Tag Archives: Beef

The Wendy’s Company announced an industry-leading step that will allow the company to better understand and communicate how cattle for Wendy’s fresh beef* hamburgers are raised, facilitating advancements in areas such as animal care, antibiotics and sustainability. This comes on the heels of an earlier 2018 announcement on transitioning Wendy’s tomato supply to vine-ripened tomatoes exclusively from greenhouse farms, which was driven by the same Company commitment to providing the freshest, highest-quality food possible for its customers.

The news headlines Wendy’s annual update on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives spanning Food, Family and Community.

“Quality is Our Recipe” isn’t just a Company tagline. Wendy’s takes extraordinary pride in serving and sourcing high-quality food to each and every customer.

DEMONSTRATING INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP WITH SUSTAINABLE, VERIFIABLE FRESH BEEF SUPPLY CHAIN. Wendy’s is proud to be the first restaurant chain to partner with the Progressive Beef™ program, an innovative animal care and sustainability program that is built on industry-leading best practices and third-party verification. Adoption of this program will be implemented in a significant part of its beef supply starting in 2019, with at least 50 percent by 2021, further delivering on Wendy’s commitment to enhanced beef supply chain accountability, transparency and traceability. The program focuses on three core areas:

  • Cattle Care: providing a safe, humane environment for cattle through staff training on management practices and hands-on veterinary care
  • Food Safety and Antibiotic Use: responsibly using antibiotics under the supervision of a veterinarian and with thorough record-keeping, strictly adhering to withdrawal times, utilizing HACCP principles and ensuring a clean and safe environment for the animals
  • Environmental Sustainability: responsibly utilizing natural resources while investing in the people who care for the cattle and the local communities through staff training and certification

Efforts in these areas are verified by USDA-approved auditors. Each audit is a report card, and the metrics involved play a key role in finding and making improvements.

Beyond finalizing the new partnership with Progressive Beef, Wendy’s has made progress on existing commitments related to its beef supply chain. In 2018, Wendy’s fulfilled its commitment to source 100 percent of its beef from Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified sources– hitting this milestone a year ahead of schedule. Wendy’s also sourced nearly 20 percent of its beef from producers who have each tracked and reduced their use of medically important antibiotics. Wendy’s is committed to continuing our work quantifying antibiotic use in our supply chain and further reducing use of antibiotics where possible.

Wendy’s also regularly consults with outside experts from academia, animal agriculture, and veterinary medicine to support animal care and welfare decisions, and this year they expanded the council to include more external professionals.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Kevin Kester urged the Trump Administration to move quickly to tear down trade barriers for U.S. beef in Japan. Speaking at a public hearing on the potential economic impact of a U.S.-Japan bilateral trade agreement, Kester noted that reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers would benefit Japanese consumers and U.S. cattle producers. Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef, accounting for nearly $2 billion in sales in 2017. However, U.S. beef exports face tariffs as high as 50 percent under some circumstances.

“NCBA strongly supports prioritizing and expediting negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement,” Kester said in his comments. “The U.S. beef industry is at risk of losing significant market share in Japan unless immediate action is taken to level the playing field.”

A number of key U.S. competitors have negotiated agreements that provide their producers with preferential access to the Japanese market. For example, under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Australian beef exporters will enjoy a tariff reduction of 27.5 percent in the first year of the agreement for fresh and frozen products. In most cases, the countries who are part of CPTPP will see their tariff rates for beef exports decline to 9 percent over the next 15 years. In addition to CPTPP, Japan is moving ahead with a trade agreement that will give European Union beef producers similar terms to those negotiated in CPTPP.

“NCBA supported the negotiated compromise under Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it reduced the massive tariff applied to U.S. beef, diminished the likelihood of triggering snap back tariffs, and established strong, objective, and predictable sanitary and phytosanitary standards and other rules-based trade standards,” Kester added. “We expect nothing less under a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.”

Beef cattle producers have a wide range of selection tools available for use in selection of breeding stock. These range from visual appraisal to EPD (expected progeny differences) and selection indexes that leverage genomic technologies. Adoption of new technologies by the beef industry has dramatically changed beef cattle selection strategies and opportunities. Beef genetics and genomic tools continue to evolve at a rapid rate.

To aid the development of new selection tools and their adoption by producers, researchers seek to understand current attitudes and perceptions of industry stakeholders. Producers and industry participants are encouraged to take part in an online survey to help inform the development of a new beef cattle selection decision support tool. This work is part of the activities funded through a recent USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant (2018-68008-27888) awarded to research and extension faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, USDA-ARS US Meat Animal Research Center and a leading genetic evaluation software developer, Theta Solutions, LLC.

“Bull purchasing decisions need to account for differing marketing goals and environmental constraints to improve profitability and sustainability, but these are unique to each herd as producer-specific production goals and inputs vary considerably,” says Dr. Matt Spangler, project director and University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor.

