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Dennis Sun: Agriculture Is Changing And Everything Is Political In Our Daily Lives

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

One can’t say agriculture never changes or never changes rapidly. Just take a moment to think about all the changes we’ve encountered lately. I’ve heard some say those in production agriculture are against change or change slowly.

At times, I resemble this, but usually I’m ready to try something new. I’ve come to a point in my life where I just want to be comfortable, while realizing the joy of trying new things.

I’m always learning something new on the computer. This is a necessity in the publishing business. I never thought I would own a computer, iPad, tablet and smart cell phone at the same time, all while disliking driving newer cars, which are like driving computers down the road – it is just so distracting.

Once you get it in your mind that change is good, it just makes for an easier world. For someone whose first phone in the house had a long and a short ring for a phone number, I now thank God for smart phones.

Here we are in the middle of a pandemic, and change is predicted to come faster. The rules for living are changing and our businesses are changing. Agriculture is caught up in those changes – conservation, transparency and sustainability now have meanings we’re not sure we recognize.

The government is now managed by a president who issues executive orders while Congress blames one another for the wrongs of the country. The daily news is someone’s opinion, which masks the true news. From a pandemic to religion to throughout our daily lives, everything is political. This is the change I don’t like.

But, with change comes opportunities. A futurist and Former Naval Intelligence Officer, Jack Uldrich, said, “Today is the slowest rate of change we will experience. Our world is not slowing down, the pandemic unexpectedly accelerated the future by five to 10 years.”

People now think everything we do affects climate change, but I feel climate change is misunderstood. Climate change will have regenerative agriculture as a solution, which means farmers and ranchers will get paid to sequester carbon and adapt conservation practices.

Some of the biggest changes will be blockchain as a currency and electric vehicles for transportation, maybe even for plowing fields. The rural areas will have to ramp up infrastructure to meet the demands of electric vehicles. Broadband will be in every rural household, which is a great happening.

The one thing about change is that we can’t stop it. I look back and realize what our daily lives were like before cell phones and look at us now, we’ve all learned to use them. Information is power in the business world, as information is constant, 24 hours per day. We have to adjust to change to stay in business and keep our families together.

The one practice that will always stay the same for agriculture is we have to keep telling our story to consumers. They need to trust the food we produce is safe, nutritious and doesn’t harm the environment. In fact, it complements our environment.

We have to tell the consumers why we manage our animals and crops the way we do and how it helps everyone. Agriculture is misunderstood by some, but change will help us explain why we do what we do.

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun: Livestock Producers Need To Keep An Eye On Restaurant Trends

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Those in the business of beef, pork or lamb are usually watching the trends of the nation’s restaurants as close as they watch meat exports. When one part of the meat chain is not doing so well, the need for change is there. The bad part is, change is harder for some parts of the food supply chain.

The restaurant side is more fortunate than other parts, as in my view, they can change management practices easier than others. While it is usually nothing more than just changing pricing, management practices usually follow.

I found it interesting reading an article on the 2022 restaurant trends, as the meat industry depends on these restaurants. The pandemic had a big effect on restaurants, and now they are trying to recover.

To provide more insight into the current and future restaurant trends, Popmenue conducted a nationwide survey of 415 U.S. restaurant owners/operators in October 2021 and compiled the findings in a new report filled with must-know trends and real-life examples. Bear in mind, this survey was taken before the latest COVID-19 surge we are now experiencing.

Most restaurant owners/operators in the survey are feeling either very optimistic – 30 percent – or cautiously optimistic – 60 percent – about their outlook for 2022, as they are implementing strategies that will change experiences for both diners and staff.

The findings, as reported in BEEF Magazine, say that like other industries, labor is a major issue for the restaurant industry. Seventy-one percent of restaurants estimate they lose $5,000 or more per month due to the labor force deficit and 37 percent claim they lose $10,000 or more per month.

But 28 percent surveyed anticipate opening a new restaurant in 2022, so this shows many are moving forward. Eighty-two percent plan to increase wages and benefits along with offering signing and retention bonuses.

