New website assists with interstate livestock transportationWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Moving livestock across state lines can be confusing when it comes to regulations and requirements, but a new website has been created to help sort through the information.
“It was a collaborative effort. The goal was to come up with an open website where anyone could go to look up transportation requirements,” remarks Chelsea Good, vice president of government and industry affairs at the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA).
A group of organizations came together to develop a solution, realizing that recurring conversations were focused on the confusion of transporting livestock, especially with different state rules and federal rules such as those concerning traceability, allowing state veterinarians to make many of their own decisions. The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) collaborated on the project, incorporating support from USDA, as well.
Upon the completion of a competitive bid process, a website contracting company known as Trace First was recruited to collect data and create one central website with transport information for all 50 states.
“Trace First went through a process where they talked with state veterinarians, did research and compiled information into one place. Also, it’s not just that all the information is there. It’s readable at the consumer, producer or veterinarian level. People don’t have to be attorneys to understand what is needed to move livestock,” Good explains.
Trace First worked closely with state veterinarians to determine regulations for each state and continues to work with them to keep the information updated.
Using the website
Anyone interested in moving livestock across state lines can visit interstatelivestock.com, answer a series of questions and get a list of requirements for transport. The questionnaire gathers data such as what species of animals are being transported, the age and gender of those animals and what states they are being moved into and out of.
“After we answer all of the questions, we get a very specific list of what we need to do. For example, it says if we need to call a certain number to get a movement permit or get a health certificate from a veterinarian,” she says.
Changing regulations is a process that takes time, but keeping track of all 50 states can be challenging, as there are usually at least a few changes nationally each year.
“We’re always seeing different states analyzing and making adjustments to their own requirements based on new diseases, changes in technology, changes in disease incidents and other things,” Good comments.
Good also notes that results from the website shouldn’t be used like a book that is printed off and put on the shelf for reference for the next 10 years.
“What’s great about it being an electronic resource is that we can keep going back to it, going through the questions and finding current answers. The sheet we end up with also has the date on it, so we know the requirements are current as of today for a particular situation,” she explains.
Having all of the information in one place makes it more accessible to producers, as well as market professionals throughout the U.S.
“A lot of times, markets have regular states they ship a lot of cattle to, and they are familiar with the requirements of those states. However, sometimes buyers show up from a state that market doesn’t usually ship to. In those situations, the markets and their veterinarians need to quickly figure out what is required for the livestock to be moved,” she notes as an example.
In some cases, sales, such as big bull sales, are held on weekend dates, when state veterinarians are unavailable to answer questions.
Differences between states
“One of the things that’s difficult and that states are working on right now is the variety in regulations,” Good adds.
Testing for trichomoniasis, for example, requires different kinds of tests in different states.
“Sometimes, producers are not always aware of what the requirements are,” she says. “It can be a surprise that there is so much variety in the differences in requirements, depending on where livestock are going.”
The new website was launched last fall, and Good encourages people to visit and try it out.
“A lot of hard work went into this project,” she states, noting that USDA is providing some of the funding and a lot of cooperation has come from state veterinarians, Trace First, USAHA and NIAA.
Interim study on interstate meat transport conductedWritten by Kelsey Tramp
Cheyenne – During the Wyoming Board of Agriculture conference call on July 9, Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) Deputy Director Doug Miyamoto updated attendees on the developments of the study bill for interstate meat shipment of state-inspected meat plant being conducted in conjunction with the Wyoming Business Council.
Wyoming does not currently possess a USDA inspected meat plant, and the study is examining the steps necessary to implement USDA regulations for interstate meat shipment utilizing a state-inspected plant.
“We know that there is a legislative interest in getting state inspected meat across Wyoming’s borders,” Miyamoto said during the call. “We have not had any plant operators pursue state inspection for interstate shipment of meat to this point in time. It is an expensive endeavor to get a plant up and running that meets all the criteria to ship across state lines.”
