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December 12, 2018
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Researchers Conclude Livestock Have No Detectable Effect on Climate

By Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine, 12/05/18—Cow burps are destroying the ozone layer — we've all heard that one, and frankly, it's time for the industry to ditch that myth once and for all.

Simply stated, beef production isn't just sustainable; it's regenerative. And despite what the naysayers claim, cattle grazing and consuming by–products of crop production play a critical role in our ecosystem.

Yet, the link between cattle and climate change really seems to have caught hold. From the Meatless Mondays folks to the increasing sentiments that plant–based diets are far superior, we have a tough road ahead of us if we are ever going to change public perception and continue to foster feelings of trust and confidence with our consumers about our product.

New research conducted by agrobiologist and scientific researcher Albrecht Glatzle is a good place to start. He is a professor with INTTAS (Initiative for Research and Extension of Sustainable Agrarian Technologies), Filadelfia, Paraguay.

According to newly published research by Glatzle, who has written over 100 scientific papers and two textbooks, "There is no scientific evidence, whatsoever, that domestic livestock could represent a risk for the Earth's climate."

To read the rest of an article at it's source, click on the title.

Livestock and Ag Credit News

Beef Board Will Spend More on Producer Communications

By Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, 12/7/18—The Cattlemen's Beef Board, which administers the one dollar per head national beef checkoff, has increased its budget for producer communications in 2019.

Board chair Joan Ruskamp of Nebraska says they haven't done a very good job of communicating "the great story of the checkoff".

"What concerns me, as I've watched things unfold around our country and the attacks on the checkoff, is that producers don't fully understand the value of the program to keep the beef community—the farmers and ranchers out there—long–term," Ruskamp says. The board need producers "to be on board" with the checkoff, she says.

"We have 'cattle', but we produce 'beef'—and it's really important as producers we recognize the value of making sure beef stays out there on the plate."

Pig Survivability Project to Reshape Pork Industry

Feedstuffs, 12/07/18—A research project led by the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University will seeks to increase pork producers' profits by improving the survivability of their animals.

Across the pork industry, an estimated 30–35% of pigs born die before reaching the market, creating significant economic losses for farmers, Iowa State said. Research indicates that mortality rates across all phases of production have been increasing, presenting a major challenge to animal well–being and sustainability.

An interdisciplinary team of nutritionists, physiologists, veterinarians, well–being and behavior experts, geneticists, toxicologists, extension specialists and economists, will examine the causes of mortality occurring on commercial swine farms, Iowa State said.

The project seeks a full understanding of the biological mechanisms that limit pig and sow survivability, how they interact and how they can be effectively improved.

Could the Pork Industry Benefit From Blockchain?

National Hog Farmer, 12/10/18—What do pork and beef producers, food companies, and bankers have in common? Some of them are exploring how a relatively new way of keeping data, called blockchain, can help their businesses and industries.

"Blockchain is really just a database," says Andy Brudtkuhl, director of emerging technology with the National Pork Board. Brudtkuhl is researching the impacts and implications of the technology applied to the food supply chain and specifically, how it can benefit pork producers.

Blockchain is a list of digital records, called blocks that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a string of numbers and letters produced by a mathematical function – called a cryptographic hash – related to the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, it's difficult to modify. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of the subsequent blocks.

A Call To Action

By Dan Murphy, Drovers, 12/05/18—Here's the situation: After just a few years of alt–meat sector profiling by both mainstream and special–interest media — much of it in the format of a Hallmark valentine, I'll admit — it appears that the following two "facts" have become conventional wisdom:

  1. Consumers are very concerned about the environmental impact of meat production, to the point that millions are becoming vegetarians — at least occasionally — while virtually everyone else is reducing their meat consumption.
  2. Soon, shamburgers will taste and look the same as conventionally produced meat but will require up to 90% less water and produce dramatically less greenhouse gas emissions.
On point No.1, consider this passage from, a supposedly "neutral," business–oriented website: "Many meat eaters find themselves at a crossroads. Many have an interest in helping Earth and reducing their meat consumption because of the industry's negative environmental impacts, but at the same time, they love the taste of meat."

