered a hero in some people’s eyes. After all, he didn't pay his grazing fees for 20 years. Of course, like most things, the situation is a little more complicated than it appears at first glance.

This issue goes back over 100 years. After the U.S. government acquired the vast tracts of the West from Mexico, they wanted it settled. But unlike other areas where the government allowed homesteading, the number of acres that the government allowed a settler to stake his claim to simply didn’t constitute a viable economic unit in the West.

'Sheep' It Simple

By Mavis Fodness, Lakefield Standard, 04/21/14—
With more than 30 years of commercial lamb production experience, Westbrook's Roger Knudson knows that he has to "either make it simple or quit" the career path he chose back in the 1980s.

Sheep, he said, fit more easily into his row–cropping schedule because the majority of the sheep work is completed during the winter. The sheep also provided a natural transition for the old, two–story barn located on his grandparents' farm east of Westbrook. While the dry lots adjacent to the 80–year-old barn were too small for a beef operation to expand, it could easily hold several hundred head of sheep. The elimination of multiple ewe locations, saved on labor, Knudson said.

Investors Want to Revive Closed Tama Meat Plant

By Donnelle Eller and Matthew Patane, Des Moines Register, 04/18/14—A long–shuttered meatpacking plant in Tama plans to reopen, potentially employing up to 600 workers. Iowa Premium Beef plans to invest nearly $50 million to turn the former meatpacking plant into a "state–of–the–art beef production facility."

A major investment in the project appears to be coming from Sysco Holdings, a subsidiary of Houston–based Sysco Corp., a $44 billion publicly traded food service company.

Best Measure Of Ranch Sustainability Is Economic Profitability

By James McGranN, BEEF Magazine, 04/17/14
—Sustainability is a buzzword these days, often invoked by food–service providers and retailers who increasingly say they're committed to sourcing food from sustainable beef production systems. Most sustainability definitions note the necessity of an economic or financial component, but the challenge of measuring financial and economic sustainability at the ranch level isn’t effectively communicated.

It's clear that if a ranch's production system isn’t profitable, production will cease, as there’s no economic incentive to maintain, invest or grow the business. And the continued decline in the national beef cowherd reflects an industry that is not being sustained.

Mandatory Reporting of PEDv Considered

By Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News, 04/16/14
—The executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians says his organization does not have a position on mandatory reporting of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in pigs but believes it could help. PEDv is currently not a reportable animal disease but Tom Burkgren tells Brownfield Ag News the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a plan to require it. He says the association may support a plan, depending on its details, "If mandatory reporting comes in and it's a useful tool then, I think, as an industry we will support that. Just as well as we would support anything that would help us get a handle on the virus and getting rid of the virus."

Burkgren says the association is giving the USDA input and prefers a system that protects farmers' data, "We certainly don't want a data collection that's going to put any more stress on producers or veterinarians that there already is from PED."

Deer Won’t Be Livestock

Ozarks First, 04/18/14—An effort to consider a new animal as "livestock" has run out of time in the Missouri state Senate. The new animal is deer.

Senator Brad Lager of Savannah had hoped to pass a bill this year considering captive deer as livestock under control of the state Agriculture Department. TheConservation Department would still take care of deer in the wild.  "The captive deer industry has grown immensely in this country," he says. Lager maintains venison producers run their captive deer operations the same way cattle farmers operate their livestock operations.

But Senator Jolie Justus, whose district includes several central and eastern Missouri rural areas, says it's not as simple as that. "If they were just being raised for food, it would seem like those would be livestock…but I was told these were being raised to be hunted," she says.  And in that case, she suggests, hunting is the province of the conservation department.

Global Livestock News

Japan Has Not Narrowed Trade Differences with U.S.

By Stanley White, Drovers CattleNetwork, 04/22/14
—Japanese officials said on Tuesday there was still a significant way to go before reaching a broad agreement on trade with the United States, a day before President Barack Obama visits for a summit.
A U.S.–Japan agreement is critical to the U.S.–led Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12–nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America. A TPP deal is central to Obama's policy of expanding the U.S. presence in Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also touted the TPP as a main element of his economic strategy to increase growth and shake off years of stagnation.

USMEF Questions Sustainability of Mexican Market

By Tom Steever, Brownfield Ag News, 04/15/14—U.S. beef exports to Mexico are strong so far this year, but there are questions about whether it can continue. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says the value of beef shipped to Mexico from the U.S. is up 40 percent. However, Meat Export Federation Regional Director Chad Russell says that level may be difficult to sustain.

"I think that the price point and the high prices of beef will still create challenges on behalf of the normal Mexican consumer being able to afford those cuts," said Russell, in comments provided by the USMEF.

Mexican beef production suffered from the same drought affecting Texas and the Southwestern U.S. Plus, Russell says Mexico shipped a lot of their feeder cattle to the U.S.

Global Livestock News

USDA Requiring Reporting of Deadly Pig Virus

By Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register, 04/18/14The Agriculture Department announced new steps Friday to slow the spread of a virus that has killed millions of American piglets during the past year.

The government said it will require the reporting of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in order to slow the spread of the disease across the United States. The USDA said while the movement of pigs will still be permitted, it will require the tracking of animal movements, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises. Officials also said Friday they will require tracking and reporting for the Swine Delta Coronavirus, another virus affecting several states.

USDA Announces $150 Million Investment Fund to Grow Small Businesses, Create Jobs in Rural America

USDA News Release, 04/21/14—
New Fund, Established as Part of White House Rural Council's "Made in Rural America" Export and Investment Initiative, Now Allows USDA to Facilitate Private Equity Investments in Agriculture–related Businesses.

As part of the Obama Administration's new "Made in Rural America" export and investment initiative, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will now allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Currently, USDA programs exist to help provide loans or loan guarantees to help rural businesses grow, but many small cutting–edge businesses also need equity support in addition to or instead of borrowed funds.
Advantage Capital Partners, which will manage the new fund, and their partners from eight Farm Credit institutions have pledged to invest nearly $150 million into the new effort.

"This new fund will allow innovative small businesses throughout rural America to access the capital they need to grow and create jobs," Vilsack said.

EPA: New Rule Doesn't Expand Agency's Reach

By Tom Steever, Brownfield Ag News, 04/22/14The Environmental Protection Agency says its proposed Waters of the U.S. rule of the Clean Water Act clarifies which waters are protected. The proposal, however, is drawing criticism from the American Farm Bureau, which says the rule will impose unworkable regulations on the nation’s farms.

In an interview with Brownfield Ag News, Nancy Stoner, EPA's acting assistant administrator for water, reacted to the Farm Bureau assertion that the rule expands regulatory reach to such land features as ditches.

"I can only say that it's wrong," Stoner responded. "It actually, again, does not protect any new types of waters, it retains all of the existing exemptions for agriculture and for every other purpose, for that matter, and it even expands some of them."

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the rule is an end run around congressional intent and U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Stoner tells Brownfield she's aware of the concerns. She says the agency is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USDA to address the concerns.

NLPA News Brief

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