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Articles from 2022 In January

USDA offers solution to ease port disruption

Getty Images Oakland Port shipping containers Getty1148918102.jpg
CONGESTION HELP: Stacks of shipping containers sit in a storage area at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California. USDA announced a partnership with the Port of Oakland on Jan. 31, 2022 to allow for the loading of empty containers with agricultural goods to decrease the number of empty ships returning to China.

“COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system, both at our ports and in the agricultural sector,” explains Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Early Monday, Vilsack announced plans to increase capacity at the Port of Oakland by partnering with the California port to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities with $1 billion in funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

USDA shares fewer containers have been made available for U.S. agricultural commodities, as ocean carriers have circumvented traditional marketing channels and rushed containers back to be exported empty. As a result, many of these carriers have suspended service to the Port of Oakland. USDA is now taking action to reduce these shipping disruptions that have prevented U.S. agricultural products from reaching their markets.

Using Commodity Credit Corporation funds set aside to address market disruptions in September 2021, USDA will cover 60% of the start-up costs, which reflects the historical share of agricultural products that are marketed through the Port of Oakland. USDA will also help cover additional movement logistics costs at $125 per container.

This project will enhance marketing of U.S. agricultural products through quicker pickup of empty containers as the main terminal is bypassed; access to available equipment; and fewer unpredictable congestion surcharges for trucks.

The site will provide space to prepare empty containers beginning in early March. Agricultural companies and cooperatives will have easier access to these containers, which they will fill with commodities, restoring shipping services to agricultural products while relieving congestion. The new site will also have a dedicated gate with the ability to pre-cool refrigerated shipping containers to receive perishable commodities, all while avoiding bottlenecks that would have resulted from entering the main area of the Port.

In December, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Vilsack urged the world’s leading ocean carriers to help mitigate disruptions to agricultural shippers by restoring reciprocal treatment of imports and exports and improving service. Ocean carriers have made fewer containers available for U.S. agricultural commodities, repeatedly changed return dates, and charged unjust fees as the ocean carriers short-circuited the usual pathways and rushed containers back to be exported empty. The poor service and refusal to serve customers is exemplified by many ocean carriers suspending service to the Port of Oakland. DOT and USDA called on the carriers to more fully utilize available terminal capacity on the West Coast. At least one carrier has since announced plans to resume previously suspended service to Oakland.

“This creative partnership with USDA and the Port of Oakland will help American farmers and agricultural producers move their product to market while also making better use of empty containers that are causing congestion at the ports,” says Buttigieg. “After we helped set up inland pop-up ports at the Port of Savannah, we witnessed significant improvements in the flow of goods, and we expect to see similarly positive results once this Oakland facility is open. We look forward to engaging with other ports on similar solutions to congestion.”

Industry welcomes port actions

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says meat exporters appreciate the efforts of USDA, the Port of Oakland and other agencies to address a situation that continues to frustrate U.S. exporters.

“We realize there is no magic solution to the shipping difficulties confronting exporters at U.S. ports, but improving access to containers is certainly a step in the right direction,” Halstrom says. “The Port of Oakland is an essential, strategic outlet for U.S. red meat exports, especially for chilled product destined for our key Asian markets, and our members look forward to utilizing the new container site.”

"This is an important step that shows the value of players in the supply chain coming together to identify challenges as well as potential solutions,” adds California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “It will help improve access to overseas markets for California agriculture producers at a critical time of year for exports of high-value specialty crops.”

The International Dairy Foods Association recently announced a Dairy Exports Working Group with the Port of Los Angeles and shipping company CMA CGM to identify and address similar supply chain issues hindering U.S. dairy product exports.

“We are hopeful that these announcements together signal a new group of ‘supply chain problem solvers’ to create momentum to smooth current obstacles and avoid significant future disruptions so that American agriculture can continue to thrive” explains IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes. “It is encouraging to see governments and businesses working together in a coordinated fashion to develop market-based solutions.”

The current situation is costing U.S. dairy companies millions of dollars and damaging the credibility and reputation of U.S. dairy exporters among global customers. For example, dairy exporters are having to airfreight product more than ever before, sometimes at 20 times the cost, to meet overseas contracts. At the same time, U.S. warehouses are full or facing near capacity levels due to delays.