As you probably guessed, nine in 10 restaurants plan to increase menu prices as they learn to deal with supply shortages and costs. Restaurants also plan to keep increasing technology usage. Fifty-one percent plan to automate online operations over the next 12 months, while 41 percent plan to automate more on-premise operations.

Around half of all restaurant owners/operators surveyed will place greater emphasis on comfort and healthy food, which means more beef and lamb I hope. They also plan to offer more alcohol to-go and 29 percent will offer outdoor dining year-round. Outside dining will not fly in our region. Around 40 percent will increase investments in marketing and loyalty programs and offer more customized ordering experiences.

I’m not sure I want to sit down in a restaurant and order through a computer, but in some restaurants that will be normal, especially in more informal places.

It looks like restaurants, especially in the major urban cities, are having to change to stay competitive. Hopefully our western region will be slower in implementing some of these new changes, as we change less, and I like it that way. I’m not ready to deal with a robot over how I want my steak cooked, but as long as the drinks are stiff, I can change, too. 

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun: Lots Going On In Biden’s DC – We Need To Be Watchful

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

As the new year rolls in, we all wonder what 2022 will have in store for agriculture. I want to stay positive and don’t wish for another year like the last two, but hope for the best.

There was a quickly called meeting by the White House with meat producers this past Monday afternoon. The president wants to spend around $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan to expand meatpacking capacity for independent meat processors through a number of initiatives. They also visited on ways to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act. The Biden administration realizes meat producers and feeders are unfairly being held to low profits. 

Visiting with some in Washington, D.C. who attended the meeting, there were some reservations on the outcome of the meeting. As I understand, the meeting was announced the day before on Sunday. During the meeting, it was not explained if the administration was talking about new money or old money already earmarked. 

The good part of all this attention the meatpackers are getting is it will make for more awareness to consumers and others of the times in the cattle cycle when producers are not making a profit. 

The not so good issues I and others feel we need to pay attention to is the potential for increased government intervention in our meat businesses. There is no doubt the beef industry needs stronger enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, more price transparency and to do away with the processing label on all packages of beef at the meat counter. 

The processing label has nothing to do with a country of origin label, it is simply a label telling the consumer what country the package of meat was processed in. This label has really misled consumers. In times like this, when beef prices are at a record high at the meat counter, I’m not sure the consumer is looking at labels, but just the price of the package of beef.

Executive Vice President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Terry Frankhauser said, “These companies (packinghouses) are the ones that feed the world, and we need them because we know we can’t harvest these animals in tiny animal packinghouses. I don’t know if government intervention fully is the right answer here. It is when laws are being broken, we need to think of the carrot, not the stick.” 

Frankhauser said other issues should also be addressed such as modernizing rules and regulations and figuring out how to deal with employee shortage impacting all aspects of the beef industry.

The Biden administration’s action plan to invest $1 billion to expand competition in the U.S. meat processing industry and strengthen enforcement of antitrust regulations has drawn mixed reaction from cattle producers and feeders as it is still unclear what the administration wants to do with regard to the Packers and Stockyards Act.

We realize the Biden administration’s main goal is to stop inflation, which is currently the highest in 40 years. Meat prices have been the largest contributor to grocery inflation. 

We also have to be careful when this cattle cycle flip flops and there are fewer cattle and higher prices for the producers. We see signs that this part of the cycle has started. Remember in past years when prices were similar to now and everybody was looking for a way out?

“Lean Beef” was being developed, and as soon as higher cattle prices came, everybody forgot about lean beef and enjoyed the high prices.  

Whatever happens and despite prices, we need to stay on course and find answers to the current issues.

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun: So What Does 2022 Mean To The Ag Community? We Are Cautious

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Happy New Year! When I say that to friends this year, I really mean it. What I’m saying is I’m through with the year 2021, which to most of us wasn’t that great of a year.

I am realizing normal isn’t normal any more, and most likely will not be for a few years. But, there are some positives for the new year, and hopefully this means less negative experiences. 

We are all concerned about current drought conditions and just how long it hangs on, hopefully ending sometime next spring. Just remember, a drought always ends.

I hope inflation has cooled down, as this makes inputs and everything else more expensive. I hope for the election to consist of more conservative Congressional candidates to stop the president’s run-away spending.

