News Update
May 19, 2011

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The May 13 edition of The Angus Report, available at, takes a look at how ranchers can affect beef quality, the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, and new Tag Store options. The American Angus Association’s online news covers a variety of topics in a traditional television news format. Watch for reports posted each Friday.

— Release by American Angus Association.

NCBA: Congressmen Send Letter to Ag Secretary on Proposed GIPSA Rule

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack received a letter from 147 members of the U.S. House of Representatives May 18, 2011, regarding USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock and poultry marketing. The “GIPSA rule” was proposed June 22, 2010, and, as a result of pressure from members of Congress, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and other industry groups, USDA is currently conducting an economic analysis on the proposed rule. In the letter, which was led by Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), the members of Congress urged Secretary Vilsack to proceed in a transparent manner, which includes allowing stakeholders to comment on the rule before moving forward.

“Particularly in a climate in which additional scrutiny is being applied to regulations seen as overreaching or overly burdensome, we urge the department to proceed in a transparent manner that allows for those most impacted by this action a chance to comment on not only pending changes to the rule and the accompanying economic analysis as well,” penned the members of Congress, adding that a timeline for completion of the economic analysis and any further action is also needed.

The members of Congress stated in the letter that it is troubling that USDA appears to be using the rule-making process to accomplish objectives specifically rejected by Congress. Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs, said the elected leaders are holding USDA accountable. He said it is unprecedented to see an agricultural issue receive this level of bipartisan alignment.

“It is clear that USDA’s unpopular rule goes above and beyond the intent of Congress,” said Woodall. “Withdrawing the rule and developing a solution that is consistent with the intent Congress made clear in the 2008 Farm Bill is the only acceptable solution for Secretary Vilsack. This rule absolutely cannot move forward as written.” 

— Release by NCBA.

Missouri’s West Plains High School FFA Chapter Wins 2011 Chapter Challenge

A Missouri FFA chapter has won the grand prize worth more than $8,000 in a seven-state competition that encouraged FFA chapters to connect with farmers in their local communities.

West Plains High School’s FFA chapter won the 2011 National FFA Chapter Challenge, a pilot competition sponsored by Monsanto. The chapter will be able to send six students and an adult advisor on an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2011 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. The chapter will also receive $1,500 in credit with the National FFA Organization to help pay for FFA-related activities and expenses throughout the year.

West Plains earned 469 votes, Lawrence County High School’s FFA chapter in Moulton, Ala., and John Glenn High School’s FFA chapter in Walkerton, Ind., were the closest competitors, finishing with 416 and 407 votes, respectively.

The top 10 FFA chapters in each state that earned the most votes also received a $1,500 line of credit with FFA. Monsanto is also awarding each of the seven state FFA organizations a $1,500 grant for participating in the competition.

Since March 7, FFA chapters in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia and Alabama sent members into their communities to meet local farmers, learn about their operations and connect with them by sharing what their FFA chapter is doing in their community. Farmers were then asked to visit and vote for their favorite FFA chapter.

Participation in the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge was high. More than 360 FFA chapters and a combined 22,000 members earned more than 10,385 votes from farmers across the seven-state area. Website traffic was high throughout the competition as more than 10,740 unique users visited the site through May 1.

— Release by FFA and Monsanto.

Competitions Test Cooking Skills

For the second year, the All-American Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) Cook-Off will be accompanied by the All-American Certified Angus Beef Chef’s Challenge at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), July 12. The show takes place July 10-16 in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Challenge is modeled after Food Network’s cooking competition “Iron Chef” and will feature two age divisions: adults 21 and older, and National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members, ages 18-21. Sign up for the American Angus Auxiliary’s popular Cook-Off and Chef’s Challenge competitions by June 1.

The contestants will have 90 minutes to prepare and serve an original recipe using a specific CAB meat cut and secret ingredients announced the day prior to competition.

The Challenge is set up to attract competitors more focused on the cooking process rather than the presentation, said Anne Patton Schubert, co-coordinator of the Chef’s Challenge and Cook-Off competitions conducted by the American Angus Auxiliary.

“The competitors are extremely creative because they do not know what they are cooking until 24 hours before the competition,” said Patton Schubert.

She said the Chef’s Challenge complements the long-held Cook-Off tradition combining creativity and quality Angus beef.

The Cook-Off began in 1983 to give youth additional experience with the product they raise — beef.

“It was [created] to help competitors become comfortable talking about the beef product,” Patton Schubert said. “When you see the juniors at the Cook-Off, they are having fun.”

The Cook-Off and Chef’s Challenge serve as stepping-stones, said Anne Lampe, co-chairman of the Auxiliary’s Beef Education Committee.

“It is a training program for people to learn how to promote beef in their community or home states,” Lampe said.

Both competitions will take place simultaneously at the NJAS. The Chef’s Challenge teams are restricted to one or two people, and will be limited to 10 entries. Multiple entries from the same state will be accepted in each age division; however, NJAA members may not participate in the Chef’s Challenge if they are members of a state Cook-Off team.

The first-place entry in each division of the Chef’s Challenge will receive a CAB logo jacket and a $100 cash prize. Winners in the Chef’s Challenge will not compete for the All American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off Black Kettle Award.

Visit the NJAA website at for complete rules, information and entry forms.

Entry forms for both competitions are due to contest chairpersons by June 1. Mail or fax entries to Anne Patton Schubert, 4040 Taylorsville Rd., Taylorsville, KY 40071; or 502-477-2637. Entries also may be emailed to Anne Lampe at

The Chef’s Challenge and the Cook-Off are sponsored by the American Angus Auxiliary and Certified Angus Beef LLC.

— Release by the American Angus Auxiliary and the American Angus Association.

GIPSA Settles Two Cases Resulting in $21,000 Civil Penalties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) enforcement rules provide a mechanism to quickly resolve violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. GIPSA may offer an alleged violator the option of waiving their right to a hearing and entering into a stipulation agreement to quickly resolve alleged violations.

GIPSA recently settled two cases resulting in $21,000 in civil penalties.

• James Barta & Nebraska Livestock Sales of Blue Hill LLC, dba Blue Hill Livestock Market/Nebraska Livestock Sales of Norfolk LLC, dba Norfolk Livestock Market/Nebraska Livestock Sales of Ericson LLC, dba Ericson-Spalding Livestock Market, Fremont, Neb., waived its right to a hearing, entered into a stipulation agreement, and paid a penalty of $16,000 after GIPSA found that it had custodial account shortages (Blue Hill); custodial account shortages (Norfolk); Insolvency (Norfolk); and custodial account shortages (Ericson).

• Gypson and Sonia G. Fernandez Florence Meat Packing Co. Inc., dba White House Packing Co., Fairmount, N. C., waived their right to a hearing, entered into a stipulation agreement, and paid a penalty of $5,000 after GIPSA found that they failed to pay when due and issued nonsufficient funds checks for livestock.

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.

— Release by USDA GIPSA.

— Compiled by Linda Robbins and Shauna Rose Hermel, Angus Productions Inc.


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