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Monday, April 4,2005

Fed trade light, but higher money

by WLJ
— Northern cattle up $4-5; southern trade slow going. Light to moderate trade happened in northern feeding areas last Wednesday at prices $4-5 higher than the majority of trade the previous week, while southern cattle feeders were still waiting on packers to come in at prices $2-3 stronger as of press time last Thursday. Analysts weren’t sure that southern feeders would get the $94-95 live they were looking for, but were pretty confident that a majority of last week’s trade would end up at mostly $93. The slow interest by packer buyers in the south was said to be the result of packers buying enough cattle the previous two weeks to fill a large portion of slaughter spots during the first full week of April. Through Thursday approximately 50,000 cattle moved in Nebraska in a range of $93-95 live, $148-153.50 dressed. In Kansas, only 2-3,000 head had moved through Thursday at mostly $93 live. Texas trade was called “virtually nonexistent.” Stronger prices were said to be almost exclusively the result of feedlots being “extremely current” with their showlists. In fact, several sources said some cattle that were listed as available for sale were “greener than normal,” and would be sold only if the price was right. Packers were reluctant to pay higher money for cattle due to margins being $20-25 per head in the red most of last week. There was also some sentiment from analysts that a moderate post-Easter beef rally might be in store due to eastern consumers trying to get out of the “winter doldrums,” and getting into the grilling mode. A slight rally in the boxed beef market through the middle part of the week made paying a little extra for slaughter-ready cattle a bit more tolerable, analysts said. Choice boxed beef last Thursday was at $151.53, up from the previous Friday’s close of $149.01. Select ended Thursday at $140.82, up slightly from the end of the previous week. Boxed beef trade volume was softer than two weeks ago. However, analysts said weather was once again behind some of the slow movement. They added that once the weather starts to warm up, particularly in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, boxed beef movement should pick up again. The cow beef market remained strong with 50 percent lean hovering around the $70 per cwt mark, and 90 percent lean being between $158-159 per cwt. Slaughter volumes last week were indicative of packers needing fewer cattle. Through Thursday, last week’s slaughter volume was 445,000 head, 9,000 fewer than the same period a week earlier and 21,000 fewer than a year ago. For the week ending March 26, 572,000 head were processed, compared to 590,000 head the previous week and 616,000 head for the same week last year. Several analysts still indicated that a slaughter week of approximately 560,000 head would meet current beef demand, which further indicates packers needing fewer and fewer cattle compared to pre-BSE years. Last week’s total slaughter volume was expected to be around 570,000 head. Live cattle futures gave some strength to last week’s cash fed cattle market, at least through midday Wednesday. Those contracts lost some of their momentum Wednesday afternoon, however, and that helped soften stronger price prospects in southern feeding states. Early in the week, April live cattle got up to $91 before closing Thursday at $89.82. Moisture strengthens calf prices The spring stocker and calf market continues to be spurred on by abnormally large amounts of precipitation that has inundated the southern half of the country, southern West Coast and the Midwest. Spring grazing prospects continue to improve, and that is giving stocker operators the opportunity to increase stocking rates significantly compared to the past few drought years. In most instances, calf prices were up another $2-5 from two weeks ago, with the one exception being the Northwest where drought conditions continue to put a damper on the spring grazing outlook. It was not uncommon last week to see 400-pound-or-lighter steers bring $160 or more, and five- to six-weight steers bring $135-140 consistently. Calf supplies continue to be tight and that was helping to elevate prices. Some analysts said if the USDA appeal of Judge Richard Cebull’s injunction against allowing Canadian live cattle into the U.S. was successful that short supplies wouldn’t be as big of a deal. However, they also said they didn’t see there being enough Canadian cattle to fully fill the void of fed cattle supplies. Some analysts thought the Canadian border reopening might soften the calf market $3-5 initially, and maybe another $1-2 for a week or two following. Feeders, yearlings Prospects for cattle feeding profits last week, and last week’s developments with Pacific Rim countries over beef trade, helped spike prices for feedlot-ready cattle $2-3. At $95 northern cattle feeders were starting to show $30-50 profits at minimum, according to analysts. Some profits were said to be upward of $75-100 per head. In addition, news that Japan was moving forward with plans that could reopen its border to U.S. beef before the end of the year had cattle feeders placing cattle that would be ready for market this summer and early fall. Futures also rallied stronger last week on the news of Taiwan setting April 16 as its formal date for allowing U.S. beef back across its borders. The April feeder cattle contract last week got up over $108 per cwt, before settling back down to $107.67 at the close of business Thursday. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) feeder cattle index, for steers weighing 700-850 pounds, was around $107.80 last Wednesday, over $1.50 higher than the previous Wednesday.

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Monday, April 4,2005

Letter

by WLJ
Bullard doesn’t speak for me! R-CALF’s hired hand, Bill Bullard, does not speak for me. I am one of those 774,630 independent U.S. cattle producers that is fed up with Bullard implying that he speaks for all U.S. cow-calf producers. Bullard’s recent WLJ article (March 28 issue) underscores a consistent theme of reckless rhetoric that has nothing to do with protecting the safety of U.S. beef and everything to do with frightening U.S. consumers, dismantling northern U.S. packing capacity and trying to maintain an illogical trade barrier at the U.S./Canadian border. BSE is an animal health issue, not a human health or consumer safety issue here in the U.S. or Canada. Provisions are in place within the beef production system that ensures humans are not at risk. Cattlemen that do not understand that and continue to address BSE in terms of a human health threat need to do their homework or look for another line of work. That’s a harsh statement, but if you don’t understand the measures that are in place from calving to the dinner plate to ensure BSE is not a human health risk then how can the rest of us cattlemen trust you to abide by those measures? Like it or not, beef is produced and processed in the same manner on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border. Contrary to what Bullard would have you think, Canadian cattlemen are not a bunch of irresponsible idiots. In fact, since their very existence has been threatened as a result of BSE, I can think of no other group of cattlemen in world that would be more aware and conscientious about producing a safe product. If Canadian processed beef and live cattle are unsafe, well I won’t finish the rest of the sentence. The Canadian government is pouring millions of dollars into new processing plants to replace the capacity Canadian cattlemen can no longer access here in the U.S. R-CALF and Bullard want you to think they are helping U.S. cattle producers by waging war against those dastardly “multi-national meatpackers.” Wake up cattlemen, R-CALF’s lawsuit has caused the Canadian government to dole out $87 million dollars in a single week to help expand packing capacity. Yes, Mr. Bullard you and R- CALF are really teaching the packers a lesson and helping me out! Bullard talks about competing in the international market. How far do you think his logic will take us? We don’t allow their product in, but our product must be welcome in their market. R- CALF’s law-suit to prohibit live cattle trade hugely favors packers with plants on both sides of the border. They access cheap Canadian cattle, process them in brand new government financed plants and send that product into the U.S. as boxed beef. Mean while their sister plants on this side of the border reduce cattle buys, slow operations to a crawl or shut down. That low cost boxed beef coming across competes directly with beef processed by smaller exclusively U.S. based packing plants. Guess who supplies the cattle for those exclusively U.S. based plants that are struggling to stay afloat? You and I do friend! Sincerely yours, Dale Lueck Aitkin, MN © 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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Monday, March 28,2005

