Daily Archives: July 25, 2008

Is Buyer’s Remorse Setting In?

Activists Asking Government To Go Easy On Them Now

David Tribe/Steve Dittmer

Activist groups significantly responsible for America’s upcoming disruptive mandatory Country-of- Origin Labeling (mCOOL) program have sent a letter to a federal agency asking it to adhere to amendments other groups pleaded for in mitigating damage from the regulatory juggernaut.

The groups asked the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to keep the "spirit and intent of Congress’ new amendments" in USDA-AMS regulations due soon. The irony is, the 2008 amendments to the original 2002 mCOOL law were designed to soften damage from the 2002 law these very groups supported in its strictest form. R- CALF, National Farmers Union, Consumer Federation of America and Food and Water Watch sent the plea to OMB. OMB is involved in the rulemaking process with USDA-AMS. Suddenly, the groups are concerned about "burdensome or stringent" regulations. Coming from those who asked the government for these regulations and costs, that’s fascinating.

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COOL Workshops to be Hosted


The American Meat Institute, in partnership with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the United Fresh Produce Association, will present a series of workshops in August to explain how to comply with new country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws, set to go into effect Sept. 30, 2008.

The workshops, which will be held on August 12 at the Four Points Sheraton, Baltimore, Maryland; August 13 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois; and August 14 at the Wyndam Hotel, San Jose, California, provide the unique opportunity for retailers and their meat and produce suppliers to sit side by side and learn about the new laws and how to implement them together.

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BeefTalk: Understanding Data Takes Time, Focus and Dedication

Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Feedlot Net Returns Feedlot Net Returns

It takes data and, with the evaluation and understanding of that data, producers can implement managerial change that brings with it good net returns.

On June 26, the Dickinson Research Extension Center received the final data sheet on its 2007 steers. The closeout ranked net return and noted the top 20 percent, middle 60 percent and bottom 20 percent.

The steers had an average net return of $33.82. The top 20 percent returned $107 per head, the middle 60 percent returned $35 per head and the bottom 20 percent lost $43 per head.

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CRP Ruling Called Victory for Farmers

Hoosier AG Today

  U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour decided Thursday that while the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not conduct an appropriate environmental review before opening 24 million acres of private conservation land around the country to haying and grazing, it would be unfair to farmers and ranchers to stop the program because many were counting on using that land. The National Wildlife Foundation and its Washington, Indiana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana and Kansas chapters initially sought an injunction to stop the emergency haying and grazing program, which was announced in May. Although the grazing and haying would only be allowed after primary nesting season ends – this month or next, depending on the location – the damage to wintering areas and habitat for the grassland birds, as well as water quality, could last for years, they argued.

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Farm and Food File: Packer buyouts leave bad taste in everyone’s mouth

The Land

When Wesley Batista, the North American boss of Brazilian meatpacker JBS Swift, testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee probing his firm’s pending buyout of National Beef Packing and Smithfield Foods beef operations, he all but sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and waved Old Glory.

“We want to expand U.S. sales of beef and pork, domestically and around the world,” Batista told the Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights May 7. “In the process, we will create U.S. jobs.”

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Federal judge allows cows to graze on protected land

Marie Price

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY –  A court ruling allowing grazing on some federal lands will help save ranching operations in the drought-plagued Oklahoma Panhandle, officials said.

On Thursday, a Seattle federal judge issued an order that allows producers to graze their herds on land under the critical feed use provision of the Conservation Reserve Program, subject to certain deadlines.

A cattleman himself, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas is not directly affected by the CRP decision, but understands producers’ plight.

“One of the most important things you want to do is preserve your herd of beef cattle,” Lucas said.

He said some herds have been in the same family for decades, with bloodlines going back as many as 100 years.

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Drought conditions intensify across Georgia

David Emory Stooksbury

Georgia Faces, University of Georgia

Exceptional drought has returned to northeast Georgia, and continuing dry weather has spread drought conditions to southeast Georgia.

Although scattered thunderstorms brought some relief to drought-parched Georgia during July, allowing plants to show some recovery, the relief was localized. The rains were not enough to halt dropping stream flows across most of the state.

Many streams are at or near record low flows for late July.

Exceptional drought conditions now are occurring north and east of a line from Wilkes to Oglethorpe to Clarke to Jackson to Hall to Lumpkin to Union counties, inclusive. This includes 16 counties in northeast Georgia.

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