The U.S. Department of Agriculture media employees share at least one thing in common with farmers: They work much harder once the weather warms up. I can hardly keep track of the USDA’s news releases anymore.
Announcements pour into the YHR news tips email account, informing us of everything from committee appointments to funding and proposed rules to overseas markets. Sage grouse habitat, honeybees and wildfire anniversaries make the list. And in case we missed the previous dozen or so, we usually get another funding-related release within a day or two.
Because I’m that guy, I counted releases. The department has averaged roughly a release a day since April 1, about twice the rate of the first three months of the year.
I bring this up for more than just trivia though. In the barrage of information, I have missed some important stuff.
Here’s my favorite: “Hong Kong market reopens for U.S. beef” from June 17.
In 2003, the town of Mabton received the dubious honor of hosting the United State’s first confirmed case of mad cow. International buyers immediately slammed the door on U.S. meat.
It’s taken a decade for those markets to return and for our export rates to recover. Hong Kong was one of the last holdouts. Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador and Sri Lanka rejoined the export list earlier this year.
I recently covered the surge in beef prices and related economic strength of the U.S. beef industry. News like this would have been nice to include.
So, shame on me for not keeping my eye on the ball. But in my defense, the USDA has been throwing a lot of pitches lately.