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News Update

December 02, 2011

Environmental Stewardship Award Finalists Announced

The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) recently announced the finalists for the 2012 Environmental Stewardship Award: the LU Ranch in Worland, the Padlock Ranch in Dayton and the Sommers Ranch in Pinedale. The award recognizes agriculturists for outstanding contributions to the land.

Applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, stewardship innovations, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership and multiple use benefits.

“Our applicants and award winners are families carrying on a legacy of generations providing food and fiber while nurturing and caring for the land that provides this bounty,” WSGA Program Coordinator Kosha Olsen said.

Texas Drought Visible in New National Groundwater Maps

The record-breaking drought in Texas that has fueled wildfires, decimated crops and forced cattle sales also has reduced levels of groundwater in much of the state to the lowest levels seen in more than 60 years, according to new national maps produced by NASA and distributed by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL).

The latest groundwater map, released Nov. 29, shows large patches of maroon over eastern Texas, indicating severely depressed groundwater levels. The maps, produced weekly by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., are publicly available on the website of the Drought Center, headquartered at UNL.

“Texas groundwater will take months or longer to recharge,” said NASA hydrologist Matt Rodell, based in Goddard. “Even if we have a major rainfall event, most of the water runs off. It takes a longer period of sustained greater-than-average precipitation to recharge aquifers significantly.”

The color-coded maps show how much water is stored now as a probability of occurrence in the 63-year record. The maroon shading over eastern Texas, for example, shows that the level of dryness during the last week occurred less than 2% of the time between 1948 and the present.

The maps offer farmers, ranchers, water resource managers and even individual homeowners a new tool to monitor the health of critical groundwater resources.

The maps are the result of a NASA-funded project at the Drought Center and NASA Goddard to make it easier for the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor to incorporate data from the GRACE satellites. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., developed GRACE and manages the mission for NASA. The groundwater and soil moisture maps are updated each Tuesday.

The maps can be viewed here.

USDA Sampling Program and Technologies to Destroy E. coli

Sampling ground beef for E. coli O157:H7 as USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) currently does is a good indicator of the presence of other strains of E. coli, said AMI Executive Vice President James Hodges in connection with a public meeting to discuss USDA’s plan announced in September to declare six additional strains of E. coli as adulterants when they are found in raw ground beef products or beef intended for grinding. USDA will begin testing for these strains in March.

“In-plant food safety technologies do not discriminate; they destroy all strains of E. coli,” Hodges added. “USDA is proposing a solution in search of a problem.”

Hodges said FSIS’s Draft Risk Profile included as part of the policy announcement is “appropriately named” as a “draft” because it is incomplete and includes significant data gaps identified by scientific experts. Comments from scientific experts included in that profile highlight the knowledge gaps:

Similarly, the final determination published in the Federal Register by FSIS raises questions about the new policy:

Hodges also cited the absence of an accurate and comprehensive cost estimate for this new policy, saying “given the many questions surrounding both its potential effectiveness and its costs, implementation should be delayed until a more thorough analysis is conducted and more is known” and suggested that, considering the scientific concerns raised within the Federal Register notice and by expert reviewers in the Risk Profile, spending millions on a policy with little likelihood of improving public health while cutting USDA’s food safety research program is ill-considered.

To view AMI’s comments, go to

U.S. FDA Approves New BRD Therapy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pulmotil, an innovative bovine respiratory disease (BRD) treatment for groups of cattle in the early stages of a BRD outbreak that provides 14 days of sustained in-feed therapy, a practice that reduces stress associated with cattle handling.

Pulmotil is approved for the control of BRD associated with Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida and Histophilus somni in groups of beef and non-lactating dairy cattle, where active BRD has been diagnosed in at least 10% of the animals in the group.

Similar to the prescription requirement for injectable products, the FDA requires a veterinarian to issue a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) for the use of Pulmotil. The VFD helps ensure veterinarian oversight and judicious use of Pulmotil according to the label use and feeding directions. The VFD process requires a coordinated effort by the producer, feed-ingredient supplier, veterinarian and nutritionist. Elanco will help facilitate this process through training and ongoing support.

Before making the product widely available, Elanco will conduct additional commercial trials, and work closely with veterinarians and their clients to develop protocols that support the VFD process and maximize Pulmotil’s value in a variety of commercial settings.

NCBA Commends Committee Support of Farm Dust Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Nov. 30, 2011, voted in support of H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011. The legislation passed (33-16) through the full committee with bipartisan support and will head to the full House of Representatives for a vote. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley Lyon said this “commonsense” legislation is gaining momentum and will receive bipartisan support when brought to a vote in the coming days.

