Tag Archives: Beef

JBS, one of the world’s largest meatpackers, continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, news broke of its plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, limiting production due to senior staff members having flu-like symptoms. Now there are positive cases tied to the JBS packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska.

NTV News reports that the Grand Island mayor confirmed 10 JBS employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

—-

From NTV News: 

Mayor Roger Steele said he learned of the positive cases from Health Director Teresa Anderson.

He said 10 of Grand Island’s 33 confirmed cases are at the plant.

“That is concerning to me… we have to take measures to flatten the rising curve,” Steele said.

He said he has been in contact with Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief of staff, and has raised issues with state health officials.

JBS has been deemed an essential workplace, because of its role in red meat production.

—-

Rural Radio Network Market Anchor Clay Patton says this news could be especially negative for the cattle market.

“If the plant were to idle or limit production this could send shockwaves through an already declining cattle market,”  Patton said. “The cattle market is in a bearish territory with a more than 20% decline in recent weeks.”

June live cattle futures closed at 80.85 down 2.22 or 2.68% on Friday. Junes contract high was set January 10 at 119.90. That means the contract has lost 32.5%.

Washington, D.C. – In response to concerns about cattle prices, Congressman Adrian Smith, the rest of the Nebraska delegation, and over 100 other members of Congress wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging implementation of assistance for producers as quickly as possible. Congressman Smith released the following statement:

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen first-hand the importance of food production and how much we rely on our producers. Despite the crucial role our cattle producers play in feeding our nation, they are now having to weather low prices and market volatility, among other constraints. We owe a great deal of thanks to our producers for feeding America. It is now our turn to provide the assistance they need during this unprecedented time.”

 

Phase III of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, known as the CARES Act, which was recently signed into law by President Trump, provides $9.5 billion in emergency funding and replenishes the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including livestock producers.

Full text of the letter:

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.

Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19.  While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers.

We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19.  This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.

The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security.  All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis.  As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.

One of the first packing plants in the US looks to temporarily reduce production for the safety of it’s employees due to COVID-19. An extension specialist with Cornell University has relayed that the JBS processing facility in Souderton, PA will reduce production at end of business today (March 30th), due to confirmation of 2 COVID-19 cases. According to the source the plant will reassess the situation in two weeks. It is not known where in the plant the employees worked.

The plant continues both fabrication and ground beef operations.

The Extension Specialist also urged that COVID-19 is non transmissible in meat so all products from the plant will be safe for consumption.

Brad Kooima of Kooima, Kooima & Varilek told Rural Radio Network Farm Director Susan Littlefield that the Sauderton plant is a small swing plant that may process fed cattle and cull cattle depending on supply and demand. The plant is located near Philadelphia and that’s where a majority of it’s workforce comes from.  “While this is not one of the major plants” Kooima said, “it will have ripple effects in the industry.”

Cargill in Wyalusing is still buying cattle but only cull cows and bulls, no fat cattle at this time.

JBS issued the following statement on the reduction :

The JBS Souderton, Penn., beef production facility has temporarily reduced production because several senior management team members have displayed flu-like symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, these team members have been sent home to self-monitor their health in light of the continued spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We anticipate the facility will return to normal operations on April 14, 2020. 

We wish our team members a speedy recovery and salute the health care professionals who are tirelessly working to protect us all. We also thank our team members and everyone who is helping to keep food on tables during this challenging time.

DENVER – March 30, 2020 – In the latest effort to address myths about beef production and nutrition, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has released a new video series, ‘Real Facts About Real Beef.’ The videos highlight real farmers and ranchers and other beef experts candidly addressing some of the most common misconceptions and questions about cattle and beef.

 

According to market research, 52 percent of people agree that they trust the people who raise cattle[i]; however, only 27 percent of people say they are knowledgeable about how cattle are raised. [ii] In a time when consumers are more removed from food production than ever, these videos deliver facts directly from the source – beef farmers and ranchers, as well as credentialed experts in the fields of sustainability, human nutrition, and more.

