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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
—California red legged frog, Arroyo toad among animals to be reviewed.   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officials announced late last month that it would reverse course on seven of eight recent endangered species decisions which were impacted by former Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Julie MacDonald who resigned in May. The decision could have significant impacts on ranchers whose land is inhabited by the animals. The news means that earlier victories on the part of ranchers could be overturned as part of the review. According to a letter which was sent to House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chair Nick Rahall, D-WV,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
The next steps: Considering brucellosis— Threats, opportunities and the future Gov. Schweitzer’s announcement to abandon split-state status for brucellosis classification in Montana is a step in the right direction. Although the governor is not pleased with the Board of Livestock’s decision to reject the proposal, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) sees great opportunity for the governor to advance long-term solutions to the brucellosis problem. Montana’s ranchers are eager to confer with the governor and provide the fortitude and collaborative spirit needed to address this serious threat. The May 2007 disclosure of brucellosis was the most fearsome event in Montana’s livestock industry in over
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
Don’t wait until some disaster strikes to find out if you carry sufficient farm insurance. Review your policy closely with your insurance representative to determine the kinds and amounts of coverage you should carry vs. your ability to self insure. If higher land values have helped inflate your net worth the past few years, you may also need to boost your liability coverage at the same time. While I can’t cover all the details, here are some of the basics you’ll want to discuss with your agent. First, determine what’s covered and what’s not. A good property policy will cover dwellings
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
—Analysts encourage caution, expect near-term weakness. Live cattle trade began at mid-week last Wednesday with prices steady to higher than the previous week. Sales last week in the northern Plains trended steady from $95 to $95.50, with dressed sales steady at $150 in Nebraska and steady to $1 higher, from $150-151, in Colorado. Live sales in the southern Plains were fully steady from $95-95.50, with dressed sales reported in Kansas $1 higher at $152. Western Corn Belt fed cattle trades last week were steady from $94 to mostly $95 on the live side and steady to $2 lower from $148-150 dressed. Much
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
Cow/calf producers are aware that natural colostrum (first milk) must be ingested by baby calves within six hours of birth to acquire satisfactory passive immunity. However, some calves do not have ample opportunity to receive colostrum. Perhaps the mother is a thin 2-year-old that does not give enough milk or the baby calf was stressed by a long delivery process and is too sluggish to get up and nurse in time to get adequate colostrum. These calves need to be hand fed stored colostrum in order to have the best opportunity to survive scours infections and/or respiratory diseases. Therefore, stored
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 3, 2007
As the cattle industry heads into what looks to be another profitable year for cow/calf operations, so comes the time for ranchers to make decisions about replacing cull cows. While this is a yearly event, this year’s high feed prices combining with the high prices paid for heifer calves beg the question: is it less costly to buy or develop replacement heifers? Feed is not the only variable in the equation. A particular producer’s individual goals for his herd can be a large difference maker when it comes time to look for outside genetics or to stay within the herd. Labor,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
—Shipments began to trickle south on Nov. 19.   USDA moved forward with its planned opening of the border to Canadian imports of live cattle born after March 1, 1999, and beef from cattle of any age last week. However, despite attempts to fight the proposal, analysts said there would likely be little market impact. The number of cattle expected to flow south will be limited by a lack of proper documentation, excess slaughter capacity in Canada, the cost of shipping cattle south, and a surge in the value of the Canadian dollar. Those factors combine to create a financial barrier
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
Borders open It sounds like the senate version of the Farm Bill has hit the mud pit. The Farm Bill didn’t get to the floor for a vote and with Thanksgiving break, it will be at least another two weeks. My bet is that we’ll get an extension of the current Farm Bill. Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Connor has already told the Senate that the president will veto the bill if certain requirements aren’t met and the packer ban, I would imagine, doesn’t fit the requirement profile. The Canadian border opened for trade last Monday, Nov. 19, and a whopping
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
As the holiday season rolls around, the likelihood of the Senate Farm Bill getting completed before 2008 becomes smaller all the time. Political positioning around the bill has been intense, with one last power play by Democrats before the Thanksgiving recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, had previously offered Republicans the opportunity to add perhaps five amendments to the Farm Bill, while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, continued to insist on allowing any amendment to be attached. The result was the filing of as many as 290 amendments to the Farm Bill, which Democrats refused to accept on the grounds that
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
As the holiday season rolls around, the likelihood of the Senate Farm Bill getting completed before 2008 becomes smaller all the time. Political positioning around the bill has been intense, with one last power play by Democrats before the Thanksgiving recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, had previously offered Republicans the opportunity to add perhaps five amendments to the Farm Bill, while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, continued to insist on allowing any amendment to be attached. The result was the filing of as many as 290 amendments to the Farm Bill, which Democrats refused to accept on the grounds that