Beef Bits

by WLJ
Hormel acquires Lloyd's BBQ Hormel Foods has purchased Lloyd's Barbeque Co. of St. Paul, MN, from General Mills, which bought the company in 1999. Lloyd's makes a full line of refrigerated barbecue products, including tubs of barbecued beef and beef back ribs. “Lloyd's brands have earned strong market share in the retail refrigerated entrée category, a business that Hormel Foods knows well," said Joel Johnson, Hormel chairman. “We believe Lloyd's will continue to flourish as part of our roster of refrigerated products.” No terms of the agreement were announced last week. Egypt lifts ban on U.S. beef Egypt has lifted its ban on U.S. beef and beef products derived from cattle under 30 months old, USDA announced March 17. Egypt, according to USDA, imported $30 million worth of beef and beef products in 2003 before Dec. 23, when a case of BSE was reported in Washington state. Liver accounted for almost $19 million, approximately 65 percent, of U.S. beef sales. Egypt is now requiring age and origin verification under the USDA Beef Export Verification program. BK closes Oklahoma stores Burger King franchise owner Ken Knight has shuttered his 14 stores, all in the Oklahoma City area, blaming a struggling economy and a growing lack of consumer appeal. As a result of the closings, which took place over the past year, 350 employees have been let go. Knight had worked with Burger King since 1979. Burger King is exploring options to reopen the closed Burger King operations. Another Canadian beef ban A temporary ban on Canadian beef products was imposed by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Industry last week. The new ban was the result of the two most recent cases of BSE confirmed by Canada very early this year. Saudi Arabia had reopened its borders to a limited number of Canadian beef on Dec. 22, 2003, after closing its borders in May of that year because of the first confirmed case of BSE in an Alberta cow. Canadian beef exports to Saudi Arabia in 2004 totaled C$2.5 million, compared to $3.8 million the year prior. Canadian trade officials said they are still negotiating with Saudi Arabia to resume beef trade, particularly veal products. Italy detects new case of BSE Two cows in northern Italy have tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the first cases detected this year, the Health Ministry said. The ministry said analysis confirmed a positive result in a 9-year-old cow from a breeding farm in the countryside of Brescia and in a 12-year-old cow in Cuneo. That makes 126 cases of BSE detected in the country since testing began in 2001. The European Union requires tests on catt1e older than 30 months destined for slaughter. ConAgra patent case moves on The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if ConAgra Foods violated antitrust laws in a patent dispute. After receiving a patent for a meat-browning process in 1999, ConAgra warned other food companies in writing not to deal with anyone selling a similar process. Unitherm Food Systems had its own process patented six years earlier, and sued in federal court, which awarded it more than US$19M and ruled that ConAgra was fraudulent in its patent application and tried to monopolize the market with its warnings. It also stated ConAgra should never have received a patent which was substantially similar to Unitherm's. ConAgra appealed, arguing that it thought it had a valid patent, and the Supreme Court will most likely decide based upon procedural issues of the lower courts, rather than the merits of the case. New Belgium BSE case The first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to be found in Belgium in 2005 was confirmed by government officials earlier this month. According to that country's Food Agency, the animal was born in 1997. Three offspring of the cow have also been destroyed; at least one of the three offspring is being tested for the disease. Since 1997, Belgium has confirmed at least 130 cases of BSE in cattle. Friendly's highlights beef ‘SuperMelts’ Casual dining restaurant chain Friendly’s, Wilbraham, MA, recently announced a promotion of three “SuperMelt” sandwiches, including two beef ones. Back by popular demand is the Philly Steak 'n Cheddar SuperMelt, made with thinly sliced steak, sauteed onions and green peppers and warm cheddar cheese sauce on grilled sourdough bread. In addition, the chain recently debuted the Cheesy Colossal Bacon SuperMelt, which is a half-pound burger with bacon, warm cheddar cheese sauce and tomato on grilled sourdough bread. The SuperMelts promotion will last through May 1.

