That may seem like a trick question with subjective answers, but ranchers will cite common denominators and tricks of the trade that apply.
The rest, they’ll say, comes down to faith; you’ve got to have a lot of that, too.
For the young people just out of college and looking to graze a herd, for the couple who quit their day jobs to do the cow thing full time, for the family who decided to transition from one breed to another.
What’s the recipe for success?
Three cattlemen and women give their best advice:
Have a plan: For both day-to-day and worst-case scenarios. “If you wait until you’re in the middle of the drought, it’s too late,” says Joe Leathers, manager of 6666 Ranch, near Guthrie, Texas. “If you wait until the fire has completely devastated your country, you’re going to be sitting there in the middle of smoking ashes.”
For the practical-minded, it’s about being on the same page with your family and partners, Lydia Yon says. The matriarch of Yon Family Farms, near Ridge Spring, South Carolina, says that was the case for her and husband, Kevin. “People around us were building a new house and we were building a commodity shed,” she says. “Someone was buying a new car and we were buying a new mixer wagon. Everything we made, we put right back into the operation and avoided purchases of non-tangible things we couldn’t pass on to our children.”
See the big picture, not just what’s outside your door, Yon says. It’s the little, everyday things that have been their key to survival. Her family applies that to their role as a seedstock producer, paying special attention to the genetics they stack in their Angus herd. “They need to be the right kind of genetics that will provide that end consumer with the delicious eating experience they crave.”
“The decisions you make, I don’t care how small your operation is, affect a lot more people than just you,” Leathers adds. Be conscious of that.
Learn from others: “Glean from those who have survived in the past; go talk to them,” Leathers advises.
The Yons listened to people who were older and wiser and who wanted to bestow advice to the young couple when they got started. They haven’t stopped. “The very smartest day of our lives was the day we graduated with our animal science degrees,” Yon jokes. “Ever since, we’ve learned how dumb we can become.”
Relationships: Jerry Bohn, owner and recently retired manager of Pratt Feeders, Pratt, Kansas, ties it all back to the men and women he’s worked for, alongside and hired. “It’s the people,” he says. “People, relationships, being a part of the community, that’s really what it’s all about and what made my career successful.”
For Yon, relationships and the awareness that people may be observing from afar drive her toward success. Both led to land offered for lease, owner’s willingness to finance cattle. “People are watching what you do,” she says. Because of those relationships, “we expanded without a lot of huge investments.”
Think outside your fences: With decades under his hat, Leathers encourages young people to “be an independent thinker. Too many people aren’t.”
Yon credits youth and passion for success in starting something from scratch. Looking back, “to us it didn’t feel unusual that two people, with children under the age of 5, would start a farm with 100 acres and basically nothing,” she says. People told them they couldn’t and “we got experience, got involved and got busy.”
Choose good partnerships: “What can you do to be different?” Bohn asks. He credits partnerships with Certified Angus Beef and U.S. Premium Beef as some of the best Pratt has made. With CAB, “our involvement caused us to do a paradigm shift,” he says. Prior to 2003, Pratt Feeders was selling more commodity cattle. “We began to look at high-quality cattle, producing for high-end markets.” Today, Bohn says, close to 70 percent of the cattle in their feedyards are destined to sell on a grid.
Get experience, manage for risk, figure out your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. Those and more can take a person from merely surviving to thriving.
It’s about being realistic with every decision you make, Leathers says, and there will be plenty. As young people, “it’s easy to have rose-colored glasses. Survival has a definite connotation of bruises and a little blood. It’s not always going to be fun and you’re going to have to weather the storm.”
It’s all worth it in the end. On that, they agree.
The three presented at the recent Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona, in a Cattlemen’s College session titled, “True Stories of Beef Business Survival.”
The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has filed a petition to the USDA arguing that lab-grown meat startups should not be able to call their products “meat,” since they do not come from slaughtered animals.
Though so-called “cultured meat” products are not available in restaurants or supermarkets yet, a number of startups are attempting to make it more commercially feasible.
The debate will likely intensify.
For the first time, a major part of the US beef industry is taking aim at tech startups creating cultured meat — also known as lab-grown meat or clean meat — that’s grown in a lab using animal cells.
The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has filed a 15-page petition to the USDA asking the agency to strictly define “meat” and “beef” as animals raised and slaughtered.
The group, comprised of farmers across the US, argues that lab-grown meat does not meet that definition, and that labeling cultured products as “meat” will confuse consumers.
