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by WLJ
2006 December 4
  Marketing whoa When South Korea opened its border to imports of U.S. beef, there wasn’t the rush to the door like there was when Japan opened. Packers were slow to respond to the renewed market and also very apprehensive, for good reason. Two weeks ago, the South Korean government found a small piece of bone in a large load of beef. Unfortunately, the beef was from Creekstone Farms, which is a little guy trying to do the right thing. Finding a bone fragment the size of your finger nail is like finding a needle in a hay stack. But I suppose
by WLJ
2006 December 4
  Beef is beef, right? I read a story the other day that should strike fear into the hearts of red meat processors. A San Antonio, TX, company called 21st Century Foods is selling charbroiled hamburgers said to be as tasty as any fast-food burger you’ll find. They also sell sausage patties, pasta sauce, sloppy joes and chili pie. Business is booming at the little company. Sales in 2006 are expected to be six times higher than in 2004, partly because the company landed a supply contract with the massive Houston School District. Terrific, you think. Another success story for the meat industry
by WLJ
2006 December 4
The announcement that South Korea has banned the first shipment of U.S. beef was released Friday, Nov. 24, 2006. The decision made by health officials in Seoul, South Korea, was a result of the discovery of a bone fragment, less than ½ inch long, found in a package of meat shipped to South Korea on Oct. 30. The shipment contained 8.9 tons of U.S. beef. This follows a three-year ban on U.S. beef imports which was a result of the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), found in a U.S. beef cow that originated from Canada. South Korea agreed to
by WLJ
2006 December 4
Fed cattle trade was very light early last week, with only one reported purchase in Kansas at $85.50. Analysts were calling for prices to be in the area of $86, which would be $1-2 lower than the prior week in the live cattle market and in a range of $135 to $137 in the beef, when trade finally developed in earnest. The market was called lower last week despite a widespread snow storm across Colorado southward into the Texas panhandle, which did little to move cattle early or boost prices. Much of the downtrend in prices can be attributed to packer
by WLJ
2006 December 4
The creation of a National Animal ID System (NAIS) will be a permanently voluntary effort, according to an announcement by USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight, Nov. 22. Knight told reporters that producers nationwide have concerns about problems associated with a mandatory NAIS program and those concerns have slowed the implementation of the system. In an effort to alleviate those concerns and move the process forward, USDA has committed to a voluntary program so deadlines set out by the agency can be met. Late last month in a speech in Kansas City, MO, Chuck Conner, USDA deputy secretary,
by WLJ
2006 December 4
USDA quietly resubmitted a plan last week proposing to lift the ban that restricts Canadian cattle over 30 months of age from being transported to the U.S. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will once again review the plan which was withdrawn by USDA in July 2006 following Canada’s seventh confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Jim Rogers, spokesman for the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service division of USDA, confirmed that a plan has been submitted to OMB for review. However, he declined to comment further on the issue. After USDA withdrew the initial proposal, they
by WLJ
2006 December 3
A decade of mutual profit What better way to see the value of producers and packers working together than to look at the success of U.S. Premium Beef (USPB) and National Beef Packing. There were plenty of people who thought that the first members of USPB were crazy to put up $55 per head. Now it looks like one of the best industry investments in years. USPB initially acquired about 30 percent of National Beef in 1997, then became majority owner in August 2003. Its members currently hold 55 percent of National’s voting shares. The alliance has been remarkably fruitful for USPB
by WLJ
2006 November 27
Unveiled at the Angus Foundation Supporter Recognition event Nov.11 in Louisville, KY, the “Vision of Value: Campaign for Angus” aims to significantly expand the ability of the Angus Foundation to support education, youth and research activities by raising $11 million by Dec. 31, 2011. This is the first capital campaign undertaken by the Angus Foundation, the not-for-profit affiliate of the American Angus Association that was established in 1980 to support education, youth and research programs in the Angus breed. To date, more than $2,460,000 has been committed to the campaign during the quiet phase, which began Oct. 1, 2004. “The Vision of
by WLJ
2006 November 27
Alternative crops to reduce irrigation water use, science credits for high school students attending conservation camp, funding for conservation from oil and gas companies, subdivision reviews with teeth for conservation—these are a few of the innovative conservation programs shared at the Colorado Association of Conservation District’s (CACD) annual meeting in Glenwood Springs, Nov. 13-16. Colorado’s Heartbeat: Agriculture, Water & Energy, was the theme of CACD’s 62nd annual meeting held at the Hotel Colorado, home of conservationist Teddy Roosevelt’s White House in the West. Larry Hoozee, CACD president from the Morgan Conservation District, said, “Conservation districts are preparing for the 2007 Farm Bill.
