Thanks to bipartisan legislation, fake meat must go by a new name in Missouri

Lab grown meat

Source: Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

It’s the first legislation of its kind, and it will clearly set a precedence for other states to pass similar legislation. Missouri, living up to its motto as the Show Me state, has shown state cattlemen’s associations nationwide that common sense can prevail when it comes to defining what meat is, and more importantly, what it isn’t.

The Missouri legislature recently passed a bill strongly supported by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) that prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that was not derived from harvested livestock. The legislation comes at a time when laboratory grown meat is being debated throughout the country and in Washington. D.C.

The measure passed on a strong 125-22 bipartisan vote. It now goes to the governor to be signed.

Missouri became the first state to address the issue with legislation, sending a signal to other states to follow suit. MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering expects other state cattle organizations to lead legislation in their respective state.  

"This isn't a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day," Deering says.

"I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn't meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue. We are beyond pleased to see this priority legislation cross the finish line."

The current definition of meat in Missouri Statutes is: "any edible portion of livestock or poultry carcass or part thereof." This definition certainly excludes plant-based or even laboratory grown food products from being considered meat. Deering said the problem is there is nothing definitive in state statute to prevent the misrepresentation of these products as meat.

The legislation that will now be sent to the Governor for consideration prohibits "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Deering said the association does not oppose plant-based or laboratory grown food products.

"This legislation does not stifle technology, but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces consumer confusion. We must ensure that those products do not mislead consumers into thinking those products are actually meat produced by farm and ranch families," said Deering. "The use of traditional nomenclature on alternative products is confusing to consumers and weakens the value of products derived from actual livestock production."

The passage of the legislation follows a vote by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee on May 16, supporting regulatory oversight of lab-grown meat substitutes by USDA. MCA and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association believe USDA is best-placed to ensure food safety and accurate labeling of these products.  

Charter school in Indiana opens on 600-acre farm

Indiana Agriculture & Technology School Indiana Agriculture & Technology School

It’s the last week of preschool for our daughter, Scarlett, and it’s been so fun to watch her grow as she learns her colors, shapes, numbers, letters and other important skills that will prepare her for kindergarten in a few years.

READ: Which ag accurate kids' books do you love?

Tyler and I really hoped to bring agriculture to the classroom this year by hauling a newborn calf into town for Scarlett’s classmates to learn about; however, between the Xanto blizzard and me being at the end of my pregnancy with our third baby, we never quite got it accomplished. However, I did make a point to go to her class a few weeks ago and read my children’s book, “Levi’s Lost Calf.”

Amanda RadkeReading Levi's Lost Calf at School

After reading the story, Scarlett helped me tell her classmates about how we take care of our cattle, and it was so fun to field questions about what cattle eat and where they sleep. Surprisingly for a preschool classroom, I even got a question about antibiotic use, and I was impressed the way our almost four-year old demonstrated how we sometimes have to give a shot to sick calves in the neck. “But it only hurts a little bit,” she told her classmates.

READ: Looking at ranch life through the eyes of a child

For our kids, agricultural literacy and knowing where their food comes from will be learned at a young age just by default of living on a ranch; however, for urban kids, unless agriculture is brought to the classroom, they are very far removed from any farms or ranches, and much of what they will learn will be picked up from Disney movies, the internet and from food labels they will need to decipher and choose from as they get older.

That’s why I’m so pleased to see new and innovative agricultural education programs being introduced in schools across the country.

In Indiana, for example, a new tuition-free 600-acre Agriculture & Technology School (IATS) has been opened that will combine online learning with labs and project-based activities in a farm setting.

“Agriculture is a key to Indiana’s economic foundation,” says Allan Sutherlin, one of the school’s founders, in a press release. “But many farmers are aging out and the next generation needs more than just an apprenticeship. We’re at the dawn of a revolution in agricultural technology and innovation with data- driven solutions to precision farming. We must address that workforce challenge.”

READ: Recognizing outstanding agricultural educators

Open to Indiana students in grades 7-12, this charter school is limited to 160 students per grade level and offers coursework in biosciences, agribusiness, information technology, environmental science, forestry and drones.