Not a lot of nuance in that statement. Meat production is ruining the planet, and people want to help. But oh gee, darn it. Meat tastes so good, what's a person to do?

That statement is an outright fallacy.

It's quite a leap to presume that "many meat–eaters" are at some crossroads in their dietary decision–making. I mean, when more than 120 million eligible Americans didn't even bother to vote in the last election, I'm not convinced the public is all that concerned about environmental issues, especially when a potential solution might require people to give up something they admittedly love.

On point No. 2, the "90% less water, land and GHG emissions" has achieved the same urban legendary status as the mantra that "3,500 people die every year from foodborne illness." Neither has been validated as other than an educated guesstimate for the latter, and a fanciful daydream for the former.

Both of those increasingly normalized propositions need to be challenged on all fronts by reputable voices within the industry.

Global Livestock News

American Lamb Returns to Japan

Montana Ag Network, News, 12/06/18—After a 15–year absence, American lamb has returned to Japan and some people in the United States sheep industry are excited to have the export market open for business again.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation recently launched American lamb's return to the Japanese market with an educational seminar and tasting event in Tokyo. Greg Ahart, vice president of sales for Superior Farms, participated in the event and was impressed with the interest and enthusiasm.

"After a 15–year absence from the marketplace, seeing the amount of excitement and interest that was present in the room, both from the educational side, as well as when we proceeded to the presentation of products and the tasting, this event was truly something to be part of," he said. "I was completely blown away by the volume and genuineness of the interest expressed." Watch 2:35 video HERE (ad will play).

How China Can Save Its Pigs From Annihilation: Be Like Russia

By Lucca De Paoli and Anatoly Medetsky, Bloomberg, 12/07/18—For Chinese authorities struggling with the rapid spread of a disease that's threatening to devastate the world's largest pig industry, Russia's No. 1 pork producer has the answer –– get bigger and cleaner or get out.

Miratorg, which raises 3 million pigs annually, not only has strict quarantine measures at every level of its farms, but it also bans workers from rearing their own hogs and from hunting wild boar. Such biosecurity measures have enabled it to thrive in the face of one of the world's most dangerous swine diseases.

The disease–control measures are the key reason why Russian pork production is on track to double by 2019 from levels of 2007, when African swine fever began its march across the transcontinental nation. It's evidence that the devastating virus –– which had more than 1,000 separate outbreaks in Russia and almost halved the number of small–scale piggeries –– can be managed.

Global Livestock News

USDA, FDA Announce Joint Cell–Based Meat Deal

By Larry Dreiling, High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, 12/08/18—The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration announced Nov. 16 they will jointly oversee the regulation of cell–cultured food products from cell lines of livestock and poultry.

FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. In a statement, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb described how the two agencies held a public meeting to discuss the use of livestock and poultry cell lines to develop cell–cultured food products.

The 2018 Farm Bill: What You Need to Know

By AgWeb Editors, Farm Journal's PORK, 12/11/18—The following summary of the Commodity Title of the 2018 Farm Bill was created by the office of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R–Tx.)

Economic conditions facing farm country are undeniably bleak. USDA recently announced net farm income is projected to drop 12 percent in 2018, falling to levels not experienced since 2002 when adjusted for inflation. Title I of the conference report exists to aid producers struggling with poor market conditions and the countless other challenges impacting their operations each day.

Passage of the conference report will provide certainty that an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill could not. The agreement reauthorizes and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options through 2023, improves the dairy safety net, continues standing disaster programs, and includes several common–sense improvements to U.S. farm policy.

PLC provides assistance to producers when the market price for a covered commodity falls to critically low levels (below the statutory reference price). ARC provides assistance to producers when actual crop revenue for a covered commodity falls below 86 percent of the benchmark revenue. Producers electing ARC can choose between county (CO) and farm–level (IC) coverage.

Updated election options: The conference report offers producers a new choice between ARC and PLC on a crop–by–crop and farm–by–farm basis, applied jointly to the 2019 and 2020 crop years. Beginning in crop year 2021, producers will have the flexibility to make an annual decision between ARC and PLC on a crop–by–crop and farm–byfarm basis.

NLPA News Brief

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