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Monday, March 28,2005

Early WNV vaccination urged

by WLJ
— Early case confirmed in California. Veterinarians and government animal health officials are recommending earlier vaccinations for horses in an effort to prevent West Nile Virus (WNV) from becoming a severe problem this year. “Horse owners should begin vaccinating their animals in March and April this year, which is earlier than usual, as an added precaution," said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "Depending on the levels of infection in an area, a second booster shot might be needed later this year, which is why it's important for them to consult with their local veterinarians." WNV has caused more deaths in equine than any other vector-driven disease. This means that a vector, such as a mosquito, is needed to spread the disease, and horses cannot infect each other. In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and possible breeding areas. Recommendations include removing water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs' feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents. 2005 case confirmed California’s announcement earlier this month of the earliest confirmation of WNV ever recorded in a horse raises the potential for a widespread outbreak of the disease this year. Livestock health officials in the state attributed the very early March case to the flooding that hit southern California during the months before and the mosquitoes that came along with that problem. Mosquitoes are considered a primary carrier of the virus and the primary vector that moves the disease from animal to animal. Last year, 540 horses in the state were known to have contracted the disease, with 229 deaths. Of the known cases, 356 of the horses were not vaccinated and 145 more were vaccinated incompletely. “Outbreaks of West Nile this year may be even worse than last year,” said California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer. “Horse owners should contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to ensure vaccination status is current. If people get the necessary shots for their horses now, horses will have the protection they need against the deadly disease.” Last year a total of 1,341 horses were confirmed infected with WNV, nationwide. That figure was way down from 5,181 in 2003 and 15,257 in 2002. However, federal and state livestock officials said the drop in cases last year doesn’t mean that the threat of the disease is any less than it was several years ago. The disease can cause an inflammation of the brain and is transmitted by mosquitoes that can infect people and animals. Although both humans and animals have died from the disease, most WNV infections do not cause any illness. Clinical symptoms seen in infected horses include an elevated temperature, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis. Of the horses that exhibit clinical signs of the infection, one of three will most likely die from the infection. The symptoms of WNV are similar to Western Equine Encephalitis, which owners typically vaccinate their horses against. Producers concerned that their horses may be infected with the disease later in the year are urged to contact their individual state department of agriculture and find out what days testing for the disease occurs.