Drought threat expanding

Getty Images - Jacqueline Nix Cattle drought grazing GettyImages-626152458.jpg
LIVESTOCK ASSISTANCE: Bipartisan bill will beef up critical livestock disaster programs Livestock Forage Program and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program.

Drought is expanding in the country. While much of the intermountain west, the southwest and parts of the northern plains have been in drought for much of the past 18 months or more, drought is expanding dramatically now in the central and southern plains.  The Drought Monitor tracks drought conditions in categories from D0 (Abnormally Dry) to D4 (Exceptional Drought). The five categories can be combined into a single index number known as the Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI). The DSCI can range in value from 0 to 500. The current national DSCI is 176 and has ranged from a low of 164 to a high of 188 for the past year. The U.S. has continuously had a DSCI over 100 since July 2020 and over 150 since October 2020.  Prior to that, the last time the DSCI was over 150 was September 2013.

While the DSCI is a useful single index value, it can mask changes in the drought. Compared to one year ago, drought across the country is more widespread and the pockets of most severe drought are smaller.  Currently 70.87 percent of the country is in D0 or worse compared to 64.68 percent one year ago. However, the current percent of D3-D4 is 12.21 percent compared to 20.38 percent last year. The D4 category alone is currently 1.32 percent compared to 8.79 percent one year ago. 

The national DSCI also masks regional variation and the regional changes in drought over time. While the national DSCI has maintained an elevated but relatively narrow range for the past year, regional drought conditions vary widely as shown in the following examples. Parts of the southwest and southern Rocky Mountain regions experienced severe drought in 2020, with limited improvement in 2021 but with persistent drought.  New Mexico has a current DSCI of 307 and has been above 200 since July of 2020. The New Mexico DSCI peaked at 436 for several weeks about one year ago. North Dakota had a DSCI of 249 one year ago, peaked at 393 in May 2021 and currently is at 171. Montana has a current DSCI of 321 and has been above 300 since last July. 

By contrast, Oklahoma had a DSCI of 40 one year ago and dropped to just 8 in July 2021. However, since November, the Oklahoma DSCI has increased rapidly to the current level of 314. Texas has a similar story, going from a DSCI less than 100 last October to the current level of 282. Though not as severe at this time, dry conditions have expanded across much of Kansas and Nebraska in the past three months.

There is plenty of time to avoid widespread drought impacts but without significant moisture in the next 2-3 months, the cattle industry could see major market impacts that affect the entire industry as well as the tremendous hardships that would land on many producers and individual operations. Although the worst impacts may not be realized for several months yet, producers should begin planning now for the decisions that would be required if spring doesn’t come. Hopefully it is a plan that will never be needed.

Source: Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State Universitywhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

Farm Progress America, January 31, 2022

Max Armstrong shares some interesting facts about the growth of irrigation in the United States, which has grown to cover about 15% of U.S. cropland. This expansion has contributed to cropland productivity. And while the coverage has increased, but the amount applied has continued to decline and Max offers details on the changing nature of irrigation in the country.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Farm Progress

Beef industry wrestles over mandatory cash sales

Chris Torres A man that appears to be addressing attendees of an event
CASH SALE DEBATE: Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told attendees of the recent Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day that mandatory cash sales could lead to unintended consequences for cattle producers.

There are a lot of issues on the minds of beef producers these days. But one issue sparked a lot of conversation at the recent Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day: getting more cash sales in the marketplace.

Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the organization has been focused on getting more cash sales in the marketplace, as well as better price discovery. The big question is whether cash trade should be mandated by the federal government.

NCBA delegates will be voting on that issue this week at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Houston. Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation have already chimed in, voting against mandated cash sales at the January AFBF meeting in Atlanta.

Woodall says that he doesn’t expect NCBA delegates to be in favor of mandatory cash sales. But Congress and the White House will likely have the final say.

In a recent article written by Jacqui Fatka, Farm Progess policy editor, a recent bill introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., includes a sliding shift to more cash sales, which may limit the use of certain formula contracts in some regions.

