Daily Archives: September 25, 2006

Senate leaders turn back Conrad disaster bill

Senate leaders turn back Conrad disaster bill

Sep 25, 2006 9:46 AM

By Forrest Laws
Farm Press Editorial Staff

The third time was not a charm as Senate Republican leaders once again blocked efforts by a bipartisan group of farm-state senators to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers hammered by weather disasters in 2005 and 2006.


Judging Teams Provide Foundations for Success

Judging Teams Provide Foundations for Success

by: Clifford Mitchell


For prospective members of a livestock judging team, 1900 was a special year. It marked the first collegiate judging contest at the International Livestock Exposition. The quest was on for the honor to retire the Spoor Trophy, which recognizes continued excellence in the field of livestock judging. Iowa State University retired the first Spoor Trophy in 1903, beginning a legacy several universities would follow. More importantly it gave birth to competition that continually turned out leaders in a variety of professions throughout industry.

Molding young people into successful contributors to society is its trademark. An ever-lasting experience that spans across many generations, judging is an opportunity to be part of something true to its own. Scores from workouts often separate the final team from those who, unfortunately, have to stay home. However, unlike the person who did not make the final cut for that junior high basketball team, the rewards last a lifetime.

“Self-confidence is one of the major things judging instills in young people. Having confidence in your own ability is extremely important,” says Dr. Bill Able, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Northeast Oklahoma A & M. Able coached at the collegiate level from 1971 to 1985 winning National Championships at the Kansas State University and the University of Kentucky.


New York Times: Platform For Irresponsible Attacks

New York Times: Platform For Irresponsible Attacks

Inaccurate, Prejudiced and Premature

Steve Dittmer

Colorado Springs, CO

I’ve been watching ever since the spinach E. coli news broke, wondering what they would find out about the source.

Silly me! I should have known the activists and their chief ally, the New York Times, would not wait for the facts of the investigation to be discovered before they fixed the blame. Any more than they would use accurate facts in explaining what they think the investigators will find. Ready-made extrapolations can be plugged in – no need to wait — just indict mainstream agriculture. People tend to believe that any farm close to the size of great- grandma’s pea patch has to be better anyway.

The story’s writer, Nina Planck, has written a book, Real Food: What To Eat and Why in which she claims that foods like butter, milk and meat have gotten a bad rap from nutrition and health experts but that any food from mainstream producers is not what you should eat. A former food coop manager, she feels only cottage industry farmers can raise food people should eat and decries “industrialized” farms.

If you haven’t read Planck’s story on the New York Times op-ed page, (“Leafy Green Sewage,” 09/21/06), Planck charges that E. coli 0157:H7 is found only in beef and dairy cattle fed high grain rations typical on “industrial farms.” She claims 0157:H7 is not found in pasture cattle or those on high forage diets. She also charges feedlots and dairies with allowing runoff to contaminate groundwater and neighboring fields. Her solution?

“Stop feeding grain to cattle.”

While Planck may be sure that grain-feeding to animals is the reason they shed E. coli 0157:H7, the research contradicts her. Alex Avery of the Center for Global Food Issues said USDA researchers have found the bacteria in cattle raised in open pastures at low densities in remote areas, as well as feedlots and dairies. As additional evidence that modern, advanced grain-fed cattle operations did not hatch this pathogen, Avery notes genetic evidence indicates the 0157:H7 strain arose thousands of years ago. As to whether grain-based rations or forage-based rations increases the prevalence, studies so far have produced conflicting findings, Avery said.

An extensive review of research published by the veterinary medical school at the University of Wisconsin contradicts Planck’s claim, also. Researchers have found it in dairy calves and young heifers, indicating that “The peak time of infection is thought to be 3-18 months of age.” These are young animals in which milk and forage, not grain, would be the primary feed sources.

The same summary indicated that in feedlots where 0157:H7 is found, it is most likely to be found in animals that have been in the feedlot the shortest amount of time, i.e. most recently on high forage diets.

It is obvious grain-fed cattle did not hatch this virulent strain of E. coli. And it is irresponsible to charge that modern agriculture is carelessly going around contaminating produce fields and groundwater supplies. Advanced manure management and ever increasingly regulated and restricted water quality systems for all feedlots and dairies makes any run off problems much less likely than even five to ten years ago. Cattlemen have spent millions of dollars on drainage systems, settling ponds and lagoons so that distribution is by plan, not accident. The overwhelming majority of the manure and runoff goes onto crops that will not be fed to humans.

The Times’ willingness to run such an irresponsible, factually inaccurate piece plus do it before the facts are in is regrettable. The illnesses and death resulting from whatever cause is discovered are tragic and our sympathies are with those people and their families. But they deserve to know the truth, not be led on by activists and the Times without the facts of the case or the issue.

