LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

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From Headquarters

Wolf OR-54 Found Dead in Shasta County
On Thursday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that the gray wolf designated OR-54 was found dead in Shasta County. It is not yet known how OR-54 died, but CDFW says that it is investigating the death.

OR-54 had traveled prolifically throughout northern California since entering the state on January 24, 2018. Its travels took it through Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties, as well as two trips back into southern Oregon and a brief foray into Nevada. All told, OR-54 traveled 8,712 miles in search of a mate after leaving Oregon’s Rogue Pack.

The wolf was responsible for a number of livestock depredations and was suspected of more. On March 16, 2019, OR-54 was found feeding on two calf carcasses, and both animals were confirmed to have been killed by the wolf. On August 16, 2019, OR-54 was confirmed responsible for two more calf depredations (the cause of a third calf’s death could not be confirmed, as the carcass was 95% consumed). OR-54 was also listed as the suspected cause of death on one probable and one possible depredation and had been suspected by ranchers in other instances where the Department found no wolf depredation.

CDFW is investigating OR-54’s death and continues to investigate the death of OR-59, which was shot dead in Modoc County in late 2018. CCA will continue to keep you informed about any developments.

GET INVOLVED: Tell Fish & Game Commission Not to List Mountain Lions as Threatened
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is at it again.

On Friday, the organization emailed its vast network of supporters asking them to take action and “Tell the California Fish and Game Commission…It must grant these mountain lions protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act.” The plea is in support of a petition by CBD and the Mountain Lion Foundation seeking to list mountain lions in the Central Coast and Southern California as a threatened species. CCA has been a vocal opponent of the proposed petition.

CBD’s plea is likely to result in a large number of submissions to the Fish & Game Commission—including a significant number from CBD members outside of California who are not among the Commission’s constituency.

To ensure that CBD’s vocal members do not drown out ranchers’ voices, it is essential that ranchers write to the Commission and tell them that mountain lions do not deserve protection under California’s Endangered Species Act. The most successful comments will be those that address mountain lion impacts to your ranch and likely impacts that mountain lion protections would have upon your operation. Any information you may have about mountain lion population abundance in Southern California or the Central Coast may also be valuable.

Comments can be delivered to CCA’s Kirk Wilbur at kirk@calcattlemen.org or by mail to the CCA office. Letters should be addressed to Eric Sklar, President; California Fish and Game Commission; 1416 9th Street, Room 1320; Sacramento, CA 95814. All letters received will be submitted to the Fish & Game Commission prior to a future hearing on the mountain lion petition.

Western Video Market Awarded the 2020 BQA Marketer of the Year Award
On Friday, Western Video Market (WVM) of Cottonwood, Calif. was awarded the 2020 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Marketer of the Year Award at this year’s Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio. Each year, these awards recognize industry leaders who have a strong commitment to establishing BQA on their operations while encouraging others to take part in BQA as well.

NCBA, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff, released the following statement announcing WVM as this year’s winner of the BQA Marketer of the Year Award.

“Founded in 1989, WVM has been a proponent of BQA programs and guidelines for nearly as long as BQA has been around and encourages adoption of BQA practices with its producers, buyers, and auction partners. During broadcast auctions where buyers are limited to seeing video of cattle, having a BQA certification shows that producers follow industry standards for high quality animal handling and health care. As BQA programs have grown in recognition throughout the U.S., WVM has seen that lots of cattle from BQA certified producers are more likely to be sold at a premium, yielding benefits to both producers and buyers who recognize the value of the program.”

CCA sends congratulations to the whole team at WVM. To learn more about WVM, click here

In addition to the BQA Marketer Award, other categories include: Cow-Calf, Dairy, Feedyard and Educator. To read about all of the 2020 BQA Award winners click here

NCBA Releases Consumer Research Showing Widespread Confusion About Contents of Plant-Based Fake Meat
The following press release was published by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on February 7, 2020.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today released survey results that show widespread consumer confusion regarding the ingredient composition and purported benefits of plant-based fake meat products.

In an online survey of more than 1,800 consumers, less than half of the respondents understood the labeling term “plant-based beef” was intended to describe an entirely vegetarian or vegan food product. One major source of confusion uncovered by NCBA’s research is that approximately one third of surveyed consumers believed that plant-based fake meat products contained at least some real beef in them. When asked to evaluate specific product labels and marketing materials from some of the leading plant-based fake beef products currently on the market, the results were astonishing:

* Nearly two-thirds of respondents believed the fake meat products produced by Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and LightLife contained real beef or some form of animal byproduct;

* 32 percent of consumers who were shown a package of Beyond Meat’s “Beyond Burger” plant-based patties (which features a cow icon) told researchers that they thought the patties contained at least small amounts of real meat;

* 37 percent of consumers who were shown a package of Lightlife’s “Gimme Lean”, which features the word “Beef” highlighted in a red box, said the product contained at least some real beef. Neither product contains any real beef.

“The fact that so many consumers look at these labels and think that the products include meat or other animal by-products is a clear sign that the misleading labeling and deceptive marketing practices of plant-based fake meat companies has caused real consumer confusion,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “Many of these fake-meat products purposely use graphics and words that trade on beef’s good name, and it needs to stop immediately. Consumers rely on names and product packaging to inform their purchasing decisions, and they have a right to know that this information is accurate and not misleading.”

