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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 1, 2007
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their draft risk assessment last Thursday confirming that meat and milk from cloned animals poses no risk to the food chain. After more than five years of study, FDA concluded that products derived from cloned livestock are virtually “indistinguishable” from livestock that are bred conventionally. The agency has conducted several risk assessments in which they examined hundreds of individual measures of nutritional and other compositional characteristics and have found no differences between cloned animals and conventional livestock. “We believe that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones is as safe to eat
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 1, 2007
The ethanol boom has grown into the biggest story in U.S. agriculture. Never before has a nation’s energy and food policies become so entwined. The boom is already impacting animal agriculture. It is starting to change the face of the U.S. cattle feeding industry. Some are warning it could cause a decline in protein supplies as the U.S. converts more feed grains into energy, with higher ration costs eventually meaning lighter cattle and hog carcasses. The most obvious impact so far is the dramatic rise in corn prices since the summer. Corn prices, basis Omaha, are nearly 80% higher than a
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 1, 2007
Idaho and Montana ranchers may see relief in wolf protection regardless of the ongoing lawsuits in Wyoming. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced they will begin taking steps toward delisting wolves in the two states regardless of whether or not Wyoming has submitted an acceptable management plan by the first part of the year. Wyoming’s management plan has been tied up in lawsuits since the reintroduction of wolves over one decade ago. This has impeded Montana and Idaho’s ability to pursue the delisting of wolves in spite of the economic repercussions the reintroduction of the wolves has had
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 1, 2007
South Korean lawmakers threatened to reinstate the ban on U.S. beef if the U.S. Congress continues to press the beef quarantine issue. Congress has attempted to negotiate with lawmakers in Seoul to try and come to an agreement that would allow U.S. beef back into the South Korean market. However, the U.S. has been met with nothing but obstacles since the first shipment of beef sent to South Korea was rejected on Nov. 24, 2006. “The U.S. should be aware that if the U.S. Congress continues to press with the beef quarantine issue, it will be viewed by most South Koreans
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Jan 1, 2007
On Dec. 22, U.S. and South Korean officials traded questions with regard to uncommonly high levels of dioxin found in the most recent beef shipment which had been rejected on Dec. 6, 2006. The rejection of the third shipment of U.S. beef has caused significant frustration, skepticism, and even anger among U.S. officials and America’s cattlemen. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said the rejection of the third beef shipment “clearly illustrates that South Korean officials are determined to find an excuse to reject all beef products from the United States.” The rejection comes at a time when U.S. officials and cattle producers
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 25, 2006
The dry conditions experienced by producers last year forced cattle into feedlots early and made herd-building difficult in most of the central U.S. The result is likely to be a significantly smaller than expected increase in the U.S. cattle herd when USDA releases its numbers in January 2007. Much of the evidence for a slow expansion can be seen in cow slaughter numbers compiled by USDA. According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), federally Inspected (FI) cow slaughter in 2006 has been well above a year ago. At the same time, heifer slaughter began to consistently surpass year ago
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 25, 2006
A group of environmental organizations filed suit last week against U.S. Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dale Hall saying that the agencies used “junk science” to alter a decision by scientists to list the Gunnison’s prairie dog as an endangered species. The environmental groups, including Forest Guardians, Jews of the Earth and Public Employees of Environmental Responsibilities, filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. They seek to have the Gunnison’s Prairie Dog habitat, found in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, protected under the Endangered Species Act. According
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 25, 2006
A severe winter storm that spread ice and snow across the southern Plains early last week before moving northward into the central U.S. and Rocky Mountain region, put the lid on any early cash trade last week as transportation was mostly at a standstill on Tuesday and Wednesday. As a result, there was little to no activity to determine a trend, although packers were expected to perhaps raise bids in an attempt to secure cattle close-by last week rather than face production cuts due to a shortage of cattle. What few sales had been reported to USDA as of last
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 25, 2006
In the aftermath of the raids at six Swift and Co. plants on Dec. 1, 282 workers were detained for questioning at makeshift facilities in Colorado, Texas and Iowa. Of that group, only 260 people have actually been charged with immigration violations or identity theft, the reported reason for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids at the plants. In addition, as many as 75 workers who had no criminal record in the U.S., but who were here illegally, agreed to be “deported” without a hearing. Workers detained were reportedly from a number of different countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
The “C” word Words mean more than what’s in the dictionary. Some can be rhetorical devices loaded with positive or negative undertones. Consider “chase” and all its forms. A dictionary says the verb means to pursue in order to overtake or capture; to persistently seek the favor of; or, just the opposite, to drive away. The derisive derivative most common in the cattle industry comes from the centuries-old noun phrase, “wild goose chase.” That is, “an absurd search for something nonexistent or unobtainable; any senseless pursuit of an object or end.” In broader society, we criticize opportunistic lawyers as ambulance chasers. Politicians chase
