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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Letters

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

U.S., Korea pact possible soon

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

5-legged calf makes impression

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Mexican cattle ban expanded

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Auctioneer contest to be on Internet

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

BEEF BITS

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

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Stomatitis outbreak continues to grow

by WLJ
13, 2005 The earlier-than-normal outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in the Southwest has grown to include 29 confirmed cases in horses from 23 premises in six counties representing three states, according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as of June 6. The counties infected with the disease so far are Maricopa, Pinal and Yavapai counties in Arizona; Grant and Luna counties in New Mexico; and Travis County in Texas. Five more infections were confirmed over the week ending June 5, one of those infections was confirmed in Texas. However, it was in a horse that was recently transported into the state from Arizona, according to officials from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). Three of the 23 infected premises—two in Arizona and one in New Mexico—have been released from quarantine due to animals not showing additional symptoms 30 days after being treated. This year’s first VS cases were confirmed April 27 in two horses in New Mexico. That was the earliest confirmed infections in documented history by two months, animal health officials said. State veterinarian offices have urged producers to take note of livestock shipping and handling requirements that other non-infected states may have imposed. “A number of states and countries impose strict testing, permitting and inspection requirements for livestock that originate from VS-affected areas or states. Check with the state or country of destination before hauling livestock from Texas,” said Dr. Bob Hillman, head of TAHC and the Texas state veterinarian. Hillman also said the clinical signs of VS mirror those of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD). Horses are susceptible to VS, but not HMD. However, both diseases can affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, deer and a number of other species. “When sores or blisters are seen in HMD-susceptible animals, we must immediately rule out an introduction of HMD,” Hillman said. “When horses have lesions, a VS test rules out other possible causes for blisters and sores, including toxic plants, chemicals or poison.” The disease has had a history of occurring very sporadically in the U.S., with outbreaks generally following a 10- to 15-year cycle. In l982-83, the country suffered its worst recorded VS outbreak, when infection was confirmed on 617 premises in nine states—Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota. Subsequent outbreaks occurred in l995, l997 and l998 but were limited to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. Last year, Texas had 15 cases, New Mexico 80, and Colorado 199. Colorado and other neighboring states have not yet been hit by the disease. However, state animal health officials have said the lingering wet weather conditions this spring have left the possibility for an even greater outbreak of the disease very likely. Livestock owners and private veterinary practitioners are urged to report suspected cases of VS to their respective state livestock health regulatory agency. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Mexico’s ‘dumping’ complaint denied

by WLJ
13, 2005 A World Trade Organization (WTO) trade dispute panel recently ruled in favor of the U.S. in a dispute with Mexico over tariffs that had been levied against U.S. beef since April 2000. The WTO panel found that Mexico’s imposition of anti-dumping duties breached international trade rules and called on Mexico to abide by them, particularly lifting the tariff schedule on beef from U.S. beef exporters. The official report favoring the U.S. was released publicly last Monday, even though both countries were made aware of the decision late last month, sources said. In 1998, Mexico’s government ruled that U.S. beef exports were injuring Mexico’s domestic cattle/beef market and that a tariff rate schedule would be implemented against U.S. beef. In April of 2000, a final tariff rate schedule was released that ranged between 7-80 cents per kilogram—3.2-36.5 cents per pound. The varying tariff schedule was based on company and type of product. The biggest impact related to duties on U.S. beef going into Mexico was felt by small- and medium-sized processors, particularly those in close proximity to the border. Those processors were grouped into an “all other” category of U.S. beef exporters and were subject to paying the highest tariff rates for any product they sent across the southern border. The largest U.S. beef processors and exporters were mostly slated to pay the lowest tariffs set by Mexico. The U.S. filed its claim of unfair tariff implementation in 2003, citing flawed data that Mexican authorities used to calculate the alleged damage to its own producers. Mexico partially lifted its tariff rate schedule on U.S. in March of 2004, however, it wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy the U.S. In addition, that decision was made as a result of a finding of wrongdoing by a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel and not from the WTO. The only tariffs that would be lifted would be on Select and Choice carcasses; tariffs on boxed boneless and bone-in product were still in place. The bone-in issue is a moot point right now due to the international ban of U.S. bone-in beef due to BSE concerns. Mexico’s commerce and trade secretariat has indicated they will appeal the decision, meaning that a second WTO panel will take up debate on the issue, probably sometime early next year, sources close to the issue said. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

