Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it

TAFC ClipBoard: The most obvious question to me when considering that fourteen percent of methane gas on the planet comes from burping cows, is what are they eating to make them burp and pass gas so much? I know they’re large animals, but the food they’re eating and the drugs they’re taking must have something to do with it.

I thought for a long time that animal rights organizations blaming the burps of cows for global warming was not a good strategy for reducing the human consumption of cows.

What if cows weren’t slaughtered for food or hides? Would animal rights people advocate killing them because they were causing global warming? Wipe out all the cows, and maybe all the other animals who pass gas that contains methane? Humans too? To keep the globe from warming up?

The mass procreation of animals for exploitation is producing abnormally high rates of methane, so sure stop raising cows for exploitation purposes. Don’t raise them at all.

I just don’t think that the warming of the planet should be blamed on the amount of gas animals expel.

The article makes the point that we don’t want to get rid of the wetlands because they contribute the most methane gas. I agree.

The conclusion would then be that we shouldn’t get rid of the cows either. I agree.

But we do get rid of the cows, we eat them – year after year.

Stop raising cows for slaughter regardless of the methane issue.

Next stop will be humans and exploring what groups, races, ethnicities pass more gas than others. sldt


Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it There’s been a lot of suspect science thrown around this election season. It’s time for beef producers to set things straight.

Burt Rutherford | Sep 16, 2020

Among the political talking points that has been spouted during this presidential campaign is that “science is real.” And it is—or at least real science is real. However, “science” advocated by activists and politicians is suspect, and its true objective is in pushing an agenda, not in seeking the truth.

That’s the battle we face as beef producers and that’s why it’s time to step up and make our voices heard.

BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Radke has been beating that drum for years and for BEEF Daily readers, you know that she has beaten that drum loudly the past two weeks. Here’s a little extra ammo to add to your talking points.

Among the many myths about cattle production that has been dethroned by real science is methane. A recent article published by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University provides some real science that sheds light on the issue.

READ: Log it, graze it or watch it burn

The article, titled “Cows are not the primary cause of recent increase in methane,” notes that atmospheric methane concentration increased 8 parts per billion (ppb) per year during the 1980s, 6 ppb per year in the 1990s, then remained static from 2000 to 2007. However, methane concentration has been increasing at 9 parts per million per year since then.

Ruminant animals certainly produce methane, but facts are facts—estimated enteric methane emissions have increased since 2000, but the global cattle population has remained constant.

So much for the “cows are the cause” argument.

Contribution to global methane emissions by various sources.

methane pie chart.png

Source: Beef Cattle Institute at K-State. Adapted from the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

Based on the change in radio isotope ratio of atmospheric methane, the increase in methane emissions is likely from microbial sources. So where’s it coming from? “Wetlands are the largest natural source of methane emissions and methane emissions from wetlands have also been increasing since 2000,” the article notes.

READ: Mitloehner clears the air on fossil fuels, cattle and climate change

Global temperatures are rising. Are humans the main reason? That’s a discussion for another time. But the article notes that the largest methane growth rates occurred in the tropics and subtropics from 2014 to 2017, which had an average temperature increase of 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) warmer than the 1880-1909 baseline.

“Methane emissions from wetlands increase with increasing temperatures because of increased microbial activity, but the microbes in the rumen of cattle are at a constant 38 degrees C, (100.4 F) such that global temperature would not be affecting microbial activity in the rumen,” the article notes.

Here’s the bottom line: “Wetlands are the largest global source of methane emissions and are a major driver in atmospheric methane, especially with increasing global temperatures,” the article says.

Related: Beef producers must drive the conversation on cattle and climate change

Does that mean we should drain the wetlands? Absolutely not.

Here’s why: Wetlands are a vital part of a robust environment and provide habitat for a wide range of critters. They are an important part of your conservation efforts and should be encouraged and protected. Wetlands and ruminants have been producing methane for eons and the earth has a wonderful methane cycle that provides a self-cleaning mechanism for naturally produced methane.

So the next time you hear that cows are the cause of increased methane emissions, feel free to step up and make your voice and the facts known.

Source: Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it


Feeding demand for ground beef

TA-FC ClipBoard: So what does the world need now that we know about the high demand for ground cow beef? Lotza ground plant round!!

Feeding the demand for ground beef

Most U.S. beef imports go toward feeding the nation’s massive appetite for ground beef.

Wes Ishmael | Jul 13, 2020

Ground beef is such a staple in American diets and culture that it can be easy to overlook its role in the bigger picture of U.S. beef production and marketing.

U.S. beef consumption last year was 58 pounds per capita, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. Of that, ground beef represented about 26 pounds, or about 45% of total domestic beef consumption.

