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by WLJ
2007 September 17
—Surge in corn adds to caution in cattle markets. —Fed cattle supply supportive of higher cash ahead. Packers slowed their chain speeds last week in an effort to stay out of the market as long as possible. There were reports of dark plants last Monday and USDA pegged the harvest at just 113,000 head. For the week through Thursday, the tally was just 490,000 head compared to 502,000 during the same period in 2006. Packers were working to prevent the beef cutout from sliding any further as a result of soft retail movement. The added bonus for them came in the form
by WLJ
2007 September 17
—Findings could prompt movement on grazing buyout proposal. The findings of a recent study commissioned by National Center for Conservation Science and Policy (NCCSP), an Ashland, OR-based environmental group, will be included in a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) analysis of grazing in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. Ranchers, who have long been battling to keep cattle on the land, could face severe economic hardship if cattle are forced out of the area. The latest report in the long-running dispute could mean that cattle graziers will be the next group forced out of the monument. The study, released last
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Exports of U.S. beef continue to increase, thanks in part to promotions funded by U.S. beef producers through the Beef Checkoff Program. These efforts are coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and state beef councils by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). For the Beef Board’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30, more than $4.8 million in national checkoff funds is budgeted for foreign marketing. This national money was combined with checkoff funds from state beef councils and further supplemented with funds from the Market Access Program (MAP) of the USDA, leveraging the value of producer dollars to the
by WLJ
2007 September 10
In mid-August, officials with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Idaho seized 31 head of cattle from Oakley, ID, ranchers Jared and Bruce Bedke. According to Idaho BLM spokesman Barry Rose, those cattle will be sold to recoup more than $50,000 in administrative costs if the animals are not claimed by the Bedkes, who would also be required to pay the costs involved in the case. Jared Bedke said the issue started earlier this year when he and his father chose not to renew the permit for their grazing allotment. “We elected to exercise our property rights on our allotment,”
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Legislators in Colorado recently responded to an incident at the 2007 Colorado State Fair in Pueblo which kept two young 4-H’ers from participating in the livestock sale because of a new premise ID requirement. The new rule, created by the Colorado State Fair Board of Authority in January of this year, required all participants entering the livestock sale to have a valid premise ID registered under the government’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS). NAIS is a program which seeks to register all premises where livestock are kept in the U.S. in an effort to speed up the flow of information during
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Expect change, use caution Traditionally, the early summer video markets have a lot to do with setting the market and in eight out of 10 years, the market highs are found at that point. This year appears to be one of those exceptions, when feeder cattle prices get stronger going in to fall. September feeder cattle were $119.60 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week. The prices on last week’s Superior Video Auction responded to the board with yearling prices near or above that level based on a variety of trading criterion. With feeder cattle this high, a lot of the
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Recent attempts by President Bush and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to use additional tools in the enforcement of immigration laws have been halted by U.S. District Court Judge Maxine M. Chesney. Chesney issued a ruling on Aug. 31 which barred the administration from launching its plan to use Social Security numbers (SSN) in its effort to increase enforcement efforts in the wake of Bush’s failed policy initiative which called for comprehensive immigration reform. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff had announced agency plans in early August which would call for the use of ‘no-match’ letters (NML) in seeking legal action against
by WLJ
2007 September 10
— Ranchers accused of violating grazing regulations on federal lands. Embers of the Sage Brush Rebellion were flaring again last week as federal officials filed charges against Wayne N. Hage, Benjamin J. Colvin, and the estate of E. Wayne Hage. The charges stem from allegations that the ranchers have been intentionally grazing cattle illegally on federally managed lands in Esmeralda and Nye counties in Nevada. According to U.S. Department of Justice documents, the ranchers allegedly grazed cattle on U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land without the required permits, disregarding several trespass notices from the
by WLJ
2007 September 10
—Feeder cattle sales strong, video yearlings sell as high as $122. Fed cattle trade appeared to be trending back to the late week trade pattern of fall after a couple months of cattle trading early in the week. Trade was stalled last week with no action expected until Friday. Last Thursday afternoon, there was $5 separating packer bids of $92 and feedlot asking prices of $97 live and $154-155 dressed. Ehedger.com analyst Troy Vetterkind said last Thursday he expected trade to develop at prices steady to higher than the prior week at $96 live and $152 in the beef. Prior week
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Corn for food and fuel There has been a great deal of hand wringing lately about the price of food now that Colorado and the nation is turning to agricultural commodities, primarily corn, to fill part of our demand for liquid fuel. There is a kernel of truth to these fears, but not much more than just that. Ethanol production from corn has been on the increase for several years as a means to increase the combustibility of gasoline. More complete combustion of gas helps clean our air and extends fuel supplies by about 10 percent in unleaded gasoline. Many vehicle manufactures