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
Time to pony up checkoff dollars It is time we raise the beef checkoff—and I said raise the checkoff, as in, pay at least an additional dollar, if not more, per head—not raze the checkoff! Of course, we wouldn’t need to actually raze the checkoff program, would we? If we simply continue as we are, squabbling with one another over the relative value of the program, complaining still about the measly dollar that we currently pay, then the beef checkoff will just dwindle into a state of useless disrepair. Kind of like a lot of the cattle industry’s infrastructure. Before I
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Idaho recently upheld a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) ban on sheep grazing in the Nez Perce National Forest, blocking the sheep of local ranchers from entering the grazing allotment due to perceived conflicts with bighorn sheep, which are native to the area. USFS originally made a decision allowing sheep owned by the Carlson Company entry to the Allison-Berg Allotment in the Nez Perce National Forest, but recently reversed its decision after the Nez Perce tribe filed documents showing a number of bighorn sheep sightings near the grazing allotment. Livestock grazing in areas with bighorn sheep
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 26, 2007
—Nov. 1 on feed numbers down 1.7 percent from 2006. —Fed cattle marketings rise.   There was little in the Nov. 1 cattle on feed report to cause shockwaves in the market last week as numbers were in line with pre-report expectations. On Nov. 16, USDA reported that in feedlots with more than 1,000 head capacity, there were 11.76 million head of cattle on feed. The number was down 1.7 percent from 2006, but it remained 4 percent ahead of the five-year average. The number of cattle on feed remains supportive of the market through the end of the year and into the
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
Work mess code   At different times in the past, I held short-lived jobs requiring dress clothes. Picking out different outfits for inside work was, by far, the toughest part of those jobs. Making a decision on slacks and tops every day was no Sunday picnic for me and I developed withdrawals from jeans and sweatshirt comfort. That’s why the clothing attire for ranch work is, by far, my most well-suited dress code. Job descriptions around here require what I call “comfort and practicality” career wear but which is probably viewed as the grunge look of the ’90s. The grunge image incorporates rough-looking
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Canada’s cattlemen have yet another issue to be concerned with. Last week it was reported that premises in both Alberta and British Columbia have been quarantined following the discovery of a bull which had been found to be positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). In what has been a string of bad news for cattle producers north of the border, more than 450 head are slated for slaughter and 30 operations will be quarantined after animals there came into contact with the bull which had been shipped between provinces. As of late last week,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
Pay now, or pay later   Several state cattlemen’s associations have proposals in front of them this fall to raise the beef checkoff assessment to $2 from the current $1 level. In fact, a couple of them have already passed the proposal and will present it to the Annual Cattlemen Industry Association Meeting in Reno, NV, next February for consideration. Since the inception of the beef checkoff, the $1 price tag has been stagnant. It hasn’t changed with cattle prices or inflation and its purchasing power has declined substantially over time. Although there are many who would disagree with the payment, there is
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
—Choice boxed beef prices gain $4.28 in first three days of last week. The fed cattle market rally looked like it was getting underway last week with some limited higher cash trade reported early in the week, including some grid trade in Texas at the $150 level. Last Thursday, there were a few reports of live cattle moving in Texas at $92.50 and reports of bids at $145-146 live basis by packers. However, upward surging boxed beef prices early in the week, along with strength on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), had feedlots holding out for better offers. Analysts last week said
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
While the daily challenges of owning a farm or a ranch are difficult enough, so too are the hoops ranchers must jump through to ensure the ownership of their enterprise by future generations. The large amounts of capital required to own and operate an agricultural venture are staggering when compared to many small businesses, though the returns are often much smaller. For this reason, agricultural interest groups and prominent senators have begun to urge Congress to repeal or reform the federal estate tax which can cause unexpected costs to a producer’s family members, even when careful estate planning has been exercised.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
Government meddling threatens cattle industry’s future   Once upon a time, the 2007 Farm Bill was going to be about free market reforms that would reward the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of our nation’s farmers and ranchers. Time and again, we heard top officials in Washington, D.C., talking of the need to loosen government’s grip on American agriculture. As a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) member, this was music to my ears. NCBA embraces the philosophy of less government control and interference in our industry. But now the heavy hand of government threatens to make this Farm Bill a disaster for cattlemen. The Senate
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Nov 19, 2007
As drought lingers across some parts of the country and feed prices rise, producers are turning to alternative feeds to see their herds through the winter. In some cases, these feed products are lower quality than the herd may be accustomed to and will require supplementation to minimize problems. The obvious issues occur first with a lack of protein and energy in a feed source. In a joint study conducted by Oregon State University, University of Wyoming, Texas A&M and Utah State University, researchers found that oilseed based supplementation is the most common form of supplementation to provide for the


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