 

The videos in this series include:

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Red Meat and Health – Cattle rancher and life coach, Kiah Twisselman, takes on the myth that “red meat is bad for your health” in this video. She highlights that, while there are many mixed messages on the internet about certain foods being bad or good for your health, it is ultimately important that people are eating a well-balanced diet with nutrient dense foods like lean beef.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Cattle Production and Climate Change – In this video, Carlyn Petersen, an animal biology doctoral student, is tasked with addressing the myth that “methane from cattle is the leading cause of climate change.” She tackles this myth head on with the real fact that cattle only contribute about two percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and that the leading contributor of greenhouse gas is actually the burning of fossil fuels.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Grazing Cattle vs. Crops – Mike Williams, a cattle rancher and owner of Diamond W Cattle Company, addresses the myth that “instead of letting cattle graze all over, we could be using that land to grow crops for humans.” As a rancher in the western U.S., Williams knows best and shares how cattle largely graze on land that isn’t suitable for growing crops, and that this land actually thrives when grazed properly.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Cattle Production and the Environment  – For this video, Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a leading expert on cattle and sustainability, debunks the myth that “cattle production and farming is harmful to the environment, creating soil erosion, water pollution and poor air quality.” Dr. Mitloehner explains that, as an animal science researcher, he has found the exact opposite to be true, and that, in fact, a properly run ranch or farm will sequester carbon and promote biodiversity.

 

“’Real Facts About Real Beef’ is one more way Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is working to help ensure consumers are informed when it comes to how beef is produced and the nutrients it delivers,” said Buck Wehrbein, federation division chair at NCBA. “These videos are a powerful way we’re able to share fact- and science-based information about beef production and nutrition with these important audiences.”

 

The ‘Real Facts About Real Beef’ videos will be promoted on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help address misinformation about beef production and its role in a healthy, sustainable diet. In addition to addressing the myths head on, the videos direct consumers to BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com for additional information.

 

This video series is just the latest from Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. in an effort to debunk myths about the beef industry. In mid-January, new ads, complete with the brand’s unique personality and swagger, were rolled out addressing the topics of health, sustainability and meat substitutes. The initial six-week digital media flight generated more than 35 million consumer touchpoints, reaching more than 11.6 million consumers multiple times.

In addition to these myth busting efforts, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look at beef production with 360° virtual ranch tours. The videos take consumers on an educational journey to farms and ranches across the United States to learn how beef farmers and ranchers raise cattle to produce high-quality beef.

“As a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, we are committed to ensuring consumers, media, chefs, dietitians foodservice, retail partners and other stakeholders have the facts and information they need when it comes to the beef industry,” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing and research at NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

 

For more facts about real beef, visit www.BeefItWhatsForDinner.com.

Lincoln Logan and McPherson Beef Weigh-Ins are canceled for this weekend due to Covid 19 virus.

You may pick-up 4-H tags at the Extension Office.  Please call the Extension Office (308-532-2683) before coming so we can set them out in the porch for you as the office is closed to the public.

All face to face Extension meetings are cancelled through May 9, 2020.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — People of all ages walking around wearing ear buds seems to be a common sight in society today. Often it leads a person to wonder, “What are they all listening to?”

For cow/calf producers interested in learning practical information to address the challenges of raising beef cattle, it just might be the Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute weekly podcast.

BCI Cattle Chat is a 25-30-minute podcast lead by moderator Brad White, BCI director and veterinarian will be posting its 100th episode on March 27, 2020. The weekly podcast features beef cattle health and management advice from Kansas State experts Bob Larson, veterinarian; Bob Weaber, beef cattle extension specialist; and Dustin Pendell, agricultural economist.

Those four began the podcast in July 2018 to bring together experts from the Kansas State College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine, White said.

“The goal of the podcast is to effectively communicate relevant, practical information for beef producers and veterinarians through this format,” White said. The format includes 5-8 minute segments on an array of beef cattle topics.

