Tester Announces Bill to Ban Brazilian Beef

Senator Calls for Import Ban Following the Sale of Rotten Meat

 

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced legislation to temporarily ban the importation of Brazilian beef to protect American consumers from consuming rotten meat.

 

Following news that Brazilian meatpackers have been exporting rotten beef and trying to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products, Tester’s bill will place a 120-day ban on Brazilian beef imports. A 120-day ban will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers are risk.

 

“We must take decisive action to ensure no family in Montana or anywhere else in this country is exposed to the danger of deceptive Brazilian beef processors,” said Tester, who butchers his own beef on his farm near Big Sandy, Mont. “Montana producers raise the best beef in the world and are held to the highest safety standards.  We cannot allow harmful food to come into our markets and endanger our families.”

 

I applaud Senator Tester’s decisive action,” said Errol Rice Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “The safety and integrity of our beef products is important for ranchers and consumers and we cannot have this dangerous product flooding our markets.”

 

In August of last year, Tester criticized the USDA’s decision to allow Brazilian beef imports to flood America’s markets.  He expressed fears about the safety of Brazil’s product.

 

In 2015, Tester successfully blocked the importation of Brazilian beef from regions where foot-and-mouth disease was prevalent.

 

Week 11 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

 

This week Jay and Kori discuss grizzly bears, b. abortus, Director of Agriculture appointee, exempt wells and so much more.

Tester, Daines resume effort to overturn lynx decision

Montana senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines have rounded up a lengthy list of supporters for a bill to overturn a federal court decision on lynx protection.

Republican Daines and Democrat Tester join Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, on the bill to reverse the Cottonwood decision, which found that the U.S. Forest Service must do a top-level review of new critical habitat for lynx under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision name refers to the Bozeman-based Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, which won the case before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The ruling was essentially confirmed when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a Forest Service appeal in October.

“This bipartisan legislation enjoys the support of diverse stakeholders and will protect Montana jobs and common-sense collaborative forest management projects that have been harmed by this court decision,” Daines wrote in an email.

“The Cottonwood decision could lead to endless red tape for folks working on timber projects, trail maintenance and conservation efforts,” Tester added in the same email. “To restore certainty for Montana mills and folks who work in the woods, we need to eliminate these hurdles created by the court and get this bipartisan bill signed into law.”

“I wish they had consulted me first,” replied John Meyer, the lead attorney at Cottonwood Environmental Law Center. “They are seeking to completely overturn or deform part of the Endangered Species Act. That should be of concern to all Americans.”

The list of 33 supporters includes 10 timber products groups such as the Montana Woods Products Association and Washington Contract Loggers; eight conservation groups including the National, Montana and Idaho Wildlife Federations and Wildlife Management Institute; and three agricultural groups including the Montana Stockgrowers and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. It features a number of hunting and fishing groups, such as Trout Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Boone and Crockett Club.

Tom France of the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula added that the legislation was a product of widespread consultation. He disagreed with Meyer about how much change it might impose on the Endangered Species Act.

“Both Daines and Tester have been very careful in crafting a very targeted bill,” France said. “The conversations we’ve had with them are very responsive. And when you see a bill that really proposes significant changes in the ESA, you will know it. It’s not going to sneak up on anybody. The National Wildlife Foundation is very concerned about weakening protections and we’ll oppose that.”

The Cottonwood decision found that the Forest Service has to take a big-picture look at how it protects lynx critical habitat across 12 million acres touching 11 national forests. It grew out of a controversial mishandling of lynx policy dating back to the predator’s original ESA listing in 2000.

A 2006 critical habitat map left out all national forests, but an investigation found that former George W. Bush administration official Julie MacDonald improperly excluded millions of acres of federal, state and private lands. MacDonald resigned and FWS redid its lynx habitat analysis, increasing the cat’s critical territory from 1,841 square miles to about 39,000 square miles.

Daines’ office consulted with the Obama administration Justice Department in crafting the bill, which takes the same position the Forest Service argued before the 9th Circuit. The agency claimed it was more effective to address lynx habitat concerns on a project-by-project basis, rather than redoing full consultation with the FWS.

“When they say they’re upholding the Obama Forest Service, that’s different than the Obama Fish and Wildlife Service,” Meyer said. “And the Fish and Wildlife Service told the Forest Service if new critical habitat is put in place, you need to consult at the agency level.”

