News Update
July 25, 2011

U.S. Cattle on Feed Up 4%

Cattle and calves on feed for harvest in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.5 million head July 1, 2011. The inventory was 4% above July 1, 2010. The inventory included 6.52 million steers and steer calves, up 4% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.89 million head, up 3% from 2010.

Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.70 million, 4% above 2010 figures. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds (lb.) were 460,000; 600-699 lb. were 380,000; 700-799 lb. were 420,000; and 800 lb. and greater were 435,000.

Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 2.10 million, 5% above 2010 figures.

Other disappearance totaled 70,000 during June, 27% above 2010 figures.

Cattle on feed July 1, 2011, from all feedlots in the United States, totaled 12.2 million, up 3% from the 11.9 million July 1, 2010. Cattle on feed in feedlots with 1,000 or more head accounted for 86% of the total cattle on feed July 1, 2011, up from 85% last year.

— Adapted from release by National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board.

Record Commercial Red Meat Production Reported for June

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.22 billion lb. in June, up 1% from the 4.18 billion lb. produced in June 2010.

Beef production, at 2.37 billion lb., was 2% above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 3.0 million head, up 2% from June 2010 figures. The average live weight was up 1 lb. from the previous year, at 1,262 lb.

Veal production totaled 11.2 million lb., 4% above June a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 72,500 head, up 6% from June 2010. The average live weight was down 3 lb. from last year, at 266 lb.

Pork production totaled 1.82 billion lb., down 1% from June 2010. The average live weight was 273 lb.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.6 million lb., was down 11% from June 2010. Sheep slaughter totaled 183,400 head, 14% below last year. The average live weight was 137 lb., up 3 lb. from June a year ago.

January to June 2011 commercial red meat production was 24.2 billion lb., up 1% from 2010. Accumulated beef production was up 1% from last year, veal was down 2%, pork was up 2% from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 8%.

June 2010 contained 22 weekdays (including zero holidays) and four Saturdays. June 2011 contained 22 weekdays (including zero holidays) and four Saturdays.

— Adapted from release by NASS Agricultural Statistics Board.

Certified Angus Beef Sets New Monthly Record

Although beef prices have been relatively high this spring and summer, many consumers and chefs are continuing to look for high-quality cuts. The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand sold 70 million lb. in June, the highest-volume month in the company’s 33-year history, 4.3% above the previous June and some 10 million lb. better than June 2009. This milestone, with three months to go, moves the company one step closer to a sixth consecutive fiscal year of sales gains.

“The real reason for this record goes beyond sales to the dedication of our licensed partners,” says John Stika, company president. “They have committed to putting product in front of consumers even with high-priced beef, which further drives home the importance of quality in the price/value relationship. With strong cattle prices at the same time, pull-through demand is creating success at all levels.”

The share of Angus-influenced cattle qualifying for the brand in June was 24.8%, nearly 4 percentage points higher than summer 2009. Sales gains came from foodservice, which has experienced significant recovery the past 12 to 18 months despite higher cattle and beef prices. Retail continues to carry the bulk of brand sales, with seasonally strong summer demand in full swing. The international division is setting a hot pace in rate of growth with a 17% increase over 2010 for the fiscal year to date.

Founded in 1978 by Angus producers, this is the only brand owned by the American Angus Association and its more than 30,000 rancher members. The CAB brand has 10 strict quality standards that make it a cut above USDA Prime, Choice and Select. Only the best Angus beef achieves the brand’s premium name. For more information, visit, or look for the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

— Release by Certified Angus Beef.

Early Registration Deadline Approaching

Make plans now to take advantage of the early registration deadline for the 2011 National Angus Conference & Tour, “All Roads Lead to Georgia,” Sept. 6-8 in Athens. The event features nearly a day of educational speakers followed two days of tours in the rich agricultural and historical South. The early registration deadline is Aug. 1 and the registration fee is $150, which includes bus transportation on the tour, meals, a welcome reception on Sept. 5 and materials. After Aug. 1, the registration fee is $175. You can register online at or contact the Activities department.

For those making travel arrangements to Athens, a shuttle service does offer transportation between the Atlanta International Airport and Athens several times daily at a reasonable rate. For more information about this and the entire event, visit

USDA Announces Rule to Better Label Raw Meat and Poultry Containing Added Solutions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a new rule to establish common, easy-to-understand names for raw meat and poultry products that include injections, marinades, or have otherwise incorporated added solutions, which may not be visible to the consumer. FSIS has determined that some labels do not clearly identify if a solution has been added to a raw product to enhance flavor or texture. As a result, consumers may be purchasing raw meat and poultry products with higher sodium content than they realize. The agency invites comments on the proposed rule, which is intended to clarify these products’ labels so consumers can easily distinguish them from raw meat and poultry that do not contain added solutions.

“Consumers should be able to make an informed choice in the store, which is why we need to provide clear, informative labels that will help consumers make the best decisions about feeding their families,” said Undersecretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen. “It has become evident that some raw meat and poultry labels, even those that follow our current guidelines, may not be clear.”

Currently, raw meat and poultry products that contain added solutions such as water, teriyaki sauce, salt or a mixture thereof may have the same name on their labels as products that do not contain added solutions. For example, a single-ingredient chicken breast and a chicken breast with added solution both may be labeled as “chicken breast,” even though one package contains purely chicken breast and one may be comprised of 60% chicken breast and 40% solution. While the label of the chicken breast with added solution must state that it contains solution, consumers may not notice such information if it is not a part of the product’s name. An example of a product name under the proposed rule would be: “chicken breast — 40% added solution of water and teriyaki sauce.”

The agency has tentatively concluded that, without specific, clear and conspicuous information about the percentage of added solution incorporated into the product, the labeling of these raw meat or poultry products is likely to mislead consumers. The proposed rule would require that the common or usual name of these products include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry component, the percentage of added solution, and the individual or multi-ingredient components in the added solution. The print for such labels would be presented in a font, size and color that are easily visible to consumers.

The proposed rule was posted on the ( and soon will publish in the Federal Register. Comments must be received on or before 60 days from publication in the Federal Register and may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at, or by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS Docket Clerk, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Mailstop 5272, Beltsville, MD 20705. All comments must identify FSIS and docket number FSIS-2010-0012.

— Release by USDA-FSIS.

Aurora Packing Co. and IdentiGEN Partner in DNA Traceability for Beef

Aurora Packing Co., the 70-year-old premium meat packer and producer of Aurora Angus Beef® in Aurora, Ill., has entered into a partnership with IdentiGEN North America to provide DNA-traceable beef for its U.S. and export customers. Aurora Angus Beef with DNA TraceBack® is being marketed to high-end restaurants and retail stores.

Angus origins are verified through the animal’s unique DNA barcode, which is gathered using a food-safe sampling device at various stages of production, to quickly trace meat back to the animal of origin.

“Aurora is committed to delivering complete transparency to our customers,” said Lowell Zoet, vice president and general manager of Aurora Packing Co. “We like DNA-based traceability because it offers foolproof assurances to consumers that Aurora Angus has been produced according to the highest standards as set forth in our program.”

DNA TraceBack enables retailers, meat producers, meat processors and foodservice outlets to respond to the growing consumer demand, both domestically and in export markets, for more information about where and how their meat is produced. IdentiGEN conducts DNA TraceBack analysis for U.S. and Canadian companies at its lab in Lawrence, Kan.

— Release by Wells Communications.

— Compiled by Katie Gazda, editorial intern, Angus Productions Inc.

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