White said their listenership continues to grow. “Last month there were 5,474 downloads from 26 countries.”

With an increasing number of listeners, the podcast team continues to receive listener questions from Kansas and around the globe.

“Our team really appreciates the questions from listeners and the feedback we receive on the podcast. The listener questions allow us to directly address topics important to producers,” White said.

He also values the discussions that happen on the podcast, especially the ones with outside guests who join on occasion. Many of these guests are well-recognized experts in their field.

“I enjoy the interaction with our team and guests because everyone has a different perspective and we can discuss many sides of an issue,” White said.

To listen to this podcast search for BCI Cattle Chat wherever podcasts are found.

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues in signing a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concerns over the agency’s recent decision to lift the U.S. ban on Brazilian raw beef imports.

“Given that the United States halted Brazilian raw beef imports less than one year after Brazil was granted access in 2016, we have serious concerns about Brazil’s ability to maintain adequate food safety standards over the long run,” the letter reads.

The U.S. cited concerns over public health, poor sanitary conditions, and animal health when it last halted Brazilian raw beef imports in 2017.

The letter was led by Senator Thune (R-S.D.), and also signed by Senators Tester (D-Mont.), Daines (R-Mont.), Moran (R-Kan.), Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Rounds (R-S.D.), Cramer (R-N.D.), Hoeven (R-N.D.), Enzi (R-Wyo.), Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Booker (D-N.J.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Peters (D-Mich).

There are countless articles about the fake meat business lately and most of them are little more than promotional pieces for the companies producing plant-based alternatives to meat. A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article titled “This Anti-CEO’s Mission Impossible: Use Capitalism to Kill Meat,” took a slightly different path, expressing a small dose of skepticism about the long-term prospects for fake meat products and the ability of companies such as Impossible to turn consumers toward a vegetarian lifestyle in large numbers. We take the fake meat industry’s attacks and attempts at growth very seriously. However, there is little evidence to suggest that plant-based alternatives are anything more than a fad being driven by massive investments in advertising, outdated information and many false or misleading claims about the impact U.S. beef production is having on the planet.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, who was profiled in the WSJ piece, is well-known for his slanted views on this topic, and his outrageous plans for his products. However, his bluster isn’t being matched by performance. Despite spending millions to promote plant-based alternatives to meat, these products have failed to make significant gains in market-share. The reason is simple. The products Mr. Brown and others are producing aren’t being demanded by consumers.

Despite an admission by Mr. Brown that “It’s not going to work telling people how to eat,” he’s doing exactly that by using misinformation to paint a false narrative. Mr. Brown and his followers are using the popular tactic of climate shaming to advance the Impossible cause. Citing global livestock GHG emission numbers to lure consumers into his snare, he ignores the fact that U.S. beef’s footprint is miniscule. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, beef production in the United States is responsible for just 2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. American beef production’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is far less than sectors such as transportation, at 29 percent or electricity generation, which accounts for 28 percent.

If solving climate concerns was Mr. Brown’s intention, he should have focused his energy on replacing fossil fuels, not replicating protein. Trying to solve a climate crisis by removing beef from American diets is the equivalent of trying to make it to the moon using a ladder. It’s likely Mr. Brown and others promoting their alt-meat products know the facts and choose to ignore them; instead they spout misleading emissions numbers and rely on the basest form of marketing to guilt American consumers into buying something that they don’t want, while enriching themselves.

While Impossible may continue to refine its products, they will still be the opposite of what consumers expect when making a purchasing decision. Today’s consumers want simple, easy-to-understand foods. They want natural products that are minimally processed and fresh. Over time, when consumers compare a single-ingredient product such as beef to the periodic table of chemicals included in an Impossible product, no amount of climate shaming will convince consumers to ignore the fact that Impossible’s Frankenpatty was created in a lab. Until then, we must continue to fight together against the misleading claims and false promises being made by Mr. Brown and those like him.