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Livestock News

by WLJ
2005 January 14
After completion of a status review of the greater sage grouse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced recently that there is no warrant for listing of this species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Producer associations applauded that announcement last week, saying they “beat the odds.” Over the last 10 years, 90 percent of the species proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act received some form of listing and protection. The final FWS decision followed recommendation made by several agency scientists and managers. FWS Director Steve Williams said, “I have reviewed the work completed by our scientists and I
by WLJ
2005 January 14
Retail prices for food at the supermarket dropped about four percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, retracting most of the increase recorded in the third quarter, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation market basket survey. The informal survey on the total cost of 16 basic grocery items showed a decrease of $1.51 from the 2004 third quarter survey. The third quarter average price for the market basket items was $1.53 higher than the second quarter. The $38.87 average paid by volunteer shoppers for the 16 items is $1.44 higher than the 2003 fourth quarter survey average of $37.43.
by WLJ
2005 January 14
— Slaughter cow sold to U.S. in ‘02. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have both initiated investigations into the current status of cattle ever associated with animals recently confirmed to be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). USDA and CFIA have both confirmed that a herd mate to a BSE-infected Alberta dairy cow—confirmed on Jan. 2—entered the U.S. back in February 2002, and that the animal was slaughtered and processed into the human food chain. In addition, a search has been initiated on a total of 141 animals that were at one time associated with that
by WLJ
2005 January 14
R-CALF USA filed a suit last Monday to stop USDA from reopening the border to Canadian live cattle and an expanded list of beef products. The suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, is the second effort by R-CALF to prevent USDA from lifting the ban. Both cases cite the need for protection of U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle industry from increased risk of the disease. R-CALF was successful gaining a court injunction to stop USDA from allowing Canadian processed and bone-in beef products to the U.S. when they discovered USDA had eased the ban
by WLJ
2005 January 14
A west Texas town is offering an incentive package to lure a $20 million meat-processing plant with its 700 jobs. Odessa Texas is in the running for a $20 million meat-processing plant, according to the Odessa American newspaper. An unnamed company is considering Odessa as well as several other west Texas towns as the site of the plant. Neil McDonald, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce’s economic development director, reported some details of the project “dubbed Project Trim”—during the monthly meeting of the Odessa Development Corp. Shortly before Christmas, the state Office of Tourism and Economic Development contacted McDonald about “Project Trim” seeking
by WLJ
2005 January 14
A U.S. beef trade delegation is scheduled to visit Tokyo later in the week of Jan. 17 in a renewed effort to convince Japan that USDA’s beef grading system can reliably determine the age of cattle without birth records. Age verification approval is needed before Japan is willing to reopen its border to U.S. beef. Japan requires that the U.S. be able to prove that cattle slaughtered for beef export would be 20 months old or younger before it eases a ban imposed after the U.S. announced the finding of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003. USDA sent
by WLJ
2005 January 14
Volatile wholesale beef prices last week were boosting the uncertainty about which meat and poultry cuts will capture the lead spots in grocers printed advertisements. Meat market analysts and retail sources predict that grocers will be conservative buyers overall and take a cautious approach through the balance of this month and into February, which historically has been a slower sales period due to consumers paying for holiday gifts purchased in December and facing higher heating bills. Beef Some major U.S. beef packers earlier this month announced temporary closures at a few processing plants and/or reduced operations at other facilities. The companies cited poor
by WLJ
2005 January 10
An independent survey of consumers in Japan has placed Aussie Beef at the top when it comes to brand recognition and food safety. The AC Nielsen report into the retail beef market in Japan included surveys of Japanese consumers and took into account brand awareness, consumption figures, consumer perceptions, and key purchasing drivers for both domestic and imported beef brands in Japan. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Japan regional manager Samantha Jamieson said the report confirms the solid standing that the Aussie Beef brand currently has in the Japanese market. “The Aussie Beef brand continues to be at the top of mind for
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Australia has suspended imports of beef from Brazil even after a suspected case of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) turned out to be a false alarm. The suspected case had been reported on a property in a state of the country that had been recognized as HMD free. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Warren Truss said Australia has only ever imported a small sample of Brazilian beef for processing, but all import permits have now been canceled. “We do not import beef from Brazil in any quantities and so there's no likelihood of there being significant quantities coming into Australia," he said. “But any risk is too
by WLJ
2005 January 10
New boxed beef report unveiled USDA on Jan. 3 formally unveiled its new boxed beef report, which is a downsized and much simpler version of what it had been publishing twice daily for the past several years. The new report only lists the composite Choice and Select boxed beef cutouts, along with the Choice/Select spread. Previously the composite cutout was broke down into 600-750 and 750-900 pound weight categories under each quality grade. However, officials with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said the detail was unnecessary and complicating the reporting. U.S. cattle leave for Cuba A shipment of 22 beef cattle left the port
