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August 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. 

On Their Own Early

Aug 30, 2013

Some of the nation is still in a drought. Other areas are recovering but may not be ready to carry a lot of cow/calf pairs. But, according to the USDA, if weaning early is part of your grass saving plan, it could be a good deal for your cows and calves, too.


Miles and Miles of Highway

If you and a few friends are looking for a business investment, ranchers in the Dakotas sure hope you’d consider reopening the Aberdeen, South Dakota, beef processing plant. Feedlot operators are telling their story of 450-mile treks to transport cattle to a Nebraska packing plant since Northern Beef Packers shut their doors. The Miami Herald reports that there is a huge need for a beef packing plant in the Dakotas.


Farming the Farm Bill

Congress hasn’t come back to "work" yet, but the heat in the farm bill kitchen is already warming up. Ag Secretary Vilsack says ag exports in 2013 are projected to reach $140 billion, and if that happens, it will set a new record. However, he underscores the export news with emphasis on the importance of a new farm bill and passage of immigration reform.

The 30-day ticker is about to kickstart on existing farm programs, and the Washington Post reports a plan to move forward has not developed during the congressional recess. Although the farm bill is likely not well understood by those who are not involved in agriculture, the Denver Post highlights a few issues that impact everyone if a bill is not passed--higher food and milk prices.


Food News

Although fast food workers are striking for a $15/hour wage, the writers at The Atlantic don’t think their work ban will earn much salt. Their rationale is interesting, and is highlighted by the fact that food service jobs have increased, while retail and manufacturing are declining.

A recent report from the restaurant association shows a dim outlook, with only 23 percent of restaurant operators expect business to improve in the next six months. Agri-Pulse has the details.

And our work grazing would be amiss if we didn’t offer up a good grin each day. After Burger King’s announcement of a "fry burger," Ag Age has a few other marketing suggestions for the food chain.


Water Wise

The Guardian is planning a live Q&A next week to discuss water in agriculture. According to the U.N., 70% of the world’s water is used for agriculture and irrigation. The United States is not the only country struggling with water depletion. Many countries are turning to sustainable water initiatives.


Love the Beetles

Grist is showing a little beetle love today--dung beetle love, that is. Their story highlights something many of us with more than dirt on the bottom of our boots already know: Dung beetles are good for the environment and help break down manure. And, who knew the little black beetles have the right of way in South Africa?


That’s a Lot of Candles

Research is one of the cornerstones to agriculture, and a Texas research center is celebrating 75 years of cutting-edge advancements. Amarillo.com has the story.

 

HSUS Upset. Oh Darn.

Aug 29, 2013

Feedlots have a target on their back again. The HSUS and others filed a lawsuit yesterday against the EPA for withdrawing the proposed CAFO reporting rule, Agri-Pulse reports. Last year, the EPA decided to scrap the "we need to know absolutely everything about you" rule, saying they could get the same info from existing sources. Apparently the HSUS thought the new rule would make it easier slip CAFO information directly in their Rolodex. We’re not sure why they needed a new rule to do that. Hasn’t EPA set a precedent for releasing personal information anyway?


Meaty Matters

We tend to think of beef in the retail meat case, but wholesale buyers make a big impact on demand and price fluctuations. Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look at how McDonalds can influence commodity prices. Just a 2-month feature of chicken wings made wholesale prices more than double. Now if the mega-chain would just figure out a new beef feature…

You may not get to have your Whopper your way today. Many fast food chains are scrambling more than just eggs today as a nationwide fast food labor strike kicked off this morning. MSNBC has the details on a movement that’s been gaining strength since July. The Denver Post also reports.

Food Safety News takes a look at how the walkout could affect food safety.


Crop Insurance Eyed

When the farm bill gets back on the agenda in Washington, they will have some new numbers to gnaw on. A recently released report ways the government spent $17.3 billion last year to compensate farms for weather-related losses. Grist says some of those losses could have been avoided, and suggests crop insurance is a crutch used by farmers to not employ techniques that would improve water and soil quality. Funny, we haven’t seen Grist editors driving many tractors lately.


Meat Market Misbehavior

The Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for vandalism at a Michigan meat market. Members of the group spray painted "meat is murder" on the building and glued the door locks, ignition of a company vehicle, as well as other things, according to WNEM. We think proper justice would be to feed these vandals a burger, three times a day, in jail.


Strange Science

We guess it shouldn’t be that unbelievable that science has grown miniature human brains in a lab. After all, they "grew" a $300,000 "hamburger."  These "brains in a jar" do have some scientific significance. Researchers hope it will give them clues to understanding developmental disorders like autism. The Austin American Statesman has the odd details.

All squeamish thoughts aside, the Huffington Post reports that 20% of our nation’s scientists are considering moving overseas. Apparently the governments brilliant sequester program has created a very poor funding climate for research.


Wormy Situation

If you’re traveling to Colcord, Oklahoma, you better pack plenty of bottled water. Residents there have been asked not to drink the tap water after red worms were found in the filtering system.


Squirrely Excuse

A Washington state man’s excuse for shooting an arrow onto the roof of the county jail is a little bit squirrely, literally. He was arrested when the arrow was found to have marijuana attached to it, Fox News reports. He said he was only shooting at squirrels on the roof, however he couldn’t explain how the Mary-Jane attached helped his hunting. No inmates have claimed to be the Robin Hood’s intended recipient.

Farm Income Conundrum

Aug 28, 2013

Headlines on the most recent projections for farm income are a bit deceiving. Many of the major news sites tout "U.S. Farm Income Sees Record Highs." But that doesn’t tell the whole story, like expenses are also at record highs, and large corn and soybean crops will push some prices lower. Bloomberg analyzes both sides of the story. Our friends at Cattle Network also look at how off-farm income fits in the mix.

You know the saying, behind everyone who farms or ranches is a spouse who works in town.


Drop Outs

Some schools in the country have a drop out problem. They are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program after school cafeterias were forced to change their menus thanks to the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. However, the act has had the opposite affect in many parts of the country. Kids don’t like the food offered, and many complained they were still hungry after eating smaller portions that had fewer options. Some cafeterias ended the school year $100,000 in the red.

Agri-Pulse looks at what the students did eat, when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

CBS delves deep into the problem.


Warning to All Pregnant Women!

PETA has issued a warning to all pregnant women: Don’t participate in chicken wing eating contests! Huff Post says the over-the-top animal rights group has urged the National Buffalo Wing Festival to ban pregnant women from the contest, citing a study linking poultry consumption to … are you ready for this … smaller genitals in boys.

It’s okay if you want to click on the link to read what idiocracy PETA is promoting now. We did.


Investing in Infrastructure

The projected drop of beef supplies has not discouraged Cargill from dropping some big bucks at their Dodge City location. According to Dodge Globe, the packer is investing $48 million for a new beef distribution system.


Population Problem

The horse slaughter debate has lasted years, and has recently been highlighted by a federal court case. At least those on both sides of the matter agree on one thing--let’s get on with it--the court case anyway. While HSUS, some politicians and other activists argue to end horse slaughter, the Wall Street Journal suggests the West is on the brink of a wild horse apocalypse.


