South Korea halts special checks on US beef
South Korea has ended special inspections of all US beef imports over the weekend, nearly two months after Washington confirmed its fourth BSE outbreak, the country’s Yonhap news agency reported this week. "The current system of checking half of all beef shipments will be discontinued on Saturday," the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. Inspectors will revert to conducting sample checks on 3pc of imports, which is the normal practice. The ministry said the change in policy comes as hot weather is making it hard to inspect products that must be kept cold, and because other US beef importers did not maintain such rigorous inspection regimes. Opening half of all packages also increased the workload of government inspectors.
Uruguay reports rising sales to China
Uruguay says it has increased exports of high-value beef cuts to China by a factor of 10 over the past three years. “Three years ago, the market was negligible, with some sales of offal,” Fernando Perez Abella, vice president of Uruguay Meat Institute, told the China Daily this week. “Today it is 8-9pc of our exports and is equivalent to Israel, one of our traditional destinations.” Last year, Uruguay exported 11,610 tonnes of meat worth $43m to China. It said the market was looking for top-grade meats, and Uruguay’s capacity to provide 100pc cattle traceability was important selling point for Uruguayan beef. Mr Perez Abella said the Uruguay Meat Institute plans to open a permanent representative office in Asia, with Beijing a likely option. By comparison MLA expects Australian beef exports to China to total in the vicinity of 10,000t this year, a significant increase onthe 5600t exported in 2010.
Strong organic growth tipped
The organic farming industry is tipped to grow quickly over the next five years to 2016-17, according to a report by IBIS World. The report forecasts sales to increase by 12.1 percent per year to reach $892.3 million in five years time. Growth will be driven by increased consumer demand, supply chain improvements and greater consolidation in the industry. “Domestic demand for organic food should continue to grow strongly over the five years through 2016-17,” the report said. “Higher real household disposable income levels, greater health consciousness, increasing environmental awareness and increased availability of organic food will drive demand growth.” Export sales of organic product are also expected to grow, trading on Australia’s clean and green reputation, which will hold locally grown product in good stead in the face of increasing competition from organic exports from Asia. The report said the industry has averaged growth of 11.6pc per year over the past five years to reach $503.8 million in 2011-12. The industry's key products are organic fruit and vegetables (which account for about 51.5pc of total value) and beef and poultry.
Far North Qld Butchers mystery solved
Readers may recall Beef Central’s recent call for information over connections to the long-gone Far North Qld United Independent Butchers Association, which still has more than $5600 in unclaimed funds sitting in a Cairns bank account. We received a number of calls from former members, or people well associated with the group, and it looks like the funds will now be appropriately dispersed. It turns out that the FNQUIBA was formed during a period of concern over changing food safety regulatory standards in Queensland, with a fighting-fund established to take the group’s grievances up with Government and regulatory authorities in Brisbane. One of the group’s ‘claims to fame’ was its education-based activity, including organised member visits to other parts of the country to see how other butchers operated. These informal arrangements were possibly the precursor to MLA’s hugely successful Red Meat Networking Club marketplace visits for butchers, still popular nationwide today. The group must have included some talent, as it also spawned the current national chairman of the AMIC retail council, Ray Kelso – back then a young butcher in Mossman.
Meat without drugs, animals without health?
Could ‘meat without drugs’ result in ‘animals without health’? US based veterinarian Scott Hurd argues that non-scientific risk assessments such as opinion polls and secret shopper surveys of labels are undermining public confidence in peer-reviewed scientific risk assessments that have demonstrated a negligible risk of harm to human health due to livestock antibiotic use. It follows the release of the "Meat Without Drugs" report by the US Consumers Union. The report highlighted polling that showed consumers want antibiotic free meat and called on supermarkets to stop selling meat from livestock and poultry that have been treated with antibiotics. “I think the bigger problem is that a campaign such as “Meat without Drugs” could mean that veterinarians have no way to treat sick animals or prevent epidemic diseases,” Dr Hurd writes in a blog response to the report. Data showed that only about 13pc of the total food-animal antibiotics in the US used are for “growth promotion”, and very soon that amount would be reduced to zero following new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration.
