Cattle outnumber people 40 to one in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle, giving the county seat of Hereford its title as the "beef capital of the world." But the area is also a hotspot of citizen complaints about manure dust storms created when fierce winds hit feedlots housing tens of thousands of animals, according to FERN's latest story, written by Chris Collins and produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.(No paywall)
Residents of Lone Jack, Missouri, won a stay last week against the planned expansion of a local cattle farm, which had applied for a permit to grow its herd from 600 to 6,999 cows. After much public debate, a state commission issued the stay on July 26.
Cattle producers in Oklahoma lost $26 million in stock, fencing, and facilities to wildfires during April, estimated Derrell Peel, a livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
During President Donald Trump’s recent trip to China, Montana's Republican Senator Steve Daines negotiated a $300 million beef cattle deal between the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Chinese e-retailer JD.com. The deal calls for the retailer to buy $200 million of cattle between 2018 and 2020, and invest $100 million in a new feedlot and packing plant in Montana. Some ranchers are concerned that this unusual deal will favor certain ranchers over others, and further concentrate power over the American livestock sector in the hands of Chinese companies.
Big bluestem grass — one of the most important forage grasses in the Midwest for cattle — is predicted to drop as much as 60 percent drop in stature and growth over the next 75 years due to climate change, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Grassfed beef generally produces more carbon than it sequesters, according to a report by Oxford University’s Food Climate Research Network. Proponents of grassfed beef have argued that ruminants like cows can have positive effects on rangeland if they’re encouraged to move across the landscape, rather than being left to overgraze a particular area. The animals’ eating habits and the pressure from their hooves can encourage deeper root growth and thus greater carbon sequestration by grasses, explains Grist.
A first-of-its-kind study lays out, on a county-by-county basis, the environmental impact of growing corn in the United States, offering the industry an unprecedented tool for improving sustainability along its supply chain.
After buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Amazon will meet this week with organic ranchers to discuss how the company might distribute their meat, says Reuters. One of the ranches, White Oak Pastures from Blufton, Georgia, sells $2 million annually online of frozen beef, duck and lamb, but is hopeful that teaming up with Amazon will improve its reach.
An 11-year-old cow, intercepted at a livestock market in Alabama, is the fifth U.S. case of mad cow disease, the brain-wasting fatal disease found generally in older cattle, said the USDA. "This finding ... should not lead to any trade issues," said USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, because it was the "atypical" type that seems to occur spontaneously.
Dairy farmers in three counties in California's Central Valley have temporary permission from local officials to bury or compost hundreds of cows that died in a June heat wave, says the Fresno Bee. Ordinarily, the dead animals would be sent to a rendering plant, but there are too many carcasses and a mechanical malfunction reduced the plant's capacity.