Monthly Archives: June 2006

Virginia’s beef cow herd at record level

Virginia’s beef cow herd at record level

Virginia Farm Bureau

RICHMOND—For the first time ever, more than three-quarters of a million cows are residing in the state. Experts say their record numbers paint a rosy picture for the state’s beef industry.

The latest U.S. Cattle Inventory Report estimates the number of beef cows that have calved in Virginia at 747,000, the highest inventory ever recorded for the commonwealth, and the most since 740,000 head were counted in 1997.

The cow/calf enterprise can be described as cattle operators who own breeding females and bulls and raise the resulting calves to about 600 pounds. Most of Virginia’s feeder cattle are shipped to other states with lower grain costs for the final production phase before being harvested.


A hunger for humane foods

A hunger for humane foods

By Stephen Kiehl and Rob Hiaasen
Baltimore Sun reporters

News from the front in the food wars: Live lobsters are a dead issue at Whole Foods. Chicago and California have made foie gras non grata. And hundreds of restaurants are boycotting Canadian seafood to protest that country’s annual baby seal hunt.

As consumers ask more questions about what they eat – where it comes from, how it lived, how it was killed – they are discovering that many meals come with ethical quandaries. Retailers and restaurants are responding, hoping that a concern for animal welfare also benefits the bottom line.


Fair orders tighter security around 4-H animals

Fair orders tighter security around 4-H animals


The Colorado State Fair Board voted Wednesday to tighten security around animals entered into 4-H contests at this year’s expo.

Prompted by a cheating controversy at the National Western Stock Show in Denver this past winter, the Fair commissioners voted to:

Lock the animal barns each night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Aug. 23 to Aug. 28 to keep anyone from being able to tamper with the sheep, cattle, hogs and goats.


Emerging Disease and Zoonoses #17–How now, mad cow

Emerging Disease and Zoonoses #17–How now, mad cow

Category: General Epidemiology • General biology • Historical studies of disease • Infectious causes of chronic disease • Infectious disease • Outbreak • Public health
Posted on: June 29, 2006 1:45 PM, by Tara C. Smith

People make terrible jokes about “mad cow” disease. (“Why is PMS called PMS? Because mad cow was already taken.”) Pundits use it as an example of an over-hyped disease (and to be fair, estimates of total cases due to the consumption of contaminated beef in the UK have varied widely, ranging from a few thousand up to well over 100,000). Vegetarians note it as one benefit that comes from their soyburgers. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion.

So-called “mad cow” disease, in humans, is a progressive neurological disorder more correctly called variant Creuzfield-Jacob disease (vCJD). This is due to infection with an agent called a prion. Additional background can be found here, but briefly, the prion is actually a misfolded form of a normal host protein (called PrPc, standing for “prion protein, cellular form”). Its a concern to human health largely because the disease swept through cattle herds in the UK in the 1980s, and it is uncertain just how many humans unknowingly consumed contaminated beef–and therefore, how many may eventually develop vCJD.


NFU Supports Interstate Meat Shipment Bill

NFU Supports Interstate Meat Shipment Bill

KNEB Radio

Washington (June 28, 2006) – National Farmers Union is part of a broad-based coalition urging Congress to repeal the ban on shipment of interstate meat and poultry. The legislation, introduced to Congress in mid-June, allows the interstate sale of products that are state-inspected.

National Farmers Union has a long-standing policy supporting the elimination of the interstate ban and believes the legislation will level the playing field for small farms and businesses while increasing standard safety measures for American consumers. Without change, small farmers and ranchers will continue to face smaller local markets with fewer buyers for their livestock and poultry.


Farm animal tracking proposals create backlash

Farm animal tracking proposals create backlash

By Larry Stroud,
Batesville Daily Guard Associate Editor (AR)

BLUFFTON — Farm animal tracking regulations to be implemented under United States Department of Agriculture guidelines will drive many small producers and their supporting suppliers out of existence and the Arkansas Animal Producer’s Association is trying to do something about it, Jane Williams, the group’s founder, says.

The group’s first statewide meeting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. July 9 at the Agora conference center at 705 East Sibenmorgen Road in Conway, she said.