“Our rural school corporation is very agrarian, very agriculture based,” says Tim Edsell, school superintendent at the nearby Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corporation in Trafalgar. “We have a strong FFA and students interested in agriculture, but no curriculum specific enough to meet their needs. If we can encourage more students across the state to enter agribusiness, our farms can produce more crops and create a more stable economy. Not to mention, we help set the students up for a successful future.”

To learn more about the Indiana Agriculture and Technology School, visit Classes start July 30, and I can’t wait to see the talented young people this charter school produces. Students that have a firm understanding of the circle of life and where their food comes are great, but even more importantly, these kids will also have the life skills to pursue countless jobs in agriculture that are currently being under-filled. What a great opportunity to learn and grow and be equipped for career success as they graduate from high school!

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

5 Trending Headlines: Why we need grazing animals; PLUS: The naked truth about skin cancer

Cowherd grazing

Why we need grazing animals

A look back into time, as well as lots of present-day knowledge and experience, shows that grazing animals are a critical part of the grassland ecosystem. The right concentration and timing are important, of course, but grasslands need grazing animals as much as humans do, according to Beef Producer.

Despite naysayer claims to the contrary, grazing livestock are a necessity to manage, heal and build the landscape. There are myriad reasons, but here are six key components of the symbiotic animal-grassland relationship.

First, grazing livestock are needed to cycle carbon and other nutrients essentially locked in above-ground vegetation and put it back on the ground in a more biologically active form to feed soil life and further vegetation growth.

Click here to read more about the relationship between animals and their ecosystems.

Consumer beef demand remains robust

Photo Credit: federicofoto / ThinkStock

There are a number of factors, but looking at wholesale market for beef this year and last leads the economists at the Daily Livestock Report to infer that beef demand, particularly for Choice beef, remains strong.

So far this year, the wholesale market premium of Choice over the Select cutout value has tracked 2017. And just like last year, the seasonal move-up since February has been more extensive than typical. Four fundamental economic moving parts underpin the Choice/Select price difference.

Click here to read more.

Gassy cows? Facts about beef’s carbon emissions


Let’s clear the air on something up front. All those "cow farts" you’ve heard about? It’s actually cow burps. Having spent much of my life around cows and conducting research measuring methane emissions from cattle (I’m sure most readers are jealous), I can confirm the vast majority of methane emissions emanating from cattle come out the front end. Also, despite the sensory experience "gassy cows" may evoke, methane itself is an odorless gas.

Methane emissions from cattle get attention because methane is 28 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame. Additionally, methane from cattle represents nearly half of the carbon footprint of U.S. beef when emissions over the entire life cycle, from feed production to the consumer, are considered. However, methane also can be viewed as the necessary tradeoff for the upcycling services that cattle provide.

Click here to read more.

The naked truth about skin cancer

"I would plead with farmers to get their skin checked. It's so important — if I catch something early, it's no big deal." Ashley Sturgeon knows of what she talks about. She’s a farmer’s wife and assistant professor of dermatology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. She knows that people who work outside all day, like farmers and ranchers, need to be aware of how the sun affects their health, both good and bad.

May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and clinics throughout the U.S. are hosting free skin cancer screenings to identify any skin spots that may be of concern and need to be treated by a dermatologist. Here’s a report on one such visit by another farmer’s wife, Shelly Huguely, editor of Southwest Farm Press.

Click here to read more.

Operation Hay Lift delivers more than 275 loads

Farm Rescue’s Operation Hay Lift has put on the miles and loads of hay since it first launched last summer. The hay hauling assistance was launched in mid-July of 2017, when severe drought crippled feed supplies for ranchers in the western Dakotas and eastern Montana. Operation Hay Lift provides a means of hay transport to drought-stricken ranchers throughout the region, as well as those affected by injury or illness. Farm Rescue trucks and drivers were on the roads throughout the winter, hauling hay to ranchers in crisis, reports AgDaily.

