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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Beef slump strains feds

by WLJ
6, 2005 Memorial day weekend was a big disappointment from a beef sales perspective, and the fallout pressured fed cattle prices downward $2-4. The boxed beef cutout was under serious pressure on the Friday prior to the popular grilling weekend, being down nearly $5 for that day. Following the anticipated big sales weekend, packers found themselves with large inventories and held a midweek fire sale last week, with the Choice cutout falling to $144.28. Trade volume was exceptionally large, with 807 loads trading last Thursday and another 693 loads moving the day previous. The boxed beef cutout was down nearly $15 from the prior week. As a result, fed cattle prices were under pressure, and the market was established at $85 live and $134-136 dressed in the central and northern plains. Southern fed cattle trade still hadn’t materialized as of press time last Thursday. Kansas and Texas cattle feeders were asking for at least $86, however, packers were still bidding mostly $83-84. Through midday Thursday, just over 100,000 head of cattle traded nationwide. Slaughter levels remained fairly high considering the slower beef sales. Slaughter for the week ending May 29 was 657,000 head, only 2,000 head below last year. Last week was a short week and daily slaughter rates averaged 122,000 head. The latest packer margin index showed packers earning $9.35 per head, based on buying cattle at $87 two weeks ago. Slaughter weights were also a concern to market analysts as they stay heavier than a year ago. For the week ending May 27, average live cattle weights were seven pounds heavier than a year ago. However, Jim Robb, chief analyst with the Livestock Marketing Information Center said finished cattle in the southern feeding states were almost 40 pounds heavier than the same time last year. Wholesalers have become tough buyers over the past two years, and with the cutout dropping to its lowest level in several months they could become more aggressive beef buyers. Beef demand during the first quarter of 2005 was called lower by 2.7 percent. The second quarter is expected to be flat in relation to a year ago. Boneless cow beef markets, which have been a bright spot in the beef markets in previous weeks, were also softer. The 90 percent lean beef price fell several dollars last week, to $142.65, and the 50 percent trim was at $80.65. However market analysts contend that the manufacturing beef market is supply driven rather than demand driven at this point. The cow beef cutout was at $115.92, down nearly $10 from the previous week. Slaughter cows are still in limited supply and trading in the low $60, particularly for “fleshier” cows. Calf, yearlings mostly steady Feeder cattle and calf markets last week were being called mostly steady on a nationwide basis, however, that was based on very light volumes being offered across most regions of the country. Later in the week, heavier weight cattle were seeing some price pressure based on pessimistic summer fed market projections. From a calf and lighter cattle standpoint, market analysts said that while cattle offerings were smaller, the number of potential buyers for those cattle were pretty much static with previous weeks. “It is just not a good week to really get a read on where the market is going,” said David Drake, broker with SW Livestock Inc., Tulsa, OK. “We had buyers out there as did our other normal competitors, but cattle were very hard to find. That resulted in prices staying probably higher than they would have without the holiday hangover.” For example, Oklahoma City Stockyards reported 1,500 cattle being offered, compared to 15,000 the previous week, and a projected 12,000 head for the week beginning June 7. Several other auction barns reported no sale last week due to the holiday, including Joplin Regional Stockyards, one of the largest central Plains auction barns for cattle. Looking at market indicators, market analysts said they would be surprised if both calf and yearling prices remained on an uptrend for the next several weeks. Most sources said that projections for higher corn prices through the rest of the year and beginning of 2006 and poor cattle feeding margins should pressure calf and yearling prices. Despite near-term corn futures contracts falling last Wednesday, they are still 15-20 cents ahead of prices a few weeks earlier. For each dime move in corn, a $3-5 per cwt opposite move is expected in the calf and yearling cattle markets, according to market analysts. Some analysts, however, said that with summer fed cattle breakevens already projected at $90-plus, that a downward cattle market correction of $5-7 could be expected for every dime increase in corn prices. Breakevens for fed cattle being marketed now were called mostly $86-88 up north, while several sources indicated that a lot of southern cattle feeders probably are figuring breakevens at $88 or higher. At an $85 market, most southern cattle feeders could be seeing losses of at least $40 per head, analysts indicated. The CME feeder cattle index last Wednesday, was at $110.77 per cwt, about 40 cents below the previous Wednesday. Calves and lighter feeder cattle were being supported not only by steady demand on smaller volumes, but by projections for longer-than-normal summer, fall and early winter grazing prospects across the country, particularly in areas hit by drought over the previous few years. While moisture has slowed plant growth down so far this spring, rangeland specialists have said that once hotter temperatures become more consistent that grass and other forage growth should be well above previous years’ levels and should result in more forage to be grazed into September, possibly October. — WLJ © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

