Tag Archives: Beef

WASHINGTON  – Today National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck issued the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that they will hold a public meeting on foods produced using animal cell culture technology:

“NCBA looks forward to participating fully in the public meeting, and will use the opportunity to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement disregards the authorities granted to USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as USDA’s significant scientific expertise and long-standing success in ensuring the safety of all meat and poultry products. Under the current regulatory framework, FDA plays an important role in terms of ensuring the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA, but ultimately FSIS maintains primary jurisdiction.”

Background

According to the FDA, the public meeting is intended to provide interested parties and the public with an opportunity to comment on emerging lab-grown protein technology. The public meeting is not a formal decision and will not prevent USDA from asserting primary jurisdiction.

USDA oversight of lab-grown protein products is consistent with existing federal laws. Lab-grown protein products fall within statutory definitions of a meat byproduct. USDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and proper labeling of all such products under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

Regardless whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or a card-carrying Mugwump, I think we can all agree that President Donald Trump is a man not afraid to change his mind. Of course, that’s not to say that everyone would characterize this unique flexibility in the same way.

What strikes some as being open-minded, hits others as being empty-headed. What speaks to some as strategic deal making, warns others of random cluelessness. What some admire as bold examples of leadership, others fear as reckless and counterproductive displays of power.

Furthermore, many members of the citizen jury flip their verdicts from morning tweet to morning tweet. Our wonderful country can often be a tough bar to manage with the head bouncer facing intractable problems on a daily basis. Reassessments can be good or bad, absolutely necessary or dangerous second-guessing.

No less a thinker than Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Whatever else fans and critics might think of the commander-in-chief’s gray matter, it is clearly not haunted by ghosts of uniformity and steadfastness.

But while I’m glad President Trump is not demonically possessed by an irrational need to strictly “stay the course” for its own sake, I am increasingly troubled by the reckless way he likes to shoot from the hip in matters of global trade.

The seeds of mistrust now being sown among many of our major trading partners makes me wonder if the White House truly understands the evolutionary nature of the international marketplace, a networking process that slowly improves over time as “non-zero” relationships (i.e., net import and export sums that benefit both sides of a trade) proliferate and compound.

But if this criticism is too harsh on the Trump administration, I feel more confident in saying that the president and his entire motley crew (given the extremely short truce in the trade war with China declared just last week, it seems clear that not every team member is rowing in the same direction) could benefit from a season or two of demanding fieldwork and farm management.

As far as I’m concerned, the great and abiding ethos of agricultural marketing has always been summarized by the pledge “my word is my bond.” Many may think this sounds quaint and unrealistic. But I still think it’s the fundamental nail that guarantees 95% or more of the country’s farm business.

That’s not to say that no one in the farming and ranching community ever bothers with lawyers and contracts. Of course, successful producers follow prudent business practices. And that’s not to say that all those who work the soil or sort cattle automatically turn into unimpeachable Eagle Scouts. Bad apples fall from rural and urban orchards alike.

Nevertheless, I would have no qualms testifying before Congress (or perhaps more to the point, chatting over drinks at Mar-a-Lago) about agriculture’s extraordinarily high commitment to honor and trust in matters of commerce. Maybe I’m hopelessly naive. But I’ve seen too many unhedged farmers dutifully deliver contracted corn dollars under the spot market and too many unhedged feedlot managers accept delivery on fall calves tens of dollars above the spot market to think otherwise.

Although waves of consolidation and concentration have certainly changed some of the dynamics of agricultural business over the decades, an amazing network of trust and cooperation still exists in the country. This network’s taproot is comprised of realities such as isolation, low population, piecemeal infrastructure, and scattered markets.

The magic of this necessary trust at first fostered the rising levels of trade required to feed and energize the continental United States. This same quality of trust was then increasingly married to hundreds of other trusting business partners all around the world to create global trade worth trillions and trillions of dollars.

Unfortunately, this long-tested alchemy of trust and trade, a proven elixir responsible for the creation of untold wealth through U.S. agriculture, as well as the nation as a whole, is being threatened by a president who believes that trade wars are good and easily won.

