Close
Home » Articles »   By WLJ
 
 
Monday, October 9,2006

Shipments to South Korea on hold

by WLJ
—Lack of clarity preventing companies from trade. USDA statistics showed last week that no beef has been shipped to South Korea since the border opened. Sources at major packers have said they are concerned about having shipments condemned in the event inspectors find even small fragments of bone in shipments of U.S. beef. Officials with the South Korean agriculture ministry have said they will have a zero tolerance policy regarding any bone fragments in beef products sent overseas. That stand means any product found containing bone fragments could be rejected or destroyed by government inspectors. That is a risk major exporters aren’t willing to take. Lynn Heinze, U.S. Meat Export Federation vice president of information services, said vague responses and instructions from South Korean officials are the reason packers have not yet resumed shipments overseas. “Individual companies will make their own decisions as to when they will resume shipments, but without additional guidance, it could be some time before shipments begin,” said Heinze. USDA sent a high-level delegation to Korea in August in an effort to come to an agreement on an acceptable standard for a tolerance level for bone fragments in boneless beef shipments, but the South Koreans rejected the request. Sources at major packing companies said most don’t intend to ship overseas until a standard is reached. The border officially opened to shipments of boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age on Sept. 8. USDA Foreign Agriculture Service officials said last week the agency would “continue to press Korea for appropriate beef trade protocols.” The regulations, which U.S. officials had hoped to get changed quickly once trade barriers were lifted, said if problems are found, South Korea “may suspend temporarily export loading from the relevant meat establishment that produced the exported beef.” The regulations also state inspectors may “return the export beef to its origin or destroy it if discrepancies with the health requirements of Korea are found.” In Hong Kong, which maintains similar standards to those imposed by South Korea, shipments from some U.S. plants were prohibited after the discovery of bone fragments in shipments of beef from multiple U.S. packing plants. In 2003, the U.S. exported more than $814 million worth of beef to Korea, with boneless beef accounting for $449 million. A large portion of the remainder was bone-in product such as short ribs, which are popular in Korean-style barbeque dishes. One source at a major U.S. packer said his company wouldn’t ship to Korea until a standard is met, a condition which was conveyed to USDA officials negotiating with South Korea even before the announcement to open the border was made. Until a standard is set, or at least the penalties for bone fragments are set forth, packing companies have too much to lose, according to that official. Industry sources have said maintaining a zero tolerance for bone fragments is very difficult and more costly than it sounds. “The industry can probably do it on a small scale, but it would be very cost prohibitive and it’s unlikely they (South Koreans) would be willing to pay for it,” the source said. Meanwhile, in an effort to ramp up supplies in light of the border closure, South Korean farmers have been increasing their herd size. This year, total cattle numbers in the country have risen sharply, according to the nation’s agriculture ministry. The South Korean beef cattle herd increased to a seven-year high of 2.02 million, up 3.2 percent in the latest quarter-to-quarter comparison. The herd has grown 37 percent since 2003 and is the highest since 2.09 million animals were recorded in September 1999. — John Robinson, WLJ Editor  