Other News Bites ...

If you’re looking for a feel-good story this morning, click over to the Des Moines Register and read this story about a local meat packing business that’s been open since 1869.

New Yorkers are raving about the ramen burger, the Today Show reports. Although we’re not booking a flight to try it, at least it does boast an all-beef patty!

Angry tweeters eat their words at a Canadian Taco Bell, according to Adweek.

Does your Ford need a new paint job? Ever considered wrapping it in bacon? Ford has. TIME has the scoop; oops we mean slice.

 

The Power of McD

Aug 27, 2013

There’s little doubt of the market power of McDonalds, but if you want to see just what kind of impact the fast food giant can have, take a look at this Wall Street Journal story. In a few days, the company will debut Mighty Wings – the Mickey D version of chicken wings. Their interest in the product was felt in wholesale prices of the chicken "part."


Courts Look at COOL

COOL’s day in court has arrived and a few more players have joined in the game. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), National Farmers Union (NFU), the American Sheep Industry Association (ASIA) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) have also intervened in the pending country-of-origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit.  Food Safety News reports a preliminary injunction is typically only granted if the court believes the plaintiffs are likely to win at trial. This is just the first step in finding out if the genealogy of our beef will be required on each store label.


Water is the New Oil

A Kansas State study reinforces what many drought-stricken farmers and ranchers already know – water is precious. But maybe their study will open some eyes of farmers who pour irrigation water on their crops as if there is a lifetime supply of it, says NPR. In a nutshell, there’s not.  The study predicts that within 10 years, the amount of available water will drastically diminish, as will corn fields, soon followed by feedlots. NBC News says it would take an average of 500 to 1,300 years to completely refill the High Plains Aquifer.


Za-Fallout       

There are rumblings that the other two major U.S. packers are planning to halt the purchase of Zilmax cattle, BEEF reports. Ironically, this stop-purchase plan should take care of itself as feedyards run out of their supply of the product. But one major feeding company CEO says he supports a thorough review of the product and hopes it returns to the market. Cactus Feeders top dog, Dr. Mike Engler, discusses za-problem in an interview on Oklahoma Farm Report.


Bulled Over

You don’t have to travel to Pamplona to run with the bulls. A series of "runs" are now being held in various cities across the U.S., says NBC News. Perhaps there’s a marketing opportunity in there somewhere that American ranchers have missed…?


Hangover from the Drought?

The corn crop looks promising. Feeder cattle prices are up. Everything is peaches in cream in agriculture, right? Policy Pennings takes a look at some of the leftover effects of the 2012 drought, and how they could put a damper on 2014’s outlook.


Immigration Snooze

It’s been a week or two since immigration legislation was news on our blog, but as Congress gets ready to come back to "work," the debate has focused on who won during the summer recess. TIME believes we simply lost a month of progress. Agri-Pulse shares info on two congressmen who are looking to clamp down illegal immigration.


Other News Bites ...

Looking for burger and fries? This new Burger King menu item gives you both in one bite.

Crop Chop

Aug 26, 2013

A recent Pro Farmer crop tour has analysts chopping the crop estimates for corn and soybeans. This marks the third estimate reduction in as many months. Immaturity of many fields opens the door to damage from early freeze. Hard to imagine that right now as many of us were wiping the sweat from our brows over the weekend. Although there should still be plenty of corn to go around, where that magic price will land could waiver as fewer kernels will be in our baskets.

 

Heat has bean buyers jumping this morning, as yields may take a step back, according to Bloomberg.


Fewer on Feed 

It’s no surprise that Friday’s Cattle on Feed report showed the 12th monthly year-on-year decline in a row. USDA’s Corbitt Wall says the feeder market might be a little top heavy and wonders how much longer feeders will ride this high. With Zilmax off the market, some say there will be less beef to go around, and Reuters reports Elanco is analyzing the current supply and demand for Optaflexx.

Oklahoma Farm Report has this to say.

CattleNetwork also chimes in.

And in news-that’s-not-really-news any more, Cargill has jumped on the "ban Zilmax" bandwagon, saying the packer will harvest the last of the cattle currently being fed Zilmax by the end of September. Once those cattle go through the system, they will not accept any more Zilmax cattle. This might have seemed like another bold step against the product, however since Merck pulled Zilmax from the market several days ago, the announcement is kin to a MLB coach saying, "Hey guys, let’s ditch the steroids as soon as the season is over, okay?"


Tofu by Any Other Name Would be as Sweet

Chipotle, fresh off their "antibiotics for sick cattle only" PR stumble is taste-testing a few new items in the Northeast. Huffington Post reports a sofrita taco could be coming to a restaurant near you. Don’t let your mouth start watering just yet. A sofrita taco is tofu braised with chipotles and poblanos. Here’s the kicker – they chose the name "sofrita" because "tofu taco" was thought to be insulting…to tacos.


Camera Quandary

The Office of the Inspector General has found problems with the USDA camera grading system, saying the system is offering grades that are higher than the meat actually should be, says Food Poisoning Bulletin. The report even cites that Prime is supposed to be given to less than 2% of all beef produced in this country. Do they not consider the improvements in genetics over the last decade? Isn’t it possible that cattlemen are raising more high quality beef, and it’s not just a computer glitch?


Other News Bites ...

The Farmers’ Almanac says to stock up on your winter gear. Their projections call for extreme cold this winter.

Is your job hazardous to your sleep? According to an article on Huffington Post, if you work long hours or have a stressful job, then your occupation could be infringing on a good night’s sleep. Hello? Anyone in the cattle business not work long hours under stress?

Problem with your oven? Never fear, just cook your food in the dishwasher! NRP has the soggy details.

Fox News reports it’s unsanitary to wash a chicken before you cook it.

No more horseplay in the horse slaughter challenge, the USDA wants to move immediately to an expedited hearing.

 

Canada Boosts Beef with $14 Million

Aug 23, 2013

For research and innovation in the Canada’s beef industry, $14 million will be spent over five years and managed by the Beef Cattle Research Council, says the Calgary Herald. A combination of provincial contributions, money raised by the industry through the beef checkoff plus fed money adds up to $14 mill, a number that Canadians are hoping is enough to help the industry face growing challenges.

Sounds like quite the beef booster, eh?


Pet with Caution

Three children and one adult were infected with E. coli from the EKKA (Royal Queensland Show) petting zoo in Brisbane, Australia, the BarfBlog reports. At least they’re not blaming the animals. The petting zoo was described as controlled chaos, "kids crying and falling in poop, animals scarfing down food, and parents chatting with friends and not noticing their toddler doing things that shouldn’t be done in a petting zoo."

Read all about it, but wash your hands before putting them in your mouth.

And check out a list of disease outbreaks from petting zoos across the country, thanks to Kansas State.


