Beef, Climate Change, and the Future of International Trade Agreements – Pacific Standard

A Japanese cattle dealer checks beef meat before an auction at the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Meat Market on July 26th, 2006.

A Japanese cattle dealer checks beef meat before an auction at the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Meat Market on July 26th, 2006.

(Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Japan’s demand for beef doesn’t look like it will slow down any time soon. Its government is looking to attract 40 million tourists every year by 2020, when it hosts the Olympics, and with tourists come a whole lot of mouths to feed. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Philip Seng, chief executive office of the U.S. Meat Exporters Federation. “If you have that many tourists, they’re going to want to eat…. We see that consumption is going to increase for the foreseeable future in Japan.”

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.”

Research by GRAIN in 2014 found that, when using this comprehensive approach, our food system accounts for roughly half of all greenhouse gas emissions—with much of that meat-related. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency currently estimates that agriculture contributes around 9 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions; of that, livestock takes up around 5 percent.

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.”

And that is to be expected. For decades trade deals have been designed to benefit business and make goods flow more smoothly between countries in order to open up new markets. To do this, the deals reduce tariffs (designed to protect local industries) and remove or weaken trade-limiting regulations, including public-health and environmental standards.

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.

KORUS, a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea that was signed in 2012 (which included tariff reductions and the removal of “government-imposed obstacles” to trade, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) resulted in a 42 percent jump in U.S. beef exports over a five-year period there, and an 82 percent rise in annual sales.

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.

The problem for the American cattlemen and beef processors didn’t end there. Now Australia has managed to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, gaining improved market access, while U.S. beef still is at the mercy of high Japanese tariffs. In August, the tariffs on frozen beef from countries without economic partnership agreements with Japan were raised from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, an increase triggered by a built-in emergency system to guard against spikes in imports.

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.

In November, the remaining 11 member nations committed to the TPP agreement are due to restart negotiations and plow ahead without the U.S. But it looks as if TPP-11, as it has been dubbed, could be tweaked only slightly to encourage the U.S. to enter later.

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.”

Climate Change, Meet Trade; Trade, Meet Climate Change

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.

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Vermont Livestock Slaughter And Processing LLC, Recalls Ground Beef Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination – USDA.gov (press release)

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.

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Beef show brought out exhibitors' confidence – Coshocton Tribune

 

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.

Read or Share this story: http://ohne.ws/2yFhc3z

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Facebook to Release Russia Ads, Beef up Election 'Integrity' – U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report

Facebook to Release Russia Ads, Beef up Election 'Integrity'
U.S. News & World Report
Facebook to Release Russia Ads, Beef up Election 'Integrity'. Facebook says it will release the Russia-backed, potentially illegal election ads that ran on its platform to congressional investigators. Sept. 21, 2017, at 7:09 p.m.. Facebook to Release

and more »

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Taiwan shop serves world's most expensive beef noodle soup – CNN

(CNN) — In a city where a bowl of noodles doesn’t usually cost more than $6, a shop in Taipei has been charging $325, or TWD10,000, for its beef noodle soup — and diners are happily paying for it.
Beef noodle shop Niu Ba Ba, founded in 1990 in Taiwan, serves just eight types of beef noodles — ranging from the classic Beef Father Beef Noodle Soup ($16) to the most expensive — the Presidential Beef Noodle Soup ($325).

“The price of our cheapest noodles seems astronomical to some,” says Eric Wang Yiin Chyi, second-generation owner of Niu Ba Ba. “But our way of making beef noodles differentiates us from others.”

Each bowl of soup features at least four different types of premium beef cuts from the United States and Australia. Only the best and well-marbled cuts — such as ribbon steak and ribs — are used in the Presidential Beef Noodle Soup.

Beef is braised and frozen for three days before being cut in a specific shape to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.

Six stocks are blended to complete the broth. Five types of noodles can be paired with different options and preferences, allowing diners to customize their orders.

Wang: We do the opposite of what others would do

Wang Yiin Chyi (right) and his father Wang Tsung Yuan are both huge beef noodle fans.