Read more
Monday, October 9,2006

Feedlots hold out for more money

by WLJ
Fed cattle trade continued its recent trend of slow development last week as packers once again worked hard to convince feedlots they intended to stick to offering prices. As of Thursday last week, bids were still as much as $5-6 below asking prices. Very little trade had taken place and analysts were calling the market steady to perhaps $1 higher at $91 live and $140-142 dressed basis when buyers and sellers finally came together. At those prices, packers were well into the red ink, with an average per head loss, estimated by HedgersEdge.com, of $45.70 last Thursday. Attempts to move the boxed beef cutout value higher have been difficult to sustain and packers seemed reluctant to trim kill rates, despite widespread belief they intend to do so soon. Choice cutout values last Thursday were near steady at $142.39. The Select trade was slightly higher at $134.72. For the week-to-date last Thursday, harvest was estimated at 501,000 head, 5,000 more than the prior week and 15,000 more than the same week last year. When combined with the record steer and heifer weights, it amounts to a substantial increase in the amount of retail product being offered at the wholesale level. Jim Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, said the cutout values moved higher but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of steers and heifers being slaughtered. “If you look at the volume of cattle being slaughtered, it becomes pretty clear that the numbers are higher than last year for the month of September. What isn’t getting as much attention is the fact that the increase is entirely in the cow and bull slaughter,” Robb said. “Preliminary numbers show cow and bull slaughter last month was up 12.5 percent over last year. Steer and heifer slaughter for the month was actually down 2.2 percent.” That slaughter mix has hit cow cutout values extremely hard as the market attempts to absorb the additional volume. USDA cow cutout values last Thursday had dropped to $101.02. The 90 percent lean was trading at $124.30 and the 50 percent trim was $36.87. Those figures compare to last year, when cow harvest year, when cow harvest was considerably lower, in a very negative manner. During the same week in 2005, the cow carcass cutout value was $105.87. The price of 90 percent lean was $130.70 and 50 percent lean traded at $51.38. The combination of sagging demand at the consumer level and beef output more than 5 percent ahead of last year, has packers at the lowest gross margin in many years. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange was higher in last Thursday’s session, despite quiet in the cash market. Despite pressure as fund traders moved money out of October contracts to December, the nearby contract gained 97 points to close the day at $91.35. It lent some support to feeder positions as they held on for better offers last week. December traded 82 points higher at $90.10 and February rose 80 points, closing at $91.35. The gains in the corn market last week took their toll on the feeder calf traders and sent the market down. In most auction market trade, where lighter than normal fall runs are beginning, prices were sharply lower as a result of strong Chicago Board of Trade corn contract movement. Last Thursday, new crop December corn closed the day’s trade at $2.74 per bushel. The upward momentum has feedlots scrambling to secure their corn prices if they haven’t already done so. Robb said the calf and yearling markets were being dominated by the news from the corn pit. “The feeder market, and particularly the contracts, are being linked to gains in corn, perhaps even more than they should be at this point.” Add the recent dismal reports from wheat pasture regions to the pressure from the corn trade and there was ample reason last week for buyers to sit on their wallets. According to Derrell Peel, agricultural economist at Oklahoma State University, hot, dry, windy conditions in the state are erasing hopes of good grazing conditions, which just weeks ago were looking very promising. Temperatures into the 90s last week, along with a lack of precipitation, have already taken their toll on newly sprouted wheat pastures. “There are some reports that the wheat has blown out with the recent winds and will have to be replanted. Emerged wheat needs moisture very soon to avoid losing the young stands. In other cases, dry-planted wheat is still waiting for moisture to germinate. In still other cases, the locally heavy September rains washed out some dry-planted wheat that has or will be replanted,” Peel said. “All of this confirms that fall wheat forage production for grazing will be minimal.” The resulting poor prospects have put a damper on the demand for stocker cattle in the southern Plains. “Oklahoma feeder markets have developed a weaker undertone the past two weeks with lack of wheat pasture demand for stockers compounded by limited feeder demand due to swelling feedlot inventories. Feeder cattle auction volumes are still at or above last year’s levels but should moderate in the coming weeks as earlier drought-induced sales are expected to result in reduced weaning calf runs in October and early November,” Peel said. “This should help moderate seasonal calf price decreases, but the poor wheat pasture prospects described above may mean that demand weakens more than supply, thereby keeping prices on the defensive.” Along the West Coast, the feeder market is less affected by the dry conditions of the southern Plains, however, markets there were also under pressure last week. In Vale, OR, the first real readjustment of the fall run happened last week. The market was called $3-7 lower. In addition to the corn news, buyers there reported the lower fed cattle futures in the first quarter of 2007 were cause for concern. In Famoso, CA, the market trend was steady on feeders and $2 lower on stocker cattle last week. Most demand was found on the feeder cattle, particularly those steers and heifers in the 650-800 lb. range. Demand for feeder cattle from 450-550 lbs. destined for spring harvest was also called good. In Billings, MT, steer and heifer calves over 500 lbs. were steady to $2 lower, with weights under 500 lbs. called steady to $4 lower. Yearling heifers sold $1-2 lower. Calf demand last week was light to moderate, with the weakest part of the market for 600 lb. heifers. Demand for yearlings last week was moderate to good. In Torrington, WY, compared to the prior week’s auction, feeder steers under 650 lbs. were mostly steady, with the 400-450 lb. steers $2-4 lower with quality not as attractive as the previous week on the lighter steer calves. Cattle in the 700-900 lb. range were steady, while those over 900 lbs. were steady to $1 lower. Feeder heifers 400-500 lbs. were steady to $3 higher, and 700-750 lb. heifers were steady with some instances of $2 lower on good demand. At Hub City, SD, compared to the previous week, yearling steers and heifers sold steady, with a large run of high quality yearlings coming off grass. Spring calves sold $1-2 lower in a light test. For spring-born calves, best demand was for light fleshed weaned calves with both spring and fall shots. Farther south in Dodge City, KS, in a light test last week, steers in almost all weight classes were weak to mostly $3 lower. Heifers between 400-650 lbs. were weak to $5 lower, while those from 650-800 lbs. were weak to mostly $3 lower. In West Plains, MO, last week, steer and heifer calves sold $2-5 lower, except light/feather weight stocker calves under 375 lbs. and 500-600 lb. steers were steady to $2 higher. Yearlings mostly steady on moderate supply. At the market, it was noted temperature changes and expanding numbers in sick pens on feedlots prevented buyers from bidding up the market. In Oklahoma City, OK, a limited test on feeder cattle left the market mostly steady with moderate to good demand as light numbers made it difficult to create even loads. Steer and heifer calves were steady to mostly $2-3 lower. In Abilene, TX, feeder steers were called $2-5 lower, with yearlings steady to $1 lower. Feeder heifers were $2-4 lower, and yearlings steady to $2 lower in active trade.