Pre-harvest pathogen preventative shown safe

by WLJ
13, 2005 A promising pre-harvest, live animal pathogen reduction technology could receive a stronger look from government regulatory and meat industry officials after scientists have found that it doesn’t jeopardize the health of consumers because of potential residue fears. Efforts to reduce deadly pathogens in meat have most recently included utilizing compounds that would rid animals’ systems of bacteria before they are slaughtered and taken through the rest of the processing system. One of the most promising pre-harvest, pathogen-reducing food safety technologies in cattle is the use of sodium chlorate in drinking water and/or feed a few days before cattle are loaded and transported to the packing plants. However, use of this feed additive has not been approved by regulatory organizations because it is not known whether significant enough residues are present in edible tissues of treated animals and create a human health risk. Earlier this year, research indicated that moderate to heavy sodium chlorate doses do not result in a level of meat residue harmful to humans. In the final report of the research finished this past April, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researcher David Smith said that residue levels were not high enough to represent a health risk to humans who consume meat from animals treated with sodium chlorate. “Results of this study indicate that further development of the product is warranted because residues of the parent compound were fairly low and because the major metabolite, chloride, is naturally present in all life forms,” he said. Sodium chlorate is said to be most effective when offered to cattle three to five days prior to being shipped to packers. It kills and results in “sloughing” of dangerous bacteria, specifically E. coli O157:H7, from the stomachs of cattle. Researchers said the compound is a common sense approach to meat safety because the more bacteria that is removed from an animal’s system prior to it entering the plant, the less bacteria there is to contaminate meat once an animal is slaughtered and eviscerated. They did say, however, that more emphasis needs to be put on rinsing the hair and hide of animals upon entering the processing facility because the more bacteria that is excreted the more bacteria contamination there is on the skin and hair of individual animals. Additional research is scheduled, however, officials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told WLJ last week that the preliminary study concerning sodium chlorate will probably give them enough impetus to move on with preliminary probes into granting the product certification for use as a feed additive at the feedlot level. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 20,2007

House keeps COOL delay

by WLJ
13, 2005 — ‘Immediate’ implementation voted against. The rift between country-of-origin labeling (COOL) proponents and opponents widened to cavernous proportion last week after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of continuing to delay the implementation of a mandatory labeling program. House members voted 240-187 against a proposal, introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-MT, to remove current language delaying implementation of mandatory COOL past Sept. 1, according to House staff members. The debate and vote on the issue was part of last Wednesday’s discussion and passage of a full ag appropriations package, which was passed—with the COOL delay included—by a vote of 408-18. Voting in favor of Rehber’s amendment were 145 Democrats, 41 Republicans and 1 Independent, while 52 Democrats and 188 Republicans voted to continue to delay program implementation. House members and Washington, DC, lobbyists said last week’s action means the earliest a mandatory COOL program could be implemented would be September 2006. As expected, reactions to last Wednesday’s activity were widely variant, with labeling proponents crying foul and program dissenters sighing relief. A large majority of House members from “northern tier” farm states said last week’s vote against Rehberg’s amendment was a major blow to the profitability of domestic U.S. cattle producers, because it allows imported product to receive the same marketing opportunities as U.S. beef. In his comments on the House floor last Wednesday Rehberg talked about the success of mCOOL for fish and read a quote from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, which said, “Texas loves to buy Texas products, and this way they'll know they're getting the quality they love, in turn sales will increase, providing a boost to Texas shrimp producers, and the state's economy.” “The same could be said for U.S. cattle producers and consumers,” Rehberg said. Additional proponents cited packers not wanting to deal with additional rules as the primary deterrent to getting a mandatory program implemented. “The large meatpackers have rallied to kill this program because they don’t want American consumers to discover how much meat in the grocery case is actually imported,” said Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-SD. Rehberg said that he is concerned about the practices of southern state cattle producers who bring in cattle from Mexico, and the fact that they are benefitting from cheap prices they pay for those cattle. “It’s time we send a message to those who are standing in the way, and allow us the opportunity to tell the American consumer that, ‘born, raised and processed in America’ means something,” he said. However, opponents of mandatory labeling continue to site additional costs to the entire industry as being very prohibitive. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte even went out on a limb last week and projected that a mandatory meat labeling program would result in producers having to incur at least another $10 per head in costs, if not more. “It will make our producers less competitive with foreign meat producers, not more competitive,” Goodlatte said. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-TX, said that not only would mandatory labeling add more costs, but he said it would open up the industry to a lot more possible litigation and would jeopardize producers’ privacy. “This would present a nightmare,” he said. Goodlatte has introduced separate legislation that would repeal country-of-origin labeling on meat permanently. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate, being led by Sens. John Cornyn, R-TX, and Blanche Lincoln, D-AR. The Senate had yet to take up ag appropriations discussion as of press time last Thursday. It is expected, however, to begin debate before the end of the second full week of June. Language delaying the implementation of mCOOL is expected to be discussed and voted on by Senate members for inclusion in the appropriations package. However, there appears to be much more support for a mandatory program in that branch of Congress. If the Senate keeps Sept. 1 mCOOL implementation, then the issue will be decided in an ag appropriations conference committee made up of both Senate and House members. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor © Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use,  without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. ©1996-2005 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.

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© 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.