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July 2013 Archive for 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. 

Happy Hogs

Jul 31, 2013

Smithfield Foods gets the whole " I want to know how these animals were treated before they landed on my plate" argument. They’ve developed a clever video explaining how their momma pigs live in a group housing system. Call us crazy, but we think a lot of city-folks will find this downright cute.


Show Us The Money

The trickle down effect of COOL is increasing. Our neighbors to the north are adding an import levy on beef cattle and every beef product crossing into Canada, says the Sacramento Bee. The fee is designed to "level the playing field." Perhaps that’s Canadian for "you say COOL to us, we say ‘show us the money.'"


Buy Me! I’m Tender

Picture this: A busy mom pushes her grocery cart down the meat aisle. She’s texting a co-worker about a meeting, asking her kids to grab a gallon of milk and looking at her watch because the repair man will be at the house in 10 minutes. Never mind the fact she’s trying to select a great piece of meat for her family’s supper. Would a label that says "USDA Tender" or "USDA Very Tender" make that selection process easier? You bet.

Select, Choice and Prime have served our industry well, but USDA is trying a new system that ranks beef by tenderness. And Cargill is the first major processor certified to package officially "tender" products that will display the USDA label. There’s a few with more than a little skepticism the program will work. Just read this editorial in the Fort Morgan Times. But if a processor can back up the tenderness claim, we think the BIG, BOLD letters T-E-N-D-E-R will be an easy grab for most grocery shoppers.


Sleeping with the Enemy

TIME reports Sen. John McCain had some awkward bedfellows yesterday as he opened a discussion on immigration with the AFL-CIO.


Return from the Ice Age

The scientist who cloned the first sheep, Dolly, is considering cloning a mammoth. Yep, they are extinct, but Fox News says the scientist could develop a clone from well-preserved 10,000-year-old blood. This interesting thought leads to the term de-extinction. (Maybe that will be in next year’s spelling bee.)

In other cloning notes, the American Quarter Horse Association lost their battle against registering cloned horses. Although registering these high-priced copies is not available yet, Amarillo.com reports this lawsuit may pave the way.


That Pig is Someone

Some animal activists are hoping you’d be a little uncomfortable eating a pork chop if you knew just how intelligent that pig was. The Farm Sanctuary, an animal protection and vegan-advocacy group, launched a campaign aimed to demonstrate that farm animals are more intelligent and emotionally complex than we think. The idea is that a farm animal is "someone" not "something." Here’s the scoop from mid-Missouri's KRCG.


Variety Meat Vitality

Although sitting down at a plate of beef tongue is probably not at the top of your best dining experiences, many consumers across the world delight in the dish. Here’s an interesting read on how market access to other countries swings the value of variety meats.


Other News Bites...

• A federal judge sentenced a meat processing worker to probation for mislabeling meat. Food Safety News has the details.

• Who can turn down a story that starts out "Two fiscal cliffs ago..."? Here’s Policymic’s latest on food stamps and the farm bill.
 

Laboring Legislation

Jul 30, 2013

Although the immigration debate isn’t top shelf news for the mainstream media this week, Agri-Pulse highlights why immigration reform is important to agriculture. They cite a White House report that states 43% of crop and livestock workers are noncitizens. Thus it’s important for these workers to have a path to citizenship, they say. We won’t take political sides, but if 43% of the ag labor force left, a fast food strike would be the least of the food industries worries.


Super-sized Wages?

It may be time to raid your loose change jar. The Huffington Post says a University of Kansas study shows that if McDonald’s doubled the salaries and benefits of their employees, it would raise the price of a Big Mac just 68¢. The study earned some press when fast food workers went on strike yesterday. Wonder if they'd make twice as much if they’d buy more beef?
Here’s NBC’s take.


Canadian Cattle are COOL

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is pulling out all the stops trying to delay COOL, says the Tulsa World. The group filed an injunction to hold off implementing the policy, which is scheduled to take effect in November.


Ag-Not-Gagged

Indiana is the latest state to jump on the ban-ag-gag bills, according to Food Safety News. The legislation, which outlawed undercover animal activists from applying for jobs in animal facilities under false pretenses, was vetoed by the Hoosier governor. Animal groups like PETA have effectively killed ag-gag laws in at least 11 states. We guess ag managers will need to add a "yes/no – member of PETA" answer blank to their job applications. After all, we’re sure any whistle-blowing-under-cover-animal-activist will flash their HSUS membership card at their job interview.


Farmer Fridays

It sure sounds better than Meatless Mondays, and a group from Oregon is promoting Pro-Pasture Fridays to encourage locals to purchase pasture-raised meats one day per week. The "healthier life for animals and the economic support for farmers" go hand-in-hand, it says. Although we like the general idea of promoting local agriculture, be careful not to slide off the anti-grain-fed angle of this story.


Neighbor Friendly

Feedstuff’s highlights a positive solution to a growing problem – ag businesses existing harmoniously with their non-ag neighbors. Interestingly, while those in agriculture appear more concerned with following the law when it comes to their neighbors, the neighbors are more concerned with aesthetics when it comes to agriculture.


Weedless Worry

Grist offers this in today’s news: Herbicides linked to farmer depression. OK, we won’t discount their study, but there was no mention of drought, stress, commodity prices, labor struggles, stress, input prices, government regulations, stress, making ends meet, stress ... you get the picture.


Hang Him High

A crime as old as mankind ... well, not THAT old, but the crime of cattle rustling is in the news again. This time an Oklahoma district judge is involved. No, he’s not hearing the case. He IS the case. The former Lincoln County District Judge was indicted on 26 felonies for embezzlement and cattle theft.
 

A Friend in Mother Nature

Jul 29, 2013

Rain throughout the Southern Plains have washed away the dust on our "good news" sign when it comes to feeder cattle. Cattle Network reports good competition for feeders, and with the corn crop enjoying cooler temps, AgWeb says, December corn is well below $5. Maybe those with cattle in the feed yard can see some black ink in the near future instead of just red.


Bright Blogger

If your friends are asking questions about antibiotics in the beef supply, the Mom at the Meat Counter recently blogged some interesting and down-to-earth scientific facts on the subject. These could come in handy at the water cooler.


Better Brown Bag It

Workers from several fast food chains are going on strike today, demonstrating their distaste for their anti-super-sized wages. You may also have a tough time purchasing clothing at Macy’s or undies at Victoria's Secret. The Washington Post reports they are headed to the picket line as well.


Savory Science?