Read more
Monday, October 9,2006

Appraisals a valuable tool

by WLJ
— Producers can benefit from an appraisal. Ranchers can witness value in having their property appraised, despite their intent to sale. Appraisals are often associated with selling property, but according to real estate experts, the value far exceeds the mere selling component. By having an appraiser evaluate property, giving the landowner an approximate value of their ranch, producers can obtain the given knowledge to use for an array of options. Producers do have the option to sell, but can also use the information to refinance their property, obtain a loan, valuing limited or family partnerships, ranch partitioning, solving probate and estate tax issues, financial planning, litigation issues and just simply peace of mind knowing the value of the ranch if a circumstance arises where the information is helpful, according to Derry Gardner, co-owner of Gardner Appraisal Group which specializes in ranch appraising in Texas. In addition, a land appraisal can even assist in dictating the future of the ranch, aid in purchasing property, and determine the best use for each portion of the ranch, be it livestock, crop production or hunting and fishing purposes, said Gardner. A small investment Appraisals can ease many burdens for ranchers and are an affordable way to do so. Although appraisals vary in price, Gardner said cattlemen can usually find a reputable appraiser to do the job for approximately $300, give or take, for roughly 200 acres. The price, of course, varies with the size of the ranch and improvements on the property, such as center pivots, houses, outbuildings, and ponds and streams. According to John Childears, appraiser for Agri Affilates based in North Platte, NE, an appraisal for 10,000 acres can range anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500. He is now appraising a 22,000-head feedlot and said the price for that appraisal can range from $3,000 to $8,000, depending on an array of factors. Childears, who has been in the appraising business for the past 30 years, said this is little money when referencing the future of the property, and even less when compared to the future of the ranching operation and the next generation. “When making decisions on a multimillion dollar property, $5,000 for an appraisal is a very small, but very cheap investment.” Having the knowledge With land being a hot commodity, despite the economy, ranchers can use appraisals to find ways to add value to their property and even shift management practices and usage of the ranch in order to maximize profits at the end of the year. It’s all about having the knowledge. Farm and ranch owners who make decisions knowing exactly what they are working with definitely have the upper hand, according to Childears. “For example, a farmer may want to put a center pivot on their property, which sounds good, but in reality, doesn’t make good financial sense,” said Childears. “Also, farm and ranch owners may want to build a nice, fancy home to enjoy life in, expecting property values to increase. If they don’t get an appraisal, they may find the only way to get the value back out of that home is to live long enough to use the value out of it.” He said farmers and ranchers too often rely on gossip and listen to Joe at the coffee shop. “I am not saying farmers and ranchers can’t be astute at knowing what their property is worth, but oftentimes, the gossip is totally off base. Even though Joe may just live down the road, the property value may be totally different when compared to yours,” Childears said. Appraisal uses He said what he is witnessing in Nebraska is farmers and ranchers realizing that selling off portions of their property for other uses, or even leasing out the property, is a profitable venue. More specifically, property that may not be very useful for farming or ranching may be very valuable for sportsmen wanting to lease or purchase hunting property. “You hit a good nerve here,” said Childears. “What has happened here in the last thirty years is amazing. Thirty years ago, land bordering the river was taxed at $50 an acre. Today, lo and behold, it is being valued at $1,250 to $2,000 an acre. A lot of ranchers now are selling off that land along the river because it is worth more to a hunter than it is to attempt to winter cattle on it. A lot can change while ranchers are rolling up their sleeves and focusing on managing the ranch.” Another reason to have an up-to-date appraisal on hand is to have leverage when negotiating a loan or other investments with a banker. “When trying to get a bank to lend more money or the banker is pulling the purse strings, it’s good to have the appraisal on your side,” said Childears.   He said a lot of times, bankers don’t have any better knowledge of what property is worth than the farmer or rancher. Having the appraisal, can be very beneficial. Another reason can involve estate settlements after the ranch owner has passed or when family disputes need to be solved. Scott Shuman with the Westchester Group, which is a farm and ranch auction company based in Champagne, IL, said appraisals can be very helpful in an array of circumstances. “Obviously, if you don’t understand what the market is doing, an appraisal can give you a snapshot of what is going on,” said Shuman. “They are a great thing to have around and can be helpful to use in a will to prevent headaches in the future in the event of an unfortunate circumstance.” In the event of selling property, however, Shuman said they may or may not be helpful depending on the method of selling. He said they are a must for private treaty sales, but in an auction scenario, they are not. “When we auction off a farm or ranch, we do not suggest the seller get an appraisal,” said Shuman, who is in the process of starting a branch of Westchester Group in Eaton, CO, which is just east of Fort Collins. “We do a market analysis for our clients to see what other similar properties have sold for, but we feel that an auction will effectively establish the true market value. If it is advertised and marketed correctly, an accurate value will be established.” He said “at the end of the day” if the room is full of people approved for financing, it would be difficult to argue whether the true value was achieved. “Although appraisals are helpful, you have to realize that the appraisal is just a snapshot and is only one man’s opinion,” said Shuman. “For example, if the appraisal was done on October 15 and you wanted to use the information on October 20, it may not be completely accurate, as a lot of things can change in this business in just five days.” Quite simply, Shuman said, there are times appraisals are valuable, but in the event of an auction, he wouldn’t recommend it. Finding a good appraiser Finding an appraiser who is the very best for farm and ranch properties can oftentimes be the most difficult chore in the appraisal process. “In this business, like any other, there are the good, the bad, the ugly and the worthless. There is a big difference between appraising residential versus farm and ranch property, although some commercial appraisers still try to do both.” He said the best tool in locating an appraiser is to locate appraisers who are associated with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Childears said affiliated appraisers are required to take courses, have experience, pass detailed testing, and a long list of other criteria. Another association is the Appraisal Institute, which Childears said is primarily a commercial appraising group, but some try to appraise farm and ranch property as well. He advises against trusting their criteria until you do your homework. “It’s tough to hire the best,” said Childears, who said Agri Affiliates appraise ranch property in Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming. “Study and search around. Talk to people and find out who they have used. Don’t just find the cheapest appraiser in the yellow pages.” The value of having land appraised can be simplified to the value of knowledge, which can aid in making sound decisions. Having an appraisal on hand, even if you don’t think you need it, may be a solid tool to making solid choices now and relative to the next generation. — Mike Deering, WLJ Editor    

Read more
Monday, October 2,2006

Spring diseases in fall

by WLJ
—Recent rains are encouraging producers, but also causing animal disease concerns. As fall approaches, cattlemen in nearly all geographical tiers are experiencing some relief from scorching temperatures and lack of rainfall. Recently, producers have received late rains that are giving them hope for additional grass growth, as well as wheat for those who plan to stock cattle for fall and winter grazing. Although the rain is needed, it is also causing producers problems they usually don’t experience in late summer and early fall, but rather the spring. More specifically, along with new grass growth, producers are seeing an increasingly higher occurrence of grass tetany and metabolic pneumonia. Grass tetany Grass tetany is more widespread and more familiar to cattle producers. Grass tetany occurs when there is a low level of magnesium in the cow’s blood. Grass tetany is caused by a low content or availability of magnesium found in hay or pasture forage, according to Edward Rayburn, extension forage agronomist for West Virginia University. “The availability of magnesium is reduced if the forage is high in nitrogen or potassium,” said Rayburn. “This often occurs after heavy application of chemical fertilizers or manure. Unfortunately, producers who practice good pasture and forage management may experience grass tetany more frequently than farmers who do not fertilize or use improved management methods.” In addition to fertilizing pastures, another factor that may increase the occurrence of grass tetany is rapidly growing grass, which is currently happening due to the recent rains. Fast growing grass often contains inadequate amounts of magnesium for cattle, according to Russ Daly, South Dakota State University extension veterinarian, who said that is the source of the concern for producers in South Dakota. At this point, Rayburn said there is very little cattlemen can do to completely prevent grass tetany. He said the most important thing to do is watch cattle carefully, looking for signs and symptoms of the disease, and respond immediately with treatment. The symptoms of grass tetany closely resemble those of milk fever or ketosis. These include nervousness, lack of coordination, muscular spasms, staggering and death. When the disease is suspected, a veterinarian should be called immediately to diagnose and to initiate treatment, said Rayburn. However, in beef cattle operations, cattlemen do not always have the opportunity to observe the signs of the disease and affected cattle may be found dead in the pasture. Daly said grass tetany often progresses so rapidly the symptoms are not observed, and the problem is not identified until the animal is down or dead. He said once the disease presents itself, the treatment is intravenous solutions of magnesium and calcium. However, this is best, according to Daly, if given as soon as symptoms occur. Once the animal is down, it may be too late. If done earlier, prevention is the best remedy. To prevent the cow-killing disease, Rayburn recommends having soil sampled and treat the soil as recommended. “It is highly recommended that regular forage samples are obtained for analysis,” said Rayburn. “This simple procedure will provide valuable information for mineral supplementation to optimize livestock nutrition and production.” He said if the tests show a pasture has soil that is low in magnesium, do not apply heavy rates of nitrogen, potash or manure in early spring. Instead, make fall or late spring applications. The best medicine for now, according to Rayburn, is to choose a good mineral supplement high in magnesium. “To prevent grass tetany, provide adequate magnesium in a herd’s mineral supplement,” Rayburn said.   Metabolic pneumonia A less common, but still problematic disease usually found in the spring, but with recent weather conditions is becoming present now, is metabolic pneumonia. This disease attacks the respiratory system. Daly said it is an acute respiratory disease that occurs very rapidly. He said lush green pastures often contain very high levels of amino acids which, when in an animal’s stomach, are converted into a substance that leads to toxicity in the lungs. Daly said the signs and symptoms include difficulty breathing, breathing with the mouth open, salivation and standing still with necks extended outward. In addition, he said animals may go down under sudden stress. The downside to metabolic pneumonia is there is no guaranteed treatment once the disease is identified. The best process is prevention. The best way to do that, according to Daly, is limit the accessibility to lush pastures and supplement with feed additives, best prescribed by your local veterinarian. Daly said the best way to prevent both diseases is to wait until the grass regrowth has slowed down before turning the cattle back into the pasture. Rain is undoubtedly a good thing, giving optimism to cattle producers who were seriously considering large herd reductions and even selling out completely. The rains will allow wheat to grow, supporting stockers, as well as limit the amount of hay that will need to be fed this winter. However, industry leaders are simply issuing a warrant of caution to cattle producers. Be aware of the occurrence of these diseases; know what to watch for and consult local veterinarians for advice for prevention, including what additives and mineral supplements should be fed now, to prevent significant losses to the bottom line. — Mike Deering, WLJ Editor  

