You can, once again, buy the cow-spotted PC brand that was founded in Sioux City – KTIV

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – We’re talking about Gateway. will be selling Gateway brand laptops, and tablets, exclusively.

Walmart’s senior merchandising director of computing says they are very excited to be able to offer gateway brand products to their customers.

Walmart says the new line incorporates the latest technology, sharper graphics, and a new design.

The site offers nearly a dozen new Gateway products. Additional laptops are expected out later this fall.

Gateway was born in 1985 at founder Ted Waitt’s family farm in Sioux City.
By 1991, Gateway employed 1,200 people.

Gateway became a publicly-traded company in 1993. At the time the stock opened up at about $15 a share. By 1996, shares skyrocketed to more than $66 a share.

At that time, Gateway’s North Sioux City, South Dakota, plant employed more than 5,000 workers. But, by 2004, production at that plant ended.

That came six years after Gateway relocated its base of operations to California.

In 2007, Gateway was sold to Taiwanese software company Acer for more than $700 million.

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Cleaner cows: Food companies try to cut harmful cattle emissions – The Globe and Mail

A cow looks up from its feed at the Johann Dairy farm in Fresno, Calif., on Sept. 10, 2020.


Looking to improve milk production, California farmer John Verwey turned to a Swiss-made feed additive designed to make a cow more efficient while reducing methane emissions from cattle burps.

The more a cow belches, the more it spends energy that could be used instead for milk production, Verwey reasoned. So two years ago, he started feeding his cattle Agolin, made of coriander, clove and carrot extracts, and replaced costlier additives that promoted weight gain.

He is still determining whether the change has affected milk output, but Verwey figures he has positioned himself for a world where consumers care more about greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

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“We think we’re ahead of the curve,” he said from Fresno, California. “Everyone should be trying their best to prevent pollution.”

Verwey starting feeding his cattle Agolin two years ago.


Major food companies are stepping into the space. Nestle SA and chocolate producer Barry Callebaut have partnered with startup Agolin, while in July, Restaurant Brands International started serving burgers made from less gassy cattle at several U.S. Burger King restaurants.

Their plans hinge on farmers and the companies that buy the meat and milk they produce adopting cattle feed additives that inhibit gas. It is a tiny market that developers say is poised for multibillion-dollar sales.

The shift comes as meat and dairy industries face competition from substitutes for their products due to the perception they are healthier and less damaging to the environment.

Livestock emit 14.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases that are related to human activity such as farming, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Nearly two-thirds of those emissions come from cattle, including through burps, flatulence and manure.


Ruminant animals like cattle produce methane as microbes ferment fibrous carbohydrates in their stomachs into digestible form.

Farmers feed Agolin to 1 million head of cattle in Europe, and another 250,000 head of American cattle, double its total sales volume five years ago, said Kurt Schaller, Agolin’s managing director.

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Feeding Agolin to some of the cows in Nestle’s supply chain is one part of Nestle’s net zero carbon commitment, said Robert Erhard, head of dairy sourcing for the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Coffee-mate.

Generating more milk per cow reduces the animal’s emissions on a per-liter basis, he said.

Barry Callebaut feeds Agolin to a “low single-digit” percentage of cows in its supply chain, said spokesman Frank Keidel.

Within two years, feed company DSM intends to launch sales in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America.

The global market for methane-inhibitor feeds could reach 1 billion to 2 billion euros (911.77 million pounds to 1.82 billion pounds) by 2030, said Mark van Nieuwland, director of DSM’s “Clean Cow” program.

DSM is testing its Bovaer product with several food companies, including New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and Arla Foods Amba.

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Mootral, another Swiss startup, plans to launch commercial sales in 2021, feeding 300,000 head of cattle, and adding at least another 1 million head by 2022, said Chief Executive Thomas Hafner.

To be sure, a few million cattle producing less methane would amount to a tiny fraction of the global 1.3 billion-head cattle herd.