The speaker will be Joel Gill from Pickens, Miss., representing R-CALF USA, a national cattle producers’ organization formed to address marketing and trade issues in the live cattle industry.


Drought Putting Thousands Of Cattle Up For Sale

Drought Putting Thousands Of Cattle Up For Sale

Some say parts of central South Dakota may be drier now than during the dust bowl years in the 1930’s. The severe drought is forcing many ranchers to make tough decisions, like selling off their entire herds just to keep the animals from starving to death. And sales at a livestock auction in Campbell County have almost doubled this year.

As livestock are unloaded the pens at the Herreid Livestock Market fill up. It’s a sight that reminds ranchers and farmers of just how bleak the situation is becoming in drought stricken central South Dakota.

Co-owner and Manager of Herreid Livestock Market Herman Schumacher says, “It’s as tough a time as I’ve ever seen in the cattle industry as far as weather is concerned.”

President of the Campbell County Bank Bruce Brandner says, “It’s come down to buy hay, move the cattle out of the country, or just have to sell the whole herd.”


Responsible cattle raising

Responsible cattle raising

The Providence Journal (RI)

A proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to label grass-fed beef deserves adoption. It would give consumers greater control over what they eat, as well as a chance to influence environmental policy for the better. Also, fattening cattle in pastures rather than in feedlots is simply healthier for the animals.

Roughly since World War II, the great majority of U.S. cattle have been raised on grain. The process was helped along by subsidized corn and soybeans, petroleum-based fertilizers and antibiotics. The system brought with it an array of environmental and health problems, but it was undeniably more efficient. The inexpensive beef that drives today’s fast-food industry was one result.


Cattle health, drought issues up for discussion

Cattle health, drought issues up for discussion

Fort Morgan Times (CO)

The health of beef cattle during the current drought is the topic of two free sessions, July 12 in Brush and July 20 in Deer Trail, sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and the State Veterinarian office of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

A complimentary steak dinner will be served at 6 p.m., followed by a discussion of Johne ‘s disease, livestock drought issues related to poisonous plant systems and early weaning of calves, and tax consequences of the drought.

The July 12 dinner and discussion will be at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Brush. Contact Marlin Eisenach at (970) 542-3543 by July 7 to register.


Canada lifts import ban on all US cattle classes

Canada lifts import ban on all US cattle classes

Reuters /

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canada reopened its border to all classes of cattle from the United States on Thursday to try to normalize North American cattle trade following several mad cow disease discoveries in both countries.

“Canada’s import controls continue to provide the highest levels of public and animal health protection,” said Canadian Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl. “At the same time, Canada’s new government is moving closer to re-integrating the North American cattle market in accordance with international standards.”

U.S. breeding cattle born after 1999 and beef from cattle over 30 months old are now eligible to enter Canada, under certain conditions.


China lifts US beef

China lifts US beef ban


BEIJING (Reuters) – China has restored imports of United States beef, ending a two-and-a-half year ban prompted by fears of mad cow disease, state media reported.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture would allow boneless beef imports from U.S. cattle 30 months or younger that have been stripped of spines, brains and other parts, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday.
China’s decision follows Japan’s announcement earlier this month that it may also soon lift its block on U.S. beef.

Cattle Temperament Impacts Immune Response

Cattle Temperament Impacts Immune Response

Calm calves appear to have a better response to vaccination at weaning than temperamental calves, says the Texas Ag Experiment Station. This better vaccination response means the calmer calves are less likely to develop sickness or die of disease.

Earlier research has shown cattle that speed out of the handling chute eat and gain less, and yield tougher steaks. The Texas A&M University (TAMU) study is one the first to look at the animal’s immune response in relation to temperament.


Eliminating antibiotics may not discourage resistance

Eliminating antibiotics may not discourage resistance

Drovers alert from the Drovers Journal

Eliminating antibiotic drugs from food-animal production may have little positive effect on resistant bacteria that threaten health, according to the Institute of Food Technologists. The group stated that prior human exposure to antibiotics is the greatest factor for acquiring an infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Eliminating antibiotics promoting animal growth in Europe has actually resulted in increased disease among the animals and more therapeutic applications of antibiotics on resistant bacteria. It has not been shown to reduce the prevalence of some antibiotic-resistant strains affecting human medicine, but resistance increased among some pathogens.

