Daily Archives: December 21, 2006

EMerge Considers Merger, Bankruptcy

EMerge Considers Merger, Bankruptcy

MSN Money

SEBASTIAN, Fla. (AP) – Food-safety services provider eMerge Interactive Inc. said Tuesday that Prime BioSolutions LLC has not obtained the financing commitments required to complete the merger agreement between the two companies, and eMerge is reviewing other options including bankruptcy.

Under the agreement announced in October, Prime was required to obtain term sheets for $70 million of equity financing by Nov. 15, and definitive commitments for the $70 million of equity financing by Dec. 15, or eMerge could terminate the agreement.

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New technology for predicting beef tenderness

New technology for predicting beef tenderness

Drovers

A new imaging device could help packers quickly predict beef tenderness for carcasses as they move through the plant. Analytical Spectral Devices, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, developed the technology in cooperation with USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center.

After decades of research, the system represents ground-breaking and non-invasive technology that enables beef processors to accurately predict meat tenderness quality in real-time at the processing plant, before distribution to consumer outlets. The QualitySpec® BT system was successfully installed at a major meat production facility earlier this year, and has been in commercial production for several months.

The United States has been on a grading system based on the amount of intramuscular fat, or marbling, of meat for several decades but since marbling explains only a small percentage of the variation in meat tenderness, it is not a good predictor of meat tenderness. QualitySpec® BT technology allows processors to certify a carcass as tender well before it arrives on consumers’ tables.

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7 Steps to Gentler Cattle

7 Steps to Gentler Cattle

Calm cattle aren’t just easier to handle. They perform better too, posting higher gains and better grades.

by By Del Deterling

Progressive Farmer

John Stuedemann will not tolerate unruly cattle. He would not put up with wild cattle when he was working as an animal scientist, and he certainly won’t tolerate bad behavior in his own cow herd.

Stuedemann and his wife, Trish, have 100 cows on their Cold Spring Angus Farm at Comer, Ga. For many years, John worked with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Center at Watkinsville, Ga.

“We found the fastest way to work cattle is to do it slowly,” he says. “We eliminated shouting, whistling or lunging at animals. We didn’t use hot shots or nose tongs or anything that inflicts pain.”

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Are you cowed out?

Are you cowed out?

By Noel McNaughton, BEEF magazine

American Cowman

How to regain your focus as you face midlife transitions.

Many ranchers, when they hit middle age, reach a point where they can hardly stand to look after cattle another day. I’ve heard it referred to as being “cowed out.” Some friends told me about a ranching couple in Montana who sometimes talked about divorce when they had a fight. They don’t anymore, however, because neither is willing to take the cows!

Suddenly being sick of your job or business is a common symptom among midlife men, prompting some to quit their jobs, sell the ranch or otherwise “kick over the traces.” Once in their 60s and looking back, these folks sometimes realize they acted too hastily; all they really needed was some time away — a sabbatical. A few weeks might have done the trick, but a few months would have been better.

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Keys for operating a profitable forage program

Keys for operating a profitable forage program

Baxter Bulletin

Here are the keys to a profitable forage program:

Remember you are a forage farmer — Forage typically accounts for more than half the cost of production for forage-consuming animals and provides most of their nutrition. Thus, it has a major influence on both expenses and income. Forage is the crop and animals are the harvesters or consumers. Efficient forage production and use are essential to a profitable operation.

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Cattle Update: Stop Digging

Cattle Update: Stop Digging

Cattlenetwork.com

If you find yourself getting deeper and deeper in a hole, the logical thing to do would be to stop digging. Unfortunately, human nature often causes us to dig faster. We are more afraid of change than we are of failure. Allan Nation, editor of The Stockman GrassFarmer, says, “Most people would rather fail conventionally than succeed unconventionally.“

As cow/calf producers, we have experienced four very profitable years – but times are changing. As we head toward the downside of this cattle cycle, our income will decrease while our expenses will continue to increase. It will become more and more difficult for traditional (high-input) cow/calf producers to make a profit. Why? Because they will continue to dig themselves deeper and deeper into the same old hole. They’re not afraid of hard work – but they are afraid of change.