BSE testing rates slow down

by WLJ
6, 2005 — Seasonal slaughter trends cited. BSE testing figures for last month were the smallest in seven months, with the number of weekly tests being about 25 percent below the previous few months. Officials with the stepped-up federal BSE surveillance program said the decline was simply a matter of seasonal cow slaughter declines and was not associated with any changes in current protocol. For the month of May a total of 30,196 head of cattle were tested by laboratories certified by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). That is the lowest monthly total in the year-long program since October of last year, when 25,476 head were tested. Each of the previous six months had over 31,000 head tested, peaking at 52,755 in March. Representatives with USDA told WLJ last week that there have been no changes in BSE testing or surveillance protocol and that the same number of labs are conducting tests for the disease. “We are still utilizing the federal lab (in Ames, IA) and the seven other certified laboratories to conduct BSE tests,” said Jim Rogers, spokesman for USDA. “There might be fewer technicians available at some of those labs, particularly with them being on university campuses, however, a large majority of the decline is based on seasonal trends within the industry. There are fewer cows being offered up for slaughter right now and that is the big influence in testing declines.” Network labs currently testing for the disease are Davis, CA; Pullman, WA; Fort Collins, CO; College Station, TX; Madison, WI; Ithaca, NY; and Athens, GA. There are five other labs that have been certified for testing but have not started testing. Those labs are in Kissimmee, FL; St. Paul, MN; Manhattan, KS; Frankfort, KY; and Harrisburg, PA. Rogers and other APHIS officials reiterated sentiments from Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last month that the BSE testing program will proceed as it is currently implemented through most of June, and that a decision on when to close the program would be made at a later date. When the program was first unveiled last year, the minimum number of cattle that needed to be tested was said to be around 268,000 head, which was reached at the beginning of the year. The total number of “most-at-risk” animals was estimated at around 450,000 head. APHIS officials said that even at current testing rates, that figure could be reached this summer, probably some time in September. When the stepped-up surveillance program was first announced last year, Dr. Ron DeHaven, administrator for APHIS, said sampling the minimum requirement of 268,000 animals would allow for the detection of BSE at a rate of one positive in 10 million adult cattle with a 99 percent confidence level. “In other words, the enhanced program could detect BSE even if there were only five positive animals in the entire country,” he said. However, with almost 370,000 cattle already being tested without a confirmed case of the disease, it is possible the agency would conclude the stepped-up surveillance program within the next month or two, sources said. As of the end of May, just over 369,000 head had been tested for the disease. Rogers said last week that APHIS officials are currently analyzing the testing data to see whether the program can be ended before the maximum 18-month time frame is reached. He added that if the program is ceased as it is currently, that USDA will probably revert back to a system where BSE testing is conducted according to guidelines suggested by the World Animal Health Organization, which are expected to change sometime later this year. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

