The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to address the challenges facing the beef industry. Issues facing the industry were detailed in the Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report that was released in July. USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach pointed out three areas to improve upon to help producers. Initiatives focusing on risk management education funding, livestock market reporting, and producer training opportunities will be emphasized.
New funding opportunities are being made possible by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Extension Risk Management Education Program. The funding is intended for the development of educational projects to help educate producers on targeted risk management strategies. Ideal projects will cover tools and approaches to mitigate risk and improve the economic viability of the beef industry. The application deadline for the two competitive funding opportunities is November 19.
Other efforts include eliminating ambiguity from market information. USDA will be removing the word “estimated” from its daily national livestock slaughter report. “Because a majority of meat packers are included in the data collected by AMS, the accuracy of the AMS estimated slaughter report is high with usually only a 0.5% differential compared to the FSIS actual slaughter data. We believe dropping ‘estimated’ from the title of the AMS report will provide more timely information without sacrificing accuracy,” Under Secretary Ibach said in a press release.
USDA will also be hosting a series of webinars in the coming weeks to help educate the industry. The webinars will cover a variety of topics including how grades for quality and yield are evaluated. The webinars will be hosted in partnership with the CME Group and the three USDA Cattle and Carcass Grading Correlation Training Centers. Webinars will also be covering how USDA officially grades carcass to the U.S. Standards for Grades. USDA will continue its collaboration with industry partners and stakeholders to keep livestock producers updated regarding other opportunities.