Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
The Incredible Shrinking Cattle Numbers
Sep 23, 2013
Friday's USDA Cattle On Feed report showed what everyone expected--lower placements. But how low? Turn back the calendar to 1996. Yes, it's been 17 years since this few head were placed in feedyards. The tight inventories may allow cattle feeders to stop pulling money from their pockets for the first time in a long time ... those cattle feeders who are left, anyway. BeefToday.com has the rest of the shrinking details.
Funding Over Farming
There's a good chance the farm bill will be pushed aside this week as Congress works on averting the "threatened government shutdown, version 427," reports AgriPulse. You see, there's another pesky problem that arises on September 30th. It seems the farm bill's seven day life span isn’t the only Congressional item on life support. We get it; really, we do. While some are penning the obituary of the farm bill, a larger crisis would be to shut down the USDA, FDA, FAA ... continue with the acronyms as long as you see fit.
FarmPolicy.com has a lengthy but detailed look at where the farm bill goes from here. If you're interested in the next steps for the legislation, this article has everything you want (and maybe don't really want) to know. But if you read to the bottom, you will definitely learn a thing or two.
Grazing for Food News
The House's vote on SNAP has led to a variety of articles and op-eds in the media over the weekend. And like any brood cow, we spent some time grazing through them, sorting out the weeds from the tastier, more nutritious ones.
The Washington Times takes an honest look at the issue, citing a 70 percent increase in food stamps since Obama took office. Columnist Deborah Simmons also looks at the faces of those that would be affected if the House legislation takes hold (ha, ha).
Public News Service tugs on your heart strings, reporting that a huge percentage of people receiving food stamps are kids, and they underscore their story with a photo of a cute kiddo nose-deep in a piece of watermelon. Don't get us wrong, no one wants kids to go hungry. But in a program weighted down with fraud, it was time for someone to do something. CBS out of Detroit printed names and their affiliated businesses of those recently arrested in a multi-million dollar SNAP fraud case. And the Huff Post did just as you would expect, saying the problem isn't with food stamps, it is with the lack of a jobs bill so people can afford food. Sure, we want everyone who is able to work, but the only thing a jobs bill will do right now is assure a j-o-b for Congress.
But of all the snappy articles we perused, the Washington Post wins our humdinger award. Not only do they prey on farmers by offering a negative headline regarding the SNAP-tied farm bill, they also analyze how the "farm bill" will hurt women farmers and low-income mothers. That's sure to get any bleeding-heart liberal to grab their picket and head to Washington.
We are shaking our heads this morning at a story in the New York Times titled "Dietary Report Card Disappoints." Ok, that's likely no surprise, and when we read the story is based on a report card from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, we brace ourselves for their opinion. Surprisingly, the article is not anti-beef. In fact, the word "beef" was only used two times. Why then does the graphic that appears immediately under the "disappointing" headline have an illustration of a beef animal?
Bloomberg Business takes a look at one of the big boys in the packer industry--JBS. And it's an interesting read. How the company got its small-town start, how they came into the American market, and even what JBS stands for. If you don't know a lot about the company, it provides some good insight into the packer.
Most of the talk of the farm bill has been about SNAP, crop insurance and direct payments. Here's a piece from Agri-Pulse highlighting the conservation programs that could also disappear with the looming expiration.
COOLer heads prevail in this op-ed from the Tri-City Herald. Kudos to this team for some honest journalism about the impacts of COOL and getting down to the nut-cuttin' about Country of Origin Labeling's origin having nothing to do with food safety and everything to do with a wordy labeling. If your non-ranchy friends have questions on COOL, this is a good read.
Farmers across the pond could have to set aside a portion of their land for a "bee motorway" to encourage the insects to migrate across the country. British bees must be smarter than those in the U.S. because the native variety doesn’t read many maps that we know of.