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Thursday, December 20,2007

Huffines, Northcutt receive Continuing Service Awards

by WLJ
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored Craig Huffhines and Sally Northcutt on June 7 with its Continuing Service Award during the organization’s 39th annual meeting in Fort Collins, CO. Craig Huffines Huffhines has been the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Hereford Association (AHA) since 1997. He initially joined the AHA stall in 1992 upon completing a master’s degree in meat science from Colorado Slate University (CSU). His early responsibilities included director of feedlot and carcass programs for AHA’s Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) program. He was named CHB director in 1995, launching a fully aligned, breed- specific, branded beef program into the retail and foodservice sectors. During his tenure at AHA, Huffhines has assembled a great team of employees, combining a blend of professionals representing decades of experience in pedigree registry work with a young group of agriculture professionals leading the charge in innovative technological and marketing advancement. Under Huffhines’ guidance, CHB has become a true national brand. In addition, Huffhines’ team has instituted a fully aligned traceabilily system that tracks cattle from the ranch through the processing phase. A native Texan, Huffhines received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Texas A&M University prior to his master’s training at CSU. He was project leader for the CSU Hereford study, which formed the basis for the CHB program. He has since served in several industry capacities, including president of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 2003 to 2006, chairman of the BIF Emerging Technology Committee from 2004 to 2007, and member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Animal Identification working group. Huffhines has served on the BIF board of directors. During his tenure, he was instrumental in forming the present working relationship between BIF and BEEF magazine. Chairing the Emerging Technology Committee, his leadership has been instrumental in the promising field of molecular genetics. The Emerging Technology Committee has assisted USDA with the bovine genome project through the collection of DNA samples. In addition, Huffhines has helped organize and has led BIF efforts in molecular genetic information validation, use, and database development. Under Huffhines’ leadership, the committee has begun to establish marker assisted selection protocols. He and his wife Mary Joe are the parents of three sons—Seth, Cole and Miles. Sally Northcutt BIF also honored Sally Northcutt with its Continuing Service Award. Northcutt is the genetic research director at the American Angus Association. She works with the Performance Programs Department in data analysis and the modeling and application of the National Cattle Evaluation. Northcutt also works with universities across the nation to coordinate the expansive research activities of the association. Under her supervision and guidance, the American Angus Association developed a suite of dollar value indexes ($Values). Since her arrival, the association has transitioned genetic predictions to an in-house system, developed online genetic evaluation tools like the Angus Optimal Milk Module, and established expected progeny differences (EPDs) tor Calving Ease Direct and Calving Ease Maternal. Before her work at the American Angus Association, Northcutt was an Extension beef cattle breeding specialist for nine years at Oklahoma State University. She is actively involved in industry organizations such as BIF, for which she has served in various leadership roles during the past 10 years. She has served diligently on the BIF board of directors and has helped with BIF activities, including guideline revisions, convention program planning, and general policy. Northcutt was a BIF regional secretary and the chairperson of the Producer Applications Committee. She eagerly helped record minutes at every board meeting. As a standing committee chair, her programming provided BIF convention attendees with cutting-edge information on such topics as EPD/selection criteria, animal identification systems, production system management, and genetic/environmental interactions. She is an avid golfer and runner, and she recently completed her first marathon.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Chicago Merc increases Board of Trade bid

