Meatless Monday (via Chris Clayton; DTN Ag Policy Editor)

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association criticized USDA for a “recent announcement” that USDA was embracing Meatless Monday. This release went about 2:25 p.m. CDT

“This is truly an awakening statement by USDA, which strongly indicates that USDA does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way,” said NCBA President J.D. Alexander. “USDA was created to provide a platform to promote and sustain rural America in order to feed the world. This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

USDA had this “greening memo” detailing various energy efficiency initiatives and programs. Within it, sure enough there was the information asking others to join Meatless Mondays. The notion was that eating vegetarian for just one day a week helped save the world by mitigating some of the environmental problems from livestock.

Within two hours USDA’s press office was clarifying on Twitter and in an emailed statement over several media inquiries “regarding a rumor that USDA is encouraging ‘Meatless Mondays’

“USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. The statement found on the USDA website was posted without proper clearance and it has been removed.”

By 4:45 CDT, NCBA got to take a victory lap.

NCBA President J.D. Alexander issued the following statement regarding this most recent USDA action.

“We appreciate USDA’s swift action in pulling this disparaging statement off its website. USDA publicly stated today that it does not support this campaign. We appreciate USDA making this right. The agency is important to all cattlemen and women, especially as we face unprecedented challenges, including drought and animal rights extremist groups spreading fiction to consumers who need to know the importance of beef in a healthy diet.

“USDA did right by scrapping this statement and acknowledging the important role of America’s farm and ranch families in providing food for the world. USDA denouncing support of the Meatless Monday campaign is an important step in correcting misinformation about the safety and sustainability of U.S. beef production.”

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