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Monday, February 7,2005

China, Argentina corn exports rising

by WLJ
China expects to export double the corn crop it did last year, while Argentina appears on pace to raise its exportable corn harvest slightly. Corn exports from China will experience a partial revival this year with the government considering more policies to boost overseas sales, state media reports, citing an expert at the National Grain and Oils Information Center. Exports of corn from China are forecast to more than double to 5 million metric tons in the marketing year ending September 2005, the China Daily reports, citing forecasts by an unnamed expert at the center. The center predicts that China's corn output will rise 14 percent to 131.7 million metric tons in 2005, due to a 6 percent expansion in the area sown with crops to 25.6 million hectares. In 2004, China exported 2.32 million tons of corn, a dramatic slump from the 16.4 million tons exported in the previous year. But that decline was blamed on a delay by the government in issuing export quotas until after the end of the 2004 marketing year. To revive exports in 2005, the government may introduce measures such as increasing export quotas and waiving railway construction funds for the transportation of corn, the newspaper reported, citing the expert at the grain and oilseeds center. Exempting corn from the rail construction levy would help lower delivery costs from production bases to ports by 30 percent, the expert said. China already pays an export rebate to corn producers, but the refund is calculated at a fixed price for grain, which is usually lower than the actual free-on-board rate. Under the World Trade Organization rules, China can also directly subsidize farmers up to 8.5 percent of the country's total agricultural production. Argentina's farmers have planted 99.9 percent of the 2004-05 corn crop, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said Feb. 1. Farmers will begin collecting the 2004-05 harvest, which is expected to total 17.9 million metric tons, in February. The exchange sees the planted area of exportable corn at 2.58 million hectares. Last year area totaled 2.28 million hectares. As of Jan. 29, farmers had planted 2,556,300 hectares. The average yield will total 7 tons per hectare this year, the exchange has said. Yields have risen steadily over the past decade, according to exchange data. In 1993-94, the average yield totaled just 4.2 tons/hectare. Yields are rising as farmers become better at rotating crops and applying agri-chemicals like fertilizer and herbicide, among other things. In addition, last year farmers in some areas began planting a new kind of genetically modified corn seed made by Monsanto. This is expected to boost output by allowing farmers to plant the crop in areas that are not typically apt for good growth. In some areas, yields are even expected to total 10 tons/hectare, the exchange has said. Last year Argentina produced 13.1 million metric tons of corn, according to the exchange. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast Argentina's 2004-05 output at 17 million tons while the Agriculture Secretariat has put it at between 18 million and 19 million. — WLJ

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Monday, February 7,2005

EU confirms BSE in goat

by WLJ
A panel of European Union scientists Jan. 28 confirmed that a goat slaughtered in France in 2002 was infected with a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This is the first time that BSE has been found in a goat.The animal and its entire herd were destroyed before entering the foodchain, according to a statement by the EU Commission. "I am proposing to extend testing further to determine whether this is an isolated incident," said EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. The EU Commission wants to test 200,000 goats in the region’s 25 member states over the next six months. The testing program would concentrate on countries where cases of BSE have been reported in cattle in the past, including the United Kingdon (UK). The human equivalent of BSE, variant Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, has claimed 148 lives in the UK so far. The EU’s head office sought to downplay the potential threat to consumer health, saying precautionary measures have been in place for several years and that the rate of incidences are very low. "I want to reassure consumers that existing safety measures in the EU offer a very high level of protection," Kyprianou said. "This case was discovered thanks to the EU testing system in place in France.” Over 140,000 goats have been tested since April 2002, including random testing of healthy animals, sick animals and those that die on the farm, according to the EU Commission. Other safety measures include a ban on feeding goats bone-meal, the removal of brain, spinal cords—generally considered the main transmission routes—and the slaughter of goats infected with scrapie, a similar disease to BSE but one that doesn't pose the same risk as it can't be transmitted to humans. The European Food Safety Agency is due to publish a risk assessment for goat meat and related products such as milk and cheese, by July 2005. — WLJ

