USDA reopens comment period for COOL law
Western Livestock Journal
USDA announced June 15 that it is re-opening the comment period on the proposed Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations governing beef, lamb and pork. The USDA’s proposed rule, published in the Federal Register June 20, outlines the requirements for the origin labeling of a variety of seafood and agricultural products, including beef, lamb and pork.
The law, long promoted by several producer groups and opposed by packers, would require packers and retail outlets to label covered products with specific consumer information including the country of origin. For products born and or raised in separate countries, that information would also be required.
One day prior to the announcement by USDA that the comment period would re-open for the proposed rule, the American Meat Institute (AMI) sent letters to its packer members encouraging them to prepare for the record-keeping that will be required under the new regulations.
“Although we adamantly oppose mandatory country of origin labeling, it is the law and it is our job as the meat industry’s trade association to help companies prepare for full implementation,” AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp said.
Swift buyer to replace CEO Rovit
But the Brazilian company purchasing the meat-industry giant is planning to keep Swift’s corporate headquarters in Greeley.
By Tom McGhee
A member of the family that founded the Brazilian company acquiring Swift & Co. will replace chief executive Sam Rovit once the sale is complete.
Wesley Mendonça Batista will relocate to northern Colorado to take the job. He is executive director of operations for Brazil’s JBS SA, Latin America’s largest beef processor, and vice president of its board of directors. J&F Participações SA – owner of 77 percent of JBS SA – will acquire Greeley-based Swift in a $1.4 billion deal expected to close in mid-July.
Swift’s corporate headquarters will remain in Greeley, said Swift spokesman Sean McHugh. “At this time, there is no reason to believe that will change after the transition,” he said.
Cattle Marketing Symposium – Buying & Selling Value-Added Calves, Jim Norwood, Meyer Natural Angus
“What advice would you give sellers and buyers of value-added calves and how do you market value-added calves?”
The first criterion is the definition of “value-added” calves. It needs to be the same in mind of the seller and the buyer. Age and Source, Natural and Vac-45 are universal terms that need little defining. Through the years, we have worked with several ranches that purchase expensive bulls and maybe even used AI. Every one of them felt they had added value to their calves, but they were focused on maternal traits and that didn’t always translate into value-added steer calves. Those producers can market value-added replacement quality heifers, but they need more information on the feeding and harvest results if they hope to capture extra value on the steers.
Broseco Ranch Named Top Commercial Producer
FORT COLLINS, COLO. (June 7, 2007)— The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored Broseco Ranch with its Commercial Producer of the Year Award June 7 during the organization’s 39th annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colo. Broseco Ranch is owned by Broventure Co. Inc., and managed by Tom Woodward. The Red Angus Association of America nominated Broseco Ranch for this prestigious award.
At 300 feet (ft.) of elevation, Broseco Ranch is sandwiched between the Sulphur River and White Oak Creek in northeast Texas. In 1961, Paul Pewitt sold his 45,000-acre spread to Broventure Co. Inc. During the past 46 years, Broventure Co. has operated a commercial cow-calf operation under the banner of Broseco Ranch. The bottomland hardwood timber and a pine farm have been sold, 11,000 acres were taken by the Corp of Engineers, and another 10,000 acres of upland have been sold, leaving 10,000 acres of upland improved pasture in the current operation.
Proving Ground for Beef
Results of the 2006-2007 Missouri Steer Feedout will be reviewed during the “finale” at 6:30 p.m., July 5 at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center near Mt. Vernon.
Featured on the program will be Darrell Busby, Iowa State Extension livestock specialist and David Trowbridge, Gregory Feedlot manager. They are involved in the Iowa Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) where the Missouri steer entries have been fed each year since 2001. Busby will summarize results from the recently completed Missouri Steer Feedout and discuss his research findings over the 25-plus years of feeding cattle and gathering data from herds across the United States.
Eldon Cole, MU Extension livestock specialist, will present a slide show of a sampling of the Missouri consignors’ 243 steers that were involved in the feedout program. This will give everyone a chance to see what the cattle looked like near the end of the finishing phase and how they performed.