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Less than two days after the third case of BSE in a Canadian-origin cow was confirmed, U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-ND, introduced legislation to delay the entry of Canadian cattle and beef. Last Tuesday, Jan. 4, Pomeroy introduced HR 187, which would delay the entry of live cattle or beef from “minimum BSE risk” countries until U.S. beef access to the top 10 pre-BSE export markets is similar to or exceeds pre-BSE levels. Specifically, Pomeroy said the bill aims, “To prohibit the operation during a calendar year of the final rule issued by the Secretary of Agriculture to establish standards for the
by WLJ
2005 January 10
After USDA announced its plans to reopen the border to Canadian live cattle beginning March 7, the agency’s chief economist Keith Collins predicted that as many as 2 million head of Canadian live slaughter and feeder cattle could cross the border in 2005. However, both U.S. and Canadian cattle market officials said last week that figure is probably very high, and that Canadian cattle entering the U.S. will hit a major lull through the summer months. Dennis Laycraft, executive director of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said it's doubtful that live cattle exports to the U.S. will reach half of Collins’ projection. “Considering
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Just about every group involved with the cattle and beef industry showed their true colors last week after USDA announced it will allow Canadian feeder cattle and fed cattle trade March 7 even after a new case of BSE was discovered north of the border. There is plenty of reason to be concerned about the cattle market but if you place a lot of faith in the futures markets you should already have an idea where things are headed. Forecasting the cattle markets is almost like forecasting the weather—50:50 at best. The communications departments at every group with an interest in the
by WLJ
2005 January 10
A federal lawsuit challenging Nebraska’s corporate farming ban was filed in the state last week, despite resilient public support to keep the ban in place. Crafted with the help of the Dean of the University of Nebraska law school, this law has been considered to be one of the toughest of its kind in the country. Nonetheless, State Sen. Jim Jones, joined by a number of other plaintiffs, have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Omaha. The Nebraska Corporate Farming Ban, known as Initiative 300, or I-300, was a priority for Nebraska’s legislators last session, gaining attention from both
by WLJ
2005 January 10
— Packer losses, slow demand cited. It was a tenuous week in the fed cattle markets last week. Trade volume was light and $88-88.50 live, $140 dressed was all that cattle feeders could muster despite a winter storm that passed through most of the nation’s cattle feeding region. There were several elements at work last week—futures markets were softer with the Canadian trade news and announcements that most of the nation’s major packers were going to temporarily close some plants and reduce production shifts at others. Tyson was going to suspend operations in Denison, IA; Norfolk and West Point, NE; and Boise ID,
by WLJ
2005 January 10
— Congressional intervention, new legal challenge possible. The recent confirmation of the second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada, and the third overall case of the disease in a Canadian-origin cow, is not expected to change USDA’s plans for allowing young Canadian live cattle and bone-in beef to reenter the U.S. beginning March 7. However, that could change, pending a new House proposal or a new lawsuit that could be filed by either a northern Plains based cattle organization or any of several consumer organizations. According to USDA officials, the newest case of the disease doesn’t change Canada’s “minimum BSE
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Kuwait became the first country among the four Arab Gulf Cooperation (GCC) countries that banned U.S. beef imports in late 2003, to lift the said ban on all beef imports originating from the U.S., with the exception of Washington state. The Kuwaiti decision on maintaining the import ban on Washington-state results from the country’s Food Safety Committee’s doubts on elimination of the BSE risk in the state. During 2003, Kuwait imported $32.2 millions worth of U.S. beef products, FOB basis. In 2004, between January and October, U.S. exports fell to $5.9 million. All of the 2004 trade was to the U.S.
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Frustrated by federal government inaction, an Arizona family said it will no longer pursue a swap of its historic ranch with the U.S. Forest Service and will investigate development instead. The Ruskin family had wished to do a land-for-land exchange of 35,000 acres of the famous Yavapai Ranch with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), but feel they have exhausted every effort. Those efforts include more than five years of negotiations and a Yavapai Land Exchange bill passing both the House and the Senate only to die because of a lack of Congressional coordination. The Yavapai Ranch has been in the Ruskin family
by WLJ
2005 January 10
Some ranchers engage in two separate activities, such as the raising of cattle and the raising of horses--and account for these separately on their tax returns. For example, in Charles Givens v. Commissioner IRS, T.C. Memo 1989-529, the taxpayer considered his horse breeding and cattle raising activities as one business. He disclosed the combined losses from these activities on Schedule F for the years at issue. However, in his testimony in Tax Court he frequently described his activities as “two businesses,” and he maintained separate profit and loss records for each activity. The court concluded that he was engaged in two
by WLJ
2005 January 10
To the editor, On December 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments on whether the Beef Checkoff is legitimate "government speech." The USDA side argued that the Checkoff is constitutional because federal bureaucrats approve Checkoff Beef Board member nominations and have the power to censor program content. Our side argued that the Checkoff structure amounts to both forced taxation and forced speech and association without the basic right to publicly elected representation. Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe spoke on behalf of the livestock auctions (Livestock Marketing Association) and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) of which Northern Plains is


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