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NLPA News Brief
January 28, 2015
Livestock and Ag Credit News

Plan Calls for Beef Checkoff Fee to Double

By Peggy Lowe, NPR (Net Nebraska), 01/22/15—Cattle producers may get a chance to vote on whether they want to double the increasingly controversial $1 beef checkoff charge. Under a new plan unveiled this week, an industry working group proposed raising the fee to $2 that each producer pays upon sale of an animal, but also set a referendum every five years.

A working group has spent the last three years working on reforming the checkoff, but that ended in frustration last year as U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack failed in an attempt to launch a second checkoff–style program.

"We've been at this for three solid years in trying to find some solutions to an enhancement, and I think really what we arrived at is something that should be palatable to the beef industry," said Scott Stuart, CEO of the National Livestock Producers Association.

This latest plan, a memo of understanding between several large industry groups, would also allow more independent cattle farmers and ranchers on a nominating committee that has some say in who populates a board that makes decisions on spending the roughly $80 million the checkoff generates each year.

GIPSA NEWS: 01/22/15
  • GIPSA Settles a Case with Dearth Livestock, Inc. Resulting in a $3,000 Penalty (PDF; 33Kb)
  • GIPSA Settles a Case with Dyersville Sales Company, Inc. Resulting in a $1,800 Penalty (PDF; 33Kb)
  • El Paso Cattle II, LP, John K. Hudgens, and James D. Hudgens, Have Been Assessed a $15,000 Civil Penalty (PDF; 33Kb)

  • Livestock and Ag Credit News

    Sheep Association Marking 150 Years

    Standard–Times, 01/24/15—The much–anticipated 150th anniversary celebration of the American Sheep Industry Association will debut this week when members from throughout the nation arrive at the JA Nugget Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada, for their annual convention.

    Also meeting in conjunction with ASI are the National Lamb Feeders Association, the American Lamb Board, the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, the National Sheep Improvement Program, the American Goat Federation, the Western Range Association, Sheep Venture Company and the National Livestock Producers Association Sheep and Goat Fund Committee and the Make–It–With–Wool National Contestants.

    Industry issues up for discussion include: wildlife management concerns, scrapie eradication, bighorn sheep management, wolves and compensation to livestock producers for losses, country of origin labeling and the Grow Our Flock program.

    US Food Safety Experts to Audit Scottish Beef

    By Laurence Gibbons, Food Manufacture UK, 01/26/15— US food safety inspectors will audit Scottish beef production following the lifting of a BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) related ban, according to Scottish food secretary Richard Lochhead.

    Why Is McDonalds Being Asked to Go Antibiotic Free

    By Steve Duval, Fox 28, 02/26/15—Those two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame bun may soon be antibiotic–free. Pamela Clough, campaign coordinator of the Stop Antibiotics Overuse Campaign with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group says if the fast–food giant required its suppliers to stop raising meat with antibiotics, it would prompt sweeping changes in the industry. It's estimated that nearly 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in raising livestock and poultry.

    "If they were to make this change, it would be the equivalent of banning antibiotics in meat production in a small country," Clough said. "If they make this commitment, it could really change the paradigm of the market and make antibiotic–free meat more affordable and more accessible for everybody."

    Farm Runoff Solutions Meet with Resistance

    By Todd Hill, Telegraph–Forum, 01/26/15—In Vermont, tax breaks for agricultural producers dating to the late 1970s could be rescinded if farmers don't get a handle on the fertilizer runoff that's finding its way into Lake Champlain, which extends along much of that state's eastern border with New York state.

    Vermont's Democratic governor, Peter Shumlin, made the proposal, which has the support of environmentalists there. Meanwhile, in Maryland, the outgoing Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley, pushed through a regulation that would have banned the application of chicken manure in the state. High nutrient levels have become an issue in the Chesapeake Bay.

    Beef Cattle Welfare Discussed

    By Candace Krebs, BCDemocratOnline, 01/25/15—Retail demand for beef sailed along at a brisk pace last year, despite record high prices, but producers are still facing headwinds when it comes to public perception. Federal agencies that oversee food and drugs, agriculture and the environment, as well as private marketers ranging from high–end Whole Foods Market to the Golden Arches, continue to put greater scrutiny on how cattle are raised.

