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by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 4, 2005 It’s official; the U.S. had its first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Now we’re on the inside of this BSE circle looking out. We can’t say that it was an imported cow and that we don’t have any BSE in the U.S. We’ve got
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 4, 2005 Country-of-origin labeling (popularly known as COOL) for beef and other meat products remains a controversial and divisive issue in the beef industry. A mandatory COOL program is scheduled to take effect in September 2006, but funding for that program is now seriously in question. An alternative
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 9, 2007 With the exception of some light trade volume in Nebraska at $135-136, prices $2-3 higher than the prior week, most trade looked to be at a standstill until either late Thursday or Friday. Southern Plains traders were able to improve the market two weeks ago despite lower money being paid in the north. The result could mean that the summer low is in and upward trade is ahead. In fact, last week, most market analysts were calling for trade to move $1 higher. The last established market prices were $83-84 live in Nebraska with dressed sales at $133.
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 There seems to be a growing thought that once the appropriate database is selected, along with the mandatory placement of national electronic livestock identification tags, traceback will become a reality. One probably should not contradict that assumption because, given enough might and fortitude from appropriate agencies, eventually anything can be accomplished. Since fall 2004, the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) has been tracking more than 5,000 calves that originated in North Dakota. These calves have been dispersed slowly across the central part of the U.S. Present traceback statistics reveal that roughly a fourth of the calves have been harvested
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 Now that we have had our first case of BSE, and the news has worn off with the markets pretty much ignoring the episode, it’s time to get back to the issues we have a chance at controlling. National identification just got a shot in the arm, since seven months passed between that old Texas cow being initially tested and confirmed positive for the disease. It would be nice to know a little bit about her herd mates and perhaps the feed mill that supplied the cake that these cows consumed, or if this was just one of those
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 All eyes and ears will be focused on a courtroom in Seattle this Wednesday. That’s where three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold an oral hearing in USDA’s appeal against the preliminary injunction that has kept the border closed to Canadian cattle under 30 months of age. It’s anyone’s guess as to when the judges will issue their decision. There’s also great uncertainty as to how they will rule. So both supporters and opponents of a border reopening will have to endure a nervous waiting period. As I’ve sifted through the mass of legal filings
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 11, 2005 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has modified the way it computes its feeder cattle index. The change will affect the August 2005 feeder cattle futures contracts and all subsequent contracts. Two specific changes were made to the index calculations. First, USDA medium- and large- frame Number 1 and 2 steers have been added to the previous category of medium and large frame No.1 steers. Second, the weight range for feeder steers has been expanded to 650 to 849 pounds, from 700 to 849 pounds. The changes were made to increase the total number of price observations available to compute
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) showed fed trade on the up and up, with contracts selling higher across the board with estimated volume at 39,630. August contracts sold 70 points higher, closing at $84.60, up from Wednesday’s $83.90. October trading also trended higher, up 83 points, settling at $88.25 from the prior day’s $87.43. December was up 53 points to close at $89.30.   It appears packers have managed to rein in some of their per head losses by cutting back slaughtering volume two weeks ago, although last week, numbers were creeping higher. It also looks as if packers are trying to
by WLJ
2007 December 20
In his announcement to repeal the fee, Schweitzer was quoted as calling H.B. 22 a “Republican bill” that was pushed through by lobbyists “from the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF).”   We believe it is important to set the record straight on H.B. 22, and to point out several errors in the governor’s representation of the facts.   H.B. 22 received full support in the 2005 legislature from many of Montana’s leading ag organizations. In addition, strong support for H.B. 22 came from many sportsmen’s groups, numerous business trade organizations, hydro-power producers, and most importantly, two state
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Ruling by permanent injunction trial date hoped for. The issue of Canadian cattle entering the U.S. remained unresolved as of press time last Thursday, as an appellate court panel was weighing arguments on the issue. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ was called “receptive” to arguments from both sides of the ongoing battle and was noncommittal about the pending decision, according to sources in attendance at last Wednesday’s hearing in Seattle, WA. Unlike a normal trial hearing, attorneys from both USDA and R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America fielded questions from the three judges on the bench for about 40 minutes. Hearing
