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Monday, July 31,2006

Obituary: Earl Adam Smith

by WLJ
Earl Adam Smith, of Antelope, OR, died Saturday, July 22. He was 88. A grave side service was held July 27, at Juniper Haven Cemetery. Smith was born March 26, 1918, in Mayville, OR, to Earl and Gladys Smith. He graduated from Condon High School and attended Oregon State University. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a staff sergeant during World War II. He married Ann Anderson on Aug. 30, 1946, in Vancouver, WA. A cattle rancher, Smith was appointed by three governors to the state Board of Agriculture, and he served as chairman of the board for the Pacific International Livestock Exposition and the Northwest Livestock Production Credit Association. He had also served as vice president of the Oregon Cattleman’s Association, as president of the Wheeler County Cattleman’s Association, as chairman of the Mitchell School Board and as a board member of the Oregon Historical Society. In 1995, he was entered in the Diamond Pioneer Agriculture Career Achievement Registry by Oregon State University. Survivors include his wife; a stepson, Marc Anderson, of Springfield; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by three brothers. Memorial contributions may be made to any Oregon youth agricultural program or the Oregon Historical Society. — WLJ  

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Monday, July 24,2006

Comments: A Canadian problem, or ours?

by WLJ
I’d have to say at this point, the Canadian beef industry has a bit of explaining to do. They have certainly had their problems with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) lately. I hate to say it, but I’ve gathered a bit of concern over the past few BSE cases they’ve experienced. A couple of weeks ago, they found their seventh case of the brain wasting disease in a 50-month- old cow. That cow would have had her first calf after the border was closed by BSE and six years after the feed ban. Canada has now removed meat and bone meal from all animal feeds. A week or two before, the Canadians found BSE in a 15-year-old cow , which didn’t seem to raise any real attention. You could understand the possibility of BSE in a cow that age. The only thing you might be able to say about the 15-year-old cow is question why was she still around. The only thing I can think of is that she was someone’s pet. Anyway, the 50-month-old cow that was found did raise a few concerns about the Canadian feed ban, and at this point, you do have to ask the Canadian government what gives. The first answer—excuse—was that having a 4-year-old cow turn up with BSE is not unusual from other countries’ experiences and it doesn’t surprise them. They are concerned enough about this cow that they decided to quarantine the farm she came from. If I recall, out of six of cases of BSE, three of them are from cattle questionably under, or close to the feed ban. I realize that the day the feed ban was implemented wouldn’t mark the end of any meat and bovine material used in cattle feed, except perhaps at the feed mill, but not at the farm level. It seems the feed ban may have been more of an arbitrary line than anything. It also demonstrates that we still know so little about this disease. The issue doesn’t get any play in the major media anymore, which is just about perfect. No one seems to really care about BSE except for a few of our more fickle trading partners, and a few cattlemen’s groups. BSE has had little impact on the markets in recent times. That brings me to another point. Canada does have a small problem with BSE and its seems to be getting in the way of our ability to do business overseas. Mexico has been a real star in the wake of all this BSE stuff and has been there buying beef since the beginning, I would imagine they are also smart enough to realize that if they don’t buy U.S. beef, the U.S. may not need to buy as many Mexican feeder cattle. Korea has pointedly said they are concerned about buying our beef because they’re aware U.S. packers are not segregating U.S. and Canadian beef. During the first full year of trade with Canada, the U.S. imported around 650,000 head of fed cattle and 350,000 head of feeder cattle. Of the 34 million head of cattle slaughtered in the U.S., it wouldn’t seem that Canada’s million head exports to us would have that much effect on the markets, and it hasn’t. This is one of those situations when perception becomes reality. Japan and Korea think this BSE is pretty real and I’d have to say, right or wrong, ensuring that our packing industry doesn’t ship any Canadian cattle processed in their U.S. plants is apparently an issue. Where do you draw the line on live cattle imports from Canada in order to perpetuate trade with Japan and Korea? A million head of fed and feeder cattle from Canada certainly isn’t enough to make or break this market. But the only cattle shipped to the U.S. for slaughter are under 30 months old and have been proven not to be at risk for spreading the human form of BSE. It’s looking like the Canadian BSE situation may turn out to be like Japan’s and turn up a few cases every year. I was under the impression that as time went on, post feed ban attrition of the cow herd would take care of BSE and be less of an issue. We know that banning specified risk material from bovine feeds has reduced the incidence by 80 percent, or better, world wide. But that other 20 percent is becoming annoying, because this group defies BSE logic as we know it. One thing you have to say about this BSE situation, there doesn’t seem to be anything consistent about it. — PETE CROW