by DTN
Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. (CME) said it would increase the value of its $10 billion bid for the Chicago Board of Trade by adding a special dividend for owners of CBOT Holdings Inc. (BOT). The move, announced last Thursday, is designed to respond to a similar proposal from IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), which is pursuing a hostile bid for CBOT, the owner of the country’s oldest futures exchange. Shortly afterward, CBOT said it had rejected ICE’s latest offer. In its announcement, which followed a meeting of CBOT’s board, CBOT said the revised bid isn’t superior to its revised agreement with Chicago Merc. ICE’s revised bid, announced Tuesday, added the potential for shareholders to receive cash instead of stock. CBOT, however, said the revised bid didn’t adequately address strategic and operational issues such as integration and execution risk. CBOT and its special transactions committee also reaffirmed their recommendation that shareholders vote for the Chicago Merc purchase over ICE’s counteroffer. ICE’s primarily share-based bid has been valued higher than the Chicago Merc because the Atlanta energy market operator’s stock price has outperformed the stock of the Chicago financial futures exchange. Pressured by ICE’s success, Chicago Merc already has improved its bid once by giving the Board of Trade a bigger share of the combined new CME Group than it did when the deal was announced last fall. Board of Trade and Chicago Merc officials have said their deal will lead to an easier integration, and the big merger received a shot in the arm last week when the Department of Justice said the deal could go through without conditions designed to prevent antitrust problems. As part of the new proposal, all CBOT shareholders will receive a one-time cash dividend of $9.14 per CBOT share, or a total of $485 million. The new proposal also offers extra consideration available for each Board of Trade member that also has a right to trade on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. With the dividend included, those CBOT shareholders would get about $500,000. ICE and the options exchange recently agreed to pay these Board of Trade members about $500,000 each in a move aimed at settling a long fight between the Board of Trade and the options exchange over valuing the rights.   The Chicago Merc has pledged to fight the options-right case in court if it joins with Board of Trade, and is expected to continue to do so. Thursday, it removed the $15 million cap that it previously had on its legal spending for the case. The new dividend could make its merger proposal more competitive with ICE’s for the significant minority of shares controlled by Board of Trade members who want to see the options issue resolved in their favor. Board of Trade shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Chicago Merc acquisition July 9. Last week, ICE said it would wage a proxy fight to convince those shareholders to vote no. ICE Chief Executive Jeffrey Sprecher has successfully integrated past deals and has said a combined ICE-Board of Trade would form a fast growing agricultural and energy trading company that would take on the Chicago Merc for dominance in U.S. trading of futures contracts.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Industry pioneers honored