But never fear...if you’re still looking for a burger, London has the answer. How about a little in-vitro beef? Sheer bliss can be found in a 5-oz. burger of synthentic meat, grown in a laboratory from the stem cells of a slaughtered cow, says the Daily Mail. Intrigued? Before you jump across the pond to try this devine masterpiece, check on the value of the U.S. dollar. This delightful dining experience cost £250,000 to produce, and today that’s upwards of $384,000. Never mind the fact that the uncooked product is grey and slimy, somewhat resembling raw oysters or squid.
As if that didn’t turn your head enough, perhaps the biggest underlying problem with this story in the Independent is the professor who created the product claims that "animals are very inefficient" at producing meat. Has he checked out what his burger costs?


Leftover Swap

We’re not sure, but this sounds like the food version of Wife-Swap—an app that lets you swap your leftovers with someone else that has too much of a good thing. Proponents say it’s a great way to waste less food. Others caution a food safety hazard. We think we’ll pass....


Open for Business

Good news for cattlemen on the High Plains. OKC West Stockyards has reopened after it was demolished in the May 31 EF5-rated tornado that struck the El Reno and Oklahoma City areas. The auction barn was closed for just 53 days as most of their entire facility was rebuilt. If you’re losing a little faith in humanity, read how the neighboring auction barn in Woodward, Okla., not only helped OKC’s customers, but also gave OKC West the commission on those sales. Oklahoma Farm Report has the details.


Farm Bill Still Flopping In the Air

We are running out of things to report related to the farm bill because, honestly, there’s not much to report. Fox News says Obama won’t agree to any spending cuts and Agri-Pulse reports the House and Senate are about as close as to a compromise on the farm bill as the British and the Colonists were to sitting down for tea in Boston in 1773.


Free Isn’t Really Free

Grist reports the FDA wants free-range chickens to have free range, but just not near other animals—especially wild birds or mice. They go so far as to suggest farmers install fences or netting to keep them away from other animals. Hmmm...free range at its best?


Farm Kings

If the thought of reality TV makes you roll your eyes, jump over to GAC this Thursday evening for Farm Kings. We haven’t seen an episode yet, but Farm & Ranch Living says the show is about four brothers who just want to make farming cool again. We’re all for that.
 

Beef Is Movin' On Up

Jul 26, 2013

No, beef producers are not heading to a deluxe apartment in the sky, but with feed prices expected to drop and pastures slowly being restored, it looks like they might be "mooving" back up in the industry, according to this Beef Today story. Since 2007, beef has taken a beating from the drought conditions and high feed costs. Today, at least feed costs are heading the right direction. Now, if we could only get COOL off our backs, we may actually have something to celebrate. Of course, that is if a certain LA pro-labeling spokesperson can handle border ranchers getting a few cattle from Mexico. One battle at a time. At least the beef industry is heading up while the feed costs are heading down. Be thankful for small miracles.


Speaking of Droughts...

The Grist’s "Thought for food" segment gives us some food for thought. With so much of the country’s pastures in recovery from drought, or in some cases still ravished by drought, it made one Grand Canyon goat farmer wonder how the heck they do it in the desert. So, like any curious agrarian, he set out to the Sahara to learn the art of dry farming. The article notes that farmers often seek new technologies to keep them farming the same way but instead they need to combine adaptation and innovation to create a new and better way of farming in drier weather. Naturally, it is better to work smarter, not harder.


COOL Hits New Zealand

If you live in New Zealand, expect to see some new labeling on your beef and lamb. Retailers are now using either the "New Zealand Beef and Lamb" quality mark for local meat or the "Product of Australia" label for imported meat. Apparently, this issue of labeling is "becoming increasingly important to Kiwis." The people, not the fruit.


Hey! Hay’s For Sale

Livestock farmers need hay, hay farmers need to sell hay, but how do we get this seemingly perfect pair together? We start a website, of course. It’s like Match.com but without all the embarrassing questionnaires and disappointment. Do you need to buy or sell hay? Find the match that’s right for you.


Another Animal Abuse Expose

National Geographic has teamed up with the "reputable" source Mercy for Animals to investigate animal abuse at meat and dairy farms. We're sure this expose, which airs July 31, will be completely unbiased and show both sides of the story. Yeah, right!


Beef Cuts

The Beef Checkoff released its shiny new 12-page, four-color booklet on beef cuts, weights and yields.
 


Just for Fun

Everyone wants to get healthy...well, kinda. We like to think about getting healthy, but actually going through with it is something else entirely. So, here’s a video from Grist.org that teaches you all you need to know about eating healthy...kinda.
 


Have a Drink on Beef

Nothing like a good cocktail to wind down the week and wind up for the weekend. How about sippin’ on a Beefy Tomato to start the weekend right. Get the recipe for this Bloody Mary with spicy beef jerky and other drinks at The Daily Beast.
 


 

COOL Is Anything But

Jul 25, 2013

The fight continues over mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef as a lawsuit was filed earlier this month arguing that requiring that label is unconstitutional and bad for business, says Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram. Cattlemen’s groups don’t see the difference between southern cattle on one side of the Mexican border and the other, and Canada is mad too, threatening to start a trade war.

On the other side of things—a pro-labeling groups’ spokesperson, from LA, says to a rancher who doesn’t see the point of sorting his 4,000 head before he sells them: "If he doesn’t want to segregate his cattle, then he shouldn’t get cattle from Mexico." Oh, how we love it when city folks offer such useful advice.

Read more about how COOL is still a hot topic.


New Legislation to Keep Your Personal Info Private

NCBA gives kudos to Senators Grassley and Donnelly for introducing legislation Tuesday to protect livestock producers’ personal info from being passed around by the EPA. It’s called the Farmer Identity Protection Act. NCBA’s past president J.D. Alexander says this is a step in the right direction to fix a problem created by the "incestuous relationship between environmentalists and the EPA."

NCBA’s press release has the details.


New York Times Gives Farmers Advice

The New York Times weighs in on how prolonged heat and drought are affecting food production in the West. Gary Paul Nabhan suggests spreading compost on fields, collecting rainwater and reusing grey water, and "initially focusing on edible tree crops and perennial pastures—rather than providing more subsidies to biofuel production from annual crops."

He also points out that "last year, some farmers made more from insurance payments than selling their products."

We’re not sure about the "tree crops," but the rest sounds good for ranchers. Don’t miss any of his tips by reading the whole story.


