6-22-21

An issue that keeps resurfacing in the livestock industry is the power of meat processors to control the market prices of beef, pork and poultry. For example, four packers, JBS USA, Tyson Foods Inc. Cargill Incorporated and National Beef Packing Company slaughter 85% of all fed cattle in the United States. In May, a half dozen agricultural organizations came together to push for government action to look into this problem. Apparently that meeting got some notice in Washington. Last week, Republican U.S. Senators Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Charles Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana have proposed legislation to create an office for a special investigator within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is supporting this proposal, so farmers and ranchers will have to wait and see if finally, some light will be shone on this issue.

Reuters reports that some beef cattle producers and investors are taking another approach to meat packer concentration by building their own slaughter facilities. Nationwide, at least five new beef processing facilities of varying sizes have opened or are planned following disruption of the meat supply during the Corina virus pandemic. Economists point out that market conditions are favorable for new entrants into the business, because there’s a good supplies of cattle, and beef prices and profit margins have soared due to demand from U.S. consumers and strong export markets.

The USDA National Recourse Conservation Service is offering new Conservation Incentive Contracts to help agricultural producers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon alleviate the impacts of drought on working lands for practices that include forest and brush management, tree&shrub establishment, prescribed grazing, pasture and hay planting, wildlife habitat, livestock watering systems and cover crops. Signup for this funding at local NRCS offices by July12, 2021.

Although Bees play a critical role in pollinating many of the plants that humans eat and are a key to food security, bee populations continue to decline rapidly around the world. Scientists believe that a number of factors are contributing to this, including habitat loss, drought and common insecticides like neonicotinoids that are used to protect growing crops from insects. But bees often get caught in the crossfire. These toxic substances interfere with molecules that help bees produce energy, while disrupting their sleep cycles, and leaving them immobile and starving. However, a tiny new indigestible particle, developed at Cornell University, detoxifies deadly insecticides before they can harm both domestic and wild bees. With 98% of the country’s hives contaminated by at least six different pesticides, beekeepers are taking note. The solution is about the size of a grain of pollen, and when ingested by bees, provides immunity to the pesticides. This product was developed by James Webb, a student at Cornell University, who co-authored a study about his findings in the journal Nature Food, and is founder of the Beemmunity Company, which is licensing the technology from Cornell. The microparticles are added to sugar feed or pollen supplements that bees readily eat, which protects bees against wide range of organophosphate insecticides including Malathion, parathion, diazinon and other similar products.

Author Akiko Busch wrote, “The entire World is shining with things we cannot see.

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