Closing of Tyson’s Emporia plant shows downside of Washington meddling
Kansas City Star
As some presidential candidates openly vow to “fix the economy,” voters and investors should note government’s heavy hand in up to 1,800 recent layoffs not far from here.
Roughly that many folks have lost work at a slaughterhouse in Emporia, Kan. Tyson Foods Inc. stopped slaughtering beef there because it cannot find enough cattle to keep all its plants busy.
Tyson chose to shut Emporia because cattle production had moved westward, making it harder to supply the eastern Kansas plant. But the employment pain would have been the same had some other Tyson slaughterhouse been the target.
In its announcement, Tyson complained that the U.S. cattle herd is not growing, and it foresees no boost in feed cattle supplies anytime soon.
Wal-Mart push may challenge cattle ranches
Wal-Mart, with a reputation for getting what it wants, says it will soon demand that its suppliers meet certain social and environmental standards, a move likely to affect Montana’s cattle ranchers.
The recent announcement by Lee Scott, chief executive officer of the world’s largest retailer, means all industries contributing products to Wal-Mart shelves could soon be challenged to do more or face getting paid less than compliant peer businesses.
The Arkansas-based retailer accounts for more than $90 billion in grocery sales annually and buys enough beef to send ripples across the cattle industry with any trade rules it might impose.
Getting to the meat of labeling
By Al Lewis
The Denver Post
Is your beef really organic?
Is it natural? Grass-fed? Or hormone and antibiotic free?
Did it come from a cow that had been mutilated on a remote ranch by aliens?
Did it come from a cow that had been cloned by scientists?
You can’t always trust the label. There is only one way to know for sure.
Patrick Cunningham, chief scientific adviser to the Irish government and professor of animal genetics at Dublin’s Trinity College, is ready to give your cheeseburger a DNA test.
Ag groups blast plan to make retailers pay for labeling
Sioux City Journal
A plan to have retailers pay for part of the costs of country-of-origin labeling is another attempt to derail the plan, leaders of several agricultural groups say.
“It’s just USDA’s way of trying to kill this thing again,” Margaret Nachtigall, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, said. “It’s not good news, but it’s not surprising,” she said.
The president’s proposed 2009 budget calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to collect fees of $259 from each of about 37,000 retailers to pay for compliance reviews for mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat and other food products.
Right Man for the Job
Red Angus history will remember Bob Hough as the Executive Secretary who helped lead the breed into the mainstream with the conviction of a breeder and the business savvy of a CEO.
“Bob is one of us. He was always a Red Angus breeder, even though he didn’t own the cattle. Everything he did was focused on the commercial success of Red Angus,” says Harold Hughes of Glacier Red Angus at Polson , MT.
Lee Leachman at Leachman Cattle of Colorado near Wellington emphasizes, “Bob’s motivating force was always what was beneficial for the breed, period. His level of integrity in that regard, looking out for the breed rather than playing politics and worrying about keeping a job is phenomenal, especially for someone who has that much tenure.”
NCBA Pays Tribute To Cattle Industry Champion Paul Hitch
On Friday at the 2008 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Reno, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) honored Paul Hitch, a cattleman and longtime livestock industry leader from Guymon, Oklahoma. Best known for his success in cattle feeding, Hitch is president and chairman of Hitch Enterprises, Inc. and Hitch AgriBusiness, Inc. - diversified agricultural operations based in the Oklahoma panhandle region.
Hitch is a former chairman of the NCBA Policy Division and NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Committee. He had served the past two years as vice-president and president-elect of NCBA.
But he was unable to accept a term as NCBA president, due to an ongoing bout with cancer.
“Is Beef, Really, What’s for Dinner?”
by MARYANN ABDUL-ALEEM
Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.
The rumors have been confirmed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the sale of cloned meat and milk from cows, goats and pigs into your neighborhood supermarkets, without any recommended labeling.
On January 15, 2008, The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s director Stephen F. Sundlof said “after reviewing additional data and the public comments in the intervening year since the release of our draft documents [in 2001] on cloning, we conclude that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day.”