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Monday, February 7,2005

Futures give hope for steady cash feds

by WLJ
— Other indicators bearish. — Light volumes, moisture boost calf prices. Fed cattle trade activity was following the pattern set the previous three weeks with northern trade happening Thursday and southern cattle not being marketed until Friday. Through midday Thursday Nebraska cattle feeders had sold 15-20,000 head at mostly $140-141 dressed. No trade activity was reported in either Kansas or Texas, as packer bids were still hovering around $86, while asking prices from prospective sellers ranged $90-91. While early trade in northern feeding areas was $1-2 higher than two weeks ago, packer bids were starting to be pulled back with most getting back down into the $138-139 range, steady with the previous week. Analysts thought steady money might be possible, but it wouldn’t be on a large-trade volume. Nearby futures contracts appeared to be the saving grace to cash feds last week, as February continued to hover just above the $90 mark. Traders speculated that cooler, wet weather was slowing down cattle marketing rates along with the uncertainty that is still circulating about the Canadian border situation. However, other trade analysts said expanded boxed beef movement last week wasn’t enough to offset a beef production surplus the previous couple weeks and that widening packer losses were keeping demand for slaughter-ready cattle depressed and limiting much chance for a market rally. In fact, the ongoing market situation was enough to force Tyson Foods Inc. to announce last week production slowdowns at its Cactus, TX, cattle processing facility. The company also announced that chain speeds have been slowed at its Grand Island, NE, plant for the past several weeks. Tyson earlier this year announced several temporary facility shutdowns in the Northwest and Far West regions of the country. Swift & Company and National Beef have also slowed production at several facilities. Slaughter volume last Monday through Thursday was 465,000 head, 5,000 below the same period the week previous. For the week ending Jan. 30, total cattle slaughter was 589,000 head, 2,000 head more than the week previous but 10,000 head below the same week last year. Several analysts reiterated that weekly cattle slaughter probably only needs to total 560-570,000 head to keep up with current beef demand levels. Even though the last few weeks have shown slaughter levels below a year ago, they are ahead of what consumption is right now, analysts said. On top of that, packer margins ranged between a negative $45-50 per head during the middle part of the week, and that was keeping most prospective buyers from bidding even close to steady money, compared to two weeks ago. For the week ending Jan. 30, the average cattle price was $88.21 live, $139.78 dressed. Boxed beef prices continued their slide through most of last week, leading to the widening losses reported by processors. As of Thursday midmorning, the Choice boxed beef cutout was at $142.31, down from $146.10 the previous Thursday. Select was at $137.70, compared to $140.58 the previous week. Some concerns were being raised that cattle feeders might start losing the currentness that they have seen the past few months. The primary indication of that, according to analysts was the narrowing of the Choice/Select spread to under $5 last Thursday. The previous Thursday, that figure was still around $6.50. Calves, yearlings mixed While weather deterred a lot of producers from shipping calves to market in the southern third and central Plains of the country last week, prices were called mostly steady to stronger. The buyers in attendance at most central and southern auctions were actively snatching up lighter feeder and stocker steers for $1-3 more than two weeks ago. Heifers were being bought at mostly steady money, with isolated reports of $1-2 less being anted up. Recent moisture has once again spurred stocker operator demand because of forecasts for extended good grazing opportunities, southern auction barn managers reported. Stocker operators weren’t scared off by the weather. Several of those operations, including some closed-in facilities, are able to get cattle acclimated to both the new operation and some extra supplemental feed, specifically corn and other cheap feed grains, that they will be on over the next four to six weeks. In northern areas of the country, price gains were up as high as $5 as weather was reportedly very good for both placing cattle into feedlots and pasture conditions. In addition, volumes in the northern tier were very small, being 50-60 percent below the previous few weeks. Heavier weight, more placement ready cattle were seeing softer prices paid last week, despite continuing cheap corn prices. A large area of the country showed $1-3 less being anted up by buyers for yearlings. Last Thursday morning, March corn futures were at $1.94 and several reports indicated cash corn at $1.65-1.80 per bushel, or $2.95-3.25 per cwt. However, the lack of any significant upturn in the cash fed market, and continued $25-40 per head losses by a majority of cattle feeders, kept prices for heavier weight calves and yearlings depressed. Wet weather, while being good for grass prospects, also hurt cattle feeder demand as southern feedlots were very muddy from recent moisture, making it difficult for trucks to get around and for labor to meet the demands of new placements. The CME feeder cattle index, for 700-850 pound steers, was hovering around $103 last Thursday, compared to $104.46 the previous Thursday.

