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Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last week unveiled USDA’s 2007 Farm Bill proposals. The more than 65 proposals correspond to the 2002 Farm Bill titles with additional special focus areas including specialty crops, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged producers. “We listened closely to producers and stakeholders all across the country and took a reform-minded and fiscally responsible approach to making farm policy more equitable, predictable and protected from challenge,” said Johanns. “We started with the 2002 Farm Bill and propose to improve it by bolstering support for emerging priorities and focusing on a market-oriented approach.” USDA began preparations for the 2007
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
A long awaited survey, which was a key to the settlement of the beef checkoff lawsuit, was completed last week when USDA published the results. What is immediately apparent is that cattlemen remain optimistic about the Beef Checkoff Program and want to see it continue. As a result of the settlement made in May 2005 between the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), the two organizations, USDA and the Federation of State Beef Councils (FSBC) worked together to complete a survey of 8,000 participants in the Beef Checkoff Program. From Oct. 4 through Nov. 21, 2006, the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
A series of snow storms left many cattle ranchers in eastern Colorado reeling in its aftermath and the challenges continue to mount. As temperatures rise and cattle producers search for lost animals, the need for hay in these storm ravaged regions becomes a serious concern as it has become a scarce commodity. “Most ranchers on the eastern Plains graze their cattle for a good portion of the winter,” said Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). “The blanket of snow that has covered the plains makes this impossible now, and the hay supplies are dwindling rapidly.” “There are
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
Canadian meat-processing company XL Foods announced last Monday that it will reopen the former Swift plant in Nampa, ID, on Feb. 5. The plant, once a major processor of cow beef for Swift, had been shut down last year as a result of poor operating conditions and a lack of available cattle as a result of the Canadian border closure. XL Foods Co-CEO Brian Nilsson said the plant will continue to operate as a cow processor when it reopens. He said XL Foods bought the Nampa and Omaha facilities because they’re similar in size to those it already manages in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
In spite of optimistic comments made in December by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Japan has rejected a request to resume talks on beef import trade restrictions. The request was made by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. The request was to negotiate the terms under which U.S. beef is sold to Japan. Currently, Japan only accepts U.S. beef products harvested from animals under 21 months of age. The presentation made by Schwab recommended that U.S. and Japan discuss lifting the ban after May of this year. Schwab made the pitch to Toshikatsu Matsuoka, Japan’s agriculture minister, proposing that negotiations should begin
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
NCBA, Public Lands Council, state affiliates unite in fight for rancher’s rights. Among ranchers, one of the most passionately held principles is the defense of property rights. That’s why the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Public Lands Council (PLC), the Wyoming Public Lands Coalition, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, and the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association have joined in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Wilkie v. Robbins. The central issue for NCBA and PLC is the right of private property owners to deny federal access to their property and the legal options available to property
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
Dairy producers who supply milk to Safeway’s Northwest processing plants have stopped using artificial growth hormones in milk production. The announcement made by the grocery chain comes on the heels of another announcement made by Starbuck’s only days earlier confirming their company never uses products that contain bovine growth hormone or bovine somatotropin (BGH/BST). Both are protein hormones which are naturally produced in the pituitary gland of cattle. Safeway spokeswoman Teena Massingill said that many containers of milk in Safeway stores already have labels which inform consumers that the product does not contain any artificial hormones. She added that within
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
Company will shift away from gestation crates. In a move that caught many in the industry off guard last week, Smithfield Foods, the largest producer of pork products in the country, announced it would end the use of gestation crates in its hog production facilities in a phaseout over the next ten years. The company said it would also work with contract growers in the conversion. Instead of gestation crates, the company, which has come under fire from animal rights activists over the stalls, will use pens—or what it calls “group housing”—for pregnant sows where they have freedom of movement and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
Company will shift away from gestation crates. In a move that caught many in the industry off guard last week, Smithfield Foods, the largest producer of pork products in the country, announced it would end the use of gestation crates in its hog production facilities in a phaseout over the next ten years. The company said it would also work with contract growers in the conversion. Instead of gestation crates, the company, which has come under fire from animal rights activists over the stalls, will use pens—or what it calls “group housing”—for pregnant sows where they have freedom of movement and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 29, 2007
Despite increasing harvest levels in packing plants, the standoff between packers and cattle feeders continued into late last week. Meanwhile, feeders struggled with rising costs of gain and packers awaited the cattle on feed report due out last Friday. Ask and offer prices last Thursday remained several dollars apart, with feedlots looking for $89-90 live and $138-$142 dressed for their cattle. Most analysts expected trade to develop at levels steady to $1 lower than the previous week’s trade of $87 in the south and dressed sales in Kansas at $138-139. In the north Plains, live sales traded $86-86.50 and dressed
