Daily Archives: May 16, 2008

Cattlemen urge Farm Bill approval

Cattlemen urge Farm Bill approval

Legislation far from perfect, but best policy option available


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports presidential approval of the Farm Bill Conference Report passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this week and by the U.S. Senate earlier today. While the nation’s oldest and largest cattlemen’s organization agrees with some criticisms of the legislation, NCBA strongly prefers it to either a reversion to the permanent farm policy law passed in 1949, or a long-term extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. President Bush is likely to veto the Farm Bill Conference Report, even though it passed both houses of Congress by a substantial margin.


High Input Costs Bring a Rethinking of Cattle Grazing Strategies

High Input Costs Bring a Rethinking of Cattle Grazing Strategies

Mark Parker


Change never stands still for a cattleman trying to throw a saddle on it.

Back in the once-upon-a-times, great cattle drives stirred the dust across Texas and Oklahoma as ranchers pointed their herds up the trail toward Kansas.

That era lasted less than 20 years, though, because the industry changed and, suddenly, being the best trail boss in the world didn’t count for much.

Genetics, health, nutrition, handling, merchandising–none of it looks the same as it did just a decade or two back. And right now, as feed and fertilizer costs leave “through the roof” in the rear-view mirror, the industry may be poised to shift once again.


Beef Talk: Cow Size – How Much More Does the Big Cow Eat?

Beef Talk: Cow Size – How Much More Does the Big Cow Eat?

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Daily Intake of Dry Matter Feed Daily Intake of Dry Matter Feed

The core issue is what cattle to feed if feed becomes limited.

Feeding cows can be simple, but also complicated. In simplest form, the cow needs to fill up with grass or some other palatable green forage.

The green forage tends to be seasonal, while the grazing of seeds and dry grass is the nongrowing season staple. Regardless of the season, a cow’s nutritional requirements need to be met. The challenge is making sure our production expectations are in tune with what Mother Nature provides.

Our pastures and feed piles may be limited as we struggle to balance feed and cattle. When seasons are as now, the lack of rain (or other environmental restraint) highlights the need to plan.

Congress hears results of U.S. horse slaughter ban

Congress hears results of U.S. horse slaughter ban

Bryan Salvage

Participants in the Livestock Marketing Association’s fourth annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In said members of Congress are realizing the unintended consequences of closing the last three horse slaughter plants in the U.S.

Jim Santomaso, L.M.A. president, said the industry is seeing “more and more reports of abandoned horses and of horses turned out and left to starve because owners can’t afford their upkeep or have the means to properly dispose of them,” after a series of legislative actions closed the three remaining U.S.-based plants in recent years.


K-State Beef Conference ‘Managing Cow Costs’ Slated August 7-8

K-State Beef Conference ‘Managing Cow Costs’ Slated August 7-8


Kansas State University Research and Extension will host the K-State Beef Conference “Managing Annual Cow Costs” Aug. 7-8 in Manhattan.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Barry Dunn of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas.


Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power

Rick Rasby

Angus Journal

Cow costs continue to increase in the cow-calf enterprise. Fuel, labor and feed costs have caused the cost of producing a weaned calf to increase. Although pasture grazing costs have increased, it still appears more profitable to keep cattle grazing for as many months out of the year as possible compared to dry-lotting and carrying feeds to feed them. Producers can control the time of year when the nutrient demands of the cow herd are the greatest and when they are the lowest. Producers can determine when the cow herd will calve by determining when a defined breeding season will begin and end and when weaning will occur. Couple this with information on pasture quality, and producers may have the opportunity to keep unit cost of production in check as other costs continue to increase.


Cash cows?

Cash cows?

Susan Gibbs

Greene County Record Reporter

Three pregnant Angus heifers were loaded into a truck at Mountain View Farm in Stanardsville May 1

It was the first leg of their trip to Turkey.

Evan Bowman, son of Mountain View owners Van and Betty Bowman, says it was a matter of “being in the right place at the right time.”

He was at a sale in Culpeper when he met Gordon Thornhill, president of T.K. Exports, Inc. – a Culpeper firm that has been managing export projects for more than 25 years.


Carlsons concentrate on structure and growth in building herd

Carlsons concentrate on structure and growth in building herd

Dan Whitney

Cherokee Chronicle Times

When Dr. Mark Carlson moved to his farm on the north edge of Cherokee in 1984, he began raising cattle. Starting with crossbred cows, the veterinarian/farmer switched over to purebreds over a period of time, and now has approximately 160 head of purebreds – mostly Angus and a few Polled Herefords.