We have to realize whatever this administration does – we call it making mistakes – their actions are 100 percent intentional. We don’t yet know what the 30×30 program is all about, as the administration has stayed quiet about it since the blow-back they first received when it was announced, but it can’t be good. 

We have to stay aware of meat alternatives and fight to have products labeled correctly, which should turn consumers away from fake meats. 

I can see another good year for those who raise sheep, despite predator issues. Here’s to hoping wool and lamb prices stay good. That is one industry which benefited from the pandemic, as consumers realized lamb makes for a good meal and the meat is easy to cook.

The beef industry hasn’t been too good for producers in the last year, but prices have been up in the last months of 2021.

The market has been good for not only calves and yearlings, but prices for canner and cutter cows and bulls, also. The predictions for better days in 2022 are forecasted, and we hope they hold true. With the expected rise on a strong beef export market, along with lower cattle numbers, producers should gain some ground. Slaughter numbers are up to around 676,000 each week in the past few weeks.

As I’ve written before in this column, beef byproducts were a strong positive, especially in the second half of 2021. A recent article from BEEF Magazine stated during the week of Dec. 3, the steer byproduct value was $14.61 per live hundredweight (cwt), up 72 percent to $6.11 per cwt, from the same week in 2020 and 42 percent at $4.32 per cwt,  above the 2015-19 average.

At $14.46 per live cwt, the early December cow byproduct value was up 46 percent to $4.54 per cwt compared to a year earlier, and 60 percent higher to $5.44 per cwt, the five-year average. The last time drop values reached similar levels was in 2014.

Interestingly, the cow byproduct value averaged greater on a dollar per live or dressed weight base than the steer byproduct value in 2021. This has occasionally happened in the past, but not in such a prolonged period and to this degree. This does not mean steer byproducts were worth less, rather cow byproducts were worth more.

The year-over-year strength of tripe is up 473 percent, livers are up 267 percent, tongues are up 143 percent, oxtails are up 112 percent and edible tallow is up 108 percent. 

While those are great increases, consumers think retail beef prices are high, but retail beef prices are actually lower than they would be without byproduct sales. This is because the processing costs of the entire animal to wholesalers are spread across both muscle cuts and byproducts.

So, there is a big positive note going into the new year. Have a great New Year. 

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun: Here In Wyoming, We Celebrate With A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

From all of us at the Roundup to our readers, we wish you and your families a Merry Christmas. Remember, the spirit of Christmas has not changed throughout the years and we need to keep the candle going. 

These days we’re not sure what normal is, but we do know the Spirit of Christmas is normal as it comes from the heart. The gifts our families provide us, which comes from the heart, are the best. Merry Christmas. 

A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer

By S. Omar Barker

I ain’t much good at prayin’ and You may not know me, Lord —

For I ain’t much seen in churches, where they preach Thy Holy Word.
But you may have observed me out here on the lonely plains,

A-lookin’ after cattle, feelin’ thankful when it rains.

Admirin’ Thy great handiwork.

The miracle of the grass,
Aware of Thy kind Spirit, in the way it comes to pass
That hired men on horseback and the livestock that we tend
Can look up at the stars at night, and know we’ve got a Friend.

So here’s ol’ Christmas comin’ on, remindin’ us again
Of Him whose coming brought good will into the hearts of men.
A cowboy ain’t a preacher, Lord, but if You’ll hear my prayer,
I’ll ask as good as we have got for all men everywhere.

Don’t let no hearts be bitter, Lord.
Don’t let no child be cold.
Make easy the beds for them that’s sick and them that’s weak and old.
Let kindness bless the trail we ride, no matter what we’re after,
And sorter keep us on Your side, in tears as well as laughter.

I’ve seen ol’ cows a-starvin’ – and it ain’t no happy sight;
Please don’t leave no one hungry, Lord, on Thy Good Christmas Night –
No man, no child, no woman and no critter on four feet
I’ll do my doggone best to help you find ’em chuck to eat.

I’m just a sinful cowpoke, Lord – ain’t got no business prayin’
But still I hope you’ll ketch a word or two, of what I’m sayin’:
We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord –

I reckon You’ll agree –

There ain’t no Merry Christmas for nobody that ain’t free!
So one thing more I ask You, Lord: just help us what You can
To save some seeds of freedom for the future Sons of Man!