When asked to rank plant-based fake meat versus beef on a host of food attributes, the results were even more startling. For example:

* 44 percent of consumers believed plant-based products were lower in sodium, when leading plant-based fake beef is anywhere between 220 to 620 percent higher in sodium than the same size serving of real ground beef.

* A mere 24 percent of respondents correctly identified beef as being lower in sodium. Scientifically speaking, beef is considered to be an unprocessed or minimally processed food, whereas plant-based fake meat products are classified as an ultra-processed food product.

* Unfortunately, 34 percent of respondents believed plant-based fake meat to be less processed and another 34 percent believed fake and real beef products were equivalent on the food processing scale. On the broad category of healthfulness, more than half of consumers believed plant-based meat was better.

“This research is a wake-up call for our industry, the news media, and for federal regulators,” Houston said. “We in the beef industry need to do a better job educating consumers about the fact that beef is a nutrient-rich source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients that can play a key role in any healthy lifestyle. We also need reporters and regulators to understand how many consumers are confused and/or misinformed about exactly what’s in these new plant-based alternatives.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to prevent this sort of consumer confusion. In 2020, NCBA said it hopes there will be an opportunity to work with the Agency to end inappropriate use of the word “beef” on all non-meat product labels.

For more detailed information about the survey methodology and results, click here.

Speaker to share why cattle are NOT the culprits of greenhouse gas emissions at World Ag Expo this Thursday
Samantha Werth, a Ph.D. candidate studying under the guidance of Dr. Frank Mitloehner in the Animal Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis, will speak at World Ag Expo on Thursday, February 13 at 1 pm. Presented by the California CattleWomen, Werth will share the science behind why cattle are NOT the culprits when it comes to greenhouse gases and environmental degradation.

The speaker’s research focuses on the sustainable production of beef cattle, including beef cattle nutrition and management, economics surrounding beef production and human nutrition as it relates to beef. Werth is also passionate about the topic of sustainability as it relates to agriculture and beef production.

For more details about this discussion happening at Seminar Trailer 2, click here.

ACT NOW: Take Lahontan Water Board’s Bacteria Water Quality Objectives Survey
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has long had the most stringent bacterial water quality objective in the state: Lahontan regulations require that water samples find no more than 20 colony-forming-units (CFUs)of fecal coliform per 100 milliliters (mL) of water. By contrast, the statewide standard set in 2018 by the State Water Resources Control Board—which measures the specific indicator bacteria E. coli rather than fecal coliform generally—is 100CFU/100mL.

CCA and ranchers throughout the Lahontan region have long challenged the region’s onerous bacterial water quality standard. The 20CFU/100mL benchmark was initially intended to safeguard the waters of Lake Tahoe and should not be applied throughout the entirety of the region. The stringent water quality standard is impossible to meet throughout much of the region, create a regulatory nightmare for ranchers and placing them on an uneven playing field with ranchers elsewhere within the state and elsewhere within the nation.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has committed to reevaluate its bacterial water quality objectives in 2020, and is soliciting feedback from the public via a survey, available here. The 10-question survey takes only 3-5 minutes to complete, and CCA urges ranchers—both inside and outside the Lahontan region—to complete the survey.

Most importantly, CCA suggests that ranchers answer Question 6, “Given the choice, would you favor the current Lahontan Region fecal coliform objective of 20CFU/100mL or the statewide E. coli objective of 100CFU/100mL?” with the second option, “I favor the statewide E. coli objective.”

The survey will be available until Sunday, February 23 at 5.00pm.

Industry News

Cattle inventory suggests higher prices in 2020 Morning Ag Clips  “USDA’s Jan. 1 cattle inventory — showing a reduced herd and a 1% decline in the 2019 calf crop — is expected to have a positive effect on cattle prices in 2020.” To continue reading, click here.

An endangered wolf wandered 8,712 miles to find a mate. Her journey ended in tragedy. The Washington Post  “She was first captured in 2017. That October, biologists in Oregon trapped, tranquilized and collared an 83-pound female gray wolf. They hoped to track the endangered animal’s movements, marking the start of a well-chronicled saga for the lonely wolf that ended this week. The young canine, named OR-54, was found dead Wednesday in California.” To continue reading, click here.

NCBA approves 2020 Policy Priorities BEEF Magazine  “The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association approved the organization’s 2020 Policy Priorities at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas.” To continue reading, click here.

House to vote on broad wilderness package E&E Daily “ The House this week will vote on legislation that would create nearly 1.4 million acres of new wilderness in the West.” To continue reading, click here.

Upcoming Events

CCA Steak & Eggs Legislative Breakfast
March 25, Sacramento, CA
For more information, click here.

CCA Feeder Meeting
May 20-22, San Diego, CA
For more information, click here.

CCA Midyear Meeting & Cattle PAC Auction
June 17-19, Paso Robles, CA
For more information, click here.

California Cattleman

Click here to read the latest issue!

Happy February! Love is in air—at least it is for the Hereford and Beefmaster breeds in this February issue of the California Cattleman. As it has in past years, this month’s issue focusing on highlighting these breeds and well as the leaders in them.

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