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Monday, July 24,2006

Cutout pulls feds lower

by WLJ
Fed cattle trade was slow to start and the standoff was apparent with packers offering $78 against feeder offers of $83-84 live, and $130 dressed. There was some limited trade at $81-81.50 and $126-128 dressed, but not enough volume to call the market. Boxed beef cutouts have been in a tailspin the past two weeks and wholesale buying interest emerged only when prices fell to a more attractive level of $144 on Choice products. Packer margins fell into negative territory for the first time this summer at a minus $4.80 a head. Even though packers are familiar with this arrangement, it didn’t appear that they were going to give in much. Trade was expected to resume at the $79-80 level and $128 dressed. The mid-summer beef rally appears to have found a lull, typical for the post 4th of July period. Retailers reported slow sales and have backed product up in coolers. The Choice boxed beef cutout was at $151.69 the week of July 10 and this past week, fell to $142.63. Select product also fell to $123.93, closing the Choice/Select spread to $18.69. The Choice and Select primal cuts suffered comparable declines for the week, although the Select rib was sharply lower. Notable out front sales include Choice and Select briskets, Select trimmed top butts and 73 percent fed cattle grinds. Slaughter levels have been strong for most of summer. Last week as of Thursday, slaughter levels were at 492,000 head steady with the same week a year ago. The week ending July 15 showed slaughter at 683,000 head compared to 658,000 the same week a year ago. Several market analysts have pointed out that slaughter is running 4 percent more than a year ago while beef production is 6.5 percent higher than a year ago. Dillon Fuez at Utah State University attributed the increase in production to increased slaughter weights which are posting new records. Last week, steer carcass weights were at 838 lbs., up 5 lbs. in one week and up 16 lbs. from the same time last year. Texas and Oklahoma feeders showed live steer weights at 1,247 lbs., up just 2 lbs. from a year ago. According to Jim Robb at the Livestock Marketing Information Center, the big extra carcass weights are coming out of the northern Plains states and Corn Belt feeders. The high level of calf fed placements in southern lots have kept those feeders fairly current in their marketings. Marketings are expected to show another solid month for June. The slaughter cow market has started its season early due to dry weather. Good fleshy cows are trading at the $45 range and the cow beef markets have fallen along with beef from fed cattle as well. The cow beef cutout was at $100.88 and cow carcass beef at $72.50. The 90 percent lean beef markets were at $122.21 and 50 percent trim is at a annual low of $35.27. Kansas State University reported in their latest feedlot survey that for the month of May, the closeout weight for steers was 1,264 lbs. versus 1,246 lbs. in 2005, while the average weight for heifers was 1,152 pounds, 22 pounds heavier than a year ago. So far this year, steer and heifer closeout weights are up 3 to 3.5 percent on average from 2005, respectively. At 173 days, steers were on feed one week longer than a year ago. Average daily gain at 3.10 lbs. per day was above May 2005 levels of 3.05 pounds. Heifers were on feed an average of 162 days, 4 days longer than 2005 and posted an average daily gain at 2.85 pounds, slightly higher than last year. Compared to the prior five-year average, average daily gains for steers were comparable while daily gains for heifers were 1 percent better. The amount of feed per pound of gain (dry matter basis) for steers in May was 5.91 pounds, down from last year’s average of 6.01. Heifers closed out in May were reported at 6.13 pounds of feed per pound of gain. For the month of May, surveyed feedlots reported the average cost of gain for steers at $53.61 per cwt., just $0.15 per cwt. lower than 2005, while the average cost of gain for heifers was $55.99 per cwt., up $0.20 per cwt. from a year earlier. When compared to the 2000-2004 average, cost of gains for both steers and heifers were 5 and 3 percent higher, respectively. Feeder cattle Hot and dry conditions put feeder cattle buyers in a sour mood last week and auction markets turned sharply lower in many areas as a result. Pasture conditions, according to one USDA market analyst, have deteriorated significantly in the past two weeks and few are willing to buy cattle when there isn’t much grass available. Early weaned calves are heading to town now and market numbers are above year-ago levels in many markets as producers try to stretch available forage for their cowherds. Fleshy, unweaned calves were heavily discounted last week which placed a further drag on the market. The bright spot in the feeder cattle market last week was the result of the first two big video auctions of the year. Superior Video Auction held their annual “Week in the Rockies” sale in Steamboat Springs, CO, July 10-14 and the results were very positive. Trade was very active across all classes of cattle and calves from across the country were called $3-5 higher. Northern yearlings were $4-8 higher while southern yearlings sold $3-5 higher. The large crowd on hand bid actively on an excellent set of cattle. Some representative lots from the sale include a consignment of 400-lb. Angus and Charolais cross steers from Wallace, NE, for October delivery which brought $165. A consignment of 490-lb. English and English Exotic cross steers from Alta Vista, KS, sold for $150.75 for August delivery. Yearling representative lots from the same sale included a consignment of 760-lb. English and English exotic cross steers from Council Groves, KS, for August delivery which brought $118.75. A Tyron, NE, ranch sold 900-lb. Angus, Angus cross steers on September delivery at $118. In Reno, NV, Western Video Market held their sale at the Silver Legacy Casino and a large crowd of buyers bid readily on an outstanding offering of quality cattle. Prices were very strong. Representative lots of yearling cattle included a consignment of 800-lb. steers from Nebraska for September delivery which sold at $119. A consignment of Colorado 725-lb. yearlings brought $120. Calves also sold well. A consignment of 500-lb. steers from Nebraska sold for $141 for October delivery. A Nevada ranch sold 400-lb. weaned heifers for November delivery at $155.50. In auction market trade last week at Oklahoma City, OK, feeder cattle turned sharply lower on heavy receipts. Compared to the prior week, feeder cattle were $1-4 lower, with the least decline on weights over 800 lbs. Demand was called moderate despite fewer buyers on the seats. Steer and heifer calves were $4-8 lower, with some instances of $10-15 lower on fleshy unweaned calves. At Abilene, TX, a light run of feeder steers and heifers under 500 lbs. were $1-3 lower, over 500 lbs. were steady to instances of $4 lower, yearlings were steady. In Joplin, MO, compared to the previous week, steers under 800 lbs. and heifers under 600 lbs. were $2-4 lower. Heavier weights were called steady. Demand and supply were moderate. Farther north in the Dakotas where the drought is taking its toll on the corn crop, cattle prices were mostly steady with the week prior although runs were light. In Torrington, WY, feeder steers and heifers were steady on a limited test. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange feeder contracts last week traded in mixed territory. Wednesday, lower corn markets pushed feeder cattle contracts higher across the board. Last Thursday, contracts traded lower and gave up the previous day’s gains. The August contract shed 45 points last Thursday to close at $115.27. September dropped 65 points, closing at $115.10. October feeders were 55 points lower at $114.70 while November feeder contracts were down 47 points, closing the day at $112.77. — WLJ  

