Farmers and ranchers need the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement to be approved by Congress now. That is the message Levi Berry, TCFA chairman; Russel Boening, Texas Farm Bureau president; and Bobby McKnight, TSCRA president, wrote in an op-ed that ran in the San Antonio Express News on Friday.
The letter stresses the positive impact the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had on the Texas economy, and points out how our state’s economy, particularly as it pertains to agriculture, will suffer without a trade agreement with both Canada and Mexico.
“Texas agriculture has flourished under sound trade policies. Unfortunately, these successful policies are at risk, and that alarms Texas farmers and ranchers,” the group wrote. “Congress has the power to help. Ratifying the USMCA would provide a much-needed boost to Texas agriculture and would benefit our rural communities that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico for economic success.”
Since NAFTA’s enactment in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports worldwide climbed from $46 billion to $139.6 billion in 2018 — a 202% increase. During that same period, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada grew from $10 billion to $39.7 billion per year — a 297% increase.
In Texas, economic activity related to agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada account for more than $3.7 billion and 22,972 jobs. USMCA seeks to build upon NAFTA’s success. And, while USMCA was signed in November 2018, the group points out that all three countries must ratify the agreement in their legislative bodies before it can take effect.
Meanwhile, TCFA along with NCBA and 38 state affiliate organizations sent a letter to Congress asking for quick approval on USMCA. NCBA delivered the letter this week to the four top congressional leaders urging swift ratification, emphasizing that exports of U.S. beef to Canada and Mexico totaled $1.8 billion in 2018 and added $70 in value per head.
In the letter, the groups also strongly encouraged congressional leaders to oppose efforts to reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL), which was repealed by Congress in 2015 and cost the U.S. beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars to implement with no benefit.
The 2019 Junior Fed Beef Career and Leadership Program better known as "Feedyard Camp" wrapped up June 28 at West Texas A&M University. Hosted with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension and WTAMU, the four-day camp is designed for high school juniors and seniors with an interest in pursuing a career in the fed beef industry.
Students went through an application process to be selected to participate in the program. This year’s program consisted of 19 students from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Throughout the four-day program, students observed a necropsy, visited a feedyard, toured a beef processing facility, received media training, toured the WTAMU Research Feedlot and Nance Ranch, gained knowledge from a feedyard industry professional panel and more.
“Feedyard camp gives students with an interest in agriculture a truly one-of-a-kind experience,” said Brady Miller, TCFA director of market and membership. “The Amarillo area has a strong and diverse beef community, which makes it ideal for a camp like this. With feedyards, research and beef processing facilities all right here, we can give students interested in the beef industry a comprehensive learning experience that they will never forget.”
TCFA was among 119 Texas industry groups that sent a letter to Congress this week calling for swift action and support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The groups reinforced the need for ratification of USMCA in order to provide certainty for the many business sectors in Texas, including agriculture, that rely on trade with Canada and Mexico, while in turn contributing to the U.S. economy.
“USMCA would create much needed certainty for Texas farm and ranch families who contribute to the economy and feed and clothe millions worldwide,” the letter stated. “Over 60,400 Texas jobs are supported by exporting agricultural products to Mexico and Canada. The annual value of Texas’ agricultural exports to our North American neighbors totals more than $7.2 billion. USMCA would only build on these achievements by breaking down existing trade barriers and opening more market access for products like beef, dairy, corn, wheat and pork.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Mexican Senate passed the USMCA becoming the first country to ratify the new trade agreement.
“The Texas beef industry has flourished under sound trade policies. The beef supply chains between the United States, Mexico and Canada have worked together for decades to serve consumers at home and abroad a safe and consistent supply of affordable, quality beef," said Levi Berry, TCFA chairman. "We must protect this vital trade relationship by ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
In a statement, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) also praised Mexico and reiterated Congress’ need for swift action.
“Today’s action, combined with passage of Mexico’s landmark labor legislation earlier this spring, demonstrates Mexico’s solid commitment to serious reform and tough new rules to create fairer trade. Now it’s time for the U.S. Congress to pass USMCA as soon as possible to unlock the benefits of this agreement for U.S. workers and our local businesses. The longer Congress delays, the more our country loses out on new jobs, more customers for Made-in-America goods, and a stronger economy,” Brady said.
Wednesday marks National Jerky Day which means people from across the country will head to social media to proclaim their love for one of America's favorite snack foods. Rightfully so. Research shows that spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day - about 25 to 30 grams per meal or snack - may be the most beneficial for overall health and wellness. Snacking on beef jerky is a great way to help meet those goals.
But for cattle feeders, National Jerky Day, has a deeper meaning. A few years ago, a local charity organization in the Panhandle, Snack Pak 4 Kids, came to the beef and dairy community with a need. The organization had a system in place to help end weekend hunger for local children by providing a backpack filled with kid-friendly snacks each Friday of the school year, but one key element was missing from the backpack: animal protein. And what better protein to help fuel the body and mind of a young child than beef and milk.