ESA changes to be offered

by WLJ
6, 2005 — House report cites program shortfalls. Following on the heels of a Republican–authorized staff report stating that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not working, bills restructuring the law are expected to be introduced into the U.S. House and Senate this summer. Brian Kennedy, communications director for the House Resources Committee, said, “I can’t give you an exact time line,” but the committee expects to begin review of proposed legislation this summer and hopes to send a proposed bill to the full House before the August recess. On May 17, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo, R-CA, released a report, Implementation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, that said less than one percent of protected species have fully recovered, while nearly two-thirds have fallen into the categories of uncertain, declining or possibly extinct. Pombo requested the House Resources Committee’s Oversight & Investigations staff to research and author the report. “The Endangered Species Act’s less than one percent success rate for species recovery is a well-documented and readily-available statistic, but the status of the remaining species on its list has not been as clear until now,” Pombo said in a press release. “This exhaustive review of government data makes it clear the vast majority of these species have not improved under implementation of current law.” Environmentalists and other critics say the report overlooks the lengthy recovery time needed by many species, which often takes decades. The report disagrees, saying, “From the opposing perspective, while recovery to the point of delisting may require a substantial amount of time for many species, after three decades more progress should be demonstrable through species that have recovered and been delisted. Even if a species has increased in numbers or distribution or the threats facing the species have been reduced, if it has not been delisted on the basis of recovery, the ESA’s prohibitions and regulations remain applicable and the ESA should not be a ‘oneway street.’” Critics also say the report looks strictly at the costs of the act and weighs none of the benefits. Jamie Rappaport Clark, who oversaw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Clinton administration, is quoted by several news services as saying the law is a "remarkable success." She said that just one percent of listed species have gone extinct. Those touting the success of the Endangered Species Act point to the bald eagle, California condor, red and gray wolves, whooping crane, Canadian lynx and other species as examples of success. Those supporters say hundreds of species are improving, and some are nearing recovery goals. The report is not an official House Resources Committee report, but was undertaken at the request of Pombo, who is expected to introduce legislation soon. The authorization for the act expired in 1993, but the congress has appropriated money for it each year since. So, it continues to have the force of law. To compile the report, the Republican majority staff researched and reviewed Federal Register notices for delisted and downlisted species, a decade of agency expenditure reports, data from the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries (NMFS), reports to Congress, critical habitat designation economic impact assessments, agency regulations and recovery plans, and discussed implementation of the act with federal, state and local officials. The press release said the committee has never before conducted such an exhaustive review of ESA implementation. “The ESA has not achieved its original intent of recovering species,” Pombo said. “In fact, there is little evidence of progress in the law’s 30-year history. After reviewing this body of agency information on the act’s implementation over the years, no reasonable individual can conclude that the ESA is sustainable in its current form. It checks species in, but never checks them out.” The report says that in 30 years only 10 of nearly 1,300 domestic species have recovered and, in many cases, the ESA was not the primary factor in the recovery. Definitions, such as the difference between threatened and engdangered, are blurred, the report says, as is the definition of critical habitat. Erroneous data has also affected the implementation of the ESA, according to the researchers. They said that at least 15 of the 33 domestic species that have been delisted in the law’s history were removed from the list because of erroneous data. Errors in data were a contributing factor in at least 10 of 19 or more than 50 percent of the downlisted domestic species, according to the report. Money spent by federal, state, and private parties on species listed because of bad data deprives legitimately endangered species of protection, the report says. Litigation is driving the process, according to the report, rather than science, driving up expenses, protecting species that need no protection and leaving threatened species unprotected. Kennedy said the Pombo is personally involved in trying to put together a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize and restructure ESA. Representatives of the House committee have been in contact with Senate staffers, Kennedy said, to try to coordinate the approaches to ESA reauthorization. Several senators are drafting ESA legislation, but the pace is expected to be slower than that of the House Resources Committee. Senate Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-RI, is drafting a bipartisan proposal, and the committee held its first ESA hearing two weeks ago. "I am wading into this apprehensively,” Chafee, in published reports, said. "I don't want to do anything to damage or weaken ESA, that is my concern.” The House Resources Committee report is available at resourcescommittee.house.gov/issues/more/esa/ESA_Implementation_Report5.17.05.pdf — WLJ © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Hay quality questioned