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Monday, July 24,2006

Horse slaughter ban could be reality

by WLJ
— Silent movement on bill could mean an extra 90,000 horses with undetermined futures. Horse slaughtering could be banned permanently in the U.S. in the very near future. In just two months, thousands of unwanted horses may not be shipped to slaughtering facilities. Instead, they will be kept alive, but with equine shelters at maximum capacity, unanswered questions as to who will care for and board them persist. A hearing is to take place July 25 where lawmakers will hear from both sides regarding the permanent ban on horse slaughter. After members of the House return from break in September, a vote is expected the first week of their return. A vote in favor of House Bill 503, “The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act,” would mean an immediate and permanent ban on the “shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling or donation” of horses in interstate and foreign commerce for slaughter for human consumption. The bill would save approximately 90,000 horses from slaughter yearly, something proponents say is a win for animal welfare. However, opponents cite disaster in the making. “They think by saving unwanted horses they are solving the problem,” said Cathy Purcell, spokesperson for the three existing U.S. horse slaughtering facilities. The three U.S. slaughtering plants include Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX, Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth, TX, and Cavel International in DeKalb, IL. “By doing this, they are actually making the problem worse; 60,000 to 90,000 horses per year, think of how that will snowball.” According to USDA, 65,976 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. in 2004 and 91,757 were processed in 2005. The meat was then sent abroad for human consumption. Along with her list of foreseen consequences, Purcell added the loss of jobs, millions in U.S. exports vanishing, Dallas and Fort Worth losing their number one air freight customer and the bottom dropping out of the horse market. She said research indicates an instant loss of $304 per horse in the U.S. A research study conducted by six universities agrees the consequences are plenty. In fact, the study cites a “conservative estimate of the total cost of caring for unwanted horses, based upon 2005 statistics, is $220 million.” The report states the cumulative annual maintenance costs of otherwise processed horses since the year 2000 would have exceeded more than $513 million in 2005. The report also assumes the export value of unwanted horses for human consumption to be roughly $26 million. The study also states that horse processing facilities offer a humane end-of- life option for approximately 1 percent of the U.S.’s 9.2 million horse population. Validating opponents’ concerns, the study suggests more cases of animal neglect, translated into animal cruelty, will be derived from such a ban. Carolyn Stull, with the veterinary medicine extension at the University of California Davis, not only participated in this particular research study, but also conducted extensive research for USDA since the early 1990s. She has focused her research on transport conditions and on slaughtering plant regulations. Stull is not only convinced through research that a ban on horse slaughter would provoke a series of unintended consequences, but more so convinced by witnessing them firsthand in her home state. California banned the slaughtering of horses for human consumption and transportation with the intent to do so in 1998. “The ban not only took away slaughtering, but also took away all funding for USDA inspections, Stull said. “If this passes, we may have serious biosecurity issues to deal with.” After conducting the research, Stull said with confidence that if a disease outbreak in horses was ever to occur, there would be no government control. “There would be no biosecurity, nothing to protect the horse market,” she said. “If a disease outbreak happened there would be no way to process humanely and no way to dispose humanely. The one way to secure an outbreak with veterinarian supervision would be gone. The wow factor after doing the study was how in the heck are we going to dispose of approximately 90,000 head of unwanted horses a year. We can’t cremate that many and shelters are full as it is.” She said with no processing facilities, diseases would be more prominent and could put public health at risk. As an example, she cited West Nile Virus. Purcell agrees the consequences of this ban are being overlooked, while emotions take control and foster an opinion that lacks facts. “Lawmakers are only hearing from people like Bo Derek who can afford fancy retirement homes for elder horses,” said Purcell. “They are not hearing from ranchers,” but she urges them to speak up. Purcell said the bottom line is determining whether horses are livestock or pets. She said most activists would agree they are pets, and if that is the case, she said pets have to be put down when they can no longer live healthy lives or “perform the functions ranchers hired them to do.” “This just boils down to the animal rights