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May 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. 

80 Acres of 'Uh-Oh'

May 31, 2013

Someone’s slip is wreaking major havoc on the U.S. wheat market after GMO wheat was found on an Oregon farm. Since the announcement, Japan has suspended all wheat imports from the U.S. The seed was field tested but never approved for use in the states. Who woulda’ thought 80 acres of an "uh oh" could wreck the wheat market?

Japan’s snub was not projected in USDA’s Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade released yesterday, which forecasted record exports. Those across the pond and beyond are on the lookout for the scientific wheat.

Where’s the Beef?

Unfortunately, it won’t be on the grill for many across the country. Too bad high beef prices don’t correlate to profits for cattlemen.

Could the beef industry learn anything from Best Buy’s new branding strategy? Would this approach in grocery stores make beef the best buy? Wendy’s has another strategy in mind with this twisting marriage of tastes.

A Sweet Proposition

A company known for their chocolate is putting their money where their mouth is on foodborne pathogen research. This could mean more than a safer sweet tooth amid raw milk contamination issues for a Pennsylvania dairy farm. Despite the recent issues, Nevada is considering making raw milk legal to distribute.

The Smiths Next Door

Some Smithfield locals have mixed reactions on the new neighbors. Who else will benefit from the porky proposition? Here’s a little more reflection on the deal.

More Bits from the Net

• At least someone is confident in this year’s early version of the Farm Bill. But others aren’t so sure.

• What happened to average? Too much rain for some and not enough for others.

• Putting down a cup of joe is now a mental disorder....

• New business plan for cattlemen? Could we be this lucky?

Victory for Hage!

May 30, 2013

Few legal sagas have garnered the attention of western lands ranchers like that of the Hage family's long, long tussle with the feds. Now, a federal judge has finally ruled and it wasn't even close. He said the punitive action by public lands officials ".. shocks the conscience of the Court."

Bye-Bye, Mad Cow

The OIE has finally recognized that BSE is not a problem in the U.S. That should make it easier to get our trading partners to lift their archaic restrictions on imports.

No Cow Flatulence Jokes Here

We’re above it. But, the EU is looking for cows that produce less methane, and they say your typical bovine wastes 10% of her feed producing the stuff. After much searching, your GTN staff managed to find a story that takes it seriously.

We Gave; Will China Give?

The Wall Street Journal has a good take on Smithfield's sale and the lopsided exchange of goodwill between China and the U.S.

A Young Man's Opportunity

If we were a few decades younger (and if calf prices weren't so high, maybe, this being a summer-only deal), we'd look hard at this opportunity to lease a Wyoming ranch.

Speaking of Opportunities...

If you like red tape, USDA has opened the grasslands reserve program.

More Bubble Babble

We chose that headline only because babble sounds funny with bubble, not because we suggest disregarding the message in Russell Hubbard's well-handled piece on the possibility of repercussions from an expected drop in farm income.

Farm Sanctuary on FSIS IG report

You have to follow this stuff, like it or not. This piece about food safety was written by the lead dog at the Farm Sanctuary. Seems that the more you care about animal rights, the more scared you are of food safety issues. And, of course, vice versa.

More Bits from the Net

When Cooperation Pays Off

The industry's decision to declare food safety a "non competitive issue" is paying dividends.

Got Doc?

In case you nighttime showerers hadn't noticed, it's hard to find a doctor around here.

Wormer advice

Indonesia will import Aussie beef

The good life we live

Sun lotion advice

Smithfield Goes to the China

May 29, 2013

As a trading partner China is nothing if not self-interested. So maybe if they own one of the biggest pork processors in the U.S., they’ll be more inclined to relax the rules they’ve used to limit our access. Maybe.

Has the Grill Cooled?

In what can’t be good news as we try to unload this high priced meat on a still-pennywise public, the NPD group says its survey indicates grilling has lost some of its momentum.

First We Murder Them. Then We Mutilate Them. Then We Eat Them.

Henry Walker of Mocksville, N.C., makes a point about the COOL labels that had escaped us.

