The results of the checkoff-funded 2011 National Beef Quality Audit were presented last week at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, CO. Conducted every five years since 1991, the audit assesses progress the industry makes on a variety of production issues that ultimately affect consumer demand for beef. Extensive enhancements were made to the traditional NBQA design to provide the industry with direction on factors beyond the physical characteristics of beef, such as food safety, sustainability, animal well-being, and the disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers. Click here to download a copy of the NBQA Executive Summary or visit www.bqa.org for more information.
Source: Beef Checkoff/span>
The following is a repost from the American Sheep Industry Weekly.
Demand for locally sourced products in the United States has increased in recent years, but producers often claim that a lack of slaughter facilities is a key reason that it is not expanding more quickly, writes Chris Harris.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, although the share of total U.S. agricultural products sold through local food markets is small - direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 0.4 percent of total agricultural sales in 2007 - it continues to develop.
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, direct-to-consumer marketing amounted to $1.2 billion in 2007, compared with $551 million in 1997, a growth of 118 percent, the report, Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat by Rachel J. Johnson, Daniel L. Marti and Lauren Gwin said.
The 2007 numbers are the most recent available from the Census of Agriculture, as the 2012 census is currently being carried out.
The percentage of livestock operations selling product directly to consumers or retailers is much smaller than that for other agricultural products. In 2007, only 6.9 percent of livestock operations participated in direct sales, compared with 44.1 percent of all vegetable and melon farms.
The report said that limited slaughter and processing capacity is often cited, particularly by producers, as a key barrier to marketing their meat and poultry locally.
This report looks at the slaughter and processing capacity and options available to livestock producers selling into local markets. Read the report at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ ldpm-livestock,-dairy,-and-poultry-outlook/ldpm216-01.aspx.
The Council of Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) recently released a commentary paper on the direct relationship between animal health and food safety outcomes. It is an informative read for livestock producers and consumers. The following is from the paper's introduction and objectives:
"Many groups in society, including politicians, activists, scientists, and stakeholders, are advocating significant changes to livestock production practices. These changes include modification of stocking densities, limitations on antimicrobial use, and requirements for outdoor "experiences." Such changes may affect animal health, productivity, and food quality. Simultaneously, many consumers are demanding virtually risk-free food at least cost, and they believe that food safety should be addressed on-farm as well as during processing. It is critical that decision makers understand the relationship between animal health and food safety, which is a complex association requiring careful evaluation of many variables.
The objectives of this paper are to (1) discuss the quantifiable impact animal health has on public health risk due to foodborne illness from meat, milk, eggs, and poultry; (2) identify the factors that impact animal health; and (3) highlight specific research needs. This paper will focus on direct and indirect impacts that animal health may have on public health."
The entire paper, in pdf format, is available for free at:
Make sure you select Online/Dowloadable in the drop-down to the right of the page on the link above.
For all cattle producers, it's especially important to pass this on to your friends, customers, and families not in the business. The following came via Dr. Jim Oltjen, UCD and from Janel Fisher, California Beef Council:
"In an update issued late yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced additional findings in its ongoing epidemiological investigation into the case of BSE detected earlier this week in central California.
The animal in question was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County, California. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent. The animal’s carcass will be destroyed. The cow was tested as part of targeted BSE surveillance at rendering facilities. The USDA is continuing its epidemiological investigation and will provide additional information as it is available. The California Beef Council (CBC) will provide updates to producers as we receive them from the USDA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
It is important to reiterate that this animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, did not enter food supply channels, and at no time presented any risk to human health."
In addition, the UCD School of Vet Med has provided the following links with the latest information and encourages you to use these references to answer questions. The Vet Med site will be updated regularly.
FDA statement on safety of milk: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm301850.htm
If you have questions about UC’s role in the BSE investigation, please contact Lynn Narlesky in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Office of the Dean, (530) 752-5257, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following article came via the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) "Taking Stock" newsletter and it is well worth passing on. Reading the full series will give you some important information on what animal science has done and is doing to maintain the world's food security.
"Over the last few months, ASAS has released segments of a feature article called The future of hunger. This series explored the ways that animal scientists can help feed the world's growing population. Through advances in areas like feed efficiency and breeding, scientists and producers can improve animal agriculture. A complete pdf of the article is now available. Read it here."