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Merry Christmas
Christmas greetings to all on this Christmas Eve. May we all take some time to ponder family, friendships and hope and peace as we look to the start of a New Year.

A sidenote: In the enewsletter earlier this month, there was a mistake in the link to the online survey regarding the unwanted horse issue. The correct address is:

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Cowman Commentary
A Christmas Present By Troy Bishopp, New York
This Christmas season has blessed me with a gift that a farmer can truly appreciate. Some 60 years ago a shiny little (by today’s standards) red Farmall A came off the assembly line and ended up in Sangerfield, NY on my Grandfather Jim Steele’s farm.

In combination with horses, it worked hard in the local farming community running the ensilage cutter, thresher and buzz saw. Because my grandfather’s farm was a small grass-based dairy, little Red had an easier time of it as far as tractor lives go. She got exceptional care and was an integral part of a small family.
To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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It’s a New Day in the Sun! Join your fellow cattle producers in Phoenix, AZ for the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show. January 28th -31st. If you’re in the cattle business you don’t want to miss the largest, most important meeting of the year. For more information or to register visit or call 303-694-0305.

Marketing Insight
Why are commodity prices declining? Source: North Dakoa State University Extension Service
Since midsummer new-crop December corn futures prices have declined more than $4 per bushel from the $7.88-per-bushel high. During the same time, November feeder cattle futures prices declined more than $20 per hundredweight (cwt) from highs of more than $119.

This relationship is usually the opposite between feeder cattle and corn prices. So what is making the shift occur this year? North Dakota State University's Tim Petry a Livestock Economist and Crop Marketing Economist Frayne Olson offer their thoughts:
To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Strategies for Small Producers
10 factors to focus on in 2009 Source: Iowa Beef Center
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the overall economy, and the beef industry, these last few months – and the uncertainty and volatility are expected to continue as we move into 2009. Despite the challenges, there are some opportunities to be had for those who can adapt to the changing environment.

Looking ahead to the New Year, specialists at the Iowa Beef Center developed this list of resolutions for beef producers. While you may already be doing some of these management things, they offer good reminders of areas that should continually be re-evaluated. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Industry Events
Jan. and Feb. full of speaker events
South Dakota hosts holistic management speaker Jan. 6 Kirk Gadzia, Bernalillo, NM, will be speaking on Wealth Generation & Financial Planning for ranch families through the use of holistic management principles. The workshop will be on January 6, 2009 at Cedar Shores Resort at Oacoma, SD.

Summit on conservation work slated Jan. 8-9 in Chico, CA The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition will host its 4th Annual Summit on January 8-9, 2009, at California State University in Chico, California. In addition to a slate of speakers relating examples and opportunities for ranchers and environmentalists to partner toward joint ecological success, the Summit is expanding to include a second day for a field trip to allow participants to get a first hand experience of one such partnered scenario.

NE, IA, KS, MS plan Four-State Beef Conference Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri cattlemen can receive an annual update on current cow-calf and stocker topics during the 25th annual Four-State Beef Conference Jan. 14 and 15.

Heart of America Grazing Conference headlines Joel Salatin The Heart of America Grazing Conference will be Jan. 21-22, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Columbus, IN. This five state conference includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, and is hosted by Purdue Extension.

Management and Marketing for Grass-fed Beef in the Northeast On Jan. 31, a Pasture to Profit seminar will be held at the Century House in Latham, NY. Speakers include Kit Pharo, Colorado rancher, seed-stock producer, grazier, outspoken proponent of least-cost production and ranching profitably. Also Dr. Allen Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Tallgrass Beef Co., Researcher and Professor of Meat Science and Animal Science/Genetics.

Wisconsin Grazing Conference is Feb. 19-21 “Valuing the Past, Growing our Future” is the theme of the 2009 Wisconsin Grazing Conference to be held Feb. 19-21 in Stevens Point. For details for each of these events, click on the headline above.

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Fresh water on demand, 24 hours a day.
Ritchie manufactures a complete line of livestock watering products with the highest specifications in the industry. Ritchie fountains are available in stainless steel, heavy-duty poly or both and backed by a 10 year limited warranty. Contact us at 800-747-0222.

Beef reproduction requires managing the details Source: Angus Productions, Inc.
Reproduction is often called the most important element for cow-calf operations – because without a successful breeding program there is no live calf to sell. In early December, Colorado State University hosted its bi-annual Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium with the focus of this year’s program on improving the understanding and application of reproductive technologies, including AI, estrus synchronization and factors affecting male fertility. Over 20 speakers were featured on the two-day program. Following are highlights from some of the presentations.

As we move into calving season for most Midwestern cow-calf operations, Rick Funston, University of Nebraska Extension reproductive physiologist, reminded participants of the importance nutrition plays on reproductive performance.

Funston said that research indicates, “It is better to have cows and heifers in good condition before calving than to play catch up after calving.” He recommended that cows be in a body condition score (BCS) of 5 to 6 prior to calving.

To that end, he said, “Balanced nutrition is the key to optimizing production.” On his list of nutrients to consider were protein, energy, minerals, vitamins and water. Some tips that he highlighted to achieve this balance:
To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Table Of Contents
> Cowman Commentary
> Marketing Insight
> Strategies for Small Producers
> Industry Events
> Genetics

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