“[The government] should require that any product labeled as ‘beef’ come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner, rather than coming from alternative sources such as a synthetic product from plant, insects, or other non-animal components and any product grown in labs from animal cells,” the USCA writes.
By filing an official motion, the country’s ranchers are showing cultured meat startups that they are prepared to fight for that definition.
In the petition, the USCA mentions Memphis Meats, Just (formerly called Hampton Creek), and Mosa Meats, — three startups that are racing to bring lab-grown meat to market.
Recent venture capital investments could make that more commercially feasible. In January, Tyson Foods announced that it had invested in Memphis Meats, joining the startup’s list of prominent backers, including Bill Gates, the food giant Cargill, and Richard Branson. In 2016, Tyson also bought a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, a company that makes plant-based burgers, chicken, and sausage.
Just could be the first to get its meat to stores. Last year, the company said it plans to do so by 2018. Memphis Meats and Mosa Meats say they will start offering their products to the public in 2021.
“We have made progress in all areas that needed improvements — creating fat tissue, creating color, moving towards serum-free culturing — but we’re not there yet,” Mosa Meats CEO Peter Verstrate previously told Business Insider.
Proponents of meat-mimicking foods like cultured meat and plant-based “meat” argue that it’s more environmentally friendly than raising traditional livestock. Globally, traditional animal farming accounts for about 18% of greenhouse emissions, uses 47,000 square miles of land annually, and exhausts 70% of the world’s water.
As startups improve their meat alternatives, the debate over what can legally be considered meat will likely continue to intensify.
Cattle producers Joan Ruskamp of Dodge, Nebraska, Chuck Coffey of Springer, Oklahoma, and Jared Brackett of Filer, Idaho, are the new leadership team for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board, elected unanimously by fellow Beef Board members during the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix. Ruskamp will serve as chairman, Coffey will serve as vice chairman and Brackett as secretary/treasurer to lead the national Beef Checkoff Program for the coming year.
Newly elected CBB Chairman Joan Ruskamp and her husband, Steve, operate a feedlot and row-crop farm west of Dodge, Nebraska. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Curtis, where she earned an associate degree in veterinary medicine in 1980. Ruskamp has been very active in the beef industry, with service to numerous producer organizations. In addition, she has been a 4-H leader for about 20 years, an EMT for more than a decade and a religious education teacher for nearly 30 years.
Vice Chairman Chuck Coffey is a fifth-generation rancher who grew up in the hill country of Harper, Texas. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in range science from Texas A&M. Coffey taught agriculture at Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, after completing his master’s in 1985. Eventually, he chaired the department until he joined the Noble Foundation as a pasture and range consultant in 1993. He is extremely passionate about ranching and feels blessed to be able to work on the ranch every day.
This year’s Secretary/Treasurer, Jared Brackett, is a fifth-generation cow/calf producer from Filer, Idaho. He graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in agriculture economics and is a diehard Aggie football fan. Brackett is also a past president of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association and continues to serve on a number of other livestock committees and boards.
The 12-member CBB Executive Committee includes the Board’s three officers and eight members elected at-large. The CBB members elected the following members to its 2018 Executive Committee: Amelia Kent of Louisiana; Bill King of New Mexico; Paul Moss of Tennessee; Don Smith of Texas; Jana Malot of Pennsylvania; Jack Parent of Vermont; Irv Petsch of Wyoming and Rob Von Der Lieth of California. CBB Vice Chairman, Chuck Coffey, will serve as chairman of the Executive Committee, and, as immediate past CBB Chairman, Brett Morris of Oklahoma will serve as an advisor to the committee.
The Executive Committee operates under the direction of and within the policies established by the full Board and is responsible for carrying out Beef Board policies and conducting business and making decisions necessary to administer the terms and provisions of the Act and Order between meetings of the full Board.
The Beef Promotion Operating Committee was created by the Beef Promotion Research Act to help coordinate state and national beef checkoff programs. The 20-person committee includes 10 members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, among them the Board’s three officers and seven other members of the Board elected at-large by Beef Board members. The other 10 members are appointed from the Federation of State Beef Councils.
CBB members elected to the 2017 Beef Promotion Operating Committee during the annual meeting in Phoenix include: Michael Smith of California; Robert Mitchell of Wisconsin; Hugh Sanburg of Colorado; Tammy Basel of South Dakota; Janna Stubbs of Texas; Ken Blight of Michigan and Rich Brown on New York.
For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.
Any ill feelings between Boosie Badazz and Kevin Gates have officially been put to rest, as the two have finally squashed their beef. After their entourages came to blows in a scuffle back in 2016, Boosie confirms on Instagram that there is no more bad blood between himself and the New Orleans native.