“Agriculture, and food in general, it’s not a very fast industry,” Schaller said. “A new concept needs time.”

While global sales of methane-reducing feed may amount to just $30 million in 2021, such sales may hit several billion dollars within five years, Hafner said.

“If (all feed suppliers combined) aren’t in 50 million animals by 2025, we’ve done something very wrong,” Hafner said.

Cattle methane-reducing efforts made headlines when Restaurant Brands began selling lower-methane Whoppers.

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The pilot project is a bet that reduced cattle emissions will soon matter to consumers, said Matt Banton, Restaurant Brands’ head of global innovation and sustainability.

“We’re preparing for a future where that becomes a much bigger criteria.”

The U.S. livestock sector has become more efficient and less emissions-intensive in recent years thanks to better use of feed and veterinary care and due to improved animal genetics, said Frank Mitloehner, professor of animal science at the University of California, Davis.

Mitloehner sees promise in feed solutions, but he sharply criticized Burger King’s methane-reducing claims as premature and noted its marketing materials wrongly identified flatulence, rather than burps, as a major emission source.

Banton, of Restaurant Brands, agreed the company needs to do much more research.

Investors, however, are starting to pay attention to cattle methane emissions.

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A Sarasin & Partners fund invests in DSM because of its efforts to help produce more sustainable food, such as through Bovaer, said Jeneiv Shah, global equity analyst at Sarasin.

FAIRR, a global investor network focused on risks with intensive animal farming, is concerned that strategies like Burger King’s “simply aren’t ambitious enough,” said research manager Faazi Adam.

But feed makers hope to benefit from the attention to methane that the burger giant generated.

“It’s positive that Burger King goes in this direction,” Schaller of Agolin said. “It shows the need – and for me, competition is healthy.”

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Lost Cow Owners, Fishermen, Dog Buyers, Property Managers and More Use Ava's Airport – Douglas County Herald

Doug Berger/Herald

Mary Kay Davidson and David Davidson manage the Bill Martin Memorial Airport in Ava.

by Doug Berger

The Bill Martin Memorial Airport, Ava’s municipal airport, can sometimes be forgotten in its location in the northwest corner of the city. 

Many times the only reminder of the airport is when a plane takes off to the east, or lands from the east, on the airport’s 3,600 foot runway and crosses Hwy. 5. 

The runway or airport facilities are not easily visible from any roadway. 

But the airport continues to serve area pilots, persons flying into area and persons making a fuel stop as they fly cross country.

Doug Berger/Herald
Ava’s Airport is named after U.S. Navy Vice Admiral William Martin, who was born in Ava on May 5, 1910.

“A mile of highway will take you just a mile…but a mile of runway will take you anywhere,” is an old saying, but it can be descriptive of an airport, Ava airport manager David Davidson stated.

Along with the use by area pilots, the airport has been used for a variety of purposes. 

People have used it to check on business, fly in for visits with relatives, pick up fuel while crossing country, fly in to check on properties they have in the area, and numerous other reasons, Davidson stated.

He says that one of the more unexpected uses is when people fly in to pick up dogs they have bought. The area has some respected dog breeders, and persons will fly in from around the country to pick up a dog, he said. 

There are two airline pilots who fly in to go fishing at Rockbridge, he said. They will borrow the courtesy car at the airport to drive from Ava to Rockbridge. 

Davidson stated he has even used an aircraft flying out of the Ava airport to help find some cattle that the owner had been unable to locate. 

The air ambulance services and crop dusters also use the airport. 

The Forest Service will occasionally  use the airport for helicopters being used in the area. 

Davidson also stated that the airport occasionally do have some jets come in.

“The community benefits from the use of the airport in many ways you wouldn’t think,” he stated.

Davidson explained that when the city put in aviation fuel at the airport, it helped a lot in attracting cross country flyers. The local availability of fuel also makes it easier for local aircraft owners. 

