The U.S. pork industry is spending billions of dollars to build five new plants and expanding another existing plant in the Midwest. But that investment will pale in comparison to the money needed to supply those packing plants with pigs, according to Successful Farming. The five new plants alone will be capable of processing at least 40,000 hogs a day.
Texas is easily the largest cattle state in the country, with 12.3 million head, or nearly one of every seven head in the U.S. inventory of 93.6 million cattle. The 54 Texas counties declared a disaster area due to damage by Hurricane Harvey hold 1.2 million beef cows, the animals that are the foundation of the cattle industry, says livestock economist David Anderson of Texas A&M.
Ongoing lawsuits against the producer-funded beef checkoff are part of a drive by activists "to end beef promotion and, ultimately, the production of beef in the United States," says the chief executive of the largest U.S. cattle group. "We might disagree on policy matters within the industry, but it’s another thing entirely to target the volunteer-led state beef councils through unholy alliances with animal rights activists and others intent on driving beef producers out of business," wrote Kendal Frazier of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in an essay on Drovers.
Colorado native David Bernhardt won Senate confirmation as deputy Interior secretary, the No. 2 job at the department, on a mostly party-line vote, reported the Denver Post. A high-ranking Interior official in the past and most recently part of a law-and-lobbying firm in Denver, Bernhardt was described by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a walking conflict of interest.
Faced with prolonged and intensifying drought in the northern Plains, USDA opened a still-larger portion of the Conservation Reserve, ordinarily off-limits to farm work, to emergency haying and grazing. In its fourth announcement of permission for landowners to use the idled land for livestock forage, the USDA said haying and grazing would be permitted on wetlands and on buffer strips, often used to protect waterways from farm runoff, that are enrolled in the reserve.
The United States needs a comprehensive approach to red meat and poultry safety that begins at the farm levels, says a report released today by Pew Charitable Trusts. Titled, "Food safety from farm to fork," the report says on-the-farm "interventions," such as using vaccines and other treatments, "can significantly reduce the risk" of harmful bacteria.
Since the FDA began moving three years ago to control antibiotic use in meat animals — an effort that culminated in January with a ban on growth-promoter antibiotics, which fatten livestock inexpensively — farmers have wondered whether anything can take the drugs’ place.
The North Carolina state House voted, 74-40, to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a bill limiting the liability of large livestock farms when they are sued for noxious odors or runoff, said the Port City Daily. "Only time will tell how this legislation plays out...the bill must still pass in (the) Senate before it becomes law."
The Trump administration's 60-day freeze on new federal regulations snagged the animal-welfare rule for organic farmers that was issued two days before the end of the Obama era. Some 334 organic livestock producers wrote Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to ask that the rule become effective on May 19, the end of the 60-day review period. Groups representing conventional agriculture have urged USDA to kill the organic rule.
The vomitoxin fungus, which sickens livestock, is being found in corn sent to processors in the Midwest this spring, says Reuters. So far, discoveries are concentrated in Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa and parts of Michigan and the scope of the problem is not fully known.