Posting a new video to his page, the Baton Rouge rapper says that he has been speaking to Gates about getting him to perform at the Inaugural Boosie Bash in Louisiana on March 10. Badazz says that he recently had a phone conversation with the “2 Phones” rapper, and is hoping that he can get cleared for travel in time for the special event.
“Talked to Gates earlier,” Boosie says. “Trying to get that boy to come to that Boosie Bash. Tryin’ to pull it off for him. Gotta let the man travel. Man gotta pay his taxes.”
The upcoming concert has a star-studded artist roster including YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Blac Youngsta, and YFN Lucci so far. Gates would require permission from a judge in order to travel, as he was released from prison earlier this month. He served nine months of a 30-month sentence for a weapons-related warrant and is now under mandatory supervision.
If you recall, Boosie and Gates’ teams were involved in an altercation at the Derby Takeover Pt. 2 event in Louisville back in 2016. The tension between them also dates all the way back to 2009 after Gates’ affiliate Nussie was murdered. Someone claimed that Boosie ordered a hit on Nussie but was later found not guilty in the case.
See Boosie’s pitch to get Kevin Gates to come perform at Boosie Bash at F.G. Clark Activity Center in Baton Rouge, La. on March 10 in the video below. You can purchase your tickets here.
The seedstock sector of the beef business not only produces the genetics that cow-calf producers need today, but they look down the road a piece to understand what the beef business will need next year and the years after that.
Not an easy task, but one that the operations listed in the BEEF Seedstock 100 take seriously.
Related:Meet the 2018 Seedstock 100 operations
Indeed, the bulls you buy set the tone of your cowherd genetics and the direction of your genetics program. And that’s why, of the many places you can cut costs, buying your genetics isn’t one of them.
Finding and selecting the bulls with the genetics that will work for you is one of the reasons BEEF began compiling its Seedstock 100 list. Now in its 4th year, the BEEF Seedstock 100 list ranks U.S. seedstock producers by the number of bulls sold.
Related:Bull prices likely moving higher
In addition to the Seedstock 100 list, BEEF offers its Seedstock Directory. It’s a listing of many outstanding operations that, while they may not produce the quantity of bulls to make the Seedstock 100 list, provide their customers with excellent genetic quality.
Looking at the Seedstock 100 list over the years, it appears the top 100 operations are getting bigger. Last year, Seedstock 100 operations marketed 56,473 bulls, ranging from 215 to 3,986 bulls. They marketed 1,774 more bulls last year than those on the 2016 list. Keep in mind that most of the Seedstock 100 operation are the same this year.
There are nine operations that marketed 1,000 or more bulls last year, from 1,000 to 3,986 bulls. Those nine operations accounted for 15,831 bulls marketed or 28% of all bulls marketed by Seedstock 100 operations.
Just five of those operations marketed 1,500 or more bulls representing 12,661 bulls or 22.4% of all bulls marketed by Seedstock 100 operations.
There were three states with 10 or more Seedstock 100 operations: Montana (17); Nebraska (16); South Dakota (12). Seedstock operations in these states accounted for 24,483 bulls marketed by Seedstock 100 operations, or 43.4% of all S100 bulls marketed.
The list of breeds and composites that Seedstock 100 operations offer speaks to both the genetic diversity borne by customer need and demand, as well as breed concentration
On the one hand, Seedstock 100 operation marketed 32 different breeds and composites. But the majority offered these breeds and composites: Angus (75.25%); Red Angus (19.8%); Hereford (15.8%); Charolais and Sim-Angus (11.9% each); Simmental (6.9%); Gelbvieh (5.9%); Limousin (4%); and Brangus (3%). Fewer than 2% of Seedstock 100 operations offered the other 23 breeds and composites.
BEEF assembles the annual list for several reasons, which include monitoring the level of seedstock concentration and the relative market engagement of seedstock suppliers. It’s also meant to recognize the contribution of seedstock producers who make all or a substantial portion of their cattle income from the seedstock business.
BEEF’s Seedstock 100 list is based on the number of bulls marketed last year, as reported by seedstock operations to BEEF. It’s not the number of cattle registered annually or the number of cows listed in inventories with a breed association or other genetic organization.
As such, the BEEF Seedstock 100 list makes no claim to be representative of the seedstock industry as a whole. Neither is it intended to be a proxy of quality and ability. Obviously, seedstock operations successfully marketing fewer than 215 bulls last year (the cutoff for inclusion this year) represent the majority of all beef seedstock operations. At the same time, inclusion on the Seedstock 100 list speaks to a host of supplier attributes associated with marketing so many bulls: customer satisfaction, industry knowledge and commitment, adaptability and the wherewithal to earn repeat business.
