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The Cattle Blog

It is an interesting time to produce beef

As you may know I like to read from various (and numerous) outlets. Let's just say the news lately has been rather interesting.  Here's a synopsis of what is out there - which may have a huge impact on beef production in the US.

  1. U.S. halts Brazilian fresh beef imports due to safety concerns. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced the suspension of all fresh beef imports from Brazil because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products. Since March, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting all meat products arriving from Brazil and has refused entry to 106 lots of beef — about 1.9 million pounds — due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues, USDA said. The rejection rate of 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef is substantially higher than the 1 percent rejection rate for shipments from the rest of the world, the agency noted. The suspension will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action that USDA finds satisfactory, USDA said.
  2. BPI vs ABC.  Now that could be a historic court case.  BPI is suing the network and its reporter, Jim Avila, for defamation in a $1.9 billion case over ABC's series of reports in spring 2012 that raised questions about its suitability for human consumption. The case is being tried in Circuit Court in Elk Point, S.D.; if BPI prevails, it could be awarded up to three times the original amount sought for "product disparagement."
  3. JBS. a) Brazil's JBS S.A. suspended the sale of its assets in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to Brazilian processor Minerva after a federal judge blocked the deal, according to a court document released Wednesday. b) Brazil's Federal Police conducted a search and seizure operation at the headquarters of JBS S.A. and FB Participações S.A., a company from the same group, on Friday (09), as part of an investigation into potential insider trading, the police said in a statement. c) Brazil's JBS S.A. announced on Tuesday it has submitted an asset divestment program to its board of directors, in which it plans to sell Moy Park, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and a 19.2 percent stake in Brazilian dairy company Vigor Alimentos to raise BRL6 billion ($1.82 billion). d) JBS S.A.'s controlling shareholder J&F will pay a BRL10.3 billion ($3.27 billion) fine in a leniency deal with Brazilian prosecutors to settle bribery and corruption charges, the Federal Prosecutors' Office confirmed today.
  4. Judge rules Montana beef checkoff unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana has supported a lower court order preventing the involuntary collection of funds to support USDA's Beef Checkoff program by the Montana Beef Council (MBC).
  5. Water Rights Protection Act reintroduced in House. Bill would uphold federal deference to state water law and prevent federal takings of privately held water rights.
  6. Amazon positioned to disrupt retail food sector. Amazon's pending purchase of Whole Foods promises to put a whole new spin on how urban consumers shop for food. A report from CoBank, the dollar value of U.S. organic produce sales doubled from 2011 to 2015 and annual sales now amount to $5.5 billion. Currently, 15% of all U.S. produce sales are organic. Although organic acres nearly doubled over the last 10 years, the pace of supply-side growth is sluggish relative to demand.
  7. Food or fuel: UI prof's study stirs debate on corn use.  In his study in the journal Earth's Future, University of Illinois civil and environmental engineering Professor Praveen Kumar quantified the social and environmental impact of corn in dollar terms. The results? Corn grown for food in the U.S. is worth $1,492 per hectare, whereas corn grown for biofuels has roughly a neutral impact, costing society and the environment $10 per hectare. Full story link.
  8. Cattlemen sue USDA to reinstate COOL. A group of U.S. cattle ranchers has filed a lawsuit against USDA alleging that the agency is violating federal law by not requiring country-of-origin labeling on imported beef and pork. Public Justice filed the complaint Monday in federal district court in Washington state on behalf of Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, and Cattle Producers of Washington.