Hair-raising study says eat more beef
Having a bad hair day? Then eating more beef may be the answer. US online news service The Huffington Post has listed the 10 best foods for growing healthy hair, and has placed lean red meat first on the list. "Having a balanced diet, while putting a little extra emphasis on things like protein and iron, gives your hair a boost," Neil Sadick, a clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the Weill Cornell Medical College, told the website. The article explains that protein is the building block of hair, and if you don't get enough, your mane will grow more slowly, and strands will be weaker. "Pump up the protein," registered dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet, advised. "Include a small dose at each meal and with each snack, and you'll keep your hair follicles strong." Safe bets include poultry, lean beef, fish, beans and nuts. To see the original article and full list click here
Property Rights Australia conference this Saturday
Property Rights Australia will conduct its 2012 conference and annual general meeting in Rockhampton this Saturday, June 30. Tim Wilson, the director of the Institute of Public Affairs, will talk about the role environmental non-government organisations play in imposing voluntary and involuntary regulations on consumers and businesses. The conference will also hear about access and compensation agreements and make-good provisions from Lestar Manning, a solicitor with P&E Law who specialises in property and environment law, and engineer Max Winders. Brisbane-based barrister Phillip Sheridan will provide an update on issues surrounding the enforcement of the Vegetation Management Act 1999 in Queensland while producers affected by it, including Ashley McKay from Augathella, will also discuss their experiences.The conference will be held at the DEEDI Conference Centre, Parkhurst with registrations from 8am and a welcome by PRA chair Joanne Rea at 9am. The PRA annual general meeting will follow at 4pm after the conference. More details are available on the PRA website by clicking here
Landcare award named in former PM’s honour
A new national Landcare award has been launched in the name of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke. The award supercedes the annual McKell Medal which recognised excellence in the Landcare movement from 1984 to 2009. Federal agriculture minister Joe Ludwig said the biennial Bob Hawke Landcare Award recognised the former prime minister’s role in driving national support for Landcare. “Bob Hawke acknowledged the environmental problems Australia faced in declaring the nineties the ‘Decade of Landcare’,” Mr Ludwig said. “This action played a key role in elevating Landcare from a grass roots community initiative to a movement of national significance with strong government support.” The award will recognise an outstanding individual effort in encouraging Australians to adopt sustainable and productive agricultural practices. The winner will receive a prize of up to $50,000 to develop their knowledge and skills in sustainable land management, and will have an honorary position on the Australian Landcare Council for a period of two years.
National Landcare conference in September
This year’s National Landcare Conference will be held at the Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, from September 3-5 under the theme of “Landcare – the future in our hands”. Early bird registrations are now open which give delegates who book before July 15 savings of $150 on conference rates. The inaugural Bob Hawke Landcare Award will be presented at the National Landcare Awards during Landcare Week in Sydney on 4 September 2012. For conference and registration details click here.
Search on for NSW’s hidden treasures
The NSW Government is calling for rural communities to nominate women volunteers for the 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll. The annual project which started in 2010 is designed to create a lasting archive recognising women who are the backbone of community organisations. All women nominated will be included in the 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll to be presented at the annual NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in Parkes on October 12-14. Last year the initiative uncovered 140 “Hidden Treasures”. People wishing to nominate a female volunteer in their rural community can download a nomination form from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/rwn or request a nomination form via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on (02) 9261 3600.
Driving your landscape to success
The 27th annual Grassland Society of NSW conference will be held at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga on July 24-26 under the theme of “Driving your Landscape to Success”. Conference convenor and NSW DPI agronomist Nathan Ferguson said the program is designed to provide participants with the skills to recognise different parts of their landscape for their productive or conservation potential and manage them accordingly. "We want producers to be targeted in their approach to management, which means cropping paddocks that are appropriate for cropping, sowing improved pastures into areas of the landscape where they will persist and produce for many years to come, and applying fertiliser to appropriate areas of the farm," he said. Cut price early bird registrations close this Saturday, June 30, and final registrations close on Monday, July 16. For further information visit the website http://www.grasslandnsw.com.au, or contact Nathan Ferguson on (02) 6941 1400 or email@example.com.
It's cool to be kind to animals
A new project targeted at school children aims to reduce the incidents of animal abuse and cruelty. The “Cool to be kind to animals” initiative encourages school children to understand the needs and behaviours of pets and wild animals so they can show them empathy, respect and the appropriate care. It is funded by the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) with in-kind support from other partners. The project uses social media to raise awareness in the community and develop a two-way dialogue with children on the importance of knowing how to treat animals properly. Liz Walker, CEO of Melbourne’s Lort Smith Animal Hospital, says the project came about following research undertaken by a sub-committee of the AAWS companion animal working group which found there was a specific need to encourage young Australians to behave empathetically and respectfully towards sentient creatures. “Early education really is the key,” Ms Walker said. “Too often we see reports of teenagers abusing or mistreating animals, and we are keen to get the message out that it really is cool to be kind to animals before it gets to that stage.” For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NSW farmers welcome strategic ag land developments
Farmers in New South Wales have welcomed the O’Farrell Government’s appointment of a Land and Water Commissioner to oversee the regulation of mining exploration activities on strategic agricultural land. NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said the newly created position would bring some “overdue rigour and independence” to the mining assessment process. The farming body wants current draft maps of strategic agricultural land improved to reflect local data, and will push to see the commissioner’s brief expanded to a statewide focus. The NSW Government has also announced it will establish new Regional Community Funds, which will see local communities receive a share of their region’s assets. It has also announced the end to a five-year amnesty during which time CSG companies did not have to pay royalties on any gas produced.