What's in the news right now about the environmentally sound, socially responsible and
economically viable
beef value chain.



Dear GRSB Member, 

From Ruaraidh Petre
Executive Director Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

Welcome to the latest edition of GRSB connect. Exciting new developments continue to occur around the world regarding beef sustainability. Recently, in Europe, the SAI Platform Beef Working Group, a member of GRSB, released their “sustainable beef principles.” We applaud SAI Platform for attempting to address, what our membership well understands as, a challenging issue! As you well know, GRSB is well on our way to establishing global principles and criteria for sustainable beef through our membership-driven process. While we recognize there is the potential for confusion regarding multiple efforts to define beef sustainability, our process was established in a manner to mitigate this concern. Primarily, our role at GRSB is not to set regional standards for specific geographies, but rather, through a robust, transparent process – including a global, public comment period – establish global principles and criteria agreed to both by our diverse, multi-stakeholder membership and the global public.

In addition, we are committed to the unification of global efforts to define and establish principles for sustainable beef. Our own Unification Committee, led by Gary Johnson of McDonalds, is charged with ensuring that GRSB continues to play a constructive and coordinating role with other organizations focused on global beef sustainability.  Importantly, McDonalds is both a founding member of GRSB and chairs the SAI Platform beef working group, providing an excellent opportunity to collaborate on our mutual efforts at the appropriate time.

GRSB, with producer, cattle feeder, processor, retailer, NGO and National Roundtable members from all of the major beef producing regions of the world, is uniquely positioned to equitably address the challenge of global beef sustainability. Our strategic support of the development of National and/or regional roundtables, capable of interpreting the high level principles and criteria established by GRSB to meet the specific local needs of their beef production systems, is a key part of our effort. GTPS in Brazil, a GRSB member, is an excellent example of a well-developed and active National roundtable tackling the challenge of beef sustainability in a manner appropriate for their unique geographical, political and ecological systems. Recently, Canada has established a roundtable for sustainable beef and Colombia has also announced the formation of its roundtable. Work is progressing on roundtables in Mexico and Argentina, and we look forward to the establishment of additional National roundtables for sustainable beef in the coming year. All of this exciting activity is a clear indication that the march to global sustainable beef continues its momentum and GRSB is proud to play a critical role in this global effort!”


Member News

The Big Mac
dateline:12/01/13, source Agriland.ie, by Lisa Deeney McDrive

“Irish beef is very important for us and a very important part of the European supply chain. Ireland is a big supplier for McDonald’s, not just for the Irish market but for across Europe. We use about 10 per cent of all Irish beef exports, which is significant,” says McDonald’s senior director Keven Kenny.

AgriLand caught up with Kenny, the driving force of the McDonald’s supply chain in Europe. “McDonald’s also works very closely with its suppliers in Ireland and Bord Bia in particular in driving sustainable beef principles. ”This week the European-wide beef Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) launched key beef sustainability principles, where key stakeholders McDonald’s and Irish suppliers are leading the way. “Beef is the most iconic item on our menu, so sourcing beef sustainably has long been a priority for our business,” Kenny stressed.

“We need to have sustainable beef suppliers or we won’t have the Big Mac or quarter pounder with cheese in our outlets,” he said.

McDonald’s is prime not only for Irish agriculture, but for our economy. It operates 84 restaurants in Ireland and is the third-largest multinational employer here, with more than 4,200 employees. It also has a number of significant supplier deals with Irish companies, including a €300m beef contract with Dawn Meats, an agreement with Ballygowan Natural Mineral Water for its exclusive bottled water supplier and a supplier deal with Tipperary-based bacon producer Dew Valley to name but a few.

Pricey Calves Threaten U.S. Feedlot Return to Profitability
dateline: 11/25/13, source: Reuters, by Theoplis Waters

A sharp drop in feed corn prices caused by the huge U.S. harvest last month has put the nation's cattle feedlots in the black for the first time in more than two years. But analysts warn those profits could soon disappear as the prices they pay for scarce lightweight calves remain near record high. Feedyards and packing plants, such as Cargill Inc and Tyson Foods Inc, are drawing from a shallow pool of cattle after multi-year droughts in the country whittled the herd to its lowest in more than 60 years.

The Denver-based Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) calculated that feedlots in October, on average, made about $39 per head on cattle sold to meat companies. That compares with a loss of $21 per head in September, which was the 29th consecutive month of losses.