"I would like the word slaughter on the cool label changed to 'processed' as it would have the same meaning, but not put bad images in the general public’s mind. It would be nice for you to write an article about the label and how terms, phrases, and words that are okay in the farming community are not okay to use before the general public. PR work is some of the most important work we do as farmers in today’s world, but we need to be reminded to be careful what we say to the general public because it will bite us in a hurry."

Saul Alinsky, in his "Rules for Radicals," devoted a chapter to the importance of word choices in politics. The animal rights movement has taken heed. Hence, they talk about "animal flesh" rather than meat, and things like animals "surrounded by their own excrement." Fortunately for them, they don’t have to be too creative, because we’ve done most of the work for them.
Not only do we "slaughter" "fat" cattle at "slaughter houses," but once they’re slaughtered, we divide them into "carcasses" and "offal" and offer them for sale to people who, by and large, regard their dogs as more human than their children.

Should we be spending more time trying to change our verbal habits? Calling a spade a spade is fine, but probably not good marketing if your customer is looking for a shovel.

Pacelle: Our Hands Are Clean

Speaking of the importance of words and the value of nuance, here’s an update on Rep. Luetkemeyer’s efforts to bring the HSUS to justice and a response from the bossman at the organization. He says they just spend 5% of their money on "lobbying." He doesn’t tell us how much they spend on, shall we call it, "legislative education" to get bills approved around the country.

The Fulton Sun on Mr. Luetkemeyer;

And Mr. Pacelle's response, ad provided free by the Shreveport no expense there, either.

More Bits from the Net

Making Peace with Meat

Mark Bittman does goes on doesn’t he? This morning he says a bit of a shoulder of lamb would be OK if it tastes good enough and is consumed with the proper sauces and such. This is not a story we’d spend a free reader chit on if we didn’t subscribe.

When the Papers Are Full of 'High-Priced Beef' News

It’s good to see that consumer confidence is recovering a bit.

Attack on Monsanto.

Another—ANOTHER—Story on the Promise of 'Printed' Meat

We don’t know if Modern Meadows will ever be able to make meat in the lab, but they can darn sure get themselves some publicity.

Having the Beef Conversation

Here's how to start one.

Excellence in Journalism

PBS provides us with another good excuse to eat steak.

A 'New and Irreversible Dust Bowl Looms'

May 28, 2013

You'd like to think this piece from Britain is hyperbole, but for those of us caught in the Southwestern drought, it has the ring of prediction. Whole ranches have sold off their cattle in places like Texas and New Mexico. As a really sad example of how bad it is in some places, this story is not about some little deal with a few cows in the backyard; it's a bonafide, established commercial operation encompassing 180,000 acres without enough groceries, apparently, to keep the humane society folks at bay.

The Rich Are Different from You and Me: They Like Buffalo and Prairie Dogs

San Fran has an interesting story about the range war between ranchers and the bajillionaires who regard cows as unnatural.

COOL Rule: Now with the Plaudits

We grazers just report what is said, mostly, and last week what we mostly had was the negative reaction from the folks—like NCBA and AMI and others—who actually understand how the meat business works to USDA's implementation of Country of Origin Labeling regulation.

But, the fact is, there is also a lot of support out there from consumers—well, consumerISTS, anyhow, and the less trade-friendly elements of the cattle industry. The NFU, for instance, is all heart-flutter about it.

A sampling of other coverage:

American meat labeling laws bolstered; Canadians indignant (Grist)

Many in Wyoming applaud new meat labeling decision (Casper Star-Tribune)

New meat-label rules take effect (The Arizona Republic)

U.S. meat labels to detail animal's origin; Canada, Mexico raise concern (Washington Post)

Eat One

A hamburger, of course! It's National Hamburger Day.

Where's your favorite local burger?

Reason to celebrate (as if we needed one)

Why eating hamburgers is patriotic

Other Bits from the Net

Where Stupid Is a Crime

This is from Australia, but it provides a glimpse into how animal welfare laws might impact what we always thought of as mere mismanagement.