Inquisitive Aussies

A group of Australian farmers made the long trip to the Midwest U.S. to tour two John Deere dealerships and a Caterpillar equipment factory. But, cattle were the topic of discussion as they toured purebred beef operation Sydenstricker Genetics in Mexico, Mo. Blogger Sara Brown was there to help answer their questions on everything from youth agriculture programs, to grain marketing to smartphone apps.

She has the scoop on her Beef Today blog.


Pet Pig Gets Cancer Treatment

When Nemo, George Goldner’s pet pig, wasn’t feeling well, he took him to Cornell University Hospital for Animals, where he was diagnosed with cancer. Though a pig has never been treated for cancer before, after four months and maybe tens of thousands of dollars, Nemo is in remission.

The Huffington Post has this unusual pig's tale.
 

PETA Goes Too Far, Again

Jul 24, 2013

By relaunching its previously banned billboard comparing eating meat to smoking, PETA has once again exaggerated and misrepresented itself right into the spotlight.


FoodNavigator.com has the details on this "new" billboard and why the Advertising Standards Agency told PETA, "eating meat is not like smoking."


Drinking Water From the Toilet

It’s not just for dogs anymore. A new "toilet to tap" water purification system which recycles sewer water and makes it clean enough for drinking will open in San Francisco this fall. But, despite costing $68 million, public perception is keeping it for "fire hydrants, landscaping and electrical fountains." Guess Californians aren’t that thirsty, yet. CBS News San Fran has the story.


Who Are Food Corporations Asking About Food?

Food corporations are asking for help making healthy, great-tasting food. And guess whom they are asking? Chefs. Who would have thought? "It can be as simple as using fresh herbs to replace salt or raisin paste to replace sugar. They’re learning it’s not as hard as they might have thought."

New York Times has the story. Although, we’re not convinced any amount of fresh herbs or raisins can make tofu taste like steak.


1 in 100 Immigrants is a DREAMer, King Says

Iowa Republican Steve King is taking a beating today for his comments on immigration and the DREAM Act. He said, "For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." He continues. Here’s the video.

Washington Post says those types of comments prove he is prejudiced and should be kicked out of the Republican party.


Another Reason Ticks Are More Than Just "Icky"

The Heartland virus, which was first identified last year in two farmers in Missouri, was confirmed to be caused by ticks. The two men were all right, but had to spend about 12 days in the hospital. Bottom line: Ticks can be hard to avoid, unless you have an office job, so be sure to protect yourself from the nasty critters. This is just another in the long list of diseases they carry.

Fox News has the story and tips on keeping them at bay.


Myth: Wyatt Earp the Vigilante

Everyone’s heard of Wyatt Earp. No doubt, gunfights and justified killing is what he’s known for, but the Daily Beast challenges that his legacy "is not about the redemptive power of violence, but the redemptive power of the media."

It seems like a stretch to us, but read it yourself and see if they make some valid points.


Who Doesn’t Love a Good Burger?

The Huffington Post is hosting a best fast-food burger contest. There are four rounds of deathmatch-style voting, pitting classics like the Burger King Whopper against newcomers’ like Five Guys’ cheeseburger.

Round 2 is on right now. Vote here.

Politicians Can't Win for Trying on Immigration Reform

Jul 23, 2013

Immigration reform is a divisive issue. Or is it? A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows that maybe Americans aren’t that divided. But throw politics in the mix and things get wishy-washy. According to the article from the Post, "The findings also underscore how the legislative battle ahead presents House Republicans with the prospect of satisfying the party’s base at a cost of diminishing the party’s prospects of winning future national elections."

The paper also weighs in on why "The House will not pass the Senate immigration bill."

Meanwhile, more and more people are dying trying to cross illegally into the country. USA Today has the story.


The Fight Is On

PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to overturn Utah’s new law "prohibiting undercover filming while trespassing at farm operations, saying it restricts free expression," says the Huffington Post. General counsel for PETA says, "We hope the court will find against the special interest profiteers who know the public will reject meat and dairy if they see what happens to animals before they end up on a plate," Kerr said. Wait—who’s PETA calling a "special interest profiteer"?


Who Is Ted Turner, Really?

Author Todd Wilkinson just released a new book about the infamous Ted Turner and his "quest to save a troubled planet." Which, as we all know, means buying massive amounts of land and turning buffalo out on it. Wilkinson says he wanted to be disappointed as he interviewed him five times over 10 years as Turner acquired 2 million acres, but ultimately, wasn’t. High Country News asks about the issues we want to know about Turner—and begs the question—is Ted Turner a good guy after all?


Looking to Expand? Try Venezuela.

Apparently, Venezuela has "30 million hectares of prime land with great agriculture potential," reports MercoPress.com. Expect to fight China for it, though. China has been looking to form "alliances and agreements" to feed its booming population, since it has only 7% of the world’s agricultural land. Read more about it, and maybe hope your neighbor doesn’t decide to sell out.


Stay Away from Fruits and Veggies

People are getting sick from eating frozen berries, cucumbers and basil. Barfblog reports that basil used to make pesto may be giving people botulism, frozen berries are still linked to Hepatits A outbreaks, now in Ireland, and 73 Americans got salmonella from cucumbers. We’ll stick to beef. But if you’re still concerned, read the details.

 

 

Summer Feedlot Slump Won't Last Long

Jul 22, 2013

Few were surprised to see USDA’s Cattle on Feed report last Friday show a 3% drop in cattle feedlot inventories compared to this time last year. Our Pro Farmer analysts call the report neutral. But Archer Financial Services blogger Dennis Smith has his eyes on placements of 800 lb. calves—placements from March to June were up 17.5% from last year—setting the stage for larger-than-expected beef production this fall. Nope, we won’t be running out of steak anytime soon.


Give Me More Beef, Please

On the heels of the neutral Cattle-On-Feed report, cattlemen can keep breathing easy. Domestic beef consumption was up (slightly) for May, after three consecutive down months. Retail prices were just a dime less than the all-time high set in March. All while U.S. beef exports racked up a solid 6.2% increase for May. Yep, U.S. beef is still king. Let’s celebrate with steak on the grill.

Here are some great recipes.


Russians Set to Resume Talks on U.S. Beef Imports

A foreign news service reported last week that Russia’s agricultural authority will resume talks with its American counterparts today over ending the embargo on U.S. meat. The Russian government banned supplies of beef and pork from the U.S. in February over the use of beta-adrenaline stimulators that are forbidden in that country. The Russians are looking for a guarantee of "veterinary purity," according to a government release, and they want the U.S. to pay for it.


Hope for Drier Pastures

North Dakota State University researchers are saying that drylot beef cow production can be a viable alternative to pasture cow-calf production. Feed cost and quality and careful herd management practices are key to drylot production. Read more about the six-year study.