The shop has amassed a large following and attracts travelers from around the world. But success didn’t come easy.

After spending more than two decades in Canada, Wang Tsung Yuan — the original founder of Niu Ba Ba and Eric Wang’s father — decided to return home to Taiwan and open a beef noodle shop in 1990.

“The flavor wasn’t quite right for the taste of the people in Taiwan then and business looked bleak,” Wang tells CNN Travel. “My father’s partner backed out after just 11 days.”

Determined to create the world’s best beef noodle soup, Wang Tsung Yuan spent years refining the recipe.

Unlike most businesses, as Niu Ba Ba’s clientele expanded, the shop shrank. In 2007, Niu Ba Ba moved to a new but smaller location.

“It seats about 18 to 20 customers at most,” says Wang. “We were less likely to focus on perfecting each bowl of noodles if there were more customers. It’s quality over quantity.”

Why TWD10,000?

The TWD10,000-a-bowl beef noodle soup.

The shop’s been serving Presidential Beef Noodle Soup for about 20 years but the staggering price tag was only finalized in 2007.

“The price tag was left blank for almost 14 years — we asked customers to pay what they thought it was worth. Many said they were willing to pay TWD10,000 for the noodles. And in 2007, we decided to make that the official price.”

Wang recommends making a reservation two days in advance.

So after a lifetime of eating noodles, has Wang grown tired of slurping back the Taiwanese staple? Not a chance.

“My father and I are both huge fans of beef noodles,” he says.

“When eating out, we still order beef noodles wherever we can. We even order beef noodles when dining in Din Tai Fung — the [Michelin-starred] restaurant that’s only famous for its xiaolongbao.”

Niu Ba Ba, 149, Section 6, Minquan East Road, Taipei City, Taiwan; +866 287917187

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Meet the Golden Gophers 2017 Beef Team, here to serve you – Minnesota Farm Guide

The seasons come and go, as do the members of the University of Minnesota Beef Team. We figured it was time for a little update on your core team in 2017.

Ready to help with all beef and agricultural-related subjects, we appreciate the chance to meet every producer in Minnesota.

So here we go:

• Nicole Kenney Rambo joined the University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team in 2013 as the Feedlot Extension Educator and is based at the Mid Central Research and Outreach Center in Willmar, MN. Nicole completed her undergraduate work in Animal Science at Texas A&M University, has an M.S. in Beef Cattle Nutrition from the University of Kentucky and is completing a Ph.D. in Beef Cattle Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. In her role with the Beef Team, Nicole develops research-based educational programming in a variety of media formats and participates in applied feedlot research. Nicole’s primary areas of interest are feedlot nutrition and management and her current research focus is improving feedlot efficiency through resource management.

• Alfredo DiCostanzo is a professor and Extension animal scientist with responsibilities for state-wide programming in beef cattle nutrition and management. He has been with University of Minnesota Extension for 24 years. His programs focus on researching, developing and disseminating strategic nutrition and management interventions that enhance beef cattle production and economic efficiency. Specific areas of research and extension programming are: evaluation of distillers grains nutrient characteristics and handling, distiller’s inclusion strategies, feedlot facilities and facilities management, fine-tuning nutrient requirements for growth and reproduction to enhance production efficiency, preparing and marketing feeder calves for sale, effects of pre-weaning and backgrounding strategies on feedlot performance and carcass traits.

• Ryan B. Cox is an associate professor and Extension meats scientist who leads extension programming in the areas of food safety, HACCP sanitation and auditing, and meat processing including product derived from game. He joined the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science in 2008 and has led meat science research efforts on pre-harvest effects on meat quality with special emphasis on alternative feeds (co-products) and alternative finishing systems and beef quality and sensory traits. His laboratory is housed in the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science (ABLMS) building on the St. Paul campus where he focuses on evaluation of the effects of pre-harvest feeding and management strategies on lipid oxidation of resulting meat products. The University of Minnesota is recognized nationally for having one of only a few laboratories in the country which makes lipid oxidation their emphasis. Further, through public-private partnerships, ABLMS continues to serve the beef and other livestock sectors in a financially efficient manner.

