As processing plants reopen, more meat for Americans to eat

The faster-than-expected recovery in slaughter production has almost neutralized the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. meat supply, said the government on Thursday. The USDA estimated that Americans will consume an average of 220.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year — more than half a pound a day apiece. (No paywall)

Red meat production plunges 23 percent during April amid pandemic

U.S. meatpackers ran at roughly three-fourths capacity during April as outbreaks of the coronavirus forced some of the country's largest meat plants to close temporarily, said the USDA on Thursday. Production is rebounding in May, but the risk of a resurgence of the virus hangs over the industry, said analysts. (No paywall)

Coronavirus could pare meat consumption by 10 pounds per American

The coronavirus, which has shut down meat plants and put millions of people out of work, will reduce American meat consumption by 4 percent, or 10 pounds per person, this year, said the government on Tuesday in a new assessment of the impact of the pandemic on food and agriculture. Beef, pork …

Poultry leads as U.S. meat consumption flies high

Despite a surge in sales of plant-based faux meat, Americans are consuming record amounts of meat and at the moment, poultry is driving the increase. Per-capita consumption will climb to 225.6 pounds in 2020, the highest total ever, with poultry accounting for half of it, according to the …

In Iowa, ag-gag is reborn. What does that mean for other states?

In January, Iowa became the latest state to have its ag-gag law overturned by the courts, a victory for free speech and animal-rights advocates. But the victory was short-lived. This month the state’s legislators revived ag-gag with a new law that targets undercover investigations into livestock farms — and it comes as ag-gag supporters across the country are looking to craft laws that will survive constitutional challenges.(No paywall)

Pork leads increase in U.S. meat production

U.S. red meat and poultry production will climb by 2.3 billion pounds in 2019 from this year’s level, says the first USDA forecasts of meat production for the coming year. Pork output will be up by nearly 3 percent, to 28 billion pounds.

Trump administration takes control of topics for Dietary Guidelines debate

The Agriculture and Health departments said they will decide the issues that will be discussed by experts in updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, precluding divisive topics such as meat consumption and long-term availability of food that delayed the 2015-2020 edition for months. Released every five years, the guidelines have a major impact on what the country eats, although three-fourth of Americans don't eat as much fruit or vegetables as recommended.

Cattle group asks USDA to set label rules for lab-grown meat

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association petitioned the USDA to establish label requirements for laboratory-grown meat and alternative proteins, said the weekly Tri-State Livestock News, of Belle Fourche, S.D. "We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labeling of 'beef' products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a Petri dish," said USCA president Kenny Graner.

Americans are big meat eaters, but the kind of meat is changing

The USDA forecasts Americans will eat a record amount of red meat and poultry this year — an average of 222.8 pounds per person. At the same time, “the mix of meats ... has shifted dramatically, with the share of beef declining” by one-third since peaking in the 1970s.

As producers boost livestock output, prices will soften

Cattle, hog, and broiler chicken producers should expect lower market prices during the first half of 2018 than they saw during the first six months of this year, said USDA economists.