by WLJ
2006 November 27
In recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of food animal veterinarians. This poses a variety of problems, of which the most obvious is a lack of veterinarians with the ability to assist cattlemen with their operations. In addition, food animal veterinarians have the responsibility of reporting dangerous and highly contagious diseases. With fewer food animal veterinarians across the U.S., there is an increased potential for the spread of potentially harmful diseases that could have a severe economic impact. The demand for food animal veterinarians is projected to increase by 12 to 13 percent between now and
by WLJ
2006 November 27
Six environmental groups, represented by Bozeman, MT-based Earthjustice, last week sought intervener status in the state of Wyoming’s lawsuit against the federal government. The state is attempting to gain control over wolves within its borders which are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which oversees wolf protections in the state, has required Wyoming to submit a wolf management plan, the first step toward delisting the wolves. However, the first proposal was rejected by FWS. Idaho and Montana have also submitted plans to the federal agency which have been accepted. Wyoming’s proposal was
by WLJ
2006 November 27
— Drop in corn boosts feeders. Fed cattle trade continued its trend of early trade last week. Good numbers of cattle were sold in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska last Tuesday at $88 live, up $1 from the prior week, and $138-139 dressed basis, up $3-4 from the prior week. USDA estimated the trade volume on Tuesday at more than 86,500 head. The increase in packer offers was somewhat of a surprise and fueled mostly by an increase in demand from consumers for the post Thanksgiving holiday buying period. That demand helped move the cutout value higher in Tuesday’s trade and allowed
by WLJ
2006 November 27
USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said two weeks ago that he doesn’t think acreage currently idled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will be removed to provide corn for the booming ethanol industry, despite some analyst expectations to the contrary. “Farmers typically make the decision to put land in conservation [programs] for conservation purposes. The other thing is that in many parts of the country, the state I come from—Nebraska—would be a perfect example of this, if you do not have irrigation, the likelihood of raising a corn crop on that land is a two- out of five-year proposition. And in this
by WLJ
2006 November 27
How to stop over-grazing from destroying your pasture's “biological capital” To stop something from happening, you must first thoroughly understand in basic detail what it is you’re trying to stop. This means acquiring a working knowledge of the science of how plants grow and how defoliation affects plants during different stages of their life cycle. What is over-grazing? Over-grazing happens when a plant bitten severely during the growing season gets bitten severely again while using energy it has taken from its crown, stem bases, and roots to re-establish new leaf growth. The next important item to help stop over-grazing is to know just
by WLJ
2006 November 27
— Cattle on feed numbers remain record high. — Marketing rate a disappointment. The Nov. 1 cattle on feed report from USDA again showed record high numbers of cattle in U.S. feedlots. According to USDA calculations, there were 11.95 million head of cattle on feed at the first of the month, up 4 percent from last year. That figure is the highest recorded since USDA began the data set in 1996. The number of cattle on feed was mostly inline with analysts’ pre-report estimates. “Cattle on feed increased 2 percent less than normal from October 1 to November 1,” said Andy Gottschalk at
by WLJ
2006 November 27
The federal agriculture official in charge of rural development said last week that changes need to be made in government policies to make it easier for people in rural areas to invest in ethanol and biodiesel plants. Tom Dorr, undersecretary for rural development for USDA, said rural America has significant wealth to invest in the rapidly expanding ethanol and biodiesel industries but regulations, tax policies, and technology in rural areas don’t make it easy. The big question, he said, is: How can individual producers and rural neighbors, cooperatives and other rural entrepreneurs capture the value when big companies start to
by WLJ
2006 November 27
Winter wheat conditions slipped slightly last week as a result of dry conditions which persist in much of the southern Great Plains. However, according to reports, crop progress is still considered good and may allow for improved grazing prospects for feeder and stocker cattle, particularly when compared to last year. The news is good for stocker operators who rely on wheat pasture for winter grazing and wheat growers who are currently receiving much improved prices for wheat as a result of depressed yields in other countries. Last Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade, December wheat futures were trading higher
by WLJ
2006 November 20
Got plans? Agriculture in the U.S. is undergoing rapid economic and structural changes. Most farm and ranch business managers are conscious of industry trends and developments. However, they often have difficulty deciding what these changes really mean for their families and their farm businesses. To improve their chances for success, farm and ranch business managers must strengthen their ability to objectively and critically identify their farms’ strengths and weaknesses in light of opportunities and threats in the current and anticipated business operating environment. This assessment must be turned into a realistic course of action. Farm and ranch business strategic planning based
by WLJ
2006 November 20
Making a comeback California is not always the first place that comes to mind when you think about public land ranching, however, last week we learned there is more to the story. Ranchers in the state have a very successful history of working with public agencies to ensure public land grazing will continue. Too often anymore, we only hear about the divide between environmental groups and ranchers. On the one hand, extremist environmentalists, such as Jon Marvel of Western Watersheds Project or the Center for Biological Diversity, hold out photos of barren wastelands and blame cattle producers for the destruction of
by WLJ
2006 November 20
After some contentious debate last week, the U.S. Senate took up the long awaited disaster aid package. Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, both D-ND, attempted to insert a disaster aid package into Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills last Tuesday in a late night session. The attempt sparked a heated discussion on the floor of the Senate and the $4.9 billion package was eliminated from the discussion after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, agreed to bring the Agriculture Appropriations bill forward the following day and allow the aid bill to be debated on the floor. However, the


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