• Eric Mousel is the Extension cow-calf educator for the University of Minnesota. He is a native of Nebraska and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Eric worked as the Extension range livestock specialist at South Dakota State University and served as head of the Department of Agriculture at Northwest Missouri State University before arriving in Minnesota. His background in range science and range management has contributed to his success as a forage management specialist for the team. Producers and other educators often rely on Eric’s expertise on cover crop species selection and management, grazing plans and management, and factors determining economic success in cow-calf operations.

The team could not operate without the skillful (sometimes not so) help of many graduate and undergraduate students, and staff both at the Department of Animal Science and outlying research stations. We strive for open collaboration and encourage participation by these individuals in all types of projects, but in particular, outreach projects. These experiences help to make our young team members more successful in their chosen careers.

The team also wishes to express gratitude to all the allied industry representatives and technical staff who regularly work with us to design, conduct and interpret research and education programs for cattle producers in Minnesota and the U.S.

Without their continued support, the work of the University of Minnesota Beef Team would come to a stop. Special mention of thanks is made to staff of the Minnesota Farm Guide for permitting us to divulge results of research and education efforts to a wider audience in the Upper Midwest.

Lastly, the team is grateful for the trust Minnesota cattle producers, meat processors and government agencies have placed on our efforts to advance the beef industry in the state. Please look for the next scheduled contribution to this column in two weeks.

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Downtown Jacksonville steakhouse investor's beef with JEA gets mayor's attention – Florida Times-Union

The long quest to turn a century-old, downtown Jacksonville building into an upscale steak restaurant called Cowford Chophouse has gone through Historic Preservation Commission meetings, City Council sessions, courthouse hearings, and construction delays.

The action moved last week to a City Hall conference room, where Mayor Lenny Curry convened a meeting of top officials from his staff, JEA, and the investor behind the multimillion-dollar renovation to work through the latest flare-up.

The gathering came after Jacques Klempf, whose group bought the abandoned building in 2014, fired off emails to Curry that accused JEA of being a “total detriment to downtown re-development” in his dispute with JEA over whether its underground utility equipment poses a risk to the foundation of his building.

The oven-hot rhetoric cooled somewhat in wake of that meeting.

“Everybody is working toward an amicable solution,” said Natalie DeYoung, spokeswoman for Cowford Chophouse.

Taxpayers have a financial stake in the place. The city provided a $500,000 grant and a $250,000 loan in 2014 for the work. Cowford Chophouse LLC is pouring millions of its own money into the renovations.

Curry said when Klempf sent him the angry emails, he decided to get everybody in the same room because the city needs to do what it can to promote private investment, whether it’s in downtown or elsewhere.

“We want government to be an ally, not an obstacle,” he said.

The meeting, whose attendees included JEA Chief Executive Officer Paul McElroy and city Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa, didn’t entirely resolve the dispute. But Curry said the meeting put a framework in place for further talks while the renovation stays on track.

The original target date for opening the restaurant was summer 2016, but the renovation is taking far longer. Cowford Chophouse isn’t giving a new target date for the grand opening.

Previously known as the Bostwick Building, the two-story structure came close to being demolished before the city went to court to obtain possession of it. The city then sold it to Klempf, who unveiled plans for a steakhouse at the corner of Bay and Ocean streets in the entertainment district known as The Elbow.

DeYoung said the renovation has fixed the major foundation problems that existed when Klempf bought the building. The foundation is fine now, but Klempf, working with an engineering firm, is concerned that the foundation “could be compromised over time,” DeYoung said.

At issue is an underground structure called a vault that contains transformers that are part of the electrical grid serving downtown. When water gets into the vault, JEA uses a pump to remove it.

Klemp contends that pump also pumps silt from underneath the building into the storm drain, and that as a result, the foundation suffered damage in the past and the same thing will happen again in the future. He wrote to Curry the vault has needed repairs for at least 10 years.