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun: A Cow Provides A Whole Lot More Than Just Steak And Hamburger

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Lately, there have been more than enough reasons to complain about the meat processors or packinghouses. They are making a ton of money with the high demand of meat at the retail sector, and the producers out in the hills are not receiving their share. But, we need to give the meat processors credit for making some products out of the whole carcass into value-added byproducts.

At processing plants, after high-demand cuts of meat are removed from the carcass – roughly half the carcass – the upcycle process begins. The process begins by removing other cuts or parts of the animal which mainstream U.S. consumers don’t want.

These would be the parts of the animal that if it were butchered at home, as a kid, you just knew you didn’t want to eat. These cuts, which we now know as variety meats, make up a large part of U.S. meat exports. In turn, variety meats help make our meat industry sustainable.

These byproducts include the heart, tongue, liver and tripe, which do sell in the U.S., but other parts less popular in the U.S. include head meat, cheek meat, tongue root trim, oxlips, honeycomb tripe, omasum, small intestines or marrow gut, oxtails sweetbreads, kidneys, bile and gallstones. Well, there goes dinner – that’s quite a list.

The rest of the carcass – the bones, fat and scraps – are left for the rendering plant. The big processors have their own rendering plants, and smaller plants typically contract out to other rendering plants. The idea of rendering is to separate protein from fat. The blood and protein will be turned into fertilizer and aquaculture feed. Fat becomes tallow, which will be used in numerous products such as biofuel, tires and shampoo. No wonder I’m losing my hair.

These products have a place in the world and make the processed animal worth more, and hopefully some of the value will trickle back to the producer.

We don’t hear much about rendering as it has been known as “the silent industry” or the not-so-glamorous industry. The truth is, rendering was the original “recycling plant” a long, long time ago when nothing on an animal butchered was wasted.

Now, rendering is a critical industry as their sustainability focuses on reaching net zero. Net zero, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines it, is consuming only as much energy as is produced. The rendering industry today sequesters five times as many greenhouse gases as it produces. Rendering will only survive in countries like the U.S., which only eat around 50 percent of the animal processed.

In the U.S., renderers collect around 56 billion pounds of raw materials each year and turn them into 22 billion pounds of animal fats, oils and proteins each year.

Grocery stores generate 1.92 billion pounds of scraps, fat, bone and used cooking oil annually. Renderers collect 4.4 billion pounds of used cooking oil per year in the U.S. and Canada. If all renderable products were sent to landfills instead of being processed, all available space would be gone in four years.

Almost four billion gallons of water, which would be wasted, is instead reclaimed during rendering, cleaned and returned to rivers and streams. Rendering reduces animal agriculture’s carbon footprint by sequestering five times more greenhouse gases than produced. The important fact of rendering is the industry accounts for $10 billion in annual economic activity across the U.S., including rural America.

Those are facts the meat industry can be proud of.

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Dennis Sun: ‘Fake Food’ Needs To Be Labeled Properly So Consumers Are Not Fooled

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By. Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Report

For the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of discussion showing up on alternate sources of protein. “Here we go again” is a phrase heard time and time again from those in the meat business, as they see the threat against true beef, pork and lamb meat products rise up again. Even those in the poultry and goat business are concerned.

One of the reasons for discussion on this topic is news out of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) saying they are investing $10 million over a five-year span to fund Tufts University to develop alternative proteins. These proteins would be grown in a petri dish or bioreactors in a lab. The USDA, as expected, has been receiving numerous comments from feeders and producers, especially those in the beef business.

The focus for the last two months has been a 60-day comment period, which closed on Dec. 2, for a proposed rule on the labeling of these fake products. Let’s face the facts here: This movement is based on money, but the reasons given to the public to manufacture fake products are untrue and misleading. The same goes for plant-based products meant to replace meat.

The movement behind fake meats is being pushed by some of America’s wealthiest people involved in the climate change issue. They are using climate change, sustainability, nutrition and health to promote meat imitation products.

