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    Table Of Contents
> COOL More Valuable As A Non-Reality
> New, Softer Version Of R-CALF Is Up & Running
> May 15 Is BIF Early Registration Deadline
> "Beef Quality In The Ethanol Era" Is BQS Theme
> 200 Tons Of U.S. Beef To Arrive In Korea This Month
> BSE Vaccine Found To Be Effective In Mice
> Big Pork Merger Gets Nod From Regulators
> Feedback On Corn Stalk Use For Ethanol Piece
> Food Safety Is A Global Issue
> Gasoline Prices Continue To Climb; Diesel Falls
> Hmmm. Japan Exports To Hong Kong Are 30-Month
> Japan Backing Off Its 20-Month BSE Findings
> Poetry & Commentaries Added To American Cowman
> Ranchers Leaving Cull-Cow Money On The Table
> Refresher On Animal Welfare Available
> South Dakota Grassland Coalition Hosts Birding Tour
> TB Discussion Slated In Northern Minnesota May 14
> USDA Publishes Spanish Ag Thesaurus
> USDA Releases Report On NAIS Pilot Projects
> Use Target Grazing To Take Aim At Invasive Weeds
> Weather, Acreage Are Ethanol Wildcards For 2007
> Western Nebraska To Host 10th Cattlemen's Ball

      COOL More Valuable As A Non-Reality

Few issues have been more controversial and divisive in the cattle industry than country-of-origin labeling (COOL). With the 2007 farm bill debate heating up, its front-and-center position is assured.

There already have been attempts by some to link COOL in the upcoming farm bill to USDA's 30-months-of-age rule regarding imported Canadian cattle. We can expect the issue to be raised in a number of ways both pro and con.
Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall


This year Camp Cooley Ranch celebrates 20 years of ultrasound performance in our Brangus herd. From this work results some of the most powerful, performance proven Brangus, Angus and Charolais bulls to ever sell at Camp Cooley. Your search for Quality in Volume begins and ends at Camp Cooley Ranch. Give us a call or stop by for a visit!
      New, Softer Version Of R-CALF Is Up & Running

Most people with a passion for the industry see three industry organizations as even more disruptive than what two proved to be. However, the newest organization -- the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) -- already appears to have assumed status as the legitimate opposition group to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).
Click here to read more of this story by Troy Marshall

      May 15 Is BIF Early Registration Deadline

The early registration deadline for the 2007 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Research Symposium and Meeting is May 15. The meeting is slated for June 6-9 at the Hilton Fort Collins in Fort Collins, CO.

BIF was founded 40 years ago as a means to standardize programs and methodology -- and to create greater awareness, acceptance and usage -- of beef cattle performance concepts. This year's meeting features opportunities for producer input on guiding the future of genetic evaluation and genetic improvement of the U.S. beef herd, as well as becoming informed about the field's latest research findings and progress.

Visit for more program details.
-- Joe Roybal

      "Beef Quality In The Ethanol Era" Is BQS Theme

"Beef Quality In The Ethanol Era" is the theme of BEEF magazine's 2007 Beef Quality Summit (BQS) set for Nov. 7-8 at the Holiday Inn Centre in Omaha, NE.

The second annual BQS provides attendees with the opportunity to network with producers and others in the industry, and to learn how to increase the value of their beef-cattle production. Full conference details are available at Early bird registration ($125) ends Oct. 1.

The two-day conference will focus on the effects of increased ethanol production on beef quality, the beef industry and cattle operations, and how producers can survive and thrive during the ethanol era. Speakers, including producers, consultants and industry experts, will also address how the beef industry can successfully meet the demand for quality beef in today's marketplace.

The conference also features a tradeshow where producers can view new industry products and tools, and speak with vendors and representatives of value-added marketing programs in a one-on-one environment.
-- Joe Roybal

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      200 Tons Of U.S. Beef To Arrive In Korea This Month

More than 200 tons of U.S. beef are expected to arrive in South Korea by the end of May, reports Yonhap News.

South Korea, once the third-largest market for U.S. beef exports, banned such imports in late 2003 after the discovery of BSE in the U.S. It reopened its market to boneless U.S. product from cattle under 30 months of age last year but had rejected all 22 tons of beef sent over in three shipments due to the discovery by x-ray of small bone chips.

