cattle

Cattle market reformers see resistance from big ag groups

A band of senators from the Midwest and northern Plains, with the best chance in years to inject transparency into the consolidated cattle market, pressed on Tuesday for a federal mandate for meatpackers to buy more cattle for cash, rather than through obscure formulas. "We need some sunlight," said Montana Sen. Jon Tester.

Brazil’s Amazon beef plan will ‘legalize deforestation’

For many, the overriding image of agriculture in the Amazon is one of environmental destruction. About 80 percent of deforestation in the region has been attributed to cattle ranching, tainting beef exports. But Brazil’s beef industry hopes to tempt buyers back to the Amazon region, which …

Cattle reformers in Senate unite on price discovery bill

In order to increase market transparency, four senators said on Tuesday they would file legislation to require meatpackers to buy a portion of their slaughter cattle on the cash market. The bill also would create a contract library that discloses the purchase terms that packers offer for cattle, so producers might know if a fair price is being offered.

USDA hits ‘pause’ on cattle tracking proposal

Nine months after proposing a phase-out of metal and plastic identification ear tags, the USDA decided they can be used indefinitely on cattle that cross state borders, as well as cattle exhibited at fairs and for dairy cattle. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service wanted to make radio frequency identification tags (RFIDs) the only approved tag, on grounds they would be more useful in case of an outbreak of dangerous diseases.

Senate bill would require cash sales of some cattle

To ensure fair prices for cattle producers, the USDA would require meatpackers to buy a specified number of cattle on the spot market and through negotiated "grid" trades under a Senate bill introduced on Tuesday. The bill, similar to legislation filed in September 2020, was backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Cattlemen's Association.

Cattle group proposes more transparency in market prices

As an antidote for the dwindling cash market, the largest U.S. cattle group circulated a plan on Tuesday for meatpackers to voluntarily buy cattle on the spot market to assure fair and open prices, with the threat of mandatory disclosure if the systems fails. The so-called 75 percent plan by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association stood as an alternative to bills in Congress to require packers to buy as many as half of their slaughter cattle for cash.

Maybe we should cut off cattle imports, says Trump

The United States “should look at the possibility of terminating” trade agreements that allow cattle imports into the country, said President Trump on Tuesday — a suggestion that would almost solely affect Canada and Mexico, partners in the USMCA. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said …

Cattle and biofuels clamor for aid, as Schumer proposes broader plan

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue should tap “USDA’s bank,” a Depression-era agency with easy access to billions of dollars, to bail out cattle ranchers hit by sharp declines in beef prices as Covid-19 mounts, said ranch activists on Monday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck …

Texas Panhandle community chokes on fecal dust from feedlots

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)

Community near Kansas City wins stay against cattle farm

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.

Oklahoma wildfires kill 1,600 cattle

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.

Montana Senator helps Chinese win $200-million sweetheart deal for cattle

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.

Important cattle grazing grass could shrink 60 percent, says study

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 has high carbon impact, report says

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.

New study tracks corn’s impact county by county

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.

Amazon confabs with ranchers over distribution deal

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.

Alabama has case of mad cow disease

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.

Hot enough to kill a cow

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.

As hot weather deepens drought, USDA expands emergency grazing area

Drought is intensifying in the northern Plains and a quarter of North Dakota, a cattle and wheat state, suffers extreme drought, according to the weekly Drought Monitor. With hot and dry weather expected to continue, USDA vastly expanded the region where ranchers can graze livestock on Conservation Reserve land, normally out of bounds.

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