Industry research suggests that current bull purchasing decisions do not appear to use all relevant information available. Spangler adds, “Our team of leading beef genetic researchers and extension specialists aims to develop and provide software that enables beef producers to make more profitable genetic selection decisions, integrating additive and non-additive genetic effects, available resources, and firm-level economics.”

The online survey of industry stakeholders will explore their knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of current and envisioned beef genetic selection tools. Survey responses will be anonymous and summarized to help develop new selection tools and training programs. The survey is accessible until December 31, 2018, at: https://kstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXJA9F3EyMfmSpf.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow imports of U.S. beef and beef products into Morocco. 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  Morocco opened its market to U.S. poultry in August, 2018.

“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products.  New access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.  “I welcome Morocco’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. beef and look forward to growing our shipments to Morocco.”

“Finding new markets for American agricultural products has been a priority for the Trump Administration from day one, and the opening of the Moroccan market is good news for our producers,” said Secretary Perdue.  “American beef is the best in the world, and once Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more.”

In 2017, the United States was the world’s third largest beef exporter, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at $7.3 billion.  As of November 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Morocco exceeded $512 million.  Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be an $80 million market for U.S. beef and beef products. Morocco had prohibited imports of U.S. beef.

Under the  leadership of USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Amb. Gregg Doud and the direction of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ken Isley, U.S. and Moroccan officials met to negotiate a health certificate and the terms for the import of U.S. high quality and standard quality beef into Morocco.  Representatives also discussed improvements to the administration of Morocco’s wheat tariff-rate quota and other agriculture and SPS issues, and will continue this work through the agriculture and SPS subcommittees under the FTA.

In today’s  world of smart devices the answer to almost any question is never far away. For consumers with beef questions they can now ask their Amazon Alexa device and Chuck will answer. The new Chuck Knows Beef function now is live on Amazon Alexa. Users can enable Chuck directly through the Alexa app.

Chuck is powered by Google Artificial Intelligence and is the consumer’s guide to all things beef. From questions on recipes, cattle production practices, nutrition content or beef cut information, Chuck know’s beef. How does Chuck know all this? His customized responses are based on content available at  www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

If you don’t want to ask Chuck on Alexa you can also visit his web page, www.chuckknowsbeef.com , and find the same information.

With help from Chuck more consumers can feel confident in their choice of making beef for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After Chuck has answered your question on beef don’t forget to tell Alexa you want to listen to your favorite Rural Radio Network Station!

When people think of Thanksgiving, what images come to mind?
Family, friends, an extra couple days of vacation, a big turkey dinner, pumpkin pie, football games, the beginning of the Christmas holiday season – the list is endless.

But what about the real reason for thanksgiving – what about the act of giving thanks or a prayer expressing gratitude?

After all, that’s how Thanksgiving Day began in this country back in 1621. The Pilgrims had just completed their first year in North America and the fall harvest was bountiful. As the story goes, there was plenty of corn, fruits, vegetables, fish packed in salt and cured meat.
They harvested enough food to store some away for the long, cold winter.

To help give thanks for their abundant food and celebrate a peaceful co-existence with their Indian neighbors, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of giving thanks. This annual celebration has continued throughout the years and become a U.S. custom.

As we prepare to travel to see loved ones or begin work on Thanksgiving in our own homes, let’s remember what this celebration is really about. Don’t forget when you’re eating all those wonderful holiday trimmings to give thanks for the wholesome, bountiful food we enjoy all year.

When it comes time to give thanks before the family dinner, remember to thank the good Lord for his blessings. Also include words of thanks for the farmers and ranchers in Kansas and across the United States.

Ask a blessing for those who prepared the wonderful meals and all the appetizers. Let them know during the meal how much you appreciate their culinary skills. They will appreciate the compliment.

As we wrap up 2018, it is important to give thanks to our agricultural producers. This year has been extremely tough on many farmers and ranchers.

In particular those producing grain, are struggling, thanks mostly to low commodity prices amid a global grain glut.

Net farm income is down for the fifth straight year, cut in half since 2013. Farmers continue to wrestle to cover expenses while their farms do not make a profit. Some producers say they’re running on empty.

Without question, challenges will continue to test the mettle of all those engaged in production agriculture. Challenges, like change, remain a constant part of our daily lives. In today’s business climate, all of us work hard, long hours and rarely think about it. We accept it as part of our lifestyle – it’s just the way it is, probably always has been and always will be.

Still, if we take a good look at our situations, we have plenty to be thankful for. Consider our good health, family, friends and the best country in the world to live in.

This Thanksgiving be thankful for all the gifts you are blessed with. Be happy and secure that family, and those you love surround you. Look back and smile about your successes and feel confident that you have learned from your mistakes.