Cattle Rustler Nabbed

A man who allegedly stole 15 cows in York County, South Carolina, got caught and charged with larceny of livestock, according to TheState.com. Luckily, it should be easy to prove as they were sold to a packing house which had surveillance footage and kept receipts of the cows with ear tags. Unfortunately, they were slaughtered.

Here's Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers’ Theft Prevention Tips.


PETA’s Saving Marine Mammals, One Movie at a Time

PETA’s latest mission – saving marine animals in parks, like SeaWorld, according to MNN (Mother Nature Network). How are they doing that? Well, not letting them be in movies, apparently. "The constant deprivation that marine mammals face at SeaWorld is suited to a horror film, not a comedy," says PETA about some SeaWorld scenes that will appear in Anchorman 2. They want those scenes cut from the film like Pixar did from "Finding Dory" after PETA pressure.


Butter Cow Gets Violated, Buy a Shirt

Recall the butter cow incident? The one where "animal rights" crazies from Iowans for Animal Liberation covered the iconic Iowa State Fair butter cow in red paint, scrawling "Freedom for All" on the display? Yep, that incident. Well, now you can own your very own "Butter Cow Security" t-shirt. Gotta love merchandising.

 

The Battle Continues on Keystone Pipeline

Aug 22, 2013

The Department of Interior is now expressing concerns that the State Department is ignoring the potential impact of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline on wildlife, waterways and national parks, according to the Huffington Post. The problem is with the State Department’s supplemental environment impact statement or SEIS. The EPA agrees that the SEIS wasn’t good enough. They’re also mad about the company that was contracted to do the SEIS, since it came to light that they’d worked with TransCanada (the company wanting to build the pipeline) before. Of course, the Sierra Club also has something to say on it. The Guardian weighs in on the issue too, even quoting President Obama saying that the project wouldn’t be a big job creator and he was basing his decision on the climate change effects.

Read more of the "he said, she said", from the Huff Post or the Guardian.

And Grist compiled a list of "adorable animals imperiled by the Keystone XL Pipeline."


Supreme New Herd Repopulation Program

Kansas State Research and Extension and Kansas Department of Ag just unveiled a new program designed to help cattle producers use best management protocols to improve management and marketing of heifers. Learn more about what it takes and how to make your heifers eligible for the Sunflower Supreme program at SunflowerSupreme.org.


No More Money for Wildfires

The feds are running out of money to fight wildfires, FoxNews says. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), after having already spent $967 million this year, is down to just $50 million. "That’s typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires," USFS says. That’s not good, considering there are 51 large uncontained fires burning right now, including one in Yosemite. Strapped for cash with more budget cuts on the way, USFS has been using money from wildfire prevention to fight the fires, even though they know that "only increases costs and reduces efficiency." Years of neglect have made the fuel load and risk extreme. Hasn’t anyone heard of grazing and logging?


Elanco Parent Company Taking Bribes

Eli Lilly, parent company of the livestock pharmaceutical company Elanco, is facing allegations of bribing doctors in China. YahooNews says the company is "deeply concerned" about the accusations and is looking into the matter. Eli Lilly is the third foreign drug maker to face allegations this month. Corruption in China’s pharmaceutical industry is widespread, apparently.


Can You Guess What’s in this Photo?

Hint, the fact that this is featured on the Huffington Post is not exactly good for the cattle industry. View the photo, then read more about it.

Are the Great Plains the Next “Great American Desert”?

Aug 21, 2013

That’s what TheTrumpet.com is calling it. This news outlet is focused on how current events are fulfilling the biblical prophecy, but we admit the facts are there--the Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted. According to the article, the USDA says its conservation efforts are "mostly designed to delay the inevitable since the recharge rate for the Ogallala Aquifer is small enough to be considered negligible."


Debates Ongoing on Wolf Reintroduction

The constant battle between wildlife officials and cattlemen over wolves is continuing in Arizona, according to the Kingman Daily Miner and Arizona Daily Sun. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors wants to be involved in the federal study of the Mexican gray wolf, but they do not support the feds plan to expand the territory. Meanwhile, the Daily Sun says editors believe "Flagstaff residents can provide a significant voice in restoring this ecologically critical, charismatic creature to its rightful place in northern Arizona." We think that’s a great idea. They are welcome to keep them in their backyards.

The Miner has more on this latest round of a fight nobody ever wins.

And the Sun has a clearly biased take on it from a "conservation director."


Obama Supports Republicans on Immigration ... Sort Of

Organizing for Action, which is an "offshoot of President Obama’s campaign committee is supporting Republicans," says the Washington Post. OFA backs a legal path to citizenship and has been publicly supporting those who do as well, even if they are republicans, like Rep. Paul Ryan and five others. 


AQHA Not Only Has to Register Clones, Also Pay Up

According to Globe News, U.S. District Judge Robinson ruled the American Quarter Horse Association must pay the nearly $900,000 in legal fees for the plaintiffs in the cloning lawsuit, according to the Amarillo Globe News. Also, "Robinson has told attorneys in the case she will issue an order requiring the AQHA to register clones, but the parties are still sparring over the legal language in the judge's proposed order on the cloning issue." An appeal sounds likely. FoxNews also sheds some light on the issue, we’ll forgive them for using Thoroughbred examples.


Good News For Plainview

After halting production in January, the Plainview, Texas, ethanol plant White Energy will resume operations in October, says the Amarillo Globe News. That’s good news for the town and surrounding area, which has been struggling with high unemployment since the first of the year when Cargill closed its doors, laying off 2,200 employees. White Energy is hiring about 39 employees, which is relatively small, but will definitely help. 


Chevy Needs Animal Science 101

Chevrolet is taking some heat for a commercial featuring a rancher looking for a lost calf. The idea is a great one--but the calf is a Holstein. We give props to Chevy for trying to appeal to ranchers. Sure, it would have been better if they’d used a little black baldy calf or a red calf. Lord knows they probably would have been less cooperative, though. It is, after all, the thought that counts, right?

 

The Ag Guy: Feeder Cattle Marketing Options

Aug 20, 2013

Feeder cattle markets are in position to hold stronger. More marketing options open up for cow-calf and stocker producers. GrandLakeNews.com runs the numbers with The Ag Guy from Oklahoma and gives facts and figures for fall planning for all segments of the industry.


Not Enough Water to Go Around

Back-to-back dry years have those drinking from the Colorado River worried. The river serving some 40 million people in seven states and cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas, has reached trigger points for drought measures, according to Amarillo Globe News. This means, for the first time ever, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will slow the flow of water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. "We're going to slow Powell's decline. That will hasten Mead’s decline. But next year, we can adjust again." Makes excellent sense. We just hope they have enough water in Lake Mead to keep those fountains going in Vegas. Read more on how they are conserving water by pouring it from one cup to the other.


A 51st State?

The Washington Times reported that rural Coloradans will vote this fall on a referendum creating a new state: Northern Colorado. "People are looking for hope because they feel like the government is out of control," says one resident. The four counties are rural and rely on agriculture, and oil and gas production. Other options include annexing with Wyoming or redrawing Senate districts for more true representation.


Beef Lovers Rejoice!