“Allowing federal agencies to continue regulating farmers and ranchers to the point of no return is not something we will sit by and allow to happen,” said Lyon. “We have to bring some accountability to regulatory agencies. They must be aware of the economic impact their actions are having on farm and ranch families throughout the country. We commend Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) for introducing this legislation and the original cosponsors Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) and Robert Hurt (R-Va.). We also commend members of Congress from both sides of the aisle for supporting this commonsense bill.”

The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 would do multiple things to ensure clean air while also providing regulatory certainty for farm and ranch families, according to Lyon. She said the legislation recognizes that dust from agricultural activities has never been shown to have a health impact at ambient levels. The bill would exempt farm dust from the Clean Air Act unless the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency can prove it is a significant problem and that applying the standard is

worth the costs. It also gives states and localities the rightful authority in regulating dust, which is a local issue. “It is important that state and local governments determine what regulatory action to take regarding dust. As we all know, dust depends on geography,” Lyon continued. “All regions of the country are very different and local and state governments must be allowed to set policies that make sense. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all mentality is neither practical nor scientific.”

If H.R. 1633 passes the House, it will move to the Senate, where it was introduced by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and has support from 26 bipartisan senators.

New Approaches to Soil and Water
Management is Workshop Focus

Agribusiness agronomists and farmers who want information on new practices to improve soil and water quality have two opportunities in December to learn from Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach specialists. Soil and water management workshops will be hosted Friday, Dec. 16, at the Marshall County Extension office and Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Carroll County Extension office. The program runs from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at both locations.

Topics covered will include enhancing soils to provide better productivity, profitability and environmental services. Practices explored will include vegetative filter strips and bioreactors. Discussions will bring a clearer understanding of how bioreactors and vegetative filter strips work, as well as some of the benefits outside of soil and water quality.

Featured speakers include Matt Helmers, ISU agricultural engineer; Kapil Arora, ISU Extension ag engineer; Mark Licht, ISU Extension field agronomist; and John Doudna, Iowa State graduate student.

Certified crop advisors can earn 2.5 soil and water credits.

Advance registration for the course is $35. Registration at the door is $45. Registration is limited to 30 participants. Register online at To register by fax or mail, contact the Marshall County Extension office, 641-752-1551, or the Carroll County Extension office, 712-792-2364, for a registration form.

December 2011 Beef Briefs

California Restaurant Receives State Beef Backer Award. Bully’s East Restaurant is found in the sun-kissed city of San Diego. The restaurant was opened in 1971 and since has been remodeled with many of the old wall decorations and structures still intact, adding character to the overall dining experience. With a laid back, casual atmosphere, Bully’s is a great place to enjoy a nice steak dinner with family or watch your favorite sports game with friends. They are known for their award-winning prime rib and offer many other steaks and beef dishes.

Stockings Up, Steak Knives Ready. Did you know there are two ways to roast beef? You can choose to oven roast, also known as dry roast. This method is perfect for tender roasts like tenderloin, tri-tip, top loin and more.

Check out our awe-inspiring Classic Tenderloin with Cranberry Drizzle for maximum deliciousness!

For a fork-tender, fall-apart roast, pot-roasting or braising is your best bet. This method is great for less-tender cuts like chuck shoulder roast and bottom round roast. Our comforting, one-pot meal for Yankee Beef Pot Roast will fill the bellies around the dinner table.

Consumer Response to Food Price Inflation. Food inflation has led a large percentage of consumers to adjust how they budget for food purchases. Checkoff research conducted in 2008 and again in 2011 demonstrated that frugal shopping behaviors have been widely adopted and are affecting beef purchasing decisions.

Consumers are reacting to the pressure of high prices at the pump, economic uncertainty and escalating food costs. One of the most common methods to cut household costs is to reduce food expenses. This study revealed that price-sensitive consumers view steak as an expensive food and it often is at the top of the list for cut-backs to reduce food expenses.

Leveraging consumers’ love of steak, its great taste and superior nutrition profile with recipes and information about how it can be affordable and a great value may resonate with price-sensitive consumers as a means to increase beef purchases.

Read the entire article in the checkoff’s Beef Issues Quarterly e-newsletter. Switching From Aussie Beef to U.S. Beef. A new U.S. beef promotion in Japan is developing the country’s appetite for U.S. middle meats. With funding from the beef checkoff, USDA, and corn checkoff funds from several states, the effort centers on a partnership between leading Japanese supermarket chain, Ito Yokado, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor of the beef checkoff. Key to its success is Ito Yokado’s recent agreement to shift all of its middle-meats purchases from Australian beef to premium U.S. cuts. It stands to open new trade options and help sustain both volume and value of American beef exports. Click here for details.

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