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Monday, February 7,2005

Japan imports likely limited

by WLJ
A top official of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Jan. 27 he believes the amount of U.S. beef imports to Japan will be limited even if a ban on such imports over BSE is lifted later this year, reports Kyodo. "Unfortunately, we would not be able to respond to demand from restaurants serving beef dishes and ox tongues," said Mamoru Ishihara, vice farm minister, at a press conference. Japan and the United States are expected to hold high-level talks in February aimed at striking an accord to lift Japan's ban on U.S. beef imports. If the two countries carry out procedures without any delay, the United States could resume exporting beef to Japan in the summer, according to Japanese government sources. The two sides discussed details of preparations for resuming beef trade at working-level meeting in Tokyo on Jan. 27, but the U.S. side did not provide any explanation on the exact amount of beef that could be exported to Japan after the termination of the embargo, ministry officials said. Chuck Lambert, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that cattle whose beef could become eligible for export to Japan would account for up to 35 percent of all U.S. cows slaughtered for consumption. But he did not elaborate on the actual amount. Last week, U.S. officials proposed that the country only export to Japan beef from two groups—cattle whose age has been certified as 17 months or younger based on beef quality examination on carcasses, and cows whose age has been verified with birth certificates and other programs. In the age verification method based on carcass examination, tongues and intestines will be removed in advance, and the ban on export of those parts will remain, the officials said. Beef bowl restaurants will need short-plate meat taken from numerous cows but partial resumption of U.S. beef imports would not fulfill their demand, they said. Ishihara, however, said that he welcomes progress made so far in overall U.S.-Japan beef talks. At the working-level talks, Japan also asked the U.S. delegation about a claim by a U.S. labor union that some slaughterhouses in the country do not take adequate measures to prevent mad cow disease. But U.S. officials did not clearly answer the question, Japanese officials said. Japan has banned American beef imports since the first U.S. case of BSE was found in a Canadian-born cow in the state of Washington in December 2003.

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Monday, February 7,2005

Johanns holds first meeting with Japan

by WLJ
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns met with Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato in Washington, DC, last week to stress the importance of the Japanese reopening their border to U.S. beef. Johanns says he realizes the importance of the beef issue and was looking to gauge Japan’s willingness to open the border. After the meeting, Johanns made a few comments to the news media about the discussion. First Johanns said he thanked the ambassador for their past working relationship when Johanns was the governor of a Midwestern state that thrived from major Japanese investments. On that note, Johanns proceeded to emphasize to the Ambassador the importance of the Japanese market to the proliferation of U.S. producers. “I told him that there was one issue that we just needed to immediately address and get behind us,” said Johanns. “And, that was the beef trade issue.” The Secretary proceeded to say that he very specifically requested of the ambassador that a certain date be set for the resumption of beef trade. “I indicated to him that I would do everything I could from my standpoint to accomplish the goal of beef trading in Japan,” said Johanns. “I went so far as to say if that necessitated a team here working 24/7, I would make sure that happened and that was in place.” When asked what the ambassador’s retort was to that comment, Johanns said the ambassador’s response was along the lines of “we understand the importance of this issue, we’re going to do everything we can.” Johanns also noted that, “Needless to say, he did not come prepared to say the date will be February 1 or February 15. But, I certainly felt the willingness to work with us and to get this behind us. We both expressed that.” When pressed by reporters to get a feeling of a date for the resumption of beef trade between the U.S. and Japan, Johanns said he wishes he could say that today was the day, but that is not the case. Johanns said all he could do was express his “strong, strong desire to agree upon a date—a date that the two countries can work off of.” Johanns also said he recounted his confirmation hearing to Kato saying, “it did not matter which side was asking the questions, it was absolutely unified and unanimous, and question after question after question was, ‘Governor Johanns, what are you going to do to resume trade with Japan?’ And I said to him, that underscores the enormous, the importance of this issue.” Additionally, Johanns said he told the Japanese representative that it turned out to be more of an airing of frustration about the need to move this issue forward, rather than a confirmation hearing. Asked if the border situation with Canada was addressed, Johanns said that Canada did not come up in their discussions. Overall, Johanns felt the meeting was positive. He said that if anything could have been achieved from the encounter, it was that a step in the direction was taken in developing a candid working relationship between the ambassador and himself. “I am confident that he will express my desires immediately to his government,” said Johanns. “I am confident that will occur today.”

