Daily Archives: April 1, 2008

Outrage hits ‘naturally raised’ USDA meat labeling plan

Outrage hits ‘naturally raised’ USDA meat labeling plan

Philip Brashear

DesMoines Register

The U.S. Agriculture Department already allows meat to be called “natural” so long as it’s minimally processed and doesn’t contain artificial ingredients.

Now, the Agriculture Department is proposing to let packers label beef, pork or lamb as “naturally raised,” so long as the livestock were never given antibiotics or synthetic hormones or fed any animal by-products. USDA officials say the new labeling would give shoppers more choices in the meat case.

But the proposal, which has drawn 44,000 mostly negative comments, has outraged consumer advocates and many livestock producers, who say the rules don’t go far enough because livestock could still be kept in conventional confinement operations and qualify for the new label. Meatpackers themselves are divided over whether the new labeling is a good idea. At least one company fears the label would make conventional products look bad.


This Is The Time When Investments Pay Off

This Is The Time When Investments Pay Off

Troy Marshall

Beef Magazine

If you’ve attended just about any industry meeting the last couple of years, likely someone talked about the value of building relationships and collecting and using information. The trouble is that while we all appreciate the wisdom in that advice, the marketplace made it easy to ignore.

Numbers were tight, demand was growing and the upper segments were burdened with over-capacity. Customers didn’t have much opportunity to differentiate on the basis of value or relationships.


Safety the focus of beef industry summit

Safety the focus of beef industry summit


More than 160 leaders, including cattle producers, feeders, processors as well as retailers and foodservice operators, convened at the fifth annual Beef Industry Safety Summit March 5-7 in Dallas, to explore solutions to safety challenges as well as review and update best practices based on the latest science.

University scientists presented research results on pre-harvest and processing interventions as well as pathogen data which will be used to enhance beef safety systems. Experts on emerging issues including multi drug-resistant pathogens and non-O157 E. coli, shared information that will allow the industry to proactively address these challenges. Attendees also had an opportunity to hear from a live consumer panel highlighting perceptions and beliefs about food safety.

FULL STORY (Registration may be required)

Synchronize Nutrients

Synchronize Nutrients

Ed Haag

Angus Journal

Achieving nutrient synchrony in ruminants might not offer a solution to all the challenges facing cattle producers during the next couple of decades, but Matt Hersom, beef specialist with the University of Florida–Gainsville, says this emerging line of inquiry will provide us valuable insights into at least two of the major issues the industry faces today and in the future.

“There is a growing need for optimized nutrient utilization to address increasing costs of production and environmental considerations,” he says. “These two areas of concern will necessitate opportunities to improve nutrient synchrony.”

Effect Of Scours On Calf Weaning Weight

Effect Of Scours On Calf Weaning Weight


Montana State Univ. researchers evaluated health and performance records of 3637 calves from inbred and outbred populations over a 14-year period. The inbred cattle were linebred Herefords. The outbred cattle consisted of four genotypes: 1) Hereford; 2) Angus x Hereford; 3) Simmental x Hereford; and 4) Tarentaise x Hereford. Over the 14-year period, the average incidence of scours was 35%; the range was 13 to 64%. Incidence of scours was significantly higher for inbred than outbred calves (41 vs. 28%).


Baxter Black, DVM: Mothering Instinct

Baxter Black, DVM:  Mothering Instinct

Cattle Today

For years, New Mexico State University managed a ranch on the Jornada, running Santa Gertrudis’ cattle. One of the vivid lessons I learned was the intense protectiveness of the Braymer-blood mama cows. If you stepped into the high-fenced corrals with the mothers and their youngin’s, you were asking for trouble. They were big, dark red, rangey and high-horned. When one turned her head and locked you in her gaze, you knew how it felt to look down the barrel of a cannon and see Darth Vader peekin’ back!

Stable Fly Identification & Life Cycle

Stable Fly Identification & Life Cycle


The stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans), sometimes called the “biting fly,” is a common fly that attacks people living in neighborhoods where livestock animals (e.g., horses, cattle, and sheep) are present or that are close to livestock facilities.

Stable flies typically appear in midspring, become severe in early summer, and decrease in numbers throughout the remaining summer months. These flies are similar in appearance to house flies, except that stable flies have a bayonetlike mouthpart (proboscis) protruding from the front of the head and they lack the four dark stripes on the thorax indicative of house flies.


Trent Loos: Ignorance is the actual danger ?

Trent Loos:  Ignorance is the actual danger ?

IT is amazing that we, as humans, can live to be 100 years old, especially considering that most of us voluntarily consume pesticides on a daily basis.

I just learned that there are more pesticides in our environment than I ever realized. In fact, the latest pesticide of concern is not produced in the U.S. It is imported.

This pesticide is used to protect tropical plants from pests and, right behind oil, is the second-most imported item. In fact, it is reported that one-fifth of the world’s production of this pesticide is consumed by Americans.