While no system is perfect, rest assured that America’s farmers and ranchers are dedicated to providing healthy and safe food for America’s people – their customers and their families’ source of livelihood.

Link to NY Times Article Click HERE
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TSCRA, TCFA, TCA to meet in Amarillo

TSCRA, TCFA, TCA to meet in Amarillo

By Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association media release

North Texas E_news

The state’s most influential beef cattle groups will join forces in Amarillo next month to address challenges facing the industry.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will hold its fall meeting in conjunction with Texas Cattle Feeders Associations annual convention Oct. 11-13. Texas CattleWomen will hold their fall convention Oct. 13-14 at the Ambassador Hotel.

Members of TSCRA and TCFA will gather in the Amarillo Civic Center for two general sessions and TSCRA will hold committee meetings, which are open to all participants.

The first general session from 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, will feature recaps of the year by TSCRA President Dick Sherron and TCFA Chairman John Gillcrist. Cattlemens Beef Board Chairman Jay OBrien will look ahead to the future of the beef checkoff. John Zogby and Rick Husted will help producers understand what consumers want and need.

Zogby is president and CEO of Zogby International, which offers polling, market research and information services worldwide. He will explain how polling is used to interpret consumer mindset.

Husted, executive director of research for the National Cattlemens Beef Association, will address giving consumers what they want to satisfy buying habits for busy lives.


Extension Service touts urban focus

Extension Service touts urban focus

Internet Telephony (IA)

WATERLOO — Farmers piled into coach cars behind a steam engine where instructors from Iowa State College would teach them about new techniques to improve their corn crops before packing up and chugging down the tracks to another small town.

The year was 1904. Iowa’s seed corn train was one of the first outreach efforts by the state’s only land grant college to use its research and educational gains to improve the lives of residents across the state.

More than a century later, the Iowa State University Extension Service has 100 offices, including one on University Avenue in Waterloo.


Spring cattle ills could appear in fall

Spring cattle ills could appear in fall

Aberdeen American News / Associated Press

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Late summer rains that have created lush, green pastures in the Aberdeen area could mean that grass tetany and a type of metabolic pneumonia – two cattle diseases associated with spring – might show up this fall.

Grass tetany stems from magnesium deficiency. South Dakota State University Extension veterinarian Russ Daly said fast-growing grass often doesn’t have enough magnesium for cattle.

Early symptoms include muscle twitching, hypersensitivity and nervousness, and the disease later includes muscle spasms and convulsions, Daly said. He said it sometimes advances so fast that symptoms are not observed and the animal is found down or dead.

The treatment is intravenous solutions of magnesium and calcium once the disease strikes, but that might not help an animal that has been down a long time, Daly said.

Tyler Melroe, an Extension livestock specialist for a group of northeastern South Dakota counties, said he has heard no reports of grass tetany cropping up this late in the summer.

“But we’re fielding a lot of questions about it,” he said. “People are concerned, and rightfully so.”


The eco-revolution down on the farm

The eco-revolution down on the farm

The Independent

An eco-revolution is taking place in the small agricultural communities of the Pacific Northwest, with the return of traditional homesteaders. Chris Smaje spent an extended holiday as a volunteer, helping to transform the land

Let’s not be fooled by the romance of the good earth. When God told Adam and Eve that life after Eden would be one of painful toil, He knew whereof He spoke. In the Pacific Northwest, the homesteading pioneers learned first hand the bold and biblical contrasts of elemental struggle as they tried to bring forth the fruits of the soil. Fighting against the rampant forests, they discovered that nature had the advantage when it came to the riches of the land.


Cattleman is adapting to new times

Cattleman is adapting to new times

The San Luis Obispo Tribune

What he said then: When the Tribune spoke to John Taylor last September, the Cambria native had just re-opened his family’s historic Victorian home as Green Valley Manor, a vacation rental for tourists interested in taking a nostalgic trip. Taylor was starting to rent the 1870-era home, which sits on 245 acres of ranchland in the hills southeast of Cambria, for $600 a night or $3,780 a week. ‘Doing this has been a dream of mine,’ Taylor said. ‘There is nothing like it on the Central Coast.’


Healthier cattle eat salad

Healthier cattle eat salad

Grass-fed beef a marketing opportunity for some farmers


For the Journal & Courier (IN)

ATTICA — Home on the range once conjured images of cattle grazing on the vast prairies and cowboys driving them to market.

Modern farming techniques have blurred that bucolic image, and today most livestock spend a good portion of their lives in confined feed lots, crowded together and fed grain to achieve maximum weight gain in the least amount of time.

