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by WLJ
2005 February 14
By law, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns released President George W. Bush’s budget plans for helping farmers and ranchers the first Monday in February. According to the proposed budget, there will be a $587 million cut in farm subsidy spending in 2006. However, continued spending is planned for BSE testing and implementation of a National Animal Identification System. Johanns began the announcement by commending the President for proposing a budget for USDA that meets agriculture’s most important priorities while exercising the kind of fiscal discipline that is absolutely necessary right now. "Many proposals in this budget produce savings wherever possible,” said Johanns.
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Anyone associated with agriculture can appreciate the buildup of clouds on the horizon. The slow progressive change in both sight and feel certainly causes a feeling of uncertainty, if not outright worry. It is at times like this that the saying "feels like rain" may have originated. Anyone familiar with weather realizes there are two sides to every coin. Rain for one operation may very well mean hail for the next. A gentle watering in one county could be a gusher in the next. Today, those in the cattle industry are viewing the much-discussed potential changes in animal identification with the
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Wendy's results turn favorable After a difficult autumn and early winter, Wendy's International saw its same-store sales edge up 0.5 percent in January at corporate locations, and 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent at franchised locations. Chairman Jack Schuessler said the turnaround, after months of declining same-store comparisons, was due to the performance of the Tim Hortons chain and the introduction in December of an option allowing customers to substitute a salad or baked potato, for the normal side order of fries. Aussie exports to Japan firm January saw Australian beef exports to Japan hold firm, with 21,053 metric tons shipped during the month,
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The Cattlemen’s Beef Board seated new board members and elected officers and representatives for its 2005 executive committee and beef promotion operating committee during its annual meeting in San Antonio, TX, Feb. 1-5, 2005. After being appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in December, a total of 39 board members were seated for service on the CBB in 2005, including 14 reappointments of existing members to a second term and appointment of 25 new members. New members seated and the states they represent are Austin Brown, Texas; Virginia Coelho, California; Bob Combs, Virginia; O.D. Cope, Missouri; Jeff Dahl, North Dakota; Virginia
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Beef producers invested checkoff dollars into promotion, education, research and information programs aimed at extending the upward trend in consumer demand for beef during the last year. These programs are outlined in the 2004 annual report of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, released this week at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Antonio. The annual report highlights some of the leading checkoff programs accomplished during the year and provides detailed, audited financial information for the 2004 fiscal year, which ran Oct. 1, 2003 through Sept. 30, 2004. The report includes state-by-state checkoff revenue listings and compares 2004 expenditures to those in
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Vaccination of Yellowstone bison calves and yearlings that enter Montana could begin this season, according to a recent decision by the Montana Department of Livestock. Brucella abortus strain RB51 vaccine will be used by hand injection. Calves (4-12 months of age) and yearlings (12-24 months of age) captured as a result of other management actions in the western boundary area that test negative for brucellosis are eligible for the vaccine, according to Montana State Veterinarian Dr. Tom Linfield. The Department of Livestock received 66 individual comments and 10 comments on behalf of organizations regarding the Environmental Assessment on vaccination of Bison in
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Officials from Nebraska’s office of the state veterinarian announced recently that they suspect an older slaughter cow was infected with bovine tuberculosis (TB). As a result, cattle producers across the state will be holding their breath the next two years hoping another confirmed case of the disease is avoided. The case was found in an older cow that was diagnosed by a USDA inspector at the time of slaughter, according to Nebraska Deputy State Veterinarian Del Wilmot. He also indicated the carcass did not enter the human food supply and is no risk to consumer health. “The first two tests for the
by WLJ
2005 February 14
— Limited trade $1-2 softer. — Packers slow down further. Optimism for a $2-3 stronger fed cattle market early last week hadn’t come to fruition through mid-afternoon Thursday. In fact, the limited cash trade that had happened as of press time Thursday was mostly $1-2 lower than the week prior. After gaining more than $1.50 Monday through Wednesday, the first few listed live cattle futures contracts slid more than $1.50 Thursday, and that put the brakes on any significant desire from packers to come to the table with anything more than $90 per cwt live, $144 dressed. However, most cattle feeders weren’t ready
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Beef Initiative Group-Canada (BIG) says it is asking western Canadian rural municipalities to endorse its proposal for a farmer-run cattle slaughter-facility in western Canada before it presents the proposal to the federal government. The proposal seeks 100 percent of its funding from the federal government, said a BIG official. The western Canadian producer organization maintains that the reopening of the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle, currently scheduled for March 7, will not solve all of the problems in the domestic industry, as something must still be done with the older animals, said Harvey Harland, the Manitoba representative for BIG. The domestic packing
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Consumer demand for beef jumped sharply in 2004, with the Beef Demand Index (BDI) climbing 7.74 percent compared to 2003 and more than 25 percent since reversing its 20-year decline in 1998, Cattlemen’s Beef Board outgoing chairman Nelson Curry, Paris, KY, announced during the group’s annual meetings held Feb. 1-5 in San Antonio, TX. “We knew it was a strong year for beef but these preliminary numbers for the demand index really surpass even our most optimistic expectations,” said Curry. “With this continued strength, we’ve far exceeded the goal of the beef industry’s long range plan to increase demand by six
