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Grazing the Net

RSS By: Greg Henderson and Friends, Beef Today

Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining. 

Weather Market, Texas water War and More

Feb 25, 2013

Weather market!
There are a lot of feedyard cattle under the blizzard blowing across the South Plains this morning, and it is a serious storm—12 inches before sunup in Amarillo, and still blowing and falling. As Bloomberg (and the futures traders) note it will be enough to impact the market.

It’s been a while since we had a weather market, and they are at best a mixed blessing, especially for those directly under the weather. It’s not just the day or two of snow and blow, it’s the mud that follows. (And, in this case, at least one packing plant has had to close because their folks couldn’t get to work.) On the other hand, the yards have been getting a little behind in their marketing, and a few days of no-gain might help that situation.

Texas water war
This piece is about rice and it’s about one river, but it is emblematic of a problem affecting lots of the country.

It takes lots of feed to grow cattle and it takes lots of water to grow feed. This (current?) drought has focused a lot of attention on water use, and much of that attention has focused on agriculture.

Beef has lots of challenges—and challengers. We’ve paid too little attention to this one.

The nightmare of offering tasty food
The New York Times may keep its editorial and news departments separate, but the news side seems to find a suspicious numbers of the editors’ causes to be newsworthy.

They spent a lot of space this weekend on the nation’s (or their) "obsession" with fast food. One long, well-written and researched Sunday magazine article provided an in depth look at the marketing behind successful fast foods.  I find little fault with those who find so much fault with marketers. I might argue that those who design and sell foods do less damage than those who design and sell political candidates, but who among us will argue that we shouldn’t all eat healthier?

Of course, with mamas and grandmamas working, that isn’t going to happen. So. I guess what we should do is expect food marketers to find ways to sell stuff that people don’t want.  To that end, I took a run by a Whole Foods market in Austin this week. Needed some of the aspirins my doctor has me take daily. At Whole Foods, I couldn’t find normal aspirin, though.

Not that there aren’t rows and rows of sundry abstracts and supplements that I doubt the FDA ever heard of.

I live 300 miles or so from the nearest Whole Foods, so don’t get by there often.  But when we’re in the Big Town, I like to do some anthropological work on the natives and we were in Austin this weekend to see Alseep at the Wheel’s "A Ride with Bob" performance, so figured why not pick up some aspirins while I was there. As it turns out that, had I found aspirin there, I probably couldn’t have afforded it.

How people spend their money is of little concern to me, but these folks are the Time’s base.  That atmosphere is so, so…self-rightous. And so, so….preachy. I suppose it’s all in the niche marketing thing, but how can these people be so demanding of perfection in matters of labeling and food safety  and yet put all sort of Whole Foody miracle potions in their bodies, whether the stuff has been studied or not.

Back to the campaign against fast foods. I’d have more sympathy for the preachiness and best intentions if it wasn’t this very sort of food evangelists whose "one size fits all" dietary guidelines got us into this obesity epidemic to begin with.

The joys of calving season
Here’s a neat little piece about calving from blogger Amy Kirk.

Brazil and Russia get simpatico
"Brazilian officials said Medvedev's visit advanced talks to eliminate sanitary hurdles that are slowing Brazil's meat sales to Russia, its largest buyer. Other agriculture issues also conditioned by sanitary hurdles refer to the purchase of Russian wheat by Brazil, a net importer, and the sale of Brazilian soy meal and pork to Russia."

Global warming and me
I long since gave up on this world doing anything about global warming, so my next question is what does it mean to me and mine.

This study indicates we’ll get less snow in most of the U.S. Normally, I’d consider that bad news, but this particular morning, with the wind blowing 30-plus and the snow falling so hard they’ve parked the snow plows in the Panhandle, I’m not so sure.

It’s tough calving weather hereabouts, anyhow. I’m not complaining. We sure need the wet part. I don’t suppose much will stick to the wheat or the region’s overgrazed pastures, but it will sure be good for the fence rows and brush.

 --Steve Cornett


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