JEA says that’s not the case. Utility spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said the “grit” in the water pumped out of the vault is a result of stormwater run-off picking up particles on the street, not from underneath the building.

“The vault in no way impedes them from opening as planned,” she said.

JEA agreed to hire an outside engineer who will inspect the site and provide findings and recommendations, which could help break the impasse.

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Beef Board CEO highlights results of Beef Wise study – Delta Farm Press

Commentary

by Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO

Beef WISE study”Diets are boring!” 

“I hate trying to lose weight, it’s no fun.” 

“Who wants to eat salad for dinner every night?”

Do these sound like excuses you’ve heard from friends or family when it comes to exercise to lose weight?

Well, if you missed it, the news is out and it’s exciting: the new Beef WISE study found that lean beef, as part of a healthy, higher-protein diet, can help people lose weight while maintaining muscle and a healthy heart. 

The Beef WISE Study adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the role of lean beef in heart-healthy diets and strong bodies. This includes another beef-checkoff funded study called BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet), and independent research DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). 

Building on Previous Research

In recent years, higher-protein diets have become a popular diet strategy for weight loss. Dietary recommendations such as the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans may suggest that eating patterns with lower intake of red meats are associated with a reduced risk of obesity. However, these recommendations to limit red meat are based primarily on observational studies, whereas clinical trials such as the three I mentioned largely found no detrimental impact of lean red meat consumption on markers of cardiometabolic health during weight loss or weight maintenance. 

Red meat is a major contributor of protein in the American diet and represents 58% of all meat consumption in the United States, thus its exclusion from the diet can pose as a barrier to sticking with a higher-protein diet for the long-term.

A Protein-Conscious Consumer Environment

Few clinical trials have compared different high-quality protein sources to understand their effectiveness in a weight loss or maintenance diet. The Beef WISE study did a direct comparison of the State of Slim eating plan with half the participants consuming four or more weekly servings of lean beef as the only source of red meat, compared to participants who did not consume any red meat during the study. Subjects in both groups lost equal amounts of body weight and fat mass while preserving muscle.

The WISE study, made possible by a research grant from your checkoff, demonstrates that lean beef doesn’t have to be restricted in a higher-protein diet and is just as effective as other protein choices in supporting healthy weight loss and leaner bodies. 

In order to get this good news out to health and fitness leaders, your checkoff sent custom emails along with a press release to approximately 150 targeted media outlets and reporters. These selected outlets cover health and fitness for consumers or are nutrition/science-focused publications

Be proud of your checkoff’s work in this arena as this study is great news for people who enjoy beef but may have been told they should avoid it while following weight loss diets. It underscores, once again, lean beef can be part of a healthy, higher-protein diet for weight loss.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com. 

Source: Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion Board

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After TPP withdrawal, US beef farmers face big Japan tariff – USA TODAY

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After a decade-long decline, low prices, strong disposable incomes and a guarded thumbs up for the healthiness of red meat have combined to give beef a resurgence.
USA TODAY

TOKYO — In unwelcome news for American farmers, Japan said Friday that it was imposing emergency tariffs of 50% on imports of frozen beef, mainly from the U.S.
Finance Minister Taro Aso announced the move Friday, saying he was prepared to explain the decision to the U.S. side.

“The tariff will take effect automatically as the volume of the imported US frozen beef exceeded the quota set by law,” Aso said, “So this is what has to be done.”

Japan’s beef farmers are famed for their luscious marbled Kobe beef and other delicacies, and the government has long used tariffs and other measures to protect its farmers from foreign competition. Still, prices for imported beef tend to be half or less those for beef from domestically-raised cattle.

The U.S. and Australia account for 90% of all imports of frozen beef, which is mostly used by beef bowl, hamburger and other fast food outlets.

The usual tariff rate for frozen beef imports is 38.5%. Under World Trade Organization rules, Japan can introduce safeguard tariffs when imports rise more than 17% year-on-year in any given quarter.

U.S. farmers had been hoping for wider access to Japan’s lucrative market through a Pacific Rim trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from that accord after taking office.