Farm Rescue volunteers contributed 170,000 miles behind the wheel to Operation Hay Lift. Operation Hay Lift is responsible for transporting more than 275 loads of hay, which is the equivalent of over 8,000 round bales.

Click here to read more.


MIDDAY Midwest Digest, May 21, 2018

Senior prank at a Wisconsin school really 'hit' home (or, school, rather). 

A bill in Missouri is waiting for a signature to approve no marriages of children ages 15 or younger. Some feel it's not strict enough.

MN rep Collin Peterson may have been gloating a bit about the fail of the farm bill. He said if people would listen to him, he can get democrat approval.

Impaired driving is on the rise, and can sometimes hit too close to home. 

U.S.-China trade truce may not last

Gil-Design/ThinkstockPhotos U.S.-China flags

by Bloomberg News

The U.S. and China declared a truce in their trade dispute over the weekend, but that will prove temporary if the world’s two largest economies fail to deliver on their vague commitments to re-balance trade.

“We’re putting the trade war on hold,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday after the two sides released a joint statement a day earlier. “Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we execute the framework.” 

For now, Mnuchin’s cease-fire declaration will soothe the nerves of investors worried that the world’s two biggest economies were on the verge of an all-out trade conflict. President Donald Trump had threatened to slap tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing vowed to respond in kind. 

Trump on Monday tried to put a positive spin on the negotiations. “China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!” he said in a series of postings on Twitter. “On China, Barriers and Tariffs to come down for first time.”

Trump also suggested that the North Korea embargo is showing cracks before the nuclear summit with the U.S. scheduled for June 12. “China must continue to be strong & tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made,” Trump tweeted. “The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in. I want this to happen, and North Korea to be VERY successful, but only after signing!” 

Trump’s statements came after Mnuchin called a truce in the trade war on Saturday following two days of talks between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and senior American officials, including Trump. But it isn’t seen as a panacea to the months-long conflict.

The truce is “little more than a brief de-escalation of tensions,” said Eswar Prasad, a trade policy professor at Cornell University and former head of the IMF’s China unit. “The fundamental differences on trade and other economic issues remain unresolved.” 

Asian stocks gained Monday and U.S. equity futures jumped on the news that the trade war is on hold for now. Treasury yields nudged higher, taking the dollar with them.

Still, there’s no guarantee that China’s trade frictions with the U.S. won’t re-emerge in the future, a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters Monday at a regular briefing in Beijing.

Read More on the Trade Talks:

The Commodities That May Win Big From a U.S.-China Trade Truce

Time to let  win-win cooperation define China-U.S. trade ties

Even $200 Billion Cut  Won’t Slash Trade Deficit

During the talks, China and the U.S. agreed to “substantially” reduce the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China. Beijing promised to “significantly” increase purchases of U.S. goods and services, but there was no dollar figure attached, despite White House assurances that China would cave to its demand for a $200 billion annual reduction in the trade gap.

China’s state media put a positive spin on the outcome, citing an interview with Liu in Washington on Saturday in which he said the sides agreed avoid trade war and “stop slapping tariffs against each other,” the Xinhua News Agency said. That people in both nations think their country lost shows the agreement is relatively fair and a win-win for each side, the Global Times said in a commentary Monday. 

Trump has an important strategic reason for removing the tariff threat against China: he needs Beijing’s cooperation as he prepares for an historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. It’s hard to imagine a peace deal with North Korea without the involvement of China, Kim’s most important political and economic ally.

China Rhetoric

If trade talks with China fizzle, the president may soon feel pressure to clamp down again, especially with congressional elections looming in November. In their efforts to save the party’s majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans will lean hard on Trump after his fiery anti-China rhetoric and promises to help the working class in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania resonated with voters.

“As this process continues, the United States may use all of its legal tools to protect our technology through tariffs, investment restrictions and export regulations,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Sunday. “Real structural change is necessary. Nothing less than the future of tens of millions of American jobs is at stake.”