Food Lion has some new deals through Tuesday, 11/28 including bottom round or sirloin tip roast, 93% lean ground beef, flounder, shrimp, Red Baron Pizza. Coke (.89 for 2 ltrs), Pepsi ($2.75 for 12 packs) and more.
See the Food Lion coupon policy under the deals list.
“Extra Helping of Fall Savings” Promotion
Food Lion has a great new “Extra Helping of Fall Savings” promotion and you can get a $20 coupon to use on groceries if you shop 6 times and spend a minimum amount before November 28. Shop any 6 times between October – November 28, 2017.
If you spend $50 or more during each shop using your personal MVP Card, you will get a $20 Food Lion coupon (at the bottom of the receipt with the 6th shop on it) that can be used on your next shopping trip.
You’ll be able to see your qualifying trips at the bottom of your receipt each week. You do not have to collect & save tickets or stamps (which is so nice!). Make sure you use same MVP Card on every trip so they are tracked correctly. Pharmacy, alcohol, tobacco, gift cards, lottery, postage stamps and services do not count toward the $50 amount needed to qualify. See store for any additional exclusions.
These deals are valid from November 24– November 28, 2017.
Celery, bunch, $1.29
Grape tomatoes, pint, $1.39
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz bag, $1.49
Fresh Express spinach, 8 oz, $1.99/lb
Food Lion Russet Potatoes, 5 lb bag, $2.39
Brussels Sprouts, 16 oz, bag, $2.49
McIntosh or Rome apples, 3 lb bag, $2.50
Clementines, 3 lb bag, $3.99
Pork back ribs, $3.49/lb
Beef bottom round or sirloin tip roast, $3.99/lb
93% lean fresh ground beef, $3.99/lb
Inland Market Tilapia Fillets, 10 oz, $3.99
Food Lion Arrowtooth flounder or whiting, 32 oz bag, frozen, $5.99
Food Lion raw shrimp, frozen, $5.99
Food Lion cooked shrimp, frozen, 16 oz, $7.99
Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies, 12 – 14 oz, $2.50 – .75 or .55 coupon from 11/12 RP
Dairy & Frozen
Land O Lakes butter spread, 15 – 16 oz, $1.50
Lantana Hummus, 10 oz, BOGO
Turkey Hill ice cream, 48 oz, $2.50
Red Baron Pizza, 12 inch, $3.33 – $1/2 coupon from 10/22 SS
Mrs. Smith’s Pies, 35 – 37 oz, $3.50 – .50 or .75 coupon from 11/12 SS AND buy 2 pies and get free Food Lion whipped topping, 8 oz
Del Monte canned vegetables, select, BOGO for .64 each – .40/4 coupon from 11/5 SS or .50/4 printable coupon
Coke products, 2 ltr, .89, limit 10
7UP or Canada Dry products, 2 ltr, .99
French Bread, select, $1.50
Nabisco Ritz crackers, BOGO for $2.50 each – .75/2 coupon from 11/5 SS
Pepsi products, 12 pack cans, 4 for $11, limit 8
Frasier Fir Christmas Trees, $29.95 each
Shop & Earn Rewards
Load monthly rewards to your MVP card and then they are automatically redeemed on your next shopping trip when your MVP card is scanned.
According to their website: “Rewards offers must be earned within the same calendar month and expire at the end of the following month. Rewards can be used only at Food Lion, have no cash value and are not transferable. Rewards cannot be used toward the purchase of tobacco, alcohol, prescriptions, gift cards, stamps, services, including money orders, or lottery tickets and are not valid toward the purchase of dairy items in TN, PA or VA.
Rewards are automatically redeemed on the shopping visit after they are earned with use of your MVP Card. Refer to “Rewards Balance” in your MVP Wallet to see what is available for redemption.”
See more details at FoodLion.com.
Food Lion Coupon Basics
Food Lion does not double coupons.
They have no limits on number of total number of coupons they will take, unless specified in the ad. You may only use a maximum of 10 (ten) coupons for the same item per customer. This includes coupons that are downloaded onto your personal MVP Card.
BOGO items ring up at half price so if you only buy 1, it rings at half price. You can use a coupon on each BOGO sale item.
You cannot use Food Lion store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons on the same item. “Stacking” coupons like that is not allowed per the Food Lion coupon policy.