A 6.4-ton shipment of beef from Arkansas City, KS-based Creekstone Farms went on sale in South Korea last week, the first shipment allowed into the country for sale since 2003. Seoul recently announced it would no longer reject entire shipments for bone chips, opting instead to just reject suspect individual packages.

After the ban on U.S. beef, sales of Australian beef in South Korea jumped from 64,000 tons in 2003 to 137,000 tons in 2006. Meanwhile, U.S. beef imports to South Korea totaled 200,000 tons in 2003.
-- Joe Roybal

      BSE Vaccine Found To Be Effective In Mice

U.S. researchers say they've developed a vaccine that protects mice from a brain condition similar to BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and chronic wasting disease in deer, which are caused by infectious prion proteins, HealthDay News reports.

Because prions are very similar to proteins produced naturally in the body, the immune system doesn't fight them, the report says. But the U.S. team says it's created a vaccine that stimulates the immune system of mice by attaching prion proteins to a genetically modified strain of salmonella. The vaccine either prevented or significantly delayed the onset of prion disease symptoms in the mice.

"These are promising findings. We're now in the process of redesigning the vaccine so it can be used on deer and cattle," study author Thomas Wisniewski of the New York University School of Medicine says. He adds that much more research is required before the vaccine could be considered for use in people.
-- Joe Roybal


What they don't teach you in AniSci 101.

The Charolais-influence in your crossbreeding program adds an exceptional boost of heterosis, economic value and cowherd predictability. Charolais-influence adds value in virtually every segment in the U.S. beef industry.

You choose your end-use target. Use Charolais genetics to get there!

Click here for more information.
      Big Pork Merger Gets Nod From Regulators

The largest U.S. hog and pork producer and processor got bigger this week. Smithfield Foods announced this week it has completed its purchase of rival Premium Standard Farms Inc. -- the second-largest pork producer -- for $800 million in cash, stock and debt. The U.S. Justice Department signed off on the deal late last week after concluding the merger "is not likely to harm competition, consumers or farmers."

The deal gives Smithfield, VA-based Smithfield, with annual revenues of more than $11 billion, about 30% of the U.S. pork market. Smithfield operates packing plants in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia. It's also a major beef producer and a partner in Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding LLC, the world's largest cattle-feeding enterprise, which consists of 10 feedyards in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas with a one-time capacity of 811,000 head.

Meanwhile, Premium Standard Farms, based in Kansas City, MO, has annual revenues of about $900 million, and owns plants in Missouri and North Carolina.
-- Joe Roybal

      Feedback On Corn Stalk Use For Ethanol Piece

I question the statement made in the April 29 issue piece, "Corn Stalks For Ethanol?" that "if conservation of organic matter in taken into account, farmers have to cut in half the amount of cornstalks that can be harvested to produce (cellulosic) ethanol."

In the early 1970s, I purchased the first Hesston 10 Stacker in east-central Illinois. Of course, I was questioned about storing hay outside and really questioned when I stacked corn stalks.

Well, the hay didn't spoil, and it was sure a lot easier to feed stacks than bales. As for the following year's soybean crop that came off the ground from which I'd harvested corn stalk stacks, we had less weed pressure and higher yields by about 3-5 bu./acre. So much for not getting enough organic matter back into the ground. You could tell right to the row where we harvested stalks -- there was less weed pressure and better-looking/higher-yielding soybeans.

I feel we can harvest 75% of the corn stalks in our part of the world without a problem. Of course, if we all went back to a corn, soybean, wheat rotation (with clover/alfalfa in the wheat to plow down), we would all be doing the soil a favor. But that's obliviously not going to happen with $4 corn.
-- C.J. Oakwood
Oakwood, IL

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      Food Safety Is A Global Issue

Beef food safety is a global issue and striving for sound yet strict international trade standards may be in the best interest for all segments of the beef industry. That's one of the conclusions of researchers who surveyed consumers in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Mexico last year on their food safety concerns.

The research, conducted by Kansas State, Michigan State and University of Illinois agricultural economists, revealed several differences between consumers in the four countries. More than 80% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada consider beef a safe product, while only 48% of Japanese and 60% of Mexican consumers feel beef is safe to consume.

