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Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 3, 2007
Origin labeling might increase case-ready beef Here’s one consequence of country of origin labeling (COOL) that few people have thought of—more consolidation in the meatpacking industry. How’s that, you might ask? Well, what if retailers decide to ask their meat suppliers for more and more prepackaged fresh meat with the origin label already on the package? Only a certain number of meat companies will be able to supply the volume required. So small players will drop out. I fully anticipate that retailers will ask for more prepackaged beef. That will mean the end of the in-store butcher and the custom cuts in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 3, 2007
The grace period for Montana’s new horse testing rule has been extended to Sept. 7. The Montana Board of Livestock recently approved a new rule to require all horses coming into Montana be tested for Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), a respiratory virus that also causes abortion in mares. The new testing requirement was supposed to go into effect on Aug. 20. “That’s just too soon,” says acting State Veterinarian Dr. Jeanne Rankin. “Some of the tests are complicated and take a long time to run.” Also, a stallion could test positive because he contracted the virus naturally or has been vaccinated previously.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 3, 2007
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America last week and agreed with USDA’s decision to resume imports of Canadian beef. For years, R-CALF has been arguing that beef and cattle originating in Canada pose a risk of spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the U.S. However, the court disagreed with each of the points presented by R-CALF lawyers. “Having reviewed the merits of this case, we conclude that the agency considered the relevant factors and articulated a rational connection between the facts found and its decision to designate Canada a minimal-risk country,” Judge Cynthia
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Sep 3, 2007
USDA recently announced sign-up dates for the new Livestock Compensation Program (LCP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Crop Disaster Program (CDP). The three ad hoc disaster programs provide benefits to farmers and ranchers who suffered losses caused by natural disasters in recent years. Eligible ranchers and other livestock producers can apply to receive benefits under LCP and LIP beginning Sept. 10, 2007. Eligible farmers can sign up for CDP beginning Oct. 15, 2007, if they suffered quantity losses to their crops. USDA will announce and conduct CDP sign-up for quality losses as soon as possible. LCP compensates livestock producers for feed losses
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 27, 2007
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is going to be a part of the beef industry in some form or fashion. The Senate will certainly try and make some adjustments in the 2007 Farm Bill, but it appears there is simply no chance to eliminate it. Recently, a polling group, Zogby International, surveyed the general public and found out that 90 percent of consumers would like to know where their food comes from. The survey was an Internet survey, which bothers me in regard to its accuracy, and I would assume that Public Citizen or Consumers Union could have sponsored the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 27, 2007
The value of farmland in America’s heartland has been appreciating in value even as the value of many other sectors of the real estate market have been declining in recent months. The fact that one’s farm property—whether used for agriculture, livestock or horses—is appreciating in value is of importance from an economic standpoint, and it helps one do battle with the IRS in the event of a hobby loss audit. Under the hobby loss rule if you have losses in connection with any farming activity, whether horses, livestock or agriculture, the IRS may suspect that the activity is engaged in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 27, 2007
Government agencies and producer organizations in Utah have been working together recently to bring as many resources to the table as possible for the ranchers of the drought and fire-beaten state. Numerous fires of substantial size have burned across the area this fire season, but one blaze stands out in particular—the Milford Flat fire. All told, the fire consumed an estimated 363,000 acres of rangeland, the largest fire in the state’s history. With the large size of the fire also came unprecedented losses suffered by the livestock industry. Figures on the extent of the damage vary, but officials claim 1,100-1,300
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 27, 2007
Do you feel a chill in the morning air? It’s starting to get that fall feeling in a lot of the country. It’s a favorite time of the year for me and it’s the time of the year that Pete and I begin setting up our tour for next spring. Pete and I will be off to Kentucky and Indiana for the pre-tour. This is always a good time as we get to see new country and visit new cattle operations. We are all in the cattle business and working toward the same end product, but it is so interesting
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 20, 2007
—Turmoil on Wall Street could spill over into the cattle market. The big picture economic status in the U.S. appeared to be playing a larger role in the beef market last week as concerns in the stock market looked to threaten commodities as well. Three straight weeks of volatility on the New York Stock Exchange, which has erased the equity market’s gains for the year, spilled over into other areas as investors moved money to safer investments. That shift in investments led to sharp drops in the live cattle contract trade last Thursday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 20, 2007
International opportunity International trade regulations and the games that are played are extremely complex. It seems that an item as simple as beef should be traded with minimal hassle. However, trade in beef, or for that matter, any commodity, has become so complex that many individuals and companies seem to believe that the problems and costs associated with trade outweigh the benefits. Nothing could be further from the truth. If U.S. beef producers are going to remain successful and, most importantly, profitable, we need to focus on international trade. But the rules of the game are complex. For example, the news