Currently there are six planes based here, he said. Among these planes is a plane owned by the Ava Aviation Club.

The club had part of its origins in a program started with a grant the Ava School District received to offer some classes not usually given in the regular school curriculum. It was decided to offer an aviation class. 

Adults were also eligible to attend the program, along with high school students. 

Aviation has elements which cover numerous disciplines including math, physics, geography, medical, communications along with other areas, Davidson stated. The fact that aviation touches all these fields is one of the things that make it interesting, he added.

Davidson said he was surprised by the interest from the community in the program. 

He explained they had placed an advertisement in the Douglas County Herald, and received a good response. 

Some of those responding had some background in aviation, possibly having previously started an instruction program, but didn’t finish because of time or financial constraints. Many of these persons were now retired and had more time and financial resources. 

The program conducted through the school was limited to ground school instruction.

Some of the participants became interested in going the next step and actually receiving flight instruction. Davidson explained that the club got together to help spread out the cost of an airplane. The group looked around and found an airplane that fit their needs. 

There are 11 members in the group. Almost all the group members treat flying as a hobby, he said. Davidson pointed out they keep the number at this level so that the members have the ability to use the plane when they wish. Today they fly a Cessna 172. 

One of the members has bought his own plane.

The club helped the airport remodel a building as an airport lounge area.

When they first started out, members of the group needed flight instruction. Davidson, who started flying when he was in high school, was an instructor and was able to provide this service.

Davidson stated he had no special reason he started flying, but had flown a couple of times and thought it would be interesting.

Doug Berger/Herald
Downtown Ava as viewed from the air.

When he was going to start the instruction, his mother rode along to the Springfield airport, on the back of a little motorcycle, Davidson grins. He remembers his mother asking the instructor if flying was safe. He also remembers the instructor pointed out to her she had ridden to the airport on the back of a motorcycle. 

Davidson stated he soon realized if he wished to fly very much, he would have to find a way to finance it, so he decided to become a flight instructor. Initially he started instructing in Springfield.

During this time, Davidson met Dr. M. Graham Clark, president of School of the Ozarks. Davidson would fly him to places, and found out they wanted to start an aviation program at the school. Davidson stated it worked out well for him, because he wanted to go to college, and he could do it as a flight instructor. 

His work assignment at the school was teaching flying. It was also in this capacity as a flight instructor that he met his wife, Mary Kay, who was taking the course. 

The school did not have an airport and they originally used a parcel of land that is now a white water park. Mary Kay Davidson stated that she soloed off that parcel.

Davidson is the recipient of the Wright Brothers Award from the Federal Aviation Administration for 50 years of safe flying.

The airplanes have not changed as much as the electronics involved in flying, Davidson stated.

“We started out reading off a map, but today the communications are so much greater,” he added. 

Doug Berger/Herald
The Fox Trotters Facility as viewed from the air.

The Ava has made several improvements to the airport and has plans for improvements in the future. The state assisted the city in resurfacing of the runway and the airport has the potential for increasing the runway length. He added that he would also like to eventually see more hangar space.

The Bill Martin Memorial Airport was named in recognition of U.S. Navy Vice Admiral William Martin, who was born in Ava on May 5, 1910. Martin is recognized as a pioneer in naval aviation in the areas of night and all-weather flying.

A recognition plaque hangs in the lounge at the airport and states, “U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Martin graduated from United States Naval Academy in 1934. He went into naval aviation and was considered one of the preeminent test pilots of the time. 

He flew a record 440 night landings on carriers during his service in the Pacific during World War II and commanded bomber and fighter squadrons from the USS Hornet and the USS Enterprise. 

For his efforts in World War II and after he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Legions of Merit, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals and the Silver Star. He was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry as a pilot of a fighter airplane and flight leader in Fighting Squadron Ten attached to the USS Enterprise in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Saipan in June of 1944. In April of 1967 he became the Commander Sixth Fleet.”