The bill would establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade, which the bill’s authors believe would enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. The secretary of agriculture, in consultation with the chief economist, would seek public comment on those levels, set the minimums and then implement them.

Woodall says other bills in Congress would mandate 50% cash trade in the cattle market.

Encouraging more cash, or spot sales, in the marketplace is all part of the ongoing issue of trying to solve concerns that meat packers — mainly Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill and National Beef — have wrestled too much control over the cattle marketplace over the years. It is estimated that the four major meat packers control more than 80% of beef processing in the U.S.

NCBA has supported a Department of Justice investigation of the meatpacking industry after accusations of unfair pricing and possible antitrust violations. JBS dropped its NCBA membership last summer, although the company has not formally stated that it left because of NCBA’s support of the investigation.

Woodall says the organization supports the establishment of an online portal that would allow producers to report complaints more easily to the Department of Justice.

But mandating cash sales, he says, could work against cattle producers and lead to unforeseen consequences.

"It's easy to look at those options and say, yeah, we're going to stick it to the packer,” Woodall says. “But let me tell you what the packer's reaction was. The packers were sitting back there whistling going, ‘C’mon boys, bring it.’ You know why? Because if you have a 50% mandate, they've got every excuse in the world to pay you even less.

“That's something that people weren't thinking about, but you have to think about it. Not to mention that we're talking about Congress and the federal government here. We can sit here, and we can craft the most ideal, perfect piece of legislation that exists. With the current government right now, it's time to think long and hard about mandates. Once the government gets in, it's awfully hard to get them out.”

More processors needed

Woodall says that expanding processor capacity and solving the industry’s labor issues would help to wrestle leverage away from the larger meat packers.

The height of the pandemic highlighted the long-standing issue of lack of local processing options for producers. Local demand for beef went through the roof, but there were not enough small USDA-certified plants to kill animals.

Sick workers forced large processing plants, including the JBS plant in Souderton, Pa., the largest beef processing plant east of Chicago, to close temporarily, only exacerbating the problem of getting local cattle to market.

Woodall says USDA has been working to get money in place to get more local, regional packing plants built. Labor, though, is still a big issue. “We have got to make sure we have guest worker programs that allow us to get the labor that we need to run these packing plants and all the steps in the beef supply chain,” he says.

In talking to packers, Woodall says that if all existing plants were fully staffed and operating at 95% capacity, at least 5,000 more head of cattle could be killed each day. He says that would bring more money into the system and benefit producers.

“That helps us pull cattle into the supply chain and allows us to get more money, bring that leverage back away from the packer and back on our side,” he says. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to wrestle that leverage away.”

Livestock reporting authorization

Woodall says that he expects the Livestock Mandatory Reporting rule to be reauthorized for the remainder of 2022 in a temporary spending bill that will likely get passed in late February.

The Livestock Mandatory Reporting rule, established in 1999, mandates price reporting for cattle, boxed beef swine and lamb. It is reauthorized every five years. The current program expired in 2020, was extended to 2021 and was extended again through February.

Woodall says the organization has asked the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to create a dashboard that would simplify reports for producers to go online and read.

"Mandatory price reporting is a great tool because it does gather a lot of data from the packers to provide to you,” he says. “But you kind of have to have a Ph.D. in mathematics to understand what all those sheets look like. We would like to get a dashboard constructed on the website that takes that data, puts into a graphical form and make it easier to understand.”

This Week in Agribusiness, January 29, 2022

This Week in Agribusiness - David Kohl at Farm Futures Summit

Part 1

Max Armstrong and Mike Pearson start off talking about meetings they attended this week. Mike interviews Emily Skor of Growth Energy about court battles they are fighting concerning E15. Next, Mike interviews Iowa Soybean Association’s Michael Dolch about biofuels. Mike talks with Duwayne Bosse of Bolt Marketing, to discuss the adventurous week in soybeans. Next they look at the wheat market and what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine.

Part 2

Duwayne Bosse of Bolt Marketing, rejoins Mike to talk ethanol and high stocks. Next up, they discuss corn and the weather in South America. The wild hog market is next on their list. In the Colby Ag Tech segment Chad Colby looks at the latest in cell phone battery technology.

