BEEF bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 16, 2008
by WLJ

BEEF bits

Colorado beef exports rise

Exports of beef and beef variety meats from Colorado surged 81 percent in the first half of 2008 as compared to the same period of 2007. At $241 million, the January to June 2008 level is the highest since 2003 and is the highest level on record. “With cash receipts totaling more than $3 billion in 2007, Colorado’s beef industry is by far and away the largest segment of Colorado’s agriculture industry,” said Tom Lipetzky, markets division director for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “Buyers from around the world recognize that Colorado is a leading and reliable supplier of safe, high quality beef and these statistics are a reflection of that.” Colorado now ranks second among all states for exports of beef and beef variety meats, with exports to Mexico, Canada and Japan accounting for 98 percent of total beef and beef variety meat exports originating from Colorado.

Seminoles sign pact with Rastelli

New Jersey-based Rastelli Foods Group recently announced it has signed an agreement with the Seminole Indians of Florida, Inc. that will expand the distribution of beef raised by Native American cattle ranchers. Under the terms of the deal, Rastelli has agreed to purchase the herds of Native American cattle ranchers across the country under the Seminole Native American Beef brand. Rastelli will work with Native American ranchers to procure and manage the feeding, harvesting and distribution of beef from an estimated 100,000 head of cattle. Most of these premium Angus cattle herds are being raised on reservation lands throughout the U.S. “[The Seminoles] recognized that we have been able to maintain the highest standards of quality in the industry by a program of purchasing cattle herds on the hoof and guaranteeing the quality by assuming total management control from feed and harvesting to global distribution ...,” said Ray Rastelli.

Japan lifts beef ban on two U.S. plants

The Japanese Agriculture Ministry recently said it has lifted a ban on beef imports from a Smithfield Beef Group plant and a National Beef California LP plant.

Japan halted shipments from the two plants earlier this year after finding parts banned under a bilateral trade pact. Shipments from the Smithfield plant were suspended in January after meat from a 21-month-old cow was found. Japan halted imports from the National Beef plant in April after finding a spinal cord in its shipment. The ministry said its onsite inspection in August confirmed that they had taken measures to prevent banned parts from slipping into boxed for shipment to Japan.

JBS Swift and union reps reach a deal

JBS Swift and union representatives reached an agreement recently to settle a dispute over Muslim prayer time at the company’s Grand Island, NE, plant.

The compromise will entail moving up the half-hour evening supper break to coincide with sunset, the end of a day’s fasting during Ramadan. Workers previously took the 30-minute break in shifts. The agreement came two days after hundreds of Muslim workers, mostly of Somali background, walked off the job at the Grand Island plant in protest. Workers who did not show up for work, walked out, or did not notify supervisors of not coming to work will have a disciplinary letter placed in their personnel file. “They will not be fired, but if it happens again, they could be terminated,” said Dan Hoppes, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Studies show health benefits of beef

Checkoff-funded research on Beef Lipids and Beef Protein Advantages in Healthy Living was presented at the recent joint meeting of the American Society of Animal Sciences and American Dairy Science Association. Dr. Nancy Rodriguez shared findings from checkoff-funded research showing beef-based diets improve lean body mass in athletes and individuals losing weight, while Dr. Shalene McNeill provided a review of the checkoff ’s long term research program on beef lipids and heart health. The meeting provided a venue for scientific information exchange and professional networking on leading edge research in animal agriculture and animal food products.

Nolan Ryan’s introduces frozen patties

Nolan Ryan’s Guaranteed Tender Beef is branching out and is now offering ground beef patties in a number of Texas retail locations. Made from 100 percent all-natural beef and available in three different varieties, they will be located in the frozen foods sections.

The new introductions include: Ready to cook chuck patties—six, one-third pound patties, ready-to-cook burgers in a re-sealable package; fully cooked chuck patties—eight, four-ounce, frozen, pre-cooked burger patties in a re-sealable package; and fully cooked mini beef chuck sliders—twelve mini beef patties in a twoounce portion, frozen in a re-sealable package.

Currently, Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef can be found in Kroger Southwest locations in the Dallas and Houston metro areas.