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
It's got to be managed Last week, Swift and Company was singled out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency under the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security. The entire company was subjected to early morning raids at six of its processing facilities because of allegations of identity theft. Nearly 1,300 people were rounded up and evaluated for a free trip home. It seems pretty clear that someone had an ax to grind with Swift because they were the only packing company to be raided. The raids came so fast that folks didn’t have much time to react. Busses
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
Fed cattle trade began earlier than normal last week in the northern Plains and sales trended $1-2 lower in most states despite a slight improvement in the boxed beef. In Texas and Kansas, fed cattle traded hands at $84-85.50. In Nebraska, feds traded at $133.50-135 dressed basis and $84-85 live basis last week. There was some early week trade last Tuesday, but packers quickly backed away from bids upon news of the immigration raids at Swift & Co. Once it was determined that the raids would have little lasting impact, offers were renewed and full-fledged trade resumed last Thursday in
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
Raid a part of large identity theft operation targeting illegal immigrants. Federal agents entered Swift & Co. packing plants in Cactus, TX, Grand Island, NE, Greeley, CO, Hyrum, UT, Marshalltown, IA, and Worthington, MN, last week. According to company officials and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement information (ICE), agents were executing warrants to arrest illegal immigrants at the Swift plants. Agents from ICE and other law enforcement agencies raided the six plants in connection with an investigation of the immigration status of an unspecified number of Swift workers. Meanwhile, hundreds of friends and family members gathered outside the Greeley plant to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
The exceptional caliber of the livestock shows at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) are enough to draw the interests of cattlemen for miles around. But amongst the sound of clippers, announcers, and bawling livestock is the potential for urban America to experience the world of agriculture. As agriculture becomes a topic further from the minds of America’s consumers, NWSS brings an opportunity for them to see what agriculture is all about. There are chances for visitors to see all kinds of livestock and participate in many events that educate them about the world of agriculture. “We recognize that the NWSS is
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is set to begin Jan. 6 and run through Jan. 21. Known as the “Super Bowl of Cattle Shows,” NWSS has more to offer cattlemen than just banners and trophies. Many of America’s cattlemen utilize the exposure of NWSS to market their seedstock operations. In fact, the trend over the past few years with relation to the number of entries has significantly increased. Many cattle producers have realized NWSS presents a unique opportunity to trade cattle and meet innovative breeders. “One thing that we have noticed is since breeds have added percentage shows such
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
The famed National Western Stock Show (NWSS) has been selected as the host of the International Livestock Congress–USA (ILC-USA). Funded in part by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, ILC-USA brings producers, retailers, packers and others in the industry supply chain a new focus from a long-respected international forum. Formerly held during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, ILC-USA will take place during the NWSS, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007. Modifications to the program include a focus on information designed to educate the producer about the direct impact of global beef issues to their local market and management practices. The 2007 program will be
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
“Whole” Ranch Decisions A new year is upon us, and again, it’s that time we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. That is, what could we do differently to make next year even better than the last one? Here is an idea that may help. Try your best at making “Whole” decisions. By the word “Whole” I mean slow down, step back and give it your best shot at viewing the whole situation. That’s quite different from jumping in the tractor, slamming it in gear and going about getting things done as we run over other family members. That’s the my-way or
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 18, 2006
Eighty-three percent of broiler chickens tested by a leading consumer magazine were infected with either campylobacter, salmonella or both. The two species of bacteria are responsible for the majority of bacterial-related food-borne illness. The 525 chickens tested by Consumer Reports for its January 2007 issue were purchased in early 2006 from supermarkets, bulk retailers, gourmet shops and natural food stores in 23 states. It is the highest rate of contamination the magazine has found in the nine years it has been conducting the tests. However, a USDA spokesperson called the report “junk science.” He said the sample size should have
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 11, 2006
—Third shipment rejected last week. South Korea said on Dec. 1 it will destroy or return a second shipment of U.S. beef after bone fragments were found in violation of a bilateral agreement that allowed imports of U.S. beef to resume. Kang Mun-il, a director general at the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said, “Three bone pieces were found in the second shipment of U.S. beef.” South Korea, once the world’s third-largest buyer of U.S. beef, has agreed to import only boneless meat from the U.S., ending a three-year ban after an outbreak of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Dec 11, 2006
This management column is designed to help improve the likelihood that you will maximize profits in your business. I focus on issues that will build your skills as the CEO of your business and try to help you act on what you already know but may have put on the back burner. The livestock marketing system has seen tremendous change in the last few decades. The poultry industry was first, followed by swine and now cattle. In each of these transitions, the industry first recognized a fundamental change in the way they were doing business with consumers. Each industry decided to


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