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by WLJ
2005 February 7
As tax preparation gets under way, agricultural producers need to be aware of a number of changes in tax regulations. "Staying up to date on these changes will help producers prepare their returns accurately," says Ron Haugen, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm economist. "Producers have until March 1 to file their returns without penalty. If they made an estimated tax payment by Jan. 18, they have until April 15 to file." Items to note for 2004 income tax preparation: • The personal exemption amount has increased to $3,100. • The standard deduction has increased to $9,700 for those who are married, filing
by WLJ
2005 February 7
Taiwan is expected to announce by the end of February the results of its federal inspections of U.S. packing facilities that were supposed to mark the final stage in allowing U.S. beef back into the island nation, according to officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Taiwan suspended beef from the U.S. in December 2003 due to safety concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) after the discovery of a singe case of the disease at a Washington state farm. Several USDA officials said Taiwan health and agriculture officials have traveled to the U.S. and have conducted on-site inspections of the implementation
by WLJ
2005 February 7
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that President George W. Bush’s administration violated the Endangered Species Act when it relaxed protections on many of the gray wolves in the U.S. The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland, OR, rescinds a rule change that allowed ranchers to shoot wolves on sight if they were attacking livestock, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group. In April 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service divided the wolves’ range into three areas and reclassified the Eastern and Western populations as threatened instead of endangered. The Eastern segment covers
by WLJ
2005 January 31
John Carter, a fifth generation producer and former chairman of the Australian Beef Association, spoke to the crowd about Australia’s animal identification program at the sixth annual R-CALF USA convention held in Denver, CO, January 19-23. Carter cautioned the producer group to learn from mistakes of Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) and realize that the program is not working. “I came from Australia with one message-don’t be railroaded into a bureaucratic ID nightmare like the United Kingdom,” said Carter. “It’s killing the UK beef industry.” Carter quoted a UK parliamentary report released last November to support his statement. The report indicated
by WLJ
2005 January 31
McD’s late ‘04 sales jump McDonald's Corp., last week reported that global system-wide sales for its restaurants increased 9.6 percent in December and 9.5 percent for the 2004 fourth quarter compared with the same periods in 2003. According to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner, the company served more than 48 million customers per day during 2004, an increase of 1.6 million customers per day over the prior year. December and fourth quarter results were fueled by the performance of the U.S. burger business, which was up almost seven percent from the same time period of 2003. Uruguay sends most exports to U.S. The U.S.
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Attorneys representing the widow of a Nebraska rancher recently filed a lawsuit against a livestock pharmaceutical company, saying there was not an appropriate delivery system supplied alongside a popular treatment for bovine respiratory disease (BRD). Allegations also include that the company failed to have appropriate warnings about how dangerous the drug was to human health and that there was no antidote available in case of accidental injection to humans. Debra Erickson, Clay County, NE, in a Jan. 20 filing with U.S. District Court, North Platte, NE, alleges that Eli Lily & Company was negligent in failing to provide adequate information about
by WLJ
2005 January 31
During the week of his second inauguration, President George W. Bush celebrated by eating beef produced from a Wyoming ranch and produced by a Colorado Springs company. Ranch Foods Direct, which operates a fabrication plant in Colorado Springs, shipped 1,200 pounds of prime rib roast to Washington D.C. to be served at the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The beef was originally produced from a Wyoming ranch under “natural” production protocol. “It was wonderful, really tasty," said Max Hansen, chef and owner of Max and Me Catering, who prepared and served the presidential dinner. “It was a hot item, too, not
by WLJ
2005 January 31
During the week of his second inauguration, President George W. Bush celebrated by eating beef produced from a Wyoming ranch and produced by a Colorado Springs company. Ranch Foods Direct, which operates a fabrication plant in Colorado Springs, shipped 1,200 pounds of prime rib roast to Washington D.C. to be served at the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The beef was originally produced from a Wyoming ranch under “natural” production protocol. “It was wonderful, really tasty," said Max Hansen, chef and owner of Max and Me Catering, who prepared and served the presidential dinner. “It was a hot item, too, not
by WLJ
2005 January 31
— Investigation of Jan. 2 BSE case concluded. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said last week the results of an audit of the country's ban on feeding ruminant materials back to ruminants, implemented back in 1997, will be available around Feb. 21, or shortly thereafter. CFIA officials gave details on the audit, saying they have concluded their investigation into an Alberta dairy cow found infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) Jan. 2. Dr. Brian Evans, CFIA’s chief veterinarian, said the infection of the Jan. 2 animal in all probability came from feeding the animal feed contaminated with ruminant meat or bone meal.