You can see their entire coupon policy on their website HERE.
E-Coupons: You can now load RedPlum.com manufacturer’s coupons to your Food Lion MVP card and when they scan your card at the register and you buy the qualifying items, the discount will come off automatically. I spoke with corporate and they confirmed that these are manufacturer’s coupons and not to be combined with paper manufacturer’s from the newspaper and other sources. She said their policy is only 1 coupon per product. No e-coupons will double. Click HERE for more information.
Quality Guarantee: Food Lion offers a double money back quality guarantee on all Food Lion store brands.
This post may contain affiliate links and we appreciate your using them.
Good news, Fast and Furious fans: It looks like Tyrese Gibson and Dwayne Johnson‘s issues are officially over. The Fast and Furious conflict has been ongoing. And only a few days ago, Tyrese Gibson posted a picture of himself, The Rock, and Vin Diesel to Instagram, with a caption that claimed he would he would leave Fast & Furious 9 if Dwayne Johnson was part of it.
Although in another post he was clear that he wasn’t “mad at the Rock,” the fact that Johnson had negotiated a spinoff for himself bothered Tyrese, who’s been going through a particularly difficult custody battle with his ex. He apparently felt the spinoff (and delay of Fast 9) hurt him financially — and in effect, hurt his progress with the custody battle. We’re sure The Rock wasn’t trying to hurt anybody with his actions — c’mon, look at this guy — but we see how it bothered Tyrese.
We just love everybody and want all of our boys to get along, okay!
Although it isn’t clear if Tyrese and The Rock actually talked it out, Tyrese shared an Instagram post with another caption about the issue. This time, he said that he had a “heart to heart” with someone in The Rock’s camp, and the problem was resolved.
The caption further expressed Tyrese’s enthusiasm for the franchise and his excitement to get back to the original fam. He even included a touching shout-out to the late Paul Walker.
“Justin Lin is back in the driver seat that’s exciting cause it going to feel like the true #FastFamily all over again….. When we see Justin we see Paul…..”
I think we’re all looking forward to seeing this #FastFamily united again.
Go to any United States city and you’ll spot Americans gorging on Big Macs and Whoppers at McDonald’s and Burger King. Visit Japan, and you’ll see folks slurping down gyudon beef bowls, an incredibly popular dish featuring rice, onion, and fatty strips of beef simmered in sweet soy sauce. Culture, tradition, and geography might divide us, but a love for fast, cheap food that’s rich in beef definitely unites us.
But that growing demand for beef has immense environmental repercussions, especially regarding a stable climate—a fact not addressed by global trade agreements.
Back in January, one of Donald Trump’s first actions as president was to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-country trade deal that would have ramped up commerce with Asian countries—and opened Japan to a flood of U.S. beef.
But Trump’s move slammed the door on the U.S. beef industry’s designs for the lucrative Japanese market, the top export market for American ranchers, thanks partly to dishes like gyudon.
What lies ahead for the industry now that TPP is off the table is unclear. But no matter what transpires, environmentalists fear for the planet’s future if trade deals like TPP don’t start taking climate change into account, instead of encouraging more consumption, production, and harm to the Earth.
Japan Is Hooked on Beef
Japan wasn’t always sold on red meat, or any meat at all. But today, you need only look at how beef-bowl outlets have conquered Asian city streets to see how that has changed. Yoshinoya, the Japanese fast-food chain, can now be found in U.S. cities. The company only uses U.S. beef, and this allegiance is so strong that the Yoshinoya beef bowl became a pork bowl in 2003 when Japan banned U.S. beef imports for 20 months over fears of foot-and-mouth disease.
The same beef boom is playing out across Asia, with increasing wealth and disposable income driving demand in previously meat-light countries. In South Korea, a new appetite for craft burgers is just the tip of a beefy iceberg: In 2007, the U.S. exported 25,000 tons of beef to South Korea; last year that figure reached nearly 180,000 tons.
The Chinese beef market is expected to grow by as much as 20 percent between 2017 and 2025, and is part of a wider trend toward meat eating; in 1982 the average Chinese person ate around 28.6 pounds of meat per year, and today it’s around 138.8 pounds. McDonald’s plans to open 2,000 more restaurants across the country by 2025—signs that beef consumption is only going to grow.
Asia is clearly fertile ground for those looking to plunge deeper into the market.
What’s the Beef With Beef?
While all of that growth may be good for the market and profits, beef continues to be the most climate change-intensive foodstuff in the American diet, says Sajatha Bergen, policy specialist in the Food and Agriculture Program at the Natural Resource Defense Council. And with the beef habit now catching on across Southeast Asia, that problem is only deepening.