Hay Shortage concerns continue
By ASHLEY BERGTHOLD
COOKEVILLE — The late freeze in April coupled with a dry spring and little carryover from last year’s supplies means hay quantities in the Upper Cumberland are limited for area livestock producers.
Last week’s Tennessee crop weather report issued by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistic Service stated that “this prolonged dry spell has negatively impacted crop and livestock conditions.” The same report also stated that 98 percent of the first cutting of hay in the state of Tennessee was complete, ahead of the normal schedule. Even though hay cutting is ahead of schedule, many livestock producers have been reiterating their concerns about current and future hay shortages.
Ethanol Byproducts Pelletized
One hundred percent of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a byproduct of ethanol production, can be pelletized without adding a binding agent or anything else, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators.
ARS agricultural engineeer Kurt Rosentrater has turned DDGS from corn-based ethanol production into high-quality pellets using processing equipment at a commercial feed mill. And the heating used in pelletizing did not harm the high-protein, low-starch nutrient content. Rosentrater is at the ARS North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, Brookings, S.D. He does this research with colleagues at ARS and at nearby South Dakota State University.
Cattle feed is currently the primary outlet for distiller’s grain. But other livestock such as swine and poultry can also eat it. To date, there are no commercial DDGS pellets available for livestock, which limits the byproduct’s use in rangeland settings. DDGS is the protein, fat, fiber, unconverted starch and ash left over after ethanol production.
Will Preconditioning Help Make My Calves More Marketable Next Fall?
A: Yes. Records show that calves that have been through a preconditioning program consistently yield higher prices at sale time. However, not all preconditioning programs are created equal. It is important to use a trusted program that buyers will recognize. A recent Iowa State University study showed buyers are willing to pay more for cattle processed under the guidelines of a preconditioning program that is backed by a third party.
The study found that preconditioned calves certified through a third-party-verified program and weaned at least 30 days commanded premiums of $6.15 per hundredweight over the base. Calves with uncertified claims of vaccinations and at least 30 days weaning received $3.40 per hundredweight over the base.1 This data shows that preconditioning calves does pay a premium, especially with third-party verification. Of feedyard managers surveyed, nine out of 10 said a signed veterinary certificate is a significant advantage over noncertified programs.
New tactics required to protect Montana cow herd from brucellosis
By DENNIS McDONALD
Guest Opinion, Billings Gazette
We’re all hopeful today that Montana cattle producers have dodged a bullet and will maintain our brucellosis-free status. This will be the case unless, or until, a second brucellosis outbreak is discovered over the next two years.
What is clear from this recent experience with the outbreak in the Bridger herd is that Montana needs a fresh, new, comprehensive approach to preventing infection of our cow herd with the brucella abortus bacteria. Gov. Brian Schweitzer two years ago warned the industry that our brucellosis-free status was in jeopardy. How prophetic his comments have proven to be.
Parasites are forcing quarantines of Rio Grande Valley livestock
By Kyle Arnold
RIO GRANDE CITY — As cattle are herded off trailers and into the pens at R.Y. Livestock Sales, state and federal inspectors pat the animals down, rubbing their backs, legs and stomachs, feeling carefully for the tiny arachnids menacing ranchers in Starr County and north.
Inspectors are searching carefully for a tiny livestock assassin — the fever tick. The disease-carrying bug is on the rise in South Texas, spurred by an increase in brushland and subsequently more carriers — which range from deer and cattle to illegal immigrants, ranchers and agriculture officials say.
Cattle On Feed Report Looks Bearish
Wisconsin Ag Connection
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on June 1, 2007. The inventory was 1 percent above June 1, 2006 and 5 percent above June 1, 2005. This is highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.
Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.16 million, 13 percent above 2006 but 3 percent below 2005. Net placements were 2.06 million. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 420,000, 600-699 pounds were 374,000, 700-799 pounds were 645,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 720,000.
