Here are what BEEF editors rank (in no particular order) as the top 10 stories of 2008:

  1. Brazil’s JBS SA follows up its 2007 purchase of Swift and Company with the announcement it will acquire National Beef Packing, the Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding. But the U.S. Department of Justice sues to block JBS SA's acquisition of National Beef. See these related stories:
    “DOJ Wants Four Packers,”
    “Swift & Company Goes Brazilian,”
    “Study Addresses Implications Of JBS-Swift Acquisitions,”
    “Justice Says "No" To Merger Of JBS And National,”
    “It's back to the future for JBS,”
    “Batistas Make Growing Plans,”
    “JBS Becomes Industry's Dominant Player,”

  2. Commodities soar and the economy nosedives. See these related stories:
    “Credit Crunch,”
    “Economy’s Effect On Ranchers,”
    “Cow-Calf Lessons,”
    “Feedyards Left With Markets,”
    “Stocker Lending Available,”
    “Is It Time To Point Fingers?”

  3. A little known U.S. Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, downs Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president and bests Rep. John McCain for the White House. Meanwhile, Democrats add to their majorities in the House and Senate. See these related stories:
    “Packer Ban Among Obama’s Ag Priorities,”
    “Confusion, But Optimism, Over Obama Appointments,”

  4. Large retail chains in South Korea open to U.S. beef. See these related stories:
    “Major Korean Retailers To Resume U.S. Beef Sales”
    “Korean Women’s Magazines Feature U.S. Beef”

  5. After a long wait and lots of wrangling, mandatory country of origin labeling finally becomes law in the U.S. See these related stories:
    “Will Mandatory COOL Hurt Ground Beef Sales?”
    “COOL Cometh & Plenty Of Questions Linger,”
    “Canada Begins Its Attack Against Mandatory COOL”

  6. The end of the free-trade era. The hallmark of the past two presidential administrations has been the formulation of free-trade agreements, but a mood of protectionism grows. See these related stories:
    “NAFTA 10 Years After,”
    “Democrats Look To Pull A Fast One On Trade Rules,”
    “Making The Case For Free Trade,”
    “Let’s Really Look At Free Trade,”

  7. Hallmark incident. Undercover Humane Society of the U.S. workers surreptitiously film workers at a Chino, CA cull-cow slaughter plant abusing exhausted dairy cows. See these related stories:
    “ Hallmark Gives Industry A California Nightmare,”
    “This Hallmark Greeting Is A Real Tear Jerker,”

  8. Horse slaughter ban. Legislators and courts bow to a tidal wave of emotion over horse slaughter, banning the practice in the U.S. See these related stories:
    “The Horse Ban & The Law Of Unintended Consequences,”
    “Slippery Slope?”
    “U.S. Horse Slaughter Moves To Mexico,”
    “Wild Horses Are A Case Study For All We Face,”
    “Wrangling Over Rendering,”

  9. Curly Calf (Arthrogryposis Multiplex), a lethal genetic defect, rattles the purebred market. See these related stories:
    “Dealing With Curly Calf,”
    “Curly Calf Syndrome Update,”

  10. Proposition 2 passes in California. The state ballot initiative stipulating housing requirements for all farm animals passes California voters by a 2 to 1 margin. See these related stories:
    “Election Of Obama May Not Be Most Pertinent Result,”
    “Ranchers Care,”
    “California Voters Approve Proposition 2.”