Here are five stories from the cattle world this week.
1. Bill would remove brucellosis vaccine requirement for Oregon beef cows
Oregon ranchers would no longer be required to vaccinate beef cows for brucellosis under a proposal in the state Legislature.
Brucellosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes spontaneous abortions in cattle. It can be passed to humans, typically by consuming unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals.
Also known as “undulant fever,” the disease has symptoms including rising and falling fever — hence the name — along with joint pain, fatigue and swelling of the heart in severe cases.
The USDA first implemented a program to eradicate brucellosis nationwide in 1934. Currently, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are classified as brucellosis-free, meaning no livestock have been infected for 12 consecutive months.
However, the disease is still present in bison and elk herds within the Greater Yellowstone Area. Federal agencies have designated a control zone for brucellosis around Yellowstone National Park, where cattle are subject to additional surveillance and testing.
The last case of brucellosis in Oregon livestock was approximately 25 years ago in Klamath County, said Rodger Huffman, chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s animal health, brand inspection and theft committee.
Yet state law still requires that all cows be vaccinated for brucellosis by 12 months of age unless they are immediately going to slaughter.
Eradication efforts have rendered the disease risk “minimal to nonexistent,” Huffman said, though the vaccine requirement continues to add costs for producers while simultaneously lowering the value of unvaccinated cows.
Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, and Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, would amend the law to remove the brucellosis vaccine requirement in the state for beef cows, though it would still be in effect for dairy cows.
2. Upper Iowa Beef gets state tax incentives for $48 million expansion
State officials agreed Friday to provide a northeast Iowa beef processing company with $1.5 million in tax breaks to help finance a $48 million expansion that will double its production.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved providing the Upper Iowa Beef plant in Lime Springs with about $863,000 in tax credits for job creation and nearly $650,000 in refunds of sales and other taxes the company will spend expanding and equipping the plant.
Upper Iowa Beef, which purchases cattle from about 400 cattle producers in northeast Iowa, said it expects the project will create 172 jobs, the Des Moines Register reported.
In November, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Upper Iowa Beef would receive an $8.8 million federal grant for the expansion. The company said it expects the project will double the plant’s slaughter capacity to 800 cattle a day and boost employment to 350 people.
Upper Iowa Beef sells products to customers in 22 states and seven countries.
The plant already employs about 200 people, said Ed Greiman, Upper Iowa’s CEO. Lime Springs, in Howard County, has nearly 500 residents.
Some of the biggest benefits of the plant expansion will go to producers who sell animals to the plant, Greiman said.
“They’re family farmers who grow corn and raise cattle,” he said, adding that the plant gives producers more than one buyer for their cattle. “We’re paying them a premium for good northeast Iowa cattle.”
Greiman said the expansion will help the company sell more beef overseas as well as further process the meat so it’s ready for U.S. grocery meat cases.
Upper Iowa Beef was one of about 30 projects in November that received a total of $223 million in federal grants and loans, seeking to add competition in the meatpacking industry that’s now dominated by giant meatpackers. Vilsack, former Iowa governor, said the initiative will help boost the income to cattle and other livestock producers, who will have more places to sell their animals.
3. This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor doesn’t show much movement from last week’s. The central portion of the country including Nebraska, part of Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas are still very parched and there is still no relief in sight. However, California remains out of the most severe drought categories thanks to the wet weather earlier in January.
4. EPA to study concentrated animal feeding operations
The EPA will soon begin studying how concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) impact water quality. The results of that study could lead to more stringent regulations for livestock operations.
In addition to evaluating the effects of CAFOs, EPA plans to expand its study of PFAS discharges from textile manufacturers and create a new study of industrial discharges to publicly owned treatment works. All three initiatives are part of the agency’s newly released Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15.
For more details, read the whole story on BEEFmagazine.
National Pork Board
5. Lone Creek Cattle Co. announces new private label opportunities for grass-fed beef
Lone Creek Cattle Co., a family-owned and operated cattle company in Nebraska, is excited to announce their new Private Label program for Grass-Fed Beef. This program will offer Grass Fed, Grass Finished, All-Natural Cattle, raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. With a consistently weekly and monthly harvest, this program offers retailers and distributors the power to build their own brand with a domestic grass fed beef product ensuring Midwest quality, performance, and flavor.
In addition to raising cattle with premium attributes, Lone Creek Cattle Co's ties to Great Plains Beef, LLC open up opportunities to also harvest and produce beef into a variety of boxes, cuts, and grinds based on the program needs. It allows for a very controlled and sustainable production chain to ensure consistency, quality, and confidence.
For more information on how you can become a partner in this program, please contact Lone Creek Cattle Co at [email protected].
And those are 5 stories you don't want to miss in the cattle world this week.