BEEF bits

Jun 25, 2010
by WLJ

New rule burdens small processors

Small and independent meat processors are at significant economic risk due to increased regulatory costs included in a preliminary draft guidance document issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). That document spells out new and costly requirements for local meat processors under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems Validation proposal. In a letter to FSIS, AFBF said it has received “literally hundreds of concerns” from small, independent meat processors over the last three months pointing out the damaging economic consequences of the proposed rule. Increased compliance costs ranged from $65,000 to approximately $640,000 per year for those local plants.

WBC releases 2011 budget

The Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) recently approved the budget and marketing plan for fiscal year 2011 and re-elected chairman Spencer Ellis, Lovell, WY, and vice-chairman Judy West, Chugwater, WY, to serve in the leadership positions. The FY2011 budget anticipates beef checkoff collections to be $930,000, half of which will be remitted, as required by law, to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for national promotions as determined by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. The WBC FY2011 marketing plan and budget includes print advertising, social media outreach, and public relations efforts designed to enhance the relationship between the consumer and beef producers. Recent survey data shows that consumers who feel educated about beef production eat 2.6 more pounds of beef per year than those who feel less informed. To this end, $115,000 has been committed to investment in national programs to be conducted in larger population centers where beef consumption is lower than in Wyoming. Funds in the amount of $43,000 have been committed to export programs.

Kirkbride nominated to WY Beef Council

Dianne Kirkbride of Cheyenne, WY, has been appointed to serve as a producer of range cattle representative on the Wyoming Beef Council (WBC). Board members are appointed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal to serve three-year terms on the governing council. Kirkbride was also chosen by WBC to serve as one of two Wyoming directors to the Federation of State Beef Councils. Kirkbride and her husband, Jon, are an integral part of the Harding and Kirkbride Livestock Co. in southeast Wyoming. She is a past president of the Wyoming CattleWomen, held numerous committee and leadership positions with the American National CattleWomen, and was named their 2001 CattleWoman of the Year. She was the representative from Wyoming to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board from 2004 until 2010, serving on numerous committees and in leadership positions on that board. Kirkbride has also served in various positions for the United Medical Center Board of Trustees. She works in the Cheyenne office of U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and is president of the Wyoming Congressional Award Council.

USDA report shows ethanol improvement

USDA’s chief economist, Joseph Glauber, recently announced the publication of a report by the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses that surveyed corn growers for the year 2005, and ethanol plants in 2008, which indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency. The report measures all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. For every British Thermal Unit (BTU) of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 BTUs of energy are produced. The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy. Since the last study in 2004, the net energy balance of corn ethanol has increased from 1.76 BTUs to 2.3 BTUs of required energy. According to the report, overall, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. And there are still prospects for improvement. Ethanol yields have increased by about 10 percent in the last 20 years, so, proportionately, less corn is required. In addition to refinements in ethanol technology, corn yields have increased by 39 percent over the last 20 years, requiring less land to produce ethanol.

The importance of trade agreements

Passage and implementation of the three Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea, which are currently pending, would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of 29,524 new jobs, according to a white paper released by the American Meat Institute. The data reveal that passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million, and poultry by $102 million. The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry, and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry.