We’ve all been eating dirty bacon. Who knew? At least, that’s the impression consumers will get from Panera Bread’s new “clean bacon.”

Panera is on a mission to eliminate a long list of artificial ingredients from its menu entirely by the end of the year, so for bacon, “We cleaned out some of the junk,” Sara Burnett, director of food policy and wellness at Panera told Bloomberg. The “junk” was artificial nitrates and preservatives.

Panera served roughly 2 million pounds of “dirty” bacon last year, or about 115 million slices, but the company’s new “clean bacon” will be 25% thicker and prepared using a new brine. Oh, and the pigs are fed a “vegetarian” diet.

UN urges AMR action

The UN devoted its considerable might this week to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), what they call the “biggest global health threat.” All 193 member nations committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to “address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture.” The UN estimates that AMR kills 700,000 people annually.

The Washington Post says, “Antimicrobial resistance is about more than human health. It also involves difficult questions that affect agriculture and the environment.”

Thirteen leading drug makers issued a statement Tuesday promising to clean up pollution from factories making antibiotics and take steps to curb overuse of medicines to fight the increase of drug-resistant superbugs. They also pledged to develop new business models that improve access to vaccines and new antibiotics.

K-State ranching summit Oct. 7

Kansas State University’s first Ranching Summit is designed to equip managers with the skills to address the challenges of ranching in the business climate of today and tomorrow. “Market forecasts point to declining revenues for cow-calf producers over the next several years. To ensure profitability, ranch managers will need to make a number of strategic management decisions.” says Dr. Bob Weaber, K-State cow-calf extension specialist. “The Ranching Summit was designed from the ground up to bolster the managerial knowledge and skills of beef producers.” The event will be Friday, Oct. 7 in Manhattan, Kansas, at the K-State Student Union Grand Ballroom. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program starts at 10 a.m. For registration and complete details, visit this link.

Declining cost of gains

Every semi-load of calves are worth roughly $30,000 less than at the same time last year. Does that suggest there is an opportunity for producers to retain ownership? During September, Sterling Marketing’s projected feeder cattle price is $140 per cwt with an estimated break-even price of $105.28 cwt using the Sterling Feeding Model. With sharply lower feed costs, projected break-even prices continue to decline with projected closeouts for those cattle during the first quarter of 2017.