beef

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa's beef producers have agreed to spend an extra 50 cents a head for a state checkoff. Checkoff programs fund marketing and education for a variety of agricultural products. The state conducted a referendum on Nov. 30 to see whether cattle producers wanted to re-establish a state checkoff. About 1,700 of the state's nearly 27,000 beef producers voted in the referendum, with 56 percent approving the proposal. Iowa had a state checkoff from 1970-1985, says Chris Freland, executive director...

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Gov. Terry Branstad is slated for a trade mission Japan and China next month to promote Iowa beef and pork products. Representatives of both industries, who will travel with the governor, say the two Asian countries present significant economic opportunities. "This trade mission comes at a critical time for Iowa pork producers," says Al Wulfekuhle,a pig farmer in Buchanan County and the president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. "We’re facing tough economic times. We have prices below...

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Agriculture commodity groups should not be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. That’s according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, who opposes House legislation that allows these groups to keep their documents and data private. Commodity industries have checkoff programs that are tasked with research and promotion of their products, such as pork or eggs. Checkoffs are funded through mandatory fees from producers and are overseen by the USDA. Industries with checkoff programs say since USDA...

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Expansion in the country’s beef cattle herd is bringing cheaper meat prices to the grocery store just in time for the summer grilling season, but those reduced prices might get some scrutiny on Capitol Hill. U.S. Department of Agriculture data show the price of ground beef is down about 30 cents per pound compared to last year. Cheaper feed, falling land prices and increased consumer demand for meat over the past three years spurred the nation’s beef producers to raise more cattle, said Lee...

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Turn on the TV and you can barely escape it: presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle deriding free trade agreements, like the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a bum deal that will hurt the U.S. economy and especially low-wage workers, according to pols from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. But here in the Midwest, ask a farmer about the TPP, and you're likely to get a different answer. "This pending TPP trade negotiation, to me, is hugely important for agricultural...

Charles Bassett wants you to buy hamburgers made from his Missouri cows. That's why the Missouri rancher wants to pay an extra dollar into an industry-created fund every time he sells one of his cattle. The fund is called a checkoff program – an industry-administered pool of money that is collected from producers for promotion, research and marketing of a particular commodity. If enacted by a referendum of beef producers in the state, the money would be spent by a designated group (likely the...

Harvest Public Media file photo by Grant Gerlock

Canada and Mexico could impose tariffs on more than $1 billion-worth of U.S. goods as a way to compensate for losses brought on by a U.S. labeling law. The World Trade Organization set the level of retaliation Monday, the final step in a long-running dispute over the Country-Of-Origin-Labels, or COOL, policy. As of 2009, retailers must include on meat a label that states where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Meat companies have to track and label products, and Canada and Mexico...

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal will change tariffs on agricultural exports, but for Midwest farmers and ranchers, the devil is in the details. The TPP agreement could cut tariffs levied by many countries on U.S. exports like pork and rice, making it easier to get some products into markets in Asia. Midwest cattle ranchers scored a win under the deal with a big tariff cut in Japan, says David Salmonsen of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "Reduction in tariffs on beef, from 38 and...

Flickr / Christopher Paquette

The founder and former owner of a Cedar Rapids-based meat supplier has been found guilty of 15 counts of fraud in federal district court on Monday. Midamar founder Bill Aossey faces more than a century in prison for fraudulently labeling beef so it appeared to meet certain Islamic standards when it did not. He also was convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud. From 2007 to 2010 Aossey instructed employees to label meat as coming from an Omaha slaughterhouse, when in fact it came from a facility...

Photo by Stephanie Paige Ogburn

Food companies the world over are paying close attention to the groundswell of support for food transparency, the “know where your food comes from” movement. JBS , the largest meat producer in the world, is beginning to take notice as well. But executives with JBS USA, the North American arm of its Brazilian parent company, at the same time acknowledge that the very nature of their business is grisly, gory and sometimes unpalatable. “Part of you says, ‘I need to learn how to bring the packing...

Once Again, WTO Rejects Country of Origin Meat Labels

May 19, 2015
Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harveset Public Media file

Meat sold in the U.S. has to have a label telling in which country the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. But the World Trade Organization confirmed Monday that those country of origin labels (COOL) on meat sold in the U.S. violate international law . The labels were first promoted in the 2002 Farm Bill. The most recent version of COOL labels came out in 2013. (If you need a primer on “country of origin labeling,” watch this video from Harvest Public Media for background.) The United...

Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harveset Public Media

Thousands of people get sick every year from E. coli bacteria in their food. While the beef industry has gone to great lengths to limit illnesses in meat, the industry has been slow to adopt an E. coli vaccine that could keep people from getting sick. Ground beef has a track record of causing some serious outbreaks of food illness, like E. Coli O157 H:7. The problem is, when cows carry E. coli bacteria in their gut it’s totally harmless, but if the bacteria gets on your meat and then you...

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A battle is brewing in the organic food industry. The largest trade association for organic farmers, marketers and processors wants growers to help pay for promotional campaigns, using a decades-old funding model that paid for iconic ads like “Got Milk?” and “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner.” But deciding how to spread the organic message is dividing the sector into factions. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has taken up the banner for an organic “checkoff,” a fund designed to promote a...

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

You’ve probably seen, but may not have noticed, labels on the meat at your grocery store.

Ranchers Rebel Over Beef Checkoff

Jan 27, 2015
Courtesy Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star

From their small farms set in the rolling hills of northeast Kansas, two ranchers are raising a few cattle, and a lot of Cain.

Sonja Salzburg for Harvest Public Media

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks . The beer is highly sought after, but it’s not the only food or drink made by a religious order.

Premium Processing

Nov 11, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

Central Iowa is about to get a much needed economic shot in the arm as a long awaited beef processing plant opens its doors providing hundreds of new jobs.

For several years, the beef industry has struggled over how and whether to collect additional funds for industry promotion and research. The money is part of a program called the Beef checkoff. Last month U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proposed a second, supplementary checkoff, implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today at the World Food Prize symposium, Vilsack told reporters he's been “pretty patient,” waiting for the Beef producers to come to an agreement, and...

John McGrath/Hale Center for Journalism

Jennifer Brdar’s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free. After earning an associate’s degree in meat science, Brdar was hired in March as a temporary federal meat inspector at a big beef packing operation just up the road in Liberal, Kan. She lasted barely a month, walking away in frustration. The meat inspection agency wasn’t doing its job, Brdar...

You may have noticed when grilling steaks or hot dogs this summer that they cost more than they did last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and beef prices are up more than 11 percent since last summer. Supply and demand determine price, and the pork supply comes from places like Riley Lewis' hog farm near Forest City, Iowa. Here 1,000 acres of corn surround the barns, and a grain silo from 1948 is dwarfed by modern storage bins. When Lewis enters the barn, pigs trot...

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard here on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical. They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot. “We feed it the last 20 days of the feeding period and when you drive by, you can actually see a physical change in the animal,” Karney said. ...

One of the key issues that have yet to be resolved in the Iowa legislature this session is education reform. The House and Senate have passed dueling plans and the Governor says the Senates version is watered down. Join host Ben Kieffer as hes joined by Governor Terry Branstad. Well ask him about education reform and about the debate over finely textured lean beef or what critics are calling pink slime. Later, Ben talks with Elizabeth Wentzel, who after raising five children decided to chase...