This is a fairly recent turn of events, the researchers say. Relative to four years ago, about 20% of U.S. and Canadian consumers, 30% of Mexican consumers and 55% of Japanese consumers reduced beef consumption because of food safety concerns.

While the researchers say this sobering finding reveals a substantial loss of market share due to food safety concerns, it also reveals an opportunity for the beef industry. More than 70% of Canadian, U.S. and Japanese consumers indicated a willingness to pay premiums for beef having enhanced food safety.

The findings also reveal the scope and extent that the beef industry must work to educate consumers about food safety issues.

"Consumers know little about the probable impact and prevalence of most beef food safety components," the study report indicates. "For example, nearly 20% of consumers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, and about 60% in Mexico, consider E. coli 0157-H7 as a high or very high risk in beef. However, E. coli 0157-H7 bacteria are rarely present in beef products and with proper cooking and handling by the food preparer can be virtually eliminated."

The same perception holds true with BSE, the study found. More than 50% of consumers in Japan and Mexico indicate BSE in beef products is a high or very high food safety risk.

"These examples demonstrate that education about beef food safety risk and proper handling must remain a priority," the researchers say. "Only by providing accurate and trustworthy information will consumers better understand the safety of beef products and their role in ensuring product safety."
-- Burt Rutherford

      Gasoline Prices Continue To Climb; Diesel Falls

Gasoline prices rose sharply for the second straight week, jumping 8.3¢ to $3.054/gal. for the week of May 7 -- 14.5¢ higher than at this time last year. Meanwhile, retail diesel fell for a third consecutive week, shaving 1.9¢ to an average price of $2.792/gal., 10.5¢ less than at this time last year.

All regions reported increases for regular grade gasoline, with the East Coast up 4.1¢ to $2.958, and the Midwest registering the largest jump at 14.9¢ to $3.074. Gulf Coast prices rose 1.7¢ to $2.87, the Rocky Mountain region rose 13.3¢ to $3.09, and the West Coast was up 9.6¢ to $3.373. California jumped 10.2¢ to a record $3.461/gal. -- 12.9¢/gal. above last year.

For diesel, East Coast prices fell 1.9¢ to $2.781, the Midwest was down 2.1¢ to $2.754, and the Gulf Coast dropped 2.2¢ to $2.744. Only the Rocky Mountain increased, rising 0.7¢ to $2.995/gal., while West Coast prices fell 1.7¢ to $2.935,and California shaved 1.3¢ to $2.974/gal. -- 27¢ lower than at this time last year.
-- U.S. Energy Information Administration

Take the Producer Poll!

Results from last week's poll:
When you have cows turn up open, what is usually at fault?
  • Poor nutrition -- 35.09%
  • Other -- 33.33%
  • Bull problems -- 19.30%
  • Leptospirosis, including L. hardjo-bovis -- 12.28%
  • Vibrio -- 0%
  • BVD -- 0%
  • IBR -- 0%
Vote now to answer this week's question:

If you are including Lepto hardjo-bovis protection in your vaccination program, what's your primary reason?
  • Veterinarian recommends it
  • I wanted to improve my herd's conception rates
  • I vaccinate for lepto already and it's the primary lepto to vaccinate for
  • Not including it Stay tuned next week for the poll results and a new question.
    Sponsored by Vira Shield 6+VL5 HB.
  •       Hmmm. Japan Exports To Hong Kong Are 30-Month

    The Japanese export of beef that resumes to Hong Kong this month will do so under a 30-month age restriction, rather than the 20-month restriction Japan imposes on U.S. beef imports. The 20-month restriction has been a burr under the saddle of the U.S., which has futilely pressured Japan to adhere to international scientific standards on beef trade.

    Japan and Hong Kong penned the agreement in April to resume Japanese beef exports to the Chinese territory more than five years after they were banned due to BSE. Japan continues to discover BSE cases in its domestic herd, and has recorded more than 30 since it was first discovered on the islands in fall 2001.

    The first shipment of Japanese beef to the Chinese territory is expected around mid-May, says Japan's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry. Hong Kong is the third territory to resume Japanese beef imports, the only others being the U.S. and Canada.

