Daily Archives: January 23, 2007

Purdue Extension Director announces retirement

Purdue Extension Director announces retirement

by Dave Russell

Brownfield Network

After nearly 35 years of service to Purdue University, Dave Petritz, director of Purdue Extension has announced he will retire June 30th.

“Purdue has been one of the leading Extension organizations in the nation due in large part to the quality of his leadership,” said Randy Woodson, Glen W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “There is no one who cares more deeply about the university, Purdue Agriculture and Purdue Extension than Dave.”

During his career at Purdue, Petritz was involved in several programs to help farm family’s deal with difficult financial times. He also coordinated the 1988 drought response effort that included a toll-free hotline and extensive media coverage.


ARS: Identifying variation in the U.S. bovine prion gene

ARS: Identifying variation in the U.S. bovine prion gene

AG Professional

Do genes affect bovine spongiform encephalopathy — also known as BSE, or “mad cow” disease? Are some cattle more susceptible than others?

To address these and other questions, Agricultural Research Service scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., have sequenced the bovine prion gene (PRNP) in 192 cattle that represent 16 beef and five dairy breeds common in the United States.

This work, partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, is expanding the understanding of how the disease works.

BSE is a fatal neurological disorder characterized by prions — proteins that occur naturally in mammals — that fold irregularly. Molecular biologist Mike Clawson and his Clay Center colleagues are examining PRNP variation in order to learn if and how prions correlate with BSE susceptibility.


Clemson University offers bulls for sale

Clemson University offers bulls for sale

Greenville Online (SC)

Sixty-one top-notch herd sire prospects will be sold Feb. 3 during the 37th annual Clemson Bull Test Sale at the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena-Cattle Complex near the Clemson University campus.

The auction will include 37 Angus, three Red Angus, four Simangus, two Simmental, seven Balancers and eight Gelbvieh bulls, according to Larry Olson, bull testing program coordinator.

These yearling bulls are an outstanding group of purebred herd sire prospects and commercial bulls, he said. There are several outstanding prospects in every breed for purebred breeders serious about improving their herds.


Meat Processor Considering a Buyout

Meat Processor Considering a Buyout

New York Times

Swift, the beef and pork producer, said yesterday that it was considering a possible buyout after receiving “unsolicited inquiries” during the last six months.

JPMorgan Chase has been hired to help review strategic and financial alternatives, including a sale, “a merger, strategic partnerships or refinancing,” Swift said in a statement.

Swift, which is based in Greeley, Colo., has had just one profitable quarter since November 2004 as beef exports have been slow to return after countries lifted bans on United States supplies after the appearance of mad-cow disease. Earlier this month, Swift reported a second-quarter loss of $12 million, and last week it said it would cut 70 jobs at its Greeley headquarters as part of a plan to reduce overhead costs.


Cattle farmers struggle

Cattle farmers struggle


COLUMBIA — A shortage of hay has Missouri cattle farmers struggling to feed their livestock. A summer drought combined with the recent winter storms has left many Missouri cattle without feed.

Officials with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association told KRCG news that they hope Missouri beef producers can ship supplies of hay from other states to help with the shortage.


Smithfield shares rise with rumors

Smithfield shares rise with rumors

Wichita Eagle

Shares of Smithfield Foods Inc. soared the most in seven weeks on speculation that the world’s largest pork producer will buy some of the assets of rival Swift & Co. should that company be broken up and sold.

Smithfield, which owns the Farmland Foods plant in Wichita, rose 52 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $25.28 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest one-day gain since Dec. 1. Shares of the Smithfield, Va.-based company have fallen 12 percent in the past year.

Cattle Buyers Weekly, a beef industry newsletter, said last week that Greeley, Colo.-based Swift’s owner, HM Capital Partners LLC, is discussing a sale and that Smithfield, the fifth-largest U.S. beef packer, could buy Swift beef plants in Hyrum, Utah, and Dumas, Texas, as well as a pork plant in Worthington, Minn.

Swift, the third-largest U.S. beef and pork producer, has apparently hired investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. to assist with a sale, the newsletter said, without saying where its information came from.


Initial Ethanol Push Challenges Beef Market

Initial Ethanol Push Challenges Beef Market

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608,skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Steve Amosson, 806-677-5600,samosson@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. Jim MacDonald, 806-677-5600,jcmacdonald@ag.tamu.edu

Ag News-TAMU

Like it or not, ethanol is coming, and beef producers must be prepared to weather the transitional phase and capitalize on the potentials in the future, said two speakers at the Southwest Beef Symposium in Amarillo.

“The short run is going to be tough, but in the long run, things will work out,” said Dr. Steve Amosson, Texas Cooperative Extension economist.

Feed prices are being driven up by predictions of 3 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity coming online in the next year. Ethanol would require almost an 8-million acre increase in corn acreage, which equates to an additional 1.1 billion bushels of corn, Amosson said.

“I feel the corn prices will range from $3 to $4.25 per bushel on the board for the next couple of years, and the differential between corn and sorghum will narrow,” he said.