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    Table Of Contents
> COOL Issue Heating Up Once Again
> What Will R-CALF's Implosion Bring?
> Bill Mandates Packer Participation In Spot Market
> U.S. Ag Exports Expected To Hit Record $78 Billion
> U.S., Korea Make Little Headway On Beef Question
> Kansas Sets Cattle Risk-Management Workshops
> Five Drought-Planning Steps To Take Today
> Weather, Corn Temporarily Shifting Placements
> Food Marketers Cite Failure Of COOL On Seafood
> Bovine TB Found In New Mexico
> Colorado, Oklahoma Ranchers Get Relief
> Gasoline, Diesel Continue to Climb
> Planting Intentions Looking Up
> Pork Producers Want Halt To Ethanol Subsidies
> U.S.-Mexico Forge Consultative Committee On Ag
> Beef Roundup Slated For Hays, KS, Research Center
> March BEEF Content Now Available Online
> Free Beef Quality Training Set For April 3
> Personnel Management Seminar Offered
> Ranching School Set For April 18-20 In Huntsville, TX
> Questions On March 2 "Cowboy Obstetrics" Piece

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    Our Perspective
      COOL Issue Heating Up Once Again

The political wrangling for the new farm bill is starting to hit high gear. One hint is the debate over country-of-origin labeling (COOL) in which both sides are pulling out the heavy artillery.

Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall

      What Will R-CALF's Implosion Bring?

It's been known for quite some time that the leadership of Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) was divided in its vision. Some wanted a mainstream organization focused on a wide range of issues; others wanted to retain the focus on a narrow range of market issues.

Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall

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    Industry Structure
      Bill Mandates Packer Participation In Spot Market

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced the "Transparency for Independent Livestock Producers Act." The legislation would require that 25% of a packer's daily kill come from the spot market. Grassley said, "We know what's going on. When the price is high, the packers kill their own livestock; and when the price is low, the packers fill their slots with cheap livestock. This essentially cuts out the independent producer. Our legislation would help give livestock producers a fair shake at the farm gate."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

    Foreign Trade
      U.S. Ag Exports Expected To Hit Record $78 Billion

USDA is estimating that agricultural exports will reach a record $78 billion for fiscal year 2007. Two-thirds of the increase is attributed to the grain and oilseed sectors. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns says several trends are driving the rise in export value. These include the demand for corn due to increased ethanol production, reduced competition for wheat, and only moderate growth in South American oilseed production. Livestock and poultry product exports are expected to increase $1.2 billion.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

      U.S., Korea Make Little Headway On Beef Question

As of midweek, South Korean and U.S. negotiators continued at impasse in resolving differences over U.S. beef imports to South Korea. The Yonhap News says South Korea remains steadfast that the U.S. respect last year's agreement that allows the import into Korea of only boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age.

The South Korean market was shut to U.S. beef in late 2003 upon discovery of BSE in the U.S. An agreement was forged early last year to allow only boneless U.S. beef as a move to reopen the market, with the U.S. expectation that further liberalization would follow. The first U.S. product arrived in South Korea last fall but the discovery of small bits of bone in a few packages of three shipments totaling 22.3 tons have essentially reimposed the market closure.

Seoul says it will maintain its current stance until it can be scientifically proven that bone chips are harmless to humans, though it will allow packages that don't contain bone chips to be sold in the country in the future, the Yonhap News reports.
-- Joe Roybal

    Risk Management
      Kansas Sets Cattle Risk-Management Workshops

Kansas State University Research and Extension is offering a cattle risk-management workshop at multiple locations in the coming weeks. Dates, locations and contact numbers include:
  • March 13, Hoxie, 785-675-3268.
  • March 14, Anthony, 620-842-5445.
  • March 15, Chanute, 620-244-3826.
  • March 20, Emporia, 620-341-3220.
  • March 21, Wilson, 785-472-4442.
  • March 26, Sublette, 620-675-2261.
  • March 27, Dodge City, 620-227-4542.
-- Joe Roybal


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      Five Drought-Planning Steps To Take Today

Whether or not the grazing season ahead will bring drought remains to be seen, but experts say ranch operators shouldn't wait to find out. Have a management plan in place now, so if the rain doesn't come, your strategy and timetable for action are already set.

Click here to read more of this story by Kindra Gordon in BEEF magazine

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One brand, one breed--the power of one can change your future in the beef business.

