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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for February 12th…

Posted by Brian Allmer on February 12, 2013

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“Vilsack and Kirk Respond to Russia’s Suspension of U.S. Meat Imports”

Russia is now prohibiting imports of all U.S. beef, pork, turkey and other meat products by requiring a zero tolerance for the presence of ractopamine. Ractopamine – an additive for animal feed – is used in 27 countries and has been shown to be completely safe at levels established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the preeminent food safety international standards organization Codex. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded to Russia’s suspension of U.S. meat exports with disappointment. They note U.S. meat is produced to the highest safety standards in the world. They say Russia is disregarding the extensive and expert scientific studies conducted by Codex that have repeatedly concluded that animal feed containing the additive ractopamine is completely safe for livestock and for humans that consume their meat. According to Vilsack and Kirk – Russia’s failure to adopt the Codex standard raises questions about the country’s commitment to the global trading system.

Vilsack and Kirk say Russia has refused to engage in any constructive dialogue despite several requests to discuss the safety of ractopamine. The U.S. is calling on Russia to restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately and to abide by its obligations as a World Trade Organization member.

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“New Export Records for U.S. Beef and Pork”

According to end-of-year statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation – U.S. beef and pork exports set new value records in 2012. Given challenging export conditions that included non-science-based trade barriers in several key markets and an anemic economy in certain regions – USMEF says the achievement was significant. The top five value export markets for pork in 2012 were Japan, Mexico, China/Hong Kong, Canada and South Korea. For beef – the top five value export markets in 2012 were Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Pork exports set volume and value records in 2012 – reaching 2.26-million metric tons valued at 6.3-billion dollars. The per-head export value of U.S. pork exports also set a record in 2012 – reaching $55.87. Exports accounted for 27-percent of total pork production for the year.

The value of beef exports for 2012 rose to a record-high 5.51-billion dollars on 12-percent lower volumes of 1.13-million metric tons. The per-head export value for beef hit $216.73 – an increase of $10.36 over 2011. A new monthly record value of $242.65 set in December contributed to the increase. For the year – U.S. beef exports accounted for 12.7-percent of total beef production.

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“USMEF CEO Looks Ahead to 2013”

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng says the outlook for 2013 appears positive for the U.S. beef and pork industries. While there are several factors that go into projecting 12 months into the future – Seng says USMEF continues to focus its efforts on markets that offer the greatest potential for growth and is optimistic that 2013 will provide an opportunity to maintain the momentum seen in pork exports while rebounding in beef. He says the opening of the Japanese market to U.S. beef under 30 months of age contributes to a projected growth in beef exports of four-percent in volume valued at more than six-billion dollars. Though Seng does note that total could be tempered if issues with exports to Russia aren’t resolved. The projection for pork calls for steady to slight growth. Exports will likely still exceed 2.2-million metric tons valued at more than six-billion dollars. The key risk factors are Russia and China’s domestic production. On the bullish side – USMEF notes U.S. pork is an extremely versatile, high quality protein at a great value that will gain market share in key export markets. USMEF also expects continued growth to top volume market Mexico to boost the bottom line.

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“White House Uses Meat Industry in Statement on Sequestration’s Potential Impact”

When the Obama Administration warned of the impacts of the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March – they highlighted the prospect of mass furloughs of meat and food inspectors. According to a White House statement – USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service may be forced to furlough all employees for approximately two weeks. Since meatpackers and processors aren’t allowed to ship beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat without USDA’s inspection seal – the White House said the meat industry would shut down. Meatpackers said that would devastate consumers and the industry – with a USDA official estimating 10-billion dollars in production would be lost during a two-week furlough.

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“Kerry Suggests Action on Keystone XL Pipeline is Near”

Secretary of State John Kerry recently told reporters that action on the Keystone XL oil pipeline may be near. He said the permitting process for the proposed pipeline will be open and transparent and expressed hope that an announcement could be made soon. Kerry met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird Friday. Baird is hopeful a decision will be made midway through the year. According to Baird – he and Kerry talked about making a science-based decision. TransCanada provided a revised application – which will be the basis of a new environmental impact statement from the State Department. That will trigger a public comment period.

