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Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Atypical Case of BSE Discovered in Alabama- Fifth Case of BSE in U.S. Since The Cow That Stole Christmas in 2003
It's a story that we have not had to tell since 2012- USDA's APHIS has reported an 11 year old cow has been tested positive for BSE- or what we called Mad Cow Disease.
The animal was found through routine surveillance at an Alabama livestock market, where the cow exhibited clinical signs of what's known as atypical BSE, or L-type BSE.
Atypical BSE is different from classical BSE, as it generally occurs in older cattle, usually 8 years of age or greater. It seems to arise rarely and spontaneously in all cattle populations.
This is the nation's 5th detection of BSE. This finding of an atypical case will not change the negligible risk status of the United States, and should not lead to any trade issues.
APHIS and Alabama veterinary officials are currently gathering more information on the case. We have a couple of links to share- the APHIS release is available here
and reaction from the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and the Oklahoma Beef Council can be read by clicking or tapping here
.I would also direct your attention to my last story in today's email-
where I offer my thoughts back to that Case One of BSE in the US and that dab blamed cow from Canada which really messed up the Christmas of 2003.
If you would like to read the perspective of the Alabama folks- click here
for the release from the Alabama Department of Ag.
|Livestock Industry Groups Appeal to Congressional Leaders to Take Action in Securing Our Supply Chain by Authorizing an Offshore Vaccine Bank
More than 100 livestock industry groups, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council, sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for the establishment of a government funded vaccine bank to thwart the potential threat of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.
The letter urged Senate and House Ag Committee leaders to appropriate the funding needed for a project of this scale in the next Farm Bill, as the process of writing the legislation approaches.
While Foot and Mouth does not pose a threat to human health, it could be devastating to the livestock population in the US, if an outbreak ever occurred. An epidemic such as this could cause significant ramifications for the US supply chain of any of the cloven-hoofed species raised for meat consumption - making this issue relevant to our national security.
NCBA President Craig Uden
stressed the importance of investing in a FMD vaccine bank, rather than trying to contain an outbreak after the fact.
"Simply put, we cannot afford to be locked out of valuable foreign markets again," Uden said. "It's taken us well over a decade to get back up to speed in Asia after the 2003 BSE scare, and we must have support and full funding for this FMD vaccine bank to protect for our vital industry. The consequences would be catastrophic." Click here
to read NCBA's release on the letter sent to Congressional leaders.
According to Iowa State University economists, an FMD outbreak in the United States, would end up costing the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over 10 years if livestock producers weren't able to combat the disease through vaccination. As collateral damage, the corn and soybean industries would lose over a decade $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively; and economy-wide job losses would top 1.5 million.
"An outbreak of FMD in this country would be devastating for the U.S. pork industry," said NPPC President-elect Jim Heimerl
, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC's Farm Bill Policy Task Force. "The next Farm Bill must establish and fully fund a vaccine bank that gives us the ability to quickly control then eradicate this animal disease."
To read Heimerl's full remarks on the matter, or to take a look at the letter in its entirety, click or tap here
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Click here for a complete list of the Commission firms that make up the Livestock Exchange at the Oklahoma National Stockyards- still the best place to sell your cattle- and at the heart of Stockyards City, where you can go around the corner enjoy a great steak and shop for the very best in western wear.
|Opportunity Abounds in China But Don't Hold Your Breath - Developing Markets There will Take Time
I had the chance to speak with Phil Seng
, president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation, recently, and according to him, beef exports in 2017 have been incredibly strong. He believes there is a bright future ahead for US beef trade, now that China has opened its markets to our beef products. Seng says China has the potential to become one of America's most important markets - just not right away.
"It takes time and it's going to take, I think, some deliberate actions," Seng said. "We know from experience that a lot of times when we start up in these markets, there's growing pains."
He refers, of course, to the industry's need to simply adapt to all the new regulations and restrictions presented by China's government that allows our beef to actually pass through their customs - and all the documentation, relationship building and everything else that comes with it. He insists, the agreement is not perfect by any means and that there will likely be bumps in the road that will have to be figured out on the fly, but he says that comes with the territory. But with China's incredible pace as a trade nation, having gone from practically zero in beef imports to upwards of $2 billion in receipts, Seng is optimistic about the opportunities.
I think anybody would agree with that. But on the other hand, we do have access to China," he said. "We think through the work we can do, as far as working with the value chain, and qualifying customers and doing the type of work we do - that actually China will be a very important market. But it's a step by step process."
Listen to Seng and I discuss the US beef industry's opportunities as well as the challenges associated with entering China's marketplace, on yesterday's Beef Buzz - click here.
Earlier this week, the US Trade Representative's office released an outline of the priorities it will seek to negotiate during the upcoming talks with trade partners Canada and Mexico to modernize the North Atlantic Free-Trade Agreement.
Since the Trump administration made known its intention to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, members of the ag community have been nervous that gains made under NAFTA could be interrupted. Ag's message to the White House has been clear, "Do no harm."
However, included as a goal in the USTR's outline - maintain the reciprocal, duty-free, unfettered access of agricultural goods between our borders.
This revelation puts the ag industry and the government on the same page. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall issued a statement with renewed optimism, in light of the USTR's reassurance.
"The North American Free Trade agreement has helped America's farmers and ranchers make significant gains in U.S. ag exports to Canada and Mexico, and the administration's negotiating objectives for the agreement will maintain and improve agricultural trade with our nearest trading partners. We look forward to expanding our market opportunities with our North American neighbors even further by bringing this agreement into the 21st century," Duvall stated.
While encouraged by the government's shared concern for retaining enjoyed gains throughout most of the ag sector, Duvall acknowledges areas where the treaty can be improved - citing issues related to the dairy and vegetable industries.
