EPA Enforcement & Beef Trade Agreement

EPA Enforcement & Beef Trade Agreement

EPA Enforcement & Beef Trade Agreement plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

During the last 3 months of 2012 the EPA was busy in the northwest leveling nearly 40 enforcement actions through Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to protect communities and the environment. Everything from clean air and water infractions to risk management and toxic substances. Fines ranged from a $70 underground storage tank violation to $115-thousand dollars for an air quality violation. EPA enforcement helps deter violators who might otherwise gain an unfair business advantage over their competitors who are environmentally compliant.

It was announced on Monday that the U.S. and Japan have reached an agreement to further open Japan’s market to U.S. beef. The Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the US Trade Representative's Office, Issi Siddiqui.

SIDDIQUI: Japan was out number one export market prior to the finding of BSE in 2003 and because of the find in Washington State, exports were affected in Japan - partially opened the market for U.S. beef exports and those were limited beef and beef products from animals 20 months and under. So todays announcement is a significant announcement and we welcome this expansion of the U.S beef exports to raising the age limits to under 30 months.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

Most consumers are experiencing sticker shock as they try to find affordable cuts of meat, especially beef, to put on the family dinner table. A person would have had to have been living in a bubble not to know that we would be paying higher prices for meat this year due to the horrible drought that plagued a large portion of the nation last year. Yet, you still hear people asking “why have prices risen this much?” The answer lies in the amount of, or lack of, feed that producers have available for their cattle. Less corn and hay and pasture land due to drought damage meant less overall feed, which led many producers to liquidate their herds. In turn, less feed pushes feed prices higher and higher. Add it all up and it equals fewer cattle going to market so the price of beef goes up. USDA’s forecast for overall meat prices showed an expected increase of three to four percent over last year, not necessarily a large increase, but as any economist will tell you, when meat prices are at near to record high levels already, any change is going to be painful for consumers. Economist also tell us that it will probably be at least two years before we see any significant decrease in meat prices.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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