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.