In America, people can buy any type of food they wish. Myself being in the beef business, I’m going to support beef. Those of us who support beef support proper labeling of real meat products and imitation meat products.

Proper labeling of all products lets the consumer know exactly what is in the package. Then, consumers can make up their minds on which product they want for dinner – real meat, something grown in a lab or something derived from plants, which has numerous additives to make it taste like the real meat ranchers produce.

If people want to eat “glorified dog food,” it’s their choice, but they should know and understand what is in the product. There are numerous products out there which have “artificial” on the label, why not these artificial meats?

A recent survey revealed when consumers are purchasing protein, 74 percent wanted labels showing if it was real meat or not. Consumers shouldn’t be confused when buying protein for the evening meal which is real meat, cell-cultured or plant-based. Consumers also want to know what is on the school lunch tray. There should be guidelines, as there are for cattle producers on the correct use of antibiotics, with these cultured meat products.

Those in the meat business, including everyone from producers to processors, can stand behind their inspected products and guarantee the consumer safe, tasteful and nutritious protein. Hopefully the 26 percent surveyed with no concerns over labeling will learn to read and realize just what they are eating.

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Dennis Sun: Activists At Global Summit Place Big Blame On Cattle For Global Warming

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I was reading press releases, blogs and personal opinions from those in U.S. agriculture who attended the recent United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. These ag attendees were shocked at the large majority against the use of cattle for human consumption.

The activists claim animal agriculture will be responsible for 50 percent of global emissions by 2030. Methane is the big issue of concern, and environmentalists see cattle as the leading cause. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack said research and facts in USDA’s new programs in animal production should be a part of the climate discussion. 

“There are those who seek to restrict or reduce animal protein production,” he states. “The Biden administration will be proactive in aggressively countering those attacks. We have got to be aggressive in that space, we can’t ignore it.”

For agriculture, USDA is pursuing multiple workstreams to reduce methane emissions from the agricultural sector.

This includes the adoption of alternative manure management systems and other methane-reducing practices, the expansion of on-farm generation and use of renewable energy, the development of a climate-smart agricultural commodities partnership initiative and increased investments in agricultural methane quantification and related innovations, as stated in the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. 

We hope they realize cattle grazing out on the range can help solve climate change issues.

Environmental and animal activists from around the world also mounted a campaign for a Plant Based Treaty, calling on governments to put food systems at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis.

The Plant Based Treaty seeks to halt the expansion of animal agriculture and deforestation, incentivize a shift to a plant-based food system by redirecting subsidies, taxes and public information campaigns, along with reforestation and rewilding of land.

“We don’t buy into that,” says Vilsack. “We are providing resources to finance demonstration projects to make that case even stronger.” 

There are a number of potential programs developed to do just that.

This is one side of the Biden administration we hope will stay favorable to cattle. The other side is very disturbing to say the least.

This past week, the Public Lands Council came out with a Public Policy Update which explained the progressive side of the Biden administration’s plans to enact policies which will make ranching and farming harder, especially in the West. Basically, the administration is giving the extreme environmentalists everything they want.

First, the Environmental Protection Agency announced this month their intent to repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. In addition to the repeal, the proposal considers the regionalization of the Waters of the U.S. rule, as well as climate change implications.

Other policies, laws or regulations being reviewed are the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), the definition of critical habitat under the ESA, changes to the Mexican gray wolf policies and revisions on land use plans regarding Greater sage grouse conservation.

Any of these changes could really restrict ranching in the West. We’ll have to put up a strong effort to keep the changes compatible to ranching.

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Dennis Sun: Dealing With Climate Change Rules Is One More Issue For Ag Folks

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Reporter

The United Nations Climate 2021 Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, hosted a different crowd this past week. This week is not making the headlines as much as the week before, when some of the world leaders were in attendance.

This is the week where there will not be a lot of photo opportunities flashed around the world, except for those politicians looking to show the folks back home they are doing something besides buying expensive single malt scotch whiskey to bring home.

We have to remember not all of the countries are or have been at the conference. Russia, China, Brazil, and to my knowledge North Korea, are missing from the conference and it has been proven they are the world leaders in pollution.

