Thinking of Direct Food Sales? Consider These Legal Issues

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

There’s much disagreement over what we know about COVID-19, but one thing we can agree upon is that it has left an impact on the food supply chain. For some food producers, that impact is creating opportunity. Many growers see the potential of filling the gaps created by closed processing facilities, thin grocery shelves, and unwillingness to shop inside stores. If you’re one of those growers who sees an opportunity to sell food, we have a few thoughts on legal issues to consider before moving into the direct food sales arena. Doing so will reduce your risks and the potential of legal liability. Continue reading

From Across the Field 4/30/2020

Thus far we have been fortunate to miss out on some of the heavier rain that has fallen a bit farther south. As soil conditions become fit, with the exception of temperature I suspect that we will see increased planting s. This is my annual reminder to be safe and careful on the roads, especially south of Napoleon where 108 is closed and traffic is routed down some of the county roads.

Here yet today, or tomorrow depending on the weather, I plan on mowing the lawn for the third time this spring, the frost a while back slowed up what was some nice lush growth after the first mowing. Remember starting out we should be mowing grass fairly short this time of year, about two and a half to three inches off the ground is about where I like to be.

The smell of fresh cut grass is an indicator that we are also closing in on barbecue and grilling season. This weekend if it isn’t too chilly I think I’ll fire up my charcoal smoker and experiment with a pork loin or in preparation for a brisket on Mother’s Day weekend. Continue reading

Meat vs COVID-19; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Supply and Demand

By: Stan Smith, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

While supply chain issues have caused short term disruptions in some retail meat cases, livestock inventory is more than adequate to meet demand.

To suggest that supply in local meat cases has been disrupted since schools closed and ‘stay-at-home’ orders were issued last month might be an understatement.

The good is simply this. We have more than adequate supplies of market ready livestock on the farm to accommodate the consumer’s demand for meat.

The bad is that COVID-19 caused disruption to the meat supply chain that created short term shortages in the meat case, and fluctuations of price in both the meat case and especially livestock at the farm.

The ugly is these concerns are likely to affect both the farmer and the consumer for weeks, and perhaps even months to come. The solution to the chain of events that have caused the problems in the supply chain all revolve around how quickly COVID-19 is arrested and the lives of consumers and all the members of the meat supply chain can return to normal. Continue reading

Meat Production Threatened With Disruption

By: Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University

The U.S. meat industry faces unprecedented threats as COVID-19 sweeps through labor forces at meat processing facilities nationwide.  Production of beef, pork and poultry are simultaneously threatened as COVID-19 infections affect labor availability and processing capacity in multiple facilities across all meat industries.

Reduced processing capacity could cause backups in live animal supplies if animals cannot be processed in a timely fashion. The severity of impacts will depend on specific situations and locations but could include costly delays in holding animals until slaughter, backlogs in production facilities, or even disposal of animals.

Such disruptions could result in reduced flows of fresh meat to consumers, compounded by the continuing bottlenecks created by the drastic reduction in the food service sector, roughly half of total food distribution. Since early March, those bottlenecks resulted in limited meat availability in retail grocery despite an ample supply of meat production. Continue reading

Retail Meat Sales Surge 77% Due To Panic Buying

By: Greg Henderson. Previously published by Drovers online.

By now you’ve probably seen photos of empty grocery store meat cases caused by consumer panic buying over the COVID-19 pandemic.

210 Analytics LLC says meat department sales without deli surged by 76.9% over the week ending March 15, 2020, based on data from IRI.

Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of 210 Analytics, a research and analytics firm, said, “During the week ended March 15, turkey registered the highest growth, nearly doubling dollar sales (+96.1%). Lamb increased sales by more than 50%. Beef and chicken, by far the largest categories, increased sales by $376 million and $183 million, respectively.” Fresh pork was up 89.2%.

Continue reading

The Other Fake Meat: Impossible Foods Unveils Pork, Sausage

Associated Press

After a big year for its plant-based burger, Impossible Foods has something new on its plate.

The California-based company unveiled Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage on Monday evening at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.

It’s Impossible Food’s first foray beyond fake beef. The Impossible Burger, which went on sale in 2016, has been a key player in the growing category of vegan meats. Like the burger, Impossible Food’s pork and sausage are made from soy but mimic the taste and texture of ground meat. Continue reading

From Across the Field: 11-26-2019

Happy Thanksgiving

This is traditionally one of the easier weeks to write a column due to the inseparable link between agriculture and the Thanksgiving holiday. While this year was certainly a challenge for farmers in Northwest Ohio and across the US for many reasons, there are reasons aplenty to be thankful this time of year. As I use this time of the year to do some reflecting, I am thankful the opportunity to live, work in, and serve a great agricultural community, in what I consider a great career as a county Extension educator. Continue reading

From Across the Field: 11/21/2019

Time to Talk Turkey

As an Extension educator who specializes in livestock production and meat quality and safety, I feel somewhat obligated to write about preparing of the Thanksgiving ham turkey.

Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation in 2016 at turkey ate Thanksgiving (I was likely part of the other 12 percent). On Thanksgiving alone 51.6, million birds of an average weight of 16 pounds are consumed. In total approximately 736 million pounds of turkey are consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Consumers Prefer Real Beef Over Alternatives

By: Greg Henderson (previously published by Drovers online)

Alternative protein products may have drawn rave reviews and national headlines this year, but consumers still prefer real beef produced on real farms.

That’s the conclusion of a survey of about 1,800 U.S. food consumers conducted by Purdue University’s Jayson Lusk, Ghent University post-doctoral research fellow Ellen Van Loo and Michigan State University agricultural economist Vincenzina Caputo. Continue reading

What Does ‘Natural’ Mean When It Comes To Meat?

By: Deena Shanker and Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg

USDA says the term means that the product has no artificial ingredients and minimal processing.

Consumers want “natural” meat—and the biggest meat companies want to sell it to them.

American shoppers are reaching for healthier, more environmentally and animal-friendly meat products, with 39% saying “all-natural” is the most important claim when purchasing red meat, according to a recent survey by Mintel. But there’s one problem: The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that when it comes to meat and poultry, the term “natural” means only that the product has no artificial ingredients and has been minimally processed.

It doesn’t mean anything when it comes to antibiotics, hormones or preservatives. Continue reading