Trump remains preoccupied with the U.S. trade deficit and that will be difficult to shrink in the short term. It’s unclear how Beijing will ramp up buying of American products, even though the one-party state exerts greater control than most governments over the spending decisions of companies. Republican tax cuts and spending increases are set to inject fiscal stimulus into the U.S. economy that will stoke demand for foreign-made products.

It’s “difficult to contemplate” how the two countries could cut their trade imbalance by $200 billion, said Victor Shih, a professor at the University of California in San Diego who studies China’s politics and finance. 

“Even with a drastic reallocation of Chinese imports of energy, raw materials and airplanes in favor of the U.S., the bilateral trade deficit may reduce by $100 billion,” said Shih. “A $200 billion reduction would mean a drastic reduction in Chinese exports to the U.S. and a dramatic restructuring of the supply chain.” 

Related article: Deal or No Deal: Can China Shrink U.S. Deficit by $200 Billion?

The U.S. made little progress forcing China to respect American intellectual property -- the issue that caused the U.S. to threaten tariffs in the first place. The joint statement said only that both sides “attach paramount importance to intellectual-property protections,” and agreed to cooperate more. China will change its laws and regulations in this area, including its patent law, according to the statement. 

The statement also didn’t mention additional U.S. demands, including a halt to subsidies and other government support for the Made in China 2025 plan that targets strategic industries from robotics to new-energy vehicles.

And there was no mention of Chinese telecommunications maker ZTE Corp., facing a death sentence after it was cut off from American suppliers for allegedly lying to the U.S. government after flouting sanctions. Trump raised eyebrows last week when he instructed officials to give the company a lifeline.

“The statement was very short and general, and lacked specifics,” said Louis Kuijs, chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong and a former International Monetary Fund researcher. “The broader tension is not resolved.”

--With assistance from Xiaoqing Pi, Miao Han and Jeff Kearns.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Andrew Mayeda in Washington at; Kevin Hamlin in Beijing at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at

Kathleen Hunter

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P

MORNING Midwest Digest, May 21, 2018

In Denver, CO, 11 of 19 highway fatalities were due to impairment since January. A boater in Missouri crashed a boat in Lake of the Ozarks, as well, killing 3 of 5 people on board.

The Farm Bill did not pass a house vote on Friday. The committee doesn't intend to change the strategy. The defeat was definitely bipartisan. 

Buffalo gnats are taking a toll on livestock. And June is the worst month. 

Farm Progress America, May 21, 2018

Max Armstrong looks at the failure of the passage of the House version of the farm bill and how it unfolded. A battle over immigration was what caused the problem. Max shares some reaction from key farm groups on the issue.

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: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Beef cow herd expansion slowing?

cattle at feeder
HEIFER NUMBERS: Does holding fewer heifers signal a contraction in the nation’s beef cow herd? Most likely it merely suggests expansion is slowing.

Data show cow-calf producers nationally are holding 4% fewer replacement heifers than a year ago. Heifers expected to calve in 2018 are down 5% from 2017. Iowa producers are holding 11% fewer replacement heifers than in 2017.

At first glance, producers holding fewer heifers might indicate cow herd contraction. But liquidation won’t be occurring until the number of older cows that producers cull exceeds the number of replacement heifers they add to the herd. That’s likely not happening yet.

One reason is high replacement heifer retention rates over the last few years suggest the beef cow herd is relatively young. This will help keep the culling rate down over the next couple of years.

Most likely holding fewer heifers merely suggests expansion is slowing.   

Other cattle inventory statistics also suggest expansion is slowing, or possibly even reversing in some regions. But firm replacement heifer prices suggest cow herd growth continues.

More heifers on feed
In the April Cattle on Feed report, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service provided the quarterly count of the total number of steers and heifers on feed for feedlots with 1,000-head capacity or more. Compared to April 1, 2017, the number of heifers on feed was up 14% in the U.S. Heifers comprised 36% of the total on-feed inventory. In Iowa, the heifer count rose 18% year over year and tallied 27% of the inventory. The April 1 quarterly breakdown shows that the number of steers on feed was 4% higher year over year in the U.S. and 8% higher in Iowa.

