Daily Archives: February 6, 2006

Mid South Stocker Conference

Mid South Stocker Conference

Lexington Herald Leader

The Mid South Stocker Conference “Taking It to the Next Level” will be Feb. 16-17 at the Holiday Inn in Clarksville, Tenn. The conference will help stock feeders explore new ideas for feeding and producing healthy cattle and determining the place of stockering in the future of the cattle industry. Information: (859) 257-2853.

Have you ‘herd’?

Have you ‘herd’?

Once on the brink of extinction, U.S. bison industry quietly growing

By Judith Kohler
Associated Press/Grand Forks Hearld

DENVER – The irony of bison ranching isn’t lost on Dave Carter. Recovering the once nearly extinct creatures has required raising them for slaughter.

The proof is in the numbers, says Carter, executive director of the Colorado-based National Bison Association. About 35,000 bison were processed nationwide last year, up 17 percent from 2004.

There are more than 250,000 bison on ranches across the country. The massive, shaggy animals that once roared across the North American plains by the millions were decimated by widespread slaughter during westward growth, dropping to an estimated 1,000 or fewer by the late 1800s.

“As we continue to rebuild the herds out there and to bring the species back from a point where it was on the brink of extinction 120 years ago, it really requires that it end up on the dinner plate, for the ranchers to have the incentive to bring the animals back,” Carter says.

No longer a novelty

Starting in the late 1970s, Carter says, a few ranchers decided that bison deserved to be more than just a novelty, limited to a handful of herds in such places as Yellowstone National Park and Custer State Park in South Dakota.

FULL STORY

Buckshot in beef traced to wholesaler

Buckshot in beef traced to wholesaler

Company blames hunters.
Other area food-tampering probes continue.

Monday, February 06, 206
By KURT BRESSWEIN
The Express-Times

The buckshot beef case is closed, while a federal investigation continues into other cases of food tampering.

The hunting projectile, reported Tuesday in ground beef a man bought from Giant on Route 412 in Lower Saucon Township, is not being linked to seven needles or pins found in area grocery items since Jan. 17, according to Giant spokesman Denny Hopkins.

That’s after the beef’s wholesaler, Lexington, Ky.-based Laura’s Lean Beef Co., told investigators buckshot has appeared in its product previously.

FULL STORY

U.S. may be close to shipping more beef to EU-trade

U.S. may be close to shipping more beef to EU-trade

KTIC Radio

DENVER, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Sales of American beef to the European Union could increase in the next few years as recent talks appear close to resolving issues that have kept the meat out of that market, U.S. government and cattle industry sources told Reuters.

“There are some very friendly discussions going on there regarding beef,” Lynn Heinze, spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, told Reuters during the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention that concluded here this weekend.

The EU opposes the use of hormones in beef production, and has insisted on strict inspection methods to ensure such beef is kept out. Hormone use is common in U.S. beef production and is a practice that has been deemed safe by the World Trade Organization, NCBA officials said.

While the EU is not backing away from its anti-hormone position, EU leaders have indicated a willingness in recent talks to accept other testing methods to ensure that imported beef is hormone free, said Barry Carpenter, a deputy administrator at the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

“They are clearly entertaining a new approach,” Carpenter told Reuters on the sidelines of the convention. “They need the beef.”

The new approach, according to Carpenter, should give the U.S. industry “more flexibility” in supplying beef for that market.

Currently, the United States ships only a small amount of beef to that market.

A key reason for this new approach appears to be that the EU will need to import greater amounts of beef to make up for declining domestic production.

Gregg Doud, the NCBA’s chief economist, said the EU could soon be the world’s second-largest importer of beef.

“The demand factor is definitely driving it,” Doud said of the EU’s new approach.

Some estimates voiced at the NCBA convention are that the EU’s production will fall 500,000 metric tons short of demand this year or next year and the deficit should increase after that.

The EU is expected to import beef to make up for that deficit and it is hoped the United States will get some of that business, USMEF’s Heinze said.

Tyson interested in learning about ConAgra brands

Tyson interested in learning about ConAgra brands

KTIC Radio

CHICAGO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Tyson Foods Inc. <TSN.N> is interested “in learning more” about the refrigerated meat brands ConAgra Foods Inc. <CAG.N> is putting up for sale, a spokesman for the largest U.S. meat processor said on Friday.

“We’re interested in learning more to see whether it will fit with our strategy” of selling branded, value-added meats, the spokesman, Gary Mickelson, said.

He stressed Tyson had just heard the news ConAgra was looking to divest the brands, which include Armour, Butterball and Eckrich.

ConAgra on Thursday said it planned to divest most of is refrigerated meats businesses.

USDA resisted retesting BSE case, OIG says

USDA resisted retesting BSE case, OIG says

by Pete Hisey on 2/6/2006 for Meatingplace.com

Canadian Cattleman’s Association
In a report delivered late Thursday, the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General charged that USDA resisted further testing of a suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in late 2004 and through the summer of 2005 because it worried that using a third test would undermine trust in its testing regimen.

An animal discovered dead in Texas tested inconclusive, which generally means positive, in two rapid tests, then negative in an immunohistochemistry (IHC) test conducted at USDA’s laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Despite requests from scientists at Ames, USDA refused to conduct a confirmatory test using the Western blot method until the Inspector General ordered the test conducted in June 2005.

The report also found that record-keeping concerning removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) was inadequate in nine of 12 slaughterhouses visited, and that while the IG found no evidence that possibly infected beef had entered the food supply, it was impossible to assure that proper procedures had been followed.

“As a result, should serious animal disease be detected in the United States, USDA’s ability to quickly determine and trace the source of infections to prevent the spread of disease could be impaired,” the report concluded.

Dr. Barbara J. Masters, in charge of food safety for USDA, replied that the Western blot test was now part of the testing regimen for BSE and that the agency has taken steps to better enforce the SRM rules and to improve the paperwork, and had reached agreement with the OIG on most other issues.

Japan’s Agricultural Minister hints at on-sight beef inspections in U-S


Japan’s Agricultural Minister hints at on-sight beef inspections in U-S

KWQC-TV Bettendorf, IA

TOKYO Japan’s agricultural minister says his country may send inspectors to U-S meat processing facilities before resuming imports of American beef.
Japan stopped importing U-S beef last month following the discovery of a veal shipment containing backbone. Japan considers backbone to be at risk for mad cow disease.

The agriculture minister says Japan needs to take extra measures to make sure consumers are confident about the safety of American beef.

U-S officials say their investigation into the shipment should be finished and presented to the Japanese government in about a week.

In December, Japan ended a two-year ban on American beef that was triggered by the first case of mad cow disease.