The medical name of this pesticide is trimethylzanthine. In its purest form, it is a white crystalline powder.


NIAA Annual Meeting Comes to Indiana this Week

NIAA Annual Meeting Comes to Indiana this Week

Andy Eubank

Hoosier AG Today

Tuesday in Indianapolis kicks off a first for Indiana, hosting the annual meeting of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. The 3-day event at the Westin, titled Animal Care and Well-Being, Facts not Fiction, will be home to those in production animal agriculture from all over the country. Dr. Rafael Seneriz is on the board of NIAA and is the host committee chairman. He has been lobbying for some years for Indiana to be the host state. “For many years I have said ‘what about Indianapolis, the crossroads of America?’ We have a wonderful airport facility and very rich agricultural state. Finally the board listened to me and here we are. We’ll put our best foot forward and maybe do it again.”


Nutrient Form & Balance

Nutrient Form & Balance


Most feedstuffs provide a combination of nutrients but are classified according to the primary nutrient provided. In most situations it is desirable to include a mix of feedstuffs in the ration to help provide a more desirable balance of nutrients to optimize ruminal fermentation and health. For example, high-fiber energy supplements are useful for reducing the starch concentration of rations based on corn silage and supplemented ground corn. For diets containing high-quality legume silage or high-protein grass silage, protein supplements that contain rapidly degraded protein would not be desirable. However, there are other situations in which the use of urea or another source of degradable protein should be fed even though it may not be the least expensive protein source compared with soybean meal.


Are You Ready for Spring Calving?

Are You Ready for Spring Calving?

Cattle Today

Spring calving season here, and even though the majority of cattle give birth without assistance, it’s always wise to be prepared for those that will need help. When observing pregnant cows for signs of calving, you can divide the process of labor into three general stages. These include the preparatory stage (Stage 1), the fetal expulsion stage (Stage 2) and the cleaning stage (Stage 3). Time intervals and events that occur will vary between each stage as well as vary between individuals.

Stage 1 occurs when cervical dilation and early uterine contractions begin. Cows will begin to show behavioral changes like moving away from the herd, restlessness and off feed. Physical signs include relaxation of the pelvic ligaments indicated by a sunken croup and a raised tail and the udder will also be enlarged and tight. The presentation of the water bag usually indicates the end of Stage 1 and the beginning of Stage 2.    


Impact of meat recall beginning to show

Impact of meat recall beginning to show

Julie Schmit


The full costs of the biggest beef recall ever are beginning to emerge six weeks later and they are hitting retailers, meat processors, other businesses and the government.

In California alone, more than $1.1 million has been spent to destroy the beef and products containing it that were distributed via the federal school lunch program, state officials say.

EARLIER: Cattle-handling violations weren’t rare at slaughterhouse

That covers 4.2 million pounds of beef and 155,000 cases of processed food, says Phyllis Bramson-Paul, a director of nutritional services for the state education department.

California was one of 46 states that got beef from now-closed Westland/Hallmark Meat through the National School Lunch Program. But officials say it was likely one of the largest recipients because Westland/Hallmark’s plant was in Chino, Calif. Westland/Hallmark recalled 143 million pounds of beef Feb. 17.


U.S. vows to seek fully open Japanese market

U.S. vows to seek fully open Japanese market

Tom Wray


The United States on Friday said that it will keep urging that Japan fully open its market to American beef by lifting its restrictions related to mad cow disease fears.

“The U.S. government remains highly concerned by Japan’s unwillingness to adopt these science based, international guidelines under which beef and beef products can be safely traded,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in its 2008 National Trade Estimate Report on foreign trade barriers, according to the Japan Economic Newswire.

The report was referring to a decision last May by the World Organization for Animal Health to allow the United States to export beef regardless of cattle age, the news service said.

Putting a familiar face on JBS Swift

Putting a familiar face on JBS Swift

During the North American Meat Processors Association’s 51st Management Conference held in Chicago this past week, an executive with JBS S.A., attempted to put a face with the company name, which has become a global powerhouse in the meat segment with its recent acquisitions. Chandler Keys, senior spokesman for JBS Swift, Greeley, Colo., discussed the company’s history, the family ownership and goals as well as its recent buying binge. He also addressed some of the issues facing the red meat sector in the coming year.


Cattle Theft on the Rise Again; Prevention is Key

Cattle Theft on the Rise Again; Prevention is Key

The Monett Times

During the last few months cattle theft has become a popular activity in the Ozarks, especially during nights with full moons.

At this point, it doesn’t seem that there is as much of a problem as southwest Missouri experienced in 2005 and 2006 according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Back in 2005 and 2006 there was a lot of publicity about the problem in Barry, Stone, Christian and Greene counties which seemed to move the problem out of the area,” said Cole.

Recently, reports of missing cattle are coming in from Dade, Cedar and Lawrence counties.