In an earlier blog post this year I shared information on an app for the IPhone and Android smartphones that provided auction market information on cattle. The app was called Cattle Talk Mobile and at the time there was not any California specific information. I mentioned that I contacted the app developer, Michael Whitt, and suggested that the Shasta Livestock Auction could be added so Northern California ranchers would benefit.
Today I received an email from Michael that the Shasta Livestock information is now part of the app. He also mentioned that the name has been changed to Cattle Market Mobile. More information is available on his web site CattleMarketMobile.com. The app is also available through the ITunes app store for the IPhone and through GooglePlay for the Android.
After almost two years, the Mendocino County Meat Plant (MCMP) Study is completed and the 92-page report is available for download as a pdf from either the UCCE Mendocino County web site (http://cemendocino.ucanr.edu/files/171140.pdf) or the Mendocino County Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC) web site (http://www.edfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/MCMP-Final-Report-2013-08.pdf).
The report was prepared under an Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for the Mendocino County EDFC. The study authors were Shermain Hardesty, Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and John Harper, UCCE Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor for Mendocino & Lake Counties.
The study examined a proposed project for a small-scale multi-species USDA-inspected meat plant that would primarily serve ranchers in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The plant would handle cattle, hogs, sheep, goats and bison. It is different from most niche meat plants because most of the ranchers interested in using the facility already have established markets, primarily in the North and East Bay. Those ranchers would be shifting their harvest and/or processing from one or more existing facilities (none are located in Mendocino or Lake Counties) to the proposed meat plant.
The study and report included an Analysis of Demand for USDA-Inspected Slaughter & Processing Services; Alternative Organizational Models; Alternative Sources of Financing; Plant Requirements, Options and Siting; and Financial Analysis of Three Options.
The three plant options analyzed were: Option A - provides only cut-and-wrap services using a modular processing unit and a trailer office located in an industrial park with a total cost of $430,500; Option B - includes the same processing facility and trailer office described for Option A, plus a modular slaughter unit and adjacent holding pens located at a leased site on an unspecified ranch with a total cost of $821,100; and Option C - a built-in-place 2,400 square foot harvest and processing facility located on purchased property with a total cost of $1,425,516. All options have a capacity to handle 1,500 equivalent animal units (1 steer = 2 hogs = 2 lambs or goats) per year or 30 equivalent animal units per week. The plant would operate in a 50-week year with a single 8-hour per day shift.
All three options proved to be financially viable. Option B has the highest Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 11.1%. Option C's IRR is 6.6% and is impacted significantly by the purchase of 3.7 acres for $483,516. Option A's IRR is 3.9% but since it is cut-and-wrap only, it does not meet the needs of the ranchers doing direct marketing. Ten-year cash flow for Option C is included in the report.
A public meeting will be held on September 5, 2013 at 5 pm in Ukiah to present the report and answer questions. The meeting will be held at the Sun House Public Meeting Room. The room is on the west side of the Grace Hudson Museum, located at 431 S. Main Street.
Next steps include that authors Hardesty and Harper will prepare a business plan for implementing Option C for the EDFC.
- Editor: John M Harper
- Author: Morgan Doran
Editor's Note: The following was prepared by my colleague, Morgan Doran, UC Cooperative Extension, on August 20, 2013.
Over the past few weeks there has been a controversy brewing over the use of Zilmax (zilpaterol hydrochloride) in feedlot cattle. Zilmax is one of two products that cattle feeders began using in 2012 to boost the lean muscle gain. The other product is Optaflexx and both products are generically called beta-agonists. The use of these beta-agonists resulted in an average weight increase of 19 pounds, or 2.2% per head.
In recent weeks incidences of extremely lame cattle have surfaced and Zilmax is suspected as the cause. Out of concerns for animal welfare Tyson will place a moratorium on purchasing cattle fed Zilmax. This comes on the heels of an announcement by Merck Animal Health that they will temporarily suspend sales of Zilmax. Merck Animal Health is working with the FDA on this issue and is planning an audit by independent scientific experts on the feeding of Zilmax and its effect on animal welfare.
The immediate impact of the suspended use of Zilmax will likely be reduced beef production in feedlots. This will be buffered by feeders switching to Optiplexx, but gains are not as large as with Zilmax. Supply and demand principles tell us that reduced beef production results in price increases, but we will have to wait to see how it plays out.
More information on this issue can be found at these web sites:
Rueters article, August 16, 2013
Daily Livestock Report, August 19, 2013
The results of the checkoff-funded 2011 National Beef Quality Audit were presented last week at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, CO. Conducted every five years since 1991, the audit assesses progress the industry makes on a variety of production issues that ultimately affect consumer demand for beef. Extensive enhancements were made to the traditional NBQA design to provide the industry with direction on factors beyond the physical characteristics of beef, such as food safety, sustainability, animal well-being, and the disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers. Click here to download a copy of the NBQA Executive Summary or visit www.bqa.org for more information.
Source: Beef Checkoff/span>
The following is a repost from the American Sheep Industry Weekly.
Demand for locally sourced products in the United States has increased in recent years, but producers often claim that a lack of slaughter facilities is a key reason that it is not expanding more quickly, writes Chris Harris.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, although the share of total U.S. agricultural products sold through local food markets is small - direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 0.4 percent of total agricultural sales in 2007 - it continues to develop.
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, direct-to-consumer marketing amounted to $1.2 billion in 2007, compared with $551 million in 1997, a growth of 118 percent, the report, Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat by Rachel J. Johnson, Daniel L. Marti and Lauren Gwin said.
The 2007 numbers are the most recent available from the Census of Agriculture, as the 2012 census is currently being carried out.
The percentage of livestock operations selling product directly to consumers or retailers is much smaller than that for other agricultural products. In 2007, only 6.9 percent of livestock operations participated in direct sales, compared with 44.1 percent of all vegetable and melon farms.
The report said that limited slaughter and processing capacity is often cited, particularly by producers, as a key barrier to marketing their meat and poultry locally.
This report looks at the slaughter and processing capacity and options available to livestock producers selling into local markets. Read the report at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ ldpm-livestock,-dairy,-and-poultry-outlook/ldpm216-01.aspx.