New veal foodservice website
The beef checkoff has launched a new website for veal, this time geared toward the foodservice professional. Features include a database of recipes as well as a special section with a featured restaurant, chef and recipe. The versatility of veal is a major focus of the site, which aims to help restaurant operators and chefs add veal dishes to their menus that appeal to consumers. “The typical veal consumer has changed,” says Ray Krones, chairman of the Joint Veal Committee. “Today’s veal consumer is a protein-user that likes variety, taste and nutrition, which plays a key role in their buying decision,” he said. “Veal can also help deliver more profit, something all restaurants need to consider,” he continues. The website, VealFoodService.com, is also a source for nutritional information, tutorials on veal cuts, and upcoming event news.
“What’s for dinner?” beef cook-off
The “What’s for Dinner” Beef Cook-Off is seeking recipes for the 2010 cook-off to be held in Omaha, NE, on Sept. 25, 2010. Contestants must be at least 18 years of age and residents of Nebraska. Contestants should submit their original beef recipe using one of the 29 lean cuts of beef. A stove, dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave will be awarded to the contest winner and cash prizes will be awarded to second through fifth place finalists. For complete information, go to www.nebeef.org or contact the Nebraska Beef Council at 800/421-5326.
ICON studies proposed rule changes to PSA
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) held a June 24 meeting for the Organization of Competitive Markets in Valentine, NE, with close to 100 producers in attendance. ICON members learned about the lack of a competitive market and the recently released proposed rule changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), as well as listened to a market forecast by McVean Trading. ICON urged producers to get involved and make sure the proposed rules, which can be read and commented on by logging onto the Federal Register site, are upheld. ICON also urged members to attend an 8:00 a.m. Aug. 27 meeting in Fort Collins, CO, to be conducted by the Department of Justice and USDA to hear comments on the PSA. “We as producers need to take this opportunity to help shape the future of our industry,” said ICON Executive Director Destry Brown. “The time to be proactive and get involved is now.”
Group urges block of JBS S.A. sale
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), R-CALF USA urges immediate antitrust enforcement action to block the sale of McElhaney Cattle Company, one of the U.S.’ top 25 cattle feeding operations with a one-time capacity of 130,000 head. The letter referenced findings from the 2008 hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee which examined competition issues from the then-proposed purchase of Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, LLC. The letter stated that if DOJ allows JBS Swift to acquire McElhaney Cattle Company, “The increased market power and harm to competition arising from JBS Swifts’ acquisition of Five Rivers, which as revealed by the Senate Subcommittee’s examination ... will be greatly intensified. ... Such an outcome should not be tolerated and we respectfully urge the Justice Department to bring an immediate enforcement action to prevent JBS Swift from acquiring McElhaney Cattle Company.”
USAHA to co-host traceability forum
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his agency will redirect efforts surrounding animal identification to the development of a framework for animal disease traceability which will place USDA in the role of determining rules for interstate movement of animals and place responsibility of traceability on states and tribal nations within their own boundaries. Public meetings began in May to gather feedback. A Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability, cohosted by United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, Aug. 30-31 in Denver, CO, will facilitate interaction between state and tribal animal health officials, animal producers, livestock marketers and handlers, and meat processors. For more information, go to www.animalagriculture.org or www.usaha.org.
Senate leaders scold USDA over SRA draft
The latest draft of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA), released by USDA on June 10, prompted a letter scolding USDA for proposing $6 billion in cuts to crop insurance. The letter, written by 16 U.S. senators, including the Agriculture Committee’s top Democrat and Republican, comes the same week that support for increasing and improving crop insurance coverage was heard at the committee’s first 2012 Farm Bill hearing, but expannding coverage will prove more difficult if USDA slashes funding. “[W]e remain concerned that the $6 billion in proposed cuts over the next ten years to the program reflected in the third draft of the SRA will severely constrain the CBO baseline for the farm bill,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, and others wrote. Crop insurance agents are hopeful that farmer-friendly improvements can still be made to the SRA, but noted that if the pending SRA goes into effect, the industry cannot withstand any additional funding cuts in the 2012 Farm Bill.