Page 1

12

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

www.havredailynews.com

Lab vs. live: The future of cultured meat


2

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.havredailynews.com

Lab vs. live: The future of cultured meat Derek Hann dshann@havredailynews.com

The first day of the Montana Meat Packers Association Convention last month i n H av re, M o n ta n a S ta t e U n i ve rs i t y Associate Professor Jane Ann Boles spoke to the association about cultured meats, which is a no-kill cell-based meat product grown in a laboratory. “Some want to keep animals and harvest cells from the living animals,” she said in a interview, “others are talking about using ‘eternal’ cell lines where the cells will be arrested in a stage and held there until they are put into the reactor to grow the cells.” Boles said at the convention that cultured meat is a cell-based product that starts with muscle and fat cells from a living animal, however, the animal does not need to be killed to produce the meat. Boles added in an interview that companies can have different approaches to where the cells come from. The cells are grown in a lab until they reach a specific stage, then they are treated with hormones and protein mixtures which make the muscle cells fuse to form myotubes, which is when muscle fibers generally form to create myoblasts — or better known as muscle cells — into multi-nucleated fibers, she said. The cells continue to fuse and in an animal it would develop into muscle. She added that this is the step that

seems to be a stumbling block in the process — as it is difficult to make multilayers of the muscle cells and fat to make a product similar to a steak. Advocates of cultured meat say it would be a great benefit to the planet. A 2011 study published in Environmental Science & Technology by Oxford University student Hanna Tuomisto said that the complete replacement of conventional meat with cellbased products would result in a 78 to 98 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Tuomisto, now an associate professor at the University of Helsinki Department of Agricultural Sciences, also said in her study that the transition to cultured meats would result in a 99 percent reduction in land use, 82 to 96 percent reduction in water use and 45 percent reduction in energy use. But Boles said that the main benefit to the beef market with cultivated meat is no cruelty to animals. At the meeting, she told producers that according to an independent study most vegetarians would eat cultivated meat. Boles added that the idea of no cruelty to animals shows that most people don’t recognize what production agriculture is. “Do we have bad players? Yes. Do we have room for improvement? Yes. But let us improve,” she said. The study also indicates that some of the negative impacts will be on rural biodiversity because of the reduction in the need for

www.havredailynews.com and his family. He added that he had two boys whom he wanted to spend time with and by putting his land in CRP the land would have matured after his children where older than 18. “It was good,” he said. He added that the land he put into CRP was in good condition when it came out, improving wildlife, structure of soil and soil quality. When he first started the paperwork to apply for CRP, he and the FSA had to assure the land was eligible, he said. The original goal was to take fragile land that was eroding from wind, water or other environmental causes, do some calculations with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and, if it qualified, the land was put into the program. He added that producers were still obligated to perform proper maintenance during the

FARM & RANCH contract, such as weeding. “I had a little bit of heartburn with some of that,” McIntosh said. “I did not think that was a good management practice but that was how the program was set up, that was the only heartburn I had.” After the 30 acres comes out of CRP, he said, he is still not going to farm that land but leave it for the wildlife. The government reducing payment per acre helped make those decisions, he said. “It wasn’t as attractive and each year it got less and less attractive,” he said. He added that it is a more economical decision than five or six years ago to raise crops on the land than to get involved in CRP. There is less participation in the program, he said, but in the future most likely a conservation program will be in place. “I think some type of program, may not

be called the same thing (but), I guess, it’s still in play,” McIntosh said. “But there is a good chance there will always be a program similar to that oriented to soil health and quality.” Rispens said that support for CRP remains strong with conservation partners, sports people, outdoor people and the general public. Hill County and Montana may not see large sections of land participating in CRP as before, but FSA is taking the program in a new direction with a focus on specific conservation objectives. Continuous signup The continuous signup will include such practices as grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others, the FSA release said. More information on the improved practices can be found at http://bit.ly/2VEWnAf/.

