American Angus Association CEO John Crouch announces retirement
John Crouch, chief executive officer (CEO) of the world’s largest beef breed registry and a pioneer in the performance movement, has announced his intention to retire from the American Angus Association later in the year. He made his intention known Feb. 20, during a regularly scheduled Board of Directors Meeting in Saint Joseph, Mo.
The Board reluctantly accepted Crouch’s decision, Association President and Chairman of the Board Paul Hill said, noting Crouch is the first executive in 45 years to retire from the post.
“John Crouch has dedicated 34 years of his life to the American Angus Association,” says Hill of Champion Hill Farms, Bidwell, Ohio. “He’s the only chief executive to start within the organization as a regional manager, progress to director of performance programs, and then on to become executive vice president and CEO of the Association. The entire beef industry is indebted to John Crouch for advancing leading-edge genetic evaluations.”
Illinois Cattleman Willrett Elected President Of Cattle-Fax
Illinois cattle producer Jamie Willrett has been elected as the new president of Cattle-Fax, a member-owned and member-directed cattle market information and research organization.
Willrett is a partner in J. Willrett Farms, a diversified farming and cattle feeding operation located near Malta, Ill., about 70 miles west of Chicago. He is also co-owner of Beef Performance Technology, which provides ultrasound technology as a management tool for cattle feeders.
Active in both state and national cattlemen’s organizations, Willrett has held many leadership positions with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). He served on the NCBA Executive Committee from 2001 to 2003, and chaired the NCBA International Markets Committee in 2004 and 2005. He currently serves on the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Committee.
If your budget for cow minerals doesn’t stretch year-round, at least make sure your females get what they need that last trimester of pregnancy.
“We need to focus the most on mineral nutrition the last trimester of pregnancy and the first 100 days following calving when cows are rebreeding,” says John Arthington, University of Florida animal scientist. “That includes both the quality of the mineral nutrition as well as the assurance they are eating the mineral in the proper amount.”
He explains, “Copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are both excreted from the body during stress, and calving is very stressful. Cows need stores in their tissues to replenish those lost in calving. They are also putting minerals in the calf through fetal growth.”
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Checkoff receives ‘Clean Bill of Health”
How well do you know your checkoff? Without prompting, 87 percent had heard of the program, and 68 percent consider themselves somewhat or very well informed, according to a recent study by Aspen Media & Market Research, Boulder, Colo. In total, random telephone interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 1,225 beef and dairy producers nationwide between Dec. 27, 2007 and Jan. 10, 2008 to determine their awareness of, attitudes toward, and concerns about the Beef Checkoff Program.
“The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) has conducted this independent survey biannually throughout the history of the checkoff to make sure it’s funding the programs and producing the results cattle producers who pay the checkoff expect of their program,” says CBB member Richard Nielson, a producer from Ephraim, Utah, and chair of the Joint Producer Communications Committee. “In addition, the results of this survey help guide program recommendations of the producer communications committee. Our ultimate goal is to develop a plan of work for communicating information about Beef Checkoff Program investments to the beef and dairy producers, and importers who pay the checkoff, with particular emphasis on providing clear, consistent and no-nonsense answers to producer questions.”
BVD screening project enters third season in Montana
Montana State University
Montana ranchers who want to test their cattle for persistent infection of the bovine viral diarrhea virus can sign up for the 2008 Montana BVD-PI Herd Biosecurity Project.
Now entering its third year, the project is designed to improve the health of Montana’s cow herd and add value to the state’s calf crop. The project will provide technical assistance and a screening supply kit to participants through 2008.
“The project assists ranchers in preventing transmission of the BVD virus from PI animals to their breeding herds,” said Clint Peck of Billings, director of Beef Quality Assurance programs for Montana State University. The project is supported by the Montana Stockgrowers Association and funded through the Montana Beef Network.
Documentary explores how corn became king in America
By John E. Mitchell,
North Adams Transcript
In “King Corn,” two East Coast college boys decide to return to the roots of their family in Iowa and investigate the real meaning of the term “corn-fed.”
The film follows the blueprint of those amiable, first-person investigations where the journaling aspect of the documentary is meant to orientate people to the personal logistics and give the issue a face — in this era of Morgan Spurlock, everyone’s doing it. The issue is the prevalence of corn in the American diet, why it is so all-encompassing and how it may just destroy us all. That may sound dramatic, but by the time the film ends and completes its circle of allegations, a viewer walks away with the impression that the American people are paying out of their own pockets for the diabetes and heart disease — it’s just that the money is funneled through so many concerns that the process seems not that much different from the drug trade.
Young Guns Provide Progressive Genetics to Herds
An eye toward the future has always been a quality shared by top cattlemen. Whether it’s a seedstock producer positioning the herd to have a viable genetic base for generations to come or a commercial cattlemen looking to gain the edge by capitalizing on the right combination of genetics and management to be profitable in any market scenario, forward thinking has dominated production of recent times.
