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by WLJ
2007 December 20
The June 1 cattle on feed number totaled 11.3 million head. The inventory was 1 percent above June 1, 2006, and 5 percent above June 1, 2005. This is the highest June 1 inventory since USDA began tracking the new series in 1996. The fed cattle market was on the slide for much of the week following the report’s release. Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel said last week, however, that market watchers shouldn’t be overly concerned about the negative data contained in the report. “Placements were somewhat higher than expected and marketings were a bit lower
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Ethanol and the Farm Bill The 2007 Farm Bill debate is in full swing and it seems that all sectors of the agriculture industry are struggling to maintain their foothold in the bill. Of course, ethanol production and the effects of rising grain prices are playing havoc with not just the market, but also the shape of the bill itself. When members of Congress and USDA officials toured the country last year seeking input on the Farm Bill from producers, they received a mixed bag of information, which is to be expected from an industry that is so diverse and where
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Sheep ranchers in the western U.S. certainly haven’t had anything handed to them and things may get tougher still. A new lawsuit threatens the largest sheep research unit in the western U.S., one which provides valuable information to sheep producers searching for new ways to remain profitable in today’s market. Two environmental groups, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Western Watersheds Project (WWP), recently filed suit against numerous government agencies alleging, according to a CBD press release, that the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES), located near Dubois, ID, has been conducting illegal grazing of domestic sheep and is harming the
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The early fed cattle trade last week occurred at prices which analysts expected to be the seasonal low. Nebraska feedlots reported selling 10,000 head of fed cattle last Wednesday at $83.25-$84 live and $133 dressed. Colorado feedlots reported selling 1,000 head of fed cattle at $84 live and Iowa feedlots reported selling 200 head of fed cattle at $135 dressed. There was very little live trade in the southern Plains as of last Thursday, however, analysts were calling for live trade in the $85 to $86 range as a result of packers being short bought the previous week. Packers, for
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Ethanol is already a dirty word to many cattle producers, despite the benefit it provides to their fellow corn farmers. Those who have a heavy interest in both growing corn and feeding cattle must feel as if they’re trading six-of-one for half-a-dozen of the other, and new fuel efficiency standards may raise the stakes and make the corn pinch even tighter. On June 21, Senate members voted 65-27 in favor of HR 6, the Clean Energy Act of 2007. The bill was passed in the House in January and although it must still go back to joint committee for ironing out
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Losing ground Pete: I am sure you have witnessed kids playing and realize that what one kid has, the other kid wants. Give one kid a pickup load of big expensive toys and he is not happy until he has taken the country boy’s stick and cardboard box. When you have a couple of dogs in the car, they are not satisfied with each using a separate window, they both want to stick their heads out of the same one. This holds true to the land that is managed by Bureau of Land Management (BLM). For years, the land was up for
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Kim Burton Brackett, a cow/calf producer from Castleford, ID, was recently elected chairman of the Idaho Beef Council for the 2007-2008 fiscal year beginning July 1. Brackett, who also represents the Idaho CattleWomen on the council, will lead the eight-member board representing Idaho beef producers in overseeing Idaho beef checkoff programs. Laurie Lickley, a cow/calf producer from Jerome, was elected vice chairman, and Jay Theiler, a cattle feeder representative from Boise, was elected secretary-treasurer. Other 2007-’08 Idaho Beef Council board members include outgoing chairman Dan Hinman, a cattle feeder from Caldwell, ID; Brenda Richards, a cow/calf producer from Murphy, ID;
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Wisconsin-based conservation organization Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the Colorado Agricultural Land Trust, presented its Leopold Conservation Award last Monday to the San Isabel Ranch. “We view the Leopold Conservation Award as an important investment in private lands’ conservation,” said Dr. Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. “The $10,000 that accompanies the award wouldn’t go very far as a direct investment into a conservation project. But by using it to highlight the outstanding stewardship of the San Isabel Ranch, we indirectly support hundreds of thousands in everyday improvements by other private landowners who
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Supreme Court last Monday ruled against a Wyoming rancher who sued government employees in a dispute over federal access to a road on his land. Frank Robbins Jr. of Hot Springs County, WY, initially accused half a dozen employees in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of trying to coerce him into granting an easement on a road leading to the Shoshone National Forest. The case stems back to an easement the prior owner of High Island Ranch had granted BLM officials in 1994. The previous owner of the ranch had granted BLM an easement across the ranch in exchange