Rancher Sorta Crosses Cow with Panda

Some might see it as a crime against nature. We think it's just darn cute. A rancher in Roy, Wash., recently succeed in his quest to breed a miniature cow that looks like an endangered Chinese panda bear. Apparently no bear was involved in the process, yet the young animal has a white face with black hair around the eyes. How could that be? The cow is allegedly stopping traffic along a Washington state highway.


Drop Those Chops

The pork industry is trying to cash in on higher beef prices, as evidenced by the National Pork Board’s latest campaign. The campaign promises consumers weekly price comparisons between pork and beef cuts, new recipes and the chance to win prizes. We sure don’t mind a good pork chop, but not when we’re craving a Porterhouse.


Roast Beef on the Cheap

In celebration of its 49th anniversary, fast-food chain Arby’s is dropping the price of its signature roast beef sandwich to the 1964 price of 64 cents. Too bad it’s only a one-day deal.
 

Help Wanted: Cowboy

Jul 19, 2013

If times are getting a little tough on the ranch, the town of Fairfax, Virginia, is in need of a cowboy after an "urban farmed" cow got out. We’re not sure what’s funnier...the idea that she eluded police for three days, or the vernacular used to write about the cow that "was pretty hormonal." Many of the neighbors mistook the cow for a bull. After all, it has to be a bull; it has horns! The Grist and SF Gate have all the moo-ving details.


Who Said Nothing’s for Free?

Wondering where your $1 per head goes? All Beef Checkoff meetings during the Cattle Industry Summer Conference are free to attend for "investors," aka those who paid their $1 per head. All kidding aside, go see what your money is doing for our industry.


Looking for Grass? Try Indonesia

After beef prices shot up, Reuters reports Indonesia has opened its doors to unlimited imports of live cattle. Previously, a quota was in place to help protect the domestic beef industry. According to The Guardian, Australia stands to cash in.


India’s Answer — Make the Teachers Eat It First

India’s lunch room tragedy occurred in one of its poorest states, where families depend on the free school lunches to feed their kids. Now the government has implemented a new "food safety" requirement—make the teachers taste the food before it is served. The Guardian has the details.


Another Victim of the Drought

Arkansas ranchers are dealing with an old foe—blackleg. The nasty clostridial often rears its ugly head in times of drought, when cattle are grazing closer to the ground.


Progress in Washington

Finally! Those inside the beltway are getting something accomplished. Is it the Farm Bill? Immigration? No, but they named a new head of the EPA. And it only took 136 days to do it, says Grist. The environmental-slanted pub even offered the new head honcho their own sarcastic "good luck!"

Politico says farm bill negotiations are ongoing, with the Democratic ag chair "confident" a new farm bill will emerge. We’re more than a little skeptical, but at least the discourse has brought new attention to the matter. Economists offer a few varying viewpoints, thanks to Agri-Pulse. And not everyone says the food-farm split was a bad thing.


Domicile Delusion?

Nothing like driving out to your lakefront weekend house to mow and discover the house is missing. Fort Worth contractors hired to demolish a dilapidated house apparently bulldozed the wrong address... Yahoo says the city calls it "a mistake." Ya think?


Your Friday Warm-Fuzzy-Feeling

Here’s a list that many of us can relate to: 25 Things I Want My Ranch Kids To Know.
 

We’re not Gonna Take It!

Jul 18, 2013

 
No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it, any more! Got you singing today, right? Well, that was Vilsack’s message to corn growers yesterday – don’t "take" the lack of progress on the Farm Bill. Agri-Pulse has the details.
 
And since separating the "food" from the "farm" bill has turned into a PR nightmare for Republications, Politico writes that Chairman Lucas says there’s nothing stopping them from putting the "food" back in the legislation.
 

Summer Slump

While some of the country has enjoyed below-normal temps and much needed rain, other areas are dealing with heat and humidity. And cattle are no different. Experts warn it’s important to keep the cows cool, says the DesMoines Register.
 
According to WBBJ.com, the heat is resulting in smaller cattle. An Oklahoma State study showed that for every degree the temperature rises, $1 billion (yes, that’s with a B) in cattle revenue would be compromised.
 
Apparently the heat is also affecting consumers, as fewer grill outdoors. Bloomberg says that’s to blame for a lackluster futures market.
 
But in China, consumers can’t get enough of beef. Although, Australia and New Zealand are the leading beef exporters to China, Merco Press offers the idea that the Chinese could build or buy a processing facility in the US, much like they’ve done with Smithfield.
 

Not So Wild

If you’ve seen land impacted by feral hogs, -- or worse yet, own acreage ravaged by the beasts -- we’re not sure you will agree with the NY Times assessment of the USDA’s Wildlife Services department.
 

Porkalicious?

If you live next to a restaurant that cooks 300 pounds of bacon a day, apparently you can get tired of the smell. A San Fran eatery was forced to close because "bacon byproducts can smell like paint or wet cardboard." The diner is back open, with a new ventilation system. Ironically, we’ve never heard someone complain about the smell of ribeyes over an open flame.

Rain Ticket, Please

Would you wait in line for five hours to watch it rain? We know plenty of ranchers would. And apparently so will New Yorkers, says the NY Times. Droves are waiting outside the Museum of Modern Art for hours on end to step into the Rain Room. We will let you know if the exhibit goes mobile…coming to a pasture near you.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Beef!

Iowa 4-Hers are doing all they can for beef demand this week, offering a Hot Beef Sundae at the state fair food stand. It even comes with a "cherry" on top.

Sure Bet

We all knew wresting (the WWE kind) was rigged. But now it’s been proven. A social media guru correctly named the winner of 38 matches before they slammed each other. But don’t bother running to Vegas. Bookies have pulled the WWE from their offerings.

It’s What Bernanke Didn’t Say…

Jul 17, 2013

 

The Fed chief is testifying today, saying for the time being, the Fed will continue to help the economy along with low interest rates and bond purchases. But he also scolded lawmakers for their lack of fiscal policy decisions, such as the debt ceiling, says CBS News. Well, Mr. B., those of us in ag feel the same way when it comes to policy decisions, such as the farm bill.
Agriculture is doing its part in the jobs department, reports USA Today.
 

Plainview’s Good News

It’s the best news the town of Plainview has heard in the last several months – the Labor Department has granted a $2.1 million request for job training and other employment services. We just hope there’s a few people left in the town to take advantage of the grant after Cargill closed its packing plant there. Here’s the scoop from Amarillo.com.
 