Legal Defense Fund Moves to Stop Animal ID Program;

Legal Defense Fund Moves to Stop Animal ID Program;

Files Intent to Sue Letter with USDA and Michigan Department of Agriculture

Attorneys for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund today sent a Notice of Intent to Sue letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) over implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a plan to electronically track every livestock animal in the country.

The Notice asks the USDA and MDA to “immediately suspend the funding and implementation of NAIS,” and “fully and fairly examine” whether there is even a need for such a program.


Bovine TB status slip means headaches now, dollar drain later

Bovine TB status slip means headaches now, dollar drain later

Justin R. Lessman

Jackson County Pilot

Though the recent tightening of testing restrictions resulting from changes in the state’s bovine tuberculosis status is at best a major inconvenience for cattle producers looking to show or sell across state lines, come time to sell feeder cattle this fall, the status shift could prove financially devastating.

Mandated testing as a result of last month’s bovine TB status downgrade already means most cattle producers looking to ship stock across state lines must shell out around $10 per head to a licensed veterinarian. If it’s breeding stock they’re dealing with, that’s $10 per head for the entire herd.


PRC Group Sends Message To Washington:

PRC Group Sends Message To Washington:

Douglas County Herald

A standing room only crowd at last week’s Property Rights Congress meeting sent word to Senator Jim Talent that they did not want the animal identification system being proposed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The overflow crowd made their opinions clear to Terry Campbell, Talent’s district representative Thursday in Mtn. Grove at the group’s monthly meeting.

Bob Parker gave an overview of the proposal quoting directly from the Draft Plan issued by the USDA pointing out that the plan starts out as voluntary and progresses to mandatory. It would require tagging virtually all farm animals with radio transmitting tags and reporting all movements of animals to and from their home base, he said. Every property with livestock on it would have to have a number issued by the government and the plan would require compliance with these and other requirements in order to sell or move animals.


Livestock producers defend practices animal-rights groups criticize

Livestock producers defend practices animal-rights groups criticize


The Modesto Bee

Depending on whom you ask, livestock farms house healthy, contented animals or dirty, little secrets.

Producers of beef, eggs and other products are defending their industries against accusations from animal-rights groups, some armed with undercover video cameras.

Tuesday, a group called Mercy for Animals alleged that laying hens at Gemperle Farms of Turlock have been pushed roughly into cages and otherwise abused by workers.

Wednesday, the Humane Society of the United States charged that sick and injured cattle were mistreated at auction sites and stockyards in four states.


To Market, to Market: Farmers Face Modern Dilemmas

To Market, to Market: Farmers Face Modern Dilemmas

Is agribusiness forgetting its humanity when treating animals destined for dinner?

Frank Rosci

Jewish Exponent

Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture being presented to and perceived by the public.

In the generally accepted scheme of things, farm animals are viewed in this country as food — and little else — by most people and civil authorities, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Animal lives have value to today’s modern mega-farms only as products that will yield the highest profit at market value.


Rockingham research station defended as valuable to region

Rockingham research station defended as valuable to region

Miranda Baines

Rockingham News

Burley tobacco. Canola-oil plants for biodiesel production. Cattle research.

With 835 sprawling acres, the Upper Piedmont Research Station outside Reidsville near Chinqua Penn is the largest research station in the state, Dr. Joseph “Joe” French, station superintendent, said.

The fate of the agricultural station is up in the air, however.

A draft report from the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight of the General Assembly has recommended closing the Reidsville research station, as well as sites in Whiteville, Castle Hayne, Waynesville, Oxford, Butner and Laurel Springs. The changes would save the state as much as $55 million.

The report also recommended transferring ownership of all 18 research stations to N.C. State University. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services operates 18 research stations across the state but owns only 12. N.C. State University owns the remaining six, including the Reidsville station.


Clinton family brings innovation to farming

Clinton family brings innovation to farming

Indiana Farm Sustainability Tour makes stop in Vermillion County

Deb Kelly

The Tribune-Star

A hundred years ago, a sleepy farm nestled in the hills of southwestern Indiana, its pastures dotted with sheep and cattle, would have been unremarkable.

Today, however, that same farm has become an innovative, educational destination where one small family raises sheep, pigs and cattle for meat.

Welcome to the 21st century of small-scale, sustainable family farming, where the old chores of gathering eggs and putting up hay have been amended to include updating the farm’s Web site, filling online orders and writing a monthly newsletter.