MySA.com has a mouth-watering story on a new festival coming up. They say, "In San Antonio, a day without beef is like a day without sunshine." That’s why the city is kicking off Meatopia, a two-day festival in November celebrating all things beef. We, here at GTN, happily and hungrily approve!


No "Do You Want Fries with That?" Aug. 29

 

If you frequent fast-food chains, you might make other plans for Aug. 29. "Emboldened by an outpouring of support on (you guessed it) social media" fast-food workers are planning a national day of strikes Aug. 29. What do you they want? $15 an hour. And a union. The Washington Post has the greasy details. With extra pickle.    


Do These Pants Make My Cow Look Fat?

Yes, it’s true. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more ridiculous over at Grist, there’s a story about cows wearing pants. And it’s not a new trend, they say. There’s even a picture.

 

The Livestock Apocalypse Sperm Bank

Aug 19, 2013

Ever wondered how we could repopulate a post-apocalyptic Earth? Well, as long as there’s a human left, there will be beef. Thank God. The National Animal Germplasm Program has the goods – 700,000 straws of common, rare and vintage semen. And actually, you can get semen for free now. If you’ve got a good reason.

The Modern Farmer has more on what may be the largest semen repository in the world. But, the details on how the facility will survive the apocalypse are top secret.


Beef Cattle Outlook – More of the Same?

The USDA released its Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook and again "higher year-over-year commercial cow slaughter" sets the stage for lower cow inventories, calf crops and ultimately feeder numbers.

The USDA report also discusses imports/exports and the impacts of the absence of the National Agricultural Statistics Service survey.  


Could Disease Resistance be Related to Color?

New research at Iowa State University suggests that non-black cattle may be more resistant to Salmonella. Although Salmonella is "not of huge economic importance to cattle" it is important to packers who don’t want any chance of salmonella contaminated ground beef. What could this mean for our industry? It may be too soon to tell. The August Hereford World has the whole story.


Birth Control for Cows

An Argentinian veterinarian designed an IUD (intrauterine device) for older brood cows who are being fed for harvest. The "practically inoffensive" device will help cattlemen in Argentina reduce the financial burden an unwanted pregnancy causes. In fact, the Argentinian government is even subsidizing the distribution of about 440,000 IUDs to producers. The Raw Story has the device details.


Problems with Wolves?

According to The Albuquerque Journal, U.S. Fish and Wildlife is now doling out $850,000 to help reduce conflicts between livestock and the Mexican wolves they thought would be a good idea to release. Makes a lot of sense, right?


HSUS is Mad at the City of Raleigh

It doesn’t take much to anger "animal activist" group Humane Society of the U.S (HSUS). Now, HSUS is suing the Raleigh (North Carolina) Transit Authority because they wouldn’t run the HSUS’ advertisement on the side of city buses. The advertisement showed "pigs confined in pens on factory farms." Kudos to Raleigh for standing up to HSUS.  And maybe even more interestingly, North Carolina is the nation’s second-largest pork producing state. WRAL has the piggy story.

 

Merck Pulls Zilmax

Aug 16, 2013

Mid-morning Friday, news broke that Merck is temporarily suspending sales of Zilmax. No new information was provided in the Wall Street Journal report. However, Agweb says the sales halt will give the company time to conduct an additional scientific audit on the product. Merck plans to monitor the process of feeding Zilmax and will follow identified cattle from the feedyard to the packing plant to determine the potential causes of mobility issues.

Chicago Tribune says the FDA is working with Merck on lameness claims.

Bloomberg also reports.


Food Focus

We often graze at Grist.org for those off the wall stories, but today we applaud their news. In light of civil unrest in many parts of the world, Grist highlights the link between a lack of food and social revolution. They comment about investing in methods to increase food production and sustainability. What’s funny is that they praise a Newsweek reporter for predicting this in 2012. That must make those in agriculture Nobel prize nominees for seeing the writing on the wall years ago.

Now if we can just get them to look a little further and see what we are doing and tie that together with passing a farm bill.

Speaking of a farm bill, Missouri farmers packed the house in order to tell their elected reps it’s time to get busy, Agri-Pulse reports. However, not much progress has been made according to USagnet.com


Beefy Interview

Business Insider shares an interview with the "world famous" butcher Pat LaFrieda. He talks beef supply, herd rebuilding and grass-fed beef. What’s interesting is his efforts to educate his consumers about how nearly all cattle are grass fed for most of their lives. He also throws in some info on the carbon footprint of grass vs. grain fed beef.


Sneaky Sales

Indonesia is digging into price-fixing schemes when it comes to beef. Import restrictions have made the red meat a high priced item, but something locals were willing to pay for during Ramadan.


Whopper vs. narcotics

Have a Burger King Whopper instead of heroin or opium. That was the odd marketing strategy of Burger King in Russia, according to Ad Age.  The commercial has been pulled from TV, but they did put it on the company’s official YouTube channel -- so you don’t miss out.


HSUS Gets Bad Decision

Food Safety News reports the injunction sought by the HSUS against two horse slaughter houses could be invalid. Irony #1 – the HSUS is who thinks it’s invalid, and they’re the ones who asked for the injunction. Irony #2 – once again, why is this news for Food Safety News?


Floating Faux Pas

If you’re going to steal a truck with a welder and torch on the back, then sink it in a lake to hide the evidence, you might want to disconnect the hoses first. Cattleman Magazine reports how some fishermen were able to sink this thief.


Unidentified Animal

It’s a cat. It’s a bear. It’s an olinguito! Read all about the first carnivore species to be discovered in the American continents in 35 years. Science Daily has the furry details.

 

Stall Tactics Working

Aug 15, 2013

Score one for the HSUS when it comes to horse slaughter. The Iowa processing plant that had received a permit for horse slaughter is now focusing on cattle. The president of the business said he can’t afford to wait on the courts to sort things out. "We have to get back to work," he told the DesMoines Register.


COOL update

We might know sometime in September if country-of-origin labeling will be coming to a grocery store near you. Nine beef and meat organizations are suing for an injunction against the ruling, and a federal judge is expected to hear arguments later this month, says Oklahoma Farm Report.

Although China is cool to U.S. beef, the Aussies are soaking it in. Quartz provides some insight into China’s new taste for beef, and what our cattle producers are being left out of.


Eye to the Fed

It’s worth keeping an eye on the business journals this next month. Bloomberg reports the fed chairman will likely reduce its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Better-than-estimated corporate earnings along with lower unemployment numbers have the fed hinting at reducing stimulus measures. Not only could this have an impact on interest rates for big borrowers in agriculture, it could signal a caution toward purchases for the consumer.


Farm Bill & Immigration: Our 2 Favorite Topics

With food stamps squarely centered in the farm bill debate, one might find it interesting that about 25% of those eligible for benefits don’t sign up.  The Huffington Post has the details.

Even though the immigration bill is still up in the air, Vilsack announced today $40 million plan to provide housing for farm workers. The plan is the only national source of construction funds to buy, build or improve housing for farm laborers, Agri-Pulse reports. Loans and grants can go to individuals, corporations or various agencies to provide multi-family housing for workers. That is, provided, that an immigration bill passes allowing farm workers to work.