But defining the range of that problem is tricky. U.S. beef industry carbon dioxide “emissions are actually coming from a few different places,” Bergen says. In the industrial production model, grain is grown to feed cattle, using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and that requires a lot of fossil fuels. Next, the cow’s digestive system turns some of what it eats into methane—over 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, according to scientists. And, finally, cow manure is either spread or stored in lagoons, and that can produce additional methane emissions. Taking all this into account, Bergen believes that it’s not unfair to describe cows as “mini-greenhouse gas factories.”
Renée Vellvé, a researcher at GRAIN, an international non-governmental organization, believes that we have to expand our vision to include the entire industrialized food system in order to get a true sense of just how staggeringly costly beef, and agriculture in general, is to the environment. She notes that, in addition to the obvious impacts, meat must also be packaged, refrigerated all along the supply chain, transported—usually over long distances—and stored in supermarket and home refrigerators.
Every step contributes to climate change, says Vellvé, from fertilizing seedling crops all the way to your dinner plate. Thinking about the “food system at large,” not just how the food is produced, is essential, she says: “If you isolate agriculture it’s not enough.”
For Gidon Eshel, research professor of environmental physics at Bard College, New York, the direct climate impact of beef production isn’t the worst of it. “Beef is responsible for the lion’s share of land use [in the U.S.],” he says. And by overusing fertilizers the industry is also responsible for the release of massive amounts of reactive nitrogen into water supplies, which can undermine water quality in lakes, rivers, and estuaries. By spurring algae growth, which can, in turn, lower oxygen levels when bacteria feed on it, the release of nitrogen can suffocate bodies of water, creating so-called dead zones. Just this year the largest dead zone ever recorded hit the Gulf of Mexico—a calamity tied to meat production.
The source of all this harm can be found in the industrial model of agriculture, says Ben Lilliston, director of corporate strategies and climate change at the Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy. “In many ways, it’s been fairly disastrous for the environment.”
The industrial system, he explains, is based on producing far more product than is needed and then exporting that product around the globe—an incredibly inefficient system. It has, however, created a global market for really cheap meat, while externalizing all the environmental costs of production to nation states and communities, Lilliston said. “Of course, we’ve expanded that model around the world to other countries.”
Bergen agrees: “Even if we export the beef, we still keep the water pollution, the air pollution … is it really fair for U.S. communities to bear the brunt of environmental damage?”
Enter TPP, or Exit It
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which Trump withdrew the U.S. after taking office, would have offered another boost for the industrial agriculture model, Lilliston says. The negotiations, which were highly influenced and dominated by big business, “facilitated a fairly serious expansion of this industrial model of agriculture where you produce way more than you need.”
What was really at stake for the U.S. beef industry with TPP was deep access to Japan.
Japan used to be a “controlled market,” says Seng, one that always looked after its domestic production first, at the expense of imports. That’s why it’s been a tough nut to crack for beef exporters like those in the U.S. But over time exporters have penetrated the market, to the point that today about 60 percent of Japan’s beef is imported. In 2015, Japan imported nearly 500,000 tons of beef, around 200,000 tons of it from the U.S.
TPP would have progressively whittled tariffs on frozen beef from 38.5 percent down to 9 percent by 2032—a boon for the U.S. A report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission prior to Trump’s decision to pull out of TPP estimated the value of beef exports to be worth $876 million per year by the end of the 16-year tariff reduction period.
Trump’s actions represent a “clear loss” to the industry, according to Andrew Muhammad, associate director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service Market and Economics Division.
So it’s easy to see why Trump’s TPP decision wasn’t popular with the U.S. agricultural sector. With his thumbs down, expanded access to the Japanese market was put out of reach for U.S. beef exporters.
That’s why the U.S. beef industry is now desperate to thrash out a trade deal with the Japanese. “Our organization, NCBA [National Cattlemen’s Beef Association], will work with [the Trump] administration on bilateral trade deals, if that’s the way to go,” NCBA president Craig Uden told agriculture.com. “We know that our trade partners want our product, and if we don’t fill the demand, someone else will.”
However, speaking from 45 years of experience working with the Japanese, Seng says it will be very difficult to get a bilateral deal that comes close to the benefits TPP would have provided. He explains that there was a “tremendous amount of political capital put on the table” by the Japanese to come down to 9 percent. This included overcoming the doubts of their own agricultural sector who feared an influx of cheap beef would damage their own market share. From Seng’s viewpoint, the objective now is to figure out a way to get back into TPP.