    Concepts like animal welfare remain vaguely defined and subject to interpretation, however. Little research has been done on pain management and few pain meds are available for use on cattle, for example. CSU is just beginning to devise methods for measuring pain response, including recording numeric chute scores, videotaping how quickly animals leave the chute and electronically monitoring their eating patterns for signs of stress. "We are starting to explore how we look at this scientifically," said Jason Ahola, a beef production specialist at Colorado State University.

    Pig Nutritionists Work to Improve Feed's Nutritional Value

    The Pig Site, 01/23/15—As part of a multi institutional, multidisciplinary research effort being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, researchers are looking at feeding programs for growing–finishing pigs to enhance global competitiveness opportunities across Canada. the feed ingredients themselves, as well as technologies to allow the pig to extract more nutrients from the feed, such as feed additives, or processing, including processing of the ingredient or the entire feed will influence the nutritional value of the feed.

    Farms Can Be Held Liable for Pollution from Manure

    Reuters, 01/16/15—A U.S. federal court has ruled for the first time that manure from livestock facilities can be regulated as solid waste, a decision hailed by environmentalists as opening the door to potential legal challenges against facilities across the country. A large dairy in Washington state, Cow Palace Dairy, polluted ground water by over applying manure to soil, ruled Judge Thomas Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Wednesday. The district court ruling, if upheld, could affect any large livestock facility that produces more manure than it can responsibly manage, including poultry, beef and hog farms.

    Global Livestock News

    Pork Producers, Cattlemen Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

    By Daniel Enoch, AgriPulse, 01/26/15—The National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are urging Congress to renew the president's Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), as a way to help the Obama administration close trade agreements such as the Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    TPA establishes consultation and notification requirements for a president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Once negotiators reach a deal, however, Congress would have to vote up or down on the treaty, with no amendments or filibusters. Congress has granted TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law approved in August 2002 and expiring in 2007.

    "Pork producers and U.S. agriculture are dependent on export markets, so NPPC is going to fight tooth and nail to get TPA passed," NPPC President Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, said today in a news release. In a letter to every member of Congress, Hill argued that trade agreements such as TPP, which is being negotiated with 11 other Pacific Rim nations, are vital to U.S. exports.

    Study Finds COOL Doesn't Hurt Canadian Meat Market in U.S.

    American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter, 01/23/15—A new study by an Auburn University agricultural economist refutes claims from Canadian cattlemen that county–of–origin–labeling (COOL) has hurt Canadian meat producers in the U.S. market. "The U.S. Mandatory COOL regime has not impaired cattle export market access to the United States," writes C. Robert Taylor in a research report prepared for the National Farmers Union (NFU), which supports country–of–origin labeling for meat. Taylor is Alfa eminent scholar and professor at Auburn.

    COOL was enacted in 2008 and requires meat packers who sell in the United States to include a label that tells consumers where the meat was produced. Canada has contested the law with the World Trade Organization, saying it's an unfair trade restriction that has impeded the sale of Canadian meat in the United States.

    Taylor said his study refutes that claim. "The study shows that the price basis actually narrowed somewhat after COOL was enacted, it did not widen," Taylor said in a conference call Thursday sponsored by NFU. "This indicates that Canadians are getting the same price in the United States for like animals as American producers."

    Global Livestock News

    USDA Secretary Orders Update of Animal Welfare Research Strategy

    By P.J. Huffstutter, Reuters, 01/26/15—U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed agency staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days, according to an internal email reviewed by Reuters. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed agency staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days, according to an internal email reviewed by Reuters. What specific training steps would be implemented, and who would be on the independent review panel, is not known.

    FSA Livestock Aid Programs Deadline Jan. 30

    Texas Farm Bureau, 01/20/15—Farmers and ranchers must apply by Jan. 30 to receive disaster assistance related to livestock or grazing losses which occurred between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs.

    The Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Program were reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to provide relief to ranchers impacted by drought, blizzards and other natural disasters.

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