Presently, facilities in the state cannot process enough volume to offset the cost of operating a USDA plant. Recently passed USDA rules would allow state inspected plants to utilize the USDA stamp to ship meat across state lines if procedures are met exactly.
One option being considered is utilizing UW’s Meat Lab as a USDA processing plant and a pilot project for the concept. The Board is collaborating with Warrie Means, professor of meat science at UW, on the project.
“Means is currently going through the process of making a list of what would need to be done to get that facility up to the standards we would need to participate in this program,” Miyamoto elaborated.
Staffing is another aspect of the plant that is being looked into.
“We are looking at the staffing and administrative requirements on behalf of WDA,” he explained. “A veterinarian is one of the bigger issues that needs to be addressed in order to receive the USDA stamp. We also would have to have WDA personnel trained and certified for compliance with USDA inspection protocols.”
Miyamoto stated that the facility must also meet specified requirements, which Means is researching now.
“We are currently in the fact-finding part of the study,” Miyamoto added. “The information that we collect will be presented to the Legislature’s Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee in September.”
US produces high quality meat in worldwide marketWritten by Heather Hamilton
Denver, Colo. –“Technology and communication play a big role today. When an event happens in the U.S., even if we wait until the stock market closes to announce it, the people in Korea are looking at us because it’s 8 a.m. there. We need to focus and think ahead in relevance to the beef we will produce in this country,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation Senior Vice President of Export Service Paul Clayton.
Clayton spoke on beef market globalization during the International Livestock Congress, held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show, on Jan. 11 in Denver, Colo.
“In terms of the globalization of beef, we have to ask if we have enough land to feed the world, and enough beef to feed the world. We also have to ask ourselves if beef will be a commodity in high demand,” noted Clayton, adding, “It certainly will be, if we have anything to do with it.”
He explained that from 1980 to 2009 the U.S. basically doubled its world output, and it will probably double again by 2030.
“Where there’s productivity, there’s value. Not all countries will have productivity due to environmental or political issues. Others may not have skilled workers or an agriculture industry, or any workable land. Somebody has to feed that world population in one way or another,” said Clayton.
He said the U.S. currently exports around 11 percent of produced meat. China and Russia export around 30 percent, but that’s mostly swine and poultry. Australia is another big player, but currently suffers from floods following a severe drought.
He added that North America ranks second in amount of arable landmass behind Oceania. South America rounds out the top three countries based on arable lands.
“We can take economic advantage of that as time goes on. One big benefit, and one key element here, is we are still the most productive nation in the world in cattle production.
“With our intensive grazing and feedlot finishing, we are the greatest producer of beef products. We need to continue doing what we do best, and take advantage of opportunities to merchandise products at a higher value by doing what we do best.
“By and large, we’re highly efficient in how we do things, and I don’t see that changing. It’s pretty tough for people to catch us from an efficiency standpoint. That allows us to produce products that are highly diversified. But, I warn you that our competitors are watching what we’re doing, and will try to get into the same markets we are,” said Clayton.
He explained that the lack of seasonality is one thing that keeps the U.S. at the top of the pile. “When you feed cattle you can keep a very consistent supply around at all times. There are various times we wean and feed cattle across the country, and that gives us access to a constant supply year round.”
He said another benefit to the U.S. today is the weak domestic dollar. “When our dollar is weak, we’re able to export and get value through other currencies. We’re essentially bringing that foreign dollar into the U.S. economy, and adding those dollars to our economy.”
“Trade balance is important, and not always a favorite subject with producers, but it’s important. We don’t eat liver here, and probably never will. There are parts of the beef animal we won’t consume, and other parts we consume the heck out of.
“For example, if short ribs stay in the U.S., they will probably be a 50/50 trim item worth about 80 cents. For as long as I’ve been around, we’ve sold those ribs in the Asian market, and we get nearly four dollars a pound for that product in that market. Shear economics drives that – it’s a value added market and puts dollars back in production,” explained Clayton.
He added that in 2003 the U.S. was getting around a $136 value in foreign markets, and this August that hit $159, which puts the country near where it needs to be for that value.