Vellvé isn’t ruling this out. She believes that, in the next three or four years, the U.S. could well join the TPP, with or without Trump in office, as the business voices calling for it are influential: “The [beef] industry is pushing very hard and is very creative at getting what it wants.”
Lilliston, of the Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy, echoes this and says that TPP saw beef-producing multinational corporations, like Cargill, JBS and others, come together to form a “beef alliance” and push their agenda. “They are real forces in these trade negotiations and it’s not the same as seeing things through a national agenda.”
But even as TPP moves forward, with or without the U.S., another important constituency has not been invited to the negotiating table: Nature, and the non-governmental organizations and national environmental agencies that represent her.
In a 2009 report, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme said free trade agreements (FTAs) “most likely” lead to increased CO2 emissions.
The “trading regime in general, and the United States led [FTAs] … are in tension with the policies for aggressive climate action,” Kevin Gallagher wrote in “Trade in the Balance: Reconciling Trade Policy and Climate Change,” a report released in 2016 by Boston University.
“Trade is intrinsic to the success and robustness of the industrial system” of food production, Vellvé says. But trade agreements “very much drive climate change coming from the food system, insofar as the [deals] create demand for cheap commodities,” she explains. For instance, an influx of cheap American beef has made it possible for gyudon chain stores like Yoshinoya to offer their beef bowls to Japanese consumers for around $3 a pop, in the same way that cheap beef has allowed McDonald’s to sell its Big Macs for $4.79 in the States.
Those low prices create more consumption, demanding higher industrial production, with bigger environmental costs. But nowhere in the industrial food chain, or in global trade treaties, are allowances made for the mounting environmental harm. This is a dangerous blind spot that, ignored for long enough, is going to bite back with increased climate and weather instability, more severe heatwaves, droughts and hurricanes, rising sea levels and increased ocean acidity—all of which will directly impact food security.
Vellvé argues that, to reach our climate goals, countries will need to overhaul the way our food is grown. To do so, we’ll need to get rid of large-scale monocrop cultivation, big plantations, and the current model of big trade.
“That’s a huge shift,” she acknowledges.
Vellvé points to other systems of agriculture as models, like small-scale farming, that could replace industrial-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This “small is better” approach would not only be less harmful from an environmental point of view, but could also be beneficial for farmers, cheaper to run, and involve less labor in some cases.
But bridging the disconnect between an agribusiness industry focused on profit, global trade agreements that primarily serve business, and escalating climate change impacts certainly won’t be easy. A mention of climate change didn’t even appear in the final TPP draft agreement, at the behest of Washington, despite it appearing in some initial drafts. The Paris Agreement also didn’t acknowledge TPP, or any other trade deals for that matter.
“By having an [industrialized food economy] like the U.S.—one of the biggest [carbon] polluters—say we don’t care about the Paris Agreement—we’re going to negotiate trade agreements as if climate change doesn’t exist—that’s very problematic,” Lilliston says. The issue is being discussed in places like the World Trade Organization, he adds, but those people who matter, the trade negotiators, are proceeding as in the past, and acting as if environmental concerns didn’t exist.
As it stands, he says, strict trade rules furnish global markets with cheap goods that can price out local producers, and those treaties deregulate in a way that almost always favors industrial farming, making it impossible for smaller-scale operations to compete.
Lilliston argues that, unless we change trade agreements to nurture local and sustainable food producers, allowing them to grow and participate on a level playing field in global markets, or at least put climate-friendly policies in place, we’ll soon be in a tough spot economically and environmentally.
Take drought, for example: it has deepened significantly over the U.S. Midwest and West in recent decades, and severely impacted cattle herds and curtailed industry profits. And severe drought, like that seen in 2012, is projected to only worsen in future years as climate change escalates, further affecting the beef industry.
The good news: Moves are being made by the beef sector to encourage sustainability, cut waste, and decrease its climate impact. Seng at USMEF says that the beef industry is “working tenaciously to reduce any kind of greenhouse gases.” Jude Capper, an agricultural sustainability consultant, suggests the U.S. beef industry has already made advances along this road in past decades: “U.S. beef is considerably more productive and has a lower carbon footprint per unit than in many less efficient countries,” she says.
But others, like Vellvé, question whether these baby steps will be nearly enough. She acknowledges the efforts of the industry, but describes that work as little more than “eye shadow.”
“It’s not going to get us where we need to [go, to] stay within the [emissions] targets that were set at the Paris Agreement,” she says.