Read more
Monday, October 2,2006

Ranchers face bighorn sheep problems

by WLJ
—Bighorn sheep cause cattlemen to halt production. Ranchers are familiar with the challenges associated with sustaining the wildlife population and working cooperatively with the environment. Often heard called the best stewards of the land, ranchers have constantly compromised with environmentalists and federal institutions to take a proactive stance. Despite ranchers’ efforts, some decisions being made are causing ranchers to halt production. Most recently, environmentalists are praising a decision made by the Forest Service that will suspend livestock grazing in parts of Nevada and California, primarily near the eastern Sierra. The decision was a result of constant legal battles raging between ranchers and conservationists vying to restore bighorn sheep to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, as well as near the Yosemite National Park. Bighorns are generally found on steep slopes and high alpine meadows just north of Yosemite National Park to the south of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “It is refreshing and encouraging to see the Forest Service listening to and responding to biologists, including its own,” said Karen Schambach, California director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The decision was made in an effort to restore the endangered bighorn sheep to the area. Ranchers affected by the decision said they have been battling environmentalists over the protection of the bighorn sheep since the 1800s. Executive director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Rachel Buzzetti, said this issue is nothing new and has been yet another hurdle for producers in California and Nevada to deal with. “We have already lost over 50,000 acres of prime sheep and cattle range due to environmentalists claiming to be trying to protect endangered species,” said Floyd Rathbaun, who is the range consultant for F.I.M. Corporation located in Nevada's Smith Valley. F.I.M. is the largest sheep ranch in the national forest affected by the recent regulations. The logic used by the Forest Service to make the decision was reportedly based on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bighorn sheep were placed on the endangered species list in 1999. The concern on behalf of the Forest Service and environmentalists is that domestic sheep are spreading diseases to bighorn sheep, preventing any significant population growth. The environmentalists have scientists testifying that domestic sheep are causing bighorns to become infected with fatal diseases, while agriculturalists say the science is not science, simply circumstantial, and have their scientists testifying the opposite. An interagency task force recommended a buffer zone of between nine and 14 miles between the two species, which environmentalist say was the driving force behind the recent curtailment of grazing privileges. Daniel Patterson, an ecologist for the Center for Biological Diversity, said domestic sheep are increasingly threatening bighorns with a pneumonia-like disease known as Pasteurella. Since declared endangered, the bighorn sheep population has more than doubled. When first placed on federal listing, there was reportedly an approximate 125 head. Now the population has grown to over 300 head, according to Patterson. Fred Fulstone, age 86, owner of F.I.M., said he has been around bighorn sheep for 70 years and knows more about them than activists trying to limit grazing to “supposedly” protect them. “We don’t bother the bighorns and they don't bother us,” said Fulstone. “They don’t care about the bighorns, they just want our land. The greenies want to take all the country up there.” Fulstone, who has testified in Washington D.C. to protect his property along with other ranches, said the supposed fact that bighorns are being diseased by domestic sheep is a myth that has been disproved multiple times by credible scientists, microbiologists and veterinarians. “Domestic sheep and the Sierra Nevada Bighorns have grazed together in close proximity for 70 years and no die offs,” said Fulstone. “It boils down to the California Fish and Game trying to railroad the final recovery plan for Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. This should be stopped because the bigger part of it is not true. Plus, the bighorns were illegally listed on the endangered list in the first place. It's proven that bighorns are not a distinct population as listed.” Anette Rink is a veterinarian and serves as the laboratory supervisor for the Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory in Reno, NV, and has testified on behalf of Fulstone and other ranchers based on years of research. She said it is not impossible for diseases to be spread if there were nose-to-nose contact, but calls it unlikely. “The trouble is, the only evidence is circumstantial. There is no hard evidence of any such thing happening after at least 16 years of looking,” said Rink, who said Pasteurella may be somewhat host-specific and is triggered by stress. Rathbun said the bighorns already more than likely carry the pathogen, then stress triggers it, thus causing sickness or death. “They have no scientific proof; absolutely none,” said Rathbun. Rink said the major problem is soon to be a result of simply avoiding the real problem. “The major problem with the reluctance of biologists to accept that domestic sheep are not the major cause of disease die-offs of bighorns is that it excuses them from looking for any other causes. They feel their present management is adequate and changes in management other than removing domestic sheep from the range aren’t necessary,” said Rink. “Unfortunately, it will be too late for the range sheep producer when it becomes obvious that even without the presence of domestic sheep, the bighorns are very susceptible to disease and are still very fragile, will still experience nutritional and environmental stress, and will still die off.” The Washington D.C.-based Public Lands Council, representing the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry, is among those critical of the Forest Service’s decision. In a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year, Jeff Eisenberg, the executive director of the council, said federal wildlife officials had pledged in the mid-1980s that any efforts to reintroduce the bighorns would not result in any reductions in domestic grazing. “You have our word that we will not require any changes in the use of your allotment because of bighorn concerns,” Forest Service officials said in a letter to Fulstone on Dec. 20, 1989. Eisenberg said it was just one example of how ranchers have been treated unfairly in this particular issue. “Breaking promises to landowners to facilitate the relinquishment of federal permits will only create bad feelings and resistance to conservation efforts,” he wrote May 9 in the letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Eisenberg does not buy into the alleged fact that the stricter regulations have anything to do with ESA. “These people say the craziest things,” he said. “We’re looking for a solution that would take into consideration the needs of bighorn sheep, as well as the needs of the ranchers who have been in place for decades, a solution that takes care of the needs of domestic sheep,” he said. “This (recent restrictions) doesn’t address the longer term concerns.” Fulstone is more worried about the future than he is the present. “This bighorn problem is very serious to our cattle and sheep industry grazing on public lands. Thousands of cattle and sheep have already been put off public lands here in the West,” said Fulstone. “I believe the livestock industry should get together and form a coalition and fight this problem before anymore permits are cancelled.” — Mike Deering, WLJ, Editor  

