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WLJ

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 28, 2005
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last Wednesday announced $9.3 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) funding for locally-sponsored watershed protection projects resulting from recent floods and other natural disasters such as tornadoes, fires, drought and hurricanes. The funding is currently set aside for 12 states hit by natural disasters the past few months. "The Bush Administration remains committed to enhancing the environment," said Johanns. "These emergency funds will help restore critical watersheds while responding to the needs of rural communities." Through EWP, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides technical and financial assistance to protect life and property threatened by excessive erosion and
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 28, 2005
USDA economists expect 2005 U.S. beef exports to rise, even without a border reopening in Asian countries, USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins said last Thursday. Collins made his remarks while speaking to a gathering at USDA's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. However, although trade with Mexico and other countries will grow in 2005, it still would be only a quarter of the level in 2003, before nearly all U.S. beef export markets were closed after finding an imported dairy cow in Washington state with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Collins said. In addition to the beef export increases, stronger foreign economies and resumption of more
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
USDA cleared a second hurdle in trying to partially regain beef trade with Japan as the ruling political party in the Pacific Rim nation last Wednesday endorsed a proposal designed to verify the age of U.S. cattle eligible to produce beef for export. The move by a panel of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members helps move Tokyo a step closer to easing its 14-month-old import ban on American beef, which has kept U.S. beef from accessing Japan’s beef market. Prior to the LDP’s blessing, a panel of food safety and consumer health experts accepted a U.S.-proposed beef grading method that would accurately
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Federal funding to help states prepare for and prevent terrorism aimed at food producers is less than adequate, an Iowa agriculture department official told members of Congress last week. “There's been almost insignificant funding for agriculture and we're seeing it reduced even more as we look at funds being diverted to the larger cities and away from rural states such as Iowa," said Jane Colacecchi, executive liaison to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge. Colacecchi told the Senate Agriculture Committee last Tuesday that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have not included agriculture systems as critical assets needing protection from bio-terrorism. “Up
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
123,000 pounds ground beef recalled Emmpak Foods Inc. of Milwaukee, WI, is voluntarily recalling approximately 123,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with hydraulic fluid, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Feb. 14. Nine products are subject to the recall, all of which are one-pound packages. The product’s bear sell by dates of 1/31/05, 2/1/05 or 2/2/05. Each package also bears the code, “Est. 20654" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Seven of the items were distributed to retail stores in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Two others were distributed to retail stores in Florida,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
At a forum on beef safety at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in San Antonio earlier this month, food safety experts led a discussion of recent advancements made in BSE prevention and E.coli reduction. A common theme among the speakers was that while the beef industry can be very proud of the advancements it has made in improving food safety, it must continually strive for improvement. Ongoing beef safety research is funded by America’s Beef Producers through the $1-per-head Beef Checkoff Program. It is coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and state beef councils by the National
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
U.S. Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill Feb. 15 that would place a $250,000 limit on federal farm payments. The senators introduced similar legislation in March 2003. Currently, a farmer can receive up to $360,000 in commodity payments a year. In addition, by using a marketing loan device known as generic certificates, the largest operations can receive unlimited payments. "This bill would bring sensible reform to our farm policy. Because of the loopholes in the Farm Bill, about 60 percent of farm payments go to 10 percent of producers––allowing the largest farm operations to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Calves from your herd may be of higher or lower quality, but they aren’t the same as last year’s. If you carried out a plan that was based on accurate information, they’re probably better. If the information was questionable, so is your chance for improved calves. The second law of thermodynamics applies to herds without plans: Nature tends to move toward a state of greater disorder. Knowing that your operation and its output cannot stand still, you must set goals to avoid the aimless, downward drift. A cash-flow budget is part of the plan, because farms and ranches don’t make the same
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Production of beef and pork in Brazil is estimated to increase in 2005 by six and three percent, respectively, reflecting a rebound in domestic demand and higher exports, although at a lower pace than last year due to a less competitive exchange rate relative to the U.S. dollar, according to an attache report posted Feb. 15 on USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service Web site. Economic analysts foresee economic growth in 2005 in the range of four-five percent, lower inflation rates around 5.6 percent, a further decline in the unemployment rate, and higher real income. These indicators are likely to influence consumer confidence
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), sharply criticized the Bush administration’s proposal to transfer $300 million out of a program for U.S. farm commodity donations. The proposal, presented in the fiscal year 2006 budget for the U.S. Department of Agricu1ture, would shift the funds from USDA’s P.L. 460 Title II foreign food assistance program to a U.S. Agency for International Development program that doesn’t rely solely on U.S. goods for donations. Goodlatte, in a statement released Feb. 14, said the funds should be kept for the USDA program because it helps American farmers since the money is used to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
