Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Sep 05, 2013
We’re not sure if this next story will make your blood boil, or if you’ll just shake your head in dismay. The Huffington Post published a blog on The Bizarre Economics of the Meat & Dairy Industries. In the write up, they cite a "superbly researched new book, Meatonomics" by a California attorney, who supposedly analyzed the "true cost" of producing meat and dairy products. But in his assessment of our industry, he also included the costs of animal cruelty ($20.7 billion), the cost of damage to the environment ($37.2 billion) and…here’s the kicker…health care costs for consuming meat and dairy. That figure is a whopping $314 Billion!
You will have to read this lament for yourself, including the suggestion that the USDA should change it’s mission from promoting the consumption of animal products to instead promote public health. We would like to ask the author a few questions, like what does cost to supplement your diet with iron since you are probably anemic? How about the Vitamin D you’re missing from no dairy? And why didn’t you figure what it costs to grow soybeans to make your precious tofu?
We can only assume that the person who wrote this obviously is missing something from his life—like a great steak with some ice cream for dessert.
A math article that’s a bit more reliable comes from Harlan Hughes and BEEF magazine. Here, Hughes analyzes several figure in the pricing matrix of feed-to-cattle and believes that beef cow production will continue to shift out of the corn belt. Interesting economics, from someone who has a bit better understanding of the industry …
Is It Physically Possible to Cow Tip?
We can sleep tonight. One of the mysteries of the world has been solved. Or at least a minor mystery. Slate takes on the issue of cow tipping to see if it is physically possible. They go so far as to have a minor physics lesson, determining how many Newtons of force it would take for an individual to tip a cow. Obviously, Slate has nothing better to investigate. And, by the way, they determined that cow tipping was highly unlikely. We say let’s invite them to check pasture cattle sometime, and let them observe a highly trained cowboy rope, tie down and doctor a 700 lb. yearling. We bet they’d write another article about that.
Amid the battle with the farm bill and the issue of food stamps, the need for some food assistance is ever clear after recently released hunger statistics. The USDA reports that 12.6 percent of Iowans struggle with hunger. Even in the middle of the corn belt, people are going hungry, especially seniors and children. Across the U.S., 14.5 percent of households, or 49 million people are considered "food insecure." The Des Moines Register has the sad details.
The $1 and More ($3.99 more) Menu
Amid low margins with their Dollar Menu, McDonald’s is reportedly testing a Dollar Menu and More concept that would feature higher priced items, up to $4.99, AdAge reports. Although the Dollar Menu is very popular, it appears the golden arches are feeling the pinch of higher food prices.
The leather industry might be a bit concerned about this story, but we think it’s not much to worry about. The Albuquerque Journal test-wore a pair of biodegradable shoes made from a vegetable-based plastic material. Based on the review, we wouldn’t throw away your boots and tennis shoes quite yet.