    Hong Kong was the biggest destination for Japanese beef exports in 2000, when the shipments came to 60 tons, compared with 40 tons to the U.S. in 2006, the Kyodo News reports. Next up for Japanese beef negotiators are Singapore and Taiwan.
    -- Joe Roybal

          Japan Backing Off Its 20-Month BSE Findings

    Japan created a major political problem with its bungling of its domestic BSE situation, and its failure to institute safeguards to prevent its spread. As a result, Japanese consumers lost faith in their government's ability to keep the food supply safe. In order to win back consumer confidence, Japan's government adopted draconian measures under a veil of very questionable science.

    Nothing has been more controversial than the two supposed BSE positives Japan claimed to have found in domestic cattle younger than 30 months. The world scientific community long questioned these positives, and Japan announced this week it had been unable to cause BSE in mice after injecting them with BSE material from the two younger BSE cases.

    The findings will be presented to Japan's Food Safety Commission for review, and is seen as another step in Japan's effort to move toward a science-based approach to the BSE issue. Every indication is Japan is moving away from its 20-month age restriction on beef imports into the country. For U.S. cattlemen, however, the process has been, and promises to continue to be, agonizingly slow.
    -- Troy Marshall

          Poetry & Commentaries Added To American Cowman

    Check out the new features added to BEEF magazine's American Cowman Web site. First off, we've added "Rural Life Poetry" and "Cowman Commentary" sections -- slices of ranch life penned by the folks living it. We've also added audio links to speakers at last month's National Institute for Animal Agriculture annual meeting. Topics include ethanol and animal ID. Visit the site at

    And don't forget our recently initiated American Cowman blog. With grazing season gearing up, we're asking "what's your favorite forage?" You can view readers' comments, or share your own, at the following link:

    And if your not subscribed to the Web site's free, twice-monthly American Cowman Update electronic newsletter, you can do that at, as well. Included in the latest issue are such topics as: "Do the math before creep feeding," "Cookbook for grass-fed grilling" and information on maintaining a tight breeding season.
    -- Kindra Gordon

          Ranchers Leaving Cull-Cow Money On The Table

    Generally, ranchers leave dollars on the table when it comes to marketing their cull cows, says Jeff Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Florida's North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. On average, cull cows can produce 10-20% of the total revenue in a beef cow-calf enterprise. Increasing that value by just a third can improve overall ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. And as little as a 10% increase in net income from the sales of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.
    Click here to read more of this story by Jeff Carter, University of Florida-Marianna

          Refresher On Animal Welfare Available

    The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation released its revised Animal Welfare and Audit Guidelines on Monday. The guidelines, available at, provide a checklist of what audit inspectors look for at processing facilities, and includes: effective stunning, bleed rail insensibility, slips and falls, vocalization, prod use, willful acts of abuse and access to water.

    Granted, these audits are conducted at facilities far from the ranch, but cattlemen also must be cognizant on the home front. Inspect your corrals for broken, sharp and protruding objects that may injure cattle. Keep concrete chute alley and trap floors from becoming slick, and avoid over-crowding tubs and traps. Educate your employees on low-stress handling methods and make sure everyone is on the same page by walking through what will happen before processing cattle.
    -- Alaina Burt

          South Dakota Grassland Coalition Hosts Birding Tour

    South Dakota Grassland Coalition will host a bird-watching tour in the Black Hills, June 8-9. The two-day tour, entitled "Birds: At Home, on the Range," features visits to ranches to observe and record native bird species. Participants will hear presentations from landowners, wildlife and agricultural experts, and learn about conservation techniques used in this area.

    "The goal of the birding tour is to provide information to a diverse public to demonstrate the relationship between land stewardship and grassland wildlife populations," says Dave Steffen, former National Resource Conservation Service range management specialist. "We'll convey the important role rangeland management plays in South Dakota's agricultural industry while maintaining adequate habitat for the state's native birds."