Hey, R-Calf Guys!

These stock pickers rate Tyson as a buy. No surprise there, since they're getting rich stealing cattle.

Again With the BEEF COSTS A LOT! Headlines

Well, so does our WSJ subscription. But it's worth it.


Ag Gag Takes Another Hit

HSUS gets involved.

Montana Debates Wolf Season

...and of course, it's got people stirred up.

The Neighbors Are a Wee Bit Upset

May 24, 2013

In response to USDA’s action on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) yesterday, our neighbors to the north are threatening retaliation. The American Meat Institute says it’s impossible to comply — by today — as the rule states. Our grocery industry friends found it quite absurd. Reckon Vilsack will send people down the bunklines of feedyards asking cattle where their hometown is?

A roundup of the news on the subject:

Cattle Network

Food Safety News

Journal of Commerce

MSN even shared a balanced story on the subject


McDonalds Must Read This Blog

Yesterday we noted that many higher-end restaurants in Cleveland were offering local hero Charles Ramsey free burgers for life, but Micky D’s had yet to chime in. Thursday, the chain stepped up and offered free food for a year. We’ll be watching for the uptick in beef demand when Ramsey cashes in on these offers.

If Ramsey gets tired of beef, he can always try these chicken-free strips. Yum, yum. But if you’re looking for a product that "looks, tastes and chews just like chicken," why not eat chicken?

For Diehard Beef Lovers

In case you’re bored with chocolate ice cream...Time magazine rounded up the 15 funkiest ice cream flavors. How ‘bout a scoop of Bone Marrow with Smoked Cherries? Don’t worry. The pork industry isn’t left out. There’s a ham and cheese variety, too.

And in the spirit of Memorial Day, the "Eat Like A Man" blog

offers these savory tips

to make the most of your red-white-&-blue BBQ.


More Bits from the Net

You Might Want to Start Feeding Wheat

The farm…yawn…bill is still being kicked around in the Senate Ag Committee. Big farmers might have to pay more premiums, amid news crop insurance was a corn lifeline for 2012. And how about the news that the renewable fuel folks are working to find more ways the crop can power cars? Yipee.


Tough Day for Horses

On a serious note, the Oklahoma tornado’s toll on livestock — particularly horses — is devastating. Although few have reported cattle losses since the super storm took a more urban path, our equine friends weren’t so lucky. Racing operations in Oklahoma and Texas, as well as cutting horse farms, were destroyed.


Hats Off to Cornell University...

...for developing a less expensive DNA profile for cattle.




Free Beef for Life

May 23, 2013

Looks like Charles Ramsey will never go hungry as long as he still has a hankering for beef. Ramsey, who was famously eating a burger form McDonalds on his porch when he heard Cleveland kidnap victim Amanda Berry scream for help, was offered free burgers for life from 14 area restaurants. Hodge’s, the restaurant where Ramsey washes dishes, even created a special item on the menu – the Ramsey Burger – and is selling Hero T-shirts with Ramsey’s liking on the front.

McDonalds, however, has not matched the free beef offers. Guess Ramsey will have to adapt to a more upscale taste. Good thing for cattlemen Ramsey wasn’t eating McNuggets…

DailyMail: Free beef for life

Cleveland: Burger named for Ramsey

Hero tee link: Charles Ramsey Cleveland Hero tee

I plead the Fifth!

Anyone surprised the IRS director who pled the Fifth is an interesting bedfellow with HSUS? Perhaps she better dig up her U.S. History notes…looks like she botched her Constitutional right. Appears Congress is saving her hot seat for another round.

Beef Magazine: HSUS Appears To Have A Powerful Friend Within the IRS

ABC News: Did Lois Lerner Botch Fifth Amendment Rights?

Fox News: Issa looks to call back IRS official who refused to testify


Not-so-COOL action by the USDA

The not-so-COOL action by the USDA gets a thumbs-down from ranchers. Cowmen better sharpen their pencils and loosen their pocketbooks. Packers better stock up on Excedrin®.