June 2019

11

Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration. Soil rental rates will be set at 90 percent of the existing rates and no incentive payments will be offered for these contracts. General sign-up will open in December this year and grasslands signup will be later. A one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter describing their options. Alternatively, producers with expiring contracts may have the option to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program, which provides two additional annual rental payments on the condition the land is sold or rented to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

USDA announces support for farmers impacted by tariffs Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Cattle look through a fence at Northern Agricultural Resource Center April 25. Science is advancing the ability to grow meat in a laboratory for human consumption. grasslands and pastures. Although some areas may benefit from cell-based products other areas may suffer. “Despite high uncertainty, it is concluded

that the overall environmental impacts of cultured meat production are substantially lower than those of conventionally produced meat,” the study said.

From U.S. Department of Agriculture WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced May 23 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take several actions to assist farmers in response to tariffs and trade disruption. The announcement came as some improvements were occurring in agricultural trade, including President Donald Trump ending the steel and aluminum tariffs levied on two of America’s top trading partners, Canada and Mexico, and announcements that Japan was fully opening its market to U.S. beef. But how tariffs and other issues including continued actions by and against China will impact ag trade in the long run still are unkown. Trump directed Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the administration continues to work on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the president authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers. “China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property,” Perdue said in a press release May 23. “President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and longterm profitability than President Trump. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of

unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue said. “Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.” American farmers have dealt with retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff trade disruptions which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers: • Market Facilitation Program for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation — CCC — Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency, will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers. • Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and there-

fore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. • Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame. • Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production. • These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad. • Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July or early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is complet-

ed by July 15. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January. • Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program th ro u g h th e Ag r ic u ltu ra l Ma r ke tin g Service to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals. • Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers. More details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date, the May 23 release said.


10

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.havredailynews.com

CRP in transition as enrolled acres dropping Derek Hann dshann@havredailynews.com Editor’s note: A version of this ran in the Havre Daily News May 23. The USDA Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program has seen numbers dropping, for a variety of reasons, but a local official expects the conservation program to continue in a strong way. FSA Chief Farm Program Specialist Les Rispens said he expects CRP to continue but the program itself is changing, with staff receiving training on the changes so they can educate the public. FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the continuous CRP signup when the 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, which is one of the country’s largest conservation programs. A press release from FSA said the agency would begin accepting applications Monday of this week for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. Rispens said that the Farm Bill put CRP under a new conservation objective. The Farm Bill continued support for the program as well as increased acres which can be in the program from 24 million to 27 million by 2023. One thing it did, he said, was specify goals for FSA with 8.6 million acres out of

the 27 million designated for continuous sign up. It also set high priority conservation practices for 2 million acres of grass lands provision to protect grasslands. The USDA FSA fact sheet regarding grasslands says that protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions. It provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations and improves environmental quality. The program is set up so participants keep their right to conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow or harvest for seeds — dependent on wildlife — and conduct fire rehabilitation or construct firebreaks and fences. “We expect to use it on a more surgical level to treat specific conservation problems like water quality,” Rispens said. By utilizing the program in this way the FSA will be able to treat specific issues, Rispens said. “I think the future is very bright for the program,” he said. “I think that it will continue for a long time and I think we’re just seeing a shift.” CRP can be a tool in addition to other programs to face conservation issues, he said. The program continues and will expand to reach as far as enrolling land identified as critical to conservation. He added that price per acre has reduced slightly in the new Farm Bill, but with the adjustments made by Congress and the FSA, the program will be more effective.

“We are going to go in and, with a combination of adjustments to our rates and eligibility criteria,” Rispens said, “we’re going to treat pieces of ground that can contribute greater conservation benefits.” A reduction in participation Conservation Reserve Program land has greatly reduced in Hill County since its peak in 2007, Rispens said, but the decline is due to a variety of factors as well as the federal government taking a new approach to the conservation program. “The reason for decline is complex and cannot be contributed to just one factor,” he said. The website of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which tracks CRP and other conservation efforts, said Hill County in 2007 had 658 different participants in CRP, with 299,380 acres enrolled in the program and with the federal government paying $11,891,734 that year to participants. According to an agricultural census, in 2012 Hill County had had increased participation to 802 farms or ranches. The last year recorded on the EWG website, 2014, Hill County numbers had fallen sharply but the county was the top participant in the CRP program in Montana with 490 participants, 159,038 acres and $6,903943 paid out. This year, FSA is expecting a 20,000- to 30,000-acre reduction of CRP land this fall, almost half of the total CRP, in Hill County

