New Rendering Rule Is Classic Over Regulation

Prairie Gleanings

Milk producers are about to see a leap in their rendering bills.

Published on: June 17, 2009

I'm not a big fan of over regulation courtesy of Uncle Sam.


While the new administration is ripe with fresh examples, one in particular isn't getting a lot of press. I'm talking about the new rendering requirements put into place by the FDA as of April 27.


The new rule requires rendering companies to remove the brain and spinal cord prior to processing cattle carcasses 30 months and older. Otherwise, the animal cannot be used for byproducts and must be placed in a landfill, buried or composted. According to the FDA, this rule will further remove the risk for BSE, something I think the Bovine Feed Ban is doing an excellent job minimizing.


Despite being approved in April, the rule will not be enforced for several months. In part, this is to allow rendering companies to become compliant and to train inspectors on the rule.


Now, let's look at who this rule will target. According to Jim Fraley, livestock program director for the Illinois Farm Bureau, cow-calf beef producers and milk producers will be hit hardest by this rule. With volatile feed costs and milk prices near the bottom, the last thing these folks need is more expensive regulations.


And don't kid yourself, this is going to be expensive. As one rendering company put it, you're basically requiring the renderer to open a packing line. These folks will have to recoup the cost of new equipment, additional personnel, more complicated logistics, a longer paper trail, etc.


Thus far, I've heard it will cost between $35 to $125 per animal 30 months and older. If producers don't have these animals rendered, other options include placing it in a landfill, burial, composting or incineration.


Maralee Johnson, executive vice president for the Illinois Beef Association, points out that it doesn't make a lot of sense to take up space in a landfill with cattle. Yet, I've heard some rendering companies intend to do just that -- pick up your cows that are 30 months and older and drop them off at the local landfill.


For more information on the new rendering requirements, check out the July issue of Prairie Farmer.


What are your thoughts on the new rendering rule? One producer I spoke with estimated his rendering bill will triple in the span of a year. Is this just another instance of putting the screws to animal ag?


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