Farm bill back-and-forths continue

Ag-friendly senators fight for benefits, while democrats play the religious card for food stamps.


No news is good news

Our "friends" at the Hutchison, Kansas, paper offer this take on beta agonists and the drought. Not great press at home while the USMEF works with Russia and others to export a ractopamine-free beef supply

Join the rest of the country in kicking-off summer by lighting the grill

It got Charles Ponzi, and now it is adding a little more time for Eastern’s Tommy Gibson

And to think for years, we’ve been told that cows burping was a big cause of global warming

The Food Stamp Bill

May 22, 2013

There is precious little coverage in the general media about yesterday's Senate farm bill debate. and most of that centers on food stamps. Our sample:

Politico: Farm Bill Beats Back Foes

WaPo: Senate Votes to Make Small Cut to Food Stamps in Farm Bill 

Vilsack: Ag Secretary: U.S. House Version of Farm Bill Could Hurt Montana 

Let 'em in. The straight ones, anyhow

The Gang of Eight's immigration bill made it out of committee fairly well intact, and it has all the amnesty anybody could want. Not so much on the low-skill labor that might help out in the feedlot and weed hoeing business.  The shiny object that caught the media's attention was something about same sex couples.

NPR: Senate Panel Approves Immigration Bill

WaPo: Senate Panel Approves Deal on Foreign Workers

Daily Beast: Senate Committee OKs Farm Bill Overhaul

NatReview: Toxic Immigration

Let's label this stuff

We don't always agree with the food safety lawyers' quest for perfectly safe beef, but we do on this thing about labeling tenderized beef.  Why not move ahead?

Bittman's apology for not going vegan

Mark Bittman's NYT stuff might give us all indigestion, but you better believe his whinings and dinings are at the vanguard of the anti-beef movement. It's nice to know he doesn't think a single serving of meat will kill you.

HSUS mole takes the fifth

This is the lady who apparently helped HSUS get itself labeled "non-political."

NBC on WTO Cool

Imagine our surprise to find this on NBC's site. The general media. Noticing there is some dissent on meat labeling.

Here’s your chance to sign a pro-HSUS petition

Keeping beef in school menus

Kindra Gordon does her usual good job on an important issue for the Angus Journal.

A most curious headline

It has nothing to do with beef or cattle, but Pravda's take on the Oklahoma tornado seems to make a religious/political judgment:

Act of God strikes Oklahoma, over 100 killed, many of them children

Sudden science

This virus was first found in 2011 and, zippo-zappo, they've got a vaccine.

Pond scum is green-trendy?

Count us and our horse tanks in.

Soooo….can your yappy little heeler conjugate a verb?

There is scientific consensus that the border collie is intellectually superior to all other dogs, especially heelers, and now this official scientist has, through science, proved they can also learn grammar, indicating they are also smarter than your average cowboy. Not that there’s any news in that.

Some Mad Cow Stuff

May 21, 2013

This is a pretty detailed look at how BSE wormed its way into the Canadian cow herd. Don't worry. It's old news and it winds up pointing that the problem is, at worst, very rare.

And, in England, they still get the occasional case. But now it's being passed around ,not by beef, but by blood transfusions and medical procedures.

The toll of "closing" the border

Start this review of immigration policy with a read on how desperate immigrants are to get into the U.S. and then continue on to read a bit about Washington's effort to convince voters they are going to do something about it all. Oops. We mean "solve the problem."

Yak. Yak. The farm bill gets another hearing.

The full Senate is undergoing a debate on their version of the farm bill this morning. And yes, they are all paying full attention.

They're blaming the Brazos County e. Coli problem on ground beef

FSIS inspector takes the horse slaughter spotlight

Pollan does some germ gazing

Michael Pollan has a darned interesting piece in the latest edition of the New York Time's Sunday Magazine. He points out that lots of bacteria are important allies in mankind's survival. Here are links to the whole looooong article and a shorter piece in a later paper. The former is worth using a non-subscriber chit.