wackos putting emotions above the well being of animals,” she said. “Just because PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is going nuts doesn’t mean the facts should be muddied with the sentimental attachment to horses.” Although PETA was unavailable for comment last week, their Web site serves as a descriptive spokesman for their cause. On the organization’s site, onlookers are told of the horrific procedures involved in horse slaughtering and it urges individuals to contact their legislators to ban horse slaughtering all together. Purcell said this type of information being spread to uniformed citizens is simply playing on emotions. She said, most critically, the information is not completely true. Purcell said horses are not stunned as they were several years ago, they are killed immediately with a “knock gun” or a “bolt gun,” which does not temporarily stun the animal. Purcell said this initiative is being led by many other animal rights activists including J.P. Goodwin, the grassroots coordinator at the Humane Society of the United States, the world’s richest animal-rights organization. This organization is not related to the Humane Societies that shelter animals in the U.S. Goodwin, who previously co-founded the Texas-based Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, is clear about his intentions, writing in one Internet activist listserve: “My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture.” He’s developed a lengthy arrest record in pursuit of that goal. He was arrested and convicted for being the ringleader of a crew that vandalized fur retailers in multiple states during the 1990s. Purcell said he released some 10,000 minks, of which 4,000 or so died. She said the same will happen with thousands of unwanted horses with no one to care for them. Jim Ahern with Cal Poly’s agribusiness department in San Luis Obispo, CA, also participated in the massive study. He focused on the human consumption perspective. Ahern said although most Americans do not consume horse meat, we cannot dictate what is food and what is not for the rest of the world. He continued by saying the nutritional value of horses is higher than most red meats. “Banning horse slaughter could affect people in these export markets as they rely on horse meat for affordable food and it makes up a large percentage of their diets,” said Ahern. He said although many consider Belgium and France to be the largest consumers of horse, the U.S.’s largest export markets are China and Mexico. “We export approximately 1.7 million pounds to China, nearly triple Mexico’s 600,000 pounds, the second largest export market.” He said by banning slaughter in California, he has witnessed the elimination of the lower end of the horse market. Ahern said burros are already running wild on public land property as well as wild horses in northern San Luis Obispo county and he assumes the population will just get larger with a permanent ban in the U.S. With most of this property being desert land, he ponders how the horses will survive. Stull agrees with Ahern’s concerns, recalling an incident in San Luis Obispo where hundreds of horses were found starving and with shelter facilities already saturated, viable options for control were gone. “We couldn’t handle hundreds, and money certainly doesn’t exist to handle thousands,” said Stull. “California couldn’t even take care of their own little problem. What’s going to happen when that problem is not so little?” The bill, introduced by Reps. John Sweeney, R-NY, John Spratt, D-SC, and Ed Whitfield, R-KY, is expected to be brought to a vote in September, though it is not by any means the first attempt to ban horse slaughtering. A measure to further protect horses from slaughter was signed into law in November by President Bush. The law bars USDA from paying for inspections of horses before slaughter and started March 10. The idea, according to PETA, was to force plants to shut down because federal law requires all livestock to be inspected before slaughter. However, the three slaughterhouses said they will pay the inspectors’ salaries under a “fee for service” arrangement similar to the system used for elk and other exotic animals. The USDA since agreed to allow slaughtering to continue under this arrangement. This further inspired activists’ fiery passion to end slaughtering. There is also a similar bill in the Senate (S. 1915), introduced last October by Sens. John Ensign, R-NV, and Mary Landrieu, D-LA. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The fast moving House bill’s hearing will be heard by the Energy and Commerce committee, which Purcell said has angered some who feel it should be heard by the agricultural committee. She said there is talk of having two hearings, the second one in the House Committee on Agriculture. “These initiatives have been bantered around like a political football,” said Purcell. “Here we go again, they are not following the facts, or their facts are wrong. This time, a permanent ban is closer than ever before and ranchers need to speak up.” She continued by saying it makes more sense to side with veterinarians, not PETA, and urges ranchers to call their lawmakers. — Mike Deering, WLJ Editor