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      Weather, Corn Temporarily Shifting Placements

Among feedyards with 1,000+-head capacities, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska -- in that order -- traditionally top the states in feeding numbers, writes Darrell Mark, University of Nebraska economist, at But severe winter weather, high corn prices and an abundance of ethanol-production byproducts is shifting feeder numbers north in recent months.

Click here to read more of this story by the Livestock Marketing Information Center

    Beef Marketing
      Food Marketers Cite Failure Of COOL On Seafood

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) says mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for seafood is failing to deliver the benefits as promised. According to FMI, COOL hasn't increased sales of U.S. seafood, while the supermarket industry's cost to comply with the law is up to "10 times higher" than USDA's estimate.

FMI said, "Proponents of mandatory COOL are nonetheless urging Congress to implement the law for producer, meat and peanuts sooner than Sept. 30, 2008. This move would be extremely unwise given the industry's 2 1/2 years of experience labeling seafood under this law."

Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) have introduced legislation to move implementation for mandatory COOL to Sept. 30, 2007. Current law requires implementation on Sept. 30, 2008.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

    Industry News
      Bovine TB Found In New Mexico

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a dairy cow in southeast New Mexico and a connection with a positive animal in Colorado has been made with a beef herd in northeastern New Mexico.

Two cases of TB were found in New Mexico in 2003, resulting in the state losing its TB-Free status, meaning all breeding-age animals leaving the state must be tested. However, the New Mexico Livestock Board was able to recognize just a small area in eastern New Mexico where producers must comply with the testing requirements. The new case, however, has the potential to drop the state to Accredited Modified Advanced status and trigger testing statewide.

Both herds are being fully tested and it will be 30 days before the final decision is made on whether TB-Free status will be lost.
-- Burt Rutherford

      Colorado, Oklahoma Ranchers Get Relief

Ranchers in southeastern Colorado got some good news this week when they learned the IRS will waive possible tax penalties for those unable to pay their tax bills on time because of the December blizzards. Tax returns were due March 1.

Affected ranchers can apply for the IRS waiver by filling out Form 2210-F, and filing it with their income tax returns. The statement, "Request for Waiver Due to Winter Ice Storms," should be attached to the form explaining the reasons for the request. Download the form from or call 800-829-3676.

Meanwhile, Farm Aid says it will help producers in Cimarron County, OK, in the Oklahoma Panhandle, hit hard by the same winter storms. To support local relief efforts, Farm Aid will donate $9,000 to the High Plains Resource Conservation & Development Council, located in Buffalo, OK. The money will be used to help defray trucking costs for hay that was bought or donated.
-- Burt Rutherford

      Gasoline, Diesel Continue to Climb

Gasoline prices rose sharply again, increasing 12.2¢ to $2.505/gal. for the week of March 5; 17.4¢/gal. over this time last year. Meanwhile, retail diesel increased 7.5¢/gal. to $2.626¢/gal., 8.1¢/gal. more than a year ago, reports the Energy Information Administration.

All regions reported gasoline price increases, with the East Coast registering the largest -- 15.4¢ -- to an average price of $2.491/gal. Midwest prices rose 9.5¢ to $2.465/gal., and the Gulf Coast logged a 13.3¢ increase to $2.367. Rocky Mountain prices rose 10.4¢ ($2.353), and the West Coast was up 10.1¢/gal. ($2.765). California was up 10.1¢ ($2.897/gal.), 41.7¢/gal. higher than last year.

All regions also reported upticks on diesel fuel, with the East Coast rising 7.8¢/gal. to $2.604, and the Midwest up 8.3¢ to $2.606, while the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountains rose 9¢ to $2.587 and $2.658/gal., respectively. Prices on the West Coast saw just a 1/2¢ increase to $2.795, with California falling 1.4¢ to $2.897/gal., still 15.8¢/gal. higher than at this time last year.
-- Energy Information Administration

      Planting Intentions Looking Up

The start of what will surely be a number of estimates on planting intentions were released last week, and it shows the ethanol-driven euphoria in corn country is at full throttle.