In some ways, ground beef is to the overall beef complex what the stocker business is to the overall cattle business for both consumers and producers. Both aggregate related but diverse raw material and blend them into a more homogenous product of greater value. Both also serve as a shock absorber of sorts, leveling out the seasonal ebb and flow of supplies, so the product is available year-round.

When it comes to beef trim, for example, Peel notes that peak steer slaughter usually occurs from May to late June. Peak fed heifer and beef cow slaughter typically peak in the fall. Most dairy cow slaughter occurs toward the first and last quarters. Bull slaughter — a miniscule contributor to total lean trim volume — comes mostly in the summer.

Plus, ground beef production, similar to the stocker sector, contributes to maintaining relative price relationships because of the ability to warehouse product and use products of various kinds.

“Ground beef is one of the major ways the entire beef complex maintains balance,” Peel says.

There’s nothing simple about it, though. Ground beef represents a complex production system within the hypercomplex cattle and beef industries.

Ground beef 101

For purposes here, figure that fed cattle produce 55% lean beef trim. That’s lots fatter than the 75%-to-80%-and-higher lean ground beef consumers typically see. So, you blend the fatter trim with a higher proportion of leaner trim that comes from slaughter cows and imported beef.

Similar to figuring a least-cost ration for cattle, Peel explains those in the meat business mix and match a menu of lean sources to arrive at a specific percentage lean ground beef product for the lowest possible price.

“The most economical formulation for ground beef will change with changes in relative prices, market conditions and product demands,” Peel says.

Lean trim sources on any given day range from fresh 85% lean trimmings to imported 90% lean trimmings to the bottom round.

To a degree, Peel says ground beef production also mirrors the dual, specialized supply chains that characterize the overall industry.

Food service — restaurants, schools, institutions and the like — account for about 54% of total food expenditures in the U.S., according to Peel. Beef products flowing through this chain are often bulk- packaged and then further processed for portion control. Ground beef in this sector uses domestic fat trim, along with fresh and frozen domestic and imported lean beef trim.

Conversely, retail grocery represents about 46% of total U.S. food expenditures. Much of the beef in this supply chain arrives at retailers in case-ready packaging, ready for labeling. Ground beef here is comprised mostly of domestic, fresh lean and fat beef trim.

Imports key to U.S. ground beef

Over the years Peel hears a common question: Why do we import beef? Don’t we produce enough here at home?

“We produce plenty of beef, but it’s not in the right proportion of products relative to our demands in the market,” Peel says. “To maximize value in the industry, we support our ground beef market with imported lean beef trim.”

Then Peel walks the questioner through some numbers.

First, the Livestock Marketing Information Center estimates total beef trim used in the U.S. last year at 8.5 billion pounds (see graphic). Of that, 27% (2.3 billion pounds) was from domestic beef and dairy cows; another 26% (2.2 billion pounds) was imported trim.

Livestock Marketing Information Center

Incidentally, Peel says about 72% of all beef imported to the U.S. goes toward domestic ground beef production. He explains about half of U.S. beef imports last year came from Australia and Canada, followed by Mexico, New Zealand and Brazil.

“Roughly, it takes the trim of one cow to add to the trim of one fed animal. We slaughtered 6.4 million cows in the U.S. last year, and 26 million fed steers and heifers,” he says. “You begin to see the challenge right away

“We would have to slaughter about twice as many cull cows in the United States to replace the imported trim and still make everything balance with this huge volume of fatty trim that we produce in the fed cattle industry.”

There are options, all of which come at higher cost and provide less value.

For instance, Peel says the U.S. could decrease ground beef production by about 45%. As mentioned, domestic consumers currently demand 45% of their beef consumption as ground beef. Plus, the fatter fed cattle trim currently used in ground beef production would have to find a new, lower-value home in the form of such things as tallow and pet food.

The U.S. could maintain current levels of ground beef production by utilizing more muscle cuts, which have more value in other markets.

You could also run 10% to 15% of the yearlings as range beef and market them for values similar to cull cows.

“All of those alternatives would result in lower value to the U.S. cattle industry,” Peel explains. “The way markets work, we are increasing total value to the industry by sourcing lean where we can get it cheaper to meet the needs of that market, while letting other products that could be used as a source of lean go into other markets where they have a higher value.”

The United States is a net beef exporter on a value basis. This year, for example, the latest quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade from USDA’s Economic Research Service projects beef and veal exports at $7.2 billion, with beef and veal imports of $6.1 billion.