Cattlecast: Indiana’s Premise ID program

In today’s Cattlecast, Dr. Jennifer Greiner, Indiana Board of Animal Health, explains the Indiana premise ID program. Follow the link below to watch the presentation.

To view the presentation you must have the free Adobe Flash player installed.
Click Here to download the player.

NCBA: Leadership Conference Gives Cattle Producers Total Industry Insight

NCBA: Leadership Conference Gives Cattle Producers Total Industry Insight

DENVER (June 28, 2006) – Future cattle industry leaders recently expanded their knowledge of the cattle and beef business, as 47 young cattle producers participated in the 27th annual Young Cattlemen’s Conference tour. The program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of various industry sectors, designed to enhance leadership skills in young cattle producers. The tour is sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), NCBA state and breed affiliates, Tyson Fresh Meats, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and John Deere.

Most participants in the 8-day tour were nominated by their respective NCBA affiliates. Additional cattle and beef industry representatives also attended.


Cattle Tracking Programs Emerge, Draw Criticism

Cattle Tracking Programs Emerge, Draw Criticism

By Kim Souza
The Morning News (AR)

Satellites and microchips might soon be the modern equivalent of horses and cowboys in the arena of tracking cattle.

Like the OnStar global positioning systems that pinpoint exact locations of cars in a matter of seconds, Arkansas cattle farmers could use the same technology to track the age and source of their herds.

More than two years after the first case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States, two new programs are being implemented that will change how Arkansas cattle are identified.

The Quality Systems Assessment Program (QSA) is a voluntary program sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Agricultural Marketing Services Division of the United States Department of Agriculture, said Richard Bell, Arkansas’ secretary of agriculture.


Angus Celebrates 50th Birthday in St. Joseph

Angus Celebrates 50th Birthday in St. Joseph

KQTV-St. Joseph, MO

A national organization celebrates success locally.

The American Angus Association celebrates its 50th anniversary in St. Joseph.

Employees say many people drive by their building on Frederick and have no idea what they do inside, so they opened their doors today to community members, business leaders, and city and state government officials to find out.


Tough time ahead for US beef to regain Japan market

Tough time ahead for US beef to regain Japan market


TOKYO, June 28 (Reuters) – U.S. beef, expected to re-enter Japan next month in line with a new bilateral accord, will have difficulty regaining the market share it once held as consumer confidence has yet to return, industry officials said.

Concerns about further U.S. violations of beef trade rules are also making Japanese firms wary of restarting purchases. Nearly 30 percent of Japan’s beef supplies came from the United States before Japan banned U.S. beef in December 2003 after the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.


Cattle Update: Simmental Juniors To Compete In Madison

Cattle Update: Simmental Juniors To Compete In Madison

BOZEMAN, MT. Members of the American Junior Simmental Association (AJSA) are eager to attend the 2006 AJSA National Classic XXVI being held July 10-14, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nearly 250 junior Simmental members representing 27 states will travel to Madison to participate in a variety of cattle-related competitions. Divided into novice, junior, intermediate, and senior divisions, members will have the opportunity to develop and showcase their skills in a number of events covering a wide range of topics, including public speaking, beef industry knowledge tests, advertising skills, judging, as well as the traditional Simmental and Simbrah cattle shows and showmanship. Extra-curricular activities on the schedule include a team cook-off, Barnyard Olympics, a youth dance, and a family fun night sponsored by the Wisconsin Junior Simmental Association.


Reduce Your Risk

Reduce Your Risk

by Kate Royer
Hay and Forage Grower

Examine your business risks and insure what you can’t control. That’s how custom harvesters can reduce those risks — and their insurance costs, says an insurance agent who regularly works with custom operators.

“There are certain things that every custom harvester can do to help reduce his risks and make himself more marketable, so to speak, to insurance companies,” says David Anderson, director of agriculture insurance with Vincent, Urban, Walker & Associates, Inc., Green Bay, WI.

Employees are a custom harvester’s biggest risk, he says. That’s why it’s important to train them well and to communicate what they are expected to do.