Woolworths and Coles Agree Food Industry Code
dateline: 11/18/13, source: My Wealth News, au, by Emily Gueterres

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths (WOW) have today agreed on a new code of conduct with the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), establishing a clear set of principles between retailers and suppliers.

The new food and grocery code will relate to trading, aiming to provide greater certainty and clarity about dealings in the industry without adding complexity or cost in the fast moving consumer goods sector. The voluntary code will place tougher restrictions on grocery supply agreements and aim to create greater transparency on the shelf allocation process for branded and private label products.

Described as “historic” by the AFGC, an organisation that represents food manufacturers, the new agreement will also see an introduction of a low cost and fast track dispute resolution mechanism.

Woolworths Urges Competitors to Sign Grocery Code of Conduct
dateline: 11/27/13, source: Sydney Morning herald Business Day, by Sue Mitchell

Woolworths chief executive Grant O'Brien has joined forces with Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder in urging rivals Aldi, Costco and IGA to sign the landmark grocery code of conduct with suppliers. Echoing comments by Mr Goyder last week, Mr O'Brien said on Tuesday there was ''no logical reason'' for Aldi, Costco and Metcash's IGA chain to exempt themselves from the code, even though it was voluntary.

''It's now time for Aldi, Costco and IGA to join the conversation,'' he told shareholders at Woolworths' annual meeting.' 'In terms of the wider competition debate, all stakeholders would be well minded to keep what's best for customers at the forefront of their minds.

''Aldi, Costco and Metcash have so far shown no inclination to join Woolworths and Coles in signing the code of conduct, which was finalised last week after 14 months of negotiations with the Australian Food and Grocery Council.

Metcash has indicated the code is irrelevant to its business as a wholesaler, while Aldi and Costco have highlighted their good relationships with suppliers, saying the code is a matter for the two major chains.

Meat Labels Get Specific Despite Industry Resistance

dateline: 11/22/13, source: StarTribune.com, by Jim Spencer

Cargill, Hormel are among companies warning of economic disruption if “country of origin” listings become mandatory. New meat labeling rules designed to bring the United States up to World Trade Organization (WTO) standards take effect this weekend over the pitched protests of many of the nation’s beef, pork and poultry processors.
Minnesota-based Cargill and Hormel are major players in a fight to change the rules that will require labels to specify where animals used in meat products were born, raised and slaughtered. Both companies, as well as Golden Valley-based General Mills, signed an Oct. 29 letter asking members of the Senate and House farm bill conference committee to amend “country of origin labeling” requirements, known as COOL. The letter said COOL “could result in widespread disruption” in agriculture and the economy.

“Our company supports the views held by industry organizations ... that the implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling rule would confuse consumers, raise food prices, be costly to implement and serves no public health or food safety benefit,” said Hormel spokeswoman Becci Smith. Cargill’s lobbyists have made much the same case to Congress, company spokesman Mike Martin said. “Cargill favors the repeal of country-of-origin labeling.”

The specific concern is that as of Nov. 23, U.S. meatpackers will no longer be able to list meat sources in a catch-all category without saying exactly where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. Right now, meatpackers use labels that say “product of Country X, Country Y and Country Z,” but not what role each country played.

  In The News



Nigeria: Infrastructure Development Crucial for Sustainable Agriculture – NESG
11/28/13, source: AllAfrica.com,by Nkiruka Nnorom  

Infrastructure development and building strong institution to support agriculture in Nigeria, as well as change in present state of land use and right have been identified as some of the factors necessary for sustainable agriculture in the country.

This was part of submissions made by participants at the sustainable agriculture business principles stakeholders' consultation put together by Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG in conjunction with United Nation's Global Compact in Lagos. Other factors identified by the participants that needed to be paid attention to include: yield and productivity, workers' rights, optimal use of soil and water, women rights and gender equality, climate change, managing waste, biodiversity, protecting children and energy efficiency.

The rest are animal and marine welfare, supply chain and trade, small scale farmers and co-operatives, value chain financing, and health and nutrition.

New Report Offers Solutions to Close the Global Food Gap
dateline:12/05/13, source: United Nations Environment Programme via AgProfessioinal.com

New research presents solutions to meet the world's growing food needs, while advancing economic development and environmental sustainability. The analysis finds that the world will need 70 percent more food, as measured by calories, in order to feed a global population of 9.6 billion people in 2050.

It is possible to close the food gap, while creating a more productive and healthy environment through improvements in the way people produce and consume food.