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Monday, March 28,2005

Midland Test Results

by WLJ
The 2004-2005 Midland Bull Test has come to an end with the final weights taken March 4-5. The 1,100 bulls on test this year sell on April 6, 7, and 8 and have been ultrasound and fertility tested. Information is available on the website www.midlandbulltest.com. For additional questions contact Leo or Sam McDonnell at 406/322.5597 or email them at bulltest@wtp.net. Angus There were 50 Angus bulls on test at Midland Bull Test. The top 70-75 percent sell April 8 at the Midland Bull Test sale facilities. Angus bulls were split into two groups, the first group was the Green Tag division, which consisted of bulls that possess a BW EPD of +2.5 or less coupled with an actual birth weight of 85 or below, and the second group, the White Tag division, consisted of bulls with over +2.5 BW EPD and/or more than an 85 pound birth weight. The average Green Tag bull had an average BW of 78, WW of 723, ADG of 3.24, WDA of 3.11 and an average 365 day weight of 1,238. The White Tag division posted averages of BW 88, WW 734, ADG 3.34, WDA 3.24, 365 weight 1,272. Leading the Green Tag division in the ADG category with a ratio of 130 was Lot 12, son of Bon View Bando 598, consigned by Lukens Angus, Medicine Lodge, KS. Closely following in second place was Lot 121, son of SAF Connection, consigned by Rehbein Ranch, Arlee, MT. Lot 121 took third place, son of Nichols Extra H6, consigned by Flat Mountain Ranch, Menahga, MN. There was a two-way tie for fourth place. The first bull was Lot 115, son of Rock’n D Ambush 1531, cosigned by Rehbein Ranch, Arlee, MT. Sharing fourth was Lot 305, son of Bushs Grand Design, consigned by Cordingley Angus Ranch, Ashton, ID. Fifth place was Lot 614, son of Hawks BV Spectrum 265, consigned by Red Sky Ranch, Great Falls, MT. In sixth place was son of Bon View New Design 208, Lot 44, consigned by 6 N Ranch, Council Grove, KS. Rounding out the top eight performers in the Green tag division was Lot 610, son of JR Something Special, consigned by Flat Mountain Ranch. The WDA category in the Green Tag division was led by Lot 11, son of Bon View Bando 598 that posted an impressive WDA of 3.86, consigned by Lukens Angus, Medicine Lodge, KS. Second place went to Lot 305, son of Bushs Grand Design, consigned by Cordingley Angus Ranch. Taking third place was Lot 12, son of Bon View Bando 598, also consigned by Lukens Angus. Fourth place went to Blevins Angus Ranch, Ronan, MT, son of GAR Retail Product, Lot 340. Fifth place went to Lot 290, son of CA Future Direction 5321, consigned by Bluegrass Angus Farm, Lyons, NE. Taking sixth place was Lot 615, son of DDA Ext 18B, consigned by Red Sky Ranch. Taking seventh place was Lot 641, son of Bon View New Design 878, consigned by Oedekoven Angus, Sheridan, WY. Rounding out the top eight bulls was a two-way tie with Lot 89, son of Bon View New Design 1407, consigned by MGS Angus, Genoa, NE, and Lot 216, son of Connealy Lead On, consigned by O-X Angus, Sheridan, MT. The white tag division competition proved to be tough with only .36 of a pound separating the top 20 bulls in the ADG category. Garnering top honors in the white tag division was Lot 384 to top all Angus entries. Lot 384, son of DMM Dynasty 03G, consigned by T 4 Livestock, Lodgepole, NE. Second place was Meadow Mist Farm, Landisburg, PA, son of GAR Gridmaker, Lot 259. There was a two-way tie for third place, the first bull was Lot 171, son of GAR Precision 1680, consigned by Heathcote Farm, Amenia, NY, and the second bull Lot 165, son of Rallly Dutchman 219, consigned by Rally Farms of Millbrook, NY. Taking fifth place was Lot 101, son of Rito 6I6 of 4B20 6807, consigned by Armstrong Angus Ranch, Cardwell, MT. There was a four-way tie to round out the top nine performers in the ADG category with an ADG ratio of 124.51. First was Lot 105, son of HALL-WAY Elixir H110, consigned by Landes Registered Angus, Evans, WA. Sharing second was Lot 519, son of Schmaus Supreme 51E, consigned by Eleven Bar H Ranch, Buffalo, WY. The third bull was Lot 346, son of TC Freedom 104, consigned by Winding River Angus, Billings, MT. Rounding out the top performers in the ADG category was Lot 118, son of Vermilion Dateline 7078, consigned by Rehbein Ranch. The WDA category of the white tag division was led by Lot 299, son of Vermilion Dateline 7078, consigned by Rock’n D Ranch, Junction City, OR. Following closely in second was Lot 286, son of Twin Valley Precision E161, consigned by Beaver Ridge Farm, Middletown, IN. Sitting in third place was Lot 386, son of SA Neutron 377, consigned by Herbster Angus Farm, Falls City, NE. Fourth place went to Lot 309, son of FAR Kruggerrand 410H, consigned by Risse Angus, Martin, SD. Fifth place went to Black Pine Farm, Heron, MT, with a son of Connealy Lead On, Lot 186. There was a two-way tie for sixth place. The first bull, Lot 199, son of GAR Gridmaker, consigned by Montana Angus Ranch, Boyd, MT, and sharing sixth was Lot 9, son of Bon View Bando 598, consigned by Lukens Angus, Medicine Lodge, KS. Rounding out the top eight WDA bulls in the white tag division was Lot 165, son of Rally Dutchman 219, consigned by Rally Farms, Millbrook, NY. Red Angus The top 70-75 percent Red Angus, 150 strong at the Midland Bull Test, sell April 7 at the Midland Bull Test Sale facilities. Red Angus were split into two divisions based on BW EPD and actual birth weight. The Green Tag division consisted of bulls with a 0.9 BW EPD and an 85 pound birth weight and/or below. The White Tag division consisted of over 0.9 BW EPD and over 85 pound birth weight. The Green Tag division averaged 76 for birth weight, 715 for WW, 3.41 for ADG, 3.16 for WDA, and 1,250 for 365 weight. The White Tag division averaged 87 for BW, 729 for WW, 3.41 for ADG, 3.24 for WDA, and a 365 of 1,271. The Green Tag ADG category was led by Lot 812, son of FCC Explorer 5003, consigned by Frontier Cattle Co., Poplar, MT. Following closely behind was Lot 843, son of Glacier Chateau 744, consigned by Price Angus Ranch, Caldwell, ID. Earning third place was Lot 708, son of Cabernet Bandit 21, consigned by Cabernet Cattle Co., Pomeroy, WA. Fourth place was also a entrant from Cabernet Cattle Co., Lot 711, son of Glacier Crimson 944. Rounding out the top five Green Tag ADG performers was Lot 799, son of Glacier Chateau 744, consigned by Klompien Red Angus, Manhattan, MT. The Green Tag WDA category was dominated by Lot 739, son of Fischers Bandito, consigned by Ralph & Lillian Yates, Dillon, MT. In second place was Lot 843, son of Glacier Chateau 744, consigned by Price Angus Ranch. Lot 840 takes third place, son of BJR High Noon 062, consigned by Bowles J 5 Reds, Chinook, MT. Fourth place was Lot 731, son of 4L Star Bando R141, consigned by Hay Cow, Lincoln, CA. Rounding out the top five in the Green Tag WDA category was Lot 758, son of Six Chateau 210, owned by West Fork Ranch, Lovell, WY. The White Tag ADG category was led by Lot 791, son of BJR JR 107, consigned by Klompien Red Angus. In second place was Lot 746, son of Larson Red Lightning, consigned by C-T Red