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by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Ruling by permanent injunction trial date hoped for. The issue of Canadian cattle entering the U.S. remained unresolved as of press time last Thursday, as an appellate court panel was weighing arguments on the issue. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ was called “receptive” to arguments from both sides of the ongoing battle and was noncommittal about the pending decision, according to sources in attendance at last Wednesday’s hearing in Seattle, WA. Unlike a normal trial hearing, attorneys from both USDA and R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America fielded questions from the three judges on the bench for about 40 minutes. Hearing
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 18, 2005 We were expecting big news last week as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held its hearing on the temporary trade injunction concerning the Canadian border and BSE. I’m told that the issue will be more about whether District Court Judge Richard Cebull was within his means to grant R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America a temporary injunction on Canadian live cattle crossing the border. It’s a perplexing debate when you consider that the beef we import is fine but the live cattle that produce the beef are not. It seems that not letting Canadian cattle in the U.S. because
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Negative impacts on calves cited. — Additional waste weighs financially. Forage and ruminant nutritionists are urging producers to be careful when it comes to buying their fall and winter hay and other harvested forages due to concerns that mold is more prevalent this year than the past several years. First and second cutting hay from the central and northern Plains, Intermountain West and Northwest are of the most concern because of the abnormally-heavy rains that inundated those areas during spring and very early summer. “A lot of early hay was already down when it got rained on,” said Kurt Leffler, hay specialist with
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 18, 200 An area of concern in IRS audits of farming, livestock and horse activities is the amount of time expended by the taxpayer in the activity. A recurring problem is that taxpayers do not keep contemporaneous time records, but instead “reconstruct” time records in the face of an audit. This can always be a hurdle because it suggests that you did not really conduct the activity in a businesslike manner, but instead simply prepared self-serving records after the fact, and only because the IRS has indicated its intention to conduct an audit. Another problem is that proper records of time should
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The eastern Plains region of the U.S. is very rich in both farms and ranches, and brokers and realtors both say the current market for those entities is nearing or has exceeded historical highs. In addition, sources said the large majority of these properties that have been sold are being kept as agricultural operations, either in part or in their entirety. “The land market throughout the western Cornbelt and eastern Plains is very strong with most areas seeing land values at historical highs or setting new highs,” said Monty Meusch, head real estate broker with Farmers National, Omaha, NE. “Demand is
by WLJ
2007 December 20
For the first time in 34 years, bovine tuberculosis has been confirmed in a Minnesota cattle herd, and will result in approximately 900 cattle being euthanized in the northern region of the state. Last week the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said a five-year-old cow that was slaughtered Feb. 28 was found to have “suspicious internal lesions,” by a federal meat processing inspector. Laboratory tests confirmed the cow had TB. The animal was traced back to a herd in Roseau County, which is on the border with Canada. USDA bought a portion of the herd for further testing. Of the animals
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The rally for COOL The Farm Bill is in full debate in Congress and the House ag leaders are about to spring a Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) compromise on the committee. They haven’t much time left before the law is fully implemented next year. The COOL debate has indeed gone on long enough. By now, I’m sure most cattlemen have an opinion. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held their mid-year meeting in Denver, CO, last week and much of the talk concerned COOL. It appeared that the Ag Committee was set to recommend a program that looks more like the current
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 23, 2007 Fed cattle trade was expected to move lower in most regions last week, although with the exception of a few scattered trades in the north at prices $2 lower than the previous week. Most trade was expected to wait until the release of last Friday’s cattle on feed and cattle inventory reports. Prices in the south, in particular, which were still $4-5 apart last Thursday, appeared to indicate late trade was likely. By mid-day last Thursday, there had been a few sales reported in Nebraska at $140, however, most feedlot showlists were still priced at $142-145 live basis,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 2005  At times we become so focused on issues that we simply miss activities (and sometimes new rules) being advanced in the beef industry. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has captured much of our attention. Prior to the NAIS, country-of-origin labeling (COOL), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a multitude of other marketing or health-related issues provided spirited coffee shop talk. Most of these issues impact the producer and may lead to the modification of the producer’s associated business and management practices. A new issue sleeping in the shadows for many cow/calf producers is waste management. Often perceived