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Canada and Mexico recently discussed the North American response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and will continue to make an effort to re-establish trade in beef products as well as breeding animals between the two countries, said a spokesman from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Andy Mitchell, and Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, Javier Usabiaga Arroyo, endorsed the collaborative spirit and goodwill established between the two countries during recent meetings, a Jan. 20 release from Mitchell's office said. During the meetings with Usabiaga, Mitchell stressed the integrity of Canada's current feed ban
by WLJ
2005 January 31
China recently lifted its ban on imports of poultry and poultry products from Canada, processed from Jan. 18 can now be imported. In addition, China has approved Canadian collection centers and processing facilities for bovine semen and embryos, and porcine semen and blood products, allowing trade to resume. This restores partial access to one of Canada's most important export markets in Asia. “China is one of our most important Asian markets, and we are very pleased with their decision to immediately resume trade in these areas. The decision underlines the level of confidence in Canada's food safety systems and the measures
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Bill Fielding, the chief operating officer for Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, told attendees of the recent R-CALF USA annual convention, that his company still wants USDA to allow packers, including his company, to individually test cattle for BSE and that will help reopen Pacific Rim markets, particularly Japan, to U.S. beef. Last year Creekstone formally requested that USDA allow it to be a satellite testing laboratory for the federal BSE surveillance program. The small packing packing company hoped to individually test cattle it slaughtered, allowing Creekstone beef to be documented as BSE free. That could allow the beef to be shipped
by WLJ
2005 January 31
It was a fast 72 hours, but we learned a lot about the Canadian Cattle industry. I was fortunate enough to have traveled with eight other cattle producers on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Canadian trade team. We were guests of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association who is very anxious to get the border reopened to live cattle trade. It was my impression that the Canadians have their act together in nearly all aspects of beef production. However, one daunting statistic kept hanging over our head, and that was the BSE score board is still 4-0 in favor of Canada.
by WLJ
2005 January 31
— Seafood protocol could set precedent for beef. The sixth annual R-CALF USA convention included a “surf and turf” theme during its country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) session. Margaret Bryan Curole, shrimper and representative of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, spoke to the group about the way her industry deals with new compliance rules for mandatory COOL, some of which could affect beef producers down the road. One of the major changes Curole cited was the exemption of labeling of processed foods. USDA defines a processed food as an item that “is changed in character by processing or combining it with other food components.” By this
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Crabgrass is a troublesome weed for most producers. But, with a little careful planning and management, it can be a first rate forage, according to Bruce Anderson, extension Forage Specialist for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When Anderson says crabgrass, he asks producers what comes to mind? A tangled up mess on cultivator shanks? Aching fingers from weeding the garden? Crowded out plants in an alfalfa field? Anderson agrees crabgrass can be a problem. But he says it also can be an outstanding forage grass when used in the right place, at the right time and in the right way. “Cattle love crabgrass,” said
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Scratching out a living from the Wyoming countryside isn’t for the faint of heart. However, Bill Suranyi isn’t easily fazed. A lifetime northern Wyoming resident, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Suranyi relies on years of experience and careful management to keep his 200 Red Angus cows in prime condition. And while 5,600 acres of green needlegrass, western wheat grass and pubescent grass usually do the job, even the best manager can snag a few glitches. “The cattle business hasn’t been easy the last few years,” Suranyi explains. “I’ve had to sell 100 cows because it’s been so dry.” Suranyi isn’t alone.
by WLJ
2005 January 31
— USDA, FDA investigators visiting Canada. The official overseeing all federally-governed livestock regulatory and marketing programs recently told a group of Canadian beef and cattle ban proponents that the agency is closely looking into allegations that the neighbor to the north is in violation of several international BSE guidelines. However, USDA Under Secretary Bill Hawks also told R-CALF USA members that, as of Friday, Jan. 21, the agency was still working on the premise that the northern border would be reopened to Canadian live cattle and an expanded category of Canadian beef starting March 7. “We are taking the concerns and questions of
by WLJ
2005 January 31
— Legislation banning practice to be proposed. New figures from USDA reveal an increase in the number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. last year for human consumption. Nearly 65,000 horses were slaughtered in 2004, 28 percent more than 2003. However, those horses aren’t processed for domestic U.S. consumption. The horses are slaughtered at one of three foreign-owned slaughter plants, and the meat is sent to Europe and Asia, where it is considered a delicacy. Because a large majority of the horses processed are competitive racehorses in the public spotlight and pets, several animal rights groups are stepping up their efforts to have
by WLJ
2005 January 31
— Affidavits, birth certificates preferred. Beef industry lobbyists indicated last week that Japanese officials are not entirely convinced USDA’s cattle carcass grading system is the best way to verify the age of U.S. cattle providing beef for export to Japan. USDA officials acknowledged last week that Japan has asked for more information concerning its “A40" proposal, but said it will still be part of the program when U.S./Japan beef trade restarts later this year. According to USDA, there is a combination of meat quality and bone traits that can be used to determine cattle that are between 12-17 months of age, and
by WLJ
2005 January 31
Eighteen farm, consumer and public interest groups last Wednesday delivered a letter to new Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, expressing concern about the apparent retaliation against the chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals (NJC), who recently made disclosures covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) rules on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). On Dec. 8, NJC chairman Charles Painter sent a letter on behalf of the the government meat inspectors' union to the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), outlining concerns about the removal of "specified risk materials" (SRMs) from cattle and FSIS


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