by WLJ
6, 2005 — Cow hay prices to soften. — Higher quality forage to remain high. Average to good quality “cow hay” is expected to be much more readily available later this year and a little cheaper to buy, compared to the previous couple of years, thanks to a second straight year-to-year up-tick in mid-year hay stocks and an increase in projected total harvest for 2005. However, higher quality hay could still be in short supply, and transportation and harvest costs could still make hay a little more expensive, compared to the previous 10 years. In its May 1 Crop Production Report, USDA said U.S. hay stocks totaled 27.7 million tons, almost seven percent more than May 1 last year and 26 percent more than the same date in 2003. The increase was attributed to an array of factors, such as increased hay production in 2004, a mild winter in the western U.S., and reduced demand in that region. Twenty-six of the 48 continental states reported an increase in hay stocks compared to 2004. A majority of the states posting a yearly increase in hay stocks were located in the northern Great Plains and the central Corn Belt. The most significant increases in hay stocks, compared to last year, were reported in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. A few major livestock states reporting declines in mid-year supplies, compared to last year were Washington, Wyoming, Colorado and California. In addition, May 1 hay stocks in the Southeast were smaller than a year ago due to a decline in winter hay production. In addition, projected hay acres to be harvested this year are up almost one million acres, compared to last year, and weather has already been wetter than normal across most areas of the country, which means per acre yields could be up also. According to USDA, 2005 hay acres total 62.94 million acres, compared to 61.92 million acres last year. However, while overall hay production is projected to be up from a year ago, there are some indications that overall hay quality may still be below historical levels. According to Jim Robb, market analyst with the Livestock Marketing Information Center, first and second cutting hay across much of the country will probably be average or below-average in quality, which means prices for “horse” and “dairy” hay could be pressured somewhat higher. Cow hay prices, however, could be below the previous few years, depending on what fuel costs are for harvesting and transporting hay. “In a lot of western states it won’t be hard to increase (hay) production, particularly with drought ravaging those areas the previous few years,” said Robb. “However, while winter and spring moisture has been welcomed with open arms (in those areas), it hasn’t been accompanied by warm temperatures and that has slowed down the growth of hay crops and has caused a lot of ‘stemmy’ first cutting hay. That could continue through second cutting. That’s good cow hay, but not good for horse or dairy producers.” While traveling through Utah recently, Robb saw several hay producing areas that are suffering through “boggy conditions,” which haven’t been seen in 25-30 years, maybe longer. “There’s just not enough heat to alleviate wet conditions and get plants to grow,” Robb said. USDA hay reports last month indicated that “fair” to “good” quality hay prices are on average 12-15 percent below the last couple of years and a lot of that decline was seen in the last half of the month. Robb said that while pre-delivery hay prices are cheaper than a year ago and may continue to slide during the remainder of the year, fuel costs may still be a hindrance to producers looking for hay. “Not only is fuel an issue with transportation, but when it comes to harvesting hay, fuel is becoming a very big issue,” said Robb. “Producers need to recoup costs of running their equipment, just like truckers need to be appropriately compensated for their extra costs.” Several trucking companies have said that current transportation rates are hovering between $2.50-2.75 per loaded mile, 20-30 percent more than just a couple of years ago. In addition, several sources said it is entirely possible freight rates could get up to $3 per loaded mile or trucks could be “parked” on a long-term basis. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Letters

by WLJ
6, 2005 Dear Editor, In 1883 The National Cattle Growers Association was formed in Chicago. From that time on there has been an on going battle between cattleman, cattle feeders and meat packers. There always was a group whom I refer to as “that damn bunch” who never went along with anything or any organized group such as The National Cattle Growers, The American National Cattlemen’s Association, The National Cattlemen’s Association and now the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. From 1883 to 2005, you have the same leadership in the cattle industry but the leaders wear different faces. Their goals have always been to promote the industry and to assure the public their product; U.S. beef was safe and wholesome. The recent burr under the saddle of “that same damn bunch” has been our 1986 mandatory national check off passed by 67% of the actual producers to promote and research our product beef. I personally testified before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee several times in 1984 and 1985 to see to it that a beef check off would be fair and equal to all producers who paid the $1 per head when they sell cattle. Surveys conducted by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board have had ratings as high as 77% approval by all cattlemen that the $1 check off was serving its purpose. Unfortunately twenty some percent that never have agreed has formed behind a few small cattle groups to spring on everything from the constitutionality of the check off and now a protectionist attitude which would disallow free and open trade with any other countries in the world. This same damn bunch went as far as the U.S. Supreme Court to try the Constitutionality of the Beef Check off and this week the Supreme Court by a vote of 6 to 3 ruled the Beef Check off as constitutional law. My hat is off to all that carried the water for the cattle industry to see justice was upheld. As to “that same damn bunch” as usual the good guys won. Sincerely, Jimme L. Wilson Past President of NCA 1992 Trout Creek, MT © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

