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October 2009 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

RSS By: U.S. Farm Report, US Farm Report

Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Asia Trade Union?

Oct 29, 2009
Howdy USFR Folks,
    I guess my question is for Mr. Pell and his Round Table Experts.  I heard on one of those market watch shows, that Thailand, China, India, Japan and other countries were going to form a Trade Union to compete with the EU and America's.  The spokesman I think was the Prime Minister of Thailand.
   What drew my attention was his comments and goals for the Union. He stated that they were not going to depend on the Western consumer for the exportation of less durable goods, such as
electronics, clothing and similar items. Rather they were going to build their export scheme
more along the lines of commodities such as grains and livestock.  In this way they were going to
be more competitive in the Global Markets. Less Industrialized and more Agriculture.
It may take awhile for them to get established, but a few years down the road they could be a major player.  I sure would like to hear some of Mr. Pell's and the other market Experts thoughts on this.
James Heath 

The "Water-burg" Debate...Continued...

Oct 27, 2009
Editor's Note:  We continue to receive feedback regarding the amount of water found in ground beef...

   I am a beef producer on a very small scale.  I raise freezer beef and graze heifers for a dairy operation that is very close to us.  I think the answer to the question " Why does store-bought ground beef have more water when fried than farm-raised beef?" would lie in the amount of hang time the beef has before processing.  It also has alot to do with the flavor.  Several years ago I went to a program put on by Purdue University at Stony Pike Livestock Auction in Logansport, IN.  A local producer asked how long the beef hung at the Farmland Co-op beef processing plant (they had a representative at this meeting).  He said they had a building (in Olathe, KS) as big as a football field, four stories tall.  He continued to say if the beef was in that building more than a day from slaughter to final processing that would be about it.  At the local processor I use; the sides of beef hang seven to ten days before processing. My processor says; if he could' he would even let it hang longer.  But if he does mold would start to form and then the whole cooler would have to be disinfected or taken down to sub-zero temperatures to kill the mold.  I can tell you: That you can smell the difference in any cut of meat I have processed in this manor compared to the beef purchased at any large supermarket while it is begin cooked.  The taste is also amazingly better.  I wish that it was that I am the best beef raiser there ever was; but I do not belive that is so.  Even though my wife and I raise Natural Beef (with out any growth hormone); I really belive that most of the quality in the end product lies in the processing.  Most people can tell a distinct difference in Naturally aged steaks and steaks that never were aged.  Likewise they can smell and taste the "Beefyness"  of any cut of aged meat.  I think the longer hang time allows the adrenalin (that enters the muscles when the animals natural fear of the whole slaughter experience enters the muscles) to come out.  These are just my opinions; but I do believe they are fruit for thought. Thank you for your program.  I really enjoy all the great work you guys do.
Steve Woods
Bremen, IN  


Lots of Feedback

Oct 20, 2009
Editor's Note:  We had lots of feedback from the October 17-18, 2009 edition of the program...

Comment #1:
   John, I enjoy your weekly commentaries. I was wondering if you might consider doing a piece on “Animal Welfare” or “Animal Rights”. I am an egg producer in California and as such have felt the full force that this concept presents. Michigan has just signed legislation into place and Ohio has a ballot initiative to consider in November. Production Animal Agriculture is under a full blown frontal attack and if it does no respond in a very short period of time (I’m guessing 3-5 years) we will be doing business in a far different manner if in fact some of us will be doing business at all. This is not the problem of one species or even a few species, it’s all of animal ag. Perhaps you might graciously give this some consideration. Thanks.  Arnie Riebli

Comment #2:
   It's pretty hard to feel sorry for the dairy industry , what's this the 3rd buyout in 20 years and they're still in trouble .How long will this bandaid last ?They don't seem to care what this bailout does to the beef producers . For a industry that has a history of being to sustain it's self localy now has completly shifted to regional production . Why are they trucking milk from Idaho and California to Washington for processing ? It wouldn't have anything to do with the over production of multi thousand cow dairies in those states ? 
   I hate to say it but the dairy farmers need a quota system , to sustain the family farms and to curtail the greed that keeps tripping the industry up . The EPA has been the demise of many of the small farms that couldn't afford to keep up with the ever changeing regulations . It's just a matter of time before that those regulation start putting those mega dairies out of buisness . Then were will we get our milk ? The ag industry needs to include the grocery stores to educate the consumer that food comes from farms not grocery stores . They also need to educate the consumer what these animal rights bills are going to cost in dollars at the grocery shelf , because of the loss of safe cost effective production . I want one of those Peta of HSUSA people to get in a farrowing pen with a mad sow , they'd find that they are part of the food chain quick .
Bruce Wright
Zortman, MT

