BEEF bits

Apr 17, 2009
by WLJ

BEEF bits

Teens compete to speak out on beef

Texas CattleWomen is hosting a Texas Beef Leaders of Tomorrow Contest, open to all youth between the ages of 17 and 20, to prepare young people to speak up on behalf of the beef industry. Four winners will receive $6,000 in prize money and scholarships. This beef checkoff-funded contest is to take place Aug. 1, 2009, and will feature contestants competing in four categories: Media Interview, Consumer Promotion, Classroom Presentation, and Beef Issue Response Essay. The high-point winner will represent Texas at the National Beef Ambassador Contest.

Report links ethanol to food prices

The growing use of corn-based ethanol accounts for 10 percent to 15 percent of the food price increases between April 2007 and April 2008, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office. The April 2009 report, The Impact of Ethanol Use on Food Prices and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, expands on how the rising use of corn for ethanol production has caused animal feed prices to rise, thereby raising retail food prices. Ethanol producers are requesting of the Environmental Protection Agency that gasoline be required to contain up to 15 percent ethanol. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Texas Cattle Feeders Association oppose the suggested increase.

Cargill achieves welfare goals

Cargill Pork announced it has met eight priority animal welfare assurance objectives. Cargill was first in the industry to adopt a policy to purchase hogs only from farms certified under the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA ) program. They also completed PQA assessments on all 450 farms where they have production contracts. Fifty percent of contract farms now use group sow housing, rather than gestation stalls, for pregnant sows, and only truck drivers who are certified in humane handling of livestock are allowed to deliver animals to the company’s plants. Cargill requires all plant employees who handle livestock to receive specialized training in humane animal handling and 20 of their personnel are trained and certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization.

WBC appoints two checkoff directors

Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) has reappointed Jim Rogers and appointed Jim Graves as Wyoming directors to the Federation of Beef Councils. Graves will replace Irv Petsch, who has moved on to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Rogers and Graves will serve on committees and direct national programs funded with checkoff dollars. As Wyoming checkoff directors, Rogers and Graves will attend two federation (checkoff) meetings per year and report back on these meetings to WBC. WBC is a five-member board of beef producers who administer the Wyoming beef checkoff assessment. Their goals are to increase beef demand, implement provisions of the federal order establishing the checkoff, determine a yearly marketing plan, and evaluate the effectiveness of statewide checkoff programs.

HSUS focuses on Ohio

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) executives Wayne Pacell and Paul Shapiro recently met with agriculture groups and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) and announced plans to bring California’s Proposition 2 to the state of Ohio, which ranks nationally as second highest in egg production and ninth in swine. HSUS plans to place a citizen referendum on the 2010 ballot to ban sow gestation stalls, veal crates, and battery cages for layer hens unless an agreement can be reached beforehand.

OVMA’s food, animal and legislative committees met for more than six hours to determine the impact this would have on animal welfare and agribusiness in Ohio. The only agreement reached was that the issue needs to be explored with HSUS. Dr. John Kingborg, former California Veterinary Medical Association president, said, “What we do know is that if there is no dialogue, HSUS has stated that they will simply collect the signatures they need to go to the ballot where the electorate will decide on the issue.”

Tyson debuts four-piece chuck roll combo

To have major beef processors alter their operations to cut and sell new beef cuts is one of the largest challenges faced when bringing out new beef products.

Four new cuts, identified through the checkoff-funded Muscle Profiling Study, recently began to be processed and sold by Tyson Fresh Meats. The four-piece chuck roll combo pack includes the chuck eye roll (from which Delmonico steaks, America’s Beef roast and Country-Style Ribs can be cut), the serratus ventralis (Denver Cut), the splenisus (Sierra Cut), and the rhomboideus (stew meat). The new cuts are trimmed of fat, full of flavor, and offer more flexibility to retailers and foodservice operators.