— Remaining officers, new mission statement approved. Marlene Strickland, Sarasota, FL, was installed as the 54th president of the American National CattleWomen (ANCW) during the 2005 Cattle Industry Annual Convention, held February 2-5 in San Antonio, TX. “We are really looking forward to the discussion results that will be compiled from the input we received from members and cattle women who participated,” Strickland said. “This input will be a catalyst for meeting the needs of women in our industry.” Strickland brings years of commitment to the beef industry at the county, state and national level to the position of ANCW president. She is
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Some Californians see the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act as a protection for the state’s open areas, while others see it as a government land grab that will infringe upon property rights. Each of these viewpoints is being heard by federal legislators as the Act is being considered by the full Senate. Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved S153, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act, which was introduced by Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Essentially this bill directs the Interior Department to study whether the Rim of the Valley Corridor
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released the comprehensive results of an audit performed on random feed and feedstuffs to determine compliance with the country’s 1997 ban on feeding ruminant materials back to ruminants. The initial results of this study were released in January around the time that two more Canadian cows were discovered to be infected with BSE. Although these results were just microscopic analysis, which could not define the actual form of the contaminant, Canadian practices still received strong criticism. The tests conducted by the Canadian government discovered that four brands of Canadian cattle feed contained some form of
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
— Senator intros bill against final rule. — Hearing on TRO still set for March 2. The amount of uncertainty surrounding the scheduled border reopening to Canadian live cattle and an expanded category of beef increased immensely last week as a northern Plains senator, backed by several colleagues, filed a formal complaint against the final rule. In addition, growing anticipation of a hearing on a requested temporary restraining order against reopening the border added to the doubt. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, last Monday formally introduced bipartisan legislation to overturn the controversial trade plan. Under S.J. Resolution 4, USDA’s ruling designating Canada as a
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Last week, the Wyoming House passed a bill that would shield restaurants, advertisers, ranchers and other form lawsuits by obese people claiming their weight and health problems were caused by the long-term consumption of food or drink. Fourteen states have enacted so-called “common sense consumption” acts, dubbed “cheeseburger bills” by some, that bar people from seeking damages in court from food companies for weight gain and associated medical problems. Wyoming is one of 18 additional state considering such legislation. The U.S. House approved a similar bill last year, but the Senate did not act on the legislation. — WLJ
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Japanese trade remains the major focus for the U.S. beef industry, and is progressing at a very slow pace. Nonetheless, progress is still being made. A couple of Japanese groups have agreed that the “A40" bone ossification age verification tests will be suitable for determining cattle age, and packers have indicated that when trade starts they will be sending full carcass sets to Japan, not boxes. The tests will also continue a problem for the variety meats, which are the markets seeing the most impact. I was told by one packer last week that they are selling Australian tongue to
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has expressed concern about the proposed merger of the second- and third-largest cattle- feeding companies in the U.S. because it would create the largest such firm and consolidate power into the hands of the country's largest hog producer. Smithfield Foods Inc. announced last week a deal to merge its MF Cattle Feeding subsidiary with ContiBeef, a subsidiary of ContiGroup Companies Inc. The combined entity would be the nation's largest cattle-feeding company, with more than 1.6 million cattle marketed per year, based on filling available one-time capacity two times a year. "We are very worried about potential
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
Pharmaceutical company veterinarians recently indicated that U.S. cattle producers may be relying too much on livestock vaccines and other disease treatment products in managing their cattle herd, and that more efforts should be made to prevent cattle health problems rather than focusing on treating the symptoms once they are seen. “Morbidity and mortality rates in calves aren’t any better than they were 70-80 years ago,” said Dr. Greg Quakenbush, manager of beef veterinary operations for Pfizer Animal Health. “In fact, in some areas those rates because of certain diseases are probably worse than they were back then.” He also said that fertility
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
— More western rains forecasted. A majority of western U.S. livestock producers ravaged by drought since the late 1990s could see their first significant sign of pasture and rangeland recovery this spring, according to a weather expert who spoke to cattle producers during the Cattle-Fax long range outlook, held in conjunction with the Feb. 1-5 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. According to Dr. Art Douglas, professor of meteorology at Creighton University, above-normal precipitation is expected for a large swath of the western half of the U.S. through May. Douglas’ forecast indicated above normal moisture this spring for South Dakota,
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
by WLJ
Feb 21, 2005
The U.S. needs to match European Union efforts to reform agriculture trade policy, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Feb. 11. The EU is working to update its Common Agricultural Policy. This has the potential to cut “distorting trade subsidies” by two-thirds, eliminate export subsidies and offer improved market access for many products, he said. “We look to others to match this, including the United States. In particular we need to see how the U.S. plans to reduce and discipline agricultural domestic support and export credit.” Mandelson said in prepared text for a speech to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Mandelson said


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