Policio offers some hope on immigration when Congress returns from their break.


Marketing to Millennials

As millennials are making more and more purchasing decisions, including in the grocery store and at restaurants, perhaps our industry should take a good look at what drives them, what their preferences are and what they consider when they make purchases. Although the article from Ad Age is more about tennis shoes and electronics, insight into this generation could guide us as food producers.


Animal Mania

Looking for some variety in your lunch? If you’re in London, you might consider a pestaurant with worms, ants and grubs on the menu.

Extra time on your hands? This story from the Denver Post is an interesting read. Do camels really store water in their humps? Will a copper penny in a bird bath prevent algae? Read on for answers to these and other conundrums that we’re sure have kept you up at night.

If you visit a Chinese zoo, pay close attention to the animals. Zoologist just might be trying to fool you. Such was the case when they attempted to pass off a dog in the lion exhibit., reports The Atlantic. What gave it away? When the mastiff/lion started barking…

Need for a diaper for your lap chicken? We thought so. The Denver Post has the details on an entrepreneur who can fix you up.

 

Zil-Gate?

Aug 14, 2013

Merck is rolling out a new quality control program to insure Zilmax is fed correctly, NASDAQ says. But the "things that make you go hmmm" are in this Reuter’s article. Some feedyards are quoted as quietly receiving premiums – starting six months ago – for non-Zilmax cattle. One manager said Tyson offered no explanation for the premiums.

JBS says it noticed similar ambulatory problems, but the Wall Street Journal says JBS and other packers have no intentions of changing their cattle procurement practices. General information on beta-agonists is circling in light of mainstream media publicizing what is hinting to be the cattle version of Watergate.

NCBA underscores there is no scientific evidence for saying beta-agonists are the cause of the animal welfare concerns. But it supports all efforts to fully understand how the products could impact animal welfare in real-life conditions.

No matter how the facts unfold, natural beef suppliers are smiling all the way to the bank.


Tainted Taste Test

The liberal policy group MoveOn has aimed their next campaign directly at GMOs, Agri-Pulse reports, and a video of their street-side taste test proved to be quite effective. The American Medical Association is not in favor of GMO labeling, citing no scientific justification for the label. Multiple seed and crop companies joined forces to launch GMOanswers.com, hoping to educate the public on GMO crops.


Glowing News

Best 8-year-old joke of the day: What happens when you cross a rabbit with a glow stick? A glowing rabbit! Yeah. Funny. Except they really do exist in Turkey. And the technology to create them could cure HIV one day.

Just in case you don’t have anything to do or read this weekend, Grist offers a book review on genetically modified literature. Like we said, just in case you don’t have anything to do. We mean anything.


Chipotle: What We Meant To Say

In light of yesterday’s announcement that Chipotle plans to use beef from sick animals treated with antibiotics, the company is clarifying its words. Amid shortages of naturally raised beef, Chipotle has used beef that is not naturally raised. However, the company is considering tweaking its "responsibly raised" standards to allow meat treated with antibiotics to treat illnesses.


Maybe Not a Mad Cow

UC Davis researchers have identified a virus that causes symptoms similar to mad cow disease, but is not a threat to human health or the food supply. This new finding should help rule out bovine spongiform encephalopathy as the cause of neurological symptoms in cattle.


Labor Lobby

Even while Congress is on their summer break, the immigration lobby is working hard to tell the story of immigrants and agriculture. Bloomberg has this story from California’s produce country.

Video Evidence?

Aug 13, 2013

Reuters reports an animal health auditor for JBS presented a video at last week’s summer conference in Denver, showing lame cattle at their packing plant. This interesting read opens the door of concern at other packing plants. Cargill says it has not experienced problems, and National Beef said it has no plans to change its cattle procurement practices.


Copious Corn

It’s the tale of two summers when it comes to the corn crop. Last summer’s flirt with $8 corn amid a terrible drought are in the rearview mirror. Although the USDA backed off its July estimates, yesterday’s report makes it sound like there will still be plenty of corn to go around.


Chipotle Double-Take

Burrito king Chipotle is backing off its claim of only using all-natural beef. Amid a supply shortage, the food chain is now allowing "some" beef from cattle treated with antibiotics. But they will only allow such beef from sick cattle, not beef from cattle given antibiotics to prevent disease, Bloomberg reports. We can hear it now..."All-Natural Beef and Beef from Sick Cattle Served Here."


Lingering Label

The Food Safety and Inspection Service has granted meat and trade associations a 60-day comment period extension on a proposal to label certain tenderized beef products. Food safety advocates say the ruling is necessary so that consumers will understand the importance of cooking these cuts of meat thoroughly, Food Poisoning Bulletin says.

Need a little background info on the proposed rule? Find that here.


State Fair Follies

Animal rights groups are churning up controversy after they doused the Iowa State Fair’s iconic butter cow in red paint. The group Iowans for Animal Liberation hid in a building inside the fair grounds until it closed, and painted the buttered bovine red to symbolize "animals murdered each year." The butter sculptor ran to the rescue and the dairy delight was back on display later that morning. We find it a bit ironic that the group targeted a butter cow. After all, we all know how many dairy cows are "murdered each year" for their butter.

O-Clowning around has resulted in a ban for a rodeo clown from the Missouri State Fair.


Farm Bill Glass: Half Full?

Mumblings on the farm bill are evident as Congress is on summer break. NCBA’s Kristina Butts seems somewhat optimistic that a good vacation will clear the heads of our congressional representation, says Oklahoma Farm Report. Illinois representative Rodney Davis thinks everything "will be fine." However, House Democratic ranking member Collin Peterson is not optimistic.

Geez. Perhaps we should make them all hold hands in the backseat like our mom used to do when we’d fight with our siblings.

AgWeek’s version of "not optimistic."

Herald-Review’s version of "it will be passed."


A Moooving Scent

We can see it now. A beautiful woman in a little black dress wrapping her arms around a strapping gentleman, and she comments about how wonderful his cologne smells. Then the camera pans out...to see cows on a dead run for the couple, much like they do when they see the feed wagon. Apparently that’s the goal of the new Farmer’s Cologne, which is designed to be aromatherapeutic and pleasing to cows and livestock, the LA Times Reports. Maybe the makers of this new fragrance will hire us for their next commercial.


Salute to Southpaws & Filet Mignon

It’s a little known fact that today is International Left-Handers Day and National Filet Mignon Day. What a better way to celebrate than picking up a fork with your left hand to enjoy a filet?

If you live near a Morton’s Steakhouse, perhaps you can cash in on a $1 Petite Filet sandwich today!

In case you’re curious, here’s TIME’s Top 10 Lefties.


Horsin’ Around

Never slap a police horse while in Denver. That’s what the Denver Post is reporting today. It just might get you arrested.

Judge says AQHA must register clones, according to Amarillo.com.
 

