North Dakota state beef checkoff will remain mandatory
- Last week, the North Dakota House Agricultural Committee voted down HB 1487, which would have made the state beef checkoff voluntary.
- The current law states that cattle producers must pay $1/hd. for every beef animal sold in North Dakota to go towards the state beef checkoff, on top of the federal $1 beef checkoff.
- According to North Dakota Beef Commission Executive Director Nancy Jo Bateman, very few people would have voluntarily contributed to the program if the law had changed.
- Numerous cattle producers testified in favor of the bill due to problems they have experienced in getting their refunds, and many frustrations about North Dakota dollars supporting the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
- Cattle producers made it clear that they are unhappy that NCBA opposes COOL; various testifiers noted that the generic beef promotion done by the checkoff does not necessarily help U.S. or North Dakota producers.
- Very few individuals spoke against the bill. The individuals that did testify against it, stated that producers have the option to request a refund if they aren’t happy with the management of checkoff funds.
- They also believe that the beef research, education and promotion done by the checkoff is helping producers. They also stated that if the state checkoff were to be made voluntary, many producers would choose to not contribute.
Bankruptcy judge lets Tyson feed 54,000 cows amid ranch feud
- Last week, a U.S. bankruptcy judge protected an essential cash fusion for Easterday Ranches Inc., making sure that 54,000 hd. of cattle would be fed.
- In recent weeks, Tyson Foods sued Easterday Ranches for more than $200 million over misappropriated funds, which led to Easterdays filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- After this occurred, Tyson, Easterdays’ only customer, halted payments to the ranch, which caused the family operation to run low on funds, threatening their ability to keep cattle fed.
- Tyson agreed to wire $1.75 million to the ranch so feed supplies could be replenished.
- According to Co-Chief Restructuring Officer T. Scott Avilia, if Tyson would not have wired the money, 54,000 head of cattle would have went without feed and been at risk of death.
Smithfield’s sustainability claims challenged in FTC complaint
- Last Thursday, Food & Water Watch, along with other numerous consumer advocacy groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming that Smithfield Foods has made “false claims” about how their pork products are produced.
- The groups are asking the FTC to make Smithfield remove “misleading” marketing claims, stop making such claims in the future, and disseminate corrective statements in the media.
- The complaint states that Smithfield Foods is misleading consumers by falsely marketing and advertising its products as being produced in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.
- Instead of being sustainably produced, the complaint explains that Smithfield’s products are a result of highly industrialized, dangerous, and extractive practices that recklessly pollute the environment and harm local communities.
- Smithfield defended its practices saying that the claims are false.
- According to Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s chief administrative officer, the complaint has no merit; Smithfield is focused on providing safe, affordable food, while also focusing on sustainability.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $234.58 (+0.33)
- Select boxed beef: $220.79 (+0.35)