Not quite, according to American Forest Resource Council attorney Lawson Fite. While he acknowledged that the critical habitat maps from the original consultation were flawed, the on-the-ground protections for lynx remain in place. Those include checking snowshoe hare prey populations, winter snowpack levels, potential denning sites and the matrix of habitat connectivity.

“Any project that might affect lynx must be analyzed for effects on those elements,” Fite said. “That’s going to happen whether or not you do plan-level consultation. The bill basically insures that those procedures are still followed, but made in way that you don’t do things that don’t have meaningful conservation benefit.”

The Forest Service estimates 80 forest projects are on hold because of legal challenges based on the Cottontwood decision in Regions 1, 2 and 4. Region 1 challenges include the East Reservoir Restoration Project in the Kootenai National Forest and the Colt-Summit Restoration and Fuels Reduction Project in the Lolo National Forest.

Those Region 1 challenges in lynx critical habitat accounted for about 29 percent of the planned fiscal year 2017 timber harvest volume, amounting to 95.3 million board-feet of lumber on 17,764 acres.

Source: Missoulian

Montana Department of Livestock investigates TB in S.D. herd

Helena, Mont. – The Department of Livestock (DOL) is investigating ties to Montana cattle from a tuberculosis (TB) infected herd in South Dakota. Montana is focusing on three distinct groups of animals:  Contact herds – herds that have shared pasture or fence line contact with the affected herd; Herds that have supplied animals to the affected herd; and Herds that have received animals from the affected herd.

At this time, two Montana cattle herds that had contact with the South Dakota positive animals must undergo a tuberculosis test to confirm that the disease has not spread. Additional herds may be identified as the investigation progresses. The likelihood that Montana herds are infected is extremely low, however, the department is conducting a thorough investigation.

“Following up on interstate movements after a detection of TB or other animal disease is a routine part of disease investigations,” said Tahnee Szymanski, Assistant State Veterinarian. “Our strong working relationship with South Dakota is critical in promptly identifying animal movements and protecting the state of Montana.”

Bovine TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. The disease causes granulomatous lesions inside the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, spleen, and skin of affected animals. The primary route of spread is aerosol transmission to other animals in close contact. The bacteria is also capable of infecting wildlife, such as deer, and people. The disease has an incubation period that can range from months to years and infected animals may show no clinical signs until later stages of infection, meaning healthy appearing cattle may be infected with the bacteria.

Although TB is a zoonotic disease capable of infecting people, it is not a food safety threat, thanks to a robust meat inspection program and the pasteurization of milk for retail sale.

The mission of the DOL is to control and eradicate animal diseases, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft and predatory animals. For more information on the department, visit www.liv.mt.gov.

Strong Finish for 2016 Red Meat Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports wrapped up an excellent 2016 performance with very strong December results, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork export volume reached a record 2.31 million metric tons (mt) in 2016, up 8 percent year-over-year and 2 percent above the previous high in 2012. Export value increased 7 percent from a year ago to $5.94 billion. December pork exports totaled 222,635 mt, up 18 percent year-over-year, valued at $564.2 million, up 20 percent.

Exports accounted for 25.8 percent of total 2016 pork production and 21.5 percent for muscle cuts – up from 24.2 percent and 20.8 percent, respectively, in 2015. December ratios were 28 percent for total production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – up significantly from December 2015. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $50.20 in 2016, up 4 percent from the previous year. The December average was $56.06, up 24 percent.

Beef exports increased 11 percent in volume (1.19 million mt) and 1 percent in value ($6.34 billion) from 2015. December exports totaled 116,847 mt, up 24 percent year-over-year. This was the largest monthly volume since July 2013 and the largest ever for December. Export value was $619.1 million in December, up 22 percent.

Exports accounted for 13.7 percent of total beef production in 2016 and 10.5 percent for muscle cuts – up from 13.1 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2015. December exports accounted for 15.6 percent of total December beef production and 12.1 percent for muscle cuts only – each up more than 2 percentage points from a year ago and the highest since 2011. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $262.17, down 6 percent from 2015, but the December average was $301.97 – up 14 percent and the highest in nearly two years.

