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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Sale of cattle herd raises money for scholarship fund


The County Press

Deckerville cattlemen Lee and Bonnie Sweet sold off their entire herd of Angus cattle at the Marlette Livestock Pavilion June 21, but their exit from the cattle business means three Thumb area youth with have a chance to enter the business.

The couple donated a yearling, registered Angus heifer, Sweet Design Frontier 703, to raise money for the Paul DeLong Memorial Scholarship of the Thumb Jackpot Educational Program and the Michigan Angus Auxiliary Junior Scholarship Program.

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Feed Ban Enhancement: Implementation Questions & Answers


1. Q:  What changes were made to FDA¡¯s animal feed regulations?

A:  The changes to the regulations provide additional protections against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, ¡°mad cow disease¡±).  FDA added a new section 589.2001 to the regulations which prohibits the use of high-risk cattle material in feed for all animal species.  This section builds on the 1997 BSE feed regulation at 589.2000, which remains in effect but which applies only to feed for cattle and other ruminants.

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Beef producers plan video campaign with GolinHarris

Kimberly Maul


CHICAGO: The Beef Checkoff Program, a government-mandated program for the beef industry, plans to launch a video-based campaign to show US consumers how their beef is produced. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which represents America’s cattle industry and is a beef checkoff contractor, is working on the campaign with GolinHarris, which it hired in February 2008 as its first agency focused primarily on safety and environmental PR.*

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Q&A How many pounds of corn silage should be fed per cow each day. These cattle range from 900-1200#. During the feeding period they will also have hay and some bermuda grass.

Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, Animal Science, University of Nebraska

A:   I would suggest that you test all the forages that you are considering feeding so that combinations can be mixed to do the best job of meeting the cow’s requirements and to reduce any off-the-farm purchases to meet requirements. The answer to you question is, it depends.

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AFBF Lend an Attentive Ear to Animal Care


To address consumer concerns about the care provided to farm animals in the production of meat, milk and eggs, the American Farm Bureau Federation has launched the Conversations on Animal Care initiative.

Conversations on Animal Care is a comprehensive effort that supports farmers and ranchers who are eager to engage consumers in a positive dialogue about animal care. The initiative also helps livestock producers share positive and personal insights on the care they provide farm animals.

The initiative puts the faces of farmers and ranchers on our nation’s livestock care issues as they demonstrate that the animals they care for produce safe, healthy food for Americans, according to AFBF Public Relations Director Don Lipton.

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Survey Shows Retailers are Responding to Consumers

Cattle Today

Cattlemen must continually evaluate market conditions and make adjustments accordingly. It’s no different for businessmen on the other side of the beef chain.

Meat marketers completed a survey of 121 retail stores in metro areas across 34 states and compared it to a similar report from 2004. “The 2007 National Meat Case Study” identified the ways retailers are responding to their consumers.

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Nebraska issues embargo on California, New Mexico cattle


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has issued importation embargoes for beef cattle and bison entering the state from California and New Mexico.

The embargoes are due to recent discoveries of animals with tuberculosis.

The embargoes will require beef cattle and bison entering Nebraska from the two states to meet some standards set by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. To learn about the standards, contact the state ag department by calling 800-572-2437

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