Sad Day in India

We often make light of regulations and politics here. But after reading about 20-plus school children who died soon after eating their government-funded school lunch, we think everyone understands the need for a balanced approach, and undoubtedly a safe food supply.
 
From the NY Times.
 

The Barf Blog reports the teachers and administration have fled.
 

You Ate Your QR!

More and more beef suppliers are opening the doors of transparency when it comes to humane handling. According to QSR, Meyer Natural Foods has launched a program of their own, guaranteeing the wellbeing of their beef prior to harvest.
 
A California sushi exec is taking this one step further, adding an edible QR code to show fish eaters where their fish came from, says the Grist.
 
That leads us to the lawsuit against the USDA regarding meat labeling. The Billings Gazette offers this take, but perhaps those who make their living growing meat need to do a better job explaining the problems with COOL. Does it look like we’re hiding something?
 

Farm Bill Fowl

Lack of a Farm Bill claims an unlikely victim, reports the Grist.
 

Keeping a Hawk-eye on the Governor

Environmental groups are irate with the Iowa governor, saying he’s trying to influence top officials at the EPA regarding runoff regulations.
 
 

Coffee, sans Sandwich

Starbucks may have great coffee, but their choice in ham suppliers was anything but celestial. After reports of spoiled sandwiches and meat containing "harmful bacteria," the coffee chain cut ties with Wellshire Farms. Now they are suing them. The Daily Meal reports.
 

Your Part of History

For those of you who wake up every morning and say, "I wish my story could be in the Smithsonian," now’s your chance
 

 

No Crown for the King

Jul 16, 2013

We just drove by Burger King, and there weren’t many cars. Maybe its because people aren’t rushing to try their new veggie burger. Even a self-proclaimed veggie burger aficionado from NPR says the only good thing about this "burger" is that it separates the top and bottom bun.


Ring of Fire

Howard Perryman is in the hot seat, and officials think there are many more involved in a cattle theft ring that spans several states. The News Leader has the details.


Not Old News in Oregon

We’ve flipped the calendar twice since the news of GMO wheat n Oregon broke. And it’s been on the front page of Oregonlive.com almost every day. Today’s installment: Japanese officials are in town to check things out for themselves. Up to 90% of that area’s soft wheat is exported to Asia.


Your Nose Knows

Here’s a case for a box of Kleenex and a good nose blowing at the end of the day. Researchers say they’ve found traces of drug resistant bacteria in the nasal passages of those who work with livestock that are treated with antibiotics. However, the researchers could not prove a cause-effect relationship.


Beef Exports Up, Could be Better

Russia may be opting out, but Japan is happy to have plenty of U.S. beef, the meat federation reports.


Death in the Details

The National Ski Association and the Canadian Snowbird Association – both groups with a stake in the immigration legislation. See what else is in the Senate’s version of this porky legislation. McClatchy reports on immigration and the farm bill.


Big Oil Not So Big in Iowa

Corn is King in Iowa, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) all but admitted that. The API launched a media blitz against the ethanol mandate...but Iowans won’t see the ads.
 


Who’s Playing Fair?

Is the pot calling the kettle black? The Guardian reports D.C. might scale back their NSA program of data collection and surveillance. Hmm. Is that so the EPA has more time to release sensitive information to animal rights activists?


Cowboys Beware

While D.C. argues about immigration, California farmers are finding ways to worry less about labor. The AP reports researchers there have developed a robot that can tend to delicate fruit and vegetable fields, replacing tedious jobs that took as many as 20 people. Reckon we’ll see R2D2 riding a horse using a light saber to pull sick calves one day?


I’m a Rancher

Ranching was the spotlight of the UK’s The Gaurdian’s spotlight on working in America. Louisiana ranchers open up to the Brits about a typical day on an American farm and ranch, and provides a little insight into where American beef comes from.


Cool Solution

If you have trouble sleeping at night due to cattle prices, corn forecasts, the lack of rain or too much of it, a sleep expert offers this advice in The Guardian – put your pillow in the fridge.


Temp It

The Barf Blog makes light of the Jersey Isle news’ suggestion for Britians to cook meat until it’s "piping hot." But that makes perfect sense. I’m sure they don’t sell meat thermometers across the pond.


Barefoot Beer Drinkers, Beware

Ever think mosquitos love you more than others? Recent research proves the pesky vampires do have preferences, Yahoo reports... In a nutshell, don’t drink beer, barefoot, during a full moon.
 

Divide and Conquer: Farm Bill Opinions

Jul 15, 2013

 

There's apparently no news on the farm bill, but there sure are lots of opinions.
 
Daryll E. Ray & Harwood D. Schaffer suspect there is more trouble ahead as farm bill supporters lose their food stamp supporting allies.
 
The NYT's Paul Krugman thinks it proves Republicans are "mean spirited"
 
The WaPo agrees with Krugman, of course.
 
The Wall Street Journal sees the same split Ray and Schaffer see, but think it's great that that farm and food stamp lobbies may have lost their symbiotic powers.
 
Congressman King thinks splitting the bill was a bad idea, but says it didn't happen because Republicans hate poor folks.

Tax Reform Quixotes

NPR reports on a couple of congressmen's tilt at the tax reform windmill.

The Swedes Like Us. They Really Like Us

We just returned from a personal trip to Sweden and return more bullish than ever about the potential for U.S. beef exports to Europe. This piece (you may have to hit the "translate" button)
 
from a Swedish news service pretty well sums up what we found in our conversations.
 
There is "official" concern about U.S. production practices, but the beef is so good that people want it, anyway. Having made a yeoman's effort to sample all we could, we suggest there is much improvement possible. They haven’t learned how to cook grainfed beef. They still want all those sauces it takes to make their EU-produced beef tasty. But we'll sell them a lot more beef in the future if the politics will allow it.

Let’s All Eat Feral Hogs and Starlings

Anybody who supports anything that might lead to the demise of a feral hog is a friend of ours. The Atlantic includes the swine in their list of invasive species that should be eaten.

Too much rain, too much ergot

Jeff Caldwell's take on a NDSU release about the threat to cattle in the wet parts of the U.S.

More COOL Debate

NCBA's Colin Woodall explained concerns about the Country of Origin Labeling regs, while supporters are hoping you'll sign their petition endorsing the rules.

Southeast Missouri Finally gets a Cattle Theft Suspect

This doesn't say how DNA got on the paper towel that led to the arrest of this Ozarkinan cattle theft suspect, but something tells us it would be a case of CSI: TMI

Brazil Sets a New Beef Export Record

Brazilian beef export revenues reached a record $3 billion in the first half of 2013...the story is not as good for pork.

