BEEF bits

May 29, 2009
by WLJ

BEEF bits
April cold storage stocks rise

Total red meat supplies in freezers April 30 were up 1 percent from March but down 5 percent from a year ago, according to USDA’s monthly Cold Storage report.

Frozen pork supplies were up 3 percent from the pre vious month but down 7 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 9 percent from March but down 21 percent from last year. Beef stocks fell 3.5 percent from the end of March and were 1.3 percent lower than last year. Meat and breast cancer not linked There is no link between eating meat and develop- ing breast cancer, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Association of Retired Persons. The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, followed 120,755 postmenopausal women who provided infor- mation about what they ate during 1995 and 1996 when the research took place. The NIH study also included detailed information about meat preparation methods. Over the next eight years, 3,818 of the women developed breast cancer. The researchers, led by Geoffrey C. Kabat at Albert Einstein College in New York, concluded that their findings “do not sup- port the hypothesis that a high intake of meat, red meat, processed meat, meat cooked at high tempera- tures, or meat mutagens is associated with increased risk of breast cancer.”

Red meat production falls

The production of red meat in the U.S. fell again last month, according to USDA. Total red meat production fell to just 4.08 billion pounds in April, down 5 percent from the 4.3 billion pounds produced the same month a year earlier, according to USDA’s monthly Livestock Slaughter report. Beef production, at 2.13 billion pounds, was 5 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.77 million head, down 6 percent from April 2008. The average live weight was up 17 pounds from the previous year at 1,276 pounds. For the first four months of 2009, commercial red meat production was 16.2 billion pounds, down 3 percent from 2008. Accumulated beef production was down 3 percent from last year, pork was down 4 percent, and veal was up 2 percent for the period.

Whole Foods loans to producers

¬†Natural and organic food retailer Whole Foods Market announced that its Local Producer Loan Program has provided producers, including grass fed cattle ranchers and a heritage turkey grower, $2.5 mil- lion in low interest loans. Whole Foods launched the program in 2007 with a commitment to fund up to $10 million in low interest loans. Since then, nearly 50 loans ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 have been made. Loan recipients must meet Whole Foods’ quality standards, use the funds for expansion, and have a viable business plan. The company continues to accept applications.

BQA awards accepting nominees

Applications for the second annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award are now being accepted. The National BQA Award will recognize two outstanding producers, one beef and one dairy, who best demonstrate animal care and handling principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their respective operations. A common trait among all contest entrants must be a strong desire to continually improve BQA on their operations while encouraging others to implement the producer education program. Two National BQA Award winners will be selected by a committee of representatives from universities, state beef councils and affiliated groups. Nominations can be submitted by any organization, group or individual on behalf of a U.S. beef producer. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, but nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application.

Applications can be obtained from state BQA representatives. The deadline for nominations is July 1. For more information, visit

Scholarship to support beef industry

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) is launching the Bright Futures Scholarship fund, a new initiative to inspire young people to pursue careers in agriculture and the beef industry. The Bright Futures initiative is aiming to raise several million dollars for an endowed general scholarship fund. Revenue generated from the fund will be awarded as academic scholarships in undergraduate and graduate programs, veterinary medicine and culinary arts. NCF is seeking contributions for the fund from individuals, corporations, associations and foundations. “We are launching Bright Futures with a sense of urgency,” said Bob Josserand, chair of the board of trustees for NCF. “We will be facing a crisis within the next decade if we don’t act now to help young people turn their passion for agriculture into a viable career.”