Gut bacteria that guard against E. coli

As if to reemphasize Pollan's point, these researchers indicate that the right bacteria--already in our guts--can protect us from the effects of E. coli

Good news from USDA

USDA researchers say they've found a way to greatly enhance the identification of FMD virus.

Crazy ants

Everybody who has fire ants would like to find a way to eradicate them. Turns out crazy ants are doing just that. The trouble is, nobody wants crazy ants, either. Some recent coverage:

Fox: Crazy Ants Driving Out Fire Ants

Christian Science Monitor: The South Welcomes Crazy Ants

TAMU: Tawny "Rasberry" Crazy Ant

Offloading cattle in Tasmania

The downunderers are about as dry as the western U.S., apparently, and facing a fall and winter with "too little fodder." So they are "offloading," and facing a bad market as a consequence.

Tyson welfare panel

We suspect you'll hear more from these folks later.

Hard choice: Food safety or wildlife

The Nature Conservancy says that all the efforts to keep poop out of the vegetable fields in California is hampering biodiversity.

Flash: We're getting older every day

Of course this is not news to Kevin Spafford but there are a bunch of agricultural practitioners getting, politely put, "on up there."

Argentina government kills its beef industry

China's government is helping, too.

Protecting their oh-so-safe consumers from that nasty New Zealand stuff.

Farmer, Gird Thy Loins. Financially Speaking

May 20, 2013

Federal Reserve: Farmer, gird thy loins. Financially speaking

CNBC had a good take on the recent Federal Reserve report. The rhetorical title of the report is "Farm Investment and Leverage Cycles: Will This Time Be Different?" We suspect that last part is a rhetorical question.

The looming "fix" to MCool

Thursday is the deadline WTO set for USDA to finalize the rules it believes--"believes" being a strong term for it, we suspect--will allow the mandatory country of origin labeling law to meet trade obligations.

If there have been any second thoughts in the agency about its proposed regulations--which interests as diverse as Mexico and Canada, NCBA, AMI and FMI claim will be more discriminatory--there has been no sign of it.

A reminder, as the deadline approaches, can be found here.

Also, our most transparent secretary of agriculture in history produced this statement this morning, after his meeting with one of the claimants. It is Very, Very informative on the matter. NOT!

NPR projection: All meat sales banned in 2050

They were just conjecturing there, but there has been a lot of talk lately about the future of lab-grown meat. If you'd like to consider the prospects of such a future, devote a few moments to the clip sheet of Modern Meadow, the company that plans to make it all happen.

Again with the Record Prices! Record Prices!

Record beef prices are good for the people who make beef. That's us. We should be happy. But we might not want to just continue to remind consumers, day after day. GMC doesn't go to a lot of trouble to scream "Pickup prices higher than ever." That would not be smart marketing.

Thus, perhaps we should fret more about the ubiquitous "beef-prices-at-record" headlines we see in these daily internet scans. It probably is one of the reasons beef demand has deflated this year.

Beef's "iconic" marketing program.

Any one of us could, judging by the cow people we talk to, do a better job than the Beef Board does, but it's hard to argue with beef's inclusion in this list of the most iconic commercials of all time. They must be doing something right.

Couple of takes on the Cattle on Feed report

Bloomberg's take

Oklahoma Farm Report's take

Mosquito repellant reminder

Pinnochios for the HSUS IRS mole

You'll remember we mentioned earlier that the IRS lady is suspected of having greased the wheels for the HSUS tax exemption. If you missed it, here's a reminder from Humane watch and a rather uncomplimentary take on her credibility from the WaPo.

More woes for immigration "reform"

AgWeb: Immigration Encounters Business-Labor Rift that Undid 2007 Bill

NYT: Larger Union Enforcing Immigration Opposes Bill

Climate change this, climate change that.

Lamar Smith worries that all the hype is, in and of itself, bad for the economy.

Good news: Japan's hearty beef appetite

JBS says demand for beef in Japan is robust and profitable.