Can’t you just hear our trading partners say something like “Anyone so casually bellicose is not to be trusted.” And that’s exactly the point. Trust and trade go together like love and marriage. Once you become less than trustworthy, your sex appeal as a trading partner quickly goes south.

During less than 18 months in office, President Trump has reneged (or threatened to renege) on U.S. international pledges too numerous to count. Some of these decisions may have been well-reasoned. But the way the president and his team blow hot and cold (sometimes on the same day), is it any wonder that U.S. creditability seems to be approaching an all-time low.

Maybe if Trump had been raised in the wilds of western Nebraska or Kansas instead of cushy New York, he would have learned one of the woodshed’s most valuable lessons: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”

JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI  – An omnibus bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger (R-18), passed  with a bipartisan 125-22 vote. The legislation, SB 627, carried in the House by Rep. Jay Houghton (R-43), contains several provisions including SB 977, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Crawford (R-28), which is identical to HB 2607 led in the House by Rep. Jeff Knight (R-129). The language prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that was not derived from harvested livestock. The legislation comes at a time when laboratory grown meat is being debated throughout the country and in Washington. D.C.

Missouri became the first state to address the issue with legislation, sending a signal to other states to follow suit. Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) Executive Vice President Mike Deering expects other state cattle organizations to lead legislation in their respective state.

“This isn’t a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day,” said Deering. “I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn’t meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue. We are beyond pleased to see this priority legislation cross the finish-line.”

The current definition of meat in Missouri Statutes is:  “any edible portion of livestock or poultry carcass or part thereof.” This definition certainly excludes plant-based or even laboratory grown food products from being considered meat. Deering said the problem is there is nothing definitive in state statute to prevent the misrepresentation of these products as meat. The legislation that will now be sent to the Governor for consideration prohibits “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Deering said the association does not oppose plant-based or laboratory grown food products.

“This legislation does not stifle technology, but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces consumer confusion. We must ensure that those products do not mislead consumers into thinking those products are actually meat produced by farm and ranch families,” said Deering. “The use of traditional nomenclature on alternative products is confusing to consumers and weakens the value of products derived from actual livestock production.”
The passage of the legislation follows a vote by the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday, May 16, 2018, supporting regulatory oversight of lab-grown meat substitutes by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). MCA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association believe USDA is best-placed to ensure food safety and accurate labeling of these products.

CENTENNIAL, CO – Already an international hit, beef will be in the global spotlight May 31 when the Federation of State Beef Councils helps sponsor a special dinner and appetizers for participants of the 22nd World Meat Congress in Dallas, Texas.

The WMC is held biennially and allows international experts in the beef, pork, lamb and veal industries to discuss issues affecting livestock and meat production around the globe. This year the event is being hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. It is the first time the WMC has been held in the United States in more than 20 years.

Chef Laura Hagen of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, helped design the menu to showcase beef to buyers from around the world. Among the beef items on the menu for the event’s USMEF Beef Team Seminar and Dinner will be a Tender Pepper Rubbed Strip Steak, as well as a Top Sirloin Caprese Skewer and Grilled Salsa Flank Steak appetizer. All of the beef items to be served can be found on the beef industry’s “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” website, www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com, which is managed by NCBA as a beef checkoff contractor.

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the wonderful taste, quality and variety of beef with some of the world’s leading beef experts,” according to Dawn Caldwell, a Nebraska beef producer and Federation chair. “At the same time, we look forward to discussing with these leaders the great care with which we raise what we think is the best beef in the world.”

During the dinner, attendees will also view the new “Rethink the Ranch” video to highlight the care producers take to produce world famous U.S. beef. The video showcases the entire process of U.S. beef production.

Among the attendees of the 2018 WMC will be producers, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists. A division of NCBA, the Federation has supported work of the USMEF to assure consumers around the world understand the benefits of featuring U.S. beef on their tables.

Helping sponsor the May 31 event is the National Corn Board.