The findings are being unveiled in the new interim report of the World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. The report is being released at the 3rd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change, in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Over the next several decades, the world faces a grand challenge-and opportunity-at the intersection of food security, development and the environment," said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of WRI. "To meet human needs, we must close the 70 percent gap between the food we will need and the food available today. But, we must do so in a way that creates opportunities for the rural poor, limits clearing of forests, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture." To read report, click HERE.

Top End Beef Producers Drive Industry Development
dateline: 12/06/13, source: ABC.net.au, NT Country Hour, by Carmen Brown
It may have been a tough year for northern beef producers, but that hasn't stopped the industry from progressing its research and development agenda. The Katherine Pastoral Advisory Committee, which represents producers from across the Top End, met yesterday to review existing projects and develop new funding proposals.

Committee chair, Keith Holzwart from Avago Station, says while economic and seasonal conditions have been difficult, the industry has remained focused on its longer-term production goals. "Well it's certainly been a different year, probably one of the toughest years we've put in, economic-wise," he said. Listen to audio interview HERE.

Feedlot Treatment Costs Continue to Grow
dateline: 12/04/13, source: Agriview.com

USDA’s Veterinary Services (VS) provides the beef industry with valuable services through its various surveys over time. These surveys allow for useful and meaningful insight into major trends within the industry. One such survey is assessment of the feedlot sector, according to a Beef Magazine analysis.

This fall, VS released results from the Feedlot 2011 survey. When compared to the Feedlot ’99 survey, one of the most interesting aspects surrounds the difference of treatment costs for various cattle diseases. It’s important to note that the survey details direct treatment costs (e.g., cost of antibiotics) vs. indirect treatment costs (loss of performance, labor, etc.).In fact, the direct cost of treatment of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in feedlot cattle is substantial at $23.60/case.

These costs appear to have nearly doubled since 1999, when the cost of treatment was estimated at $12.59/case. This direct cost alone highlights the reason that feedlot operators’ management strategies are frequently directed at minimizing the occurrence of BRD in these cattle. The bottom line is that treating disease, along with all production factors, has become increasingly costly in the feedyard.

CCA President Discusses Issues Facing Industry
dateline: 12/04/13, source: Williams Lake Tribune, by Monica Lamb-Yorski

Tight margins and ever changing markets have transformed many rough and tumble cowboys into savvy business people, said Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association president Cuyler Huffman. Speaking at the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Thursday Huffman said the ranching industry has been challenging in the last decade.

Due to the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis in 2003, many producers were forced to liquidate cattle at severely discounted prices or sell ranches entirely. “In our area provincially and nationally, the number of cattle is much smaller,” Huffman said. “As in many industries, margins have become smaller and tighter due to rising input costs. ”A timely input cost the rancher is subject to is hydro and the increases of accrued 28.5 per cent over the next five years.

Trade Access into Peru 'Great News for Meat Industry'
dateline: 12/04/163, source: Fuseworks Media, voxy.co.nz

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming the approval of New Zealand meat exports to enter Peru. Peruvian authority SENASA has approved the listing of all New Zealand exporters currently interested in exporting beef, sheep meat and offal into the country. The listings are valid for three years and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has the option to request the addition of further exporters.

"This approval to export beef and sheep products to Peru is great news for the meat industry. It gives our exporters access to a market with a value (based on 2011 imports) of at least US$19 million, with significant potential for growth. "This is more good news, following the Chinese Taipei economic agreement which will phase out beef tariffs in 2015."

Once again, it shows the importance of trade deals in helping drive our primary industries. This reinforces the importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which could have major benefits to New Zealand. "This new arrangement also provides opportunities for Peruvian manufacturers and retailers to benefit from the enhanced supply chain arrangements, providing their customers with access to New Zealand’s high quality red meat products."

Beef Demand Challenges Ahead
dateline: 12/03/13, source: FarmTalkNewspaper Editorial by Derrell S. Peel, Parsons, Kansas

Beef production is falling at the end of 2013 and is expected to fall sharply in the coming year. This reduction in beef supply will add significant additional pressure to increase wholesale and retail beef prices. This leads to much concern in the beef industry that beef will “price itself out of the market.”

These concerns are understandable and there is indeed much uncertainty about beef markets for the next couple of years. However, it is important to remember how demand works and keep in mind the many factors involved in demand. While there is concern that consumers will buy less beef with higher prices, it is important to keep in mind that there will be less beef on the market and thus a need to ration beef.