Part 3

Max talks with David Kohl at the Farm Futures Summit about planning for these skyrocketing land values and potentially climbing interest rates. Tax law changes  are also explored.

Part 4

Max talks with Dr. Bobby Martens about the supply chain issues we’ve seen and some of the surprising details behind it.  Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje joins the show the weekly weather forecast.

Part 5

Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje returns to take a look at the long-range weather picture.

Part 6

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1963 Farmall 460 that was heavily damaged in a Wisconsin farm shop fire. Owner Mike Turner vows to restore it. In the FFA Chapter Tribute Mike Pearson chats with Kelly Baird, Kentucky state FFA Vice President. Baird is excited to being traveling to visit other chapters. Baird comes from an FFA family and says she was practically born in the blue corduroy.

Part 7

Max previews Commodity Classic with co-chairs Gerry Hayden and Gary Porter.

Make priorities line up with goals

vectorbomb-ThinkstockPhotos artwork of cowboy riding market
Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer and BEEF magazine.

Earlier this week I received word that rancher and author Walt Davis passed on. I had expressed an interest to Wally Olson once that I would like to meet Walt. Wally told me anytime I wanted to ride down there he would introduce me. This was several years ago and now I regret not taking Wally up on his offer. I am certain I would have gained a huge amount of knowledge and insight from the conversation between the three of us.

As I reflected upon this blown opportunity, I had to get real with myself. I was not real serious about meeting Walt. If we look at our day planner and our checkbook, we can see our priorities. I made the excuse of being busy. I have to run my operation and all the day-to-day activities and then there is all my daughter’s activities. If I was real serious, I could have figured out a way to take off for a couple days. But I didn’t make that choice.

When we are serious about something, we find a way, when we are not, we find an excuse.

Beating your limitations

From a young age we are programmed to believe doing certain things is beyond reality. There is a list of excuses a mile long, and it's getting longer, of why we can’t start an operation from scratch. Most people believe this and end up living their lives having accepted someone else’s limitations. These people were never serious about starting their own operation.

If you want things to happen you must get serious about it. I talk about commitment in my marketing schools. We must commit to our desire which means cutting ourselves off from anything that won’t help us achieve that goal.

I hear young people all the time complain about how they can’t catch a break or get started. Or they talk about dreams. One thing they have in common is they are not doing anything to make it happen.

Planning, approval, and timing are a big deal to these people. The only thing on that list that may matter is getting approval from the banker. But many seek approval of others. Remember this: like attracts like. If you feel there are forces that will stop you from achieving your goal you will meet more people that think the same way you do. This will only act to reinforce the idea the goal can't be achieved.

Timing will never be right. It's like sitting at the south side of my hometown at the first stop light and thinking I won’t go until every light is green at the same time so I can just cruise right on through. Between the timing of the lights and traffic this will never happen. But going from one light to the next is progress.

No direct line to a goal

Planning only makes us feel good. We can think on something for a long time and come up with the perfect plan. Once we get started life happens and the plan is out the window. I compare this to driving from New York to Los Angeles in the dark. We can only see a few hundred feet in front of us because that is all the farther our head lights go. But when we drive a few hundred feet ahead we can see the next few hundred feet. There will be detours, delays, and possibly a break down. If we are committed to getting there and are persistent we will get there.

This is how it works. We go to the auction and we have a difficult time getting anything bought that we feel like we can make work. The old guys, and it is always the old guys, will not let us have a bargain. Even if the animal we are bidding on doesn’t fit their deal. The other thing is no one will offer a young inexperienced person an opportunity. It is difficult to get a foot in the door.

Once we do get a foot in the door, we have to stick it out for a while doing some trading. When I say a while, I am talking years. Then one day one of those old timers will invite, usually command, you to sit by them during a sale. This is when the good stuff happens. They talk to or maybe at you and share things with you. You must show resolve before you get respect. Opportunities will eventually follow.

I have said before we don’t find mentors, mentors find us. You will not be found until you are serious. Being serious means you are ready to learn and to do something. You are worth their time.