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Monday, July 24,2006

Obituary: Benjamin F. Hofeldt

by WLJ
Benjamin G. Hofeldt, 82, died of natural causes at his ranch south of Chinook, MT, on July 2, 2006. Funeral services were held on Saturday, July 15. Ben was born on Dec. 17, 1923, to Henry and Alvina (Struve) Hofeldt in Chinook, MT. He was rai/.sed on the family ranch, along with four brothers and two sisters. He attended grade school in the Bear Paw Mountains and graduated from Chinook High School. After leaving high school, Ben came back to the mountains to ranch. He made his home at the Runyun Place, along with his mother, who was widowed when Ben’s dad passed away in 1942. Ben was just 18 years old. Ben married Ruth Olson on June 16, 1945. To this union three sons were born: Rodney Benjamin, Douglas Fred and Clark Allen. Ben leaves behind his three sons, Rodney (Carolina), Douglas and Clark, all of whom are carrying on his legacy in the ranching profession. He also leaves six grandchildren, Clayton Hofeldt, Tanith (Dale) Daugherty, Angie Hofeldt, Dustin Hofeldt (Vicki), Kyla and Shaina Hofeldt and one step-great granddaughter, Makayla Wilke. Ben is also survived by three brothers, Paul, Hans and Lawrence Hofldt, one sister, Hilda Drugge, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by four infant siblings, 7-year-old sister Margaretha, sister Christine Miller, brother Roy Hofeldt, his parents, and his wife of 55 years, Ruth Olson Hofeldt.

