Friday, September 9, 2016

Guest Editorial:Tracy Brunner, NCBA President

Guest Editorial:Tracy Brunner, NCBA President


Supreme Court Upholds Landowners Rights Challenging WOTUS Jurisdiction 
In a significant victory for cattle producers across the country, the Supreme Court ruled in late May in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., that landowners may challenge the Corps’ jurisdictional determination specifying that a piece of property contains a “Water of the United States” (WOTUS). This ruling sets a strong legal precedent and is a major victory for landowners across the country.


Protein Makes a Comeback

Protein Makes a Comeback

 Source: Cattlemen’s Beef Board
   Eat a different kind of fat and fewer carbohydrates. Or is it the other way around? Over the last 40 years, consumers have been led one way or the other, which begs the question: Where’s the protein?
“Starting almost a half century ago, protein was basically ignored,” according to Shalene McNeill, executive director of nutrition research for the beef checkoff. “Although its benefits to the human diet are indisputable, in the past, it often has been left out of the discussion when it comes to the three macronutrients.”
When the 1977 Dietary Goals for the United States were published by the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, protein was indeed the forgotten macronutrient.
Eat less fat, sugar and salt, the report urged, and more carbohydrates. The American public took admonitions about the need to eat less fat to heart, replacing those fat calories with carbohydrates — and now, concerns about human health, particularly overweight and obesity, are at peak levels.
This leads to the question: What would happen if the optimal amount of protein in the diet was re-examined? The benefits of protein have never been in question, McNeill asserts, and have been established in research that began in the first part of the 20th century. This research demonstrated that amino acids, the basic building blocks of protein, are used by the body to make protein that support many bodily functions, including growth, transport and storage of nutrients, repair of body tissues in the muscles, bones, skin and hair, and removal of all kinds of waste deposits. Amino acids are also a source of energy for the body.


Young ranchers, listen up: 8 tips from an old-timer on how to succeed in ranching

Young ranchers, listen up: 8 tips from an old-timer on how to succeed in ranching

An old-timer offers advice to aspiring young ranchers.
“Land is too expensive.” “You'll never be able to make money.” “Get a real job and forget about it.”
These are just a few sentiments a young person often hears after voicing their goal of owning a ranch. True, land is scarce and expensive, and turning a profit in the cattle business depends upon a volatile cocktail of weather, futures markets, hard work and luck; but ranching is still an achievable vocation.
Nelo Mori, now 91, started a ranch in northern Nevada from scratch as a young man. Now, four generations of his family live and work on his ranches, spread over multiple divisions from Lovelock to Tuscarora.


Is TPP more about control than trade?

Is TPP more about control than trade?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been pushed for months now by many agricultural groups as a great boon to all ag industries. But after months of study I have concluded it is far more damaging than beneficial.
First, it's my estimation the actual gains appear small and slow to come. An example is in this USDA publication which specifically mentions trade with Japan. It says Japan will eliminate duties on 74% of its beef and beef product imports within 16 years, with substantial cuts to the remaining tariffs.
Note the length of the timetable, however. Most of the Japanese tariffs are to be reduced significantly or eliminated within 13-16 years. If we think of this as an investment such as we would make on the farm or ranch, is that a good one? How many business investments do you make that don't pay off for 16 years? Even most cows supposedly pay off by the sixth year.


Ranchers beware: The war over water will only grow more intense

Ranchers beware: The war over water will only grow more intense

One of my earliest childhood memories is a picture of an area farmer on the front page of our local newspaper. He was dead, lying next to several siphon tubes running water to a corn field. His brother killed him. Their argument? Water.
Indeed, humans have known from the dawn of time that who controls the water controls their destiny. As more and more productive ag land becomes converted from growing grass and grain to sprouting houses and lawns, convenience stores and strip malls, the argument over who will control the water and how it will be used will only grow more strident.
But now, the war is fought with lawyers and checkbooks instead of clubs, spears and guns.
Into this environment jumps The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), which released a report summarizing a survey of irrigated agricultural producers in the Columbine state about leasing their water.
Colorado’s state-wide water plan estimates Colorado's population of 5.4 million could nearly double to 10 million by 2060. The plan estimates that the increased demand for water could result in the loss of as much as one-fourth of Colorado’s irrigated agricultural land through the purchase and transfer of water rights from agriculture to urban areas. Such large scale dry-up of irrigated agriculture would have permanent adverse economic, environmental and food security impacts, CCA says.