Slimed BPI struggles on

How to Get Out of the Cattle Business

May 17, 2013

How to get out of the cattle business

(A)Go check the electric fence with your tongue

(B)Read this

(C)Read this

(D) Do the math

Does HSUS have a mole in the IRS?

That Zombie farm bill

Give credit to this Grist writer for recognizing the "walking undead" nature of the farm bills that recently worked their way out of committees in Congress.

Speaking of zombie legislation, the immigration reform bill is still wiggling, too

CBS News: Immigration Deal Reached in House
ABC News: Immigration Reform Stand

Do we need—as in "need"-- national standards for chicken care?

Why we believe climate change is so biased

Headlines that are funny if you read them aloud to a 5th grader:

Fox News: Scientists Study Violent Winds of Uranus, Neptune

COOL Poll shows consumer support a mile wide; of unknown depth

Hey. That sounds like us cow people

NBC News: How to Tell if the IRS is Eyeing You

Free advice on naming BBQ events: Avoid the word "pony."

Mama of the year

Anaplasmosis. Learn it. Live it.

A nice story about a ranch family we can all envy

What a Fine Draconian Farm Bill

May 16, 2013

The general media didn't much notice the Senate farm bill Monday, but Tuesday's House farm bill had a shiny object: More restrictions on food stamps. So, it gets more coverage. This story is not, of course, over. Not even close. The Senate passed a farm bill way back last year, but the House rejected it. These guys don't always agree with each other. 

If Obamacare makes you sick

You might want to spend the 1.5 hours--yes, 1.5 hours--watching this video about how employers can live with upcoming changes in health care requirements. Expect to be in a bad mood later.

Lori Bell xoxoxo Her Non-Cafo Pig

NPR xoxoxo Vilsack

Bad idea: Making your friends play vegan

Grist has a lady trying to get her friends to stay vegan for a month. Turns out it's more hard than fun

Good idea: A hamburger eating club

This bunch of folks makes a regular event out of looking for better hamburgers. Let's all join clubs like that.

Bobby calves in Australia

Dairy calves aren't worth much in Australia. And it's always fun to see how Australians talk.

JBS is doing fine

Tyson: Lower beef demand

The company plans to do more product innovation, but says high chicken feed prices, reduced beef demand and a supply-demand imbalance in pork are impacting profits.

A job we may not want

Here's a look at the bottom rung of the chicken business


The Farm Bill Gets Started. Yawn.

May 15, 2013

You've got to go looking if you want to read about the Senate Ag Committee's new farm bill. None of the major papers have anything out front this morning. Too much news on Angela Jolie to waste space on an object so unshiny, we suppose.

You can read what Official Cowdom thinks of this dough from which Congress will eventually knead a policy that will impact all of agriculture--including the eating segment--for the foreseeable future here.

Preach to the mirror. Please

It's seldom that we'd recommend the New York Time's beefaphobic columnist Ken Bittman to anybody seeking advice, but we hope he read his own column this morning. He begins by warning against snap judgments based on intuition and incomplete evidence and, without taking back any of his anti-beef crusade, actually says that even sugar has its place.

That's good. That's true. It's like he's preaching to his scare-mongering ownself there for a minute. But then, darned if he doesn't turn around and do it again. This time on Monsanto and the dreaded "superweeds."

They aren't "superweeds." They are resistant to Roundup. They still die if you plow them or hoe them, just like they did before Roundup. And the ground behind the plow still washes away or blows away, just like it did before Roundup made reduced tillage workable.

Oops. "Scientific consensus" does another U-turn

Now they tell us to take even their salt advice with a grain of salt.

USDA puts our money where its mouth is

Well, we suppose that headline could be construed as negative, but it shouldn't be. The government in general needs to spend less time talking about climate change and more time getting ready for it.

McDonald's new burgers. With beef this time.

Talk about your encouraging news. McDonald's has some new products that actually involve hamburger.