Click here to read more of this story by Burt Rutherford


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      Pork Producers Want Halt To Ethanol Subsidies

Concerned about the rapid expansion of the ethanol industry and its effects on the pork industry, delegates to the National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) convention last week adopted the following resolutions:
  • Support allowing the 51¢/gal. ethanol blender's tax credit and the 54¢ tariff on imported ethanol to expire. The blender's credit is set to expire Dec. 31, 2010; the import tariff Dec. 31, 2008.
  • Support -- should the blender's credit be extended -- development of a countercyclical blender's credit system based on the price of oil.
  • Support the increased use of biodiesel as a renewable fuel source.
  • Seek and support incentives for capturing and digesting methane from swine farms as an alternative energy source.
  • Urge the federal government to appropriate funds for research on the use of biofuel coproducts for swine feed rations and for research on swine utilization of dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDGS) and their impact on meat quality and animal health.
  • Support the findings of a Center for Agricultural and Rural Development study on the impact of corn-based ethanol production on the livestock industry and asks they be considered during formulation of the 2007 farm bill.
  • Support the incremental early release -- without penalty -- by USDA of Conservation Reserve Program acres back into crop production.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

      U.S.-Mexico Forge Consultative Committee On Ag

USDA and Mexico have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to re-establish the U.S.-Mexico Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA). This committee will be used as a forum for important trade issues related to market access, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, biotechnology and animal and plant health.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said, "The CCA has proven to be an important venue for addressing and resolving issues that arise between our countries. It provides a mechanism to work out problems before they become larger, more formal disputes. This renewed CCA will help maintain the close working relationships that have developed between our leaders and trade facilitators."
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

    Tips for Profit
      Beef Roundup Slated For Hays, KS, Research Center

The Kansas State University Ag Research Center-Hays (ARCH) will hold its annual beef cattle Research Roundup April 5. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with lunch set for noon. Among the program topics are:
  • Cattle research summaries on odor mitigation, remote sensing for early identification of illness, and effects of dietary vitamin A level on carcass quality.
  • Health and management of early-weaned calves.
  • Survivability of cool-season grasses.
  • Effect of finishing-diet composition on odor compounds in manure.
  • Distiller´s byproducts for beef production.
Go to for more info or call 785-625-3425.
-- Joe Roybal

      March BEEF Content Now Available Online

Ranch business-management guru Harlan Hughes wraps up his four-part series on ranch accounting in the March issue of BEEF. "Analyzing 2006 Performance" is available at, along with the previous three installments of the "Good accounting" series the North Dakota State University emeritus professor has detailed in his monthly "Market Advisor" column.

In addition, you'll find the latest edition of Texas Tech emeritus professor Rod Preston's "Typical Composition Of Feeds For Cattle & Sheep," a reference on more than 300 byproduct feeds; and our annual directory of fencing product manufacturers and new product introductions. Also in the March issue, learn how -- with a little study and pencil work -- distiller's grains might work as a supplement for first-calf heifers on range, in "Subbing On Supplement."
-- Joe Roybal

    Industry Meetings
      Free Beef Quality Training Set For April 3

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is offering training to help cattlemen become more competitive by adopting Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) production practices. The free class is offered April 3 in Graham, TX.

The Texas Beef Quality Producer Program teaches BQA principles. "In addition, the program updates ranchers on changes occurring in the industry and what we must do to increase demand for our cattle," says TSCRA President Dick Sherron. "It clearly demonstrates how a producer's actions on the ranch have a huge impact on the final beef product."

Although the program is free, people planning to attend are asked to RSVP by March 27. Call Mark Perrier at 800-242-7820 or e-mail
-- Burt Rutherford

      Personnel Management Seminar Offered

Looking to become a better boss? Then consider the "Effective Employee Management in Agribusiness" conference, April 3-4 in Lubbock, TX. The conference features experts from around the country who will address problems of hiring, retaining and terminating employees, as well as the issues involved with dealing with a multi-cultural workforce. Registration is $125/person prior to March 19. For more info, go to or call Margaret Freeman at 806-677-5600.
-- Texas A&M University Release

      Ranching School Set For April 18-20 In Huntsville, TX

The Successful Agricultural Management School is scheduled for April 18-20 in Huntsville, TX. The school caters to those new to ranching and wanting to learn more about the basics of livestock production.

Cost is $350/participant. To register, go to and click on "SAM School Registration."
-- Texas A&M University Release

    Cow-Calf Weekly Mailbag
      Questions On March 2 "Cowboy Obstetrics" Piece

The March 2 article, "Cowboy Obestetrics: Assisting With Birth," states: "the calving area should be 12 sq. ft. minimum, covered, well lit and well bedded." I say the minimum calving area should be 120 sq. ft. (10ft. x 12ft.), not 12 sq. ft. (3ft. x 4ft.).

The article also advises to: "never rupture the sac." I'm not aware of any published work that indicates that manual rupture of the sac (amnion) in cows in third-stage labor (actively calving) affects calving outcome. In fact, 20+ years of personal clinical experience indicates it has no affect.
-- Rich Linhart, DVM
Simpsonville, KY

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