Angus, Manhattan, MT. Third place went to Lot 710, son of Hughes Carmesi 9022ET, consigned by Cabernet Cattle Co. There was a two-way tie to round out the top five bulls in the White Tag ADG category with the first bull being Lot 732, son of 4L Star Bando R141, consigned by Hay Cow. Sharing fifth was Lot 809, son of Glacier Chateau 744, consigned by Paintrock Angus Ranch, Hyattville, WY. The White Tag WDA category was led by Lot 735, son of Red Brylor Limestone 35L, consigned by Hay Cow. Second place with a WDA of 3.75 went to Lot 809, son of Glacier Chateau 744, consigned by Paintrock Angus Ranch. Third place went to Lot 823, son of Bast King And I, consigned by Lyle Taylor, Vernal, UT. Rounding out the top five WDA bulls was a two-way tie at 3.60 with the first bull being Lot 728. Lot 728, son of Buf Crk Cher Pine 5711, was consigned by Hay Cow. Sharing fifth was Lot 827, son of Buf Crk Cherokee Canyon, consigned by JW Bar Ranch, Bonner, MT. Gelbvieh There were 45 Gelbvieh bulls on test selling April 6. Gelbvieh bulls were divided into two groups. The first group, the Green Tag division, consisted of bulls that possess a BW EPD of +1.8 or less coupled with an actual birth weight of 85 lbs or below, and the second group, the Red Tag division, consisted of bulls with over +1.8 BW EPD and/or more than an 85 pound birth weight. The average Green Tag bull had an average BW of 81, WW of 746, ADG of 3.31, WDA of 3.20 and an average 365 day weight of 1,258. The Red Tag division posted averages of BW 90, WW 757, ADG 3.39, WDA 3.30 and 365 weight of 1,297. The top three Green Tag performers in the ADG division were as follows: First place was Lot 887, a 94 percent homozygous, black polled son of MCRO New Direction 905, consigned by Marko D & L Cattle, Great Falls, MT. Lot 873, an 88 percent double, black polled son of GKG Storm 225M, consigned by Middle Creek Farms, Bozeman, MT. The third place leader in this division was Lot 882, a purebred, black and polled son of MLLC M/L Encore, consigned by Steve Smith Gelbvieh’s, Lehi, UT. In the WDA division leading the Green Tag performers was Lot 887, consigned by Marko D & L, a homozygous, black polled 94 percent son of MCRO New Direction 905. In second, Middle Creek Farms consigned Lot 873, an 88 percent, double black polled son, sired by GKG Storm 225M. Lot 890, a 94 percent, homozygous, black polled bull came in third place for this division, sired by ELK CK Bronco 411G, consigned by Wehrman Genetics, Billings, MT. In the Gelbvieh Red Tag ADG Ratio Division, Middle Creek Farms consigned the top five bulls. The first place bull, Lot 860, a purebred, black double polled bull, sired by COL COL Einstein 624L. Lot 880 and lot 857 tied with a ratio of 116. Lot 880 a purebred, double black, double polled son, sired by FHG VVFG Flying H Exclusive, and Lot 857 a purebred, homozygous black, double polled son, sired by COL COL Einstein 624L. Lot 877, a 50 percent, double black, double polled son, was sired by Bon View New Design 878. The final bull in this group was Lot 862, a 50 percent, homozygous black, double polled son of FHG VVFG Flying H Exclusive. In the WDA Division for the Red Tag Gelbviehs Lot 857 was tops, a purebred, homozygous black, double polled bull, consigned by Middle Creek Farms, by COL COL Einstein 624L. Lot 889, a 50 percent homozygous black polled son, consigned by Marko D & L Cattle, placed second, sired by JR Charlie 002L. Third, fourth and fifth place bulls were all consigned by Middle Creek Farms. Lot 856 is a purebred, double black, scurred bull, sired by ELK CK Bronco 411G. Lot 880, a purebred, double black, double polled, sired by FHG VVFG Flying H Exclusive. The final bull, Lot 855, a purebred, double black, double polled bull, sired by ELK CK Bronco 411G. Leading the ADG with a 3.88 & WDA of 3.54 sire groups in the Gelbvieh were the COL COL Einstein 624L sons from Middle Creek Farms. In second place were the sons of FHG VVFG Flying H Exclusive of Middle Creek Farms with an ADG of 3.64 and WDA of 3.46. Salers There were 130 Salers bulls on test, selling April 6. The Salers bulls were split into three groups. The first group being the Green Tag division consisted of bulls possessing a BW EPD of +1.1 or less coupled with an actual birth weight of 85 lbs or below. The second group, the White Tag division, consisted of bulls with over +1.1 BW EPD and/or more than an 85 pound birth weight. The third and final group was Percent Salers. The average Green Tag bull had an average BW of 76, WW of 691, ADG of 3.05, WDA of 2.92 and an average 365 day weight of 1,170. The White Tag division posted averages of BW 84, WW 712, ADG 3.00, WDA 3.02 and 365 weight of 1,142. The Percent Salers had averages of BW 84, WW 755, ADG 3.14, WDA 3.17, and a 365 day weight of 1,190. The top five White Tag performers for ADG were as follows: Lot 996, a purebred, red polled son of GGT P Bravado 149L, consigned by McRae Ranch, Ritzville WA, lead the way. In second place was Lot 912, a purebred, black polled bull, sired by GGT P Lexus 37J, consigned by Triple C Farms, Jamestown TN. Lot 1027 was the third place bull, a purebred, black polled son of TSB Polled Grizzly 39M, consigned by MJB Ranch, Lodge Grass, MT. Also consigned by MJB Ranch, Lot 1026, in fourth place, a purebred, black polled son of TSB Polled Grizzly 39M. The final bull in the top five was Lot 1011, a purebred, black polled son of Springdale Bridger 30K, consigned by TB Salers, Dante, SD. Leading in the WDA were the following White Tag Bulls: Lot 1024 and 1027, both consigned by MJB Ranch. Lot 1024 was a first place performer, a purebred, black polled son of KAU Polled Blk Hustler G3J. A purebred, black polled son of TSB Polled Grizzly 39M, Lot 027, tied for second. Sharing second place was Lot 964, a purebred, black polled son of GGT P Heavy Duty 100J, consigned by Elm Creek Ranch, Hebron, ND. The third place bull was Lot 960, consigned by Lazy YZ Salers, Great Falls, MT, a FB red polled son of SRS Jordan 9535J. Lot 1017, a FB red polled bull, consigned by Neben Ranch, earned fifth place sired by INI J’Aime TL. The top five Green Tag Performers for ADG were as follows: Lot 906, a purebred black polled son of JD 87 Millennium 1153L led the group, consigned by Ward Ranches, Shingle Springs, CA. A two-way tie for second place was between Lots 914 and 936. Lot 914, a purebred, red polled son, consigned by Van Haur Ranch, Hilger, MT, and sired by Legend’s Free Enterprise. Lot 963 is a purebred, black polled son of JRS Cummings 169, consigned by Lazy YZ Salers, Great Falls, MT. Lazy R Ranch of Hermosa, SD, consigned both the third and fourth place performers, Lot 977 and Lot 978, both are purebred, black polled sons of EPIC Pathbender 03L. Fifth place went to Lot 1025, a purebred, black polled son of JCG3C Pld Bullet 219M, consigned by MJB Ranch. The top five competitors in the WDA division in the Green Tag group were as follows: Lot 914 consigned by Van Haur Ranch, a purebred, red polled son of Legend’s Free Enterprise. In second place was Lot 963, consigned by Lazy YZ Salers, a purebred, black polled son of JRS Cummings 169. Lots 970, 978, and 981 earned