by WLJ
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored Rob Brown of R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, TX, David and Emma Danciger, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor and extension specialist Jim Gosey, with the Pioneer Award, June 7 during the organization’s 39th annual meeting in Fort Collins, CO. Rob Brown During the course of his career in the livestock industry, Brown has demonstrated vision, leadership and excellence. As an industry leader for more than 20 years, he has given freely of his time to the industry through numerous organizations. He served as a director to the National Cattlemen’s Association, for which he served as a member of its Executive Committee, chairman of the Membership Committee and chairman of the Purebred Council. He was instrumental in creating the Young Cattlemen’s Conference leadership program. In addition to his leadership legacy, it was Brown’s work on the ranch that established his reputation as a leading supplier of cattle genetics. R.A. Brown Ranch encompasses 58,000 acres in Texas and Colorado and has become known for its forward-thinking and trend-setting ways. Today, the ranch is recognized as a leader in innovative cattle breeding. The ranch, which began as a Hereford and Angus operation in 1895, keeps meticulous records on more than 1,000 head of registered cattle in four breeds and 1,100 commercial cows. During the 1990s, the ranch developed Hollander, a heat-tolerant composite breed. R A. Brown Ranch provides Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus and Hollander bulls and females to producers worldwide through their annual production sale each October. Brown was a leader with the Livestock Industry Institute and the American Society of Range Management. He has been involved with the American Angus, Red Angus, Simmental and Senepol associations, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, and the World Simmental Federation. At Texas Tech University in Luhbock, he has served as chairman of the Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council and has served the Ranching Heritage Association Board of Overseers since 1982. Brown was appointed by Gov. George W. Bush and served as chair of the Texas Animal Health Commission for 10 years. Today, Brown and his wife, Peggy, are still involved with the daily operation of the ranch as they transition management to the fifth generation. Jim Gosey For 34 years, Jim Gosey was the Extension beef specialist and professor in the animal science department of University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He continues his ties to UNL as professor emeritus and helps with the teaching herd. Gosey received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma Slate University in 1965, his master’s degree from New Mexico State University in 1967, and his doctorate in beef cattle genetics from the University of Nebraska in 1976. He joined the University of Nebraska in 1971 as beef cattle Extension specialist, working in the area of beef cattle breeding, beef crossbreeding, bull selection, cow/calf management, beef cow efficiency, and beef cattle production systems. Gosey has taught beef cattle production/cow-calf management and beef cattle merchandising in addition to managing the university’s teaching herds, which include Angus and composite populations. Gosey is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, has written numerous magazine articles, and has given many invited presentations. Over the years, Gosey’s style and approach have continued to evolve, offering ever-changing educational programs to meet the needs of the cattle producers of Nebraska and the nation and to meet the needs of undergraduates.   Gosey has been a featured speaker at four BIF national meetings, nine Range Beef Cow Symposia, and four 4-State Beef Conferences, as well as numerous beef breed association programs. He organized the 2002 BIF annual meeting, which was in Omaha, NE. Like many, his impact went far beyond his research and education; he had a positive influence on many cattlemen. David and Emma Danciger The Dancigers have long had an interest in producing high-performing, environmentally adapted beef cattle. David graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics after serving with the Army Air Force in World War II. He began in 1951 with a ranch located south of Dallas, TX. There he started breeding Angus cattle and eventually became a life member of the American Angus Association. David was a scientist at heart, and he continually focused on improving his Angus herd.  Early on, he attended schools on artificial insemination, eventually setting up bull collection facilities and a laboratory on his Cedar Hill Ranch. In 1980, David and Emma moved lo Carbondale, CO, bringing 50 young heifers with them from the Danciger Tybar Angus Ranch (Tybar). They felt the move to a different environment was like starting over again, learning to cope with cold weather, altitude and intensive land management. Early in that experience they learned of brisket disease, or high-altitude disease, something they never experienced in Texas. The challenge of breeding cattle adapted to high elevation led David to voluntarily put his bulls in a research program testing for brisket disease. Since those original tests, Tybar has tested every animal for high-altitude disease at one year of age and continues to select animals adapted to the high-altitude environment.  Working with Colorado State University, Tybar data was used to develop expected progeny differences (EPDs) for pulmonary arterial pressure, or PAP, which is an indicator of brisket disease susceptibility. Tybar continues to work closely with Colorado State University, producing EPDs, using those in their selection program, and supporting further research into this problem. David’s motto was “Life—is a learning experience,” and he continued to act upon that motto until age 81. Since David’s passing, Mark Nieslanik has continued to manage the ranch and pass on David’s love of cattle and research.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Pelton Simmental/Red Angus honored as BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year

by WLJ
The Beef Improvement Federation honored Pelton Simmental/Red Angus with the 2007 Seedstock Producer of the Year Award June 7 during the organization’s 39th annual meeting in Fort Collins, CO. The ranch is owned by the Lynn and Gary Pelton families and managed by Lynn Pelton. Pelton Simmental/Red Angus is a family-owned and operated seedstock business located near Burdett, KS. Gary and Donna Pelton and their sons, Jason, Aaron and Burke, and Lynn and Sue Pelton and their daughter, Shanna, and son, Dustin, began a partnership in 1976 which later was incorporated into a diversified farm and ranch operation. The Pelton business consists of 4,300 acres of grass, 800 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program, 4,700 acres of cultivated land and 500 head of registered Red Angus, SimAngus and Simmental cows. About 200 cows calve in the fall; the remaining 300 calve in the spring. Aaron, Dustin and Dustin’s wife, Kendra, have joined the business full-time. The purebred operation began in 1972 with 12 bulls being sold to local cattlemen. During the 13th annual sale March 22, 2006, 150 Red Angus, Sim Angus and Simmental bulls and 120 females were sold into 13 different states. Including private-treaty sales, a total of 180 bulls were sold in 2006. With the use of an extensive embryo transfer (ET) program and proven, predictable genetics, a genetically strong cowherd has been developed by utilizing every available economic and performance measurement. Along with a strong genetic base, a customer service program was developed and emphasized for the sole purpose of providing “value-added marketing opportunities” for customers. In the past three years, the commitment to helping market customers’ calves through various avenues has been especially rewarding. Two alliances, with which the Peltons are involved, provide feedlot and carcass data on animals going through each program. In addition, a Pelton Program Sale, conducted the first Friday of November, has proven very successful for providing customers an opportunity to market replacement-quality females and performance steers. In 2006, more than 1,250 head were sold during the program sale. Since Lynn’s graduation from Kansas Slate University in 1975, the program has become very hands-on. Whether it be day-to-day care of the cowherd, sire selection and mating decisions, heat detection and artificial insemination work, ET preparation, weaning and development of bulls and replacements, putting up and grinding feed, various aspects of sale management and promotion, financial and breed association bookwork, computer time, customer service and marketing options, or hosting tour stops and judging workouts—the family works together and utilizes the strengths of each person to better enhance the efficiency of the operation. The Kansas Livestock Association nominated Pelton Simmental/Red Angus.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