    To learn more, contact Judge Jessop at 605-895-2301 or, or visit Registration, which is $15/person, is due by May 18.
    -- Kindra Gordon

          TB Discussion Slated In Northern Minnesota May 14

    Bovine TB-free since 1975, Minnesota lost that designation in 2005 when the disease was identified in five northwest Minnesota cattle herds. It was detected in two additional herds last year, as well as in harvested area deer.

    In light of this, the Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium will provide a presentation examining Bovine TB in the U.S., with an emphasis on the current situation in Minnesota, on May 14. Sheryl Shaw, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service area epidemiology officer, will lead the 3 p.m. presentation in Bemidji State University's Center for Research and Innovation facility in Bemidji, MN.

    To learn more, call 218-755-4900 or 1-888-738-3224, or
    -- Alaina Burt

          USDA Publishes Spanish Ag Thesaurus

    USDA's National Agricultural Library has published Spanish-language versions of its agricultural thesaurus and glossary. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the U.S., USDA says, and is the most rapidly growing language used in U.S. agriculture. To access the thesaurus and the glossary, go to
    -- USDA Ag Research Service release

          USDA Releases Report On NAIS Pilot Projects

    USDA's final report on National Animal Identification System (NAIS) pilot projects conducted throughout 2004 says the retention rate of the button-like radio frequency identification (RFID) tags was nearly 100%. Other results include:
    • Existing animal health and marketing programs can be an effective, producer-friendly means of collecting data for NAIS.

    • Workable options are available for producers who want to ID their animals electronically without investing in reader equipment. Producers were able to eliminate the need for expensive equipment by using group/lot visual tags for day-to-day purposes, and then matching the tags with individual RFID tag numbers when animals moved off the premises.

    • Use of electronic ID allows more accurate and efficient record keeping, significantly reduces data-entry errors, enhances business practices and decreases labor costs.

    • Use of RFID at auction markets improves animal welfare and human safety by reducing animal restraint when recording their ID numbers.

    • ID used for NAIS can support other programs, including value-added opportunities.
    USDA provided $6.6 million in Commodity Credit Corporation funds for the projects in 2004. The 16 projects were the first stage of the NAIS pilot project program. Additional field trial projects, funded with FY 2005 monies, are now underway to provide more statistical comparisons of technologies and more clearly define implementation costs for NAIS.

    "The pilot projects demonstrate NAIS will work well and greatly benefit America's producers. These concrete examples of the system's capabilities, tried and proven in the field, are a critical step forward in our efforts to implement this important program," says Bruce Knight, USDA undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs.

    More information on the findings from the 2004 pilot projects, as well as a description of current efforts, is available in the "Pilot Project Report" at Click on "NAIS Library" in the top toolbar, and scroll down to "NAIS Plans and Reports."
    -- USDA release

          Use Target Grazing To Take Aim At Invasive Weeds

    There's a new buzzword out West when it comes to grazing --targeted grazing.

    Karen Launchbaugh, chair of the University of Idaho's Rangeland Ecology Department, defines the term as "using grazing in a new way that offers an ecologically friendly aspect to accomplish defined vegetation goals."
    Click here to read more of this story by Kindra Gordon for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative

          Weather, Acreage Are Ethanol Wildcards For 2007

    Ethanol is changing everything in American agriculture, economist Richard Brock says. "I've never seen such volatility. It's unbelievable," says the publisher of The Brock Report ( and president of Brock Associates, a Milwaukee, WI-based farm market advisory firm.
    Click here to read more of this story by Joe Roybal

          Western Nebraska To Host 10th Cattlemen's Ball

    The 10th annual Cattlemen's Ball is June 2 at Sand Point Cattle Company, LLC, near Lodgepole, NE. Held annually to promote beef in a healthy diet and showcase rural Nebraska, the event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, with 90% of the proceeds going toward research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Eppley Cancer Center, and the rest to western Nebraska health care.

    "The Cattlemen's Ball is an event that should appeal to everyone, with tons of activities going on throughout the day," says Matt Monheiser, general co-chairman. "From style shows to beef tasting to a casino, live and silent auctions, there's truly something for everyone."

    The highlight is a sit-down beef dinner, followed by a concert featuring Grammy-winning country singer Jo Dee Messina. Following the concert, patrons will dance the night away to the music of the band High Horses. For more information visit
    -- Kindra Gordon

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