Martin died March 29, 1996, at Alexandria City, Virgina.

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What happened? What's next? – 'Butter,' milk and a CFAP update – Progressive Dairy

You’re busy milking cows, evaluating feed quality and wishing you were planning your annual trek to World Dairy Expo. With that in mind, Progressive Dairy looks at issues in the news impacting you and your dairy business.

In recognition of your time, we’ll attempt to summarize recent events or actions making dairy headlines and reported in our weekly digital newsletter. Then we’ll try to put that news into perspective and briefly describe how it might affect you.




What happened?

While the dairy industry continues to wait on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address standards of identity and labeling of dairy alternatives, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has provided preliminary injunctive relief for a vegan company to market its plant-based product as “butter.”

What’s ahead?

In an order signed Aug. 21, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg granted permission to California-based Miyoko’s Kitchen to use the terms “butter,” “cruelty-free” and “lactose-free” while the court case proceeds. The order prevents the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) from enforcing regulations related to labeling and marketing of Miyoko’s plant-based product. The lawsuit, filed in February 2020, argues that the CDFA’s application of existing federal regulations is an unconstitutional violation of Miyoko’s right to free speech.

Bottom line


Although the preliminary ruling in the California case is a bump in a very long road, Alan Bjerga, senior vice president of communications with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), notes the organization continues on a path for standards of identity for dairy products. Most recent progress came in the House Ag Appropriations bill.

A bipartisan amendment on the House floor directed FDA to allocate $5 million to enforce federal rules that reserve dairy-product terms for real dairy products. The committee report also directs FDA to finally start enforcing dairy product standards of identity, pursuant to a review process it began two years ago following pressure from NMPF and Congress.

Bjerga urges dairy producers to get involved. “It is extremely important that dairy producers raise the issue of labeling integrity with candidates for federal office this fall, as election season is a time when candidates – especially in a presidential election that may be decided in dairy states – are especially responsive to the public’s priorities,” he said in an email to Progressive Dairy.


What happened?

In late August, U.S. Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pennsylvania) introduced the Giving Increased Variety to Ensure Milk into the Lives of Kids Act (GIVE MILK Act). The legislation aims to increase milk consumption in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by giving participants over the age of two the option of having 2% reduced-fat milk and whole milk as part of their diet. According to Keller, the bill reverses an Obama administration-era rule limiting WIC participants to low-fat (1%) or nonfat milk.

What’s next?


Whether the proposal and others like it can make their way through Congress isn’t clear. On a separate track, the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans update is scheduled for release at the end of 2020. The document is used as the basis for dairy options served as part of federal feeding programs.

Bottom line

There has been a renewed effort to expand milk options in domestic feeding and school milk programs to include higher-fat varieties.

Separately, the comment period on a 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) draft report closed Aug. 13. For the most part, the draft report is status quo with the 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines, recommending consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy products as part of a healthy diet.

While supportive of the report’s numerous recommendations about the importance of dairy in a healthy diet, several dairy organizations criticized the report for failing to recognize studies indicating the health benefits, or at least neutral impact, of fuller-fat dairy options. Whether efforts to get higher-fat milk included in the recommendations are successful remains to be seen.


What happened?

Depending on when you receive this magazine in your mailbox – and barring any further extension – the deadline to sign up for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments just closed. The USDA had previously extended the deadline from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11.

What’s next?

House and Senate versions of another round of federal assistance for farmers suffering financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic remain wide apart. Talks were not expected to resume until Congress returned after Labor Day. So the final answer to “what’s next?” will have to wait.

We do know that the USDA continues to buy dairy products for domestic feeding programs, including distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. More than 70 million CFAP food boxes had been distributed through late August, with ag commodity purchases totaling about $2.7 billion. As of late August, President Trump had promised up to $1 billion more in food purchases for the program.