U.S., Korea pact possible soon

by WLJ
6, 2005 USDA and U.S. beef packing industry officials indicated last week that they are hopeful that South Korea, the third largest pre-BSE export market for U.S. beef, could be reopened to U.S. beef before the end of June. However, Korean officials said that while an agreement may be made this month, actual resumption of beef trade with the U.S. could still be a few months away. A team of Korean veterinarians are scheduled to visit the U.S. June 6-10 to examine the U.S.’ BSE prevention and surveillance protocol. Sources said the visit could lead to a decision to reopen Korea’s borders to U.S. beef in the “very near future.” Seoul has expressed its intention to lift the ban, following the footsteps of Mexico, Taiwan and several other smaller export markets. Korean officials, however, said it will take months until the sale of U.S. beef is allowed in the Korean market due to some technical problems. “If experts agree that U.S. beef is safe to eat, trade representatives will meet several times. They will negotiate sanitary conditions and other safety issues, which are necessary for the U.S. to export beef to South Korea again,” said Park Hyun-chool, a director at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF), in a press release. The Korean delegation will be led by Kim Chang-sup, an MOAF official. The delegation will inspect the improved U.S. quarantine system aimed to prevent BSE. The U.S. government has claimed it enhanced disease control programs to meet international standards for beef trade. Last month, a group of Korean consumer group representatives toured U.S. beef processing and ranching facilities to see first hand the efforts that have been made to prevent the spread of BSE and prove the safety of U.S. beef. Packing industry officials called last month’s tour a big success, with several sources saying the contingent was more than satisfied that the appropriate efforts to eliminate the disease had been made. A high-level USDA official told WLJ last week that a possible trade resolution with Korea could be announced during the June 6-10 tour, particularly with U.S. and Korean trade officials meeting prior to that scheduled event. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman is scheduled to meet with Korean officials during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade minister’s meeting on Cheju Island, which was scheduled to start June 3. Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong and Portman are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the meeting. U.S. agriculture officials said that it is possible an agreement is reached during those negotiations, but that no announcement of it will be made until the Korean veterinarians conclude their tour and “sign off” on the U.S.’ BSE controls. As far as the time line for reopening the Korean border is concerned, officials with U.S. processors were under the impression that Korea does not have as strict of a regulatory protocol as Japan, and that Korea could be reopened to U.S. beef within weeks of an agreement being reached. Meat export specialists agreed with that; however, they said that Korea is still in the middle of figuring out what kind of protocol they want to agree to. “They (the Koreans) have always said they want to have as strict a protocol as Japan has implemented,” said Lynn Heinze, vice president of information services for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (MEF). “However, they have been in almost constant contact with the Taiwanese government and are more seriously looking at the protocol that country has used to reopen its borders.” Heinze said that Korea is starting to be more receptive to allowing beef from animals 30 months of age and younger and starting to turn away from a proposal that would only allow beef to be brought in from cattle 20 months or younger. Heinze said that adopting a proposal similar to Japan’s 20-month rule would really restrict the amount of beef Korea could choose from and that it would be a more expensive product because of limited supplies. “With the 30-month rule, Korea would be looking at more available beef at lower prices,” Heinze said. “Beef demand over there is really starting to rebound, and (short) supplies are starting to become an issue. They are starting to see a need for reopening their market to more product.” Heinze added that his organization was expecting to Korea to set a specific date for reopening its borders to U.S. beef once an agreement is reached, similar to what Taiwan did. “It’s not a given that Korea will reach a near future agreement, but if they do, I think they will set a date not too far off, which will give their consumers and the U.S. industry a time line to be prepared for,” Heinze concluded. Prior to U.S. beef being banned in late December 2003, Korea was the third-largest importer of U.S. beef after Japan and Mexico. In 2003, Korea imported 199,000 tons of beef from the U.S., which accounted for about 68 percent of all beef imported into Korea that year. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

