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Newsy week in agriculture

There was a lot of news in the agricultural arena last week.

The lawsuit pitting Beef Products Inc. against ABC Broadcasting and reporter Jim Avila has all the trappings of a David vs. Goliath tale (pages 18-19). And the stakes, potentially $5.7 billion, — yes, that's billion with a "b" — are astronomical.

Would love to be a fly on the wall in that courtroom.

Another hot news item is the JBS SA beef scandal and the news that JBS USA is selling its Five Rivers Cattle Feeding operation, which has the capacity to feed almost 1 million head of cattle (pages 30-33). The company's reason for the sale is to reduce debt, which is understandable since its parent company JBS SA was fined $3.1 billion for its part in the bribery scandal.

It seems like the trend of beef processors feeding their own cattle is over. Cargill also sold off the last of its cattle feedyards in April of this year.

And if that's not newsy enough, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has suspended fresh beef imports from Brazil because of food safety concerns (page 114). In my humble opinion, that should have already been done when the Brazilian beef scandal came to light.

I think the Brazilian beef scandal has now risen to the point where it should be called "beefgate" or "meatgate" or something. The other news is closer to home and that's the drought in the Dakotas. Both North Dakota (pages 58-59) and South Dakota (page 41) governors are asking for help for ranchers that have little or no feed and are being forced to sell their cattle.

Lets hope they get some rain soon before it's too late.

If you don't already, you will definitely want to read this issue from cover to cover. ❖