The Beta Debate

Aug 12, 2013

This morning’s news roundup clearly shows that editors have had the weekend to think about and research Tyson’s decision to not accept cattle fed Zilmax. Some compare the decision to ban Zilmax cattle similar to major league baseball’s decision to kick A-Rod to the curb. The Motley Fool goes so far to say the beef industry has a doping problem. The Wall Street Journal’s headline, "Drugs in Our Beef: Bigger Cows, More Worries" certainly doesn’t make many housewives want to run to the meat counter. And, Colorado’s KUNC radio asks if it’s all a marketing ploy by Tyson to boost foreign sales.

NCBA Prez Forrest Roberts issued a statement regarding the situation, supporting the responsible use of the product, but also acknowledging Tyson’s right to make individual company decisions.

Ironically, just days before the Tyson announcement, Facts About Beef published an article on beta-agonists written by a former USDA undersecretary. It’s a good read, especially if your non-ag friends are shying away from eating beef at their next meal.

On a positive note, NCBA announced the Environmental Stewardship Award Regional Winners at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. These seven operations are the shining light of the beef industry. If they could only receive 1/10th of the press that the Tyson-Zilmax story has garnered…


Print Me a Ribeye, Medium Rare, Please

Would you consider dining on a steak that was created by a 3-D printer? Or on a late night drive, pop open a vial of inhalable caffeine? These products may not be so futuristic after all, Cattle Business Weekly reports.


Corn-a-Plenty

Brazil is serious about corn production. Although summer corn declined, second crop corn almost quadrupled. This has doubled the nation’s corn production, Agropages.com reports.


COOL Goes to Court

A showdown at the OK Corral, well actually in a district court room, is scheduled for August 27th, where a judge will hear arguments from the meat industry to block the USDA’s mandatory country-of-origin labeling rule.


Tit for Tat

Apparently a writer for TIME noticed a HumaneWatch.org billboard as she boarded a train at Union Station. Her story about the organization, the Center for Consumer Freedom and its work to uncover the "support" HSUS gives local humane society shelters weaves a twisted web of discontent between the groups.


Reaching Across the Aisle

When Congress comes back from vacation, immigration reform is expected to be one of many things on their to-do list. It appears that many businesses that rely on immigrated workers are coming together to get their point across – no matter their political affiliations. The LA Times reports.


Food Bites

The Washington Post’s headline "Baltimore Researchers Turn Carnivorous Fish Into Vegetarians" was more than enough to make us click over to this story.

ABC News offers the "Top 13 Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources." Yummmmm-y! Hemp, poppy seeds and a few other things we can’t pronounce top the list. We think a steak sounds much more appetizing.

 

Debate on Beta-Agonists

Aug 09, 2013

Tyson’s announcement is predicted to tighten beef supplies, but it could also have other implications in the export markets. Several countries have refused to accept animals fed with beta-agonists. It also signals that Tyson has an ear to the ground for animal activists. Reuters has the details.

Merck has offered assistance to Tyson to identify the cause of mobility problems. A Merck spokesperson said the company’s data do not support Zilmax as being the cause of the issue, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Oklahoma Farm Report interviewed Dr. Derrell Peel before the Tyson decision was announced. Peel expressed an additional concern with beta-agonists drying up the live cash cattle market.

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial on the matter.

Markets have dropped from their quick reaction to the Tyson news, Bloomberg reports.


Farm Bill news

The big kids in Washington aren’t even there, and yet they still can’t get along, the Sun Tribune reports. The Senate appointed conferees to negotiate the farm bill, but the House says they won’t play. The root of the argument is over food stamps – leave it, take it, or cut it. We think farmers across the nation will start singing a new song. "Turn out the lights, the party’s over…"

Vilsack told reporters this week that the country’s export status is in jeopardy without a farm bill. "If our Congress ... can’t pass a farm bill, the message that sends to the rest of the world is we can be caught." The Des Moines Reporter has the details.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is making the most of the Congressional recess, urging its members to lobby for a Farm Bill while their congressmen are home.


New No. 1

The popularity of Nebraska distiller’s grains has the potential to bump Texas out of the top spot in cattle feeding, DTN reports. If the current five year trend continues, Nebraska will lead the U.S. in the number of cattle on feed.


Awaiting Harvest

Bloomberberg reports that a tightening corn supply has narrowed the ethanol discount to gasoline as refiners await the new corn crop.


New Dishwasher

An Idaho couple had a house guest clean up their leftover Chinese food and clean the skillet – a black bear. The wife was asleep on the couch and never had the opportunity to thank her kitchen cleaner. Perhaps he would have stayed longer if there was more beef in the dish.


Beef a la Avocado

The California Avocado Commission has begun a joint promotion with the California Beef Council and become a sponsor of the National Beef Cook-Off.

Za-Bomb

Aug 08, 2013

Yesterday, Tyson delivered letters to feedyards saying after September 6, they would no longer buy cattle fed Zilmax. Tyson cited difficulties with cattle walking as the reason for the moratorium, although Merck insists the product is safe and has been used for two decades. A sharp stick with a calendar can deduce that the September 6 deadline gives feedyards time to feed out and ship cattle currently fed Zilmax to the processor and pull the product from their ration for cattle soon to go on the show list.


The markets reacted to the news, pushing live cattle futures higher on the assumption of fewer pounds of beef in the future. Trading rumors predict a hole in October live cattle as feedyards push cattle up and out the door by September 5th. Reuters and Dairy Herd Network have the details.


Wanna Be A Packer?

If so, there’s an opportunity in South Dakota. The Argus Leader reports that Northern Beef Packers needs to sell, and sell quickly, to raise some cash. The till is empty, according to the investment company that loaned Northern Beef a cool $35 million.

It might not be a bad deal knowing that Cargill just doubled their yearly profits.

Or perhaps getting in the ag chemical business is the place to be, according to Crop Life.


Warning: I’m Fixin’ To Get You

Cattle don’t carry a sign that says, "Watch Out!" but they might as well, according to Temple Grandin. Beef Producer has more on Grandin’s talk about the early warning signs that a frightened calf is soon to become an aggressive one.


Veggie-Only Day

Whew. We sure are glad we don’t live in Germany. NBC reports the Green Party is pledging a weekly vegetarian day at all federal government workplace cafeterias if they win the national election. The group says the meat-free day would reduce the impact of farming on the environment and improve dietary health. The suggestion has led to some Grazing The Net-approved campaign signs like "Hands Off My Sausage!" We’ll be following this until election day.


Watery Congress

Congress can’t seem to accomplish much these days, but it doesn’t stop representatives from trying. Rep. Bill Shuster plans to propose a water reform bill next month. Nothing like a drastic, nationwide drought to bring water needs to the top of the list.

Policymic reports on the one thing Congress forgot to do before their summer break – cancel it.

And while we’re talking about Congress, Schumer has high hopes for the immigration bill. That’s easy to say when no one is there to argue about it.


Pride in Sustainability

The Beef Board showcased its sustainability assessment at the cattle industry summer meeting in Denver.