To minimize 'buying and drying' of irrigated agricultural land, the Colorado water plan emphasizes water conservation, increased storage, and temporary leasing of ag water as the means for closing the projected water supply/demand gap. Irrigated fields may be fallowed or under-irrigated to “free up” consumptive use water for temporary leasing for municipal, industrial, recreational, environmental or other uses, according to CCA.

Findings of the survey include:
  • About two-thirds of respondents expressed interest in leasing ag water.
  • Income diversification was seen as the greatest potential advantage of leasing water.
  • Reduced total delivery was preferred over rotational fallowing or deficit irrigation as a means of generating consumptive use water for leasing.
  • There is concern that ag water rights could be put in jeopardy if they are leased for other uses.
  • Acceptable lease rates will vary with location.
  • Ag producers expressed concern about the impact of temporary fallowing on soil quality.
  • Given a choice, respondents preferred leasing their water rights over selling by a 20:1 margin.
  • More research is needed on cropping system and soil quality under reduced or fallow irrigation. 
Is leasing irrigation water for urban use an option? It’s hard to say, at least at this juncture. But it makes sense; and it makes more sense than selling your water rights to the highest bidder.
Take a drive through Colorado’s South Park to see what I mean. Denver, in its unquenchable thirst for water, many years ago started buying water rights from ranchers in the region. What was once very productive hay land and pasture now is dry and brown for most of the year, and cows are fewer and farther between than I remember from my youth.
Is that a barometer for the future of ranching in the arid West? Only if we let it.

What countries are the beef industry’s major trade partners?

What countries are the beef industry’s major trade partners?

This past week brought a flurry of responses to USDA’s announcement regarding our new trade status with Brazil. Brazil currently ships cooked and canned beef to the U.S. However, the new agreement allows for fresh product to be exported from Brazil for the first time since the country was classified with foot and mouth disease (FMD) by USDA.
Brazil will be operating under the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) outside of country-specific trade agreements (e.g. Canada and Mexico). USDA explains the system as follows:
The two-tiered system allows a specified volume of imports per calendar year at a lower rate of duty and assigns a higher tariff rate to volumes above the quota.  Two types of U.S. TRQs were established through WTO negotiations:


Here’s what I like about ranchers: we’re winners, not whiners

Here’s what I like about ranchers: we’re winners, not whiners

I had one of those great phone calls last night. A rancher who has been building a cowherd for the last 50 years found himself at one of those milestones in life—it was time to sell the cows.
The traditional route would have been to schedule a dispersal and watch a lifetime of work get scattered to the wind. Financially that is often the best decision, but at this point, it wasn’t about the money for him.
He had two goals: keep the nucleus of the herd together and find the cattle a home with someone who shares a similar vision and continue his life’s work. And he would love for those cows to go to someone aspiring to make it in the cattle business. This individual has a long history providing support to the industry. He is at a point where he doesn’t want to be involved in the daily grind, but he has a stake in this industry and is committed to giving someone else the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

What to expect when U.S.-Brazil beef trade resumes

What to expect when U.S.-Brazil beef trade resumes


Beef trade between the U.S. and Brazil will open soon.
USDA
On August 1, USDA announced that Brazil is reopening to U.S. beef for the first time since the first U.S. BSE case was confirmed in December 2003. The USDA release also noted that in a separate decision, its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently determined that the United States can safely import fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil.
Currently, beef imports from Brazil are limited to cooked and canned products, due to restrictions related to foot and mouth disease. Further regulatory steps are necessary before shipments can begin in either direction, but when beef trade resumes between the two countries, what is the likely impact?
According to U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror, the potential for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports to Brazil will be fairly limited in the near term, due in part to Brazil’s economic situation and relatively weak currency.