“Adjustments in export and import flows collectively serve to smooth out total volumes of beef available for U.S. consumers,” says Glynn Tonsor, agricultural economist at Kansas State University, in Overview of U.S. Beef Production, Export, Import and Domestic Consumption Trends: 2003-2019.

Total U.S. beef production last year was 27.23 billion pounds. Of that, Tonsor says 3.02 million pounds of beef were exported, 3.06 million pounds of beef were imported. Total domestic beef disappearance was 27.28 billion pounds, which corresponded to 57.97 pounds per person, given U.S. population growth.

“Therefore, 11.10% of total U.S. beef production in 2019 was exported, and 11.21% of total U.S. beef disappearance was sourced from imports,” Tonsor explains. “There is a -0.53 correlation between annual export and import flows consistent with imports increasing when exports decline, and vice versa.”

“While this may be surprising, this synergistic relationship reflects differences in products involved, the role of imported products as inputs (commonly for ground beef production) into U.S. domestic consumption markets, and value differences associated with these volume flows,” Tonsor writes.

Source: Feeding demand for ground beef

TA-FC ClipBoard: So what does the world need now that we know about the high demand for ground cow beef? Lotza ground plant round!!


New TV show “Tough As Nails” celebrates everyday Americans

TA-FC ClipBoard: Let’s make it clear here that the agriculture they’re talking about is the ‘raising for slaughter industry’, and making the cattle industry cool and sexy once again.

“Witnessing first hand how food is grown? Well, animals aren’t food and they’re not plants, so they’re not grown like the cattle industry wants the world to once again believe. They’re raised from before birth to slaughter maturity.

Once that genie got out of the bottle and once slaughterhouse observational tours were banned, everybody knew that what went on inside was anything but cool and sexy – except if you’re a pervert and get off on watching animals get dismembered while listening to their screams.

And once rogue undercover reporters took the videos and circulated them, the world knew for sure that there was no love happening behind those doors in those stalls.

“…toilet paper, hand sanitizer, meats, dairy, eggs and other products we can’t live without come from…” No mention of plants here.

“Raising the livestock you love”? Who said anything about loving livestock? Isn’t it deadstock that people love? If they loved livestock they wouldn’t be able to kill the babies they raised for your plate.

So now “hard-working Americans” can be equated with slavery, sordid and deadly. No slave leaves alive. The reason these slave masters and killers keep the country running is because we built our economy on the slavery and slaughtering of innocent animals.

“Callouses on the hands, and tough as nails”, but you left out the horror. You left out the holocaust.

They say they don’t do it for the money. Geez. Serial killers don’t kill for the money either.

I’m all for country. Just minus the slaughter part. Grow plants. There’s no good coming from raising animals for slaughter. It’s not cool, sexy or worthy work.

“…this country’s essential workers: real people in real life who are real tough…”. Yeah, it takes a real person who has a real life who is real tough to raise and kill an innocent cow.

This all-new reality competition squares off everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working long, hard hours to keep the country running.

Amanda Radke | Jul 31, 2020

Does agriculture have a public relations problem?

Perception of who we are in agriculture has been a constant struggle we have faced as more consumers move away from rural communities in favor of urban life.

This problem has escalated in recent years for a multitude of reasons — one, greater efficiencies in the industry have resulted in fewer hands involved in the work of putting food on the table; two, an abundance of food at the grocery stores means people never have to worry about where their next meal will come from; and three, instead of people being able to witness first-hand how food is grown, information derived from social media, activists, politicians and Hollywood has resulted in more confusion than ever before.

As a result, it’s been difficult to find our common ground and our shared values. I’ve always believed, however, if we could sit down with our counterparts, we would find we care about the same things when it comes to purchasing food at the grocery store to feed our families — safety, nutrition, taste, affordability, environment and animal welfare.

Even knowing we share these commonalities, there’s still a great deal of work to be done to make agriculture cool and sexy once again.

The one silver lining of the pandemic has been the “essential workers,” those who provide the goods and services we need to function in our everyday lives, are in the spotlight. All of a sudden, we care more about where our toilet paper, hand sanitizer, meats, dairy, eggs and other products we can’t live without come from. There’s a stronger push to get to know the people behind the products, and the opportunities are great if we can take advantage of this open window to share our stories.

However, in the current political climate, you may want to simply go off the grid, ignore the craziness of the outside world, shut off the mainstream media and just keep working the land and raising the livestock you love.

I totally get it, and I go back and forth from feeling like I need to reach out to our consumers to thinking it’s time for me to shut down and hide away from the world for a bit.

If you need a distraction for a moment, may I suggest a television show that celebrates the hard-working Americans who provide the food, fiber and energy to support our country and the world.