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Monday, February 7,2005

Diseases need reporting

by WLJ
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has made available instructions to report suspected animals with Foreign Animal Diseases (FADs) such as BSE, Avian Influenza and hoof-and-mouth disease and other conditions to Public Health Veterinarians (PHVs). These instructions (FSIS Directive 6000.1) outline the responsibilities of PHVs associated with identifying and reporting suspected incidences of FADs. Also included is a of possible symptoms—Signs of FADs list—that provides further information at both ante-mortem and postmortem inspections. Upon inspection, Public Health Veterinarians are to consider animals exhibiting these signs as "U.S. Suspects" and are to contact the district office of the FSIS as soon as possible. Information needed on the animals includes: type of disease suspected, name and contact information of the animals producer and any clinical history of the animal. The Office of International Epizooties classifies diseases into two lists (List A & List B), which are attachments to the FSIS directive. List A diseases are transmissible and have the potential for serious and rapid spreading, irrespective of national borders, and List B diseases are considered to be of socioeconomic or public health importance within a country. Both categories have the potential to significantly impact the international trade of animal products. To view the directive in its entirety, go to: www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/6000_Series-Slaughter_Inspection/index.asp. — WLJ

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Monday, February 7,2005

Kansas pilot identification program tracks cattle

by WLJ
On any given day on the remote roads of Kansas, hundreds of tractor-trailers are hauling cattle across the state’s vast rangelands, headed for feedlots and slaughterhouses. And in an era of BSE and the threat of agroterrorism, federal agriculture regulators want to be able to locate within 48 hours—or sooner—the whereabouts of each of the nation’s 100 million-plus head of cattle. Enter a Kansas proposal that would combine GPS, cellular and radio frequency technologies to track cattle as they are in transit. It is one of the ideas the U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing and one that could shape the nation’s emerging animal identification system. “People were excited about the Kansas proposal,” said Amy Spillman, spokeswoman for the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “They wanted to integrate the ability to track cattle as it came on and off the trucks.” The department is spending $11.6 million in 29 states to test various ideas, such as proposals from Wyoming and Idaho to expand on their existing branding methods of identifying cattle. Kansas was given $805,000 for its one-year test project on a transportation-based system, which could have broad applications in an industry that ships 90 million animals by truck annually. Here’s how it works: As animals are loaded onto trucks, an onboard reader collects a time and date stamp, location information using GPS technology, and identification numbers for the site and each individual animal. The data is sent via cell phone to a database kept by Kansas animal health authorities. If the cattle are loaded or unloaded in a remote location without cellular service, such as the Kansas’ Flint Hills, the information is stored in the onboard computer and automatically transmitted as soon as the truck passes a cell phone tower. The project is especially appropriate for Kansas, known as the “black hole of the beef industry” because of the state’s dominance in the slaughterhouse and feedlot industries, said Dale Blasi, a Kansas State University researcher working on the project. “Kansas has this unique issue of cattle coming in from everywhere,” he said. “We are not an export state like Nevada or a cow-calf state like Montana.” On any given day in Kansas, between 400 and 500 trucks are on the road hauling cattle, said Mark Spire, a Kansas State University professor and project researcher. On average, cattle are shipped four times in their lives. The state has only 1.5 million head of brood cows, but feeds 6 million cattle and slaughters 7 million head of cattle each year, he said. About 5.1 million cattle are shipped into Kansas from elsewhere in the nation. “Within 24 hours from either coast, we can have cattle that can arrive in Kansas,” Spire said. “What that means is that Kansas is a state at risk for the introduction of potential animal diseases.” The system was built by two companies, Osborne Industries in Kansas and Digital Angel Corp. of Minnesota, to the specifications of researchers at Kansas State University, said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner George Teagarden. Testing has already begun, and by March, researchers hope to begin installing $6,000 readers on 30 trucks hauling livestock from participating ranchers to plants operated by Kansas City, Mo.-based TJ.S. Premium Beef, the nation’s fourth largest meatpacking company. About 40,000 cattle will be tagged during the pilot program. One advantage of the transportation-based system is that it doesn’t add to the workload of ranchers. The projects developers feared individual readers, which would be used only once or twice a year, would end up at the bottom of the farmer’s toolbox, left out in the weather or where rats could eat its wiring. “It takes that expense—that trial and tribulation—off the producer and puts it on truck drivers where we have a better opportunity to train, Spire said. There are other concerns about a national animal ID system, especially from ranchers worried about the security of the information, as well as adopting technology that either doesn’t work or becomes outdated quickly, said Doran Junek, a rancher and executive director of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. Rancher Tom Toll sent in his site registration form and began placing electronic tags on his cattle last week. “We need to get as many people using the tags and using the readers as we can, so we know the system works,’ said Toll, president of the Kansas Livestock Association.