Beer fed cows

We've no idea how beer affects beef flavor, but this idea strikes us as important in at least two ways. The animal rights groups can hardly complain about "unhappy cows" if you keep them drunk and mellow. And, this would make the cow farmer's beer deductible, wouldn't it?

NBC notices wild horses again

We all know what fine medicine for low ratings the government's mustang roundups are, and NBC News has been giving us a good dose this week. You've got to love it when you get these debates between celebrities-who-feel-something and experts-who-know-something.

John Deere's quick outlook

Just a set of slides, but it says it all

Secretary Vilsack likes organic farming

Go vegan or go home? That's a choice?

Department of Very Practical Ideas:

Let's all surround our cows with red ribbons!

A main stream reporter we might like.

He says "Ever since then, steak has been at the top of the list of what Americans eat when they go out to celebrate." Well, yes.


We Kill Cows, Don’t We?

May 14, 2013

So we're all bulled up about the ever-pending end of the liquidation phase, which just HAS to happen soon, and it turns out we're still killing cows. Faster than even the last couple of years, which were themselves extraordinarily dangerous for mama bovines in the drought belt.
The Drs Tom Troxel and Michael L. Looper of the University of Arkansas take a few paragraphs to marvel about it.

Tennessee governor: no to ag gagging

Bill Haslam vetoed the ag gag law passed by the Volunteer state's legislature, suggesting he empathizes with the intent, but frets about the constitutionality and the impact on freedom of speech.

Good press for electronic cattle management

We ran onto a couple of interesting pieces on the promise--as in "not here yet, but worth following"--of using Smart Guy Stuff to manage cattle. Virtual fencing, health management, feed intake. That kind of stuff. Dean anderson is always a great interview and The Atlantic took him aside for a long interview on his electronic cattle management researchers at the Jornada station in Southwest New Mexico. He's got some awful handy stuff coming if the manufacturers ever catch up. Are you listening, AllFlex?

The BBC has some information on how electronics are impacting thing on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

The reason to read this silliness about eating dogs

"Choose vegetarian" transit ads compare eating cows to eating dogs is to get to the comments, wherein one fellow advises us:

"I love dogs because they ALWAYS greet me with a friendly yelp and a wagging tail. Unlike my wife who almost always greets me with an unfriendly yelp and won't let me near her tail - except when she is in the mood. So yeah, I love dogs because they are great companions - and I eat cows because they taste good. Dogs make terrible bar-b-que and cows are lousy at playing fetch."

COOL. Lots of discourse

Deadline looms on the mandatory Cool thing. Will USDA stand by its original plan? Will it suit the WTO? Will Congress change the ground rules anyhow? There are lots of opinions:

Next volley over meat labels due soon
NFU: 2013 Farm Bill gaining momentum
Meat packers say Obama administration labeling rules will cripple industry

Labeling we can support

Another story on USDA's lax oversight of needled beef cuts.

More about immigration

Most of the papers would rather talk about the sundry Obama scandals of the week, but immigration "reform" continues to get some attention.

We’re not talking to you, of course, but just on the off chance some of our other readers happen to be lax with the guns around the house, we include this piece about a father being charged. You read it here first: Gun safety is about to become gun control advocates’ equivalent of the MADD campaign against drunk driving.

Another zinger comment on this story about Whole Foods putting chicken in their vegan salad.: "How do you know someone is a vegan? Don't worry, they'll be sure to tell you." That's too true for comfort. Veganism is the Fad of the Day.

NCBA is on this long list of organizations opposing dairy's supply management plans.

We learned it in England. Here's a nice piece about why we like steak so much in the U.S.

Pitts on equestrian one-up-manship

Finally, you'll want to look in on Lee Pitts' take on the importance of proper horsemanship.

Three Fifty Corn?! Thuree Five Zero!

May 13, 2013

Three Fifty Corn? Thuree Five Zero!

All the angst about delayed planting may mean less corn than we'd like, but USDA still thinks we'll get more than enough. Last week's WASDE report cut its yield projections from its last guess, but still projects plenty of corn.