5-legged calf makes impression

by WLJ
6, 2005 A calf with a fifth leg born in mid-May on Orlando Romero's ranch east of Tucumcari, NM., is causing a stir in the cattle industry. The heifer calf was born with the extra leg, with two hooves, growing from its back. Quay County Extension Agent Pete Walden, a lifetime rancher and the local agent form New Mexico State University, said he had seen a cow with a similar deformity at a sale about 15 years ago. “So it does happen,” he said. Walden said the heifer is a cross breed with at least some Limousin, and appears to be perfectly healthy and active like the other calves on the ranch.. The calf's extra leg does not touch the ground. It is attached to the calf's back between the shoulder blades, apparently growing out of the right shoulder, and hangs to its right side. The branch-like growth is the only major difference between the yellowish, brown colored calf and the rest of the herd. It seems to be completely cosmetic, Walden said. Extra body parts are rare, scientists said in published reports, and usually the deformed animals are sickly. Nothing in the environment appears to be an influence, Walden said. University of Chicago researchers studying the genetics of mice born with extra limbs contacted the extension office. Walden said that Romero has been away from the ranch, but the agents hope to get blood samples from the calf to send to the researchers. The university researchers hope to compare the genetics to what they have been learning from the mice. Romero has talked with veterinarians about removing the leg, according to published reports. — WLJ © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Mexican cattle ban expanded

by WLJ
6, 2005 — Two states affected, others being probed. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has expanded the ban on live cattle imports from Mexico to two states, with several other states under review for adhering to appropriate TB eradication protocol. Last Wednesday APHIS announced that cattle from the Mexican state of Chiapas would be not be allowed into the U.S. until it corrected its TB testing and surveillance shortcomings. Two weeks ago, cattle from the state of Durango were banned from entering the U.S. when it was discovered that animals from a non-TB free region were possibly entering the TB free region of the state to be exported to the U.S. In the case of Chiapas, the federal government of Mexico has yet to certify those two states as being compliant with its own TB eradication rules, and that forced USDA to ban cattle from those states. APHIS officials first indicated that cattle from Tabasco would also be disallowed from entering the country, however, that stance was changed because Tabasco cattle are allowed entry into the U.S. after they are tested repeatedly for the disease. Five other Mexican states—Colima, Queretaro, Sinaloa, Yucatan and Tamaulipas—have been certified by the Mexican government for TB eradication, and APHIS veterinarians were reviewing those certifications last week. Other states are currently being reviewed for Mexican certification but can export cattle to the U.S. during the process, with extensive testing allowances. U.S. cattle market analysts said that the impact from the bans should be minimal, particularly with the two largest cattle exporting states in Mexico not being affected. Chihuahua and Sonora are the two most prolific exporters of cattle to the U.S., accounting for at least two-thirds, if not 70 percent, of total Mexican cattle exports. Both states have the appropriate TB protocols in place, and do not have “split-state” TB status. Durango was the third largest cattle exporting state, accounting for just over 15 percent of total Mexican cattle entering the U.S. Just short of 1.36 million head of feeder cattle came into the U.S. from Mexico last year. Through May 14, Mexico cattle producers had shipped 537,000 head of feeder cattle into the U.S. this year. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Auctioneer contest to be on Internet

by WLJ
13, 2005 For the first time this year the Livestock Marketing Association’s annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship can be accessed via the Internet. The 42nd version of this annual event will be broadcast live at www.lmaauctions.com on July 18. The day-long event will begin at 7:30 a.m., central time, with 31 semi-finalists vying for the title of world champion auctioneer. Semi-finalists will be whittled down to 10 finalists, who will begin competing about 1 p.m. at the Tulsa Stockyards, this year’s host market. The awards banquet will also be broadcast via the Internet, beginning around 8:30 p.m. LMA President Randy Patterson said the Internet broadcast will highlight one of LMA’s newest member services––giving members and their customers “another marketing option––live sales on the Internet.” He added, “We are providing our members with a market-controlled system that will increase the visibility of their businesses, and attract more buyers and sellers.” For those who want to log on to the contest and the banquet, LMA is advising them to go to the auction web site at least a day before June 18, pick “Auctioneer Championship” from the list of sales, and complete the registration. The broadcast will be available for viewing only. Online bidding will not be available. This year’s contestants include six first time participants, which will be eligible for the “Rookie of the Year” award. The rookie winner will receive a $500 cash prize from the Tulsa Stockyards, in honor of long-time employee Bill Tackett. The top three prize winners will go home with thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise prizes. The world champion will leave Tulsa in a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad-Cab pickup, which is being sponsored by Professional Livestock Insurance Co., an LMA subsidiary. The truck will be decorated to promote auction market selling and the important role of the auctioneer in the marketing process. The champion will enjoy a one-year lease on the truck, with an option to buy the truck after that year. — WLJ © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

