Mexico and other major countries have imposed new import restrictions at the end of last week after the H5N2 strain of avian influenza was found in the heart of America’s poultry region. Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Washington and Oregon already face bans or restrictions. The restrictions are likely to lower prices and hurt U.S. poultry producers - according to economists - as Mexico is the biggest purchaser of U.S. chicken. The U.S. exports about 20-percent of the chicken and 14-percent of the turkey it produces.

The United States Cattlemen's Association decided not sign the Checkoff Memorandum of Understanding as presented to industry leaders through the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group. A two-day meeting concluded in Denver on March 13. The BCEWG sought each member's signature to the MOU and after careful deliberation, USCA has abstained from signing. USCA, along with the National Farmers Union, originally proposed the concept to enhance the Beef Checkoff to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and his staff in 2011.