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Monday, July 24,2006

Wilderness proposal passes committee

by WLJ
The U.S. House Resources Committee last week approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, which will create 492 square miles of federal land in central Idaho as protected wilderness while conveying other public land to the state and local governments. Lloyd Knight, executive vice president of the Idaho Cattle Association, said the group is still opposed to the legislation. “We are concerned about the addition of more wilderness in the state. We are also opposed to the fact that some of the language that would have provided compensation for ranchers who lost grazing land has been taken out of the bill,” Knight said. “We are still committed to working with Representative Simpson on the bill though.” The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) designates three new federally protected wilderness areas in the rugged mountain peaks of the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests—the Ernest Hemingway-Boulder Wilderness, the White Clouds Wilderness and the Jerry Peak Wilderness. The CIEDRA bill will also add 600 acres protected from development to the existing Sawtooth National Recreation Area. In return, local governments in Stanley, Clayton, Mackay, Challis, Custer and Blaine counties will get almost 4,000 acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property to sell, manage or develop into affordable housing or public facilities. Another 960-acre parcel of BLM land near Boise would be given to the state for a new off-road vehicle state park. As a concession, the Department of Interior will be required to release from study 130,000 acres of public land which had been earmarked as potential wilderness, allowing federal land managers to issue permits for grazing, mining, logging or other commercial uses. Although Democrats on the House Resources Committee had voiced concern over the Idaho bill during a hearing in October 2005, the measure was approved on an unanimous voice vote last Wednesday. The measure now will be scheduled for a final vote on the House floor and then must make it through the U.S. Senate before the end of the year when this session of Congress concludes. “I’m pretty confident it will pass the floor of the House,” Simpson said. “After that, it depends on how quickly the Senate moves it.” The latest version of Simpson’s wilderness bill added 11,000 more acres to the proposed wilderness areas than previous versions, for a total of 315,215 acres. It also dropped an earlier provision that would have compensated ranchers financially in return for surrendering their grazing rights within the proposed wilderness areas. — John Robinson, WLJ Editor

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Monday, July 10,2006

Beef absent of antibiotics may not be safer

by WLJ
In light of recent legislation in both the House and the Senate proposing to ban antibiotics from livestock feed, some say beef will not be any safer with such measures imposed, according to an Institute of Food Technologists’ study released last week. Chicago Tribune reported the study, conducted by the panel of food scientists and microbiologists, was provoked by marketing campaigns during the past decade by organic food advocates who have suggested there is an overuse of antibiotics making the food less safe for human consumption. The claims stated in the proposed legislation cite critical danger to humans. One particular group mentioned in the study is the Organic Trade Association, based in Greenfield, MA, which serves as a host organization of the U.S.’s organic producers. The association refers to 10 studies during 2000 and 2001 regarding the use of antibiotics to support their claims that antibiotics have been abused by U.S. farmers and ranchers. The most recent study was pursued to “bring balance” to the issue, according to Michael Doyle, chairman of the panel. “The study does raise questions about those groups using this as a basis for their promotion of organic and natural products,” Doyle said. The study is being presented as organic and natural meat sales reach new highs. The most recent data shows a 13.5 percent jump in organic and natural meat sales from 2004 to 2005 and reports of continued skyrocketing growth are being made. Within four years, sales have nearly doubled to $681.3 million annually, according to AC Nielson, a research and consulting firm. Doyle said his intentions are not to advocate the misuse of antibiotics, but rather warn against reducing the levels of antibiotic use in food production, claiming elimination would have little effect on bacteria that might develop resistance to antibiotic treatment in humans. Rather, he said, stopping the use of antibiotics in feed would cause livestock to gain immunity to the drugs making them ineffective in treating disease. “The fact is that if we cut back on antibiotics in animals raised in food production, we would see a marked increase in food costs because we’re going to have a lot of animals we’re not able to treat effectively,” he said. “Overuse in humans, not regular use in animals, creates strains of resistant bacteria that hurt humans. Prior human exposure to antibiotics is the greatest factor for acquiring an infection with antibiotic resistant bacteria,” said Doyle, not routine treatment of animals. The panel reviewed 20 years of research into antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance to make their claims. — Mike Deering, WLJ Editor  

