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by WLJ
2005 March 7
— Two separate bills in House. Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced legislation contradicting a law passed last year that allows wild horses and burros to be sold for slaughter—including for human consumption—after appropriate adoption measures have been exhausted. The minority ranking member of the House Resources Committee Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV, in late January introduced HR 297 to reverse last year’s authorization of sale authority for wild horses and burros. Rahall’s bill would “restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros.” Language introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-MT, was attached last
by WLJ
2005 March 7
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection board is making a few additions to the state's proposed Livestock Facilities Siting Rules. Wisconsin is in the process of creating a set of standards that local municipalities can use to grant permits for larger livestock facilities. The idea is to prevent pressure on boards to pass emergency rules to keep large livestock operations out of an area. A task force appointed by State Ag Secretary Rod Nilsestuen developed the proposed rules with the help of a technical advisory panel. Those proposed rules are now the subject of a dozen public hearings
by WLJ
2005 March 7
Producers who are tackling the sage grouse habitat issue or managing the drought situation in Wyoming will have the opportunity to receive grants for those efforts due to a program put forth by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and a producer group called the Wyoming Private Grazing Lands Team (WyPGLT). These two entities recently announced that new grant money will be available for projects that demonstrate new, improved or applied techniques that enhance grazing and result in improved or increased production and stewardship of private-grazing lands. Wyoming producers can take advantage of the grants by contacting the grazing team and
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Around 500 cattle have died of thirst on a remote Australian pastoral station, or ranch, according to reports on Feb. 18. Another 2,500 beasts are suffering from severe dehydration. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has slaughtered another 30 cows, horses and camels, after finding the Windidda Station abandoned early this week, the report said. Windidda is in the central desert of Western Australia state, 200 kilometers east of Wiluna town. RSCPA spokeswoman Kelly Oversby said the association has had to intervene at the station twice in the past 12 months. "It really is a case of neglect, and lack
by WLJ
2005 February 28
— Nineteen more Aussie plants certified. Australian beef, sheep, and goat meat exports to China are set to increase following the Chinese government's approval of another 19 Australia meat processing plants for export. This brings the total number of plants approved so far to 35. Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile said: “This is great news for Australian exporters. China is a significant market for our agriculture exports, and imported around A$50 million worth of high-quality Australian meat in 2004.” Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Minister Warren Truss said the approval from China means the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service can now recommend the registration
2005 February 28
"You hold the world in your hands" is an apt description of the beef business. It is evident during the winter beef cattle meeting circuit. There is discussion about tracking cattle, premises-to-premises movement of animals, or going all the way and actually tracking individual animals. The meeting probably will get a little spicy if you add to the discussion the movement of cattle across international borders. I was asked the other day what I think of all this discussion. No quick point came to mind, but I did think of the producers I know and pondered what they must think. The answer
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Outback growth flattens Outback Steakhouse Inc., which missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations, forecast relatively modest guest count gains this year at its flagship steakhouse brand. The company said traffic should be “flat to up a little bit” given “tough” competition and selective menu price increases, in part to offset higher beef and minimum wage rates. Beef costs will be up about 3 percent from last year. Outback plans to raise menu prices in Florida, its home state, in May to offset an increased minimum wage there. Shares of Outback were changing hands recently at 45. 62, down 1.9 percent or 90 cents,
by WLJ
2005 February 28
— Patent on beneficial strains pending. Nontoxic strains of a fungus have been developed by the federal government’s research arm to combat poisonous toxins produced by a different strain of the same fungus in corn. This technology could work toward preventing sickness in livestock, which can be very susceptible to the poisonous toxin. According to scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), a patent is pending on two nontoxic strains of the Aspergillus flavus fungus, which is most commonly associated with producing the poisonous mycotoxin—aflatoxin. In addition, the nontoxic strains are effective in eliminating the Aspergillus parasiticus strain of fungus, is also
by WLJ
2005 February 28
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) last Wednesday filed a request to become an intervener in a lawsuit against USDA and its final rule regarding the reopening of the border to Canadian live cattle. R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF) on Jan. 10 filed the suit in U.S. District Court, Billings, MT, to continue to ban imports of Canadian cattle in an effort to protect the U.S. cattle herd and U.S. consumers from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). USDA last week was still planning to reopen the border to Canadian cattle younger than 30 months of age on March 7. Legal counsel representing CCA
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Canadian farmers held a record number of cattle on their farms Jan. 1, while hog numbers were only slightly above year-earlier levels on the back of good exports, Statistics Canada reported last week. The national cattle herd has been building steadily since May 2003, when Canadian officials identified the first native-born case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in an animal in Alberta. "Canada's national cattle herd continued to swell last year, reaching a record 15.1 million head as of Jan. 1, 2005, a little more than a year-and-a-half after the worldwide ban on Canadian cattle," the government reporting agency said. However, changes in
