Animal ID plan drawing grumbles from small farmers
By Virginia Wietecha, Carroll County News (AR)
GREEN FOREST – An animal identification system, that will eventually allow farmers to scan their cattle like grocery items, is currently a highly debated topic not only in Carroll County, but also in the state of Arkansas.
“We are hoping to get it stalled off and keep it on a voluntary basis,” said Harold Logan, legislative chairman of the Carroll County Farm Bureau. “There’s getting to be quite a bit of opposition because farmers are beginning to wake-up and see that it’s going to be a burden.”
The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) was initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture following the discovery of a mad cow case in Washington state.
Not surprisingly, farmers resent rustlers
By Clint Confehr
Shelbyville Times-Gazette (TN)
UNIONVILLE — An early winter dip in beef cattle prices hasn’t wiped out their increased value since this time last year, so cattle rustling might be seen as attractive. But folks at the stockyard here see it as a character flaw.
“The cattle business is built on a whole lot of trust,” said Tommy Burgess, co-owner of the Mid-South Livestock Center on Highway 41-A North where his partner, Christina McKee, said news of cattle rustling “has been all the buzz here this morning.”
Every Monday, cattlemen from across Middle Tennessee come to buy and sell beef cattle at the stockyard and its customers’ comments carried a couple of common themes when they were asked if higher prices motivated rustling.
Cloned meat, milk
WASHINGTON (AP) – The government said Tuesday it is moving closer to approving meat and milk from cloned animals, drawing protests from consumer groups.
The Bush administration is currently reviewing Food and Drug Administration plans to regulate cloned animals and food derived from them, the agency said in a statement. A draft of the plans should be released by the end of the year, FDA said.
The agency has “studies that show that the meat and milk from cattle clones and their offspring are as safe as that from conventionally bred animals,” the FDA statement said.
Creekstone’s Stewart Retires
John Stewart, founder and chief executive of Arkansas City, Kan.-based Creekstone Farms Inc., is retiring from the company, although he will remain active as an investor and advisor concentrating on governmental relations, according to Meatingplace.com. He will also remain on the board of the American Meat Institute (AMI) representing Creekstone.
Stewart and his wife, Carol, founded the company in 1995 as an Angus seedstock operation, and in 2001 re-launched it as a branded Angus beef program. In 2003, the company purchased the Arkansas City plant and opened a global business in exporting premium beef to Asian and European customers.
Bill McSwain will run the company’s day-to-day operations while a search for a new chief executive is conducted,
The Murky Murk
By Wes Ishmael
They came. They saw. They left.
Participants at the ID Info/Expo in August — the defacto national forum for developing and advancing a standardized national ID system — wanted answers about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). They were disappointed.
USDA officials continued to evade some of producers’ most rudimentary questions about NAIS, such as its cost, whether it will be mandatory and how and when the system will be implemented.
By Greg Henderson, Drovers Journal
If you make your living operating a ranch or feedyard, your days are filled with an array of tasks that require you to be an expert in many fields. One minute you may be fixing a broken wire in a fence, and the next minute you may be talking on a cell phone with a commodity broker making a marketing decision that can dramatically affect your income for the year.
The everyday stress of managing a cattle operation can be exhaustive for even the best of managers. And even just a little time away from the ranch or the feedyard can be beneficial. Maybe it’s a long weekend away with your spouse, or maybe it’s just a one-day trip to a nearby city for an industry meeting. That time away can be restful, but it can also put you in contact with some of the most important people in your life — beef consumers. Are you prepared for that contact?
If your business is producing beef, people outside of the industry may expect you to be able to answer a variety of questions about beef production. To help you prepare for those important encounters with consumers, this issue of Drovers is devoted to providing you with beef industry talking points, concise answers to questions consumers may ask you about beef.
Beef checkoff program celebrates 20th anniversary
From the Cattlemen’s Beef Board
Halley’s Comet paid a visit, the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl accident shocked the world and President Ronald Reagan approved sweeping revisions of the U.S. tax code. The year was 1986, and among the news that directly affected beef producers was implementation of a $1-per-head assessment on cattle sold to fund a nationwide effort to increase demand for beef.
Established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, the checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, as well as a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. It became mandatory when the program was approved by 79 percent of producers in a 1988 national referendum.
Feeder Cattle Marketing Seminar to be held in Louisville, KY
A seminar on “Effectively Marketing Feeder Cattle in the Southeast” is slated for Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center in Louisville, Ky. Drovers magazine and Mitchell Marketing Service together with the American Gelbvieh Association is sponsoring this event.
The free seminar will feature a panel of speakers answering the challenges facing cattle producers in the eastern United States and an update on the National Animal Identification program. This event begins at 3:30 p.m. in West Hall of the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. This event is being held in conjunction with North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE).
The panel of speakers and their topics include:
• Greg Ritter, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association President and founding member of the Barren County Cattle Marketing: The basics of setting up a cooperative marketing group to commingle feeder calves and share expenses and labor.
Postharvest Food Safety Innovations Improve Beef Safety
Microbiologist (left) and USMARC director examine petri dishes for Salmonella growth: Click here for full photo caption.
Microbiologist Terry Arthur (left) and USMARC director Mohammed Koohmaraie examine petri dishes for Salmonella growth.
Even in the United States—which has some of the highest food safety standards in the world—millions of Americans contract foodborne illnesses every year. Many of these come from microorganisms on undercooked meat or in unpasteurized milk. While most of these illnesses are fairly mild, some can be serious—or even fatal.
Fortunately, our food is getting safer all the time. Avoiding undercooked meat and unpasteurized milk is the best way for consumers to protect themselves, but it’s not the only method. Eliminating or reducing the pathogen threat before products reach the marketplace improves their safety even further.
Food System Insider
Suzanne B. Bopp
Our food system is a model of success: It has evolved with market forces to move quickly and efficiently, it allows us to spend only 10 percent of our discretionary income on food, and anywhere in the country, we can buy oranges in January. Even with all the stages, handlers and locations our food goes through, it’s been remarkably safe.
But post-9/11, safety isn’t what it used to be. The threats have changed. Besides threats from disgruntled insiders, criminals, protesters and subversives that we’ve always had, we are now forced to consider food as a target for terrorists.
Obviously, agriculture and food have a unique place in our lives. “If you’re concerned about flying, you can stop flying,” says Frank Busta, director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. “If you lose a power grid, you may be able to compensate and go around it. But if the food system is contaminated, we lose trust.”