CBS has a new show called, “Tough As Nails,” and a friend alerted me to this really awesome series. This all-new reality competition squares off everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working long, hard hours to keep the country running. In season one, we get to meet a welder, firefighter, farmer, roofer and Marine Corps veteran, just to name a few.

According to CBS, “These competitors, who consider the calluses on their hands a badge of honor, will be tested for their strength, endurance, life skills, and, most importantly, mental toughness in challenges that take place at real-world job sites.

“One competitor will be crowned champion, but nobody will go home. Even after they “punch out” of the individual competition, they will have the opportunity to win additional prizes in the team competitions that continue throughout the season,” CBS said.

“‘I was inspired to create this show almost a decade ago because of my working-class family of farmers, gold miners, builders and coal miners,” said host Phil Keoghan. ‘I’m proud of my family and wanted to shine a light on people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty to do a hard day’s work. Now, more than ever, it is important for all of us to recognize this country’s essential workers: real people in real life who are real tough.’”

Ohio farmer, Melissa Burns, represents agriculture well in the series.

She describes her typical day on the farm, “Every day is different. My day starts anywhere between 3:00 – 4:00 AM. House chores get completed, then depending on weather and the season you will find me in the fields or at the feed mill. We work before the sun comes up and will not stop until after dark or all the work is complete for that day.”

When asked what makes her tough as nails, Burns said, “Getting up every day and putting in the work. We don’t do it for the money. We don’t do it for anyone but ourselves. I am a tough farmer, a tough female farmer!”

It’s shows like this that are a win-win because it brings rural America and those who work in these important fields to the forefront. When it comes to a public relations campaign for the food, fiber and energy industries, this one gets the job done. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

Source: New TV show “Tough As Nails” celebrates everyday Americans


China Will No Longer Classify Dogs as Livestock, Marking Push Toward Dog Meat Ban

Benjamin VanHoose
China is inching closer to the end of the legal human consumption of dog meat, multiple outlets report.

On Wednesday, the country’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs announced that it would no longer classify dogs as livestock, meaning the animal can’t be bred for food, milk or fur, according to Reuters.

“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialized’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,” read the notice, per the outlet.

Humane Society International estimates that some 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed in China every year for meat. A spokesperson for HSI told The Guardian that the policy is a potential “game-changer moment for animal welfare in China.”

“That signals a major shift, recognizing that most people in China don’t eat dogs and cats and want an end to the theft of their companion animals for a meat trade that only a small percentage of the population indulge in,” said the spokesperson.

RELATED: New Law ‘Finally’ Makes Animal Cruelty a Federal Crime: ‘America’s Beloved Pets Are Safer’

Earlier this month, Shenzhen officially became the first city in China to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat, with the new law going into effect on May 1.

A recent ban on the consumption of specific wildlife meat in China is a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after some of the earliest infections were found in individuals who visited a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, according to The New York Times.

The Shenzhen government decided to extend the ban to cats and dogs as these pets “have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals,” according to BBC News. Additionally, “banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

RELATED: Proposed Law Could Ban Sales of Dogs, Cats, Bunnies in New York Pet Stores

The proposed change will also fine Shenzhen restaurants found serving dog and cat meat.

Dog and cat meat consumption is not prevalent in many areas of China but is the most common in Shenzhen’s province of Guangdong and the neighboring province of Guangxi, which is home to the controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Source: China Will No Longer Classify Dogs as Livestock, Marking Push Toward Dog Meat Ban: Reports


Newly-vegan London pub says their food sales have tripled since going plant-based

‘No matter how smart you are with ordering, there is always waste where meat and dairy products are involved. This aspect isn’t really seen by the customer but most people in the trade would acknowledge that it is a big issue.

Veganuary has been absolutely massive this year.

We’ve seen the opening of London’s first vegan Chinese.

Goodfella’s just released the UK’s first ever mainstream vegan frozen pizza. And nearly every chain seems to be bringing out their own range of plant-based sandwiches and wraps.

This month has also seen two London pubs turn 100% vegan.

Veganism isn’t a minority interest anymore.

And if you want further proof that that’s the case, just look at the Blacksmith and Toffeemaker – a pub in Islington which switched to a fully plant-based menu this year.

They’ve just reported that sales are up three-fold.

The pub turned vegan for a variety of reasons, says general manager, Sam Pryor.

‘From a sustainability point of view, it’s tragic to see the huge amount of resources that go into feeding livestock for meat only for us to have to throw unsold meat out once it’s past its use-by date,’ he explains.

FINISH READING: Newly-vegan London pub says their food sales have tripled since going plant-based | Metro News