 

Smells to Remember

Here's an interesting idea: An "odor camera" to capture smells you can smell later, like in an odor album. We'll go for fresh cut alfalfa and branding iron fires.
 

 

 

Farm Bill Flop

Jul 12, 2013

The Farm Bill passed the House yesterday – yippee! The legislation has $195 billion for the next 10 years for crop insurance and conservation programs. Alright! No mention of food stamps this go-round. Hmm, OK. NCBA issued a modest "thanks," although everyone knows the bill is as dead as the tree it was printed on. We might as well be farming with Monopoly money, because that’s as real as this farm bill is gonna get.
 
Here’s the take from the New York Times.
 
At first thought, separating ag policy and food stamps made a lot of sense. But now republicans look like they care more about subsidizing farmers than feeding hungry children. Not the best PR campaign for American agriculture.
 
 

Rancid Rules

As if it wasn’t rank enough in Washington, now the powers-that-be are fighting over how to fight. Forget immigration, food stamps and the farm bill. These Senate geniuses are arguing about changing the rules of how they argue. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave. The Washington Post reports.

No-Fly Zone

How does a Kansas feedyard make the news in North Jersey? When a Jersey photographer paraglides over a Garden City feedlot to take pictures for National Geographic, that’s how. Kansas officials arrested the photog on trespassing charges, says NorthJersey.com. Apparently the century-plus old publication whose slogan is "inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888" is doing a story on food. We think it’s time to add their website to our daily perusing. Here’s a story they have on food fraud.

Appreciate a Cow Today

Amidst all the quibble in Washington, we almost overlooked the fact that today is National Cow Appreciation Day! According to Yahoo! News, it’s also Paper Bag Day (July 12, 1859, was when the paper bag was patented) and Simplicity Day – marking the b-day of Henry David Thoreau, whose book "Walden" was a tribute to living simply. So pay for a burger out of your leather wallet while wearing your leather soled shoes, put said burger in a paper bag, and enjoy it sitting on a park bench while admiring the simplicity of life. No cell phones allowed.
 
And we’ve got to hand it to Chick-fil-A. Their chic marketing takes full advantage of Cow Appreciation Day, offering free chicken to anyone who enters – wearing a cow costume.
 
Here are 9 suggestions from AgWeb on how to celebrate the day.

Hold the Salmon

So we hear you should eat fish high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids at least once a week. Hold that thought…Time says now it seems all those Omega-3s are upping the cancer risk.

McFlops

Did you ever wait in line for a McCrab or a McLobster? Well, we didn’t either. But in case you’re curious, here are the Top 10 McDonald menu flops, according to The Daily Meal.

Meaty Competition

Our civilized friends across the pond are deluging into food eating competitions, says The Independent.. One is at a burger joint called MEATliquor. Reckon that’s print-worthy on the vacation brochure?

A Stamp-Free Farm Bill

Jul 11, 2013

It sounds like the House leadership will try to pass a food stamp free farm bill, perhaps today. That would be a huge deal if it mattered. If the budget hawks succeed, it would leave the few remaining farm-centric congressmen to man the ramparts of farm support policy--and they probably would find much less money to pass out. Fortunately for those of us who like the free money, the Senate isn't going to play along and, even if both houses did agree, the President says he'd veto the thing. Our bets go on another extension.

Politico's take.

Fox News.
 

Daryl Ray says it would be a big mistake to split the farm bill.


Senators Wonder What’s in Smithfield’s China Closet

Several Senators worry about the Chinese getting our pig secrets.

Read these takes from the New York Times and CBS News.


Catching Heat on COOL

Just browsing the internet this morning...we get the idea the meat industry's suit against USDA is ginning up mostly negative publicity. No mention of the trading partners' pending reprisals. No questions to the Bullards about the difference in market-oriented labeling and government-mandated labeling. No attention to the cost. The reporter--and most of the others we read--just assume that labeling is "good." No matter the cost or how much how many consumers give a darn.
 


Immigration Bill: Dead to Deader

The immigration reform bill has been looking dead since it twitched out of the Senate. Still acts dead. Maybe deader. This House will have none of it.
 


Getting Relief Down Under

We mean higher cattle prices in Australia, of course.


We Believe this Court is saying it's OK to Knock an Unruly Dog in the Head...

Our fathers and their fathers and their fathers would probably agree. We're not sure our kids will. Here's the story.


If You had some Black and White Ones, You Could Start a Dromedary

Turns out it is a good idea to graze camels with your cows. Who knew?
 


Brazil Interest Rates take a Hike

Pay attention, young guns: Brazil has moved interest rates north of 8% at the same time our own Fed is promising to tighten our money supply. It's ripple now, but higher interest would affect a LOT of stuff, starting with loan costs and spreading like ink in the water to beef and land prices and herd rebuilding. Just something to watch and, if you weren't in business during the 70s and 80s, study on.


Flash! Buffalo Meat is Drier than Cow Beef

Consumer Reports seems to have compared beef with buffalo and found, remarkably, that 90% lean buffalo meat is leaner than even 90% lean beef. And it tastes different. The same can be said of armadillo, and they don't tear down fences or run over cowboys.

 

COOL Hits the Courtroom

Jul 10, 2013
Meat industry groups have lobbied, griped, and protested via letter-writing campaigns, but the COOL saga took an entirely different turn yesterday. NCBA and seven other meat and livestock orgs are suing the USDA, citing the rule violates the Constitution. Wonder if our founding fathers ever thought their document could affect the price of a burger?
 
 
The Oklahoma Farm Report has this to say.
 
And last, but not least, the Canadian’s take from the Calgary Herald.
 
RCalf has jumped in the news cycle, citing a misuse of checkoff dollars to fund the suit.

Your Daily Dose of the Farm Bill and Immigration News

Here’s to "Round 2" when it comes to a Farm Bill – this time without food stamps. Republicans have their fingers crossed. Democrats caution: "Don’t even think about it." AgWeb has the details.
 
And since they’re getting so much accomplished in Washington these days…here’s Policio’s thoughts on immigration reform.
 

Cloning Conundrum

The American Quarter Horse Association steps into the courtroom next week to defend its decision not to register clones. Cloning has become popular among those with deep pockets who want to preserve the aging genetics of great horses. NBC News looks at the issue from a racing perspective. The folks down under are also looking at the issue on New Zealand’s Horsetalk.
 