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Monday, February 7,2005

Meat good for calcium absorption

by WLJ
The long-held perception that consumption of high protein foods such as meat causes excess calcium loss is not true, according to research funded by the Beef Checkoff Program. The two-year study was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. The research announced Jan. 28 confirms findings from other studies showing that protein from meat does not compromise calcium status. Meat protein can increase calcium absorption and has beneficial effects on bone health, said Dr. Sharon Miller, director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, one of the contractors of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the Beef Checkoff Program. “The Beef Checkoff will use these study results to help health professionals understand the positive interaction between consumption of animal protein and calcium retention.” The research has evaluated calcium retention in women eating diets with varying amounts of protein and calcium––high protein and high calcium, high protein and low calcium, low protein and low calcium. Data shows that diets high in meat––comprising up to 20 percent of an individual’s intake––do not increase overall calcium loss, regardless whether calcium intake is low or high. Furthermore, eating recommended amounts of meat was especially beneficial when calcium intake was low because the protein helps better retain the calcium. The study shows that the ideal diet is rich in protein but still within the dietary guidelines for meat sources and adequate servings of calcium. Miller said, “People can consume protein at the upper recommended range.” In addition, Miller noted that consuming protein from sources such as beef is beneficial to bone health because beef contains amino acids and nutrients including zinc and phosphorous, which are important for bone building. “Bone health is of particular importance for postmenopausal women, but bone health begins in childhood. Therefore, all consumers need to eat a nutrient-rich diet,” said Miller. “That’s why this research has such positive implications for both beef and dairy producers.” The principle investigator of this clinical trial, Dr. Fariba Roughead, a research nutritionist and registered dietitian, said, “The data from this study, combined with recent findings from other controlled feeding and observational studies, provide strong evidence negating the long-held dogma that animal protein intake is deleterious to bone health. In contrast, the higher calcium retention and the favorable changes in the circulating amounts of important bone-building hormones suggest that a higher protein intake may be preferred, especially in postmenopausal women with typically low calcium intakes.” The Beef Checkoff Program will communicate results of the study to health and nutrition professionals to help them better understand the positive correlation between protein consumption and calcium. — WLJ

