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Audit-Based Beef Grading Can Mean Better Efficiency, Lower Costs

Consumers and industry look for the USDA grade shields as trusted symbols of wholesome, high-quality American beef. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency responsible for grading, continues to explore ways to more efficiently conduct business. Most recently, we used beef instrumentation grading technology to initiate an audit-based Beef Grading Pilot Program at a facility in Toppenish, Washington in August 2012.

Although beef instrumentation grading technology has been in use for several years, it has not reduced the number of graders required at each grading facility until now.  By working with the Meat Graders’ Union, we were able to come to an agreement to pilot a program that would have beef industry employees trained to interpret and apply the Official USDA Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef under the oversight of a USDA meat grader. Read more »

Threatened Sea Bird with a Catchy Name

A Marbled Murrelet floats on the sea. (Photo by: Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service)

A Marbled Murrelet floats on the sea. (Photo by: Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service)

Marbled murrelets are not the background singers in a ‘60s band. Rather, they are a native sea bird species whose population south of Canada is declining.

Like the Pacific Northwest’s iconic northern spotted owl, this small seabird’s nesting habitat may be threatened by the loss of coastal old-growth forests in that region, according to a report co-authored by scientists from the U.S. Forest Service and published in The Condor. Read more »

In Kentucky, a Model for Relevance

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Kentucky is well-known for its “bluegrass” lands, horses, bountiful agriculture and mountainous hills in the Appalachian region of America. A region historically challenged economically. But today, it is a region on the cusp of new economic opportunity. I recently saw first-hand how the region’s collaborative approach to economic development is unleashing a blazoned entrepreneurial spirit that serves as a model for re-establishing the relevance of rural America to our global economy. Read more »