that now totals 75,241.98 acres. The reduction in CRP has also created a reduction of wildlife preservation in Hill County, Rispens said. He added that the state of Montana currently has 1,064,047.38 acres of CRP. Rispens said FSA has seen an increase in land values and rental rates in Hill County and Montana as a whole. The land value has gone up and a gradual decrease in CRP rates over same period had a combined effect. “That has created financial incentives for people to bring land back into production,” he said. “That’s also coupled with a really strong organic movement in Hill County.” The organic acres seeded in Hill County has gone up dramatically in the past five to six years and most of the land is coming out of CRP, he added. Rispens said that land coming out of CRP is prime land to start organic production. “The CRP land makes an excellent start for organic operations because it’s been chemical-free for several years and they can begin production as organic production immediately, and that’s created a really attractive alternative use,” he said. Organic production was not a large factor in agriculture when the program first began in 1985, he said. The FSA is seeing a lot of the land coming out of CRP going directly to organic. In the past, when CRP participation was up, the FSA also received public comment that CRP was making it difficult for new producers to grow and survive in the market, Rispens said. Producers were putting their land directly into CRP once they retired rather than putting the land on the market or for lease for new producers. “So to address that the FSA, in conjunction with partners in Congress, reduced (CRP) rental rates down to sort of address that issue, taking away some financial incentive,” Rispens said. Reducing the price of CRP was done to make it a competitive decision for producers whether to put their land in CRP or on the market. “We are trying to achieve that balance between beginning farmers and still providing the conservation structure that we need with CRP,” he added. “… The people who own that land will give new farmers a chance to lease the land instead of automatically putting it into CRP.” It’s a factor that people overlook, he said, adding that the FSA has been criticized for reducing CRP rental rates. “It’s just been an adjustment over time here and trying to find that perfect balance there,” he said. Hill County farmer Alec McIntosh said that he has participated in the CRP program for about 20 years, two 10-year contracts. At one point he had approximately 900 acres in the program but now has 30 acres, which will be coming out in the next couple of years. He said he started participating in CRP because of the economics of it, soil health

www.havredailynews.com New Harvest, a nonprofit research institute in cellular agriculture — which contributed $10,000 to Tuomisto’s study — says that the main criticism the study received was that it was purely theoretical because the cultured meat production industry is not established. Boles said that a disadvantage is the growth process, she said. The process requires a lot of chemicals to make the cells grow. Everything must be supplied to the cells, such as amino acids and hormones, while the natural cell culture process requires antibiotics. “There are many things missing from their analysis,” she said. Many people in the country are concerned with cattle negatively impacting the environment, and with producers and processors mistreating the cattle, Boles said at the meeting. Although some of the documents may not necessarily be misinformation, many of those studies were using old, outdated information, such as using production practices from the 1960s. “(There is) a lot of bad science that has been published on certain things,” she said. Boles said that information is important for processors. Processors get a lot of questions from consumers and they should be able to give informed information about products consumers are asking about. She added that informing processors and producers about what is happening in the market helps reduce misinformation from spreading. “The process requires a co-culture of fat cells, muscle cells and something that could function as bone,” she said. “The companies working on the process have said they are close to having the co-culture ready but

FARM & RANCH there is no data available to evaluate. This makes it difficult to have an informed opinion on the process.” Boles told producers that if companies were able to perfectly replicate steak it would be far too expensive for consumers, she said. “I believe it will come to market,” she said in an interview. “I am not sure if they will ever overcome the cost of the process. There is a lot of chemicals — fatty acids, amino acids, hormones, etc. — needed for the process. Some of those are currently harvested from the meat industry. If there is no longer a large influx of these compounds as by-products of the meat industry, the cost could be prohibitive.” She said a movement away from “factory farms” exists, but most producers and processors don’t operate that way. If production goes to cultured meats it will be entirely a factory. “Producers seem to be most concerned about what it is called,” she said. “It is not really meat as we would recognize it from a carcass.” More than 40 different companies are working on producing cultivated meats, she said. “It originated from the desire to create organs for implants so we didn’t have to wait for someone to donate an organ for a transplant,” she said. But there is a demand for this product, Boles said. The cell-based product appears to be more popular in Europe than it is in the U.S. “Europe sees it as a way to eat meat without guilt — welfare and environment,” she said. Concerns in the United States come from