Polly Ruhland is CEO of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, heading up the promotional efforts of the beef industry. I spoke to her last week in Denver during the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Summer Business Conference and she had a lot of interesting things to say.
First of all, she explained in depth, how the Beef Checkoff
is using digital platforms to reach the industry's target costumers. She explains that social media tools and internet based communications have allowed the Checkoff to engage consumers better than ever before. One application through Facebook, actually exposes consumers to ads that provide a rich, informative experience.
"You can swipe and travel through a digital beef journey, that includes video recipes and production information, all in a rich, color format," she said. "Facebook is becoming so much more sophisticated and we're able to use it in so many more ways than we used to."
Ruhland insists that projects like these, being undertaken, are direct responses to market research identifying what information consumer want, and how they want it delivered. Not only is the digital environment how consumers, prefer to receive information these days, it's also one of the most cost effective mediums as well - helping to stretch producer dollars.
The second thing, and perhaps the most interesting of all, is that the strategy seems to be working. According to Ruhland, beef is making an impressive comeback. In fact, she says, "Beef is becoming popular again." She knows this because there has been heavy emphasis at the CBB that projects must be measurable in their effectiveness.
"This kind of thing doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen without a lot of work," Ruhland remarked.
Listen to my full conversation with Ruhland to find out more about the promotional efforts of the CBB and how they are leveraging market research to strengthen the "Beef. It's What's for Dinner." brand, by clicking or tapping here
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New research presented yesterday at the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit, revealed that the chicken consumption of US consumers currently remains high, but growth seems to be moderating this year.
The survey, commissioned by the National Chicken Council, revealed that outside influences have had significant impact on consumer purchasing decisions. In particular, media coverage regarding food safety can be attributed in part to the slowing of consumption. Other factors consumers say influence their buying decisions include freshness, taste and price rise to the top. The findings show, consumers a less satisfied when it comes to price at the supermarket.
Although past two week consumption has decreased somewhat, consumers' taste for chicken shows no signs of waning. In the next 12 months, 21% of consumers anticipate eating more chicken from the supermarket and 13% anticipate eating more from a food service establishment. Consumers with the highest consumption levels tend to skew younger and be more ethnically diverse and live in larger households.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects Americans will eat close to 92 pounds of chicken per person this year, breaking last year's record of 91 pounds," said NCC Senior Vice President of Communications Tom Super. "Although consumers' self-reported consumption is down slightly in the survey, the data show that chicken is still top of mind for consumers."
to check out the complete story from the National Chicken Council.
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Certified Angus Beef published an article this week, describing why the American beef industry is successful in the global marketplace and how it can retain its competitive edge. The secret, says Kevin Good, a senior analyst for CattleFAX, is the superior quality of American made beef.
"If we think about the cattle side just from a cattle cycle nature we've expanded the beef cow herd by over two million head over the last two years which means we've got bigger supplies for at least the next two to three years to work through. And of course, pork and poultry supplies are up as well they're profitable with the lower input cost," Good said. "So, you roll that all together we've got more protein to consume not only domestically but hopefully that trade number will continue to grow so we can export more as well."
Resuming beef trade with China gives us strong "headwinds," Good says.
"Well as we think about the global protein supply is growing slowly, one to two percent a year that's kind of offsetting plus a little bit the population growth," he explained. "As we think about the spots around the globe that produce protein the most cheaply it's the US as well as South America. So, from a long-term perspective in a lot of the proteins that's where our competition will come from."
The key advantage the U.S. has over other exporters continues to be the kind of beef product America's cattlemen deliver.
To continue reading or to watch a video clip featuring Kevin Good, of CattleFax, talk about supply and demand, and how important high-quality beef is to the trade equation, click or tap here.
|Remembering December 2003 and the First Case of Mad Cow Disease for the US
We all have certain BIG events that we remember forever- there are things were directly involved in- and then there are things that were so big that we recall where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about that event.
If you were a beef or dairy producer in the US in 2003- you know what I am talking about.
For the beef cattle producer- it had been a great fall- cattle prices were really strong- exports were going great and part of the reason was that Canada was having problems with BSE or Mad Cow Disease.
Then came December 23rd. I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping with my wife Jan when I got the call from my friend and colleague Stewart Doan about a mysterious news conference that had just been announced for later that afternoon by USDA Secretary Ann Veneman. There were rumors but no one knew for sure until she announced details of that "presumptive" case of BSE that had been discovered in the state of Washington.
There were briefings daily after that- it was Christmas season and that meant auction barns across the country were closed and so NO ONE knew how much value their cattle had lost with the announcement. The unknown is gut wrenching when everything you are as a cattle producer might suddenly be worth a lot less.
The evening of the 23rd- I was invited down to the Oklahoma Cattlemen's offices in Stockyards City in OKC- and Oklahoma Ag Secretary Terry Peach was there making himself available to the local media- hoping to assure consumers that US Beef was safe- despite the arrival of Mad Cow.
One of the good things that came out of this EVENT was how well the emergency response plan of the Beef Industry worked- a plan paid for by beef checkoff dollars. A lot of cattlemen and cattlewomen learned from that experience how important the beef checkoff was (and still is) in helping cattle producers to be ready to respond when things look really bad because of external factors that no one can predict or control.
The US Beef Industry survived those uncertain first few weeks- but the story has lingered for all these years. The recent reopening of China to US Beef is a reminder of that Cow that Stole Christmas- and now this Alabama cow that has been shown to have atypical BSE is yet another reminder of how fragile the well being of any farm and ranch is- when you produce food- you are just one disaster or disease outbreak away from looking into the abyss.
I used a relatively new social media platform this morning- SPREAKER- to offer my thoughts. Click or tap here and take a listen.
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