by WLJ
2005 February 28
— Questions arise about reentry date. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) last week finally released the guidelines that will be followed once Canadian feeder, fed cattle and other ruminants and cervids are allowed to reenter the U.S. However, whether March 7 will actually be the first day when Canadian cattle cross the border is still in question. During the weekend of Feb. 19-20, Dr. Ron DeHaven, administrator for APHIS, intimated that the March 7 implementation date would be the first day his department would start gleaning over export certificates and requests from Canadian exporters, and that it could be
by WLJ
2005 February 28
While U.S. fed cattle prices softened throughout most of February, Canadian fed cattle prices strengthened significantly as both Canada’s domestic beef demand and processing capacity picked up. Over the first three weeks of the month, Canadian fed cattle prices jumped $5-7 per cwt, with $74 trade (U.S. dollar equivalent) being reported in the province of Alberta on Feb. 22. Saskatchewan fed cattle were bringing over $75 that same day. Based on the last U.S. trade of mostly $88, Canada’s cattle market is $12-13 lower, which is the narrowest spread between the two markets since BSE was first discovered in Canada in May
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Sometimes I feel like we haven’t done our job here at WLJ. During my travels this past month, it has become painfully clear that the facts are in no way present in any conversations regarding the Canadian border opening next month. One reader asked us to explain the upside of the border opening “for us out here in the hinterlands.”And, all I can say is, in the short-term there is no upside. In the long-term, the border opening is supposed to create value on a host of export items, which will add value to fed cattle and on down the line. Many
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Consumers Union last Thursday asked USDA to retest a cow that was determined in November 2004 to be negative for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) using a test called the “Western blot.” The Western blot test is used by authorities in Japan and Europe when making a final determination as to whether a cow has the brain-wasting disease, Consumers Union said. “Given the potential consequences to both public health and the cattle industry if this brain- wasting disease become established here, it is extremely important that every scientifically justifiable step be taken to prevent it," said Michael Hansen, a biologist with Consumers Union,
by WLJ
2005 February 28
Several recently released reports have shown that the incidences of pathogens contaminating meat are definitely decreasing. A majority of the reason for the reduction in food-borne illnesses can be attributed to research work and improved technology. Scientists at USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) are continuing to build on that research in hopes of finding new, more effective ways to squelch pathogens. Campylobacter is one of the pathogens ARS has been focusing on. Thoroughly cooking beef, chicken or pork will ensure Campylobacter is killed. Raw meat, however, harbors the bacteria and can lead to food poisoning. ARS scientists figure the best way to
by WLJ
2005 February 28
— Pay for getting dressed requested. The U.S. Supreme Court last week said it will hear arguments on whether meat-processing plants must pay workers for the time to change into protective clothing and to walk to their work stations. The nine justices will review two opposite lower court rulings examining workers' rights under federal labor law. One ordered IBP Inc.—prior to its purchase by Tyson Fresh Meats Inc.—to pay $3.1 million to 815 workers in Pasco, WA, for the time to put on and remove protective clothing. A separate federal court ruling said 44 Barber Foods employees in Portland, ME, were not
by WLJ
2005 February 28
The second dairy cow depopulation portion of a dairy industry “self help” program started earlier this month and is expected to be done by the end of March or very early April. While an additional 50,000-plus cows will be processed over the next four to six weeks, beef market analysts said the overall impact to slaughter cow prices should be minimal. According to officials with Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), 50,478 dairy cows from 363 dairies nationwide were accepted into the second scheduled “dairy cow retirement” program. Those cows are to be processed in a timely manner over the next month to
by WLJ
2005 February 28
The European Commission approves new BSE tests, opening up competition in the field. The European Commission has approved seven new rapid BSE tests: • CediTect BSE test • Enfer TSE Kit version 2.0 • IDEXX HerdChek BSE Antigen Test Kit (EIA) • Institut Pourquier Speed'it BSE • Prionics Check PrioSTRIP • Roboscreen Beta Prion BSE EIA Test Kit • Roche Applied Science PrionScreen. The approval means that now 12 tests can be used to monitor BSE. Following a laboratory evaluation by the Commission and subsequent field trials by the test producers under the supervision of the Joint Research Center, the European Food Safety Authority recommended that the seven new tests
by WLJ
2005 February 28
— Moisture still helping calf market. — Feeder cattle losing ground. A Thursday rally in the live cattle futures market kept last week’s fed cattle trade at a stalemate as prospective sellers had more impetus to hold on for at least steady money, compared to the previous week. However, analysts weren’t sure packers would ante up that much, as processing margins continued to go deeper into the red last week. As of press time last Thursday, the only trade for the week was an anemic 13,000 head in Nebraska at mostly $137-137.50 dressed. Other northern cattle feeders were waiting for packers to bid
by WLJ
2005 February 28
The Livestock Marketing Association has called for the U.S. border to remain closed to Canadian cattle and beef until USDA meets three requirements. According to a resolution passed by LMA’s Board of Directors, at its recent annual meeting in Austin, TX, the border should remain closed unless and until: • There is full implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL); • there is resumption of U.S. cattle/beef trade with Japan, Mexico and South Korea; and • Canadian cattle imports can be accepted in an “orderly marketing method.” The board of directors noted that LMA provides marketing services “to tens of thousands of cattle producers,” and that


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