“Our number one asset is high quality beef. That keeps us diversified in both the domestic and international market place. It’s not just the marbling, but also the entire eating experience, and you just can’t top it. There are restaurants feeding 4,000 people a day in China that use U.S. beef. That’s a pretty good test that shows this stuff tastes pretty good,” said Clayton.
Meat exports CattleFax predicts eight percent increaseWritten by Heather Hamilton
CattleFax is calling for an increase in demand, combined with an overall shorter global supply, which will result in an increase in U.S. meat exports in 2011.
“We’re calling for beef exports to be up this year by about eight percent. From 2010, the International Marketing Federation (IMF) food inflation index is up 28 percent for global food, and 2011 is the fourth consecutive year of global beef production declines,” says Stuart of the current global situation.
“Looking at the competitive situation, in terms of tonnage and where the exporters lie, Brazil was up four percent in 2010. Australia was down a little bit, and will probably restock this year as they climb out of the swamp from the floods in the last quarter. U.S. exports were up 17 percent. Looking at the European countries, they continue to decline and be bigger importers of beef, and we’ll see that trend continue,” says Stuart.
“We’ve got the Korean Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and they’ve culled a lot of cattle and hogs. They’ve culled over 2.3 million hogs, and over 300,000 cows,” comments Stuart.
He continues, saying that in early February the U.S. had outstanding sales to South Korea of about 24,000 tons.
“That’s how much beef they have booked from us that is yet to ship. A year ago that was about 9,000 tons. This FMD deal has run meat inflation through the roof in Korea, and they’ll be big buyers of U.S. meat, particularly beef and pork over the first quarter. We may see those pork shipments up 50 percent in the first quarter to Korea,” says Stuart.
On the other side of the export coin is the current situation in Russia.
“They’ve cut their pork and poultry by about half. We used to ship about 800,000 tons of poultry to Russia each year. Our quota this year will be about 275,000 tons. That’s a major factor when looking at the whole protein balance sheet,” notes Stuart.
Access to some countries continues to be restrained, and the U.S. is still working to get volumes back to pre-BSE levels in Japan.
“Our exports to Japan in 2010 increased 40 percent. Our exports to Korea in 2010 increased 94 percent. As we continue to gain access and see demand grow, we’ll be able to get some of the key market shares away form Australia,” notes Stuart.
“China is a real wildcard. In the last two years China opened to Argentine beef imports, and they’re opening to Canadian imports. That was a market that was very well protected, and to me it gives an indication that the Chinese government is willing to consider imports. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something shake loose with China in the next year,” comments Stuart.
“We’re saying we’ll be up eight percent on exports. I’m not saying we’ll be up 18 percent in exports this year, but I’m not saying we won’t be. It’s entirely possible, because we’re constrained by some of these access issues,” says Stuart.
On the import side, Stuart says CattleFax is calling for an increase of two to two-and-a-half percent.
“One of the reasons I don’t have that higher is I don’t know where we’ll get more supplies. Supplies will be tight, and we’ll pull very hard on imported beef through this year and into next.
“When you think about our lean grinding beef, our McDonalds, our Burger King – our fast food hamburgers – there are three key sources to get that beef. We get some from our trim off fed cattle slaughter, we get some from cow and bull slaughter and we use imports to balance the rest,” explains Stuart.
The domestic beef cow slaughter rate started to decline in early 2011, following heavy beef cow slaughter rates for the last three years.
“I don’t know if that will bear through the year, but if we see those beef cow rates start to decline, where will we get that lean grinding beef? We know what our fed slaughter rate will be, roughly.
“We’re bidding record high prices today for Australian beef, and we’re getting some of it and we’re not getting some of it. I think we’ll see these trend prices run higher because of the tight supplies from our cull cows, and the tight supplies from overseas,” says Stuart.
“We’ve got meat and food inflation across the globe, and that won’t change. When you think about how much of this inflation has been fueled by grain and commodity prices, I don’t think we’re moving away from our policies that support these grain prices,” concludes Stuart.