After you’ve eaten all the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie you can hold, remember the farmers who grow the food we eat. And don’t forget to say a prayer for those less fortunate and all those who helped make Thanksgiving a day we can all be thankful for.

U.S. beef exports remained very strong in September while pork exports continued to be impacted by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports cooled from the record results posted in August, but were still significantly higher year-over-year. Pork muscle cut exports improved over last September’s volume, but were offset by sharply lower shipments of pork variety meat.

September beef exports totaled 110,160 metric tons (mt), up 6 percent from a year ago, valued at $687.1 million – up 11 percent. For January through September, beef exports were just over 1 million mt, up 9 percent from a year ago, while value surged 18 percent to $6.2 billion. For beef muscle cuts only, the year-over-year increases were even more impressive, jumping 13 percent in volume (777,740 mt) and 20 percent in value ($5.54 billion).

Exports accounted for 13.7 percent of total beef production in September and 11.4 percent for muscle cuts only, up from 12.5 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, a year ago. For the first three quarters of 2018, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total production (up from 12.8 percent) and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up one full percentage point from last year. Beef export value equated to $334.63 per head of fed slaughter in September and $320.85 for January through September, each up 16 percent from a year ago.

September pork export volume was down 2 percent from a year ago to 179,423 mt, while export value fell 7 percent to $470.2 million. Pork muscle cuts were 2 percent higher than a year ago at 146,542 mt, but value still declined 3 percent to $397.6 million. September variety meat exports dropped significantly in both volume (32,881 mt, down 18 percent) and value ($72.6 million, down 21 percent). For January through September, combined pork and pork variety meat exports were 1 percent above last year’s record pace at 1.81 million mt and 2 percent higher in value at $4.79 billion. For pork muscle cuts only, exports increased 6 percent from a year ago in volume (1.46 million mt), valued at just under $4 billion (up 3 percent).

September exports accounted for 24.8 percent of total pork production, up from 23.6 percent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 21.8 percent – up two full percentage points from last September. For January through September, pork exports accounted for 26.1 percent of total production, down from 26.5 percent last year, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 22.1 to 22.7 percent. Export value per head slaughtered was down 1 percent from a year ago in September ($48.72) and for January through September ($52.46).

“With a full quarter still to be reported, beef export value records are already being surpassed in some markets and global value is on track for $8 billion by year’s end,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Pork exports have also held up relatively well, but unfortunately the obstacles U.S. pork faces in China and Mexico are putting a lot of pressure on export value.”

New value record in Korea tops beef export highlights

South Korea has been the growth pacesetter for U.S. beef exports in 2018, and September was no exception. Exports to Korea were up 22 percent from a year ago in volume (19,116 mt) and were 29 percent higher in value ($143.1 million). January-September exports reached 180,495 mt, up 37 percent from a year ago, while export value soared 51 percent to $1.29 billion, already breaking last year’s full-year value record. These results included a 28 percent increase in chilled beef exports to 40,372 mt, valued at $391 million (up 38 percent). U.S. share of Korea’s total beef imports has increased sharply this year, from 44.7 to 48.7 percent, as U.S. beef underpins Korea’s growing beef consumption.

September beef exports to leading market Japan were up 4 percent from a year ago in both volume (28,086 mt) and value ($172.3 million). For the first three quarters of 2018, exports to Japan were up 7 percent from a year ago in volume (252,871 mt) while value increased 10 percent to $1.59 billion. Chilled beef exports to Japan were down 1 percent to 111,908 mt, but value still climbed 7 percent to $895 million. On a value basis, the U.S. is the top supplier to Japan with 46.8 percent of imports, up slightly from the first three quarters of 2017. But on a volume basis, U.S. beef accounted for just under 42 percent of total imports, down from 43 percent in the same period last year and trailing Australia’s 48.6 percent share. With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) set to enter into force Dec. 30, the tariff advantage enjoyed by Australian beef will be extended to all of U.S. beef’s major competitors in Japan with another duty reduction on April 1, the start of Japan’s fiscal year.

For January through September, other highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

  • Beef exports to Taiwan were up 32 percent from a year ago in volume (43,539 mt), while value reached $403.8 million – up 36 percent and just short of last year’s annual record of $409.7 million. Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 29 percent in volume (17,523 mt) and 36 percent in value ($221 million), as the United States captured 75 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest market share of any Asian destination.
  • Exports to Mexico were up 1 percent from a year ago in volume (177,906 mt) and 8 percent higher in value ($783.1 million). With a strong fourth quarter, exports to Mexico should top $1 billion for the first time since 2015.
  • After slowing in the summer months, beef exports to China/Hong Kong rebounded in September (10,076 mt valued at $82 million). This pushed January-September results 6 percent higher than a year ago in volume (89,660 mt) and 28 percent higher in value ($720.8 million). This included exports to China of 5,114 mt valued at $44.2 million.
  • A strong performance in the Philippines and solid growth in Vietnam pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 13 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (33,924 mt) and 25 percent higher in value ($186.6 million).
  • Strong September results pushed exports to South Africa 8 percent higher year-over-year in volume (11,508 mt), while value jumped 28 percent to $11.7 million. Exports to Angola also increased significantly in both volume (2,643 mt, up 15 percent) and value ($3.6 million, up 45 percent). Exports to Africa (which do not include Egypt) were down 8 percent in volume (16,880 mt) but still increased 8 percent in value ($18.9 million).