a three-way tie for third place. Lot 970 is a purebred, black polled son of GGT P Challenger 156J, consigned by Elm Creek Ranch. Lots 978 and 981 are both purebred, black and polled. both consigned by Lazy R Ranch. Lot 978 is sired by EPIC Pathbender 03L. Lot 981 is son of CD Millenium H8011. The top performers in the Percent Salers for ADG Ratio are as follows: Consignor Effertz Key Ranch, Velva, ND, led with first and second place performers, both sired by JWK New Design 0028. Lots 994 and 991 are 50 percent, black and polled. Lot 908, consigned by Ward Ranches, is a 69 percent, black polled, son of JD 87 Millenium 1153L. The fourth place bull, Lot 924, is a 87.5 percent, black polled son of W Challenger 62L, consigned by Van Haur Ranch. McRae Ranch consigned Lot 1000, the fifth place bull, a 90.2 percent, red polled son of MRI Top Gun 4M. The Percent Salers Group WDA was led by Lot 994, consigned by Effertz Key Ranch, a 50 percent black polled son of JWK New Design 0028. Lot 940 followed in second place, a black polled 51.2 percent bull, sired by SRS Marksman 0059m, consigned by Parke Ranch, Drummond, MT. Third place was Lot 1028, consigned by MJB Ranch, Lodge Grass, MT, a black and polled 71 percent bull. The fourth place bull, Lot 924, is a 87.5 percent, black polled son of W Challenger 62L, consigned by Van Haur Ranch. Earning fifth place in this group was Lot 991, a 50 percent, black polled bull consigned by Effertz Key Ranch, sired by JWK New Design 0028. Effertz Key Ranch led in ADG and WDA sire groups with their percentage bulls JWK New Design 0028 sons. Second place went to Ward Ranches’ JD 87 Millennium 1153L sons. TSB Polled Grizzly 39M sons from MJB Ranch placed third in ADG and third in the WDA sire group. In second place for WDA was the SRS Marksman 0059M sons from Parke Ranch. South Devon There were 80 South Devon bulls on test, selling April 7, and split into two groups. The first group, the Green Tag division, consisted of bulls possessing a BW EPD of +0.2 or less coupled with an actual birth weight of 85 lbs or below. The second group, the White Tag Division, consisted of bulls with over +0.2 BW EPD and/or more than an 85 pound birth weight. The Green Tag bulls had an average BW of 80, WW of 630, ADG of 3.36, WDA of 3.00 and an average 365 day weight of 1,200. The White Tag division posted averages of BW 93, WW 676, ADG 3.42, WDA 3.18 and 365 weight of 1,251. The top five Green Tag performers for ADG were as follows: first and second place lots were both consigned by Bollenbach Cattle Co., Kingfisher, OK, both sons of Cimarron Ultimate 667F. Lot 1131 is red and polled and Lot 1127 a FB red polled bull. Competitive consignor, MJB Ranch, Lodge Grass, MT, earned third and fourth place, Lot 1157, is an 87.5 percent red scurred son of Cimarron Desperado 9113. Lot 1173 is a 68 percent red scurred son of MJB Joiner 6638J. In the WDA division the top five Green tag performers for the WDA in the South Devon group are as follows: Leading this group is Lot 1173, a 68 percent red scurred bull, sired by MJB Joiner 6638J, consigned by MJB Ranch. Lot 1122, an 87.5 percent, red polled son of Bieber Superior 16M, is consigned by Greater Ralston South Devons, Ritzville, WA. The third place bull, Lot 1131, is a FB red polled son of Cimarron Ultimate 667F, consigned by Bollenbach Cattle Co. Lot 1157 was the fourth place bull consigned by MJB Ranch, an 87.5 percent red scurred bull, sired by Cimarron Desperado 9113. The White Tag South Devon ADG Ratio top five performers were as follows: Bollenbach Cattle Co. consigned the first and second place bulls in this group, Lot 1135, a FB black polled son of Cimarron Midnight 167L, and Lot 1128, a red polled FB son of Cimarron Ultimate 667F. The third place bull, Lot 1112, is a 75 percent black polled son of X-E Red Prime L884, consigned by Stagecoach South Devon, Columbus, MT. The fourth place bull, Lot 1142, is a red polled FB consigned by Bollenbach Cattle Co., sired by MJB Lone Mountain 5528L. In the WDA division for the White Tag South Devon Performers the top five were as follows: Lot 1114, a FB red polled son of DLCC Polled PRO 111H. In second place, Lot 1113, an 87.5 percent, black polled son of MJB Medicine Rock 243M. Both bulls were consigned by Dar Lynn Cattle Co., Pierz, MN. Lot 1166 was the 87.5 percent third place bull, sired by DLC Royal Lad 21, consigned by MJB Ranch, red and scurred. Bieber Red Angus consigned Lot 1104, the fourth place bull, FB red polled bull, sired by Cimarron Superior 442. The first and second place ADG sire group leaders were from Bollenbach Cattle Co. First place went to the sons of Cimarron Ultimate 667F, and second place to the sons of Cimarron Midnight 167L. Leading the WDA sire group are the sons of DLCC Polled Pro 111H, consigned by Dar Lynn Cattle Co. In second place were the sons of Cimarron Superior 442 from Bieber Red Angus, Leola, SD. Charolais There were 35 Charolais bulls on test to sell April 6. The top performers for ADG were as follows: Leading was Lot 1049, a son of SCC Cascade J004P ET, consigned by Wakefield Farms, New Richland, MN. In second place was a two-way tie between Lot 1068 and 1044. Lot 1068 is a polled son of PF Infinite Justice 1001P consigned by Ritchey Charolais, Hudson, CO. Cobb Charolais Ranch, Augusta, MT, consigned Lot 1044 a polled son of ABC Meteor. The final bull in this group was Lot 1047, a polled bull consigned by Lazy Heart Jay Ranch, Twin Falls, ID, sired by Charlie Losy. In the WDA division the top performers for the Charolais breed were as follows: The first place bull, Lot 1066, is scurred and sired by MD Billings Pld K580, consigned by Ritchey Charolais. Following in second was Lot 1070 consigned by Persistence Farm, Dover, DE, a polled son of Baldridge Kojack 29K. Lot 1040 was in third place sired by LHD Cigar E46, polled and consigned by Morgan Cattle Co, Greeley, CO. Ritchey Charolais led the ADG and WDA sire groups with sons of MD Billings Pld K580. Wakefield Farms placed second in ADG and WDA sire groups with sons of Baldridge Fasttrack 82F. Simmental There were 20 Simmental bulls on test, selling April 6. The top three performers for ADG were as follows: Lot 1089, a polled, black purebred led the way. This bull is sired by BLK Shamrock E157 and consigned by Miller Simmentals, Gildford, MT, and also placed third in WDA sire groups. The second place bull in both ADG and WDA was Lot 1099, a purebred, black polled son of Leachman 7306H, consigned by Elm Creek Ranch, Hebron, ND. Lot 1093 rounded out this group, a purebred, red polled son of MFSR BB604 consigned by Miller Simmentals, led the WDA and EPDs. Maine Anjou There were six Maine Anjou bulls on test and available for purchase April 6. The top three performers for ADG and WDA were as follows: All leaders were consigned by Flying U, LLC of Meeteetse, WY, and sired by Draft Pick 180L. The first place bull was Lot 1196, a black polled bull, also tied for second with Lot 1199 in the WDA. Lot 1195, a black and horned bull, followed. Lot 1194 placed third, black and polled, also led the WDA. Tied for second in WDA was Lot 1199, a black and polled bull.