Not-so-Golden

It’s All-You-Can-Eat ribs...at the dumpster. We’re sure you’re in a hurry to grab a plate at your nearest Golden Corral after an employee’s video of fly-covered hamburger patties and baby back ribs sitting in tubs by the dumpster surfaced. The Huffington Post has the "scoop." Barf Blog writer asks, "Is this really the worst thing about eating at Golden Corral?"
 

Hungry Kids Win

A New York school district dropped the standards set by the National School Lunch Program citing kids weren’t getting enough food. The standards were put in place last year, pushed through by Michelle Obama. Kids across the country have complained they leave lunch hungry.
 

Cattlemen Beware

Bulls may weigh a ton and be tough, but they are still susceptible to rabies. The Denver Post reports on the fourth confirmed case of rabies in livestock, and this time it’s a bull that tested positive for the disease.

Wolf Packs

Efforts to control gray wolves continue in Montana as wildlife commissioners look at tweaking hunting regulations…
 

Diaper Doozy

Never thought we’d see this in our lifetime – a diaper that checks for health problems based on a child’s urine, and a smartphone app to provide all the stinky details for parents. Could this technology lead to a pee test for BRD in a feedyard? Doubtful, but...

 

 

A Chance to Say We’re Sorry

Jul 09, 2013

 

Does the Farm Bill flop give the U.S. government a chance to say they’re sorry to our friends to the north and the south? Perhaps so, says The Western Producer. It would be an excellent time to "fix" the COOL legislation, according to the Canadian beef folks. Looking down the gun barrel of retaliation, will our government blink?
 
Based on a report from Townhall.com, it doesn’t look like progress on a new farm bill – or any legislation – will move very fast in the coming weeks.
 

Keep the Motor Runnin’

A 90-day waiver for the "rest" rule is on the to-do list of the DOT after 14 livestock, food and poultry organizations complained forcing trucks transporting livestock to stop for 30 minutes every-so-often would place the health and welfare of livestock at risk. Pork Network has the details.
 

 

Skinnier Twinkie

The Return of the Twinkie will be celebrated among thousands of households this month as Hostess-brand products return to the shelves. The Wall Street Journal details how the new owners slimmed down cupcake operations, moved to a third-party distribution system and altered their marketing strategy. The new owners are experienced in business acquisitions, and average a 44% return on investment on previous deals. It’s an interesting read on the business side of the food industry.
 

Smart Worms

NPR reports that the corn rootworm is outsmarting genetically engineered corn plants, designed to be poisonous to the hungry rootworm larvae.

Adopt a Chicken

Amongst news of unwanted horses and a surplus of pets awaiting adoption at shelters, it seems there’s a new species of abandoned pets – laying chickens.  It’s become such a problem, The Grist suggests those feathered friends should come with a warning label.
 

Should a Been a Cowboy

A leaked report detailing the life of Osama Bin Ladin’s years of hiding said he often wore a cowboy hat to escape detection from U. S. drones. A slice of the Wild West in the Middle East --Who knew? The Daily Mail has the details. Wonder how Stetson can use this in a future marketing campaign?

Other News...

Minnesota lawyers are working to protect the private information of livestock owners in their state. This is on the heels of a request from an environmental rights group request for the info. Based on the EPAs actions of releasing similar info earlier this summer, the lawyers have their work cut out for them. The StarTribute reports.
 
SFGate reporter Carolyn Lochhead blogs about antibiotic resistance, the Freedom of Information Act and an environmental group. Hope she enjoys her salad today.

 

PETA’s in the Hot Seat

Jul 08, 2013

 

Looks like the folks at PETA are tasting a little of their own medicine, getting heavy criticism for operating an animal shelter that euthanizes thousands of animals at their Norfolk, Va., facility. The New York Times has the details.

Betting on Branded Beef

The Tama, Iowa, city council is betting on beef – offering a $3.6 million tax rebate for investors to reopen the Iowa Quality Beef plant that closed nine years ago. The Gazette reports the plant will not compete with other major packers, and will instead act as a custom processor for cattle producers who sell their own branded beef. The vote of confidence in the industry is refreshing amid talk of consolidation and excess capacity.

Tender Comments

The public comment period remains open for the FSIS proposed rule to label mechanically tenderized beef. The University of Tennessee’s Ag Policy Analysis center discusses the history of the proposed rule. FSIS will receive comments from the public on the proposed ruling until August 9, 2013.

Water – the New Oil?

The Denver Post reports farmers in Colorado are holding on to their water rights even as prices for a share in the Colorado-Big Thompson water project double, selling for more than $18,000 last month.

Aussie Beef Looking for Markets

Australian beef officials are excited about the prospects of exporting beef to China, says Beef Central. The Aussies are also hoping an investment in the Indonesia beef industry can aid in exports, according to the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

George W.: Immigration Bill Might Pass

According to Politico, former President George W. Bush thinks the Immigration Bill has a chance, and offers that the bill could fix a system that’s broken. 

Other News "Bites"

Argentina’s government is threatening to confiscate unsold grain owned by farmers in order to stabilize flour prices, according to MercoPress. Bread prices in the country have doubled in the last month. However, the Argentine Wheat Association claims that government policies have led to a limited stock of wheat, and thus higher prices.
 
The Grist’s columnist Holly Richmond says The ‘Merica Burger has gone to the pigs... Literally. Made with a 100% bacon patty and layers of bacon-infused toppings, Ms. Richmond goes so far as to call the burger disgusting. Maybe she needs "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…"
 
A Field of Bad Dreams? In a twist on the silver screen tale, The Onion reports that an Iowa farmer bet it all on the idea of "Build it; they will come." And now he’s lost it all...

 

Abe's 'Third Arrow' Points to More Beef Imports

Jul 03, 2013

Japan's prime minister sees his country's protectionist beef policies as expendable. That may mean lower tariffs on U.S. product. Bloomberg News reports.


The Hard Truth About Political Clout

Politics is a game of give and take, as much take as possible, and something like 500 different ag-related groups are begging House Speaker John Boehner not to split food stamps from the farm bill. If you like subsidies for food, fiber and food-based fuel, you'll see their point.

But, as the New York Times points out this morning, what you like doesn't matter as much as it once did. The article says that only 40 members of the present Congress hail from ag-dominated districts.


HSUS Sues USDA Over Horse Slaughter

The animal rights group says there should be an environmental impact statement first.


The "Neighborhood" Meat House: A Franchise Opportunity?

Fox Business had a feature on The Meat House, a franchise of small groceries that call themselves your neighborhood butcher and market themselves as sourcing as much local produce as practical.