Pork to Mexico sets fifth straight volume record; China/Hong Kong also record-large 

A remarkable second half pushed 2016 pork export volume to Mexico to its fifth consecutive record at 730,316 mt – breaking the previous record by 2 percent. Export value to Mexico totaled $1.36 billion, up 7 percent year-over-year and the second-highest on record, trailing only the $1.56 billion mark reached in 2014.

“At this time of record-large pork production, it would be hard to overstate the importance of Mexican demand to the U.S. industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “This is especially true for hams, as we are locked out of Russia – once a large destination for U.S. hams – and China’s demand for imported hams has moderated in recent months. So now more than ever, we need strong demand from our key customers in Mexico, and they have responded with extraordinary results. December exports to Mexico accounted for nearly $16 per head, and that’s absolutely critical to the entire U.S. pork supply chain.”

Though down from the high levels seen earlier in the year, December pork exports to China/Hong Kong were still up 40 percent year-over-year in volume (47,242 mt) and 42 percent higher in value ($96 million). For the full year, exports to China/Hong set a new volume record of 544,943 mt (up 61 percent) and broke the $1 billion mark for the first time ($1.07 billion, up 53 percent).

Other 2016 highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

  • Japan remained the leading value destination for U.S. pork, though exports fell 5 percent in volume (387,712 mt) and 2 percent in value ($1.56 billion) compared to 2015. However, chilled exports to Japan set a new record of 218,211 mt, up 8 percent.
  • Led by a record performance in Central America and a fourth-quarter surge in Colombia and Chile, exports to the Central/South America region increased 11 percent in volume (135,954 mt) and 9 percent in value ($334.5 million).
  • Pork shipments increased to both Australia and New Zealand, as export volume to Oceania reached 69,963 mt (up 10 percent) valued at $197.3 million (up 3 percent).
  • Exports to the Dominican Republic set another record in 2016, topping the previous year’s totals by 10 percent in volume (25,591 mt) and 6 percent in value ($56.4 million).
  • Fueled by increases in China/Hong Kong and Canada and steady exports to Mexico, pork variety meat exports jumped 20 percent in volume to 523,199 mt and 24 percent in value to $999 million – just short of the record levels reached in 2014.

Asian markets drive strong beef export growth 

Driven by strong demand for higher-value chilled cuts, beef exports achieved new value records in South Korea and Taiwan in 2016, and rebounded strongly in Japan.

In Korea, December beef exports soared by 81 percent in volume (20,333 mt) and 88 percent in value ($130 million) from a year ago, capping a remarkable year in which exports totaled 179,280 mt (up 42 percent) valued at $1.06 billion – up 31 percent from a year ago and breaking the previous value record by more than 20 percent. Korea’s per capita beef consumption set a new record in 2016 of 34 pounds (carcass weight) – so the U.S. not only gained market share, but also capitalized on the market’s overall growth.

Beef exports to Taiwan were also strong in December, with export value ($43.3 million) hitting its highest level ever. Full-year exports to Taiwan were up 25 percent in volume to 44,053 mt and 14 percent in value to $362.8 million.

2016 exports to Japan were the largest of the post-BSE era at 258,653 mt, up 26 percent year-over-year. Export value totaled $1.51 billion, up 18 percent. Chilled beef exports to Japan totaled 112,334 mt, up 44 percent from 2015.

“In addition to the strength of the U.S. dollar, U.S. beef overcame other severe challenges in these north Asian markets and achieved remarkable results,” Seng said. “Despite facing higher tariff rates in Japan compared to Australian beef, U.S. beef displaced its competition and won back significant market share. And the investment the U.S. industry made to rebuild consumer confidence in Korea is paying tremendous dividends, especially in the retail sector. We’re seeing U.S. beef featured regularly by retailers who were once reluctant to carry the product.”

Other 2016 highlights for U.S. beef included:

  • Beef exports to Mexico increased 7 percent year-over-year in volume to 242,373 mt, though value fell 11 percent to $974.9 million. While challenged by a weak peso, Mexico remains a key destination for muscle cuts such as shoulder clods and rounds, as well as for beef variety meat.
  • Led by strong growth in Chile and a doubling of exports to Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 6 percent in volume to 22,810 mt, valued at $92.7 million (down 2 percent). The region should see further growth in 2017 with the reopening of Brazil.
  • Exports to Central America were up 7 percent in volume (12,745 mt) with top market Guatemala up 1 percent and exports to Honduras nearly doubling. Export value was $71.8 million, up 1 percent.
  • Fueled by a resurgence in Indonesia and solid growth in Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were up 41 percent in volume (29,920 mt) and 15 percent in value ($156.9 million). Indonesia expanded access for U.S. beef in early August. Despite being closed to many products through the first seven months of the year, U.S. exports to Indonesia set a new value record of $39.4 million.
  • Beef variety meat exports increased 10 percent in volume (341,433 mt) and 4 percent in value ($902.2 million) in 2016. Liver exports increased 12 percent to 81,727 and reached a broader range of markets. While liver exports to Egypt – the largest destination for U.S. livers – increased 4 percent, further growth was achieved in Central and South America and with the reopening of South Africa to U.S. beef.