Read more
Monday, October 2,2006

Fed cattle trade expected to move higher

by WLJ
—Packers expected to trim harvest levels soon. Fed cattle traders were still several dollars apart with asking prices in the range of $92 live basis and $142-145 dressed basis last Thursday. Trade was anticipated to occur at prices steady to $1 higher than the previous week once it got underway. The last confirmed trade was Sept. 22 at $88.50-90 in the southern Plains and in the north, live sales traded at $87-89. Dressed sales sold at $137-141. Boxed beef prices, supported by lower packer harvest levels, moved upward last week. Choice cutout values rose 17 cents on Thursday last week to close at $141.72. Select cuts were also slightly higher, gaining 15 cents to trade at $132.82. Volume was much improved last week as wholesale buyers finally found a price point they were satisfied with. Analysts last week said they anticipated packers would continue to attempt to move the cutout value higher in an effort to improve margins. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average packer margin was still considerably below break-even prices at minus $36 per head last Thursday. Erica Rosa, economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center, said she expected the market to move higher again last week, but that packers would cut harvest levels the following week to improve cutout margins. “The past two weeks, packers have come to the table with more money, somewhat unexpectedly, but they’re also working on the other end to move prices higher. I expect we will see cuts in kill-levels over the next week or two to help boost boxed beef prices,” Rosa said. “The problem recently has been the boxed prices will move higher one day and drop the next. Packers haven’t been able to maintain the upward momentum in the cutout value.” Rosa said, seasonally, she expects the boxed beef market to move higher, although not to the levels enjoyed during the fourth quarter last year when it reached record high prices. “Last year’s prices will be tough to beat and I don’t think we will do it this year, but I think the mid to high $140s are a reasonable target for Choice boxed beef during the fourth quarter,” she said. Factors which will determine the market are still playing out, according to Rosa. The contract trade in recent weeks has been largely dependent upon the cash market to determine direction and even a bearish cattle on feed report, such as the one issued Sept. 22, has done little to move the market. She said there has probably been some speculation in the contract trade with regard to trade with South Korea, and some improved demand on the consumer level as a result of declining energy prices, to boost the market. Beyond those two factors, there isn’t a clear direction for the market during the weeks ahead. “Right now, feedlot break evens are very high based on feeder cattle prices and right now packers appear to be willing to pay more money for them, but they have to be able to work toward better margins or they won’t be able to sustain that practice,” Rosa said. It looked early last week like packers might decrease harvest levels. On Monday, packers killed only 116,000 head, however, the remainder of the week’s harvest rate picked up and Thursday, packers moved 126,000 head through processing chains. That number was 1,000 lower than the previous week and 5,000 head more than a year ago. As of Thursday, for the week, harvest had reached 496,000 head, down from 505,000 the prior week, but well above a year ago when 476,000 head had been harvested. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) provided little market leadership last week as floor traders awaited cash trade to develop. In the meantime, contracts drifted sideways last week, with Thursday trade mixed to mostly lower last week. The nearby October contract was down 32 points during the session, closing at $90.67. December was down 25 points to $89.77 and February was down 12 points to $90.45. Back end contracts for August 2007 through February 2008 were slightly higher in last Thursday's trade, with the largest gain coming on the February 2008 contract which closed up 20 points at $89.30. Feeder cattle last week didn’t receive the normal boost from the fed cattle market and for the week, most auction markets were mixed to lower as a result. There is some optimism in the southern Plains for much improvement in the winter grazing prospects this year. Farmers are in the fields planting wheat, which is bolstering the stocker prices in some markets in the south. The rising corn crop estimates and fair weather as the crop moves closer to harvest has been pushing corn prices lower as well. According to Rosa, the decline in corn price is also bolstering the market for feeder calves. “Corn prices are declining and it’s adding value to what buyers are willing to pay. Hay is another matter, but rations can be adjusted, so it’s positive news for the feeder cattle prices,” she said. In Pleasanton, TX, last week, feeder steers sold steady to firm, with instances of $2-4 higher. Feeder heifers were called steady with instances of prices as much as $3 higher than the prior week on active trade and good demand. At Oklahoma National Stockyards, in Oklahoma City, OK, compared to the previous week, feeder cattle were mostly steady in a very light test. Feeder cattle numbers in the state remain very tight as this summer's drought, along with a good market, had many cattle moving early. Buyers last week were selective for kind and condition with some better quality black-hided feeders going to out of state buyers. Steer and heifer calves were reportedly steady to $3 lower, with the most loss on heifer calves. Calf demand was called moderate to good, with best action on long weaned calves. In West Plains, MO, compared to the previous week, feeder steers under 750 lbs. sold $4-6 lower, with some cases of $6-8 lower, heifers under 550 lbs. were steady to $2 lower, cattle in the 550-750 lb. range and heifers were $2-5 lower, steers and heifers over 750 lbs. were called fully steady on comparable weights. In West Plains, the large supply of feeders, many of which have health liability concerns, is keeping buyers on edge with filling orders and as a result, most have chosen to take a strong stand with what price they put their bidder cards back in their shirt pockets. In the northern tier, fall runs of cattle, what few are left in the country, anyway, are starting to increase the fall runs although most market sources are expecting fewer numbers than in prior years as a result of early weaning and drought-forced marketing. In La Junta, CO, last week, steer calves under 600 lbs. traded hands $2 lower although quality was noted to play a role at the sale. Steers over 600 lbs. and heifers were called steady. The few yearling feeder steers and heifers available were also trading hands at steady prices. In Bassett, NE, last week, testable weights on steers trended steady, with heifers trading fully $2 lower. However, it should be noted that many heifer consignments were carrying more condition than at the previous sale. In Philip, SD, the market was one of the few which moved higher. According to reports, steer calves under 500 lbs. sold steady to $3 higher, with some instances of as much as $5-10 higher on value added offerings. Cattle in the 500-600 lb. class moved $2-5 lower. Heifer calves under 550 lbs. sold $2-5 lower. Yearling steers and heifers were not well tested. Buyer demand was called good for steer calves with both spring and fall shots and moderate for heifer calves and cattle lacking both spring and fall shots. In Torrington, WY, a good run of feeder steers and heifers sold near to unevenly steady, with 800 lb. steers steady to $1 lower. Heifers in the 650-700 lb. range were steady to $1 higher. According to market reports, many of the calves sold were preconditioned and sold in good size bunches as did many of the yearlings. Demand was good for all classes of feeders. Mike Roberts, commodities marketing agent for Virginia Tech, said although contract prices for feeder cattle were slightly lower as a result of live cattle prices last week, there isn't too much reason for concern. He said losses were limited because there is a shortage of feeder cattle outside of feedlots which can be placed the remainder of the year.   “Interest for feeders is expected to rebound. Cattle feeders may want to watch these markets still looking to catch those up days to sell,” Roberts said. He also said cattle feeders should keep a sharp eye on the corn market if they haven’t yet locked in their contracts for winter needs. “Corn users may still think about pricing a significant portion of corn supplies at this time as input prices may have established their lows. Try to catch the low bounce in this choppy corn market to price your corn if you haven't already,” he said. On CME last week, feeder cattle contracts were also lower, along with the cash trade in auction markets. In the Thursday session, the only contract in the black was the nearby October, which gained 40 points to close the day at $116.07 last Thursday. October was down 62 points to $113.22, November and January 2007 contracts were the biggest declines of the day, with both losing 97 points, closing at $111.52 and $108.97 respectively. — WLJ  