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Farmers: biosolids are helpful

Farmers: biosolids are helpful

By MARTIN FISHER

Altavista Journal (VA)

They don’t see biosolids as dangerous. In fact, just the opposite.

Campbell County farmers wanting to spread biosolids are their land say it is EPA-safe, diligently researched, treated biosolid waste recycled for fertilizer.

They claim the citizens lining up against biosolids in Campbell County is a matter of hysteria and false information.

Local farmers say they would never use a farm product that was harmful to their own loved ones living on the treated farms. It’s a farm product like 100s of other farm products, only this time it comes delivered and deployed for free.

“Oh, it’s the economics of it, no question,” farm owner John Mason of Swinging Bridge Road, Brookneal said. “I found out about it from the farm extension office; you can go up there and get all the information – the research has all been done already.”

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K-State: Low-test-weight sorghum still suitable as quality cattle feed

K-State: Low-test-weight sorghum still suitable as quality cattle feed

AG Professional

COLBY, Kan. – Growing conditions this year resulted in grain sorghum with low test weights in parts of the High Plains, but studies conducted by Kansas State University Research and Extension indicate the grain is still suitable for cattle feed.

Sorghum less than 55 pounds per bushel is docked an increasing amount as test weight decreases, said Sandy Johnson, northwest area livestock specialist with K-State Research and Extension. One northwest Kansas elevator recently docked sorghum from 50.9 to 50 pounds by 12 cents and for each pound less than that, another five cents.

“Given that level of dockage at the elevator, a natural question is, what is the feeding value of low-test-weight grain sorghum?” said Johnson, who is based in Colby.

This question was addressed in growing and finishing steers at K- State’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Garden City, Kan.

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Researchers Study Role Of Natural Organic Matter In Environment

Researchers Study Role Of Natural Organic Matter In Environment

Science Daily

The decomposition of plant, animal and microbial material in soil and water produces a variety of complex organic molecules, collectively called natural organic matter. These compounds play many important roles in the environment.

By studying the molecular mechanisms responsible for the complex behavior of natural organic matter, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are finding new ways to prevent the compounds from fouling water purification and desalination facilities.

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Pennsylvania Farm Show Expands Learning Opportunities for Visitors

Pennsylvania Farm Show Expands Learning Opportunities for Visitors

Earthtimes.org

The 2007 Pennsylvania Farm Show, opening Jan. 6, will feature new learning stations designed to teach visitors about agriculture through hands-on educational opportunities, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said today.

“The Farm Show is an excellent way for both children and adults to learn more about Pennsylvania agriculture and how it affects our daily lives,” said Wolff. “These new learning stations will help visitors explore different aspects of Pennsylvania’s number one industry.”

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Part of trich rule reinstated beginning Jan. 1

Part of trich rule reinstated beginning Jan. 1

Rapid City Journal

Effective Jan. 1, 2007, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board will reinstate regulations prohibiting the marketing of nonpregnant and nonvirgin cows in the state for breeding purposes, part of a rule aimed at preventing the spread of trichomoniasis.

That part of the rule had been waived in July, allowing producers who were forced to sell breeding animals because of the extreme drought to take advantage of a broader market, according to a news release from state veterinarian Sam Holland, head of the S.D. Animal Industry Board.

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Federal Subsidies Turn Farms Into Big Business

Federal Subsidies Turn Farms Into Big Business

Harvesting Cash The Myth of the Small Farmer

Washington Post

By Gilbert M. Gaul, Sarah Cohen and Dan Morgan

Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, December 21, 2006; Page A01

The cornerstone of the multibillion-dollar system of federal farm subsidies is an iconic image of the struggling family farmer: small, powerless against Mother Nature, tied to the land by blood.

Without generous government help, farm-state politicians say, thousands of these hardworking families would fail, threatening the nation’s abundant food supply.

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