Daily Archives: June 30, 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 / Dose.ca

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.