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Floyd Gaibler recently announced that more than 14,000 agricultural producers and landowners may be eligible to re-enroll their land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous sign-up if their contracts expire on Sept. 30, 2007. “More than 300,000 acres enrolled under these contracts are scheduled to leave the program at the end of September,” said Gaibler. “Re-enrolling these acres is an important conservation decision because continuous sign-up contracts involve some of the nation’s most environmentally sensitive land.” Of the 300,000 acres eligible to leave the program, about 71,800 acres are in
by WLJ
2007 December 20
“This ban tightens already strong, internationally recognized feed controls and shortens the path we must follow to move beyond BSE,” said Chuck Strahl, Canadian minister of agriculture and agri-food.   The enhanced measures announced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) make Canada’s 1997 feed ban more restrictive and closer to the measures undertaken in Great Britain to halt the spread of the disease in Europe, said Brian Evans, the agency’s chief veterinarian.   “Although we do anticipate there could be a small number of additional cases in the coming two to three years based on what’s incubating out there, nevertheless, we still
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 4, 2005 It’s official; the U.S. had its first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Now we’re on the inside of this BSE circle looking out. We can’t say that it was an imported cow and that we don’t have any BSE in the U.S. We’ve got
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 4, 2005 Country-of-origin labeling (popularly known as COOL) for beef and other meat products remains a controversial and divisive issue in the beef industry. A mandatory COOL program is scheduled to take effect in September 2006, but funding for that program is now seriously in question. An alternative
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 9, 2007 With the exception of some light trade volume in Nebraska at $135-136, prices $2-3 higher than the prior week, most trade looked to be at a standstill until either late Thursday or Friday. Southern Plains traders were able to improve the market two weeks ago despite lower money being paid in the north. The result could mean that the summer low is in and upward trade is ahead. In fact, last week, most market analysts were calling for trade to move $1 higher. The last established market prices were $83-84 live in Nebraska with dressed sales at $133.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 There seems to be a growing thought that once the appropriate database is selected, along with the mandatory placement of national electronic livestock identification tags, traceback will become a reality. One probably should not contradict that assumption because, given enough might and fortitude from appropriate agencies, eventually anything can be accomplished. Since fall 2004, the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) has been tracking more than 5,000 calves that originated in North Dakota. These calves have been dispersed slowly across the central part of the U.S. Present traceback statistics reveal that roughly a fourth of the calves have been harvested
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 Now that we have had our first case of BSE, and the news has worn off with the markets pretty much ignoring the episode, it’s time to get back to the issues we have a chance at controlling. National identification just got a shot in the arm, since seven months passed between that old Texas cow being initially tested and confirmed positive for the disease. It would be nice to know a little bit about her herd mates and perhaps the feed mill that supplied the cake that these cows consumed, or if this was just one of those
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 All eyes and ears will be focused on a courtroom in Seattle this Wednesday. That’s where three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold an oral hearing in USDA’s appeal against the preliminary injunction that has kept the border closed to Canadian cattle under 30 months of age. It’s anyone’s guess as to when the judges will issue their decision. There’s also great uncertainty as to how they will rule. So both supporters and opponents of a border reopening will have to endure a nervous waiting period. As I’ve sifted through the mass of legal filings
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has modified the way it computes its feeder cattle index. The change will affect the August 2005 feeder cattle futures contracts and all subsequent contracts. Two specific changes were made to the index calculations. First, USDA medium- and large- frame Number 1 and 2 steers have been added to the previous category of medium and large frame No.1 steers. Second, the weight range for feeder steers has been expanded to 650 to 849 pounds, from 700 to 849 pounds. The changes were made to increase the total number of price observations available to compute
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) showed fed trade on the up and up, with contracts selling higher across the board with estimated volume at 39,630. August contracts sold 70 points higher, closing at $84.60, up from Wednesday’s $83.90. October trading also trended higher, up 83 points, settling at $88.25 from the prior day’s $87.43. December was up 53 points to close at $89.30.   It appears packers have managed to rein in some of their per head losses by cutting back slaughtering volume two weeks ago, although last week, numbers were creeping higher. It also looks as if packers are trying to
by WLJ
2007 December 20
In his announcement to repeal the fee, Schweitzer was quoted as calling H.B. 22 a “Republican bill” that was pushed through by lobbyists “from the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF).”   We believe it is important to set the record straight on H.B. 22, and to point out several errors in the governor’s representation of the facts.   H.B. 22 received full support in the 2005 legislature from many of Montana’s leading ag organizations. In addition, strong support for H.B. 22 came from many sportsmen’s groups, numerous business trade organizations, hydro-power producers, and most importantly, two state