Bottom line

The bottom line for dairy farmers is twofold. First, the USDA dairy product purchases have created demand and put a lot of support under milk prices this summer. Current milk futures prices, however, indicate that impact is starting to ebb.

The second, and more perhaps tangible aspect of CFAP, is the direct payments made to U.S. dairy farmers. As of Progressive Dairy’s deadline (week of Aug. 24), dairy applications processed by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices stood at 23,246, with direct dairy payments totaling just over $1.699 billion. The second (and smaller) installment of CFAP payments were just getting underway.

Depending on your starting point, CFAP signup through Aug. 24 represented about 68% of the average number of dairy farms licensed to market milk in 2019 (latest estimate available), or 88% of dairy operations with annual milk production history recorded with FSA under the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

Weekly USDA updates provide some interesting preliminary analysis.

Signup for the program began May 26. Through the first three months of the CFAP program, Wisconsin received the highest number of CFAP payments in terms of both applicants (5,822) and total dollars ($333.3 million). However, in terms of average payment per applicant, Wisconsin ranked 28th, at $57,253.

It’s no surprise that the leading states in terms of applicants are where the dairy farms are, regardless of herd size:

  1. Wisconsin 5,822
  2. Pennsylvania 2,574
  3. New York 2,544
  4. Minnesota 2,425
  5. Iowa 966

Leading states in terms of total dairy payments are where lots of milk is produced:

  1. Wisconsin $333.3 million
  2. California $251.0 million
  3. New York $161.4 million
  4. Minnesota $105.4 million
  5. Pennsylvania $101.6 million

With the larger herd sizes and higher volumes of milk marketings, average payments per dairy applicants were highest in the West. Payments to date averaged more than $100,000 in 14 states:

  1. New Mexico $354,615
  2. Arizona $335,559
  3. Nevada $320,337
  4. Colorado $298,865
  5. California $263,144
  6. Florida $243,982
  7. Idaho $224,993
  8. Washington $174,428
  9. Texas $172,929
  10. Oregon $140,373
  11. Wyoming $140,225
  12. Utah $128,163
  13. Georgia $120,829
  14. Michigan $101,757

Progressive Dairy will look at final numbers once the program winds up.  end mark

Dave Natzke


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Cheesemaker Sweet Grass Dairy names the cow in new logo – Tallahassee Democrat

THOMASVILLE, GEORGIA –  Sweet Grass Dairy, an award-winning cheesemaker, rebranded on Aug. 1, 2020. This rebrand included a new logo, new packaging, and a new color palette. When comparing the new and old logo, Sweet Grass Dairy wanted to “set the cow free” and let her roam as their cows do in South Georgia.

While teasing the rebrand, they launched a social media campaign to name the featured cow. The original logo was drawn by co-owner Jessica Little’s mother, Desiree Wehner, so the history of their past logo was very personal to the family.

With nearly 600 entries from their followers, they had plenty of names to choose from.

“Not only were we shocked by the number of entries, but we were inspired by our follower’s creativity. We did not make this decision lightly.” said Mallory Sofferin, Marketing Coordinator for Sweet Grass Dairy.

After giving all of their Team Members a chance to vote on their favorite name, Sweet Grass settled on Pim, a nod to their most Southern product, Pimento Cheese. Pimento Cheese has been a Southern staple for many generations.

Sweet Grass’ version includes their very own Thomasville Tomme, mayonnaise, piquillo peppers and pimentón from Spain. When asked about the recent campaign, Co-Owner Jessica Little mentioned, “It was exciting to see how invested our followers were. I was receiving text messages from friends stating that they woke up in the middle of the night with a name suggestion.”

It is Sweet Grass Dairy’s hope that Pim will resonate with their consumer base and she will become one of the faces of the business.

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“Climate fires” a good excuse to target beef cattle, again. – Beef Magazine

As the wildfires (dubbed “climate fires”) rage on, there’s another battle taking place. It’s the battle of your dinner plate and your personal freedom to choose the best diet that works for your health, your budget, your taste preferences and your values.