This rise in heifer placements mainly reflects a recovery from low levels in recent years when producers were aggressively retaining heifers for breeding. Heifers on feed nationally began to climb sharply in mid-2017, with higher quarterly inventories on July 1 (up 11%) and Oct. 1 (up 13%), as well as Jan. 1, 2018 (up 16%) and now in April. Heifers on feed in Iowa only began to increase in earnest in 2018, up 21% on Jan. 1 and up almost that much in April.

The data included 700- to 799-pound, medium and large, No. 1 open replacement heifers. The prices for January through April are 9% higher than a year ago. This could limit heifer slaughter later this year as decisions about retaining breeding stock become more important.

This is the highest number of heifers on feed in the U.S. since April 2012. In Iowa, the number ties the total in April 2013. Although these numbers are greater than they have been in the last couple of years, nationally they are still lower than some historical levels. Higher herd inventories and a larger calf crop translate to more heifers available, even while producers may still be expanding. Or if contracting, they may be contracting slower than previously thought.

Heifer slaughter rising
Higher heifer slaughter resulting from more heifers in feedlots provides another clue on the status of herd expansion in 2018. The 5% year-to-date rise in heifer slaughter follows a year with the biggest annual rise (up 12%) in heifer slaughter since 1976. Although, the 2017 total heifer slaughter was nowhere near a record. Sharply higher heifer slaughter runs are all but certain for the first seven months of 2018.

However, interpreting heifer slaughter numbers from August to the end of the year will be a bit tricky. That’s because the rise in heifer slaughter will appear to slow dramatically. Last year saw sizable gains in heifer slaughter in August and beyond. This year’s percentage gain will be compared to last year’s higher base. From August onward, relatively small percentage hikes in slaughter could still translate into a sizable hike in heifer slaughter numbers.

Regional differences
The other component of herd inventory change is beef cow slaughter. Beef cow slaughter for the year to date is up 10% from one year ago. Some regional year-over-year comparisons stand out. The Pacific Northwest, while not a prominent region for beef cow slaughter (5% of the U.S. total in 2017), has quadrupled its volume of beef cow slaughter so far in 2018. The western Corn has upped beef cow slaughter by 6%.

The Southern Plains processed 9% more beef cows than in January through April of 2017. This region is especially worth monitoring in upcoming months given the drought conditions that have developed in western parts of this area and the inherent difficulties in avoiding additional beef herd liquidation.

Both heifer slaughter and beef cow slaughter patterns thus far are consistent with the idea of small but continued beef cow herd expansion nationally in 2018.

Feeder heifers enter cow herds
USDA’s Ag Market News Service tracks where heifers sold at auctions are going. It has identified numerous examples of heifers being purchased at feeder cattle auctions to be placed in cow-calf operations.

Open replacement heifers often bring roughly $10 to $20 per cwt more compared to feeder heifers, resulting in higher values of $75 to $150 per head. For example, Iowa auction data for April included 700- to 799-pound, medium and large, No. 1 open replacement heifers valued at $137.56 per cwt or $1,032 per head — some $12 per cwt or $91 per head more than comparable feeder heifers. 

While open replacement heifer prices are down from the heights experienced in 2014-16, January through April prices are 9% higher than a year ago and could be a factor limiting heifer slaughter later this year as decisions about breeding stock retention become more important.

Every market has buyers and sellers. The current heifer market is a seller’s market. Some producers are taking advantage of the market and capturing higher values for their replacement quality heifers.

Schulz is the Iowa State University Extension livestock economist.

My safety sermon

Orion Samuelson shares his annual farm safety sermon including his focus on the slow-moving vehicle sign, he also wants drivers to slow down in the country. And he shares his thoughts on another key topic - GMO labeling.

Samuelson Sez is a weekly feature on This Week in Agribusiness, offering viewers insight, and commentary, on key agriculture topics of the day. You can contact Orion at

Callaway FFA

Orion Samuelson profiles Callaway FFA in Callaway, Neb., chartered in August 2016. And Member Isaac Stallbaumer shares a highlight of his tenure in the organization.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Max Armstrong at They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at