May 26, 2017

Growth Energy Outlines Regulations Hindering Biofuels in Comments to EPA

Growth Energy today filed comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the agency’s request for comment following President Trump’s Executive Order, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” Growth Energy’s comments outlined multiple concerns with regulations that hinder the growth of American biofuel.

Chiefly, Growth Energy urged the agency to administer the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as enacted into law by Congress and make every effort to get annual renewable volume obligations proposed, out for public comment, and finalized in a timely manner. Also related to the RFS, the association called on the agency to finalize its denial of the petition to change the point of obligation.

Another key issue in Growth Energy’s comments include a request for EPA to work with Congress to support legislation to fix the vapor pressure disparity amongst ethanol-blended fuels so that American drivers and retailers alike may choose E15 – fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol. Additionally, the association urged EPA to continue to find ways to improve the approval process for fuel pathways under the RFS.

“By removing these barriers, our industry can continue its success to create jobs, improve our agriculture and rural economies, increase our energy security, and improve our nation’s environment,” Growth Energy stated in its comments.

Read the full text of the comments at growthenergy.org


North Dakota Beef Commission Commits $590K to Beef Research

North Dakota beef producers, through the implementation of an additional $1-per-head state beef checkoff, are investing more than $590,000 in cutting-edge research at North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Purdue University to explore new health benefits of beef, as well as ways to build additional value for their product. This is the most North Dakota producers have ever invested in beef research since the checkoff’s inception in North Dakota in 1973.

“We know we have a great story to share with consumers about the health benefits of beef, but we must have the facts to back up our claims,” said Gackle-area cattleman Jeff Dahl, chairman of the North Dakota Beef Commission (NDBC). “Research is key to our ability to increase demand and profitability, and why I am proud that the NDBC has invested in it.”

Commissioners allocated checkoff funds to nine different research studies from a field of 23 proposals received. Five of the research projects examine health-benefits of beef consumption, while four look at methods to improve beef’s value in the marketplace and enhance customer satisfaction.

Supported human nutrition projects include:

  • A study at NDSU to evaluate the association between dietary protein intake (beef specifically) and muscle and bone quality among females across the lifespan; and how the amount of physical activity impacts this relationship. Proposed by Dr. Sherri Stastny, the study builds upon work previously funded by the NDBC, the National Beef Checkoff and the Minnesota Beef Council;
  • Research conducted by Dr. Kimberly Vonnahme at NDSU to investigate if replacing carbohydrates (sugar) with beef in prenatal diets could have a positive impact on childhood obesity and heart disease;
  • A study to determine if replacing carbohydrates (sugar) with beef in maternal diets will increase secondary muscle fiber development in offspring, which has been shown to reduce the chances of obesity and heart disease, conducted by Dr. Eric Berg and Ph. D. student Megan Nelson at NDSU;
  • A study to determine whether replacing sugar with beef in prenatal diets has any effect on bone density and bone health, by NDSU’s Dr. Berg; and
  • Research at Purdue University with Dr. Wayne W. Campbell that explores how consuming beef positively influences the gut microbiome of young adults. The study will investigate whether consuming a healthy diet with red meat – beef – will improve gastro-intestinal health more than a diet without meat.

Product quality and safety projects selected for funding by the NDBC include:

  • A study by NDSU’s Dr. Robert Maddock who will investigate if carcass size and weight, and potentially differences in cut size and weight, have an impact on beef quality, which could ultimately affect consumer demand for beef.
  • Research to determine how the inclusion of beta-agonists in beef production might affect tenderness. The research, by Dr. Kasey Carlin at NDSU, examines the cellular mechanisms involved and builds on previous research funded nationally with beef checkoff dollars that Carlin has conducted;
  • Research of a novel microbiological intervention that can be applied to ground beef, furthering the body of evidence surrounding reducing bacteria in ground beef, conducted by Dr. Birgit M. Pruess at NDSU. Pruess will also assess consumer acceptance of the product involved; and
  • A study at NDSU with Dr. Berg and Dr. Xin Sun to investigate if oleic acid can be quantified by on-line image analysis. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid associated with many positive health benefits. It is abundant in high-quality beef, and has been associated with outstanding beef flavor.

Research has always been central to the beef checkoff, and important to beef producers in North Dakota.  As the result of North Dakota’s $1-per-head state checkoff, initiated August 1, 2015, this is the first time the NDBC has developed and initiated a formal Request For Proposal (RFP) process for research proposals and funding.

“Increasing the knowledge about beef’s place in a healthy diet as well as improvements to beef taste, tenderness and safety have been goals of the Beef Commission since its inception,” explained NDBC Executive Director Nancy Jo Bateman. “We are proud of the work these funds make possible on behalf of our producers and their beef products.”

SD Beef Council Works with Retailers to Celebrate May Beef Month

Retailers are prime partners for South Dakota’s beef producers, and during this May Beef Month, the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) has partnered with retailers throughout the state on beef promotions. The SDBIC provided participating retailers with a beef bundle promotion kit including beef, beef promotional items, consumer beef education and recipes, as well as access to a new online retail toolkit.

“We greatly appreciate the expertise and education our retailers provide consumers each day,” said Suzy Geppert, executive director, SDBIC. “Consumers look to butchers and meat market managers to answer all kinds of questions about beef. We hope this promotion adds some fun to the process for everyone, and that our new online toolkits provide a one-stop-shop for retailers to train staff and build shoppers’ knowledge about beef.”
The SDBIC also understands the significant role of retail dietitians in our supermarkets, and has also rolled out an online toolkit designed to specifically meet their needs as well.
“We know shoppers love beef, but aren’t always quite sure what to choose when they’re in front of the meat case,” said Holly Swee, director of nutrition and consumer information. “Retail dietitians have daily interactions with customers in that exact scenario. Our online registered dietitian toolkit arms them with meal planning solutions including the high-quality protein beef provides.”

You can find both tool kits at sdbeef.org.resource-room/retail. For a full list of May Beef Month programs, promotions and events visit the newsroom and events sections at sdbeef.org.