The way we eat has become incredibly politicized in recent years, and animal products have been on the chopping block for decades.

The first blow came when the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were created and demonized saturated fats from animal products. And the fast-moving trend is that meat destroys our health and the planet.

I naively thought as the world shut down to wage a battle against a novel virus that the climate and cattle myth would die down for a minute, and it did. However, with less than 50 days until the election, we are reminded that climate change is on the ballot, and the implication is if you eat beef or drink dairy, you are destroying our natural resources.

Don’t believe me? Let me give you a few recent examples.

In response to the “climate fires” rapidly consuming the western United States, Facebook created an entire page dedicated to climate change. It’s the first thing you see when you sign onto the platform. Curious, I clicked on it to see what types of information I might find.

I was disappointed but not surprised to discover the first vlog featured on this Facebook-endorsed page. Published by Vox, the video was titled, “The food to avoid if you care about climate change.”

Any guesses what topped the list? Yes, you got it right — beef. Despite the fact that this misconception has been debunked over and over again until we are blue in the face, the popular rhetoric remains solidly in place. If you want to save the world, you’ve got to eat your way out of climate change. And you can start by skipping beef.

With 2,000 reactions and 800 comments, the sinister and erroneous video is gaining traction. As much as I hate to give it any more views, it would be awesome if you would all head there and join the conversation in the comments section.

Share the facts about cattle and environmental stewardship, and let’s shift the conversation in a positive, factual way! Be polite and considerate, but don’t spare the facts. Click here for a refresher on facts you can share.

My second example comes from Prevention Magazine. Several readers alerted me to this troubling publication, which featured an op-ed titled, “Why cutting back on beef is great for the planet.”

Sarah Smith, Prevention content director, informs readers, “Despite some people’s affinity for beef, mounting evidence suggests that cutting back is smart for us and the planet. So, as of September 2020, Prevention’s test kitchen will no longer create any new recipes containing beef. To do our part in helping our readers choose beef more mindfully, we will put our focus on other types of protein.”

Are you sick to your stomach yet? I know I am.

Meanwhile, fake meat corporations and slick Silicon Valley investors are trying to disrupt the marketplace with their plant-based patties and petri-dish proteins. With a solid smear campaign greasing the runway for them, these companies are ready to land in the lead as America’s protein of choice.

IDTechEx says plant-based and cultured meats are the future, with novel meat substitutes expecting to exceed $30 billion by 2030.

Dr. Michael Dent writes, “In its current form, the meat industry is unsustainable. It is an inefficient way to produce food that may soon be unable to adequately feed the growing global population, which could reach 10 billion by the year 2050. Meat production is damaging to the environment too, contributing to climate change, dwindling water supplies and environmental pollution.

“Despite this, global meat consumption is still growing and people are eating more meat than ever. It’s unlikely the global population will turn vegan. Realistic and affordable replacements for meat will be necessary before a significant shift away from the conventional meat industry is likely to happen.”

On Monday, I shared resources and groups that highlighted this reality—if we are to shape hearts and minds in society about who we are in animal agriculture, we need to continue to do good work and good deeds in our communities. And then share those with the world.

Naturally, this is an area our agricultural industry shines bright in. It’s only natural for us to care for our livestock, care for the environment and care for the people around us.
But how can we possibly counter this onslaught of absolute hate rhetoric against who we are and what we produce? I’ve said this hundreds of times on this blog in the last 13 years, but I’ll say it again — we NEED strong voices to get involved in these conversations.

My friends, if this rhetoric isn’t a wakeup call of what’s to come, I don’t know what is. If you want to maintain your right to own and manage your private land, to own and take care of your personal livestock and to choose the meat, dairy and eggs to nourish yourself and your family, we need to wake up, step up and start leading the conversations.