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 2005  No doubt about it, the grill is hot. From the smallest hibachi to the titanic gas rotisserie models, Americans love to fire them up. Summertime sizzles, of course, but some folks even cook steaks under the stars in December. Flashlight and coat are optional, but flavor is a must. Any time of year, beef is king of the grill, with burgers and steaks dominating demand. Maybe it’s because of the nutrient density; the top source for protein, vitamin B12 and zinc, beef is also the third leading source of iron—and a whole lot easier to grill than cereal and
by WLJ
2007 December 20
injunction hearing vacated July 25, 2005 Canadian cattle started reentering the U.S. last Monday, four days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction restricting those animals from crossing the U.S. border. A possible interruption of that movement was averted last week after a federal district court judge temporarily vacated the hearing that was scheduled on a permanent injunction request against Canadian cattle and beef. Judge Richard Cebull, Billings, MT, last Wednesday delayed indefinitely a hearing on the suit that would bar USDA from allowing Canadian cattle and beef imports. In his written order, Cebull said he was awaiting the final
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 2005 It was a big surprise when U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull vacated the July 27 hearing regarding R-CALF’s lawsuit requesting a permanent injunction on live cattle trade from Canada. He said this decision was because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had not yet filed their opinion outlining the reasons behind the reversal of his prior decision to grant a temporary injunction that kept the border closed. By the looks of things, it appears this entire episode may be over. It would seem that going any further on this R-CALF v. USDA case would just be an exercise
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 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 the index. The
by WLJ
2007 December 20
Farm Bill blues Last week after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) mid-year meeting, there were mostly smiles in the beef industry. For the first time in awhile, everyone was happy about the outcome of a political issue. Producers, meat processors and retailers all seemed to agree on the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) compromise that House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-MN, brought forward. The compromise was crafted by several meat industry groups and delivered to the House Ag Committee through the National Farmers Union, which has R-CALF claiming victory. Everyone was on the victory wagon, from R-CALF and
by WLJ
2007 December 20
—Potential for reversal of several species designations could adversely impact ranchers. In the wake of the resignation of a Department of the Interior (DOI) official whose decisions often came down on the side of the agriculture industry, her decisions will be reviewed after an order announced last week by Dale Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In all, eight decisions regarding potentially endangered species will be reviewed after allegations of inappropriate interference surfaced after DOI official Julie MacDonald’s resignation in May. Hall announced July 20 that eight decisions made by MacDonald, which over-ruled local scientists, would
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The fed cattle market last week was slow to start with many analysts calling for a trend steady to perhaps slightly lower than the prior week’s trade of $90 live basis in the southern Plains and $88-89 live and $140 dressed in the north. There was some light dressed trade last Thursday in Nebraska at $138, but not enough to call a trend and most feedlots were holding firm at $140, while bids in the south were in the $87-88 range. The recently released USDA cattle on feed report provided ample support last week for the marketing of fed cattle
by WLJ
2007 December 20
—Congress needs to repair several flaws before COOL’s 2008 effective date. Congress passed a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law for many fresh meat products as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. Its implementation has been delayed a number of times, mainly because of the logistical nightmares it will create for the livestock industry. NCBA (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) members do not oppose the concept of COOL. We raise the safest and best beef in the world, and we are proud to put a USA label on it. But specific flaws in the 2002 law are harmful to cattlemen, which is
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The July 1 cattle on feed report released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided fuel to the cattle markets last week as inventory numbers across the board showed the much anticipated drop in supply ahead is coming. The number of cattle on feed in the U.S. numbered 10.7 million head at the start of July. The inventory was 1 percent below July 1, 2006, but 3 percent above July 1, 2005. The inventory included 6.74 million steers and steer calves, down 5 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 63 percent of the total inventory. Heifers
by WLJ
2007 December 20
As a part of its enormous 2007 Farm Bill proposal, the House Ag committee passed a modified mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law two weeks ago after a late night session. The revised program put forward by the committee creates a labeling program similar to that required by the school lunch program. According to the COOL language in the bill, it provides for three categories of labeling. One that indicates the product was born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.; one that indicates product was not exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.; and one that includes products
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The American Hereford Association (AHA) and Hereford World (HW) is proud to announce Andee Marston, Manhattan, KS, has joined the Hereford team. Marston will join the AHA/HW staff in August as the southeast region field representative. In this position, Marston will attend Hereford sales and events as well as assist breeders with marketing and genetic selection. He will also assist in educating members and commercial producers about AHA programs and other beef industry opportunities. He will serve as the communication link between AHA and breeders in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. “We are extremely