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
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!
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
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
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
for more program details.
-- Joe Roybal
"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 www.beefconference.com.
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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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
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
Click here for more
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
-- Joe Roybal
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
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
The POWER of one BRAND can change your future in the beef
Certified Angus Beef ®, the oldest, most successful branded
beef program in the industry returned more than $50 million in grid
premiums in 2003. The demand for CAB® brand products translates into
fed cattle premiums of $2-$5/cwt. Source-verified, high-percentage Angus
replacement females often top auctions by selling for $50-$100 per head
above cash market. Sale barn surveys conducted at nine auction markets
indicated premiums are paid, not for black-hided cattle, but for
One brand, one breed--the power of one can change your future in the
Certified Angus Beef® and CAB® are registered trademarks of
Certified Angus Beef, LLC
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
-- Burt Rutherford
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?
Vote now to answer
this week's question:
- Poor nutrition -- 35.09%
- Other -- 33.33%
- Bull problems -- 19.30%
- Leptospirosis, including L. hardjo-bovis -- 12.28%
- Vibrio -- 0%
- BVD -- 0%
- IBR -- 0%
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
Not including it
Stay tuned next week for the poll results and a new question.
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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
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 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
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 www.americancowman.com.
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: blog.americancowman.com/community_blog/.
And if your not subscribed to the Web site's free, twice-monthly
American Cowman Update electronic newsletter, you can do that at
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
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
The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation released its revised
Animal Welfare and Audit Guidelines on Monday. The guidelines, available
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 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
To learn more, contact Judge Jessop at 605-895-2301 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visit www.sdgrass.org.
Registration, which is $15/person, is due by May 18.
-- Kindra Gordon
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 email@example.com
-- Alaina Burt
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 nal.usda.gov/services.
-- USDA Ag Research Service
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:
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.
- 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
- 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
- ID used for NAIS can support other programs, including value-added
"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 www.usda.gov/nais. Click on
"NAIS Library" in the top toolbar, and scroll down to "NAIS Plans and
-- USDA release
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 www.cattlemensball.com.
-- Kindra Gordon
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