Fast forward a few years later, and the need sparked an idea that became a reality. Now, more than 10,000 kids in the Texas Panhandle and 24,000 across the nation receive weekend bags filled with nutritious food, including the SP4K Beef Stik and Fairlife Milk, to sustain them through the weekend. The beef stick is made from 100% premium beef chuck roast and brisket and produced locally in the Texas Panhandle.
The addition of these products added an extra 54 grams of protein to each bag. That's a tremendous nutritional improvement, and it is making a difference. In fact, teachers from participating schools report better attendance, academic performance and behavior.
It gets better. For every beef stick you buy, another is provided for a child in need.
You can help provide protein for kids in need in a number of ways:
1. Buy SP4K Beef Stiks. You can order a case online, or you can purchase in-store at Pak-A-Sak,
Toot 'n Totum, Allsup's or Texas Tea.
2. Consider SP4K Beef Stiks for your next school fundraiser. Raise money for your school,
club or cause and support hungry kids.
3. Sponsor protein or dairy for your local school's SP4K Program.
4. Donate live animals to the SP4K Beef Fund. Call (806) 337-5252 for logistical information.
5. Give out SP4K Beef Stiks. What better way to spread the story of the beef and dairy communities working to end childhood hunger than by giving out sticks at your next event or meeting.
Every stick purchased provides another for a child in need. So far, because of your support, we've been able to provide over 160,000 beef sticks to kids, and that number keeps growing.
Good news for cattle feeders regarding the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge George Hanks, of the Southern District of Texas, ruled that the Obama administration failed to adequately notify the public of key working changes in its 2015 rule redefining “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS.
The summary judgement sends the rule back to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on grounds that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in making changes in the final rule that were not proposed in the preliminary rule.
Court rulings across the country have created a patchwork of WOTUS implementation, with the 2015 rule in force in 22 states but blocked in 28. This week’s ruling does not change that, but it does validate what TCFA and NCBA have said all along — that the rule is illegal and must go.
“For years TCFA feedyards have dealt with uncertainty regarding Obama’s 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Tom McDonald, 2015 TCFA chairman and leader on TCFA’s work to replace the 2015 rule. “We hope this decision will expedite that process. In the meantime, TCFA will still work with Congress to put an end to the 2015 rule.”
The 2019 Fed Beef Challenge was a big success, with 43 pens of cattle represented by TCFA member feedyards at the Amarillo Livestock Auction. Individuals traveled from all over to view the best fed cattle around and to participate in the live evaluation contest and the TCFA Education Foundation Calcutta.
With the generous support from Feedyard Members, sponsors and TCFA supporters, $2,000 was raised in the Calcutta to go toward the TCFA Education Foundation, which is used to award scholarships to graduate students with a future in the fed beef industry. Additionally, participating feedyards graciously donated 7 head to the High Plains Food Bank’s beef fund. Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s event. TCFA will announce the winners of the Fed Beef Challenge in the coming weeks.
The 2019 TCFA Fed Beef Challenge results are as follows:
Grand Champion Carcass
Hartley Feeders Score: 117.15
First Place: Hartley Feeders Score: 309.26
Second Place: CanTex Feeders Score: 284.53
Third Place: Kirkland Feedyard Score: 280.75
Fourth Place: Bovina Cattle Company Score: 261.00
Mexican Steer Division
First Place: F-Troop Feeders Score: 320.07
Second Place: F-Troop Feeders Score: 303.63
Third Place: Dawn Custom Cattle Feeders Score: 289.18
Fourth Place: Friona Feedyard Score: 267.69
First Place: F-Troop Feeders Score: 298.69
Second Place: Dawn Custom Cattle Feeders Score: 270.22
Third Place: Randall County Feedyard Score: 261.93
Fourth Place: Dawn Custom Cattle Feeders Score: 253.37
Shane Barnett with F-Troop Feeders won a custom handmade saddle in the Feedyard Evaluation Contest. The trophy saddle will be presented at the 2019 TCFA Convention in Fort Worth. Dave Link of Friona Feedyard won a Kenneth Wyatt painting in the Managers “Judge Your Own” Contest.
Jon DeClerck of Lubbock won first place in the Public Evaluation Contest followed by Johnny Treichel of Clarendon in second. Maddy Ainsley of Texas Tech University won first in the Collegiate Evaluation Contest followed by Austin Walter in second and Collin Cass in third — also of Texas Tech University.
Thank you to all who were able to participate in the contest and congratulations to the winners. Also, a big thanks to all the TCFA sponsors who help make this event possible, especially to those sponsors who provided the meal and helped at the event. TCFA would not be successful without you. For more on contest results, please contact Brady Miller at (806) 358-3681 or email@example.com.