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Monday, July 10,2006

Fed trade stagnant

by WLJ
Fed cattle trade was at a standstill last Thursday with packers and feeders several dollars between asking and offer prices. Thursday afternoon, $5 split the two. Jim Gill at Texas Cattle Feeders Association said he didn’t expect trade to develop until late Friday. “We haven’t seen a trade one. People are going to be asking $85-86 and packers will be offering $81, is my guess. I think we stand a good chance of getting $85,” said Gill. Most analysts last week were calling for mostly steady trade, when it finally developed. Retail movement was light to moderate leaving packers with plenty of supply and not enough demand to continue paying the feedlots’ asking prices on a short kill week. With this said, one can assume with validity that warehouses are packed full of beef, adding to an existing plentiful supply with a steady to sluggish demand. USDA estimated last week’s slaughter number at 375,000 head Thursday. This number is down significantly from the week prior’s 497,000 head and up from last year’s 359,000 head as a result of the Fourth of July holiday. Last Thursday, 125,000 were slaughtered, which was dead-even with a week earlier, but 7,000 head more than 2005. With light retail demand Thursday afternoon, boxed beef prices also took a downward trend. Choice cutout was at $153.29, down 91 cents. Select cutout values dropped 33 cents to $131.33. Although boxed beef was down, retail trade is still stronger than a year ago and looks to maintain good support on moderate demand. According to Darrell Mark, economist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the question now becomes what hap-pens to demand after the holiday break. “We can expect to see some fill-in business after the holiday as weather looked to be conducive for grilling over the weekend. This should help support beef values for the rest of the week,” said Mark. “However, business that has been transacted on a forward basis has taken place at lower money.” Carcass weights are still running approximately 14 lbs. above year ago levels and along with this is an expected increase in Choice grading cattle in the weeks ahead. This, along with an expected seasonal decrease in demand for middle meats, will likely begin to weigh on cutout values as next week progresses, according to Mark. “As of right now, we would not expect beef values to crash and burn, however, a pull back into the lower to mid $140s would seem very reasonable basis the Choice cutout,” he said. End meats should hold together better than middles as, seasonally, buyers turn to these items as lower priced alternatives to more expensive cuts in late summer and into the fall. A resumption of Asian beef trade is also expected to lend support to round and chuck values as China opens their borders and Japan prepares to do so by the end of this month. Mark said to look for boxed beef market values to soften further early next week. Last week’s Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade was volatile, trading lower. On Thursday last week, August contracts traded 90 points down, closing at $85.95. October fell 58 points to close at $89.88. December contracts dropped 48 points, settling at $90.25. Feeder cattle Auction markets remained strong across the country for the most part. However, due to the holiday, little auction trade circulated as most livestock markets were closed. The two largest, Joplin, MO, and Oklahoma City, OK, closed their doors to honor Independence Day. Last Monday in Woodward, OK, a solid run of feeder steers averaged $1-2 higher. Feeder heifers were $2-4 higher, with instances of 850 to 900 lb. heifers selling $6 higher. Steer calves sold $2-3 higher, while heifers sold $4 up. Demand was described as very good for all classes. In Sioux Falls, SD, Thursday, a little over 400 head sold. Compared to last week, feeder steers over 975 lbs. sold steady to $2 higher with the greatest advance over 1,100 lbs. Buyer demand was called good. In Nebraska markets last week, 6,525 head sold. These numbers included Bassett Livestock Auction, Bassett, NE, Huss Livestock Market LLC, Kearney, NE, and Loup City Commission Co, Loup City, NE. Compared to the previous week, steers under 800 lbs. sold steady to $2 higher and over 800 lbs. sold $3-5 higher. Heifers under 700 lbs. sold $3-5 higher and over 700 lbs. sold $1-2 higher. The bulk of the trade consisted of average to good quality yearlings off of short summer grass. Demand was described as good to very good for all classes and weight ranges. The auctions maintaining the upward trend certainly served as no representative for the futures market. Midday trading last Thursday showed an upward pattern, but that quickly changed with contracts in all months dragging lower before the close. August contracts traded $1.20 lower to close at $116.05, down from Wednesday’s $117.25. Downward was September trading, slumping $1.11 to settle at $115.75. October lacked 73 points from the day prior’s trade, closing Thursday at $114.83. November closed $1.20 lower. — WLJ  