Read more
Monday, October 2,2006

Congress to consider new meat regs

by WLJ
— Twin bills could present windfall opportunity in beef marketing. Last week, Reps. Roy Blunt, R-MO, and Earl Pomeroy, D-ND, and 12 other representatives introduced H.R. 6130, the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act of 2006. According to Blunt, under H.R. 6130, beef, pork, poultry and lamb approved by state inspection agencies in the 28 states which currently have their own meat and poultry inspection programs could be sold in every state in the U.S. It will allow the facilities inspected by such state programs to take advantage of opportunities in other states. The bill is a companion piece of legislation to S.B. 3519, introduced in July of this year by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, Kent Conrad, D-ND, and Herb Kohl, D-WI, which would, if passed, make similar allowances. That bill already has seven additional co-sponsors supporting its passage. These are just the latest attempts to alter the law. In the past decade, several other attempts to change the regulations controlling interstate shipments of meat have been introduced and defeated in Congress. The last attempt came as part of the 2002 Farm Bill negotiations. Current law, the 1967 and 1968 Meat and Poultry Acts, prohibits state-inspected products (beef, poultry, pork, lamb, and goat) from being sold in interstate commerce, even though they must equal or exceed federal inspection standards. However, it does allow some meat products such as venison, pheasant and quail to be shipped between states without restriction. Foreign meat and poultry also does not face restriction in interstate trading, while domestic meat is blocked. State inspectors already cover the work of federal inspectors as a result of the Talmedge-Aiken Act. According to the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors (WI-AMP), the Act allows state inspectors to do the work of the feds in more than 350 plants in nine states when it is more cost effective and a better use of resources to utilize state employees. Several producer groups last week expressed support for the bill when it was announced, among them National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, (NCBA). “We are supportive of the bill and think it is a great opportunity for producers and especially small businesses to create their own brand identity,” said NCBA spokesperson Karen Batra. Blunt said the fact USDA has agreed that state inspection programs are ‘at least equal to' federal inspections but are still banned from interstate shipment because of a 40-year-old law is harmful to economic growth in rural areas and reason enough for change. “I can’t find a good reason—scientific or political—for this law. That is why I want to change it. If we want to open markets for agriculture products, we ought to start at home,” said Blunt. He also said; “There are 2,000 state-inspected meat processors—31 of them in Missouri—that are prevented from competing in the national marketplace. Yet 30 foreign meat producing countries can sell their meats freely across the nation. Our locally produced, state-inspected meats are just as safe. In fairness, this measure will promote the local livestock sector of agriculture without compromising food safety that consumers demand.” Already, a number of producers are utilizing federally inspected plants and taking advantage of the internet as a tool to market niche meat products. The passage of this bill would create endless opportunities for others to follow suit. The allowance for interstate shipment of meat from state inspected plants could create a windfall for countless producers and small meat plants hoping to capitalize on the trend. According to USDA figures, there are some 2,100 small and very small processors who would be eligible to ship across state lines. In states like Ohio alone, the opening of the market could create nearly 600 new jobs and add more than $56.6 million to the state's economy, according to Ohio State University research conducted in 1997 when the first bill was introduced. Another strong advocate for the bill is a group whose membership has direct ties to the issue. National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Executive Vice President and CEO Rick Kirchhoff said that “allowing interstate meat sales is just plain common sense—no other food commodities inspected by state authorities are prohibited from being shipped across state lines.” Kirchhoff noted “it does not make sense to allow these products to be shipped across state borders while beef, poultry, pork, lamb and goat products cannot be shipped interstate. Where is the logic in this?” State and local agriculture officials have also pointed out that the legislation would ensure fairness in trade. Foreign produced meat and poultry products can be freely shipped and sold anywhere in the U.S. as long as that foreign country's inspection program is equivalent to U.S. federal standards—in practice, the same standard which state meat inspection programs must meet. “This is unfair and wrong,” said Kirchhoff. "Do 34 foreign countries that are currently eligible to export meat to the U.S. have better inspection programs than we do? H.R. 6130 just makes sense and would provide small businesses in the U.S. with the same marketing opportunities given to companies in foreign countries.” Three USDA advisory committees have also recommended the outdated ban on interstate sales be removed because it would create jobs and stimulate rural economic development. H.R. 6130 would expand marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers which they haven’t had in the past. “We hope Congress will act this year because this legislation will improve competition and benefit farmers, ranchers, and consumers. It’s the right thing to do” said Kirchhoff. Other groups such as National Farmers Union (NFU) have also stepped up in support of the legislation because of its positive impact for producers who want to expand their marketing opportunities. “Inadequate market competition is one of the most pressing issues facing local producers and is a major reason so many family farmers and ranchers have been forced out of business,” NFU President Tom Buis said. “Repealing the ban to let domestic farmers trade freely within the country is a big step in ensuring that farm products are able to reach the consumers and markets.” In a survey of its members this year, WI-AMP found 96 percent of its members were interested in interstate shipments, with 88 percent of those focused on internet marketing of products, and 83 percent in gift sales. A total of 66 percent felt the allowance of interstate shipments would increase profits 5 percent or more annually. — John Robinson, WLJ Editor  