Cowboy’s Last Ride

Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association President Clay Birdwell passed away yesterday.


Food Bites Worth Trying

Yep, you read that right. The Grist reports about the latest supermarket fad – cotton candy-flavored grapes. We think this falls in the "things that make you go hmmm…."

NPR looks at the return in popularity for purchasing large quantities of meat, a.k.a. a half a beef, a quarter, etc., in the form of meat shares.

The Atlantic reports sleep deprivation can make you fat.

And, the one food bite you’d rather not take at the airport food counter: maggots.

 

Send Them Beef!

Aug 07, 2013

Red meat exports in June enjoyed the highest numbers thus far for 2013. Although challenges still exist, key markets like Japan and Mexico are enjoying plenty of U.S. beef. Overall, exports rose 8 percent and were valued at $562.3 million.


Corn Exports Lagging

After decades of dominance in the export markets, U.S. corn has fallen to just 20 percent of the world export market share. National price supports via the ethanol mandate, drought and rising global demand met by other countries gave U.S. corn a back seat to Brazil and Ukraine. This year’s bumper crop is expected to return U.S. corn on top for global exports, but our years of dominating the market are over. AgProfessional has the details.


EPA Blinks

The EPA is reducing the amount of ethanol required by the Renewable Fuel Standard to be blended into gasoline for 2014, Reuters reports. Refiners complained they were hitting the "blend wall" where more than 10 percent of ethanol would be required to be blended into gasoline. Exceeding the 10 percent mark could damage older automobiles.

The cattle feeding industry is opposed to the ethanol mandate, and lobbied hard in Washington this year for its repeal. The EPA’s move signals some admission there is a problem with the RFS. With corn growing by the minute in the Midwest, it will be interesting to see if this flinch by the EPA has any affect on the markets.


Lab Burger: A Vegetarian’s Delight?

Admittedly, we’ve seen enough press about the lab-grown burger. But here are a few things that we couldn’t pass up.

The Daily Beast reports that since the lab-grown burger was developed without "harming" any animals, perhaps commercialization of the product would bring back some vegetarians from their self-imposed meat ban. However, the article does mention that the meat tissue was grown using fetal bovine serum, a product rendered from the slaughter of pregnant cows. ….hello….?

Want to add your two cents about the lab-grown burger? The Denver Post has an online survey asking if you would eat the test-tube burger.


Can’t sleep?

The Huffington Post has a list of 8 foods that could keep you laying awake at night. A not-so-flattering described steak is on the list, warning you should not eat a ribeye just before going to bed. No problem, we’ll eat supper a little earlier. We beef lovers shouldn’t be too disappointed. Some vegetables are also on the list, as well as spicy food, french fries, chocolate…basically anything tasty!


News on Food Safety?

A judge will hear a bond request from two horse processing plants tomorrow. The processors argue they should be reimbursed for expenses after the HSUS request for an injunction against the companies was put in place by a federal judge. We think the news in this piece is who is reporting it – Food Safety News. Knowing that horse meat is used for zoos and exported to other countries for human consumption, and the safety of consuming horse meat overseas is not at issue…isn’t it interesting a website dedicated to  food safety puts this story at the top of their website?


Affluent Fast Food

The Grist reports that wealthier Americans are more likely to eat fast food. And the younger crowd has more taste, and presumably less time, for the drive-thru variety meals.


Other News Bites...

Obesity rates have declined in several states for low income, preschool-aged children, says the Washington Post.

Research shows high-fat distillers can be fed to growing dairy heifers.

Fox News asks, Soda: Public Health Enemy #1?

How about a Taco Bell Waffle Taco for breakfast?

Cattle Inventory Down … We Think

Aug 06, 2013

"The status of the cattle inventories in the U.S. is unknown at this time," a report from Livestock Market Information Center (LMIC) states. Apparently, USDA just cancelled the report mid-year, so there aren’t any official numbers for July 1. Thanks to members of LMIC, historical data, and market information we have some numbers to go off of … even if we don’t like what we’re seeing. On a brighter note, AgWeb reports that cattle futures for October delivery rose 0.1 percent. Don’t hurt yourself celebrating.


We Have a Beef with Lamb

Well if you don’t, China and New Zealand does. According to The Wall Street Journal their big beef stems from "rogue importers" trying to pass off New Zealand meat that isn’t from New Zealand. This is a big deal because New Zealand meat is worth around 27% more in China and, like anyone, they want to make sure they’re getting what they pay for and New Zealand doesn’t want to lose business. To take this beef with meat a step further there are also reports of rat, mink and fox being passed off as beef and mutton. So, how do you fix this identity crisis? You fingerprint it, of course. At least that is what Alliance Group Ltd is doing. Alliance Group Ltd is working to develop technology that can "fingerprint" meat and can tell where the animal was raised, even what it ate. This is handy technology, especially if you’re concerned about getting fooled into buying mink instead of mutton.


USDA Gives Ranchers a Hand

USDA’s FSA is allowing C-O-Ws to graze CRP land. (I feel like I’m in a spelling bee.) But that is very good news for those regions still struggling with drought. Under limited conditions, farmers and ranchers can utilize certain CRP land for haying and grazing to get them over the hump. AgWeb has the scoop.


Rural Roots to E-Commerce Giant

From castrating cattle to tech pioneer, now a media baron … just another day in the office, at least it is for Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc. NBC News reports that Bezos is buying the Washington Post Co. but what does this have to do with the price of cattle? Absolutely nothing. However, interestingly enogh Bezos spent his summers as a kid on a ranch doing various chores like shoveling s…tuff, branding and castrating cattle, even light plumbing and engine repairs. It’s amazing to learn where people come from, especially tech moguls raised on a ranch. Who’d a thunk it.  


Tyson Looking Overseas

Tyson Food Inc. has its eyes on China. With Tyson’s chicken-to-China sales booming they’re wanting to set up shop overseas and keep the reported "better-than-expected profits" coming. Not even an avian influenza outbreak can stop this poultry powerhouse from expanding. The Wall Street Journal has all the pecking details.


More on the Lab Burger

Forget the BigMac. Put down the Whopper. Tell Wendy’s to take a hike and grab a thick, juicy, 20,000 protein strand, stemcell lab burger! AgDay TV cooks up the "test tube burger" and reports that the taste test was met with mixed reviews.    


Other News Bites …

Grist takes a closer look at GMO property rights and what it means for research.

This week is National Farmers Market Week. USDA is celebrating, are you?

Rancher, blogger, cowboy, family man, and all around nice guy, Jeff Fowle shares his Cowboy Code and we must say that it is GTN approved.   

Slow and Steady

Aug 05, 2013

After years of drought, high feed prices and falling cattle numbers nationwide, economist Chris Hurt predicts that the nation’s cow herd is about to enter the rebuilding phase. A bumper corn crop and rain across much of the Midwest are perking interest in heifer retention. If we can get some exciting action on calf prices, Hurt thinks the stars may be lining up just right. Farmers Advance has the story.