the process not being natural. If the cost can be less than what is necessary for real meat then there may be a consumer that can be well-served by a cheaper source of high quality protein. “Currently, that is not the case,” she added. But the focus on cultured meat should be to not take away from a nutrient food source, she said. A lot of time is spent trying to “fill in the blank,” but time needs to be spent to make the live cattle production process better. “That’s where we have a disconnect and this is one of our biggest problems is a disconnect between the consumer and the producer,” she said. She added that the people working on these projects are good people who are truly concerned with feeding people and the environment, but they don’t understand the true nature of cattle and meat production. Cell-based products are many years away from commercial production, she said. In addition to scaffolding, it has several challenges that need to be overcome. And oversight of the process is increasing A March 7 press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. “The formal agreement describes the oversight roles and responsibilities for both agencies and how the agencies will collaborate to regulate the development and entry of these products into commerce,” it said.

June 2019

3

“This shared regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry are produced safely and are accurately labeled.” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said in the release that the two agencies working together regarding cell-cultured meats will ensure that the meat produced is safe and properly labeled so consumers will be protected. “We recognize that our stakeholders want clarity on how we will move forward with a regulatory regime to ensure the safety and proper labeling of these cell-cultured human food products while continuing to encourage innovation,” said Yiannas. “Collaboration between USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many important technical and regulatory considerations that can arise with the development of animal cell-cultured food products for human consumption.” —— Press release on regulating cell-cultured food: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/pressannouncements/usda-and-fda-announce-formal-agreement-regulate-cell-cultured-foodproducts-cell-lines-livestock-and. Public meeting webinar: https://www.fsis. usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/past-meetings. Agreement on cell-cultured food: https:// www.fsis.usda.gov/formalagreement/. New Harvest cultured meats page: https:// w w w. n ew - h a r v e s t . o r g / e n v i r o n m e n t a l _ impacts_of_cultured_meat/. Hanna Tuomisto’s research paper: https:// pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es200130u/.


4

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

9


8

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

5


6

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

7


6

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

7


8

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

5


4

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.glasgowcourier.com

www.glasgowcourier.com

FARM & RANCH

June 2019

9


10

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.havredailynews.com

CRP in transition as enrolled acres dropping Derek Hann dshann@havredailynews.com Editor’s note: A version of this ran in the Havre Daily News May 23. The USDA Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program has seen numbers dropping, for a variety of reasons, but a local official expects the conservation program to continue in a strong way. FSA Chief Farm Program Specialist Les Rispens said he expects CRP to continue but the program itself is changing, with staff receiving training on the changes so they can educate the public. FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the continuous CRP signup when the 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, which is one of the country’s largest conservation programs. A press release from FSA said the agency would begin accepting applications Monday of this week for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. Rispens said that the Farm Bill put CRP under a new conservation objective. The Farm Bill continued support for the program as well as increased acres which can be in the program from 24 million to 27 million by 2023. One thing it did, he said, was specify goals for FSA with 8.6 million acres out of

the 27 million designated for continuous sign up. It also set high priority conservation practices for 2 million acres of grass lands provision to protect grasslands. The USDA FSA fact sheet regarding grasslands says that protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions. It provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations and improves environmental quality. The program is set up so participants keep their right to conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow or harvest for seeds — dependent on wildlife — and conduct fire rehabilitation or construct firebreaks and fences. “We expect to use it on a more surgical level to treat specific conservation problems like water quality,” Rispens said. By utilizing the program in this way the FSA will be able to treat specific issues, Rispens said. “I think the future is very bright for the program,” he said. “I think that it will continue for a long time and I think we’re just seeing a shift.” CRP can be a tool in addition to other programs to face conservation issues, he said. The program continues and will expand to reach as far as enrolling land identified as critical to conservation. He added that price per acre has reduced slightly in the new Farm Bill, but with the adjustments made by Congress and the FSA, the program will be more effective.

