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News Update

March 27, 2012

Grazing Improvement Act Introduced

The Grazing Improvement Act of 2012 was introduced by Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho with the support of South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem last week. Among other things, the Grazing Improvement Act would allow grazing permits on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands to be renewed while environmental analyses are ongoing.

"We thank Rep. Noem for her support of this legislation that will give considerable stability to the ranchers who depend on these grazing leases for their livestock," said Shane Kolb, South Dakota Stockgrowers president from Meadow, S.D. "The Grazing Improvement Act will ensure that ranchers can make management decisions for their operations based on a continuity of grazing permits."

The Grazing Improvement Act would codify current rider language that allows BLM and the Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while environmental impact analyses are completed. Without this language, permit holders are at the mercy of year-to-year appropriations bills and legal proceedings that have created an enormous backlog of grazing permit applications.
According to a statement by Rep. Labrador, the Grazing Improvement Act of 2012 would:

The legislation also allows trailing permits to be categorically excluded from NEPA.

UNL to Host Beef and Forage Management Webinar

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Extension will host two webinars each month on current topics related to cattle and forage production in this region. These UNL Beef Webinars are scheduled for April and May:

Each webinar will be from 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Central Time (11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Mountain Time). Go to the following website and enter as a guest:

Audio will come through your computer. Participants can ask questions of presenters throughout the presentation by typing into the online interaction box. There will be 15 minutes at the end of the presentation for participant questions. The presentations will be archived after the presentation and will be available at the UNL Beef website under Beef Webinars.

To see topics of upcoming UNL Beef webinars, as well as other UNL Extension education opportunities, please visit the UNL Beef website calendar located on the right hand side of the UNL Beef home page.

Any questions should be directed to Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122, or

National Meat Association Comments on How False Claims About LFTB Hurt Consumers, Employees

Monday's announcement by Beef Products Inc. (BPI) to temporarily suspend production of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in three of its four U.S. plants has delivered a significant negative economic blow not only to workers in the beef industry, but to the millions of consumers who enjoy beef every day.

BPI's move has resulted in more than 700 workers in Kansas, Texas and Iowa being temporarily laid off, but ultimately affects more than 3,000 suppliers and others that rely on BPI's business. Moreover, the ripple effect of this shutdown stands to have a huge effect on everything from farm to fork.

Consumers are already seeing a big increase in the price they pay at the meatcase for ground beef and ground beef products because fewer cattle are coming to market. The increases will continue as ground beef producers seek additional sources — many of which will need to come from imported sources — to help deliver the ultra-lean ground beef products (90% lean and above) that many consumers demand, particularly heading into the busy summer grilling season. LFTB serves as a primary source of lean high protein, which is added to most lean ground beef to produce lean ground beef.

Despite overwhelming support from industry leading food scientists, USDA officials, consumer advocate organizations and esteemed academic institutions across the country — all of whom adamantly support the product as safe, wholesome and nutritious — LFTB has been vilified in the media over the past several weeks and given the moniker of "pink slime" in an effort to discredit its safety, quality and value to millions of consumers worldwide.

"At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family's dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as 'pink slime' is unconscionable," said Barry Carpenter, CEO of the National Meat Association. "I am sure the public is not aware of how widespread and potentially devastating the consequences of allowing public misperception to trump sound nutritional science are."

As the primary source of high-quality, safe, pure 100% lean beef protein, LFTB is used in high-demand products such as 90% lean ground beef, which makes up a significant percentage of all ground beef sold in the United States today. To meet consumer demand, the depletion of the supply of lean ground beef must be filled somehow, which may require the slaughtering of thousands of additional cattle or importing beef from outside the United States.

Nine Teachers Honored for Promoting Agricultural Literacy

Nine teachers have been recognized by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture for their outstanding efforts to promote agricultural literacy. The teachers each received $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference (AITC) in Loveland, Colo., in June. The Foundation, through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, sponsors the scholarships in cooperation with the AFB Women's Leadership Committee.

This year's recipients are: Ellen Altdoerffer, Conestoga Elementary School, Conestoga, Pa.; Jennifer Bates, Clyde Riggs Elementary, Portland, Tenn.; Carl Erbsen, Eastland Elementary School, Lanark, Ill.; Sarah Glenn, Huntsville Intermediate School, Huntsville, Ark.; Lola Knutson, Wahpeton Public Schools-Central Elementary, Wahpeton, N.D.; Dohnia Owens Galloway, St. John's Elementary, Darlington, S.C.; Erik Wade, Hope Elementary School, Hope, Maine; Rebecca Whitmer, Keystone Heights Jr.-Sr. High School, Keystone Heights, Fla.; and Bridget Young, Alcoa Elementary, Alcoa, Tenn.

Several hundred teachers typically attend the conference, to explore incorporating real-life agricultural applications into language arts, math, nutrition, science and social studies lessons. Scholarship recipients were judged on past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture, as well as future plans to implement information gained at the AITC conference in their own classrooms and share the information with other teachers.

The AITC conference brings together a diverse group of organizations and speakers to address how to improve agricultural education and literacy, showcase successful programs and offer educational materials. The Agriculture Department coordinates the AITC program with the goal of helping students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society.

Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom and Western Region Agriculture in the Classroom are hosting the annual conference this year in conjunction with the national AITC program. The American Farm Bureau and state Farm Bureaus also support and participate in the program's efforts. The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education honors two former AFB Women's Leadership Committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were leaders in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy.


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