The economic principle of demand is based on the concept that when a smaller quantity is available, higher prices will ration beef to those consumers who are most willing and able to purchase beef. In general, the idea that higher prices will restrict consumption of beef is precisely what will be needed to balance supply and demand in the coming months.

Beef Producers Work to Reduce Drug Residues
dateline: : 12/03/13, source: Capital Press, by Carol Ryan Dumas

Drug residues in beef causes a black eye and financial losses for the industry. Producers can minimize the risk by keeping good records and adhering to animal-health protocols and withdrawal times. While the beef industry has made big strides in preventing drug residues in beef, experts say there is still room for improvement.

Food-animal production requires management of animal health, which may require the use of drugs to treat illness or gain efficiencies. Impacts to human health can occur if animals are not treated with drugs, but they can also occur from drug residues in meat if the drugs are not used properly, said Benton Glaze, extension beef specialist with the University of Idaho.

In addition to harming public perception of beef, drug residues exceeding legal tolerances are costly to producers, he said during one presentation of the University’s winter beef schools in Twin Falls Dec. 2.

The National Beef Quality Assurance program has worked to build awareness of the issue and arm producers with residue avoidance protocols. Those protocols revolve around three tenets – record, check and go.

CAP Reform Favours the Greening, Not the Individual Industry
dateline: 12/03/13, source EurActiv.coms

European regulators and producers alike are confident that the change in the balance of direct payments, redrawn in the Common Agriculture Policy, will improve ‘greening’ practices and ultimately boost demand and productions for more natural foods.

The new environmental measures include the maintenance of permanent grasslands, crop diversification and areas of ecological interest designed to protect bio-diversity.

Between 2014 and 2020, over €100 billion will be invested to help farming meet the challenges of soil and water quality, biodiversity and climate change. 30% of direct payments will be linked to three environmentally- friendly farming practices.

Farmers will receive payments if they carry out the measures rather get funding for their production of certain foods. This means that a cattle farmer carrying out the greening measures will receive the same funding as a soybean or beet producer using similar practices.


This issue:
·  To read the entire source article, please click on the link in the article headline
  Member News
·  In The News

Russia’s Meat Industry Faces Serious Russia MapChallenges
dateline: 12/02/13, source: Global Meat News, by Vladislav Vorotnikov

Russia’s meat production is set to grow at a slower rate in the run-up to 2016, compared to the period between 2008-2012, new analysis has shown. Between 2008-2012, the average annual growth-rate for Russia’s meat industry was between 15-20%. Yet, figures from the Russian analytical agency Agrorucom have indicated that, between 2012 and 2016, the industry will only experience 17% overall growth.

The experts who wrote the report said the annual average growth will be just 4.3% during the period, noting that it was a result of decreasing interest in the meat industry from investors, “so after 2017 the development of the sector may stop”, they said. So far growth continues. However, the report stated that, during the last four years, the Russian meat industry has shown strong growth. “In 2012, production growth in real terms was amounted to 12.4% year-on-year (yoy), while compared to the level of 2009, when it is equal to 35%.

Such stability can be explained by stable positive dynamics of growth in poultry and pork production segments. However, the production of beef and lamb continued to decline,” the experts said

New Country-of-Origin Meat Labeling (COOL) in Effect
dateline: 11/30/13, source: JournalStar.com

The labels on some meat sold in grocery stores now are required to show more information on where it came from.While the final amended rule, in force since last week, is being contested in court by meat industry stakeholders and the governments of Canada and Mexico, mandatory country-of-origin labeling on meat requires that retailers identify the specific country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

The labeling rule covers muscle cuts of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and goat. Processed, deli and ground meats are exempt.Proponents of COOL say consumers have a right to know where their fresh meat originates. The U.S. meat industry largely opposes the rule, saying it invites international sanctions against trading meat with the United States, as U.S. customers possibly would shy away from foreign-raised meat.The USDA estimates that compliance will cost the meat industry between $53.1 million and $192.1 million.

Included in those costs will be the elimination of comingling livestock from different countries, which created efficiencies for meatpackers. Livestock now will have to be separated according to origin, which will require new infrastructure for the meat industry.

Canada’s Meat Industry Welcomes Government Announcement
dateline: 11/29/13, source: Global Meat News, by Line Svanevik

Canada’s long-term economic success has been identified as a priority foreign policy objective, it was announced by the Canadian Minister of International Trade today.