NRDC’s Bergen agrees. There are a lot of ways to cut the environmental costs of beef production, but the rapidly rising demand for beef worldwide will negate any positive effects: “Ultimately we need to reduce the amount of beef we eat.”
The decision by Trump to back out of TPP has halted, at least for now, the beef industry’s drive to gain Japanese market share. But what is truly needed now is not the same old type of treaty, but a new deal—a TPP that acknowledges and addresses the deep links between industrial food production and climate change.
With the U.S. now out of TPP, will the other 11 countries work climate change back into the agreement? It’s possible, and would be a big step forward, says Lilliston, but only on one big condition: “If TPP was to include climate considerations, how does the enforcement work on that?”
It’s pretty simple what needs to be done, Lilliston concludes: Future trade deals in the U.S., and around the world, must explicitly assure that trade and profit do not override climate policy: “That’s a fairly radical idea and would be a major change in trade agreements,” he says. “But at some point we are going to have to make that decision.”
This story originally appeared at the website of global conservation news service Mongabay.com. Get updates on their stories delivered to your inbox, or follow @Mongabay on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2017 – Vermont Livestock Slaughter and Processing, LLC, a Ferrisburg, Vt., establishment, is recalling approximately 133 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ground beef was produced on July 24 and 25, 2017. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF Only)]
1-lb. vacuum sealed packages containing “Bread & Butter Farm Ground Beef” with lot codes #072517BNB and #072417BNB.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 9558” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were sold at Bread & Butter farm in Shelburne, Vt.
On September 30, 2017, FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FSIS determined the cooked beef burgers that were served at an event at Bread & Butter Farm was the probable source of the reported illnesses. Based on the epidemiological investigation, two case-patients were identified in Vermont with illness onset dates ranging from September 18, 2017, to September 23, 2017. Traceback information indicated that both case-patients consumed ground beef products at Bread & Butter Farm which was supplied by Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing. Vermont Livestock Slaughter and Processing, LLC is recalling the products out of an abundance of caution. FSIS continues to work with public health partners on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age, but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify theircustomers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.
Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Carl Cushing, the owner, at (802) 877-3421.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.
Exhibitors line up for judging in the fitting category in Hunter Arena Monday during the junior fair beef show.(Photo: Jennifer L. Manfrin/for the Tribune)Buy Photo
COSHOCTON – Brother and sister Ryan and Michaela Greten live on a farm in Fresno, so raising cattle is an important part of their lives. They both took part in Monday’s junior fair beef show in Hunter Arena, and competed in a variety of classes.
Ryan, 14, has learned a lot since he began showing heifers in beef breeding last year.
“I want to start my own heard, so being in 4-H and showing cattle is a great way to learn,” said Ryan, who is a member of the This-N-That 4-H club with his sister. In addition to showing in the feeder and diary categories, he said he was also feeling confident about exhibiting his heifer Bella in the beef breeding category.
Michaela, 16, won grand champion diary feeder in 2010 and reserve dairy feeder in 2015. She has also placed in showmanship. This year she is competing in several categories, including in beef breeding with her heifer Annie.
“I feel pretty confident,” said Michaela, as she prepared to showcase Annie to the beef breeding judges. “I’ve learned the importance of time management. The more animals you show, the more there is to do,” she said.
The beef breeding show focuses on the characteristics and overall qualities that make heifers superior breeding cows, explained beef adviser Logan Pyers. “The kids have been doing a pretty good job – their heifers look good. There is definitely a lot of quality,” he said.
Typically the beef breeding heifers have the characteristics that produce quality offspring, and are returned to farms to expand herds.
Throughout Monday afternoon, 67 young exhibitors from local 4-H clubs and FFA organizations competed in 44 classes. The show consisted of beef fitting, feeder, dairy feeder, steers and heifers and showmanship.
Pyers said the exhibitors learn a lot during the process, from working with their cattle throughout the year to taking to the ring in front of the judges.
“It teaches them responsibility and how to work hard,” said Pyers. “It also teaches the kids where their food comes from. Not many Americans actually know where their food comes from – they just go to the supermarket,” he said.
Issabelle Flores, 17, of West Lafayette competed with her steer Antonio in the feeder category. She’s put a lot of hard work into him over the past seven months.
“When I got him he was only 2 days old. I bottle fed him,” said Issabelle, a member of the Ridgewood FFA. “He’s like puppy.”
Issabelle said she was hopeful as she walked through the fairgrounds, headed to Hunter Arena to show Antonio to the judges.
“I feel pretty confident. He’s where I want him to be,” she said.