In the 21st Century beef industry, “the future is now” is very relevant to everyday production practices. Tools to improve genetics, management and efficiency are readily available through many different outlets. Two-year-old heifers and yearling bull management during the first breeding season still test cattlemen trying to capitalize on these important breeding pieces that could have significant impact on the program. These delicate items are often sacrificed at a huge loss due to lack of forward thinking. Restructuring management practices to keep them sound, both physically and reproductively, will pay dividends in the long run.
Beef with oversight
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus
There are Americans who seriously, even passionately, believe that the lowest possible level of government regulation is the most desirable level. Given their way, these advocates would have the smallest possible United States government (and, of course, the lowest possible taxes), although they probably would accept an expensive exception for the Pentagon.
However, it’s one thing to keep government’s pesky nose out of business, but quite another to allow commercial priorities to run over the public’s best interests, unimpeded by sensible regulation. In fact, there are countless arguments that favor stricter rather than less rigorous government interference in the marketplace. For example, just consider all the made-in-China products (including countless drugs) that enter our economy without the benefit of adequate safety inspections.
Bringing home the beef
Bill Tripp stood outside a meat locker where a dozen slabs of frozen beef dangled upside down, waiting to be carved into steaks, ground into hamburgers or stuffed into sandwiches.
“I talk to a lot of kids and ask them where they think a hamburger comes from,” he said.
“They say from the back room at the Grand Union.”
Tripp is the owner of Locust Grove Farm, a slaughterhouse and smokehouse in Argyle. The six-employee operation slaughters about 10 cows and two dozen pigs in a given week.
Beef Recall Highlights USDA Staff Shortages
Inspectors: Food Safety Threatened
Sometimes, government inspectors responsible for examining slaughterhouse cattle for mad cow disease and other ills are so short-staffed that they find themselves peering down from catwalks at hundreds of animals at once, looking for such telltale signs as droopy ears, stumbling gait and facial paralysis.
The ranks of inspectors are so thin that slaughterhouse workers often figure out when “surprise” visits are about to take place, and make sure they are on their best behavior.
Minn. TB outbreak causes ND to tighten cattle import regs
North Dakota is imposing tougher testing requirements on Minnesota ranchers who want to bring beef cattle into the state.
It’s in response to an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota. Since October 2007, four beef cattle herds in the region have tested positive for tuberculosis.
North Dakota’s Board of Animal Health ordered the new rules to take effect immediately. The U.S. Agriculture Department is likely to impose tougher rules of its own. But they may not take effect for weeks or months.
National Animal Identification Workshop Set For April 3
Discussions on the opportunities and challenges of the USDA-generated “A Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability” and pending implementation of Country of Origin Labeling are two key topics on the agenda of the 2008 ID•INFO Workshop slated for Thursday, April 3, in Indianapolis, Ind. This year’s one-day workshop will be conducted in conjunction with the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) annual meeting.
“In respect of everyone’s time, this year’s ID•INFO Workshop is being condensed into one day,” states Glenn Fischer, Planning Group Chair of the ID•INFO Workshop. “With this tight time frame, we’re going to hit topics hard and fast and depart the workshop with solutions and more answers than questions.”
USDA’s Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability kicks off the morning’s discussion with National NAIS coordinator Neil Hammerschmidt delivering an update on the Plan. Hammerschmidt will be followed by a healthy discussion on the Plan’s challenges and opportunities from three perspectives: state, industry and information systems.
Angus Association Releases Docility EPDs
The American Angus Association® recently released a new research docility genetic evaluation. Differentiating cattle temperament is a likely topic of discussion for many producers. In Angus cattle, a factual means to describe temperament variation is now a reality.
The research report includes sire docility expected progeny differences (DOC EPDs). These EPDs are a tool to increase the chance of a sire’s calves having calm behavior compared to calves of other sires. “Docility EPDs can be used as part of a complete selection program in the event that a producer needs to make improvement in a herd’s cattle temperament. Angus breeders have submitted nearly 40,000 yearling temperament scores to allow genetic differences to be identified in sires for docility,” says Sally Northcutt, genetic research director for the Association.
ZigBeef Offers Ranchers a Long-Distance Cattle Head Count
The long-range RFID system promises to provide ranchers, their commercial interests and rodeos an easier method for tracking their animals, through ZigBee technology.
A new active RFID system is set to help ranchers and rodeos track animals from a distance, as well as measure an animal’s movement during a rodeo competition, for instance, when it is difficult to track exactly when a bull came out of its gate, or when it was roped and immobilized. The solution, provided by a startup company called ZigBeef, is being developed to allow cattle ranchers and their financial backers to track each head of cattle on a daily basis. The system became commercially available two weeks ago.
USDA unsure if Calif. cattle case isolated to plant
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Days after the largest meat recall in U.S. history, the head of the Agriculture Department said officials are reviewing why a California plant processed unfit cattle, and that it was too early to determine whether it was an incident specific to the facility.
The USDA announced on Sunday that the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co was recalling 143 million lbs (65 million kilos) of meat, mostly beef, after plant workers were caught on videotape forcing unfit cattle into the slaughterhouse.