The Canadian meat processing industry welcomed the government’s support for international trade and investment as announced by Ed Fast today.Canadian Meat Council president Arnold Drung said: “Canada has the advantages of an expansive agricultural land base, renewable water resources, leading-edge livestock genetics and internationally competitive livestock producers and meat processors.

“These allow the Canadian livestock and meat industry to provide economic growth and valued jobs in rural towns and urban cities from coast to coast across this country and to export safe, high-quality and nutritious protein, vitamins and minerals to hungry consumers around the world.”

Calf Exports Forum Publishes Final Report
dateline: 12/29/13m source: MeatInfo.com, by Line Elise Svanevik

The Beyond Calf Exports Stakeholders Forum has published its final report as the forum was closed at a roundtable in London on Wednesday (27 November).

Working towards improved welfare for male calves since its launch in 2006, the forum has achieved significant improvement, although it declared that its aims will continue to be pursued by individual stakeholders.It has reduced the number of male dairy calves killed on farm from 84,817 in 2006 to 54,670 this year, and in that same time period, the number of live calves being exported to the Continent has been reduced by 90%.Consisting of members ranging from the leading supermarkets to McDonald’s, Compassion in World Farming (CiWF), NFU Scotland, RSPCA and Defra, the forum succeeded in putting their differences aside in order to work towards a communal goal to achieve a better future.

John Webster, Emeritus Professor of animal husbandry at the University of Bristol, said: ”In 2006, more than a third of all male dairy calves born were either exported or shot at birth. Now, fewer than 15% suffer this fate, which is good for their welfare, and [positive news] for British farmers and consumers.

“This turnaround in the calf industry has been achieved through new markets opening up for veal and beef. The report highlights over 10 different case studies from retailers, processors and farmers that have created new markets for male calves.”

Researchers to Develop Vaccine for Cattle Disease
dateline: 11/29/13, source: The Star Phoenix, by Scott Larson

Research to find a vaccine for a painful disease in dairy cows received $50,000 in federal funding.The $50,000 under the Western Diversification Program will be used by the Saskatchewan Milk Marketing Board (SaskMilk) to purchase equipment needed to develop a vaccine for heel wart, a highly infectious condition that occurs in cattle.

Also known as bovine digital dermatitis, this disease significantly decreases dairy and beef production and results in approximately $50 million in losses to the Canadian industry every year.Dr. Chris Luby, an assistant professor, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, is one of the people in charge of finding a vaccine.

“It is a very painful disease,” said Luby. Cows develop painful warts on their heels which leads them to have a lack of appetite and avoid standing. Luby said besides being a health and welfare issue for the animal, the disease also has economic consequences as productivity decreases in dairy cows.

Beef Industry Threat
dateline: 11/28/13, source: Northwest Star .au, by Hailey Renault

Australian Floodplain Association (AFA) president Terry Korn said the government's decision to discard Wild Rivers Declarations for the Cooper Creek system in the Channel Country was disappointing and could threaten the organic beef industry in the region.

Mr Korn said he didn't want to see a repeat of an incident where contaminated water from storage ponds at Lady Annie Mine, 120 kilometres north-west of Mount Isa, flowed into the Georgina River and put cattle properties out of production.

“That was a mineral mine, not gas, but they are proposing those (at Cooper Creek) as well,'” Mr Korn said. “Those things need to be balanced and we need to make sure we retain a viable animal production industry in the Channel Country,'' he said. Mr Korn said the decision reversed years of consultation the AFA was involved in.

US Meat Industry Looks for Export Support as EU Plans to Triple Spend dateline: 11/28/13, source: GlobalMeatNews.com, by Nicholas Robinson

US meat bosses have urged their government to do more to increase meat exports from the country, following an announcement by the European Commission to triple financial support for exports. Frustration has been aired across the food industry about the US Congress’ continued debate over budget cuts, which have been further provoked by Europe’s announcement to pump millions of euros into the export of agriculture and agri-food products.

Proposals to expand Europe’s export initiative have been submitted to the European Parliament, to be reviewed as soon as possible. If they are passed, European aid for agricultural exports could increase progressively from €61m (US$82.5m) this year to €200m (US$270.5m) in 2020.Europe will use food safety and quality to promote its produce and Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “In a world in which consumers are increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods, European farmers and small- or medium-sized enterprises are in a position of strength.”