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Monday, March 28,2005

Letters

by WLJ
Labeling overrrated Dear Mr. Vetter: As a beef producer I have always felt fortunate that there are ten or more packing plants operating in the upper Midwest. They are a huge asset to the dairy and beef producers in the region. It is because of these mostly independent plants that the North Central States have one of the best cow markets in the country. Logic dictates that the cattle procurement range of the packing plants of the northern United States and southern Canada extend across the border. The shrinking of cattle production in the upper Midwest has increased the need for this border trade. Without the Canadian cattle, will these northern plants be able to assemble enough of the classes and grades of cattle necessary to best meet the needs of their customers and still remain efficient? Due to the delay in the border opening we are going to find out. When the dust settles on the border issues, we may need buyers from packers in Canada to fill the front row seats of our livestock markets. COOL is another trade issue that could backfire. You don't have to talk to a Detroit auto executive to learn that today's consumer could care less about where a product is made, just look at the name plates of the cars and pickups in the parking lot of your local shopping center. For those of you who think the discriminating shopper will make purchases based on country of origin, I suggest you take a closer look at the label in your shirt. Sincerely, Clarence Wilbur Ontonagon, MI

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Monday, March 28,2005

Sale of wild horses to Indian tribes

by WLJ
The Bureau of Land Management announced last week that it is selling more than 500 wild horses to two Indian Tribes in the Dakotas under a new law passed by Congress. The BLM has sold 141 wild horses (105 mares and 36 studs) to the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota and 120 horses (96 mares and 24 studs) to the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota. Completion of other sales to these tribes will take place over the next several weeks. BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said, “As the BLM implements the new sale-authority legislation passed by Congress, we are pleased to announce our first sales to tribes. We look forward to completing more sales with tribes and all others interested in providing long-term care for the wild horses affected by the new sale-authority law.” The Bureau carried out its first sale of wild horses––200 mares to a Wyoming-based company––on March 1 under legislation recently passed by Congress. This measure, which became law in December 2004, directs the BLM to sell those wild horses and burros that are more than 10 years old or have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption at least three times. About 8,400 BLM-managed animals became eligible for sale under these criteria. “I urge horse advocacy groups, humane organizations, and more tribes––as well as the general public––to help the BLM find good homes for those horses affected by the new law,” said Clarke. The Bureau has set up a toll-free number for those interested in buying a wild horse or burro (1-800-710-7597). Interested groups or individuals may also contact the BLM at a new e-mail address(wildhorse@blm.gov). There are about 37,000 wild horses and burros roaming public lands managed by the BLM in 10 Western states. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes on the range can double about every five years. As a result, the current free-roaming population exceeds by some 9,000 the number that BLM-managed rangelands can sustain. The Bureau determined––on the basis of its analysis of rangeland conditions––that 28,000 is the number of wild horses and burros that BLM-managed rangelands can support in balance with other resources and other approved uses of the public lands. Federal law authorizes the BLM to remove wild horses and burros from the range to control herd sizes; those animals removed are cared for in holding facilities and thousands are placed into private ownership through adoption each year. Since 1973, the BLM’s adoption program has put more than 203,000 animals into private care. Currently there are about 24,000 wild horses and burros in short-term facilities in the West and long-term facilities in the Midwest. The cost of holding and caring for wild horses and burros in both short- and long-term facilities is projected to be about $20 million in Fiscal Year 2005, which will be more than half of what the agency expects to spend on the wild horse and burro program in the current fiscal year. The cost of caring for and feeding a wild horse in a long-term facility is about $465 per animal per year. The BLM manages wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Congress has amended this law three times––in 1976, 1978 and most recently in December 2004, when it directed the BLM to sell wild horses and burros meeting the law’s newly established sale criteria. The BLM remains fully committed to its adoption program, which it will keep separate from its new sale-authority program. So, the Bureau will not be selling wild horses and burros at any of its adoptions. — WLJ

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Monday, March 21,2005

Canada slaughter capacity up

by WLJ
Canada's cattle and beef industry has followed through with plans to increase the nation’s overall beef slaughter capacity, and expansion is expected to continue as the U.S. border remains closed to live Canadian cattle. Prior to Canada's initial BSE confirmation in May 2003, the country's total slaughter capacity was at 72,000 per week, although the plants were actually processing closer to 65,000-69,000 each week. Currently, total weekly processing capacity around 84,000 head per week. Cliff Munroe, chief of Alberta Agriculture's regulatory services branch, said the province's two largest facilities, Lakeside Packers and Cargill Foods, have expanded their kills significantly, and that further growth of those packers is expected. In addition, a number of smaller projects are in the works, including Rancher's Beef, which is already slaughtering cattle at Sunterra's lamb/veal facility in Innisfail. Construction is also under way on an 800-head-per-day facility north of Calgary. Another group is working to set up an 800-head/day plant west of Edmonton. Several other projects are planned across the Prairies and in eastern Canada sources said. If the U.S. injunction against reopening the border to Canadian live cattle is not overturned, Munroe said it is likely Canada, specifically Alberta, would put even more emphasis on increasing the domestic slaughter capacity, as the country works to divorce itself from its dependency on U.S. processors. "If you add up all the hopes and prayers out there, capacity could increase to 120,000," said John Masswohl, director of international relations with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Realistically speaking, he thought slaughter capacity would increase to 95,000 per week heading into 2006. Masswohl thought Canadian oversupply was roughly around 500-550,000 head of cattle, of which 300,000 to 350,000 were older animals. If the younger animals can't be moved to the U.S., it could take until 2007 to get through the backlog, according to Masswohl. Even if the U.S. border does eventually open, it will only be for those animals under 30 months of age. As a result, most of the current projects in the works are for dealing with those animals over 30 months of age. Canada has too many live cattle and not enough slaughter capacity, said Cam Daniels, vice-president of the Canada Beef Export Federation. He agreed that new plants and increased slaughter capacity were the best solution, but didn’t give a timetable or the extent of expansion that would be needed to balance out cattle supplies and packing capacity. — WLJ