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 18, 2005 We were expecting big news last week as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held its hearing on the temporary trade injunction concerning the Canadian border and BSE. I’m told that the issue will be more about whether District Court Judge Richard Cebull was within his means to grant R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America a temporary injunction on Canadian live cattle crossing the border. It’s a perplexing debate when you consider that the beef we import is fine but the live cattle that produce the beef are not. It seems that not letting Canadian cattle in the U.S. because
by WLJ
2007 December 20
— Negative impacts on calves cited. — Additional waste weighs financially. Forage and ruminant nutritionists are urging producers to be careful when it comes to buying their fall and winter hay and other harvested forages due to concerns that mold is more prevalent this year than the past several years. First and second cutting hay from the central and northern Plains, Intermountain West and Northwest are of the most concern because of the abnormally-heavy rains that inundated those areas during spring and very early summer. “A lot of early hay was already down when it got rained on,” said Kurt Leffler, hay specialist with
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 18, 200 An area of concern in IRS audits of farming, livestock and horse activities is the amount of time expended by the taxpayer in the activity. A recurring problem is that taxpayers do not keep contemporaneous time records, but instead “reconstruct” time records in the face of an audit. This can always be a hurdle because it suggests that you did not really conduct the activity in a businesslike manner, but instead simply prepared self-serving records after the fact, and only because the IRS has indicated its intention to conduct an audit. Another problem is that proper records of time should
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The eastern Plains region of the U.S. is very rich in both farms and ranches, and brokers and realtors both say the current market for those entities is nearing or has exceeded historical highs. In addition, sources said the large majority of these properties that have been sold are being kept as agricultural operations, either in part or in their entirety. “The land market throughout the western Cornbelt and eastern Plains is very strong with most areas seeing land values at historical highs or setting new highs,” said Monty Meusch, head real estate broker with Farmers National, Omaha, NE. “Demand is
by WLJ
2007 December 20
For the first time in 34 years, bovine tuberculosis has been confirmed in a Minnesota cattle herd, and will result in approximately 900 cattle being euthanized in the northern region of the state. Last week the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said a five-year-old cow that was slaughtered Feb. 28 was found to have “suspicious internal lesions,” by a federal meat processing inspector. Laboratory tests confirmed the cow had TB. The animal was traced back to a herd in Roseau County, which is on the border with Canada. USDA bought a portion of the herd for further testing. Of the animals
by WLJ
2007 December 20
The rally for COOL The Farm Bill is in full debate in Congress and the House ag leaders are about to spring a Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) compromise on the committee. They haven’t much time left before the law is fully implemented next year. The COOL debate has indeed gone on long enough. By now, I’m sure most cattlemen have an opinion. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held their mid-year meeting in Denver, CO, last week and much of the talk concerned COOL. It appeared that the Ag Committee was set to recommend a program that looks more like the current
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 23, 2007 Fed cattle trade was expected to move lower in most regions last week, although with the exception of a few scattered trades in the north at prices $2 lower than the previous week. Most trade was expected to wait until the release of last Friday’s cattle on feed and cattle inventory reports. Prices in the south, in particular, which were still $4-5 apart last Thursday, appeared to indicate late trade was likely. By mid-day last Thursday, there had been a few sales reported in Nebraska at $140, however, most feedlot showlists were still priced at $142-145 live basis,
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 2005  At times we become so focused on issues that we simply miss activities (and sometimes new rules) being advanced in the beef industry. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has captured much of our attention. Prior to the NAIS, country-of-origin labeling (COOL), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a multitude of other marketing or health-related issues provided spirited coffee shop talk. Most of these issues impact the producer and may lead to the modification of the producer’s associated business and management practices. A new issue sleeping in the shadows for many cow/calf producers is waste management. Often perceived
by WLJ
2007 December 20
July 25, 2005  No doubt about it, the grill is hot. From the smallest hibachi to the titanic gas rotisserie models, Americans love to fire them up. Summertime sizzles, of course, but some folks even cook steaks under the stars in December. Flashlight and coat are optional, but flavor is a must. Any time of year, beef is king of the grill, with burgers and steaks dominating demand. Maybe it’s because of the nutrient density; the top source for protein, vitamin B12 and zinc, beef is also the third leading source of iron—and a whole lot easier to grill than cereal and
by WLJ
2007 December 20
injunction hearing vacated July 25, 2005 Canadian cattle started reentering the U.S. last Monday, four days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction restricting those animals from crossing the U.S. border. A possible interruption of that movement was averted last week after a federal district court judge temporarily vacated the hearing that was scheduled on a permanent injunction request against Canadian cattle and beef. Judge Richard Cebull, Billings, MT, last Wednesday delayed indefinitely a hearing on the suit that would bar USDA from allowing Canadian cattle and beef imports. In his written order, Cebull said he was awaiting the final


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