REIN ‘em In

We’re not sure who in Congress thought of this acronym, but they deserve a bonus! You see, the powers that be in the House passed the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Aside from the way-cool acronym, the legislation is supposed to rein in the executive branch, requiring Congress approval for any federal rule costing more than $100 million. The Hill says the legislation would prevent a President from issuing executive orders with excessive regulations. Nice idea. Bet it doesn’t pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.


HSUS – 1, Horse Processing – 0

Zero. That’s how much action will be going on at the New Mexico and Iowa horse processing facilities this week. Despite receiving permits to begin operations, a federal judge issued a restraining order on the companies, at the request of the Humane Society of the United States. According to USA Today, the HSUS was "overjoyed."


Bamboozled?

No, we’ve been bam-googled! The Independent uncovered the money behind developing the "20,000 strands of lab grown animal tissue molded into a burger-like shape" is non other than Google founder Sergey Brin. Looking for a food review? NBC News has one.


Too Much of a Good Thing

A wet spring followed by intense summer heat has resulted in a spike of the fungus ergot. It affects rye, cereal grains and some grasses, and is causing illness in cattle. Scientists say although it is a problem this time of year, it may get worse this winter when hay harvested with the fungus is fed to cattle, reports Cedar Valley Business.


Shop Talk

Here’s a few interesting stories from AgWeb incase you missed them over the weekend:

Speculations on who Obama’s Fed Chief will be

Corn slumps on outlook for record crop

China suspends some New Zealand dairy products


Other News Bites ...

Can being overweight actually make you live longer? Maybe so, according to this article on Huffington Post. But of course, there is a catch.

A food service salad supplier for Olive Garden and Red Lobster has been identified as the source of the cyclospora outbreak in Nebraska. Food Poisoning Bulletin has the details.

Discover how the citrus industry is using wasps to save their crop, according to Fox News.

CattleNetwork reports mixed news on demand, beef and corn prices.        

Forest management and wildfire prevention scores a win in Congress.

 

No Farm Bill?

Aug 02, 2013

Could that be true? Yesterday key Senators used the "F" word – Failure. Today is the last day Congress is in session before taking the month of August off, and there’s mumblings that no farm bill, not even an extension, will happen before the September 30 deadline. Really? Is this the political version of foreplay each side uses before ultimately coming to some kind of agreement on the last day of September at 11:59pm?

Mainstream media has plenty:

New York Times: G.O.P. Push to Slash Food Stamps Puts Farm Bill in Jeopardy

The Guardian: House Republicans propose $40bn food-stamp cut in farm bill standoff

MinnPost: Peterson predicts Farm Bill doom                   

Much of the conversation focuses around food stamps, and how cuts to the program would affect Americans. Sadly, they don’t seem to understand no Farm Bill will have devastating affects for more than those on food stamps.

Congress also has to fund the government by the end of September, says the Washington Post, or government shutdowns take place. Somehow we think this will take priority over a little farm bill.


 

Farming Beyond the Grave

 

A government audit reveals farm programs are not exempt to poor record keeping. According to the New York Times, millions are paid in subsidies each year to farmers who have died.


Duty-Free Across the Sea

Europe has extended an agreement with the States to import U.S. hormone-free beef, duty free. The agreement, first signed in 2009, is now extended through much of 2015, Reuters says. High quality beef exports in the last year were valued at $200 million.


Burger Nation

Technomic reports that consumers are eating burgers more than ever before. Consumers expectations are transitioning to a higher quality, more customized eating experience.


Wasteful Spending

Food waste is a national problem, although many in mainstream America don’t think twice about tossing leftovers or some fruit gone bad. A recently released study showed food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers disposed of more than 4 billion pounds of food in a single year. The blogger, Mom at the Meat Counter, highlights food waste in our homes. These are interesting reads and might prompt a few to realize how much money we are throwing away simply by not planning our meals and grocery shopping accordingly.


Roswell Aint Got Nothing on Missouri

Have the Roswell aliens returned? With a taste for beef? Police in this Missouri community haven’t ruled it out. CBS St. Louis has all the mysterious details.


A Moo-ving Idea

A little good news is emerging from the fast food wage strike that hit many large cities this week. Although McDonalds, KFC and others have not officially responded (that we know of), The Daily Beast highlights a Detroit fast food shop where the starting pay is $12/hour and most employees average $14/hour.

The cool thing? We really like the name of this joint – Moo Cluck Moo. In fact, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy. What 2-year-old can tell their parents they want "Kentucky Fried Chicken?"  But they can all say "Moo Cluck Moo!"


Other News Bites...

Iowa horse processing could begin as soon as Monday, the Des Moines Register reports. Today, a U.S. District Judge is hearing legal arguments on a request to block a New Mexico plant from opening. The ruling could pave the way for future plants. The Albuquerque Journal has the details.

Up for a Weekend of Beauty? How about a bird poop facial?

Not your thing? Then how about letting snails roam all over your face for an hour excreting an anti-aging slime.

Garden not doing too well? Never fear. Here’s a recipe for Weed Soup from PBS.

 

 

Let Them Eat Wheat

Aug 01, 2013

That’s the one piece of good news on a quick roundup of today’s trade and food safety headlines. Japan has reopened its borders to Oregon’s western white wheat. The country says it will test for any GMO wheat prior to shipment, Bloomberg reports.

There might be a little less sweet & sour chicken in China as the country has blocked imports of chicken originating from Arkansas and a few other states. An Arkansas senator says the restriction is an unfair trade practice employed by the Chinese, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

And where’s the beef? Well, according to CNN there are 50,000 fewer pounds of it after National Beef issued a recall for some ground beef products sold to wholesalers. No illnesses have been reported.

The lettuce industry isn’t so lucky after bagged salad mixes are on the radar as the culprit of a cyclospora outbreak in several states. Food Safety News says almost 400 people in 16 states have confirmed cases. Sounds like a great reason to eat steak to us!


Out of the Closet

The Western Producer says those in the organic food movement are going to fess up and admit that organic food does contain genetically modified organisms. Why the admission? In a nutshell it’s just too dang hard to eat without ingesting something that’s genetically modified. Chobani Greek yogurt is having its own issues, with food activists complaining the yogurt shouldn’t be marketed as "real" and "natural" until it stops using cows that are fed with genetically modified feed.

But is that really as bad as it seems? The environmental pub Grist took a look at genetic engineering and natural breeding. And we think the editorial opened a few eyes, at least the eyes of the author. Perhaps these famous last words could apply to many technologies – "It’s not useful to flail blindly against something we don’t understand."


One Bad Headline

In grazing across a hundred or so websites this morning, it’s hard not to click when the headline reads "Seabiscuits & gravy: Company to start slaughtering horses next week."  Should we expect anything less from Grist?

Watchdog.org, ironically, published a story on the Navajo Nation and its support for the New Mexico processing plant.


In the Red

Bloomberg offers a down-to-earth look at what cattlemen are facing, and how it’s impacting consumers. Drought, grain prices, demand, hedge funds. They’re all explained to readers as justification of paying more for their burgers.