Read more
Monday, September 25,2006

Mouse debate rages in Colorado

by WLJ
— Preble's Mouse debate illustrates problems with Endangered Species Act. The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse, a tiny rodent, is at the heart of an ongoing dispute between agriculture interests and environmentalists. The mouse, which ranges across the Plains of Wyoming and Colorado, inhabits riparian areas, particularly those along irrigation ditches and stream banks. Its habitat is a key to the debate, because if listed as an endangered species, it would prevent the alteration of those areas for improvements such as water storage basins, which are desperately needed in many areas of both states. Last week, in an effort to support the agriculture community and highlight the need for changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, R-CO, held a congressional hearing in Greeley, CO, to investigate problems with ESA and how the Preble’s Mouse is negatively impacting agriculture and local economic development. At the request of Musgrave, Chairman Richard Pombo, R-CA, of the U.S. House Committee on Resources, attended in order to hear from Colorado residents and other experts. Pombo, a long-time supporter of agriculture interests was the author of a sweeping ESA reform bill which passed through the House earlier this year. “Private property owners who encounter endangered species like the Preble’s Mouse on their land have to endure the enormous burden the federal government imposes in protecting them,” said Musgrave. “The current law has forced many people to ignore the existence of endangered species, opting instead to shoot, shovel, and shut up. It's disappointing this is becoming a popular creed throughout the West, but given the current climate, it's understandable. Today’s hearing will help other lawmakers and me pass federal legislation that is more integrated and places a stronger emphasis on involving the participation of land owners in species recovery.” The debate over the mouse is much larger than just the ESA implications. There is widespread disagreement over whether or not the mouse is even its own genetically distinct species. Many scientists contend the mouse is only a population segment of a much larger population of jumping mouse. If that's the case, the population is much larger and would not merit an ESA listing. The environmentalists who have inserted themselves on the side of the mouse have their own studies which indicate the mouse is a distinct subspecies. The Preble’s Mouse debate is a classic example of the problems of the ESA according to Pombo, whose bill, while passed through the House, has not been taken up by the Senate, the next step in the process of it becoming law. “After more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has given wildlife very little to cheer about,” Pombo said to start the hearing, which he led as chairman of the House Resources Committee. Patrick Crank, attorney general for the state of Wyoming, compared the mouse to the mythical Wyoming jackalope during the meeting in Greeley. “They both do not exist,” he said. “(The Preble’s Mouse) exists only in the minds of some folks in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and some environmental groups.” The mouse was declared a threatened species in Colorado and Wyoming in 1998. In the last 18 months, since opponents filed a petition to take the mouse off the Endangered Species List, two separate studies about the genetics of jumping mice reached different conclusions about whether the Preble’s Mouse should be considered a subspecies. The wildlife service will decide soon whether to keep the mouse in its current genetic classification. Nothing could be decided at last Monday’s hearing. Greg Hertzke of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, which has been at the heart of an ongoing water dispute in northeast Colorado, said the mouse’s protected habitat, near northern and eastern Colorado rivers, prevents construction of new water storage. “At a time when farmers are more desperate than ever for more water storage, a mouse should not be put in front of farmers’ needs,” Hertzke said. Alan Foutz, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, said efforts to protect the mountain plover in the same area were successful because the wildlife service worked with local governments and farmers. If the mouse is to be protected, the government should apply the lessons learned in the case of the plover to the Preble’s Mouse, he said. Eric Molvar, a wildlife biologist who spoke in favor of protections for the mouse, said classification of the mouse should not impact a listing as an endangered species because the law also protects “distinct population segments.” If the law didn't do that, the American bald eagle would never have been classified as endangered and might not have survived, he said. “Most of what we heard today was about politics, not science,” Molvar said. — John Robinson, WLJ Editor

