Sep 18, 2014
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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. 

Checkoff Deniers

Jan 23, 2014

Cattle prices may be at an all-time high, but that doesn't seem to soothe the vocal minority against the Beef Checkoff. The program was initiated nearly 30 years ago, and its most visible component is the "Beef. It's What’s For Dinner" advertising and promotion campaign. But your checkoff dollars support many other programs that have proven valuable, such as new product research and issues management strategies that let the industry respond with a solid, unified voice. The dollar collected by the checkoff buys about half what it did when the program began in 1985, and cattle are worth at least three times what they were then. Still, checkoff deniers are convinced our industry would be better off if the checkoff went the way of the horse and buggy. We—along with about three-quarters of producers who support the checkoff, according to surveys—disagree.

Most Obese Jobs

Some jobs just tend to make workers gain weight. A recent study of 37,000 people in Washington State finds that truck drivers have the highest prevalence of obesity, followed closely by those in protective services such as firefighters. Workers in the medical field—doctors, veterinarians and dentists—had the lowest prevalence of obesity. Farmers? About in the middle with just over 22% called obese.

Fear Factor for Calves

Living in fear tends to lower calf weights. Seems logical, and that's what a recent University of Montana study confirmed. When wolves live on the same landscape with cattle there's no effect on herd weight. But once the wolves kill a calf average calf weights decrease by about 22 pounds. The researchers concluded the average loss per ranch was about $6,679.

Sloth Poop Mystery Solved

Scientific research is vital, but sometimes we scratch our heads at the projects some scientists undertake. For instance, we now know why three-toed sloths—native to Central and South America—only come down out of the trees about every three weeks to poop, and why that's important for the ecosystem. Jonathan Pauli, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent a lot of time studying sloths and their dung, and he has answers to all the questions you ever had about sloth poop patterns.

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