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“NCBA Elects Officer Team”

At the conclusion of the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show – Scott George of Wyoming was officially elected to succeed J.D. Alexander as NCBA President. Bob McCan of Texas is the new President Elect and the new Vice President is Don Pemberton of Kentucky. George says the opportunities for U.S. cattlemen and women are boundless – but says it takes everyone working together toward the goal of being successful and providing consumers with the world’s safest, highest-quality supply of beef. George is looking forward to seeing what the year will bring for the cattle industry. He says there will always be challenges – from the drought, to educating elected officials and consumers about the industry, to continuing to ensure beef remains an affordable, nutritious choice for families to put on their dinner tables. But like the challenges of the past – George says the beef industry will overcome hurdles, succeed and move forward.

In addition to electing the new officer team on the final day of the convention – NCBA members voted on new and expiring policy issues. This included resolutions on cattle health and well being, food safety, immigration, cattle marketing and trade, federal lands ranching and more.

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“New CBB Officers Elected in Tampa”

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board elected its new officer team in Tampa on Saturday. Weldon Wynn of Arkansas was unanimously elected to serve as CBB Chairman for the coming year. Kim Brackett of Idaho will serve as Vice Chairman and Jimmy Maxey of California will fill the position of Secretary/Treasurer. Members were also elected to serve on the CBB Executive Committee and to fill the CBB seats on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

Wynn served as Beef Board Secretary/Treasurer during the first half of 2011 before being elected to fill a partial term as Vice Chairman during the second half of the year. He was then elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board for all of 2012. Wynn has also served on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, the CBB Executive Committee, the Joint Advertising Committee and the Joint Beef Industry Budget Committee.

Brackett served as Beef Board Secretary/Treasurer in 2012. She was also an active member of the Beef Board and the Joint Producer Education Committee during her first term on the Board. In December 2011 – the Secretary of Agriculture reappointed Brackett to serve a second consecutive three-year term. Brackett will serve as Chairman of the CBB Executive Committee – which includes the Board’s three officers and eight members elected at large.

Along with Brackett, Wynn and Maxey – Anne Anderson of Texas; Dean Black of Iowa; Laurie Bryant, an importer; Steve Irsik of Kansas; Hank Maxey of Virginia; Sugie Sartwelle of Texas; Gary Sharp of South Dakota; and Eric Smith of Alabama were elected to the 2013 Executive Committee. The Beef Promotion Operating Committee includes 10 members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board – including the Board’s three officers and seven others elected by Beef Board members – and 10 members appointed from the Federation of State Beef Councils. In addition to the CBB’s elected officers – the CBB members elected to the 2013 committee include Spencer Ellis of Wyoming; Will Frazee of Iowa; Linda Gilbert of South Dakota; Joe Guthrie of Virginia; Chuck Kiker of Texas; Dan Kniffen of Pennsylvania; and Brett Morris of Oklahoma.

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“Biodiesel Board Thrilled with Growing List of B20-Ready Vehicles”

The new 2014 Chevy Cruze light-duty diesel passenger car launched by General Motors is approved for use with 20-percent biodiesel blends. The biodiesel industry is celebrating the news. National Biodiesel Board Technical Director Steve Howell says many people don’t realize that today’s new technology diesel engines powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provide tailpipe emissions as clean or cleaner than natural gas or gasoline – while providing superior fuel economy, horsepower and durability. NBB says a bumper crop of new 2013 clean diesel vehicles are beginning to arrive in dealership showrooms nationwide – including more new B20-approved vehicles from domestic automakers Ford and Chrysler. Ford is introducing a new diesel model in its Ford Transit full size van that is approved for use with B20 and Chrysler’s new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty diesel pickups are approved for general use with B20.

According to the National Biodiesel Board – more than 33 light and medium-duty diesel passenger cars and trucks – as well as heavy-duty diesel models from nearly 20 different brands – will be available in the market this year. NBB says nearly 80-percent of manufacturers selling diesel vehicles and equipment in the U.S. now warranty them for use with high-quality B20 biodiesel blends. The remainder are certified for use with five-percent biodiesel blends. The National Biodiesel Board is working cooperatively with those manufacturers to encourage and enable their support for B20 in all vehicles sold in the U.S.

NBB is headed to the 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers Convention in Orlando this week. As part of the American Truck Dealers Convention – NBB will educate dealers about biodiesel use in the vehicles they sell during two workshop sessions. NBB will also exhibit at the NADA/ATD Expo.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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