COMMENTS

by WLJ
June 20, 2005 The market broke last week. We were expecting it to become softer, but the most recent news on the ongoing BSE situation reared its ugly head again—and for no real good reason. The USDA held their BSE roundtable meeting recently in Minneapolis, MN, and a multitude of interested groups played their cards. Then, Friday evening, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which is USDA’s watchdog office, made the announcement that they wanted to send samples to Weybridge, England, for more testing on a suspected Texas cow that showed a false positive last November. OIG wanted all three preliminary positive cases in the U.S. tested again with the widely used Western blot test. USDA uses only the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which is considered the “Gold Standard” for BSE testing. I have been told that the IHC test is utilized by the USDA because it will specifically identify cattle for BSE, while the Western blot test will uncover a wider variety of prions, such as scrapie and other mutated proteins. This is why Japan has come up with BSE tests in cattle under 30 months of age. Canada also uses this test, which would be why they contend that their testing is better than the USDA’s chosen IHC test. It’s a little perplexing why OIG came out with this announcement the day after Ag Secretary Mike Johanns held his industry roundtable meeting on BSE. Of the nine representatives on the panel, seven felt USDA’s BSE surveillance and firewall systems are working and doing the job well. The two who disagreed that the surveillance and firewalls have been successful were—you guessed it—R-CALF and the National Farmers Union. One could speculate that someone in the OIG may have had an axe to grind. One speaker at the roundtable suggested, there may be a little budget building going on with the OIG. And we’ve heard some rumblings that the company that manufactures the rapid BSE test forced the issue and asked OIG to retest the preliminary positive samples to prove their test is 100 percent accurate. OIG is like Internal Affair in a police department trying to find corruption. Consumers Union had been bantering with USDA since February to test the suspect BSE samples with the Western blot test. OIG felt that since the Texas cow sample tested positive to the rapid BSE test and then tested negative to the IHC test that more testing was justified and decided to test all the samples. The Western blot test showed one sample testing positive and the other two negative. As a tiebreaker, they were trying to send the samples to Weybridge. Now we’re hearing that they may not have enough sample left to send to Weybridge for more testing. It is without question in every cattle producer’s best interest to get this BSE thing settled and agree on the rules. The rub with Canada is just causing more and more press on BSE and creating more market risk for all producers, and I don’t know anyone in this business willing to take on more risk. USDA has gone out of its way to find BSE; nearly 385,000 head of cattle have been tested for the brain wasting disease. One wouldn’t think that there would be any conflicting issues within the cattle and beef industry’s fight to combat the issue. When it comes to eradicating BSE, there is nothing more that anyone knows how to do to prevent BSE from going any further. Statistics show the systems in place are working. The feed systems and the surveillance systems have done a pretty good job. There are 150 people worldwide who have died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the human equivalent of BSE. That tells us the odds of anyone getting CJD through BSE infected meat are almost nil. This thing is taking on an ugly complexion. On one hand we have the scientists saying that with these preventative measures in place, the product is safe and poses no human or animal health issues. On the other hand, we have lawyers and the judiciary saying: No, it’s not safe. Could it be possible that this entire issue is about money and not the consumer? My thought is to always follow the money. — PETE CROW