Cattle producers: Promote grazing, fund conservation
KEVIN CARSTENSEN of Odebolt is president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.
Cattle producers have been evaluating the 2002 farm bill very closely and have worked in various capacities to position ourselves in the 2007 farm-bill discussions.
Cattle are foragers, and thus are not directly associated with many of the subsidies in the farm bill that deal with row-crop production. As beef producers, we are, however, keeping a watchful eye on programs that directly affect our operations.
Conservation programs are in all actuality the only programs that benefit cattle production. Included in these programs are the Conservation Reserve Program, the Conservation Securities Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Conditions dire on scorched farms
By Francis X. Gilpin
No significant rainfall is predicted for the Montgomery area this week. That’s no different than last week or the week before that.
It’s no surprise the drought conditions are devastating central Alabama farmers.
“This is going to be the worst crop I’ve experienced in my lifetime,” said Roy Moore, a 62-year-old Dallas County farmer.
The Montgomery area is 14 inches below what is considered normal rainfall since Jan. 1, according to information provided by Angel Montanez, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
“This is the worst we’ve seen in this area ever,” he said.
Montanez said the chances for precipitation will be no higher than 40 percent on any given day this week. Any rain that will arrive should come in the form of afternoon showers, he said.
Ethanol boom fuels feedgrain fears
UNITED STATES: Late on June 22, the U.S. Senate voted 65-27 in favor of comprehensive energy legislation—H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports efforts to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil by investing in renewable and alternative energy resources. But NCBA cannot support the proposed increase in mandates for corn-based ethanol. This legislation mandates 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels from feedgrain products by 2015, states a news release.
“Sky-high mandates for feedgrain-based ethanol are not the solution,” says Jay Truitt, NCBA vice president of government affairs. “We already have strong mandates, major incentives for feedgrain-based ethanol production, and a corn ethanol industry that is growing at an astounding pace.”
NCBA opposes any increase above 7.5 billion gallons for feedgrain-based ethanol mandates. Currently, the Renewable Fuels Standard requirements, which passed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, require at least 7.5 billion gallons of production by 2012.
R-CALF: Q & A – Why Competition Reforms Are Needed In The 2007 Farm Bill
Washington, D.C. – R-CALF USA delivered the following Q&A to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees today to explain why a competition title in the 2007 Farm Bill would benefit not only independent U.S. cattle producers, but also the rural communities that realize significant financial support from the largest segment of U.S. agriculture. R-CALF USA pointed out that U.S. beef cattle operations have declined 15 percent since 1990, with approximately 140,000 of those ceasing business by 2003. During this decade, the U.S. cattle herd size and the U.S. calf crop dropped to the lowest levels since the 1950s. The volume of beef produced exclusively from U.S. cattle fell to a 10-year low in 2005.
Korea lifts suspension of six U.S. meat plants
North Texas E-News
WASHINGTON, June 25, 2007 – Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that the government of South Korea has lifted the suspension of six U.S. meat plants.
“We are pleased that Korea will allow the resumption of shipments from these plants,” said Johanns. “USDA has taken action to ensure compliance with Korean import requirements here in the United States and Korea recognized these efforts. Despite some start-up problems, beef exports to Korea are rapidly increasing.”
U.S. exporters have sold more than 500 tons of U.S. beef to Korea this year.
Uruguay specialists visit local farm to study cattle
By Ashley Cunningham
Clanton Advertiser (AL)
Sunshine Farms hosted a group of beef specialists from Uruguay as they visited with Auburn University.
The group came to Alabama to see the different varieties of cattle that are raised here as opposed to the cattle that they have in their homeland.
According to Cattle Manager Jamie McConnell, Sunshine Farms were excited to talk to the 10 Uruguay specialists and the two Auburn professors who visited their home farm to see and examine their cattle.
“We were able to take them to the sell barn and show off some of the cows and bulls we are selling this year. We also were able to show them the calves we are growing for next year along with our pastures that have our baby calves and their mother in it,” McConnell said.