U.S. cattle groups call for clear labels
- Eric Nelson who farms and feeds cattle in northwest Iowa and also serves as Region 7 director for RCALF USA, believes that consumers would pay a premium for a beef product if they knew its country of origin.
- Nelson stated that a growing percentage of beef consumed in the U.S. is imported and restoring MCOOL would assure U.S. consumers that they are eating the best beef in the world, U.S. beef.
- MCOOL was repealed in 2015 after a complaint to the World Trade Organization from Canada and Mexico.
- Vice president of government affairs for NCBA, Ethan Lane, says that NCBA supports origin labeling, but only voluntarily.
- The organization believes the program should be market-driven rather than mandated.
- Right now, producers have the ability to label their beef with country of origin under the Process Verified Program operated by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, said Lane. He believes this labeling option is enough to allow producers to capture more value in the supply chain.
- Lane went on to say that the real issue is packers and retailers being able to use ‘Product of USA’ labeling on anything that goes through an FSIS facility.
- NCBA believes this is misrepresentation because it speaks to the processing facility rather than the country of origin.
- Nelson also has an issue with processing requirements.
- “Right now, if you unwrap a pallet of frozen beef and then re-wrap it, you are meeting the further processing requirement,” stated Nelson. He feels that a mandatory program would counteract this issue.
- Nelson went on to say that when MCOOL was repealed, the protection for labeling foreign beef disappeared. Nelson and RCALF plan to do all they can to bring back MCOOL.
Nebraska livestock show canceled
- A few months ago, the Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority announced that they would be hosting the Nebraskan, a show that was meant to take the place of the National Western Stock Show in Denver since it had been postponed to 2022.
- However, with the rising cases of Covid-19, the Grand Island, NE show has been cancelled.
- Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority stakeholders reported that the pandemic would not allow for a high quality event to take place.
JBS plant in Greeley working to contain new early-stage Covid-19 outbreak
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has reported a new outbreak of Covid-19 at the Greeley JBS plant.
- As of last Tuesday, 20 new cases were confirmed at the plant.
- When the pandemic first began JBS was one of the largest single-location outbreaks in Colorado with 290 cases by the time it was considered resolved by the CDPHE on October 20th.
- That outbreak resulted in six recorded deaths due to the virus.
- Nikki Richardson, a spokesperson for JBS, said that active coronavirus cases decreased to 12 by Thursday, which was just 0.3 percent of the plant’s 4,000 workers.
- According to Richardson, JBS believes that the majority of cases are coming into the plant population from outside the plant itself, instead of being spread within the plant.
- Many employees have come forward saying that the company did not properly communicate about the early spread of the virus back in the spring. Additionally, some of the workforce has reported that JBS is not doing their part to compensate sick employees for the time they’ve missed due to quarantine and being too sick to work.
- All of these claims have been denied by JBS and Richardson said that besides increasing surveillance testing and safety precautions, the company has also enhanced its health benefits to compensate Covid-19 related absences and health issues among its employees.
- CDPHE is leading the investigation into this second outbreak and have been in communication with JBS’ workforce making sure that employees share any health and safety concerns.
October U.S cattle on feed report
- Cattle on feed: 12 million head on November 1st, up 1 percent from year ago levels.
- This is the highest November 1st inventory since the series began in 1996.
- Placements during October totaled 2.19 million head, 11 percent below October 2019.
- Net placements were 2.13 million head.
- Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.87 million head, slightly below 2019.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $238.35 (+0.65)
- Select boxed beef: $214.98 (+1.09)