These false narratives are only getting stronger, but the truth is on our side. Let’s get to work.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

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Editorial: Cow-calf producers need better price discovery – North Texas e-News

For too long, cow-calf producers across the nation have marketed our cattle with one hand tied behind our back. The culprit has been an ever-growing lack of price discovery. 

In the free market, accurate pricing of a commodity depends upon the free flow of information up and down the supply chain. While beef consumers will always drive long-term demand, the economic reality is that packers drive the short-term demand for cattle. 

The shift towards value-based marking has brought improvements in consumer demand and supply chain efficiency. However, it has also significantly hampered the process of price discovery. For many years, the industry has struggled to develop a solution that preserves the benefits of value-based marketing while generating enough negotiated trade to have robust price discovery. 

The Fed Cattle Exchange was created with this in mind and allows packers to purchase cattle through an online auction format early in the week to establish more negotiated trade. Unfortunately, this option has failed because packers consistently refuse to show up to the exchange and purchase cattle. 

Independent economic research has established the level of negotiated trade necessary in each cattle-producing region of the country to provide robust price discovery, but it is simply unrealistic to expect packers to voluntarily increase competition to the detriment of their bottom line. Therefore, it is necessary to compel packers to purchase cattle through negotiated trade at regional levels supported by economic research. 

The Holcomb fire and market response to COVID-19 highlighted this necessity and demonstrated the need for quick and meaningful action to finally fix the problem and put cow-calf producers on more solid ground. 

To accomplish this, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association formed a working group of cow-calf producers who developed a policy on price discovery to guide our future efforts. The group held numerous meetings and heard from leading economic experts while forming the policy, which was subsequently adopted by the association. A key component of the new policy expresses the association’s support for “a solution that would compel the regular participation of all major packers in the negotiated market with cash trade minimums that reflect the volumes needed in different geographical regions to achieve robust price discovery.”

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and 21 other affiliates of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) also brought a similar policy resolution to NCBA’s summer business meeting in Denver. 

The resolution found broad support amongst cow-calf producers from around the country. However, it faced significant opposition from NCBA’s feeder affiliates and members, who advocated for much less stringent compliance by packers. 

While leaders of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association have always favored voluntary solutions to our industry troubles, only one major packer was willing to meet to discuss a voluntarily increase in negotiated trade ahead of the July NCBA meeting. With this, it was clear that pursuing the same failed policies of the past would result in the same failed outcomes that have stranded cow-calf producers in financial turmoil for years. 

A marathon six-hour meeting of the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Committee resulted in a compromise between the two positions. While not perfect, it will none-the-less put NCBA in a position to support solutions that compel packers to buy more negotiated cattle. 

In short, the compromise policy created an NCBA working group that must make recommendations by Oct. 1, 2020, on the minimum percentage and frequency of cattle that must be purchased by packers in a given region to establish robust price discovery. The packers will then be asked to voluntarily buy that amount of cattle over the given period through negotiated trade, but if they at any time fail to meet the established minimums, it will trigger a change in the NCBA policy to support legislative or regulatory action to establish a minimum level of negotiated trade. 

While it was a long and contentious process, the compromise policy on price discovery gives cow-calf producers nationwide a path forward and hope of action to finally alleviate a long-standing obstacle. Even so, our work is far from over. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and like-minded cow-calf producer associations across the country will work diligently to ensure the working group’s benchmarks are sufficient to establish robust price discovery, and most importantly, hold all the packers accountable. 

The urgency we face in resolving our price discovery issues cannot be overstated. If we fail to follow through with an industry-driven solution, we will likely leave it up to Congress and federal regulators to develop a solution that we may not like. 

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will continue to lead the charge to ensure cow-calf producers can determine our own future. I am proud to be part of an organization that stands with my fellow cow-calf producers through thick and thin, and works towards real, meaningful solutions to the problems we all face. We will continue this fight because our livelihoods and future depend on it.

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