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Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
The federal grazing fee for western public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) in 2007, down from $1.56 last year. The newly adjusted fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1 of this year, applies to more than 8,000 permits administered by USFS and nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by BLM. The national grassland fee will be $1.37 per AUM, down from $1.73 in 2006, and will also take effect March 1. The fee for the eastern and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
The USDA’s semi-annual cattle inventory report showed a hiccup in the expected expansion of U.S. beef cattle numbers. Drought, high feed costs, and a number of other factors resulted in a slight drop in beef cattle numbers from the Jan. 1, 2006, report. The total number of beef cows was estimated by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at 32.9 million head. The number of all cattle, including dairy animals, showed a slight gain to 97 million head, mostly as a result of a 1 percent increase in the dairy herd which grew to 9.13 million head. Jim Robb, director of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
Cow/calf producers will do best in 2007 Another challenging year lies ahead for the nation’s cattle feeders and beef processors. 2006 began and ended with a lot of red ink for packers and only a solid period of profits from late April to the end of August relieved the financial strain. Yet it’s hard to see that this year will be much easier to make money. The same will be true for cattle feeders. Some analysts put feeding losses in 2006 at the largest in years. The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) calculated average monthly losses for a fed steer at
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
Probably the most asked question at this year’s version of the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale was, “How do you think the bull sale is going to be?” After all, the trade area is very dry with no significant moisture in several weeks and the cattle market has been off its highs and a little iffy. Add to these concerns the fact that this year there were more bulls entered in the sale and you can understand everyone’s concerns. Well, it didn’t rain the week of the sale and the cattle market didn’t jump up overnight but the bull
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns spoke to a capacity crowd at the 2007 Cattle Industry Convention. Addressing issues such as ethanol, the 2007 Farm Bill, export markets, and animal ID, Johanns enraptured convention attendees with words of hope and optimism. “We’re on the verge of real change in American agriculture,” Johanns said. “But know that President Bush has set a strong course for the future of agriculture in America.” Johanns spent a substantial amount of time discussing what was arguably one of the hottest topics at this year’s convention, ethanol. He reminded attendees that Bush announced in his State of the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 12, 2007
Four U.S. senators have submitted a letter urging Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to withdraw the proposal that will allow the import of live Canadian cattle up to 8 years of age into the U.S. The senators are concerned that the implementation of the proposed rule could harm American producers economically. Currently, the U.S. imports Canadian cattle which are verified to be under 30 months of age. USDA is proposing to allow live cattle imports of animals born on or after March 1, 1999, and beef products from cattle of any age to be eligible for import. Sens. Mike Enzi, R-WY, Byron
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
Cattlemen everywhere are working to find a balance between the nation’s need for renewable fuels with the importance of maintaining the viability of animal agriculture in the U.S. The Arizona Cattle Feeder’s Association (ACFA) has written a proposal which was presented to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at the 2007 Cattle Industry Convention held in Nashville, TN, Jan.31 - Feb. 3. As many producers know, the ongoing expansion of ethanol production is having a devastating impact on animal production. As the price of corn and the returns for the commodity are increasing, the animal sector of agriculture is facing a startling
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
Begin with the beginning in mind If you have read any of my columns you know that a major focus for me is helping people think innovatively when managing the farm business, “Managing with a CEO Philosophy.” Moving to a management system based on this approach will take some time and effort. This series is designed to walk you through that process. The goal setting people would suggest that you start by visualizing what you want in the end and then develop a plan to get there. This plan works— for some. However, if you are so inclined to develop a
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
The cattle on feed report issued Jan. 26 did little to immediately improve the current market situation. It was mostly neutral in its numbers, with cattle on feed numbers up 1 percent from 2006 at 11.97 million head. The tally is the highest Jan. 1 inventory since the data series began in 1996. The heifer placement number, which was up 4 percent, when considered with current heifer slaughter numbers, could indicate additional herd liquidations are in progress and January herd inventory numbers could be down when they are released Feb. 3. The number of cattle placed in feedlots during December
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
Get your game on Get your game on! That was the message at last week’s National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) opening session, delivered by Kevin Frieburg, a nationally known motivational speaker on the topic of marketing. Frieburg asked the crowd to get with the program and start running their business with passion while searching for new, better, more economical ways to produce and market their products.   I would have to say that the beef industry’s number one job is marketing beef. This guy did a good job getting the approximately 5,000 attendees of the convention excited about that job. The beef checkoff turned
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
It probably comes as no surprise to cattle producers that ethanol may not be the silver bullet that some experts claim it to be. Last week, air quality experts and scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began looking for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. It turns out, one of the contributing factors conflicts with the current U.S. energy policy and President George W. Bush’s plan to wean America off of foreign oil. Ethanol, a focus of Bush’s energy efficiency plan highlighted in the Jan. 23 State of the Union Address, is added to gasoline to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
Property values on the West Coast are among the most expensive in the U.S. and ranch and farm real estate values are no exception. Properties in the region are arguably the most expensive real estate in the agricultural world. The reasons are obvious. They are generally centrally located, near a city of fair size, they offer world-class recreational opportunities, from fishing and hunting to a wide variety of equestrian activities, and they are among the most sought after properties available. The price of many properties in the far west region sets them apart from other agricultural properties of similar size.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced it is removing the Great Lakes population of gray wolves from the federal endangered and threatened species list. It is also proceeding with plans to remove the northern Rocky Mountain region wolf populations from the list in Montana and Idaho. Wyoming wolves will remain protected under the endangered or threatened listing because the state’s laws and protection plans have not been approved by FWS. The agency claims that Wyoming’s proposals are not sufficient to protect wolves in the state. FWS Director H. Dale Hall said if Wyoming’s plan is not approved
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 5, 2007
On Jan. 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged four Iowa feedlots with illegally discharging pollutants into streams in violation of the Clean Water Act. According to EPA Attorney Dan Breedlove and EPA Compliance Officer Stephen Pollard, charges come as a result of walkthrough inspections by officials in April and May 2006. The inspections of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) come as part of a focus on the facilities by EPA, not just in Iowa, but nationwide. “These inspections were the result of a joint effort with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR),” said Pollard. IDNR originally developed the
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


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