Vet meets retailer
By Geni Wren, Bovine Veternarian
For most food animal veterinarians and grocery retailers, the only interaction they have with each other is perhaps a smile and nod when they see each other in the grocery store. What lies beneath their friendly exteriors, however, is a wealth of untapped information that can be shared both about consumers and about food animal production that can help each side further their goals — providing safe wholesome food for consumers.
In early 2006 at the National Grocer’s Association (N.G.A.) annual meeting in Las Vegas, four food animal veterinarians came together with four representatives of the grocery retail industry (see box). This wasn’t your typical Las Vegas matchup — no one came to fight — they came to learn from each other and start a dialogue where there had not been one before.
US Cattlemen Losing Confidence in Japanese Market
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: News Online / mycattle.com
May 22, 2006
The US-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says it is losing confidence in the Japanese market with its refusal to set a timetable to reopen the beef trade.
Spokesman Jay Truitt says the US has done all it can to reassure Japan that American beef is safe.
But Japanese authorities now want to do their own inspections of US meatworks after a prohibited shipment, including spinal bones, made it to Japan in January.
While he is still hoping for the market to reopen soon, Mr Truitt says Japan is a less reliable market for US producers.
“Our focus in the future is going to be more towards Korea, existing markets like Mexico and Canada, frankly, which is the fourth largest existing market for the United States and other countries around the Pacific rim,” he said.
Despite the uncertainty, some reports suggest Japan could resume imports of US beef in July.
AgInfoLink USA Announces the Release of Meat Inventory Tracking System
LONGMONT, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 22, 2006–AgInfoLink USA, a privately-held food traceability information solutions provider, has announced the release of their Meat Inventory Tracking System (MITS) 2.0. The MITS software program was developed to enable custom meat packing plants to identify live animals, link them to individual cuts of meat through to point of sale, and to help plants better manage their meat inventory. The initial MITS 2.0 product installation was just completed at Western Prime Meats in Weyburn, SK.
“Our company has a very distinct market niche and it’s important for us to be able to manage our meat inventory and to substantiate the product claims we make on each product we ship. We needed a traceability system that is flexible enough to track our high-end meats from the live animal to the carcass, to the primal, and then finally to the shipping box. We’re very excited about MITS 2.0 and what it can do for our business,” said Mike Guest, Manager of Western Prime Meats.
Ranchers gather to mark and vaccinate spring cattle
By Matt Christensen
SHOSHONE — Calves, it turns out, don’t like to be roped. They don’t enjoy vaccinations. And ear tags aren’t much fun, either.
But it’s branding they hate most.
Unfortunately for thousands of beef calves across Magic Valley, May is branding time on most ranches, including Bob and Sue German’s 350-acre plot north of Shoshone.
Crowded feedlots create pocketbook pain
BY ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star
For the first five months of 2006, Nebraska’s cattle-on-feed numbers have been running at record pace.
Unfortunately, profit potential has been running in the opposite direction for beef production, the biggest annual generator of revenue in the state’s agricultural economy. As feedlots have gotten more crowded, the red ink has gotten deep.
Japan to hold public meetings over US beef
Tue May 23, 2006 4:48 AM ET
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday it would hold public meetings for two weeks from June 1 about U.S. beef, a procedure it views as necessary before making a formal agreement with Washington to resume imports.
The ministry will hold meetings across the country, ending in Tokyo on June 14, to explain to Japanese consumers progress in talks between the two governments over U.S. beef shipments, suspended for four months due to worries about mad cow disease.
After the public meetings, the two governments will officially decide steps to resume Japanese imports of U.S. beef, which were halted on January 20 after Japanese inspectors discovered banned cattle parts in U.S. veal.
Lack of formal plan may block animal I.D. system
PHILIP BRASHER, DESMOINES REGISTER WASHINGTON BUREAU
May 22, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawmakers are threatening to cut off funding for a national animal identification system unless the U.S. Agriculture Department details how the program will work.
A USDA appropriations bill under consideration in the House would block the funding for the project as of Oct. 1 until USDA issues a formal plan for the ID program, which has divided livestock producers. The program is supposed to enable government investigators to track the location and history of any farm animal within 48 hours.
Tour promotes Missouri beef for Asian markets
JEFF DOUGLAS, Associated Press / Kansas City.com
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Staring face-to-face at a 2,600-pound bull dubbed “Hercules,” a Japanese visitor could only smile at the animal’s potential.
“That’s a lot of food,” said Hiroaki Shino, who markets Missouri beef in Japan for the state of Missouri.
Beef importers, retailers and distributors from Japan and Taiwan visited the Masters family cattle ranch near Cape Girardeau Monday, the first stop on a “Beef Tour” through Missouri, in anticipation of what state officials hope will be a reopening of the Japanese market to U.S. beef.
U.S., Japan Fail To Reach Final Agreement on Reopening Beef Trade
Japan accepts results of U.S. audit at talks; timeline for action needed
By Susan Krause
Washington File Staff Writer / USINFO.STATE.GOV
Washington — Negotiators from the United States and Japan ended two-and-a half days of talks in Tokyo May 19 without reaching final agreement on conditions for the restoration of U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Japan, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Chuck Lambert, USDA’s acting under secretary for agriculture, marketing and regulatory programs, met with reporters following the talks. He said the Japanese government accepted an in-depth audit report prepared by the U.S. government, but the two sides did not establish a timeline for resolving the trade impasse, which has continued for four months.
The U.S. report included results of a review of 25 U.S. meat-processing plants that shipped beef products to Japan between December 12, 2005 — when Japan partially lifted a two-year ban on imports of U.S. beef — and January 19, 2006, when Japan reinstated that ban. The report also included an audit of the 35 plants that are eligible to export to Japan under a USDA-administered Export Verification Program.
USAIO Reports Solid Progress On Animal Movement Database
(May 22, 2006) – The United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO) has cleared several technical and procedural hurdles in developing a national animal movement database for use by the nation’s livestock producers. The USAIO database is a producer-controlled, multi-species solution for livestock producers participating in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Producers retain ownership of their data at all times, with state and federal animal health officials having access to the information only when necessary for animal health surveillance.
USAIO recently submitted two key documents to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): an Application for Cooperative Agreement, and an Application for System Evaluation. Through these applications, USAIO continues the dialogue with APHIS that began with its submission of a Memorandum of Agreement earlier this year.