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Monday, February 7,2005

Mice livers show prions move

by WLJ
Rogue proteins like those that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)—found previously only in brain, nerve and lymph tissues —have now been located in the liver, kidney and pancreas in a study of rodents. While the discovery raises the possibility that similar proteins could move into unanticipated parts of farm animals that have similar diseases, it isn't a reason for alarm, says researcher Adriano Aguzzi of the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. But, he adds, "There is reason to reappraise critically the way regulations that are already in place" are enforced. Sick animals such as sheep and cows shouldn't enter the human food chain, said Aguzzi, the lead researcher in the study, said in a telephone interview. "I think what is probably worth doing is to recheck whether all these regulations are implemented properly," he said. "But, I think this is nothing that should provoke a wave of panic." Rogue proteins called prions are blamed for several brain-wasting diseases, including BSE, scrapie in sheep and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These proteins had only been found in the brains, spinal cord and lymph tissues of infected people and animals. But Aguzzi's report, published online Feb. 3 by the journal Science, indicates that in at least some cases they can move to other parts of the body. Inflammation, characterized by swelling, redness and pain, occurs in a number of diseases, such as hepatitis, which affects the liver. "I think it certainly raises questions as to the current classification of risk organs, which essentially says the brain and lymphatic tissue is at risk, whereas everything else is rather safe," Aguzzi said. "So, I think that in the case of an inflammatory condition, I think that is no longer valid." The finding "reinforces that you never say never," said Dr. William Hueston, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. Hueston, who wasn't part of Aguzzi's research team, agreed that the finding isn't cause for alarm, saying it reinforces the reasons for inspecting animals in the food chain. Dr. Robert B. Petersen, a professor of neuropathology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, agreed that any risk is low since screening procedures would identify infected animals. In addition, considering the low incidence of prion diseases, "it is unlikely that you would find an animal with chronic viral or bacterial infection and prion infection simultaneously," said Peterson, who wasn't involved in Aguzzi's research. Jim Rogers, of the U.S. Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health inspection Service, said the agency already targets high-risk animals and don't need to change its procedures. In the study, Aguzzi's team, which included researchers at the Institute f Neurology in London and at Yale University, raised mice that had chronic inflammatory disease of the liver, pancreas or kidney. These mice were injected with prions from sheep suffering from scrapie. When the mice were studied, researchers found at least some prions had accumulated in the diseased organs. Aguzzi said he plans similar experiments on sheep. The research was supported by the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss National Center for Competence in Research, University of Zurich, a grant from the Catello Family, the Association for the Promotion of the Academic New Generation, the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. — WLJ

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Monday, February 7,2005

NCBA picks government affairs leaders

by WLJ
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has named Jay Truitt as the next vice president of government affairs in its Washington, D.C., office. After an intensive selection process, NCBA Chief Executive Officer Terry Stokes officially announced the promotion last week. Truitt, NCBA’s executive director of legislative affairs since March 2001, officially took the helm of NCBA’s Washington office immediately. “Truitt brings exceptional leadership, lobbying, and management experience to his new role at NCBA,” says Stokes. “His ranching heritage from his family’s cow/calf operation in Missouri, his experience at the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and his previous role at NCBA provides a depth of industry knowledge to Jay as he assumes this position.” Leaving the day-to-day operations of his family’s cattle operation in 1991, Truitt joined KANZA Inc., a Missouri-based communications and legislative resource for agriculture-related organizations. In 1995, Truitt worked with the Missouri Soybean Programs as director of market development before becoming executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and CEO of Missouri’s Cattlemen Foundation in 1996. During his tenure at NCBA, Truitt served as NCBA’s top lobbyist and has managed policy directives on issues such as tax reform, agriculture policy, and animal identification. Truitt graduated from the U.S. Air Force and University of Maryland with degrees in business and public relations. He replaces Chandler Keys, who left the organization Dec. 31. Stokes also announced the promotion of Bryan Dierlam to executive director, government affairs. Dierlam served as NCBA’s director of legislative affairs since March 1999. “Bryan has demonstrated leadership and growth during the past six years at NCBA, and he is one of the most respected lobbyists on Capitol Hill,” says Stokes. Dierlam has led some of NCBA’s toughest political fights on issues such as farm policy; livestock marketing and risk management, agriculture appropriations, price reporting, and country-of-origin labeling. He holds a B.S. degree in animal science and an M.B.A. in finance from Texas A&M University. “Our commitment to our producer-members is to be the industry leader in addressing the issues that matter most to cattlemen and impact their bottom line,” says Stokes. “Jay and Bryan share in that commitment, and under their leadership, I have no doubt that NCBA will continue to be the voice for the industry in Washington, DC.”

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