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Twice last week, South Korean inspectors found bone-in beef in a shipment of U.S. beef sent overseas. The South Korean National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service said in a release last Thursday that it would delist the U.S. plants that had been responsible for the shipment. That decision came as a relief for the beef industry which had been shut out of the market for a month as a result of a prior mistake. The first finding, which was announced last Monday, was the result of inspectors finding ribs in a 40-pound case which was included in the 15.5 ton shipment
by WLJ
2007 September 10
NAIS is a ruse No matter where you live in America, or what you do—whether you are a 4-H or FFA parent, rancher, logger, farmer, miner, commercial fisherman, recreationist, etc.—you should be paying close attention to the battle for property rights and freedom that is being fought on the lands of Colorado. Whether the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is “the mark of the Beast” may be questioned, but what is crystal-clear is the USDA’s intention of making this “voluntary” agenda mandatory: Nationwide. Touted as an asset to “homeland security” and “the threat of disease,” the truth is that this is
by WLJ
2007 September 10
Grass fed, naturally raised, tender, organic... All are labels for which markets exist, but consumer and producer confusion alike has prompted USDA to provide solutions to the issue at an accelerated pace. Currently, ‘organic’ is the only one of the aforementioned terms which USDA recognizes and regulates through its National Organic Program (NOP). Grains, feed/forage, produce and livestock can all carry this label, which carries with it a considerable verification process designed to ensure consumers are receiving products which meet the claims made by the producer or retailer. Sonja Tuitele, spokesperson for Wild Oats Market, a grocer specializing in natural and organic
by WLJ
2007 September 10
A true cowman When Linn Battey was growing up in Texas, he said all he ever wanted to be was a cowboy. Well, Linn did become a cowboy, and a good one. Last week, John Jackson of the YP Ranch, Tuscarora, NV, called to tell me Linn Battey was leaving the YP and going back to Texas. They were having a going away party for him and John wanted to know if I could be there. Over the past years, I have become acquainted with Linn as he attended a lot of the bull sales during the spring with John,
by WLJ
2007 September 3
An incident at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo last week has spawned a firestorm of controversy related to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). NAIS is a program which seeks to register premises and livestock for the purpose of traceability and is administered by USDA. Two young 4-H’ers, who were qualified for the livestock sale, were ejected from the fair and prevented from showing their livestock in the market show because their families had not registered their premises with NAIS. The families were given the opportunity to either register their livestock and premises on the spot, or be removed from
2007 September 3
Animal identification slowly is becoming a maze that goes nowhere At one time, the process of tracking cattle was simple. Cattle did not move far and any transactions that involved swapping cattle were recorded to memory. In fact, prior to the concept of crossbreeding, cattle were moved only between the same types. This was a concept that was put in place by English animal breeder Robert Bakewell during the 18th century. Of course, there were cattle that were rogues, feral in nature, but these were considered inferior to well-bred cattle. Prominent societies were established to track cattle and record offspring and transfer
by WLJ
2007 September 3
In its ongoing effort to improve the health and productivity of the public lands, including those recently affected by wildfire, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated a native seed collection effort that is part of an interagency “Seeds of Success” program.  Starting with 12 collecting teams that quickly grew to 35 teams nationwide, BLM and numerous partners carry out the Seeds of Success (SOS) initiative, which is the core of a National Native Plant Materials Development Program. SOS provides seeds from many species of plants to growers, researchers, and administrators of seed in the U.S. BLM’s collecting partners include the
by WLJ
2007 September 3
Smithfield Foods, Inc. recently announced an export deal with a Chinese firm that would send 60 million pounds of pork to China. China is already a buyer of U.S. pork, but the new contract represents a substantial increase in export levels. The new agreement comes during a tough time for China’s own pork industry as they have been battling disease in the majority of the country’s hog herd since last year. Information leaked after the initial press release showed that COFCO, China’s largest oils and food importer/exporter, was the company with whom Smithfield struck their deal. The company had preferred
by WLJ
2007 September 3
The end of the line? R-CALF’s staff and board of directors, who have relentlessly pursued the Canadian border issue through the court system, received more bad news last week when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals shot down their latest attempt to stop the flow of beef from Canada. It seems that the courts have been pretty clear in their belief that USDA has followed proper procedure and reached the correct decision when the agency reopened the border two years ago, although R-CALF still believes differently. Last week, the board had yet to decide whether to pursue the case further.
by WLJ
2007 September 3
Many beef producers struggle with priorities when it comes to genetic selection. One part of them knows the market rewards a focus on the end product. After all, consumers are the ultimate customers. Then their skeptical side kicks in: “Yeah, but the most important thing is to get as many live, healthy calves as possible each year so the cows can earn their keep.” Those torn by this conflict of the mind can take heart in an updated research paper by Twig Marston, Kansas State University. Its long title indicates a comprehensive approach. “The Relationship Between Marbling and Other EPDs with Implications When