It was enough that Jerry Gulke used the $3.50 number in his outlook for new crop corn prices. He says it will take $3.50 to $4 corn to "buy back demand." Wouldn't that be nice for feeder prices?

CO2 hits dinosaurian levels

The big news last week was that carbon dioxide levels have reached the highest point in 300 million years. That's serious stuff on the global warming front, and it provided lots of scary fodder for the press.

Eat more bugs. No. Seriously.

Who says we can't feed the teeming billions of the future? The UN says we just need to eat more insects and they say industrial agriculture is just the outfit to develop the production systems. (Once we work the bugs out, of course.)

So if eating arthropods  is good for the world, that must make this French chef and his crickets not so much eccentric as avant garde, we suppose

We know this constitutes a potential competitor for beef, but we remain confident that, well, bugs ain’t beef. They eat horses in France and the Peruvians like the occasional guinea pig. But they all prefer beef. We suspect the same will be true long after the New York Times’ food critics have declared dung bettle soufflé the wave of the future.

NPR delivers the poop on biosolids as fertilizer

Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

The news here: Bankers think

This committee of bankers, wise and studied men, no doubt, think there just may be some bit of a bubble--a bit of irrational exuberance, perhaps--in these land prices. You think?

Iowa's sue-the-farmer ruling

Montana's wolf kill debates howl on

But the Canadians have a better idea.

You just scrape up the road kill and do a copter drop to the predators. Maybe the Montanas could furnish some dead wolves.

We continue our search for good burger advice

Politico says the "powerful" beef lobby has won one on the Farm Bill 

We continue our search for good press for ag gag laws. Again, no luck.

Hey, we're foreigners there, so they’re saying we’re good workers!

NPR's take on crop insurance

An economic upswing?

Fighting cholesterol

Bacon weiners

Fly reminder

Beef board at Wine and Food festival

Ted Turner's good buffalo deal

Paul McCartney's daughter does a vegetarian book

Curing the hiccups

Going Long on the Animal ID Outlook

May 06, 2013

Going long on the animal ID outlook
This outfit is willing to be $1.3 billion that you'll need more tags in the future.

Distillers grains and e. Coli
Any time a food safety question comes up the place to go is Doug Powell's Barfblog. He knows his stuff and darned if he isn't a pretty good writer for a college professor from Kansas. This morning, he's giving a critical look at distillers grains and e. Coli.

Poor Tyson. Again.
Tyson had another tough quarter. They blame it on the drought but they expect a much better second half. Hmmm. They don't say if it's because they hope to sell beef higher or  because they hope to buy cattle cheaper. If the former, we should all forget and forgive and wish them luck. But if those turkeys are thinking the good news is that the Western drought is going to keep pushing cheap cows and heifers their way, then not so much.

Immigration again
We're not sure that individual farmers and ranchers are going to find any new immigation bill that easy to work with, but the big boys seem happy.

Reuters has a look at the current state of the potential guest worker provisions, as of Monday, May 6, anyhow.

It takes a vegan
Elizabeth Kucinich--yes, THAT Kucinich--has signed on with the Center for Food Safety.  Let's all guess which food she will be most inclined to deem unsafe.

A pretty balanced piece on Roswell's horse slaughter potential

Another one gags on ag gags
It's hard to find positive press on the ag gag laws around the country. Here's one take on why.

May is Beef Month
This fellow expalains why it matters

Record beef prices from Reuters' perspective

How we feel, too
This columnist considers EPA's crocodile tears about releasing farmers' private information to the anti-ag crusaders and pretty well nails it.

Strolling Heifers walks into the big time
We've not had the opportunity to attend Brattleboros' Strolling of the Heifers festivities, but it is ranked among the top 10 local festivals in the country, apparently, right up there below Cheyenne Days and Shreveport's Mudbug Madness. To put that in perspective, Olney's 40-year-old One Man Dove hunt shindig didn't even make the list.

AAA: Another Antibiotic attack

Here is some celebrity news worth reading

East Texas cattle thefts

Burgers as a fund raiser

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