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Thursday, December 20,2007

LETTERS

by WLJ
June 20, 2005 Dear Pete: I just finished reading Steve Kay’s last article in the (June 6) Journal where he says the beef checkoff should be $2 or $3 a head. I heartily agree. In fact, when someone comes up to me and says, “What do you think of that damn $1 checkoff?,” I say I don’t agree with it. “I think it should be $2,” I usually say. That usually ends the conversation. I did think Steve had a point that LMA should get a small percentage, say 10 percent, of the checkoff for doing paperwork. Actually, $2 per head at today’s prices is less than the $1 was, percentage-wise, when it was put in. I do think the checkoff has done the most good on the research part rather than the advertising part. Sincerely, Bob Dickinson Gorham, Kansas

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Thursday, December 20,2007

PASTURE MANAGEMENT

by WLJ
June 20, 2005 Don’t monitor pastures after problems, monitor before they occur. This statement makes a lot of sense to me. However, most land monitoring is conducted after problems have occurred. Monitoring land health conditions has been a passion of mine for a long time. Conventional land monitoring, similar to what most government agencies do, usually is conducted after something has happened or changed. We taxpayers send out our range scientists to document environmental changes and conditions. We do a lot of monitoring this way to defend ourselves. I view this as wasteful, expensive and time consuming, which is totally non-proactive. Rangeland monitoring folks layout transects (a line or plot with points on the land). They inventory the vegetation’s ecological state, habitat types, plant species, plant density, plant frequency, canopy cover, basal area, trends and take a host of other measurements. They often compare their findings with ecological climax (peak) plant communities, particular plant species that would be growing in that spot if there were no disturbances. When they find big differences, they document a problem after the problem has taken hold. I know from experience—and it should be obvious—that this kind of monitoring is down-right slow in addressing, finding and fixing problems. I do know that certain organizations and people need to defend themselves. However, these studies can, and do, overlook obvious problems, such as new invasive plants, spot overgrazing, poor water cycling, inadequate organic matter or plants dying from a lack of disturbances. Instead of coming onto the land after livestock have left, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to simply observe animals while they are grazing? And wander around conducting what I call pasture walking to prevent problems? Try this as an example of proactive land monitoring: Get a pair of field glasses, get as close to the animals as you can and zoom in on what they are eating. Sit there for awhile and watch them closely. Then walk over to where they were grazing and closely examine the plants they were biting. If you find big patches of what was fast-growing, green grass, chopped off at ground level and the animals have been in that area for quite some time, I’d say, they are overgrazing. You have just found a problem. If you do this early enough in the game, and have an alternative plan to deal with these findings, you save badly needed future forage production. Proactive monitoring is really an ongoing effort to directly tie management to monitoring. Right now, on the spot, today, adjust your grazing management to prevent common problems from occurring or prevent them from becoming big. I know that this is somewhat time consuming, but perhaps by becoming an astute grass manager you can graze longer into the fall and save expensive hay feeding that greatly reduces wintering costs. In other words, give proactive monitoring a focused purpose that grows more grass, which becomes well worth your time and effort. Conventional land monitoring records end-results, collects data after treatment, determines what has happened, proves results and recommends change after problems occur. This is slow to make changes and does not fix problems. Proactive land monitoring controls results, collects data during treatment, monitors to make things happen and prevents negative results. Changes are made before problems occur or become significant. Here is a suggestion on how to make a proactive land monitoring program pay for itself. While the livestock are still in the pasture, observe them grazing. Note the location they prefer to graze. Your purpose is to visit these areas often enough to check the livestock grazing progression toward some predetermine early warning indicators. Early warning indicators to look for include: 3 Spot over grazing —Check for small areas where the livestock seem to concentrate. Use a quick portable electric fence to let these areas recover. 3 Down yellow colored litter—Look between the live plants to keep the soil surface covered. 3 Stubble height—Leave enough green grass leaves behind for quick regrowth so that you can come back to this area again. 3 Too much trampling—Prevent soil compaction and excessive livestock trailing from hungry cows. Move them often during fast plant growth. 3 Standing grass—Leave enough grass behind to prevent wind and water from removing valuable soils. 3 Gray-colored dead grass––Locate hard to graze spots and move livestock there to rest the overgrazed spots. Be innovative using low-stress livestock handling and herd placement. In other words, become a better herder. You want to prevent things like very short green grass, bare soil, or areas with no litter present. That is the future organic energy that healthy profitable grassland needs. Look for the right time to move livestock before they get hungry. Check to see if they still can get full-mouth bites of grass, and move them before they start wandering around pressuring fences looking for greener pastures. To do this you must have a flexible grazing plan that will allow for early adjustments. Proactive monitoring will also help you to know when it’s safe to come back to a previously-grazed pasture. I know that I came down hard on conventional land monitoring. I know conventional monitoring keeps track of long-term vegetational change. But, I also know from experience that this expensive data goes all too often unused. So please consider proactive monitoring and good grass management to prevent problems. This kind of on-the-spot monitoring can, and will, pay big time dividends. — Wayne Burleson (Wayne Burleson is a land management consultant working out of Absarokee, MT. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Wayne at 406/328-6808 or e-mail him at rutbuster@montana.net. He also has an educational Web site at www.pasturemanagement.com.)