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 22, 2007
It is clear that 2007 will prove to be a year of interesting challenges throughout the western region. At present, state cattlemen’s associations are gearing up to fight on behalf of producers for the duration of another legislature session. Executive vice presidents from several states spelled out their agendas and biggest concerns last week. Not surprisingly, animal rights, water rights, property rights, wildlife management, research, animal diseases and a host of other items are on the table once again this year. Idaho “We’re fortunate to have a lot of new legislators and a new governor in Idaho,” said executive vice president of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 15, 2007
Harvest cutbacks and storm market provide boost. Packing plants last week greatly reduced kill levels as a result of poor weather which has been hampering the Plains since mid-December. That weather caused mud, ice and significant weight loss in feedlots and prevented cattle shipments from making their way to packers. As a result, there were reports of dark plants, including National Beef, and last week’s kills were very light. Last Monday’s harvest was only 86,000 head. Last Thursday’s harvest was estimated by USDA at 123,000, bringing the weekly total to 433,000 head, which was well below the same week in 2006
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 15, 2007
The Canadian government officially sought to change how the U.S. doles out subsidies to farmers last week at the World Trade Organization (WTO). David Emerson, Canada’s minister of International Trade, and Chuck Strahl, Canadian minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, filed paperwork seeking consultations with the U.S. over corn subsidies as well as what they referred to as “the total level of U.S. trade-distorting agricultural support.” Under WTO procedures, a three-month consultation period is required before a country can ask the trade body to launch a formal investigation. A WTO case can result in punitive
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 15, 2007
Winter weather has created havoc in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Last week, forecasters said the winter weather problems would be compounded by a blast of Arctic air which was expected to drop temperatures. Starting late last week, below-zero temperatures were forecast to hit much of the Great Plains, Corn Belt and southern U.S. Although many of these areas have already experienced significant winter weather and snowfall, this will be the first serious Arctic cold snap of the winter in most of those areas which have been seeing temperatures above normal this winter. According to long range forecasts, this may just
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 15, 2007
The recent blizzards that have pounded the high Plains will prove to have a significant impact on feedlot operations. Although the death loss has been minimal so far, it still significantly affects the bottom line of feeders in the short term. However, the greatest economic loss will come as a result of decreased feedlot performance. “From a market standpoint, it’s not really that big of a deal,” said Dr. Derrell Peel, extension economist of livestock marketing at Oklahoma State University. “Death loss in the feedlots is not going to affect the market much. The bigger issue will be the loss in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 14, 2007
The new Congress got its way last week, testing their wings by passing a $2.10 increase to the minimum wage through the House of Representatives. Everything has a market, even labor, and it’s pretty clear that the labor markets have, for the most part, already taken care of a $7.25 an hour job. There are not many places in the U.S. where you can find skilled labor for under $7.25 an hour. This is the first Democratic House and Senate that has come along for 10 years and it seems ironic that passing a $2 increase in labor is the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 8, 2007
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has raised some concerns among environmentalists and several Congressional Representatives with a proposal to reorganize various unrelated programs under the direction and management of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). BLM manages almost 260 million acres of mining, grazing, and timber lands. There are also 26 million acres that fall under their NLCS umbrella. These acres are mostly wilderness, national monuments, and conservation areas. Some critics charge that BLM’s proposal was not aired publicly and that only a select number of people knew of the proposal. Both Republicans and Democrats alike are concerned with regard
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 8, 2007
Orchestrating resources You know the scene; everyone arrives early for the musical. People are dressed up and ready to enjoy an evening on the town. The crowds gather in the concession area to mingle and see who else in town was dragged to the performance by their spouse. As much as some of the people don’t want to be there, most know that the music will be enjoyable at some level. Something very interesting happens in the midst of all the commotion just prior to the event starting when the conductor stands in front of the orchestra and taps his
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 8, 2007
Clone this The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a big step two weeks ago by saying meat and dairy products from cloned animals are safe for human consumption. I’m not sure that everyone in animal agriculture is jumping for joy over this one, but the fact that science can exactly reproduce a living animal is remarkable. Scientists have been working on cloning for quite some time and it has apparently reached a point where it is viable for livestock production. It’s been a good 10 years since “Dolly,” the first cloned sheep, was created. I’m sure that at the onset,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 8, 2007
Fed cattle trade remained at an impasse last Thursday as cattle feeders held out for higher money, despite larger showlists. Bid prices last Thursday were at $89 live and $145 dressed. Most analysts expected that packers would have to pay at least $90 live and $143 dressed basis to get cattle purchased. Last established market was Dec. 29. In Nebraska, live sales traded at $87-88 and dressed sales at $140; in western Corn Belt, live sales traded at $87-88 and dressed sales at $138-140; in Texas, live sales were at $89; in Kansas, live sales traded at $88-88.50 and dressed