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.
EPA Forced to Answer
Sep 24, 2013
A judge has ruled in a long-standing case that the EPA must provide a more detailed reasoning why it let states take the lead on water quality controls in the Mississippi River watershed, according to DTN. The watershed encompasses much of the corn-growing Midwest. Farmers backed the EPA's decision to leave the regulations to the states, but environmental groups think the EPA should put their proverbial foot down and take over the matter. If you're reading this blog from one of the affected states, we suggest putting this issue on your radar. If the EPA steps in, farmers throughout much of the Midwest could be subject to the same scrutiny as those who farm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Cowmen: Happy, Happy, Happy!
Economists are forecasting the stars will line up for record high prices of calves and feeder cattle. Fed prices, corn prices and a limited supply should provide the Midas touch for the cowman who has calves to sell. BeefToday.com has the details.
More Dollars for Dairy
With farm bill negotiations (patiently) waiting in the wings, Daily Planet looks at legislation that will affect milk prices. And from the sounds of it, if the two sides of the aisle don't start compromising soon, we're going to have to fork over a lot more for dairy. Can you imagine the ripple effect if milk prices doubled for consumers? Some households have a taste for chicken, others beef, others pork. But milk is a commodity that spans the protein taste spectrum. Follow that with other dairy products like cheese, ice cream, yogurt ... the list goes on. And what about schools who provide a serving of milk with every meal? Likely most of that milk is contracted to a fixed price for the year, but someone would have to take the hit if milk prices double. Milk: the new delicacy.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Ag Secretary Vilsack hopes to renew interest in the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, aka AC21. The committee was active 2003-2008, but since then only meets on occasion. Now Vilsack wants to renew interest in the group, and is asking for input on "practical solutions that will help all sectors of American agriculture." He opened the comment period for 60 days to hear how agriculture coexistence can be strengthened.
Sounds good, right? But if you look back at what groups offered public comment at previous meetings, much of agriculture did not contribute. The Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch and others were quick to offer their dissatisfaction with GMO crops and other issues. These groups have their radar finely tuned for opportunities to voice their opinions. Perhaps working agriculture groups should also hone in on these opportunities as well. Without our voice, the discussion is markedly one-sided.
Thank the RFS?
Cattlemen have argued against the Renewable Fuel Standard ever since it was enacted due to the demand the RFS put on corn. But a study shows the RFS put more than just a few pennies back in our pockets when it comes to gas prices – how about up to $1.50 per gallon! No, that doesn't make up for the red ink on cattle feeder closeouts, but it would be an interesting test to compare those losses with a cattleman's expense in fuel for a year. And we mean all fuel – fuel the wife uses to drive to down, fuel in the tractor or feed truck, fuel to buy cubes for the cows, fuel to drive to the bank and explain the impact of high grain prices to your banker ... you get the idea.
Low Fat Fries
I'll have fries with that! That's what Burger King hopes consumers will say after they roll out their new version of the tasty side. "Satisfries" have a less porous batter to prevent more of the oil from soaking in the french fry. Burger King says Satisfries are a healthier option. Let's just hope consumers order a burger with their Satisfries.
Other Beefy News
CME announced they will halt delivery of cattle fed Zilmax on Oct. 7 and a recent consumer study showed 84% of consumers never heard our industry's Zilmax-related news.
In today's feel-good news, Cargill has pledged more than $520,000 to support several National FFA programs and initiatives.