“We are going to go in and, with a combination of adjustments to our rates and eligibility criteria,” Rispens said, “we’re going to treat pieces of ground that can contribute greater conservation benefits.” A reduction in participation Conservation Reserve Program land has greatly reduced in Hill County since its peak in 2007, Rispens said, but the decline is due to a variety of factors as well as the federal government taking a new approach to the conservation program. “The reason for decline is complex and cannot be contributed to just one factor,” he said. The website of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which tracks CRP and other conservation efforts, said Hill County in 2007 had 658 different participants in CRP, with 299,380 acres enrolled in the program and with the federal government paying $11,891,734 that year to participants. According to an agricultural census, in 2012 Hill County had had increased participation to 802 farms or ranches. The last year recorded on the EWG website, 2014, Hill County numbers had fallen sharply but the county was the top participant in the CRP program in Montana with 490 participants, 159,038 acres and $6,903943 paid out. This year, FSA is expecting a 20,000- to 30,000-acre reduction of CRP land this fall, almost half of the total CRP, in Hill County

that now totals 75,241.98 acres. The reduction in CRP has also created a reduction of wildlife preservation in Hill County, Rispens said. He added that the state of Montana currently has 1,064,047.38 acres of CRP. Rispens said FSA has seen an increase in land values and rental rates in Hill County and Montana as a whole. The land value has gone up and a gradual decrease in CRP rates over same period had a combined effect. “That has created financial incentives for people to bring land back into production,” he said. “That’s also coupled with a really strong organic movement in Hill County.” The organic acres seeded in Hill County has gone up dramatically in the past five to six years and most of the land is coming out of CRP, he added. Rispens said that land coming out of CRP is prime land to start organic production. “The CRP land makes an excellent start for organic operations because it’s been chemical-free for several years and they can begin production as organic production immediately, and that’s created a really attractive alternative use,” he said. Organic production was not a large factor in agriculture when the program first began in 1985, he said. The FSA is seeing a lot of the land coming out of CRP going directly to organic. In the past, when CRP participation was up, the FSA also received public comment that CRP was making it difficult for new producers to grow and survive in the market, Rispens said. Producers were putting their land directly into CRP once they retired rather than putting the land on the market or for lease for new producers. “So to address that the FSA, in conjunction with partners in Congress, reduced (CRP) rental rates down to sort of address that issue, taking away some financial incentive,” Rispens said. Reducing the price of CRP was done to make it a competitive decision for producers whether to put their land in CRP or on the market. “We are trying to achieve that balance between beginning farmers and still providing the conservation structure that we need with CRP,” he added. “… The people who own that land will give new farmers a chance to lease the land instead of automatically putting it into CRP.” It’s a factor that people overlook, he said, adding that the FSA has been criticized for reducing CRP rental rates. “It’s just been an adjustment over time here and trying to find that perfect balance there,” he said. Hill County farmer Alec McIntosh said that he has participated in the CRP program for about 20 years, two 10-year contracts. At one point he had approximately 900 acres in the program but now has 30 acres, which will be coming out in the next couple of years. He said he started participating in CRP because of the economics of it, soil health

www.havredailynews.com New Harvest, a nonprofit research institute in cellular agriculture — which contributed $10,000 to Tuomisto’s study — says that the main criticism the study received was that it was purely theoretical because the cultured meat production industry is not established. Boles said that a disadvantage is the growth process, she said. The process requires a lot of chemicals to make the cells grow. Everything must be supplied to the cells, such as amino acids and hormones, while the natural cell culture process requires antibiotics. “There are many things missing from their analysis,” she said. Many people in the country are concerned with cattle negatively impacting the environment, and with producers and processors mistreating the cattle, Boles said at the meeting. Although some of the documents may not necessarily be misinformation, many of those studies were using old, outdated information, such as using production practices from the 1960s. “(There is) a lot of bad science that has been published on certain things,” she said. Boles said that information is important for processors. Processors get a lot of questions from consumers and they should be able to give informed information about products consumers are asking about. She added that informing processors and producers about what is happening in the market helps reduce misinformation from spreading. “The process requires a co-culture of fat cells, muscle cells and something that could function as bone,” she said. “The companies working on the process have said they are close to having the co-culture ready but