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Monday, March 21,2005

Beef Bits

by WLJ
Oscar Meyer sale rumored Kraft Foods’ desire to focus solely on cheese and dairy, biscuits, coffee, and specialty beverages has fueled speculation that it wants to sell its Oscar Mayer and Louis Rich processed meat businesses. However, the massive size of the Oscar Mayer and Louis Rich brands make them saleable to only a few large companies. Some meat industry experts put a $1 billion price tag on just the Oscar Meyer brand. At least one industry watcher said Sara Lee would be the most logical buyer. Sara Lee already owns Ball Park Franks, the largest U.S. hot dog brand in America. Oscar Mayer is the second largest brand. The Oscar Meyer operation reported a 10 percent sales increase in 2004, in part because of the success of its Deli Shaved Roast Beef sandwich meat. Japan supply fell in January Japan’s beef supply fell to a historical low during January, with total beef stocks totaling just 60,001 metric tons. Australia has become the largest supplier of beef to Japan, after Japan closed its markets to U.S. beef following the discovery of a cow infected with BSE in late 2003. Beef supplies in Japan fell eight percent compared with January 2004, and were down 36 percent compared with January 2003. Although imports of beef over the period have increased 16 percent to 28,323 metric tons—primarily from Australia—production of domestic Japanese beef declined eight percent to total 25,947 tons. Lone Star posts revenue hike Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Inc. posted a fourth quarter revenue hike of 11.7 percent to $205.4 million and a 13.2 percent year-to-date increase to $669.5 million. Overall comparable store sales growth edged up 1.3 percent for the quarter and 3.6 percent for the fiscal year. The chain’s Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House recorded the highest fourth-quarter comparable store sales growth, up 17 percent, followed by the recently acquired Texas Land & Cattle Steak House, up 7.9 percent. The company’s namesake chain, Lone Star, fared the worst, with a 1.7 percent decline. Comparable store sales at the company’s Sullivan’s Steakhouse climbed 3.1 percent for the quarter. Hardee's intros new burger Hardee's recently announced it is selling a new Frisco Thickburger two years after the chain's original Frisco burger was retired, following the inauguration of Hardee's line of Thickburgers. The new burger includes two slices of Swiss cheese, two strips of crispy bacon, sliced fresh tomato and a buttered, grilled sourdough bread spread with onion-flavored mayonnaise. The difference is that the Frisco Thickburger is made with a 1/3-lb, charbroiled Angus beef patty, as are the other nine offered Thickburgers. The Frisco Thickburger sells for a suggested price of $3.59. Aussie slaughter down Australian processors slaughtered nine percent fewer beef cattle during January than in January 2004, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Total slaughter was 485,000 head. Australian beef production for January 2005 was slightly lower than in January 2004, due to the decreased slaughter numbers, totaling 132,000 metric tons. However, despite the reduced numbers, the average adult carcass weight for January was 268.3 kilograms per head, an increase of 7.2 kilograms per head, compared to January 2004. Beef sandwiches recalled Lansing, MI-based Eastside Deli Supply recently recalled beef-and-cheese submarine sandwiches sold at more than 300 convenience stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio because of possible contamination with listeria monocytogenes. The sandwiches are packaged in clear wrapping and have the description name "Beef & Cheese Sub Sandwich." The recall includes products with sell-by dates up to and including March 22. The Michigan Department of Agriculture discovered the problem during a routine food inspection. No illnesses have been reported, but production of the sandwiches was voluntarily suspended pending an investigation into the source of the problem. Drought forces Aussie cattle sale About 11,000 head of cattle were auctioned off in the Australian city of Roma as the continuing dry conditions force graziers to sell-off stock. Livestock agent Jason Carswell said cattle were trucked in from western Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. "The panic has sort of set in some places where it's drier than most and we're seeing that now with large numbers coming through that people have sort of waited for the rain and it's just getting to the stage to do something before it does get proper dry," he said.

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Monday, March 21,2005

Beef info provided at Japan forum

by WLJ
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) used its presence at Japan’s FoodEx 2005, the largest food show in the Asia-Pacific Rim region, to showcase the tastiness of U.S. pork and educate attendees about the safety of the U.S. beef. Since its debut in 1976, FoodEx Japan has become the premier event in the Asian-Pacific Rim region, and the third largest food and beverage show in the world, after SIAL in Paris and ANUGA in Cologne. This year’s show, March 8-11 in Makuhari Messe, featured more than 2,500 exhibiting companies and 100,000 food industry visitors. USMEF reports 20,000 visitors to its booth on opening day followed by 25,000 on March 9. The visitors included buyers from major Japanese supermarket and restaurant chains, such as AEON, Daiei and Yoshinoya. USMEF is providing samples of U.S. pork prepared with four different special sauces developed for the U.S. pork campaign in Japan. “Conducting taste tests of frozen and chilled pork emphasizes the superior flavor of U.S. pork,” USMEF-Japan Senior Marketing Director Takemichi Yamashoji said. U.S. chilled pork is highly thought of in Japan and distance prevents Denmark, a major competitor to U.S. pork in Japan, from shipping chilled pork to Japan. U.S. chilled pork shipments have risen substantially in the last decade and now account for as much as 40 percent of U.S. pork exported to Japan. In 2004, Japan led U.S. pork (including variety meat) exports in value at $978,541, up 25 percent from the previous year and was second in volume at 313,574, up 16 percent. The USMEF booth is hosted eight U.S. packers: Johnsonville, PSF, Sara Lee, Smithfield, Snake River Farms, Sugardale, SIG International and Tyson. USMEF is supplying information on the U.S. beef grading system, especially A40 maturity, which has been discussed with the Japanese government for use in determining age of U.S. cattle eligible for export to Japan once the border reopens to U.S. beef. Japan discontinued accepting U.S. beef in December 2003 when the United States discovered a single case of BSE in an imported Washington state dairy cow. Additionally, USMEF is distributing information on U.S. beef industry safety measures that ensure U.S. beef is safe and free of BSE. Updates on the negotiations between the United States and Japan were also provided. “Buyers are asking when the market is going to open since they want as much notice as possible to develop sales and buying plans,” Yamashoji said. Many buyers thought the slow working of the Japanese government means a resumption of U.S. beef exports to Japan is most likely to happen in late summer or early fall. The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs. — WLJ

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