Lamb muscle cut exports continue upward trend 

Although U.S. lamb exports were down in 2016, this was largely due to a sharp decline in variety meat exports. While total exports fell 11 percent in volume (8,248 mt) and 4 percent in value ($18.3 million), muscle cut exports increased 26 percent (2,239 mt) and 16 percent ($12.3 million) respectively. Leading market Mexico followed a similar pattern, as variety meat exports declined significantly, but muscle cut exports increased 9 percent in volume (965 mt) and 1 percent in value ($2.8 million). Emerging markets showing promise in 2016 included Bermuda, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

Complete January-December export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call 303-547-0030.

NOTES:

  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.

Source: USMEF

Montana Stockgrowers Association commends confirmation of Representative Zinke

Helena (March 1, 2017) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) today applauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

MSGA Executive Vice President, Errol Rice noted Zinke’s experience living in the west gives him a unique perspective of public land issues.

“We are excited to see the confirmation of Congressman Zinke,” said Rice. “He has a thorough knowledge of natural resource issues and how the management of said issues impact the states. Representative Zinke has been a great advocate for Montana and ranching during his tenure in Congress. We look forward to continuing to be a resource for him on the complex and diverse issues that impact not only Montana but the nation.”

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame seeks nominations for Class of 2017

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) is seeking nominations for the 2017 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame induction round. Every year, the MCHF&WHC honors living and historical figures that have made notable contributions to Montana’s western heritage.

“People from across Montana are invited to identify those in their communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the hall of fame” said Mark Larson, MCHF&WHC board director. “Nominations are open and welcome from the public at large.”

2017 marks the seventh year the MCHF&WHC will honor living inductees and the tenth year of honoring legacy (non-living) inductees. The MCHF&WHC Board of Trustees will cast votes to select one living inductee and two legacy inductees from each of the MCHF&WHC’s 12 Trustee Districts based on nominations from the public.

Nominees can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels, etc.—anyone or anything that has made a notable contribution to our Montana western heritage. A full listing of inductees from 2011-2016, the 2017 Nomination Instructions, and more about the Hall of Fame induction process can be found online athttp://www.montanacowboyfame.org.

If you would like to make a nomination, you must contact the MCHF&WHC at Christy@montanacowboyfame.org or by calling (406) 932-5444 prior to the submission deadline to express your intent to nominate. Nominations must include a cover page, a two-page biography, and a high-quality photograph. All nomination documents must be in electronic format and emailed by April 30, 2017.

The 2017 Class of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame will be announced by press release by July 30, 2017. Winning inductees will be honored at the 2018 Annual Circle the Wagons Gathering.

2015 Living Inductee Jack Briggs of Polson, MT poses with his family after he received his plaque at the 2016 Circle the Wagons event.

2015 Living Inductee Jack Briggs of Polson, MT poses with his family after he received his plaque at the 2016 Circle the Wagons event.

Trump Issues Executive Order on WOTUS

Today President Donald Trump issued an executive action ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their controversial Waters of the United States Rule.

The WOTUS rule, which was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers under the Obama Administration, was challenged in courts by more than 30 states, environmental organizations, and numerous industry groups including the National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. . In October 2015, a federal appeals court issued a stay preventing the rule’s implementation.

The National Corn Growers Association said, “We appreciate the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. “We fully support the repeal of the WOTUS rule. Farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, but this rule had significant flaws. It was arbitrarily written, legally indefensible, and extremely difficult to implement.”