FARM & RANCH there is no data available to evaluate. This makes it difficult to have an informed opinion on the process.” Boles told producers that if companies were able to perfectly replicate steak it would be far too expensive for consumers, she said. “I believe it will come to market,” she said in an interview. “I am not sure if they will ever overcome the cost of the process. There is a lot of chemicals — fatty acids, amino acids, hormones, etc. — needed for the process. Some of those are currently harvested from the meat industry. If there is no longer a large influx of these compounds as by-products of the meat industry, the cost could be prohibitive.” She said a movement away from “factory farms” exists, but most producers and processors don’t operate that way. If production goes to cultured meats it will be entirely a factory. “Producers seem to be most concerned about what it is called,” she said. “It is not really meat as we would recognize it from a carcass.” More than 40 different companies are working on producing cultivated meats, she said. “It originated from the desire to create organs for implants so we didn’t have to wait for someone to donate an organ for a transplant,” she said. But there is a demand for this product, Boles said. The cell-based product appears to be more popular in Europe than it is in the U.S. “Europe sees it as a way to eat meat without guilt — welfare and environment,” she said. Concerns in the United States come from

the process not being natural. If the cost can be less than what is necessary for real meat then there may be a consumer that can be well-served by a cheaper source of high quality protein. “Currently, that is not the case,” she added. But the focus on cultured meat should be to not take away from a nutrient food source, she said. A lot of time is spent trying to “fill in the blank,” but time needs to be spent to make the live cattle production process better. “That’s where we have a disconnect and this is one of our biggest problems is a disconnect between the consumer and the producer,” she said. She added that the people working on these projects are good people who are truly concerned with feeding people and the environment, but they don’t understand the true nature of cattle and meat production. Cell-based products are many years away from commercial production, she said. In addition to scaffolding, it has several challenges that need to be overcome. And oversight of the process is increasing A March 7 press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. “The formal agreement describes the oversight roles and responsibilities for both agencies and how the agencies will collaborate to regulate the development and entry of these products into commerce,” it said.

June 2019

3

“This shared regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry are produced safely and are accurately labeled.” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said in the release that the two agencies working together regarding cell-cultured meats will ensure that the meat produced is safe and properly labeled so consumers will be protected. “We recognize that our stakeholders want clarity on how we will move forward with a regulatory regime to ensure the safety and proper labeling of these cell-cultured human food products while continuing to encourage innovation,” said Yiannas. “Collaboration between USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many important technical and regulatory considerations that can arise with the development of animal cell-cultured food products for human consumption.” —— Press release on regulating cell-cultured food: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/pressannouncements/usda-and-fda-announce-formal-agreement-regulate-cell-cultured-foodproducts-cell-lines-livestock-and. Public meeting webinar: https://www.fsis. usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/past-meetings. Agreement on cell-cultured food: https:// www.fsis.usda.gov/formalagreement/. New Harvest cultured meats page: https:// w w w. n ew - h a r v e s t . o r g / e n v i r o n m e n t a l _ impacts_of_cultured_meat/. Hanna Tuomisto’s research paper: https:// pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es200130u/.


2

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

Hi-Line

www.havredailynews.com

Lab vs. live: The future of cultured meat Derek Hann dshann@havredailynews.com

The first day of the Montana Meat Packers Association Convention last month i n H av re, M o n ta n a S ta t e U n i ve rs i t y Associate Professor Jane Ann Boles spoke to the association about cultured meats, which is a no-kill cell-based meat product grown in a laboratory. “Some want to keep animals and harvest cells from the living animals,” she said in a interview, “others are talking about using ‘eternal’ cell lines where the cells will be arrested in a stage and held there until they are put into the reactor to grow the cells.” Boles said at the convention that cultured meat is a cell-based product that starts with muscle and fat cells from a living animal, however, the animal does not need to be killed to produce the meat. Boles added in an interview that companies can have different approaches to where the cells come from. The cells are grown in a lab until they reach a specific stage, then they are treated with hormones and protein mixtures which make the muscle cells fuse to form myotubes, which is when muscle fibers generally form to create myoblasts — or better known as muscle cells — into multi-nucleated fibers, she said. The cells continue to fuse and in an animal it would develop into muscle. She added that this is the step that