This weekend ask yourself these three questions:

1. What do you want?

2. How bad do you want it?

3. What are you willing to do about it?

Question 3 is when it gets real. It's where most people will walk away. It's this question that will determine if you’re serious and what your commitment level is. It is where you rearrange your priorities and your life will change.

I feel like I barely scratched the surface for a young person wanting to get started. If you know of such a young person and you think I wrote something of value here please share it with them.

I also mentioned that Walt Davis was an author. He wrote two great books: Cerebral Ranching and How To Not Go Broke Ranching.

View from the cattle markets

This week in the feeder markets we saw the heavier feeders back off a little and the lightweight feeders move higher. The breaking point is around 600-pounds. The Value of Gain from one weight to the next now looks like a yo-yo. It starts high and flyweights drop below the Cost of Gain around the six weights then rises above COG around the seven or eight weights depending on what sale you attend. Then it drops off again.

If we are looking at the steer side they are over-valued to fats, while heifers are under-valued to fats.

This week feeder bulls were 15-33 back and unweaned calves were 7-20 back. Replacement quality heifers caught a 12 dollar premium.

The five weight to fly weight trade has the most margin capture this week. Then trading ones and twos for other ones and twos has the second best margin capture. This is the third week these lesser quality cattle have been saturated with profit potential. Respect the entire market because it doesn’t pay well to be a cattle snob.

The volatility we are seeing is beginning to make some people think that things are messed up. To a sell/buy marketer who has market literacy this volatility is a dream. The VOG on some weights is offering an opportunity for value capture. The discounts on bulls and bawlers is offering an opportunity to trade out of under-valued heavy weight feeders, provided that person can handle them.

Farm Progress America, January 28, 2022

Max Armstrong reports on the work farmers have ahead to develop a solid transition plan. Max offers insights from a legal expert – Erin Herbold-Swalwell with Iowa Farm Bureau. She notes that when there's a challenge that pops up in the process a trained mediator can help solve those farm disputes. Herbold-Swalwell adds that while mediation may be uncomfortable at first, it can be effective.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: designer491/Getty Images Plus

7 ag stories you might have missed

Collage with corn harvest, capitol building and angus beef cattle

Missed some agricultural news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.

Time to sign up for CRP programs

Producers interested in enrolling acres in the Conservation Reserve Program should call ahead to their local USDA field office. General CRP signup will run from Jan. 31 to March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13. – Farm Futures

Viterra Limited to acquire Gavilon

On Wednesday, Viterra Limited announced it has entered into a stock purchase agreement with Marubeni America Corporation to acquire the grain and ingredients business of Gavilon. Viterra's agreed purchase price for the acquisition of Gavilon is $1.125 billion plus working capital and is subject to certain customary purchase price adjustments. – Farm Futures

Crop insurance payouts on the rise

Insurance payments to U.S. farmers for crops lost to droughts and flooding have risen more than threefold over the past 25 years. Insurance payments to farmers due to drought rose more than 400% between 1995 and 2020 to $1.65 billion, while payments due to excess moisture – like floods - rose nearly 300% to $2.61 billion. – Reuters

Walmart invests in indoor vertical farming startup

Walmart has taken a stake in the agriculture startup Plenty, becoming the first large U.S. retailer to significantly invest in indoor vertical farming to deliver fresher produce to its stores. Walmart said that under the deal, Plenty’s Compton farm will send leafy greens to Walmart’s California stores beginning later this year. – AP News

Canadian government won’t budge on trucker vaccine mandate

The Canadian government says it will not back down on its vaccination rule for cross-border truckers despite entrenched opposition from some drivers and groups claiming to represent their interests. A convoy of protesters are set to descend on Ottawa this weekend to stage a demonstration on Parliament Hill. – CBC News

Citrus greening slices Florida orange harvest

Florida is on pace to produce the smallest crop of oranges in more than 75 years, according to a forecast released this month. With that small a crop, California will surpass Florida in orange production for the first time in recent years. Florida’s orange production has been on a quarter century slide due to citrus greening. – AP News