Read more
Monday, September 25,2006

Mentors teach sustainable grazing

by WLJ
RA rancher-organized and driven grazing and ranch management mentor program is providing grassland guidance and counsel to those new to ranching or to western Nebraska. The program, sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension, the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and Nebraska’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, started about two years ago with the goal to minimize grassland management disasters, said Pat Reece, extension rangeland ecologist at UNL’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, NE. “The group wants to help other ranchers—outside or young—avoid career ending mistakes,” the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources specialist said. “Land ownership has changed a lot in Nebraska’s Sandhills,” said Lynn Myers, who along with his wife, Marlene, are grazing and ranch management mentors and run the family’s cattle operation near Lewellen. “Some people don’t understand or have any idea how fragile the Sandhills are.” To contend with these changes, Myers and nine other western Nebraska ranch families offer their expertise on what’s worked for them. “We felt there was a need out there for ranchers helping ranchers,” said Brent Plugge, UNL Extension educator in Buffalo County. “They have the experience in a number of different areas and are willing to offer their assistance. It's basically neighbors helping neighbors.” The group uses rotation grazing systems and is diverse enough in its operations that no one operation is the same, thus having an abundance of information to give to those participating in the mentorship program. “The concept is one where ranchers that have been successful are wanting and willing to provide information to other people that are considering some of the management practices that they have tried in the past or are using,” Reece said. Reece added the grazing and ranch management mentors are highly respected and have been in business long enough that they are clearly knowledgeable experts in their area and their areas of expertise. Some going through the mentor program have never sought information from UNL and a group of ranchers noticed this and wanted to do something about it, Reece said. If the mentors don’t know the answer to a question, they can call advisers, university faculty and extension educators. Plugge said the program also provides educational opportunities for the mentors. “Another important reason the mentors started talking about offering this program was the progressive increase in the average age of ranch owners. They realized the average age of ranchers in their ranch communities keeps going up. So, there is an outreach to young or new people coming in,” Reece said. “We really want to help the next generation of ranchers.” Brad Beguin, a senior at Chadron State College who participated in the program, said the hands-on experience the program offers is the best way to learn. Beguin visited three ranches during his mentorship, including those owned by Myers, Chris and Sherry Vinton, and Jack and Carol Maddux and their son, John Maddux. Beguin said he learned about everything from rotational grazing to fish and animals. The fifth-generation rancher from Rushville, NE, said Myers was able to show him a lot of grasses he didn't even know about, while at the Vinton’s he learned about their livestock mineral program and at the Madduxes he learned a lot about cattle handling. Another substantial component of the program is participation in UNL's Nebraska Ranch Practicum. The group awards scholarships for participation in the intensive educational program for ranchers. “The opportunities for young people are very tough on these ranches,” Myers said. “I really want to give something back to this industry,” Myers said. He added although he won't make millions doing what he does, it is a good life, which he hopes others will have the opportunity to enjoy as well. “It’s really quite an outreach. The whole mentorship program is rancher organized and driven,” Reece said. The effort also is supported by a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education organization, and the group hopes to receive another grant so the program can be offered statewide. For more information about the grazing and ranch management mentor program, visit the group’s Web site at www.ranchmentors.org/.

Read more
Monday, September 18,2006

South Korea opened to U.S. beef

by WLJ
— After many delays, South Korea is officially open for business.   outh Korea, once the third-largest export market for U.S. beef, announced Sept. 7 that it will once again resume importing U.S. beef. However, the country that imported $814 million in U.S. beef in 2003 will now only be accepting boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. Of the $814 million worth of beef exported, boneless beef accounted for $449 million, according to USDA figures.   The Agriculture Ministry in Seoul said health authorities have cleared 36 U.S. processors to start shipping beef later this month or early next month. This announcement came unexpectedly to some since the South Korean delegation of plant inspectors completed an audit of several U.S. beef processing plants three weeks ago and delayed their decision on resuming trade with the U.S. After the announcement, Korean officials again reinforced that U.S. beef will be subject to “very tough safety inspections.”   The agreement proceedings for trade resumption actually occurred in January, USDA Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said. But based on bone fragments found in shipments to other Asian trade partners earlier this year, Korea once again delayed trade resumption until audits of U.S. processors could take place. Auditors conducted the second round of inspections of approved processing plants last month.   “Although the agreement was signed back in January, several months of cooperative effort between our two countries have been necessary, which included two visits by Korean audit teams to confirm the efficiency of the U.S. inspection system,” Johanns said.   Although Johanns made it clear this was very good news for the U.S. beef industry, he spoke of continued efforts to further the presence of U.S. beef in the South Korean marketplace. He discussed specific issues Korean officials have with U.S. processing procedures that he said will be addressed in coming days.   “Trade resumption in boneless beef is the first step in normalizing trade of beef and beef products with Korea. We look forward to expanding our access to the Korean market and other markets to achieve trade that is consistent with international guidelines,”   Johanns said. “We are mindful that significant technical issues exist that must be resolved. We will continue to work with Korea to address these matters in the coming days.”   The news was accepted with open arms from many livestock organizations and industries. Of those, Tyson Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat processor, was among the first to offer optimism in regard to the most recent announcement.   “We’re encouraged by South Korea’s decision to resume U.S. imports,” said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson, based in Arkansas. “While we hope to begin sending beef there soon, we must first receive additional clarification from USDA on the requirements involved.”   The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) also welcomed the resumption of trade, but indicated the negotiations are far from finished.   “The U.S. food safety system is second to none. Our beef is valued by American and international consumers alike for being safe, delicious, nutritious and affordable. There is no legitimate reason for Korea or any other country to sustain a ban on U.S. beef products that are proven to be perfectly safe,” said NCBA in a release Sept. 8. “As we continue negotiations with South Korea on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), we will insist on science-based trading principles. An FTA with South Korea presents a lucrative opportunity for America’s cattlemen, but Korea’s continued ban on many of our most popular beef products must be lifted in order for this agreement to proceed,” he said, adding that the current tariff on U.S. beef imports is a “whopping 40 percent.”   Korea’s Agriculture Ministry forecast that resuming trade will have a good impact on the domestic market for consumers. For example, prices of pork and chicken, which have been in higher demand due to the absence of U.S. beef, are expected to decrease slightly once trade is fully resumed. The Ministry also said imported beef prices may also drop as competition intensifies. More specifically, since U.S. beef was banned, meat products from Australia and New Zealand in the local market have pushed prices up. However, experts believe beef prices from Australia and New Zealand would drop to 60 to 70 percent of the price level of U.S. beef. — Mike Deering, WLJ Editor

Read more
 
 
User Box (click to open)
 
SEARCH IN WLJ
Sign up for our newsletter!
   
 
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7* 8* 9 10* 11*
12* 13* 14* 15 16* 17* 18*
19* 20* 21* 22 23 24 25*
26 27* 28 29* 30 31*
 
 

© 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.