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AFF Sentinel-Vol 20#18-Inside and Outside Issues

Direct and Indirect Impacts on the Beef Business

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 04/25/23

Irony and lack of logic is common on the left side of politics and government bureaucracy. So it shouldn’t be surprising that an administration and a Congress that keeps harping on transparency and pledges to help small businesses like farmers and ranchers can’t manage to renew authority for Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR). There is nothing more important to cattlemen in helping their marketing, shedding light on the workings of the markets, revealing processor operations and replacing wild accusations with factual data.

NCBA pointed out recently that LMR authorization expired in 2020. Congress and USDA have not managed to get together and get such an important cog taken care of.

The packers spend many millions of dollars to provide all the data the law mandates. But we would imagine it’s better for them -- as well as for cattlemen -- that the data is there to guide policy rather than innuendo and coffee shop philosophizing. USDA did take the time and effort to add some enhancements in data gathering.

One might wonder if the agency is spending too much limited time and budget following President Biden’s executive orders on climate change, social justice, anti-trust allegations and attempts at forcing the agency into actual marketing mechanisms, like dictating how cattle are to be sold. Are those things getting attention instead of concentrating on the proper function of government in a free market economy -- accurate, unbiased information and data?

Speaking of NCBA, sometimes it seems R-CALF has to take the opposite position from NCBA, no matter how outlandish or how serious the risk of damage to the beef industry its opposition might be. We will never forget R-CALF standing up on stage in Washington with Carol Tucker Foreman and a Consumer’s Union representative claiming the U.S. beef supply might not be safe for consumers to eat because of R-CALF’s unfounded BSE claims.

Now, since NCBA came out recently debunking social media claims that eating meat could expose people to the mRNA allegedly present in livestock vaccines, R-CALF just had to take the other side.

Now R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard is claiming mRNA can be passed from human to human and can be absorbed from eating meat or dairy products from animals that had gotten a shot containing mRNA components. Experts say such transfers through the intestinal tract or human to human contact is not possible. And there are no available mRNA vaccines for cattle.

Of course, R-CALF being R-CALF, they have to do two things: 1) threaten the American consumer’s confidence in the beef supply -- again -- and 2) find some way to exploit any possible doubts or ignorance, no matter how false or nebulous the claims, into a call for mCOOL resurrection.

Speaking of Biden’s regulatory overreach and so-called “climate change,” we wrote two years ago this month about the rise of woke, far left ESG investing pressure on corporations. Then the SEC proposed not only for public corporations to begin gathering, calculating and reporting climate related information like emissions, but require them to get that information from suppliers, e.g. cattle feeders selling to packers and ranchers selling to feeders who sold to packers.

The whole rule is nothing short of preposterous and should be scrapped. But the burden such a rule would require of any supplier to a public traded corporation would bury small businesses in costs related to bookkeeping, testing, calculating and monitoring. Imagine determining the carbon emissions data for all the tires on a farm or ranch operation, every bit of grain produced or purchased, fencing, minerals, insecticides, pesticides, fuel, etc. etc.

Now, seven trade associations associated with agriculture have petitioned the SEC to waive the section of the reporting rule for family farms. Their contention was that such a burden would lead to further concentration and consolidation of farms and ranches. Ag operations simply do not have the finances or resources to handle such a gargantuan task.

The groups included associations for Agricultural Retailers, American Farm Bureau, soybeans, corn, pork, NAMI and NCBA.

We can’t imagine our favorite burger restaurants not being able to grill burgers on a gas grate. So, we were glad to see some good news on the gas stove front. Incredibly, it came from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.

The court ruled against Berkeley’s ban on gas appliances in new buildings. The case fell under the jurisdiction of the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, so Berkley’s rule was superseded.

However, there still is a problem. Since the Berkley ordinance was not a building code requirement, the appeals court ruling will only apply to other municipalities that used the same type of ordinance in the Ninth district to ban gas appliances, i.e. West Coast and Pacific western states.

"Most municipalities that have such bans in place use building energy codes, which the appeals court specifically said was allowable."

( from Western Journal story, 04/21/23)

Speaking of steak dinners, some levity is in order given the news these days. As you likely know, President Joe Biden wants to “finish the job.” He means his wildly successful economic, regulatory and foreign policies. We view it as his attempt to dismantle freedom and liberty in America, piece by piece.

So Joe brought the subject up and we will finish it with a little story from Mark Levine, the premier radio and TV host and Constitutional lawyer.

It seems Joe and Jill went out for a steak dinner. Jill said she wanted her steak medium rare. The wait person asked, “What about the vegetable?” She said, “He likes his well done.”

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