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Thursday, December 20,2007

BEEF talk

by Kris Ringwall, North Dakota State University
impetuous. In the world of beef, it is important to evaluate and ask if our priorities are in the right order. This is true in all businesses and beef is no exception. However, setting priorities is only part of the equation. The next step is to make sure one sets aside enough time to reflect on how to effectively accomplish life among the noted priorities. The facts are very straight forward for all of us. We need to realize that few of us really have adequate resources or unlimited opportunities. However, one common denominator all producers have is time. We all are given exactly the same amount of time every day. Some of us set our priorities and move through the day with noted accomplishments. Others simply let the day pass and allow the passage of time to determine our accomplishments for the day. We all need some of those quiet days, when time is our only companion. The most productive use of time, however, involves acting on a set of priorities to accomplish a positive outcome for the operation. Beef priorities were documented in a recent publication titled “Priorities First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-Calf Business” by Tom Field, Ph.D., Fort Collins, CO. Field summarized the producer’s need to utilize information to self-evaluate his or her operation. While identification and documentation of priorities are important, action should not be impetuous. Simply doing what the neighbor does may lead only to group auction sales rather than periodic singular auction sales. Rather, as noted earlier, the one resource we all equally have is time. It is important to utilize time to reflect on industry priorities. Use that time to identify and improve your opportunities within your operation. In recent BeefTalk articles, the first priority, herd nutrition, was discussed and the various priorities set by producers were applauded. One red flag was raised when bull nutrition was ranked alongside dry-cow nutrition. Both would represent missed opportunities within a producer’s business. Continuing on down the list, the second priority identified for cow/calf producers and specialists was the category of pasture and range. This probably was not surprising to anyone. The high ranking for range and pasture is very reflective of the nature of the cattle business, which is a land-based business designed to capture and harvest the natural resources bountiful within land-based enterprises. Through the cow, these resources are converted to harvestable value, which primarily is protein for human consumption, along with myriad other products utilized by consumers. The 2006 report by the North Dakota Farm and Ranch Business Management program (www.ndfarmmanagement.com) showed the average cost for summer pasture was $80.30 per cow/calf pair when the herds were sorted on net return per cow/calf pair. The low 20 percent spent $85.08, the middle 40 percent to 60 percent spent $89.96 and the 20 percent that had the greatest net return spent $67.60 per cow/calf pair. In terms of animal unit months (AUMs), the low 20 percent averaged 6.05 AUMs, the middle 40 percent to 60 percent averaged 5.88 AUMs and the high 20 percent averaged 6.05 AUMs. These are interesting numbers and the need to reflect on them is real. Certainly, it is good that pasture and range ranked second behind nutrition as priorities for the beef producer. It is important that 73 percent of the cow/calf producers consider pasture and range as a foundation to the business. However, the utilization of pasture and range resources needs to be thought through. Now is a good time to grab some of that time we all have and ponder on how effective our pasture and range utilization is. This examination should include the short-term and long-term health of grassland resources. More later.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Bill will remove restrictions on state inspected meat

