In reference to your July issue story “Dead-On,” page 24: We've known for a long time that reproductive performance traits (fertility, calving ease, longevity) are by far the most economically relevant traits in beef cattle. But until now, no breed associations had developed EPDs for them. I hope the Red Angus Association gets so much good press, good will and good sales that other breeds will be forced to follow its lead in publishing the industry's first Reproduction Sire Summary.

It doesn't take a mathematician to see that if you don't report failures as well as successes, you will get a biased estimate of your breed's performance. Breed associations that don't require Total Herd Reporting and use that information to develop reproductive EPDs deserve to lose in the marketplace.
Martin Turner
Elmer, MO

We must respond to recall

As an active member of the cattle feeding industry, I am deeply concerned about what the latest fiasco — ConAgra's 19-million-lb. recall of ground beef — will do to the already weak beef industry.

This is a time when the beef industry should stand up and educate consumers regarding the safety of eating beef when properly prepared. This is a time for increased education. Educate, inform and reassure consumers.

Knowledge extinguishes fear. If the only reports to which consumers are exposed are negative, food-borne illness horror stories, that will be the impression they recall every time they think of beef or see beef products.

We should expand our advertising campaign to include: commercial spots that will reach our target audience, informational and discount ads in local newspapers and magazines, projects and promotional activities with grocery and food stores to educate consumers and encourage sales.

This is not the time to hide our heads. This is a time to hold our heads high and acknowledge the errors that allowed this to happen. We need to educate consumers with fact and truth, and sing the praises of beef, its great taste, the time-honored traditions, nutritional value and excellent price.
Lisa Kapavik
Rocking Diamond K Ranch Inc.

Who Does R-CALF Represent?

What kind of an organization that claims to represent grass-roots beef producers would have an officer who says consumers are “lazy” and talks about the shameless exploitation of humans, animals and the environment involved in beef production? Not one that represents me.

Would I belong to a cattle industry organization with supporters who say that beef “endangers the lives of consumers,” and that consumers are “paying the highest prices in history for the dirtiest product since 1906 when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle?” Nope.

These were the statements made by R-CALF officer Kathleen Kelley and supporter Mike Callicrate, and reported by columnist Diane Carman in the July 25 issue of the Denver Post.

It leads me to ask: Just what is your agenda, R-CALF? This group that claims to represent those of us who work on the land is hurting us, and badly. It's reducing consumer confidence in U.S. beef and driving people away from our products.

How are these statements by R-CALF individuals any different from those made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Vegetarians Resource Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest? They're not.

So it shouldn't surprise us that R-CALF has officially and openly embraced the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the National Consumers League in some of their actions.

In fact, CFA's food policy group is headed by Carol Tucker Foreman. She's former President Jimmy Carter's appointee to USDA and a long-time critic of the meat industry.

Tucker Foreman has recently been heard boasting about the increase of soy in child nutrition programs and encouraging the government to ignore meat industry input. And she has also belittled the inspection quality at state-inspected packing plants, which essentially supports the bigger players and opposes the interstate shipment of meat from smaller state-inspected facilities.

Way to go, R-CALF. You're a great ally for us smaller producers. Not.

My questions are these: Why are you casting doubt on the U.S. food supply — primarily beef? And why do you share the same philosophy as people who want to put us out of business?
Roger Evans
Kiowa, CO

Send reader letters, with name and address, to BEEF, 7900 International Dr., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425; or e-mail to beef@primediabusiness.com. BEEF reserves the right to edit for length.