And in case you missed it…

Soybean acres to top corn acres in 2022

The January 2022 Farm Futures survey found that high input costs will drive U.S. growers to plant fewer corn acres in 2022 in favor of other crops with less expensive production costs. Farm Futures projects 2022 corn acreage at 90.4 million acres in 2022 and soybean acreage at 92.4 million acres. It will be only the second time in U.S. history more soybeans than corn will be planted to the tune of 1.2 million acres. – Farm Futures

Increase adaptability through use of hair shedding EPDs

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Hair shedding is linked to milk production, reproduction, and possibly animal welfare, according to Jared Decker, University of Missouri associate professor. It is easy to collect and predict so it may play a role in selecting genetics with an improved adaptability to heat stresses, he said, during his presentation “A Piece of the Adaptability Puzzle: Multi-breed Hair Shedding Genetic Effects and EPD” at the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.

Cow efficiency and adaptability is a multi-pronged and complicated puzzle. Researchers have pursued the identification of local adaptation and region-specific genomic predictions in beef cattle using hair shedding scores as an indicator of tolerance to heat stress. Hair shedding scores measure how early the winter hair is shed off in the spring and summer. Cattle tend to shed their winter hair from front to back and top to bottom. Ideally cattle should be scored late spring or early in the summer where there is a bell-shaped curve of the scores.

Researchers have collected nearly 37,000 scores on just more than 13,000 cattle through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded project. Dams with lower hair shedding scores tend to wean heavier calves. Hair shedding is a moderately heritable trait with heritability estimates ranging from 0.32 to 0.41. The repeatability for the trait was not much higher than the heritability. There were differences when comparing breeds, but within a breed, there was more variability than between breeds, and the bell curve across the breeds overlaps.

“Within each breed, we have some animals that are breed improvers and some animals that will be problems relative to shedding,” Decker explained.

Decker used a genotype by environment wide association study and found several regions of the genome that were significant when they looked at day length as a trigger for shedding, while no regions were significant when looking at temperature differences. The research suggests that the genetic control of shedding may be linked to day length rather than temperature. Age also influences hair shedding, where younger cows have higher scores than older cows.

“Nutrition may play a role in shedding, particularly in the younger cows, and body condition scores should be collected at the time of hair shedding scores,” Decker recommended.

To watch Decker’s full presentation, visit

Industry sustainability program advancements highlighted at IPPE

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Increasing agriculture productivity while reducing negative impacts is one of the greatest challenges of this century, remarked Rod Snyder, agriculture advisor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), during the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit held at the 2022 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), along with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

Snyder said that his position is to bring an open line of communication between the EPA and the agricultural community. He discussed the Biden administration’s ambition of reducing greenhouse gases 50% by 2050; EPA’s methane action plan that encourages farmers to reduce gas emissions by using bio-digestors, solid separators, lagoon covers and other practices; and the Department of Energy’s support of innovative technology for methane measurement.

Eric Mittenthal, chief strategy officer for the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), described the work that NAMI has put into the Protein PACT (e.g., People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow). He said, “The vision of Protein PACT for 2030 is to earn trust through a commitment of continuous improvement that demonstrates shared values, so that consumers concerned about animal protein production and consumption believe the entire animal protein value chain is aligned with their values and is an important part of a socially responsible and healthy diet.” Mittenthal also discussed NAMI’s modification in culture that includes embracing change, being member-led and consumer-focused, being data-driven and communicating for what they advocate.

“Our goal within the feed space is to be able to leverage each other’s expertise, efforts and resources to really be able to make an impact when it comes to sustainability,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and president of the Institute for Feed Education & Research (iFEEDER). Cullman discussed AFIA’s work with iFEEDER on developing a sustainability roadmap, in addition to the work AFIA is doing with the Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI) on creating a publicly available Animal Nutrition Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) database.

Ryan Bennett, executive director of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs (US-RSPE) and International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA), provided an update on the poultry and egg multi-stakeholder value chain’s welfare and sustainability program development efforts. The update included the progress on the US-RSPE Sustainability Framework, which is a comprehensive reporting structure that measures and voluntarily verifies sustainability in areas that are important to the poultry and egg supply chain. This allows organizations to provide transparency to stakeholders while driving continuous improvement.