We hear Pat and Sharon O’Toole from Savery attended the meeting in Scotland. Leave it to Wyoming to show up those countries. Hopefully we will learn more about their trip in the near future.

There is no doubt our climate is changing: it always has since the day God rested. The big question is, is the change normal, or is there a human cause or are both right? The worst part of it all is the issue has been made political, so that would mean at different times, no one is right.

 The last year or so, the weather has been more severe on all conditions, but some say even this is normal. I have flowers blooming outside my window at the office and green grass at the ranch, where even the greasewood leaves are half an inch long. The lawn grass is still growing, where usually the only thing coming up this time of the year is a gopher.

I’ve never seen these happenings before, except for the last couple of years. I was listening to a podcast lately, which said we have weather conditions like this or worse every 127 years, and it has been proven that during these times, a war is started somewhere. We sure hope this prediction is wrong.

Now, climate change is a part of every tax, funding and political legislation debated in Washington, D.C. these days. We worry about how agriculture will fare, as we seem to be easy to pick on. Every solution will require funding, and ultimately, it will be paid by someone’s taxes. That is how Washington works these days.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting information from the public and those in agriculture on the development of its new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Program (CSAF), with the goal to encourage adoption of climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices by growers and promote markets domestically and abroad for climate-smart commodities. Does this mean more fake meat products – which are not going over well with consumers lately? What are the risks associated with climate-smart practices?

 Agriculture has commented on these practices, and the best comment is the government should offer a voluntary, incentive-based approach to encourage actions. Other comments are funding and opportunities should be available to all, research should strategically align with outcomes desired, uniform carbon intensity is needed for biofuels’ contribution and last, incorporating financial risks should be examined.

  We sure don’t need agriculture chasing money out there for a cause that is being disputed as real or not. Remember, 20 years ago they said a lot of our country would be under water by now and that hasn’t happened so far.

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Dennis Sun: What’s It Going To Take To Fix The Supply Chain Issue?

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Report

Those who have been watching the news lately will soon notice one of the biggest stories is the massive supply chain issue. This all comes through as we notice empty shelves in some stores. Our concerns rise as we are helpless to do much about the issue. Many people point fingers at what they think is the reason for shortages, and they are all correct. 

We soon realize it is a COVID-19, transportation, labor, resource, warehouse and political problem. It is rumored these problems are not to go away for some time, maybe into 2023.

The normal cycle time for a retailer or brand to ship products by sea is around 40 days. Products loaded on a boat in China spends about 30 to 40 days at sea, then waits to dock for one to two days, is unloaded onto trucks, taken to warehouses and finally distributed across the nation. But, these days, the cycle is up to 80 days or longer. I’ve heard if a crew member on a ship comes up with COVID-19, the port will not allow them to unload, so the ship will return to China loaded. 

During the last year, a number of truckers retired – both corporate and self-owned. This has really hurt the trucking industry. For the docks in California, only newer trucks can operate because of emissions standards, and we’ve heard no one is buying new trucks because of potential standards to take place in a few years. 

The California Legislature passed a bill, which is hung up in court right now, and bans independent owner-operators of trucks in-state and those coming into the state. Hopefully the courts will do away with this ban.

Shipping companies are also looking for other ports to dock where a union presence is not too large, but they would have to go through the Panama Canal to reach those in the southeastern U.S. Plus, warehouse space is tight in these alternative docks.

Because of organized labor unions at the Los Angeles and Long Beach docks in California, there are around 70 ships waiting to get unloaded. This number has eased up as they were forced to operate 24/7. The unions refused to expand their work hours and work on weekends. Getting unions to operate 24/7 should have been dealt with months ago. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has not been working on the issue as hard as he should have been.

All of these issues have created higher costs for the consumer. Cargo costs to ship a big container have increased from around $1,500 in 2017 to about $25,000 today – an increase of 1,000 percent. Just the container ships alone docking in Los Angeles or New Jersey account for around 10 percent of all global trade.

While we feel the impact here in the U.S., this issue is worldwide. Every country feels it. This issue is fixable, but it is going to take time to get there. Some of the regulations and restrictions need to be loosened and politics should stand back. People need to get back to work, and some need to stop pointing the finger at each other and just fix the problem. 

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