Korea, Latin America continue to shine for U.S. pork

September pork exports to South Korea increased 33 percent from a year ago in volume (12,486 mt) and 30 percent in value ($33.6 million). Through September, exports increased 43 percent in volume (172,022 mt) while export value climbed 48 percent to $489.2 million – already topping the 2017 year-end total of $475 million. U.S. share of Korea’s total pork imports has increased dramatically this year, from 31 to 35 percent, even as imports also trended higher from most of Korea’s main suppliers.

Pork exports to South America continued to gain momentum in September, led by strong growth in Colombia and Peru and a rebound in exports to Chile. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports to the region were 27 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in volume (92,252 mt) and 22 percent higher in value ($227.9 million).

With steady growth in mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and sharply higher shipments to Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, January-September exports to Central America increased 20 percent in volume (58,756 mt) and 17 percent in value ($138.7 million). This region is also coming off a record year in 2017.

Exports to the Dominican Republic have already broken the records set last year, with volume climbing 35 percent to 32,859 mt, valued at $71.6 million (up 29 percent).

Other January-September results for U.S. pork exports include:

  • Exports to Japan increased 2 percent year-over-year in both volume (295,346 mt) and value ($1.22 billion). This included a 2 percent decrease in chilled pork volume (155,395 mt) while value held steady at $750 million. U.S. share of Japan’s total imports has held relatively steady this year at 35 percent. But with CPTPP set to enter into force Dec. 30 and with the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement also on track to be implemented in the coming months, U.S. pork will soon face significant tariff disadvantages in its leading value market.
  • Despite a fourth straight month in which shipments were below last year’s level, exports to leading volume market Mexico remained 1 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 589,235 mt. Export value, however, has felt intense pressure from Mexico’s retaliatory duties, dropping 8 percent to $1.01 billion. Canada’s January-September exports to Mexico were up 20 percent to 93,346 mt (valued at $126.5 million, up 25 percent). EU exports also surged to Mexico in July (1,809 mt, up 747 percent) and August (2,343 mt, up 733 percent) and are expected to continue gaining momentum as Spain, Denmark and Germany take advantage of Mexico’s recently implemented duty-free pork quota.
  • Exports to China/Hong Kong declined 26 percent from a year ago to 277,779 mt, with value dropping 14 percent to $667.9 million. This region is the largest destination for U.S. pork variety meat exports, which were down 27 percent in volume (177,747 mt) and 13 percent in value ($466.2 million).
  • Led by strong growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region increased 40 percent in volume (49,406 mt) and 29 percent in value ($123.5 million). This was fueled by a surge in pork variety meat exports to the region, which more than doubled over last year in both volume (20,111 mt, up 147 percent) and value ($32.2 million, up 122 percent).
  • With solid growth in Australia and a steady performance in New Zealand, exports to Oceania were 11 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (62,360 mt) and 10 percent higher in value ($182.3 million).

Lamb variety exports climb in September, but muscle cuts still sluggish

September exports of U.S. lamb more than doubled from a year ago to 1,177 mt (up 106 percent), fueled by a sharp increase in lamb variety meat exports to Mexico. But export value was down 12 percent to $1.63 million as muscle cuts continued to struggle. Lamb muscle cut exports were just 126 mt in September, down 53 percent from a year ago and matching the lowest monthly volume of 2018.

Through the first three quarters of the year, lamb exports were 65 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (9,210 mt) and 16 percent higher in value ($17.1 million). The increase is mainly attributable to stronger variety meat demand in Mexico, but muscle cut exports showed promising growth in the Bahamas, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Complete January-September export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.

Monthly charts for U.S. pork and beef exports are also available online.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call 303-226-7309.


  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.
  • U.S. pork currently faces retaliatory duties in China and Mexico. China’s duty rate on frozen pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37 percent in April and from 37 to 62 percent in July. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10 percent in June and jumped to 20 percent in July. Beginning in June, Mexico also imposed a 15 percent duty on sausages and a 20 percent duty on some prepared hams.
  • U.S. beef faces retaliatory duties in China and Canada. China’s duty rate on beef muscle cuts and variety meats increased from 12 to 37 percent in July. Canada’s 10 percent duty, which also took effect in July, applies to HS 160250 cooked/prepared beef products.