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Monday, July 10,2006

Idaho producers hold mid-year meeting

by WLJ
—New policies on beef for troops set. Members of the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) met in Jackpot, NV, June 20-22 for the annual Mid Year Conference. Nearly 150 producers were in attendance as members heard the latest updates on policy priorities important to Idaho’s cattle industry, and those present set new policy positions in place to guide the association in the coming months. The conference was highlighted by the announcement of an Executive Order by Governor Jim Risch—also a cattle producer and ICA member—that outlines the steps that will be taken by the state to regain the Brucellosis Class Free Status that was lost in January. Those steps include the development of a brucellosis management plan and appointing of a task force that will develop recommendations to manage wildlife and cattle interactions in eastern Idaho. Updates were provided on the efforts of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) by Andy Groseta, NCBA Policy Division Chairman and Cottonwood, AZ, cattle producer and Cevin Jones, NCBA Region 5 Vice President and Eden, ID, cattle feeder. Groseta and Jones provided an update on NCBA’s push to permanently repeal the Death Tax, amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and exempt manure from regulation as a hazardous substance, among other issues. Conference attendees enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Sam Barringer, a veterinarian with Pfizer. Dr. Barringer has served for over a year in Iraq as a veterinarian and major in the Army Reserves, assisting with animal health, human health, and biosecurity issues. Dr. Barringer offered personal insight into the positive efforts of the U. S. Military to make life better for everyday Iraqis. Ty Groshans of the American Angus Association provided those present with an update on the Angus Source program. Angus Source is a program that provides source verification services to producers that utilize Angus genetics. The Wolf Management Workshop included representatives of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Governor’s Office of Species of Conservation, and USDA-Wildlife Services. Panel speakers outlined the steps that have been taken to facilitate state management of wolves until delisting of wolves in Idaho becomes a reality. Planning efforts are underway for future workshops around the state. New policy positions were also taken by members at the conference, including the decision that ICA will work with Idaho’s Congressional Delegation and NCBA to ensure that U.S. troops are supplied with U.S. beef. ICA also took a position on the proposed Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act. Based on existing ICA policy stating concern for the creation of wilderness and of permanent grazing buyouts, while also recognizing the right of individuals to seek solutions that are in their best interest, ICA does not support the passage of this legislation as currently written because it will potentially establish a precedent for grazing permit buyouts and it fails to adequately protect and promote grazing within the SNRA and the proposed Boulder White Clouds Management Area. — WLJ  

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Monday, July 10,2006

New Mexico producers meet in spite of drought

by WLJ
Over 100 cowboys from across New Mexico converged on Silver City, NM, recently, despite drought and fire, for the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) mid-year meeting. Caren Cowen, executive director for NMCGA, was pleased by the conference. “It was a good turn out in light of the drought and fires.” Cowen continued, “Policy issues discussed included a measured approach to death tax reform and capitol gains as well as the need for the IRS to provide longer time frame for 1031 exchange on lands sales. Other resolutions addressed water rights, jaguar critical habitat, The Nature Conservancy involvement in federal land management, country of origin labeling, archeological clearances necessary for land conservation projects, the state’s growing elk herd and other state issues.” A new membership contract was unveiled to the attendees with hopes of attracting more interest and support for the organization. Cowen was pleased with the conference and looks forward to next year as the group has already begun work on its agenda for the 2007 Legislature.

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