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today said, “This extremely flawed rule would force ranchers and feedlot operators to get permits or risk excessive federal penalties despite being miles away from any navigable water. It would be one of the largest federal land grabs and private-property infringements in American history, and the President should be applauded for making EPA and the Corps reconsider this debacle. Ultimately, this rule should be taken out behind the barn and put out of its misery.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R) Montana, released a statement on the overreaching WOTUS rule seeks to regulate virtually every ditch and pond that may be occasionally wet across the United States and would have a significant negative impact on farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the country. Daines said, “We can protect Montana’s pristine water without harming our agriculture economy and violating Montanans’ private property rights,” Daines stated. “I’m thrilled President Trump has heeded my call to halt this disastrous Obama-era policy and that we are allowing Montanans to manage the land they know best.”

Source: Northern Ag Network

Daines to Lead Montana Ag Summit 2017

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he will be spearheading the Montana Ag Summit 2017 in Great Falls this spring.

The summit, sponsored by Daines, will take place in Great Falls on May 31 and June 1, 2017. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will deliver a keynote address at the summit.

‘The summit will highlight our state’s number one economic driver by bringing together agricultural leaders to discuss how to keep our agricultural heritage strong for generations to come,’ Daines stated. ‘Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of Montana’s economy and I look forward to a Montana family conversation about the future of agriculture.’

Audio of Daines’ statement is available for download HERE.

Chairman Pat Roberts: ‘I am pleased to travel to Montana with one of our Committee’s newest members, Senator Daines, to speak at his Agriculture Summit. I appreciate Senator Daines’ hard work and enthusiasm for promoting and serving farmers and ranchers. His leadership on behalf of Montana’s rural constituents will serve his home state well during the 115 Congress.’

The Montana Ag Summit will bring the nation’s agricultural leaders to Montana’s Golden Triangle. The focus of the summit is on strengthening international relationships for Montana agriculture, showcasing technological advancements, promoting the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and discussing the challenges of federal policies and regulations.

John Youngberg, Montana Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President: ‘We are excited that Senator Daines has chosen to host an Agriculture Summit in Montana. Senator Daines understands the importance of agriculture to Montana’s economy and we appreciate that he is bringing this great opportunity to our state.’

Lola Raska, Executive Vice President of the Montana Grain Growers Association: ‘The 2017 Montana Ag Summit offers an exciting opportunity to meet with some of our nation’s key ag leaders, who will be speaking on issues important to the Montana growers who work hard to provide food for their families and for the world’s consumers. We owe a big thank you to Senator Steve Daines for setting a place at the table for our farmers and ranchers and for his recognition of agriculture’s importance to Montana’s economy.’

Errol Rice, Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President: ‘The Montana Ag Summit will provide a great platform to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing Montana’s farmers and ranchers. The Montana Stockgrowers Association is enthusiastic about participating and thanks Sen. Daines for his ongoing work on behalf of Montana’s ranchers and for bringing ag leaders from across the state and nation to Great Falls for the summit.’

John Rauser, President, Montana Pork Producers Council: ‘Montana Pork Producers are looking forward to participating in the Montana Ag Summit sponsored by Senator Daines. A tremendous portion of pork produced in the U.S. Is exported overseas, including hogs supplied by Montana hog farms. We are a part of the global market, and we want to be a proactive member involved in markets domestically and internationally. The Montana Ag Summit 2017 will be hosted at the Montana ExpoPark Pacific Steel & Recycling Arena in Great Falls.’

Kim Murray American Pulse Association Board Montana Pulse Advisory Committee: ‘Pulse crop acres have increased dramatically in recent years bringing with it new jobs and an excitement for the future of agriculture in our great state of Montana. Having Senator Daines placed on the Senate Ag Committee along with being on the Senate Appropriations Committee is huge for Montana farmers and ranchers. Thank you for hosting the Montana Ag Summit and for all you do for Montana. We look forward to working with you going forward.’

Dave McEwen, President of the Montana Wool Growers Association – Galata:‘The Montana Wool Growers Association is pleased and excited to participate in the Montana Ag Summit, which is set to be hosted by Senator Daines in Great Falls in late Spring 2017. Montana’s agriculture producers are leaders in their communities and in philanthropy , leaders in developing innovative agriculture commodities and land conservation practices, and leaders in producing food and fiber that cloth and feed the world. As such, the Association is particularly excited that Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee will be coming to Montana as part of that event to directly hear the legislative priorities of Montana’s agriculture producers and to see our producers in their own fields Since his election to Congress, Senator Daines has been a steadfast supporter of Montana’s biggest economic generator, agriculture, and this Summit is just another way the Senator is making agriculture and natural resources a priority.’