Comment #3:
   I am one who likes to know where my food comes from, therefore, I would be for the labelling of origination on milk.   Although the labelling is there, I would not necessarily change my selection of a milk product.
Allen Ripper
Redfore, MI

Editor's Note:  The U.S. Farm Report Mailbag segment focusing on water in beef drew some interesting response. Below is a copy of the mailbag segment, followed by viewer response:

USFR Mailbag:
Viewer Question: "My question is why or how is it our ground beef today when cooked emits water as well as a little oil, but mostly water. Is this water an injection process from American processors or imports?"

John's Response:  First and most important, although hamburger and ground beef can contain seasonings, they cannot have added water, phosphates, extenders or binders by USDA regulation.  The surprising fact is hamburger contains as much as 70% water, although the average is 50%. This seems high until your remember the human body is 75% water. This water is simply a part of what we call meat. The actual muscle fiber compromises only about 12% of the weight on average. The more fat content, the higher the shrinkage as a rule, but excess shrinkage or loss of water may be caused by two things according to the cooking sites i checked. First, if meat is frozen, the formation of ice crystals damages the protein fibers and allows water molecules to escape - so try products that have not been frozen.  Second, rapid cooking over high heat also accelerates the loss of water from the meat fibers, so turn down the heat. My guess is backyard grills are the biggest culprits.  Above all, remember to cook hamburger thoroughly all the way through as the final step in food safety precautions.

   My recommendation is that you do more research.  After listening to your commentary on the presence of water in ground beef, (on the Farm Report aired 10-17-09) I can tell you from experience you don't have all the answers. I, too, would like to know why there is water after cooking store-bought ground beef.  None of your explanations was complete.
   I have cooked beef purchased from grocery stores, and it wasn't until I had my own beef processed that I appreciated the glorious difference. They MUST do something to the beef you buy, ir-regardless of the breed, grade, or fat content. When I cook my own grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, (granted, it is very lean - the way I WANT it) it smells and tastes completely different from that in the market. There IS a company, called Coleman Beef, whose ground beef cooks, smells and tastes just like mine, and is promoted to be grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, just like mine. I agree that it is. There is NO WATER coming out of mine and Coleman's beef, and I have cooked both fresh and frozen product.
    Let me know when you find out what IS added or processed into our commercial beef to produce that water. I'd be interested to know, AND you would be more correct in your reporting.
Thank you very much.
Ginny Paschke

John Phipps:
   I just saw your Mail Bag segment on cooking ground beef and wanted to compliment you on your response. I am the Processed Meats Extension Specialist at Ohio State University and have grown accustomed to seeing misinformation in the media related to meat products and food safety. However, I was impressed with the information that you provided this morning and wanted to pass this along to you.
Thanks, for doing your homework!

So,you think it gets windy in Baker??

Oct 16, 2009
I received these pictures from Jim Fleming out of our Twin Falls (Idaho) office. These rolls are about 2000 pounds !

Diane Moore


A Comment & a Question

Oct 12, 2009
   On the October 11th program John said " IH only produced the Farmall H tractor for 2 years, 1953 and 54".  I was in high school in 1943 and '44 and drove the Farmall H with an IH hay-baler attached during the summer months of 1943.  My father was a dealer for International Harvester farm equipment and he had the first hay baler in Lewis County and introduced it to the local farmers by renting it out with a crew of 4 operators.  I'm 83 now, a retired teacher, and my wife and I enjoy your program 
Warren Schantz

   I have been watching U.S. Farm Report forever.  I listened to it on radio for years before I saw it
on TV. I remember Orion Samuelson (I hope I spelled his name correctly) seemed to be on
the show forever. But it seems that I remember a host before that by the name of "Red" something. Am I losing it, or did this fellow exist.
Dave "Grand Daddy Rabbit" Baughn
Tuttle, OK
***Editor's Note:  Along with Orion Samuelson, Max Armstrong was the other long-time host of U.S. Farm Report before John Phipps arrived.  While we don't know of anyone named "Red" who hosted the program, perhaps you are referring to Earl Finckle - a popular weather forecaster who once appeared regularly on the program.  Unfortunately, Mr. Finckle passed away earlier this year...
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