BEEF BITS

by WLJ
13, 2005 Integrated beef certification granted Three packers were recently granted Quality System Assessment (QSA) certification by USDA, which means they have “ranch-to-plate” monitoring systems in place that will give them a head start once the largest overseas beef export markets reopen their borders, particularly Japan and South Korea. Under the QSA program, packers form alliances with ranchers to supply feeder cattle that have been carefully monitored and tracked through their entire lives, including individual animal genetics, age and feeding regiments. The first three companies granted QSA approval are Harris Ranch Beef Co., and Brawley Beef Co., both of California, and Packerland Co., based out of Wisconsin. JPN confirms 20th case of BSE Japan last Monday confirmed its 20th case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a four-year-nine-month old Holstein cow from the northern Japanese town of Shikaoi in the prefecture of Hokkaido. Japan detected its first case of the bovine brain wasting illness in 2001. Since then, Japan has checked every slaughtered cow before it enters the food supply. In February, Japan confirmed its first case of vCJD in a man who died in December 2004. Japanese health authorities said they believed the man contracted the disease during a month-long visit to Britain in 1989. Lebanon reopens to U.S. beef Effective June 2 Lebanon resumed the importation of U.S. beef and beef products from animals under 30 months of age. In 2003, Lebanon imported $643,000 worth of U.S. beef and beef products. It is the third country in the Middle East region to reopen its market to U.S. beef. According to USDA statisticians, as of the U.S. has regained approximately $1.9 billion of the $4.8 billion pre-BSE beef export value. Arby's announces move, buyout Fast food roast beef sandwich retailer Arby's announced recently it is moving its headquarters from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Atlanta. In addition, Triarc Companies Inc., owner of the Arby's brand, will purchase the largest Arby’s franchisee RTM Restaurant Group, Dunwoody, GA. The buyout is for $175 million in cash and 10 million shares of stock, and is expected to be completed sometime during the third quarter of this year, a Triarc statement said. RTM operates 775 restaurants in 21 states, compared to 233 Triarc-owned stores. The Arby's restaurant system consists of approximately 3,500 units. Sysco buys West Coast processor Sysco Foods, Inc., last week announced the purchase of Facciola Meat Company, Fremont, CA, a beef, pork and fish product manufacturer. Facciola Meat is also a Certified Angus Beef distributor that services restaurants, hotels and foodservice operations in northern California, Hawaii and Nevada. Last year, its sales were approximately $82 million. Company founder Robert Facciola will remain as the company’s president, according to a statement from Sysco. Steak maker purchases processor Midwest steak manufacturer Quantum Foods announced last week its purchase of Choice One Foods, Los Angeles, a processor of fully-cooked meat products for foodservice and retailer customers. Under the agreement, Choice One will continue to operate under the name Choice One Foods, LLC, and will retain its present management. Quantum, based out of Bolingrook, IL, was founded in 1990 as a precision steak-cutter and portion-control provider for the foodservice industry, and has since expanded into the retail market nationally and internationally. Vienna Beef, Target ink deal Renowned hot dog manufacturer Vienna Beef Co., recently signed a distribution deal with Target Stores where prepared Vienna hot dogs will be sold in 1,350 stores with food courts and packaged Vienna hot dogs will be sold in Target stores with grocery departments nationwide. Vienna Beef hot dogs are available in hot dog stands in various markets, but until now were only available at retail only in Chicago-area grocery departments, including Treasure Island, Costco, Sam's Club and Cub Foods.Vienna Beef has estimated the Target deal will add about 10 percent to the company's hot dog business, which at present represents about 25 million pounds a year. Vienna beat out ConAgra Foods' Hebrew National brand and Chicago-based Sara Lee's Best Kosher dog for Target’s business. Flies kill cattle, other livestock Swarming flies were responsible for killing 324 farm animals in Latvia late last month, with most of the victimized livestock being cattle. The flies bit the animals to death, Latvia animal health officials reported. Warm temperatures after an unusually cold, damp spring created ideal conditions for the massive swarms of flies to attack grazing animals in Latgale, one of the European Union’s poorest regions. Damages from the fly attack could amount to tens of thousands of euros. Published reports said at least 90 percent of the animals killed were cattle. © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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© Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use, without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. 2008 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.