Webb Brown, CEO, Montana Chamber of Commerce: ‘We’re excited to work with Senator Daines to focus on the backbone of Montana’s economy – agriculture. From family farms to high-tech operations, we’ll examine the challenges and opportunities in Big Sky Country. Join us!’

Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of Montana Agricultural Business Association: ‘Agriculture in Montana continues to face multiple challenges from multiple angles and we welcome the opportunity to meet with our nations key agricultural leaders. The Montana Agricultural Business Association commends Senator Daines and his ongoing support for agriculture and its importance in Montana. We look forward to participating in the 2017 Montana Ag Summit.’

Larry Hendrickson, Liberty County Commissioner, Chair of the MACO Ag Committee: ‘It is very exciting to have Senator Daines hosting the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls. It is a great opportunity for local Ag producers to have input on the upcoming farm bill. I hope to see you there!’

Daines serves as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and is the Chairman of the Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

To register and for more information please visit www.agsummitmontana.com.

Costco Expansion Provides Even Greater Momentum for U.S. Beef in Korea

U.S. beef has been rapidly building momentum in South Korea, and received a further boost this week as Costco officially began converting its imported chilled beef selection from Australian beef to 100 percent U.S. product. The move follows a multi-year effort by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to persuade store managers that sales of U.S. beef – a popular item at Costco – would match or exceed Australian beef sales due to revived consumer confidence in the safety of U.S. beef.
Costco currently has 13 warehouses in Korea, with two new locations scheduled to open this year. On Feb. 13, Costco began transitioning two of those warehouses to 100 percent U.S. chilled beef. The others will be converted in May.

In total, Costco’s move represents an opportunity for about 15,000 metric tons (mt) of incremental new beef business in 2017, said Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea. Yang noted that the theme of U.S. beef promotions in Korea has gradually moved from food safety to consumer enjoyment and product quality.
“While USMEF still reassures Korean consumers that U.S. beef is a safe product, we are now able to focus more on the outstanding flavor of U.S. beef,” Yang said. “Tasting demonstrations at Costco and other popular stores have been very successful in getting consumers to taste U.S. beef and increase awareness of our product.”

USMEF is also providing support to Costco to ensure a smooth transition to U.S. chilled beef, helping re-acquaint customers with the full range of U.S. beef cuts.
“Korean consumers love the high quality of U.S. beef and really enjoy the flavor of our product,” added Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing. “In Korea, Costco is the gold standard when it comes to imaging food products, especially beef. USMEF, along with our partners in the U.S. beef industry, have been working hard to recapture market share in Korea. We’ve been able to do that, but mostly on the frozen side. The marquee items at Costco are the chilled beef cuts and we finally have that chilled section of the meat case back.”

U.S. beef exports to Korea totaled 179,280 mt in 2016, up 42 percent year-over-year. Export value reached $1.06 billion, up 31 percent from a year ago and breaking the previous value record (from 2014) by 25 percent. Chilled beef exports to Korea totaled 24,572 mt in 2016, up 47 percent year-over-year, valued at $216.4 million (up 43 percent).

U.S. beef captured 42 percent of Korea’s imported beef market in 2016, up from 35 percent the previous year, while Australia’s market share fell from 57 percent to 49 percent. But Yang notes there is still room for further growth, citing pre-BSE data from 2003.

“Prior to the December 2003 market closure, U.S. beef accounted for the majority of imported beef sales in Korea and 49 percent of total sales – including domestic beef,” she explained. “So while U.S. beef has made excellent progress in Korea, the market still holds strong growth opportunities.”

Korea’s per capita beef consumption set a new record in 2016 at more than 25 pounds (product weight), up about 5 percent year-over-year and increasing by one-third since 2009 – so U.S. beef is not only gaining market share, but also contributing to growth in overall consumption. Korea’s demand for imported beef remains strong, and based on customs clearance data U.S. beef topped Australian beef in Korea’s January imports, continuing a trend that began late last year.

“Regaining Costco’s chilled beef business is a milestone on several fronts,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region. “Not only will U.S. sales soar at this iconic beef retailer, but Costco’s beef merchandising decisions are a bellwether for overall Korean consumer sentiment toward U.S. beef.”

Source: U.S.M.E.F.