The Meat House website offers more information, including some on how to establish your own franchise.


A Sustainable Beef Hackathon*

Working with their extensive knowledge of the beef industry, these folks gathered to talk about ways they could, uh, "do something" about how the product is produced and marketed. Tyson, beware!

*For you dummies, Wikipedia says a hackathon is "an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects."


Help for Plainview's Cargill Out-of-Workers

Speaking of putting the big packers out of business, they plan a meeting in Plainview later this month to help the folks who used to work for the Cargill plant there.


Cows of Mass Destruction?

One seldom sees anything in the general media that does such a good job of defabricating the BSE scare as this column we found in Omaha.
 


The Perfect Burger for July 4th

We'll all be grilling tomorrow, won't we, and this advice on how to make it wonderful comes from Portland, Ore.
 


Water Wars: Rainwater No-no

In these states, you can't capture your own rain unless you've got water rights. We might try it, anyway.


Drought-proofing Crops

Science Daily reports on a new molecule that may help ease the effects of drought stress.


Another Day, Another Indictment

This one is a bit tortured, but Fox News reports on a study indicating that the meat you eat today may modestly impact your risk of dying within eight years after being diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer.


Olive Powder

ARS scientists say adding olive powder to ground meat reduces the number of pathogens in cooked meat.


Magic Theft Protection

In parts of Africa, you apparently don’t need one of those Texas special rustler rangers. You just hire a dude to cast a spell on your stock to keep them from getting stolen.

 

Farm Bill Fault

Jul 02, 2013

A Huffington Post writer cogitates on the fault that has opened between the food stampers and farm supporters who've always bridged their way to farm bills. One modest correction: Food stamps originally went into the farm program because they were supported by farm groups, including the cattle lobby, for less-than-altruistic motives. Fact is, the food stamp programs allow millions of people to eat better than they would otherwise, and that is positive for beef demand.


Grow Yards Going Away?

The cattle report makes a good and not-often-made point about the fate of grow yards—the guys who make it their business to turn sale barny calves into risk-worthy feeders, a job most feedyards prefer to avoid.

The grow boys are facing several challenges. There are fewer calves, and higher percentages of them are being preconditioned at home. That makes feedyards hungrier and more willing to do things they'd really rather not. Top that with the high price of feeds—especially roughages—and last year's market tumble, and you've the makings of what a business analyst might refer to as "poor long term prospects" for growers.


Give Us Drones

Some folks don't like the idea of drones at all, but Kansas' Jerry Moran says agriculture could make good use of them. He's got a a pretty good point, too. How sweet would it be to sit by the air conditioner and have drones flying around the place looking for feral hogs or lions? Or herding cows?


Bellyache News

The CDC released data shedding a bit of light on the derivation of foodborne illness. Beef comes in behind poultry and fish, but remains imperfect.

The best story we found comes from Food Safety News.

Here's the whole shebang if you've got the time.


Again...No Cow Flatulence Jokes Here

But Science Daily has a pretty good report on how technology reduces greenhouse emissions.


Water Wars, Oregon

Klamath Falls farmers and ranchers are reduced to street protests in their quest for water.


Steal a Cow. Go to Jail.

This gentleman ran afoul of the TSCRA rustler hunters and finds himself looking at a smooth 15 years in a Texas prison.


We All Love EPA

This particular activist can't believe elected representatives would have the gall to challenge EPA's release of CAFO owners' private information. He says farmers shouldn't try to hide behind home-based business addresses, anyway.


First It's Horse Meat, Now It's TB Cows

You’d think a people who eat blood pudding would be more forgiving, but fast on the heels of their hidden horse meat dustup, the UK is having a bit of a media rodeo over the fact that it is legal to eat meat from cattle identified as having TB. Just because it's safe, doesn't mean it sounds good. Are we paying attention on this pink slime side of the Atlantic?


Chimps? Check. What’s Next?

You wonder how it works? After years of effort, the animal rights groups finally pressured the administration to forbid the use of chimps in medical research. Got them declared endangered, by golly. Even the ones bred in captivity for generations. So what's next?


Locavoring Is Hard

These folks are having a hard time finding anybody to process their cattle in Silicon Valley.


From the Department of Why Didn’t We Think of That

This fellow is asking for donations to send longhorn cattle to Israel. Needs $500,000.


Hearning Loss May Be Treatable.

WE SAID, HEARING LOSS MAY BE TREATABLE.

 

Report Reaction: Feeders Saw as Corn Sees

Jul 01, 2013

USDA was good to the cattle business Friday, predicting yet a larger corn crop and sending corn prices lower this morning and feeder prices upwards. While AgWeb’s Ed Clark warns against overly optimistic bearishness for corn, Jerry Gulke says, "the credibility for talking about $3.50 and $4 (corn) for the fall of 2013 didn’t go away."

Good. We enjoy talking about it.


An Ill Omen for the Farm Bill?

As farmers' congressional clout has waned in recent years, farm state representatives have reached a gentlepersons’ agreement with their more urbane fellows in which the one scratches farmers' backs with farm supports and the other scratches the poor folks’ backs with food stamps.
That may be at risk as the House leadership is apparently mulling ways to split the two. Herewith, three articles that strike us as instructive on the matter:

The Hill reports on the politics.
• Rocky Parker puts his finger on the crux of it in the Idaho Statesman.
• And Heritage fans the flames in the House.


A Nice Story About a Nice Lady From a Nice Family

You probably knew Ree Drummond had a TV show, but it’s news to us. We’ve never seen it, but any kin of Fred Drummond is a friend of ours.
 


USDA Finally Says It: Kill Horses If You Want

The final approval came in one of those famous Friday Washington news releases.

But Food Safety News reminds us that it may be a moot point. Obama won’t fund inspectors and Congress wants to re-ban the whole idea.


Hot Dogs Down

As July 4 approaches, Business Week lends a sympathetic ear to the tube steak makers, who are facing tough times.
 


Desalting the Seas Gets More Feasible

Science Daily reports on a new device that might make desalinization economically advisable in the future.


Feinstein Eyes Antibiotics.

She’s proposing a new law.


It’s a Slow Go in Texas Rebuilding

The state’s oddly-named Extension Service has a report on how Texas cattlemen are slowing rebuilding in the wake of rainfall that has turned much of the state green.


Taking Tyson Forward

Here’s a not-quite-but-almost fawning article in which Donnie Smith eyes Tyson’s future.


Pravda on Pork Bullets

We just have to read Pravda daily. Where do they get this stuff?

 

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