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 13, 2007
It was another good week for feeder cattle and calves. Superior’s Winnemucca, NV, sale was red hot and the calf market was much improved from several weeks ago, up $5-8. The ultra-lights were over $150, with a $165 top on some weaned calves. Western Video Auction is having their Cheyenne, WY, sale this week—the 13th and 14th—and I would expect it to be great as well. It is widely accepted that the cow/calf sector will be in good shape for several more years—until that thing called herd build-up occurs. If I recall, this cattle cycle is going into its 10th
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Aug 6, 2007
The Batistas of Brazil are definitely men of action. Within hours of completing their $1.5 billion acquisition of Swift & Company, they had slashed 25 mostly top and middle management jobs at Swift’s Greeley, CO, headquarters. The next day, they told this columnist they planned to return the Greeley beef plant to full processing capacity as soon as possible. Phew. Most people had hardly digested the news of this unprecedented foreign ownership of a major U.S. meat company. It’s obvious though that JBS, the firm that Jose Batista founded in 1953 as a butcher shop, knew exactly what it intended to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
—Funding for Williamson Act dollars faces veto threat. Williamson Act payments to California counties, which offset tax decreases on agricultural land, could disappear if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger carries out his plan to axe the estimated $40 million in funding during this year’s budget negotiation. His initial budget contained no money for the program, however, after an uproar, the California Legislature added funding for the program to its budget package. However, the program remains in jeopardy; the governor could still use his line-item veto power to remove the funds. The Williamson Act is a program, similar to a conservation easement, which allows California
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
On July 12, the Canadian government imposed a new ‘enhanced’ feed ban, one they hope will effectively stop all new cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from occurring within their borders. “The Canadian Cattleman’s Association (CCA) supports the enhanced ban and what it will do for our food safety. It’s something Canada needs to become compliant as far as the World Organization for Animal Health is concerned,” said Theresa Keddy, communications manager for CCA. Canada first implemented a feed ban in 1997 which disallowed the feeding of specified risk materials (SRMs) to cattle. The brain and spinal cord were not allowed to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
—State will maintain its brucellosis-free status as a result of ranchers’ sacrifice. Nearly 600 head of Montana cattle were destroyed last week after ranch owners reached a deal with USDA officials to accept $475,000 in compensation after brucellosis was found in the herd. The infection was likely a result of contact with infected elk from nearby Yellowstone National Park which frequently migrate outside the park and are known carriers of the disease. The deal came just eight hours before a July 13 deadline set by the Montana Department of Livestock, after which time the state intended to force the condemnation and slaughter
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
On July 12, USDA released a statement claiming that a ban on the slaughter of cattle unable to stand or walk will become permanent, effective Oct. 1, 2007. The ban was initiated as an interim rule following the first confirmed detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003. The purpose of the ban was to create safeguards against the slaughter of cattle which may harbor the disease. The new regulation does allow for some exemptions, however. Cattle may still be processed if they become unable to stand or walk after their initial inspection at a plant. This exemption is important
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
NUSDA could revoke New Mexico’s Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)-free status as a result of a case of TB at a dairy in Curry County unless it is proven to be an isolated case. Two weeks ago, the state’s congressional delegation and Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson expressed concern that USDA officials appeared prepared to alter the state’s current TB status as a result of the finding. All cattle producers in New Mexico would have to test for bovine TB if the state loses its status as a TB-free state. “A downgrade of New Mexico’s status could cost our producers more than $4
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
With temperatures forecast to hit 90 degrees and above, cattle producers need to take steps to ward off heat stress in their herds, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) beef specialist said. It’s important producers make sure their cattle have plenty of water, said Terry Mader, beef specialist at UNL’s Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord, NE. “Cattle do not handle heat stress as well as humans,” Mader said. “Sunny days with temperatures above the mid-80s can be stressful, particularly if there is no wind and humidity is above 50 percent or higher due to a recent rainfall.” Water is probably the best avenue
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 23, 2007
Handsome Stranger Productions announces the premiere of their newest production, TV Horse Source. This 30-minute television program will air on RVD-TV starting in December 2007. Nancy Stober, president of Handsome Stranger Productions, stated: “We believe this program will change how people market their horses! In the past, a buyer would spend countless hours going through publications, searching Web sites and networking through friends and trainers. Then after making contact with a seller, the buyer would wait days and weeks for photos and video, only to find the horse did not meet their needs. Our program will save both the buyer and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jul 20, 2007
4, 2005 Austria discovers second BSE case A second confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Austria appears to be an isolated case as all other cattle at the affected farm tested negative for the deadly brain-wasting disorder. Austria’s health and agriculture ministers said an 11-year-old cow from


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