While these techniques have held costs down, some people wonder about the possible loss of nutritional value in meat from such cattle.

And so Hoosier Grassfed Beef was formed in 2000, a partnership between the DeSutter and Hollinger families of Attica and Lafayette respectively.


La. Cattlemen Struggle 1 Year After Rita

La. Cattlemen Struggle 1 Year After Rita





Summer rains have brought back the coast’s usual lush green grazing land. Life for Louisiana’s cattlemen, however, is far from normal.

A year after Hurricane Rita, the cattlemen say they’re still struggling, hampered because the storm tore down hundreds of miles of fences essential to contain their cows, bulls and calves. Even if the fences and the farm structures Rita also destroyed get rebuilt, the storm has forever changed a sliver of southwest Louisiana culture.

“It’s not going to be like it was, ever again,” said Mike Montie, 41, a second-generation cattleman who evacuated his family’s cattle north before the storm.

Category 3 Rita struck here last Sept. 24, flattening Cameron and other towns, its salt water turning the lush grass to brown and killing roughly 30,000 cattle, according to the state agriculture department. The region’s cattle farmers produce a tiny fraction of the national industry; the animals killed in Rita had little effect on beef prices.


Miracles of the farm pay enough

Miracles of the farm pay enough

Mack Glass testifies to ‘touch of the Master’s hand’


The Register-Mail (IL)

GALESBURG – Mack Glass’ life is rich with agriculture’s miracles.

“Farming doesn’t pay as well as some,” he said. “There are different compensations. Sometimes you get paid how much you enjoy it.”

Glass, now 85, moved from the farm to Rosewood Care Center four months ago. Many in the agriculture community know him from his weekly agriculture radio show that aired on Galesburg-area stations. It was an advertisement-free, 30-minute program. He often talked about livestock and grain prices.

“I didn’t really use a script,” he said. “I gave it all off the cuff.”

Nor does his mind need a script today. Life has aged the man physically. His hearing is poor. His speech is slow. But he can recite poetry from memory as well as remember the price he sold milk for as a farm kid.

Earlier this month, the farmer, agriculture teacher, chemical salesman and banker, talked about his agricultural life from the seat of a wheelchair, elbows resting on the chair’s arms. His brown-framed glasses coordinated with his brown button-up shirt dotted with cows as large as a shirt pocket. Behind him, a glass vase held a plume of peacock feathers from the birds on his Warren County farm. Photo albums of his longhorn cattle and Indonesian deer, which he raised in retirement, were stacked on his nightstand.


US author slams meat packing industry

US author slams meat packing industry

Sydney Morning Herald

Controversial American author Eric Schlosser blames the meat packing industry for turning grass-fed cattle into feedlot hormone junkies.

Schlosser is visiting Australia to promote the feature film Fast Food Nation, which is based on his contentious book of the same name.

“At the very time when all the leading scientists are saying grass-fed beef is best for you – which is what Australia has produced always – they’re moving to beef with hormones and all that crap,” he said in Sydney.

Schlosser said Australia’s largest meat packing companies were owned by American and Japanese corporations.


K-State Experts Lead Way

K-State Experts Lead Way

Threat is real, they say: on the front lines of bioterror defense

Kansas City Star

Ebola was the real wakeup call

It’s a chilling question, especially five years after 19 suicidal terrorists waged an explosive assault on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people:

Could a killer pathogen be introduced in America, through a human carrier or contaminated food or water?

The answer from Kansas State University’s Jerry Jaax is even more chilling:

‘If you can sign someone up to fly a plane into a building, you could sign them up to be infected with smallpox and go on a road trip.’

Jaax should know.

The K-State associate vice provost for research and compliance is one of the foremost experts in the United States on threats posed by pathogens and infectious diseases. This week in Kansas City, he will speak at the International Symposium on Agroterrorism about protecting the nation’s food supply.


U.S. cattle on feed up 10 percent

U.S. cattle on feed up 10 percent

North Texas E-news


Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.0 million head on September 1, 2006. The inventory was 10 percent above September 1, 2005 and 10 percent above September 1, 2004.

This is the highest September 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 2.30 million, 15 percent above 2005 and 9 percent above 2004. Net placements were 2.24 million. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 680,000, 600-699 pounds were 435,000, 700-799 pounds were 535,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 650,000.


Beef class to be held for area

Beef class to be held for area

Leaf Chronicle (TN)

Rusty Evans

Beef producers in Montgomery, Stewart and Houston counties have the opportunity to participate in the Master Beef Producer program to be held in Cumberland City at the Fire Station located at 203 Thomas Ave.

This will be an opportunity for you to attend these sessions without having to travel long distances. The tentative programs offered include Nutrition, Management, Genetics, Forages, Health Care and Marketing.