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Producer support for the $1-per-head beef checkoff program is at a 10-year high, with 73 percent of beef producers voicing approval of the Beef Checkoff Program in a January 2005 survey. That’s up from 70 percent in July 2004. Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chairman Nelson Curry told Cattle Industry Annual Convention participants that the new data shows a level of support for the beef checkoff that is unmatched since the early 90s, when approval levels were in the low 80-percent range. The new research further indicates that only 18 percent of cattlemen disapprove of the checkoff, while 9 percent are undecided or
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The last day of the Cattle Industry Annual Convention, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and American National CattleWomen (ANCW), had me originally scratching my head in disbelief as NCBA policy on reestablishing live cattle trade with Canada was passed by the board of directors and general membership without any debate whatsoever. However, an incident while waiting for the airplane ride home the next day helped open my eyes. What went on in San Antonio, TX, I realized, shouldn’t be criticized but applauded because the nation’s cow/calf producers and cattle feeders finally had their concerns
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The past several years a growing portion of U.S. ranch transactions have been done utilizing Section 1031 language in the U.S. tax code. Several sources have indicated that nationally between 35-45 percent of ranch purchases have been done via Section 1031 Exchange rules, and several brokers and Realtors have indicated they think that trend could grow even more, perhaps above 50 percent over the next few years. In a typical transaction, the property owner is taxed on any gain realized from the sale. However, through a Section 1031 Exchange, the tax on the gain is deferred until some future date. Section 1031
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Ethanol production is now a major consumer of U.S. corn supplies, helping to eat away at a record large crop, but the hopes of some bullish market watchers that this will lift corn prices in the long run might go up in smoke. Although more corn is being used to make the fuel, one ethanol byproduct called distillers dried grain (DDG) will eventually compete with corn and soymeal in the nation's livestock feed rations, some market watchers believe. This development could ultimately change the feed demand outlook for corn and soymeal. Because of the largest harvest corn crop in U.S. history—11.807 billion bushels
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The National Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) has been put on by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) for the last 14 years, and for the first time in program history the award recipient is from the eastern third of the country. Frank “Sonny” W. Williamson Jr. and Frank “Wes” Williamson III of Williamson Cattle Company, Okeechobee, FL, and Faunsdale, AL, were selected as the national winners of the 2004 ESAP contest. That announcement was made Thursday, Feb. 3, during the annual Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. ESAP recognizes cattle producers across the nation, whose stewardship practices are progressive,
by WLJ
2005 February 14
Livestock rendering plants have been the subject of numerous court cases and citizen complaints for a decade or longer. However, a proposal before the Georgia state Senate would prevent neighbors from suing the facitilities for being a “nuisance.” State law currently protects farms and livestock ranches from being sued by neighbors for bad smells, loud noise and other activity that could disturb them. But, most recently state Sen. Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville, proposed giving rendering plants the same protections. Cagle, whose hometown is one of the nation’s leading poultry producers, said the plants should already be protected under the law and his bill
by WLJ
2005 February 14
How do you decide which Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to buy for agricultural GPS applications? There are several companies selling GPS receivers and most have several models. One way to help sort through the many selections is to keep in mind the intended uses for the system. The most common farm use is equipment guidance, but there are other GPS applications, such as yield monitoring, variable rate crop input applications, marking field boundaries and identifying soil test locations. Each application requires certain features, so if you intend to use a GPS receiver for more than one purpose, it is important to
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The first conservation easement in the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) was recently completed. This easement marks the beginning of a valuable governmental program that protects acreage from development and ensures it will remain in agricultural use. “Our nation’s grasslands provide significant economic and ecological benefits and play a key role in environmental quality,” said former Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman. “This program helps conserve grasslands and helps maintain viable ranching and farming operations. This easement provides permanent protection for the property’s ranching operation from conversion to non-grassland uses.” Since the process of approving acreage for a conservation easement and the GRP takes
by WLJ
2005 February 14
IMI Global Inc. has just been approved as a USDA Process Verified Company, a status obtained by only a few companies. The following IMI Global products have been approved: BeefPassport Online, BeefPassport Chuteside, BeefPassport WebIntegrator and USVERIFIED. With these USDA approved products, IMI Services can provide 100 percent lifetime traceability of an animal, meet the data capture and analysis needs of an organization interested in individual animal data, and capture and store a unique individual animal number as well as source/premise information. The BeefPassport Product Suite captures several important data fields, including animal birthdate and individual animal identification while providing a mechanism for
by WLJ
2005 February 14
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Feb. 4 confirmed Japan’s first case of the human form of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob, in a Japanese man who died in December, according to Kyodo. The ministry suspects the patient in his 50s was infected with the disease in Britain where he had stayed, though only for about a month, in 1989 while the country was in the midst of an outbreak of the disease. But the ministry said the case will not affect Japan’s safety measures against mad-cow disease and negotiations over resuming U.S. beef imports, with an official saying, “The current safety


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