Ireland’s Growing Research Fuels Economy
dateline: 11/28/13, source: Agriland.ie, by Lisa Deeney

“A sector cannot grow and expand and develop without knowledge, knowledge is paramount.” This is according to secretary general of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Moran, who was speaking at the announcement of €26m for all-Ireland agri-food and forestry collaborative research projects this morning.
“The journey we are on as a food-producing country is an exciting one,” said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney at the launch in Dublin’s Fallon & Byrne’s.“I want to remind people this is the most important sector for the Irish economy. It is Ireland’s first industry. In many ways over the past five years, while we have been through many difficult times, people re-focus on the industries they can believe in, the industries that have real foundations, on the industries that produce real product and lean on and supported by tradition, expertise, knowledge and all the other things the food industry in Ireland has in huge volumes.”

Some 51 all-Ireland projects have been awarded funding and they will also provide training for more than 80 post-graduate students and contract employment for 90 highly trained scientists.

Today’s Beef Consumers Pose a Quality Challenge for Beef Producers
dateline: 11/26/13, source: BEEF Magazine, by Burt Rutherford

A conundrum with a pocket full of cash. That’s one way to describe today’s consumer. They want what they want and, in many cases, have the affluence to pay for it. And when looking at how they define value vs. how the beef industry traditionally has defined it, they appear to have taken baseball sage Yogi Berra’s advice: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

“As we’ve defined value in the meat industry for a long time, it’s been on U.S. Quality Grades,” says John Stika, Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) president. “For us, it’s been on marbling,” he says. “Quality grades have historically been how value differences have been defined. It’s typically how things have been priced in the meat case or on the menu.”

And in many respects, that traditional definition of value is still valid for consumers and cattlemen alike. The top drivers in meat-purchasing behavior and meat consumption still remain taste and the overall dining experience, he says, and will likely continue to be for a long time.


Norwegian Government to Tackle Meat Tariff

dateline: 11/26/13, source: Global Meat news, by Gerard O’Dwyer

The newly installed centre-right Norwegian government has stressed its determination to reduce or abolish controversial tariffs on meat imports from the European Union (EU), despite vocal opposition.

Having replaced the protectionist former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg’s socialist administration in October, the new Høyre (the Conservative Party) and Fremskrittspartiet (the Progress Party) government said it wanted to improve trade relations with the EU. This would include rolling back duties imposed in January of 429% on lamb, 344% on beef and a high but variable rate on pork.

The opposition Venstre (Social Liberal) party said it would try to forge an alliance of like-minded parties to block liberalisation. And Nils Bjørke, director of Norges Bondelag (The Norwegian Farmers Union), which represents around 70,000 Norwegian farms including many livestock producers, said: “The government is now running errands for EU industry policy instead of preserving Norwegian interests. The EU has its own interests and I expected the government to stand up for ours.”

The U.S. Beef Industry Is Entering The Era Of Value Creation
dateline: 12/05/13, source BEEF Magazine, by Troy Marshall

Profitability today is being driven by value creation, and that value is created by producing a superior product. Times are changing. We’ve been in an era I call the golden age of production efficiency. During this time, if you wanted to make money in the cattle industry, you had to out-manage your colleagues by producing a commodity product more efficiently than the next.

Cost containment and management expertise were the keys to improving the bottom line.We are transitioning now to the era of value creation. This hasn’t been a seismic shift in that low-cost, high-efficiency production models are still rewarded. But in today’s marketplace, they are no longer the drivers of profitability, but just an indicator of long-term viability.Profitability is being driven by value creation.

Value is created by producing a superior product, and that is being driven by the interaction between superior genetics and the ability to manage those genetics to maximize their potential.Today, that ability dwarfs production efficiency. Perhaps that’s because we’ve done so much on the efficiency side as an industry that the low-hanging fruit has been harvested.

Another possible factor is that managers have become so adept at focusing on efficiency that differences between producers are becoming more incremental.

Luke Bowen to Step Down from NTCA
dateline:11/20/13, source: BEEF Central

Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association executive director Luke Bowen says he has reached the very difficult decision to not renew his contract with the organisation when it expires next year.

Mr Bowen’s six year career with the NTCA has spanned arguably the toughest period in the association’s 30 year history, after the northern cattle industry was plunged into crisis in June 2011 by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to suspend Australia's live cattle export trade to Indonesia in response to footage of cattle cruelty broadcast on ABC's Four Corners.

NTCA president David Warriner paid tribute to the leadership Mr Bowen showed during what was a period of extraordinary turmoil and uncertainty for the industry. “Luke has made a fantastic contribution to the NTCA, and particularly in the last three years since the live export crisis and the period thereafter,” Mr Warriner told Beef Central.

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