by WLJ
Congressman Zack Space, D-OH, was expected to introduce legislation last week that would allow meat processed at a state facility meeting federal inspection requirements to be shipped across state lines. This will dramatically reduce the distance producers will have to travel to sell their products, dramatically expand the market, and generally reduce costs. “Requiring federal inspection for interstate sale has created an unnecessary burden on our farm producers,” Space said. “State facilities use federal guidelines as a baseline standard, and many facilities exceed those requirements.” “During my Farm Tour earlier this year, the number one request from livestock producers I spoke with was changing this policy so state facilities can approve meat for shipment across state lines. This will reduce the distance farmers have to travel to bring their products to market, greatly increase the markets to which they can sell, and bring down costs,” Space said. This bill removes unnecessary restrictions on intrastate meat and poultry shipment for states that are able to prove to USDA that their meat and poultry inspection programs are equal to federal inspection standards. This legislation gives USDA the authority to perform random inspections of state-inspected plants to ensure their inspection requirements are equal to federal inspection requirements. If USDA finds that a state meat inspection facility is not equal to the federal inspection requirements, interstate meat restrictions will be imposed on the facility.

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Thursday, December 20,2007

Trent Stewart named 2007 WorldLivestock Auctioneer Champion

by WLJ
Trent Stewart didn’t prepare a victory speech for the 2007 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC), saying he felt it would be “almost like bad karma” to do so. He may not have been prepared to speak, but he was ready for the contest. Stewart, of Redmond, OR, was named world champion after competition June 16 at the Springfield, MO, Livestock Marketing Center. The reserve world champion in the 44th annual WLAC was Ty Thompson, Billings, MT, and the runner-up world champion was Tom Frey, Creston, IA. Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) created and conducts the annual contest. Stewart, 32, was sponsored by the market he’s owned since 1997, Central Oregon Livestock Auction, Inc., Madras. This was his eighth year in the contest, and he won the reserve title in 2002 and 2006. An auctioneer for 14 years, Stewart attended the Missouri Auction School in Kansas City, and the World Champion College of Auctioneering in Bakersfield, CA. He told the audience at the evening awards banquet that he dedicated his victory to “everybody else who’s ever competed in this contest,” and he pledged, “I’ll try and be a great champion.” Thompson, 34, has been auctioneering since he was 19. He was sponsored by Public Auction Yards, Billings Live Stock Commission, and Northern Livestock Video Auction, all of Billings, and Winter Livestock, Inc., d/b/a Riverton Livestock Auction, Riverton, WY. Thompson has come close to the top title, finishing in the top 10 finalists six times, and taking home the reserve champion title twice. Not surprisingly, he said, “Sure, I’ll be back.” Frey, 46, was sponsored by the market he owns, Creston Livestock Auction, Inc., and Unionville Livestock Market, Inc., Unionville, MO. He’s also been among the top 10 finalists several times. The self-taught auctioneer has been in the profession for 30 years and also pledged to enter again. From LMA, World Champion Stewart won $5,000, a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab LT, and a custom-designed champions’ sculpture. The Silverado, given to the champion for one year, was provided by Lindsay Chevrolet, Lebanon, MO, the Official Dealership of the 2007 WLAC. The host Springfield Market awarded Stewart a custom-designed, championship diamond ring. From the Missouri Auction School, he was given the gold microphone award, and from the World Wide College of Auctioneering, the golden gavel award. The Resistol Hat Company, the world’s largest western hat maker, provided the three world titlists with custom-fit hats, valued at $1,000 for the world champ, $550 for the reserve champ, and $450 for the runner-up. The three champions and the seven other finalists received custom-designed belt buckles from LMA. LMA also awards the reserve champ $2,000 and Waterford crystal, and the runner-up champ a crystal gavel and $1,000. The Championship is an actual livestock sale, with buyers on the seats. The semi-finalists are judged on vocal clarity and quality, talent at keeping the sale moving, and bid-catching ability. Next year’s regional contests will be in Fort Payne, AL, Lamoni, IA, Dalhart, TX, and Turlock, CA. The June WLAC will be conducted at Durant Stockyards, Durant, OK.

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