Trade terms Japan negotiated with the 10 other remaining members of the TPP remain in force. So Australia, the biggest rival to U.S. beef exporters with a more favorable tariff rate of 27.5% for frozen beef, will not face the same jump in tariff rates thanks to a free trade agreement reached with Tokyo as part of the TPP talks.

Relatively affordable “Aussie beef” is an increasingly popular feature of most supermarket meat sections, with Australia supplying more than half, about 55 percent, of all frozen beef imported to Japan.

According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. supplies around 35%, though U.S. beef exports to Japan have risen recently as prices fell after the livestock sector recovered from years of drought.

The Finance Ministry reported 89,253 metric tons of frozen beef were imported so far this year.

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Beef and brains are on the menu at the British Open – San Francisco Chronicle

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) — Beef is back on the menu at the British Open, and Andrew Johnston can only hope there’s as much sizzle to be found at Royal Birkdale as there was last year when he made an entertaining run on the weekend at Royal Troon.

There are brains here, too, thanks to a last minute win Sunday by Bryson DeChambeau, who defies golf convention with his swing thoughts and has physics formulas stamped on the back of his wedges.

Golf in what seems now to be a permanent post-Tiger era remains alive and somewhat well. That’s especially true on this side of the pond, where huge crowds will turn out this week for the 146th version of what they prefer here to call simply The Open.

The winner on Sunday will be crowned championship golfer of the year. Based on the small sample size of recent major championships, it is likely to be someone you know little about.

The last seven major championships have been won by players who had never won a major in their lives. That could go to eight this week if an up and coming player the likes of John Rahm — who dominated the Irish Open in his last outing — can win this Open.

Or maybe local resident Tommy Fleetwood, who didn’t exactly come in through the front door of the pro shop when he played a few holes here and there growing up.

“It was a course I would have crept on now and again,” Fleetwood said.

The revolving cast of new winners is part of the reason this Open — and golf itself — seems to be struggling for a story line. The course may be the best in England and the field full of great talent, but even the bookies here can’t figure out who should be favored.

Gone forever are the days when Woods dominated and every conversation in the sport revolved around what he was doing.

“It shows the quality of golf that everybody plays at right now,” said Sergio Garcia, the Masters champion who is still looking for his first Claret Jug. “It’s a really high level and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won a major or not, everybody can definitely do it.”

That everybody certainly includes Garcia himself, who spent the better part of the last two decades tantalizing fans with his talent but never delivering in a major before a brilliant back nine comeback gave him the green jacket at Augusta National this year.

His Open career began as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998, and he’s had several legitimate chances to win the Open, only to kick them away. But he’s now a major champion and, with a wedding set for next week, he could be a storybook champion should he emerge with the iconic jug engraved with winners of years past.

“Obviously I am excited about it,” Garcia said. “I am confident about my possibilities but I can’t tell you if I’m going to be right up there on Sunday with a chance. I’m hoping that I will be, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that every week.”

The player nicknamed Beef certainly understands that. The bearded, portly Johnston entertained the crowd at last year’s Open, nearly upstaging a tremendous duel between Phil Mickelson and eventual winner Henrik Stenson in the final round before finishing eighth.

But Johnston has struggled to make cuts ever since, as did DeChambeau until he came through Sunday with a blistering back nine to win for the first time in the John Deere Classic.

That gave him the final qualifying berth in the Open, and a chance to demonstrate some unusual theories he has about golf, including using the same length shaft in all of his irons.

A win here would be an extreme longshot, but strange things can happen in golf. That’s especially true at a tournament where just a few years back 59-year-old Tom Watson came within a par of winning before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff.

So maybe the search for a new hero will focus on the hometown kid with the flowing bangs who used to sneak onto Royal Birkdale to play a few holes while his dad walked the dog around the course perimeter.

A win for Fleetwood — now the No. 1 player on the European Tour — might even get him noticed in the town where he grew up. So far, his appearance here has been welcomed with a collective shrug.

“There’s nobody fainting in the street as I walk past,” Fleetwood said. “So I’m still waiting.”

____

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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