Rising corn feed costs are forcing hard decisions for Michigan beef producers.
Scott Oswalt, one of two brothers who run the [family's livestock business] outfit with their parents, said the current market makes it difficult to form long-range plans, such as building a barn or purchasing property to raise more cattle. "We'll survive through it," Scott Oswalt said. "I wouldn't call it a disaster by any means, but it's a little bit of the unknown."
Oswalt said rising corn prices play the biggest role in the farm’s finances. Since it costs more for feed lots to bulk up cattle, producers don’t fetch as high an amount.
Additional complexity to beef prices are the low number of meatpackers within the US. Few meatpackers means less competition and price fluidity.
Complaints have drawn the interest of federal regulators, who are investigating possible antitrust violations in the meatpacking industry. [Kathleen Hawkins, executive vice president of the roughly 500-member Michigan Cattlemen's Association] said she's seen no evidence of any collusion or impropriety occurring locally.
This is a great analysis of how the Missouri Dog Breeding Regulation Initiative, Proposition B passed in the 2010 November elections
The Humane Society of the United States got some of the best political outcomes its donors’ money could buy. The animal rights organization first burst onto the national political scene with the Wall Street Journal’s observation that it outspent Exxon Mobil and Halliburton in the 2006 elections. And this year, Wayne Pacelle’s PETA-plus-sophistication brand of campaigning kept up that trend.
Based on the Missouri election map, those in agriculture need to step up with feeling, engaging, and heartfelt stories in the urban regions about their farm operations, how they feel about their animals, etc. If they do not, the next proposition round, or the round after that, will aim to restrict animal agriculture.
Put simply, from a geographic standpoint most of Missouri rejected HSUS’s agenda—including practically everyone directly affected by it. It was a centralized urban base, largely removed from the realities of life away from their concrete jungles, that delivered a victory for HSUS.
H. Morgan Scott, K-State Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Plans to develop models to evaluate cattle system interventions on antibiotic resistance.
"Our overall goal is to identify, evaluate and implement practical interventions for managing antibiotic resistance in beef and dairy cattle systems," Scott said. "We focus on the longstanding problem of resistance emergence, dissemination and persistence among enteric bacteria. If pathogenic bacteria resistant to antibiotics enter the food chain, treatment of humans can be complicated."
This research will involve researchers from the University of Guelph, Angelo State University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, Cornell University, Colorado State University and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Bruce Gellerman, Living On Earth, learns from Michelle Harvey, project manager at the Environmental Defense Fund, about Wal-Mart's recently announced sustainable agriculture initiatives.
Harvey: What they're going to do is expand to a greater number of locally grown farms. They're looking for opportunity to increase the number of farmers, the types of food that the farmers are growing and to really increase the diversity of sources that they have for the food that they sell in their stores around the world.
The EDF expects to play a part in making sure Wal-Marts's plans are implemented well and that goals are really being accomplished.
Additional organizations assisting Wal-Mart include the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and Rainforest Alliance.