The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and other producer and industry groups have asked USDA to form a panel to study the emerging biofuels economy and its implications for livestock producers and animal ag.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, the groups said, "Public focus on ag issues continues to expand as new and exciting technologies place the ag sector in the driver's seat of America's energy future. However, with these changes and developments have come serious and significant concerns for the tens of thousands of farmers, farm families and all those involved in the $128-billion livestock, dairy, and poultry sectors."

The purpose of the working group is to "study the emerging bio-fuels economy and its full implications for these producers, the sector and the consumers they supply and serve," the groups say. Joining NCBA in the request are the National Pork Producers Council, American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, National Milk Producers Federation, and National Turkey Federation.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent