Tag Archives: Beef

DENVER  — A big U.S. meatpacker has agreed to pay $1.5 million to 138 Somali-American Muslim workers who were fired from their jobs at a Colorado plant after they were refused prayer breaks, a federal anti-discrimination agency said Friday.

Cargill Meat Solutions, a division of Minnesota-based agribusiness company Cargill Corp., also agreed to train managers and hourly workers in accommodating Muslim employees’ prayer breaks at its Fort Morgan beef processing plant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill denies wrongdoing but agreed to settle to avoid further litigation, the federal agency said. The dispute dates back to the firings of the workers in late 2016 after management rescinded policies allowing Muslim employees to take short breaks for prayer.

In 2017, the agency found that the workers had been harassed and discriminated against for protesting the unannounced policy change that denied them opportunities for obligatory prayer. Hundreds of Somali-Americans work at the plant in Fort Morgan, northeast of Denver.

In a related announcement, a Teamsters union local that was supposed to represent the workers will pay them $153,000 to settle discrimination complaints.

The federal agency said it determined that Teamsters Local Union No. 455, based in Denver and in Fort Morgan, failed to advocate for the Muslim workers in their dispute with Cargill and even harassed them because of their race, religion and national origin. The workers were dues-paying union members.

Union officials denied wrongdoing. But the local unit agreed to pay the workers, undergo training in handling grievances, and publicize employee rights to be free of discrimination based on race or national origin.

“In its capacity as a bargaining representative for its members, labor unions have an obligation to represent their members regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability,” Elizabeth Cadle, the federal agency’s regional district director, said in a statement.

Like other U.S. firms that employ Muslim line workers at meatpacking and processing plants, Cargill managers must balance religious accommodations with demands of processing meat in an operation that frequently runs 24 hours. Managing possible disruptions not only slow production but can create safety issues for line workers.

“Providing our employees with religious accommodation is an important part of engaging and supporting our employees, and our policy has remained consistent for more than 10 years,” Cargill Meat Solutions president Brian Sikes said in a statement.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a Denver attorney who represented the workers praised the settlement.

Mohamedbhai said in a statement that he welcomed “Cargill’s commitment to continue to communicate its longstanding prayer accommodation practices.”

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Large supplies of meat and dairy, possibly record-setting tons, are coming to U.S. consumers.

For consumers, this can be good news with lower prices at grocery cases. For producers of beef, pork, chicken and milk it doesn’t bode so well.

In a mid-year baseline update for livestock and dairy, University of Missouri economist Scott Brown offers mixed outlooks.

U.S. consumers have shown strong demand. But farmers gearing up for rising exports grew their herds. With shifts in trade and tariff policies, uncertainties cloud markets. If exports falter, supplies will build in this country.

“It is difficult to pin down how much meat and dairy products will go to exports,” Brown says.

Combined per capita pounds of beef, pork, chicken and turkey will be almost 19 pounds more this year compared to 2014. That’s a 9.5 percent boost. Further, a 3.5-pound increase looms in 2019.

“Producers must hope for strong U.S. consumer demand,” Brown says. People eating more could keep products from piling up in freezers. If not, the growing supply moves through the market chain only with price cuts.

With that uncertainty, farm prices are projected to decline for fed cattle, hogs and chickens, Brown says.

“Beef export demand has grown thus far in 2018,” Brown says. For the first half of the year, those exports were up 196 million pounds above 2017. That helped offset a 480-million-pound growth.

For pork, exports grew 176 million pounds out of a 422-million-pound growth, January to June. “Weaker pork prices helped move exports,” Brown adds.

Beef cow herd expansion slowed in 2018. Drought stress on forage and water supplies helped slowing. Beef prices remain under pressure through 2020, Brown says. Demand for high-quality beef slows what could have been bigger price declines.

For hogs, increasing sow numbers with high production per sow pushed pork growth up for the last four years. Growth continues through at least 2020, Brown says.

Exports offset a large part of pork increases. That left per capita supplies at or below historical levels through last year.

Now trade doubts and production growth push domestic pork supplies next year to the highest levels since 1981.

Big supplies of beef and chicken compete with growing pork supplies. The result could be lowest the hog prices in a decade. That dollar drop can lead to financial losses for most hog producers.

Not helping pork is lack of return of the strong bacon demand in 2017.

On the poultry side, wholesale chicken prices hit records for three weeks this spring at $1.20 per pound. That had been seen only two other weeks in history. That was surprising, Brown says. Poultry production was high and chicken in storage was 10 percent above a year ago.

Chicken prices could retreat as production grows and demand returns to normal.

Turkey prices still struggle as they have for the past 18 months.

Egg demand regains footing following two years of low prices.

In the expansion mode, dairy cow numbers will likely grow in 2018 even as milk prices hit the lowest since 2009. Large herds in Texas, Kansas, Idaho and Arizona keep cow numbers largely unchanged.

Dairy exports have remained impressive, Brown says, although low prices triggered federal milk price margin protection for some dairy farms.

High production in livestock and dairy kept the consumer price index for food below 2 percent for the fourth year in 2018. The CPI runs less than the rate of inflation.

This baseline update came in conjunction with the MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute baseline. That covers crops and biofuels. Reports are available at fapri.missouri.edu(opens in new window).

Livestock and dairy are covered by Brown and Daniel Madison in the MU Division of Applied Social Sciences. All are in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — In late July, the Kansas Department of Agriculture participated in a trade mission to Argentina, where the team attended the La Rural 2018 Exhibition. La Rural has become the most prominent livestock show in Argentina, with more than one million people in attendance. The show supports over 400 commercial exhibitors and 4,500 head of livestock, while acting as the meeting point for producers, professionals and technicians from Argentina and the world.

