WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2010—The U.S. Department of Agriculture today published the first edition of a program handbook designed for those who own, manage, or certify organic operations. Prepared by the National Organic Program (NOP), the handbook provides guidance about the national organic standards and instructions that outline best program practices. It is intended to serve as a resource for the organic industry that will help participants comply with federal regulations.
The findings of the study showed that "the number of Americans who are familiar with the term factory farming has increased since 2008, rising by 15 percentage points." In addition, it found that "the percentage of consumers who associate factory farming with chickens has risen significantly since 2008 but those who associate it with cattle has remained stable. Beef cattle are much more associated with factory farming than are dairy cattle."
"Consumers overwhelmingly associate factory farming with big agriculture and large scale farming. They describe factory farming as being industrialized, using machinery and technology, owned by big corporations and producing large numbers of animals. A small percentage seem to have bought into the activist argument that factory farms are driving small family farms out of business."
Beef producers need to be especially proactive about responding to the following from the survey results. "Of some concern is the finding that well over half (58%) of consumers who are familiar with factory farming believe the beef they buy at the supermarket comes from cattle raised in a factory farm setting. This percentage has not changed since 2008. In addition, of those who think their beef is from factory farms, more than half (56%) are concerned (with 41% saying they have a great deal of concern) about the safety of the beef they buy. This percentage, as well, has not changed significantly since 2008."
Education of consumers is extremely important no matter how your market your cattle. Take the time to share what you know about your industry with your non-producing friends, family and neighbors.
I've attached the full Check-off article, but you may also read it on-line at: http://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Market%20Research/Project%20Snapshot%20Factory%20Farming%20081810.pdf.
How could this be possible?
I'm always intrigued with the entrepreneurial spirit of the American rancher. Especially those who are willing to be early adopters and those that work towards solving what most of us call impossible problems.
Learn about what one Vermont rancher, Sugar Mountain Farms, is doing through community sponsored agriculture (CSA). Yes, Virginia, they are building their own Butcher Shop with the goal of USDA inspection for interstate trade by 2011. (Vermont unlike California can get state inspection, but for interstate trade they must be federally inspected)
Read more about their efforts at: http://flashweb.com/blog/2009/11/butcher-shop-at-sugar-mountain-farm.html. Do remember there are differences between Vermont and California. An example is that in Vermont you can compost the offal. In California you cannot.
I hope this inspires our California Niche Meat marketers. Checking out Sugar Mountain Farms web pages and in particular their pre-buy CSA should give you all a bunch of ideas.
Dr. Alec Gerry from the Department of Entomology at University of California Riverside provided the following information:
New Cattle Ear Tag for Horn Fly Management
Y-Tex Coporation has recently registered (in 2010) a new ear tag called “XP 820” for beef and non-lactating dairy cattle in California. The XP 820 ear tag is registered for control of horn flies and several tick species with control lasting up to several months. The label also indicates that the tags will reduce face flies when two treated tags are used per animal.
This new cattle ear tag is the first to contain abamectin (a macrocyclic lactone) which provides these tags with a different chemistry than other tags available with organophosphate (OP) and synthetic pyrethroid chemicals. Abamectin has not previously been used for control of cattle pests in the United States. This new chemistry will make these tags effective against flies which are already resistant to insecticides in other chemical classes currently available with ear tags. Rotate the use of the XP 820 ear tags with other ear tags containing different insecticide chemistries to reduce the development of insecticide resistance within targeted fly populations.
For more information on the XP 820 cattle ear tag, visit the Y-Tex Corporation web site at: www.ytex.com . The University of California does not recommend any specific company or product and has not evaluated the efficacy of the XP 820 ear tags.
The Sustainable Beef Resource Center (SBRC) was formed at the
The Sustainable Beef Resource Center (SBRC) has a single purpose — to provide useful, science-based information to the entire food chain. Their focus is on filling information gaps about how beef technologies and sustainable beef-raising practices help produce safe, wholesome, affordable food while using fewer natural resources.
The organization’s website at http://www.sustainablebeef.org/ features beef-production facts, and talking points about the environmental and economic benefits of beef technologies. You can also follow them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SustainableBeef and on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/sustainablebeef.