seems to be a stumbling block in the process — as it is difficult to make multilayers of the muscle cells and fat to make a product similar to a steak. Advocates of cultured meat say it would be a great benefit to the planet. A 2011 study published in Environmental Science & Technology by Oxford University student Hanna Tuomisto said that the complete replacement of conventional meat with cellbased products would result in a 78 to 98 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Tuomisto, now an associate professor at the University of Helsinki Department of Agricultural Sciences, also said in her study that the transition to cultured meats would result in a 99 percent reduction in land use, 82 to 96 percent reduction in water use and 45 percent reduction in energy use. But Boles said that the main benefit to the beef market with cultivated meat is no cruelty to animals. At the meeting, she told producers that according to an independent study most vegetarians would eat cultivated meat. Boles added that the idea of no cruelty to animals shows that most people don’t recognize what production agriculture is. “Do we have bad players? Yes. Do we have room for improvement? Yes. But let us improve,” she said. The study also indicates that some of the negative impacts will be on rural biodiversity because of the reduction in the need for

www.havredailynews.com and his family. He added that he had two boys whom he wanted to spend time with and by putting his land in CRP the land would have matured after his children where older than 18. “It was good,” he said. He added that the land he put into CRP was in good condition when it came out, improving wildlife, structure of soil and soil quality. When he first started the paperwork to apply for CRP, he and the FSA had to assure the land was eligible, he said. The original goal was to take fragile land that was eroding from wind, water or other environmental causes, do some calculations with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and, if it qualified, the land was put into the program. He added that producers were still obligated to perform proper maintenance during the

FARM & RANCH contract, such as weeding. “I had a little bit of heartburn with some of that,” McIntosh said. “I did not think that was a good management practice but that was how the program was set up, that was the only heartburn I had.” After the 30 acres comes out of CRP, he said, he is still not going to farm that land but leave it for the wildlife. The government reducing payment per acre helped make those decisions, he said. “It wasn’t as attractive and each year it got less and less attractive,” he said. He added that it is a more economical decision than five or six years ago to raise crops on the land than to get involved in CRP. There is less participation in the program, he said, but in the future most likely a conservation program will be in place. “I think some type of program, may not

be called the same thing (but), I guess, it’s still in play,” McIntosh said. “But there is a good chance there will always be a program similar to that oriented to soil health and quality.” Rispens said that support for CRP remains strong with conservation partners, sports people, outdoor people and the general public. Hill County and Montana may not see large sections of land participating in CRP as before, but FSA is taking the program in a new direction with a focus on specific conservation objectives. Continuous signup The continuous signup will include such practices as grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others, the FSA release said. More information on the improved practices can be found at http://bit.ly/2VEWnAf/.

June 2019

11

Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration. Soil rental rates will be set at 90 percent of the existing rates and no incentive payments will be offered for these contracts. General sign-up will open in December this year and grasslands signup will be later. A one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter describing their options. Alternatively, producers with expiring contracts may have the option to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program, which provides two additional annual rental payments on the condition the land is sold or rented to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

USDA announces support for farmers impacted by tariffs Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Cattle look through a fence at Northern Agricultural Resource Center April 25. Science is advancing the ability to grow meat in a laboratory for human consumption. grasslands and pastures. Although some areas may benefit from cell-based products other areas may suffer. “Despite high uncertainty, it is concluded

that the overall environmental impacts of cultured meat production are substantially lower than those of conventionally produced meat,” the study said.

From U.S. Department of Agriculture WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced May 23 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take several actions to assist farmers in response to tariffs and trade disruption. The announcement came as some improvements were occurring in agricultural trade, including President Donald Trump ending the steel and aluminum tariffs levied on two of America’s top trading partners, Canada and Mexico, and announcements that Japan was fully opening its market to U.S. beef. But how tariffs and other issues including continued actions by and against China will impact ag trade in the long run still are unkown. Trump directed Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the administration continues to work on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the president authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers. “China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property,” Perdue said in a press release May 23. “President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and longterm profitability than President Trump. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of

unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue said. “Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.” American farmers have dealt with retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff trade disruptions which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers: • Market Facilitation Program for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation — CCC — Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency, will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers. • Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and there-

fore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. • Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame. • Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production. • These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad. • Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July or early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is complet-

ed by July 15. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January. • Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program th ro u g h th e Ag r ic u ltu ra l Ma r ke tin g Service to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals. • Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers. More details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date, the May 23 release said.


12

Hi-Line

June 2019

FARM & RANCH

www.havredailynews.com

Lab vs. live: The future of cultured meat

Profile for Havre Daily News

Hi-Line Farm & Ranch June 2019  

Hi-Line Farm & Ranch June 2019  

Profile for havrenews
Advertisement