Representing Kansas on the trade mission were: Lynn Ferguson, Ferguson Angus; Craig Iwanski DVM, Central Veterinary Services and JC Ranch LLC; and Shirley Acedo, KDA agribusiness development coordinator.

The team had the opportunity to see firsthand beef cattle genetics at La Argentina Ranch in Coronel Pringles and Cabana Santa Rita in Saladillo. While there, they also toured animal genetics facilities: CIIADO in Darregueira, Las Lilas in San Antonio de Areco, and Alta Ciale in Capitán Sarmiento. While on the trade mission the participants also met Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who was visiting Argentina for the G20 Summit.

“I was able to learn about Argentinian operations, business plans and the types of genetics they look for,” said Ferguson. “We were able to share our Angus genetics that are already available in their country through Select Sires, as well as prospective genetics currently being developed at our ranch.”

Iwanski agreed. “This trip raised my awareness more to the global market of the beef industry we are in today, and I gained knowledge of how other parts of the world are affected by this business.”

In the past five years, Kansas has exported roughly $3.4 million in goods to Argentina with the top exports being wine and wheat.

“With the new pro-agriculture government in place in Argentina we are seeing the ag sector rebuilding with cattle numbers growing from 48 million to approximately 53 million,” said Acedo. “This trade mission has provided more opportunities for Kansas purebred beef cattle producers and allied industry to develop relationships with livestock producers in Argentina to increase market opportunities for U.S. and Kansas beef genetics.”

The trade mission was organized by KDA and the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities. The Kansas Ag Growth Project identified beef as a key component for state growth.

Wagyu beef companies from across Japan exhibited their products on Monday at a food showcase celebrating the return of Japanese beef to Australia after 17 years.

Sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization, the Premium Japanese Food Showcase featured nine Japanese beef companies, many of which were eager to explain the differences between the wagyu beef from Japan and so-called “Australian wagyu” founded on live animals and genetic material imported from Japan in the 1990s.

“Personally, I think Australian wagyu is wonderful; it’s of a very high quality,” said Hideki Tabata, 62, of the Omi Beef Export Promotion Cooperative.

“But no matter how high a quality it may be, it’s still a little different to wagyu made in Japan with all that tradition and such a long history.”

Tabata said the flavor of Japanese wagyu is “completely different” to Australian-raised wagyu and recommended Australians consumers try it for the first time as part of a Japanese dish such as sukiyaki or shabu-shabu.

“But our ultimate goal is to broaden how wagyu is recognized so it can eventually be used in all kinds Australian cooking, too.”

Australia banned all beef imports from Japan after the discovery of mad cow disease in 2001.

Japanese wagyu beef is recognized as a delicacy around the world for its high marble-scoring, or fat distribution throughout the meat. However, such gourmet quality comes with a high price tag that is so far untested on Australian consumers.

“Are Australians going to accept paying that extra money for (Japanese) wagyu, because it is very expensive,” said NH Foods Ltd. general manager Michael Davidson, 55.

“If you’re looking at cuts of meat that could be up to A$300 per kilo, how’s that going to translate over to here? We just have to wait and see how it goes.”

However, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ryosuke Kozuki said he was confident Australian consumers would be willing to pay top dollar for the product if they had the opportunity to taste the difference.

Phil Waddington, 53, and Karen McLaughlan, 47 — both caterers for consulting firm Ernst & Young — shared Kozuki’s sentiments, saying they look forward to the possibility of including Japanese wagyu on the menu of future business functions.

“Because it’s so rich, you only need to have a little, so I think it lends itself very well to those standing and networking dinner events,” McLaughlan said.

The Premium Japanese Food Showcase also featured 11 Japanese companies specializing in products unrelated to beef such as yuzu pepper and wasabi condiments.

Australia is currently the ninth-ranked export destination for Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products.

DENVER, — To help get the school year off to a happy and healthy start, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is making it easier than ever to incorporate beef into packed lunches with the Best. School. Lunch. Ever! recipe collection.

The Best. School. Lunch. Ever! recipe collection features a variety of simple, yet nutritious recipes with nutrition-packed beef as the superstar main ingredient. The collection can be found at https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipes/collection/10077/best-school-lunch-ever, with nutritionals and serving information for each delectable recipe.

A few standout recipes from the collection include:

  • Twist on a classic. While you can’t go wrong with a good old PB& J Sandwich, Beefy P B & J Wraps take this lunchbox favorite to the next level. The recipe combines peanut butter and jelly to make an Asian-style sauce that gets paired with beef and wrapped in a warm tortilla.
  • Easy and portable. Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wraps are not only easy to prepare, thanks to a simple ingredient list, but they also allow for ultimate customization. In a crunch for time? Packaged hummus will do the trick. Have a few minutes to spare? The Garlicky White Bean Spread (included in the recipe) makes for a super tasty treat.
  • Family fun. Looking for a way to involve the kids in preparing their lunches? Try making Personal Beef Pizzas. This simple recipe gives kids an opportunity to create their very own personal pizza topping creations. While toppings like olives, bell peppers and onions are always a good idea, any veggie goes!

“Beef is the perfect addition to any school lunch,” said Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., R.D., executive director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “Beef is packed full of ten essential nutrients, including protein and iron, giving kids the fuel, they need to thrive in the classroom. As a registered dietitian and mom, beef is my go-to protein for my kids’ lunchboxes.”