BEEF bits

Oct 1, 2010
by WLJ

Ernst named NWSS livestock manager

Marshall Ernst of Windsor, CO, has been named livestock manager at National Western Stock Show (NWSS). The announcement was made by Marvin Witt, NWSS VP of Operations. “Marshall’s been a livestock producer his entire life,” Witt said. “His comprehensive firsthand knowledge of all phases of agri-business and the food industry are a perfect fit for our livestock shows and sales.” Ernst, currently owner of Ernst Herefords of Greeley, CO, has a long history with NWSS. He’s shown both in the yards and on the hill and serves on the NWSS Livestock Yards Committee. An active member of the Hereford industry, Ernst was chairman of the board of directors of Certified Hereford Beef, LLC and served on the board of directors of the American Hereford Association.

Grassley urges analysis on GIPSA rule

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Sept. 22, 2010, to recommend a “comprehensive economic study” on USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing. “Many uncertainties surround this proposed rule, which could result in both positive and negative effects on independent producers,” said Grassley. “I believe a sound economic analysis conducted by the Office of the Chief Economist would be appropriate to answer producers’ concerns about what affect these rules could have on their operations.” He said the analysis would be beneficial to both GIPSA and producers who are reviewing how these rules may change their bottom line. Grassley advised Vilsack to conduct the comprehensive economic study prior to the closing of the comment period on Nov. 22, 2010.

One million registrations on consumer site

A mere 14 months after the initial program launch in July 2009, Farmers Feed US, which offers consumers the opportunity to engage with the farmers who produce their food, has surpassed more than 1 million consumer registrations. That’s more than 1 million times that a consumer has engaged with a farmer through short online videos, and learned something about how they produce safe, nutritious, and affordable food. Those 1 million registrations have been driven by consumers in the eight states that have hosted Farmers Feed US “free groceries for a year” sweepstakes to date. In addition to this initial program launch sweepstakes, commodity groups in three of those states, Missouri, Iowa, and Ohio, have coordinated a second consumer-focused sweepstakes, offering another round of promotion and public exposure. And across those eight states, a breadth of agriculture has been showcased. In fact, 14 different commodity groups and 60 different farmers have been featured, presenting many different production methods and farm sizes.

USDA seeks comment on organic standards

USDA is seeking public participation and comment at the biannual meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to be held Oct. 25-28 in Madison, WI. Among the topics of discussion will be nanotechnology; apiculture; use of animal healthcare products; ‘made with’ organic ingredient claims; animal handling, transit and slaughter; animal stocking rates; corn steep liquor; yeast; colors; and nutrient vitamins and minerals. NOSB also will present recommendations concerning materials petitioned for inclusion on the National List of Allowable and Prohibited Substances, and determine whether to relist materials currently on the national list. A full listing of items on the agenda and proposed recommendations are available online. Once compiled, the recommendations are submitted to the USDA National Organic Program for further consideration and potential inclusion in the federal organic regulations. Individuals can submit comments either electronically or in person at the meeting. Written comments may be submitted, preferably electronically, at or by contacting Lisa Ahramjian, NOSB executive director, at or 202/720-3252. All comments should identify Document Number AMS- NOP-10-0068 and must be received by Oct. 12, 2010.

MPR reauthorization bill signed

President Barack Obama signed the Mandatory Price Reporting (MPR) Reauthorization Bill into law on Sept. 21, 2010, according to the White House website. The act extends reporting requirements for livestock daily markets for five years. In addition, the bill called for mandatory reporting of wholesale pork cuts. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-AR, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced the bill July 27. The Senate approved the bill in August and the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill earlier this month.