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Monday, February 14,2005

IMI Global USDA Process Verified approved

by WLJ
IMI Global Inc. has just been approved as a USDA Process Verified Company, a status obtained by only a few companies. The following IMI Global products have been approved: BeefPassport Online, BeefPassport Chuteside, BeefPassport WebIntegrator and USVERIFIED. With these USDA approved products, IMI Services can provide 100 percent lifetime traceability of an animal, meet the data capture and analysis needs of an organization interested in individual animal data, and capture and store a unique individual animal number as well as source/premise information. The BeefPassport Product Suite captures several important data fields, including animal birthdate and individual animal identification while providing a mechanism for livestock traceability The BeefPassport products are also very user-friendly, the company says, and have the flexibility to allow entry of customized information fields. In announcing the company’s USDA approval IMI Global CEO John Saunders said BeefPassport Online, IMI Global's base traceability product in the BeefPassport Suite, will now be offered free to the cattle industry. "We understand that demand will be large and immediate. We will work diligently as a company to get all interested producers enrolled in this traceability solution as quickly as possible. Our new pricing strategy will apply to current BeefPassport Online customers as well.” The free service begins on March 1. Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis, he said. IMI Global will back the free software with low cost, ISO compliant electronic ear tags, readers, equipment, and source and age validation audits. “The need for traceability continues to increase daily,” according to Saunders, “and BeefPassport Online offers an opportunity for the industry to adopt these systems quickly. The U.S. must protect the integrity of our cattle herd and maintain a healthy export market as verification demands continue to grow.” BeefPassport Online (www.beefpassport.com) is a Web based livestock management system designed to track all aspects of cattle production from birth to harvest. BeefPassport Online allows the user to view records, print summary reports, and develop customized reports to make management decisions. As a security measure, the information can only be accessed by the individual producer or the system administrator. — WLJ

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Monday, February 14,2005

New Mexico BQA program moves online

by WLJ
New Mexico State University announced changes recently in its long running beef quality assurance (BQA) certification program, offering the training for beef and dairy producers online for the first time. “This definitely increases accessibility to the program,” said Clay Mathis, an NMSU Extension livestock specialist. “By putting this program online, our hope is to get many more people educated on the importance of becoming beef quality assurance trained or certified producers.” In the past the growers had to attend the voluntary two- to three-hour classes in person, then take a test, he said. Now, producers can log on from home or at an Extension office at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/bqa or use newly developed CDs as study aids, and then come to an extension office for their test. Both the live and online training sessions combine science, research and education to teach production methods that focus on beef quality from the ranch to the dinner table, Mathis said. Among the topics are recommended needle sizes and types for vaccination, beef’s quality measurements, treatment of sick animals and monitoring drug withdrawal times. Other sessions focus on drug storage and record keeping. The beef quality assurance certification program was developed to ensure that cattle in New Mexico are maintained properly to produce nutritious, safe beef, said Ron Parker, head of NMSU’s extension animal resources department. Beef quality assurance training has two levels. Those who attend the sessions and pass a brief written test are designated as Beef Quality Assurance trained producers. Cattle producers who want to use the program as a marketing tool for their livestock can complete two additional requirements to become Beef Quality Assurance certified producers. They must sign a critical management plan affidavit of compliance, and obtain a signed document indicating they consult with a veterinarian. Producers who were originally certified can become recertified through the same process. Recertification will be valid for three years. The New Mexico Beef Quality Assurance Program is sponsored by the New Mexico Cattle Growers’’ Association, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, New Mexico Livestock Board, New Mexico Beef Council and related organizations and industries. NMSU’’s Extension Service provides the leadership and instructors, while the state livestock board certifies attendees. For more information, contact Mathis at 505/646-8022 or cpmathis@nmsu.edu. —WLJ

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Monday, February 14,2005

Japan confirms vCJD death

by WLJ
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Feb. 4 confirmed Japan’s first case of the human form of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob, in a Japanese man who died in December, according to Kyodo. The ministry suspects the patient in his 50s was infected with the disease in Britain where he had stayed, though only for about a month, in 1989 while the country was in the midst of an outbreak of the disease. But the ministry said the case will not affect Japan’s safety measures against mad-cow disease and negotiations over resuming U.S. beef imports, with an official saying, “The current safety measures almost completely eliminate the risk of human infection, so our position remains unchanged.” At the same time, however, the ministry said its will provide public consultations across the country for people who feel concerned. It has also set up a telephone hotline and will create a question-and-answer section on the ministry’s website. On the deceased man, Tohoku University professor Tetsuyuki Kitamoto, who heads the ministry’s experts committee on CJD and other diseases, said, “Al1 patients diagnosed with the variant disease outside of Europe had a history of staying in Britain and it is very likely that this patient was also infected there.” But this case is the first in which the infected person had been in Britain for only one month, according to the ministry. The man first showed neurological symptoms of the disease in December 2001, such as being irritated, when he was in his 40s and later developed dementia. He was bedridden for the few months before his death, according to the ministry. The ministry said it will further investigate the source of infection by asking the man’s family about details of his stay in Britain, and check to see if he made blood donations or underwent surgery in an effort to find whether he may have passed on the disease to other people. Computer records of the Red Cross from April 1995 showed that the man had not donated blood since then, but the ministry is trying its best to check all records dating back to 1989. In light of the latest case, the ministry will for the time being, prohibit persons who have stayed in Britain for a month or more since 1980 from donating blood, up from the previous rule of six months or more. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated the government is planning to investigate how the man contracted the disease. “I would like experts to probe the process that led up to this development and its cause, he told reporters at his office. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the government will try to assure the public the disease is not communicable. “This disease is not contagious. It is a problem with protein and basically terminates with the death of the individual concerned,” the top government spokesman told a press conference. Asked about possible implications for the issue of Japan’s plan to lift a ban on imports of U.S. beef, Hosoda said, “Japan and the United States are holding consultations based on scientific evidence. We will address the issue squarely and take this (latest development) into future discussions.” Consumer groups expressed concern about the safety of beef. “We feared an event like this could happen because the variant type is said to take time after consumption until symptoms appear,” Yoko Tomiyama, an official of the Consumer Union of Japan, said. Last September, the ministry convened a meeting of a surveillance committee to diagnose the patient’s disease while consulting with experts in Britain. — WLJ

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Monday, February 14,2005

NCBA policy goes beyond BSE, trade issues

by WLJ
— New Mexico group granted reaffiliation. While BSE and ongoing trade battles with Canada and Japan took a lot of focus of NCBA members during the group’s annual meeting Feb. 1-5 in San Antonio, TX, several other policy objectives were passed on other situations important to U.S. cattle producers. On the marketing side, NCBA members passed policy that still calls for a more producer friendly, voluntary country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) law. Specifically, NCBA members have asked for self certification of origin for livestock producers; protection of personal records; simpler, easier-to-understand COOL retail labels; and tempering of penalties during implementation. Under a similar subject matter, NCBA members also tentatively passed policy calling on the organization to defeat efforts to label beef and beef products as “North American Beef” or any similar language that has the intent of grouping beef from other countries with that from the U.S. Packer ownership of livestock remained a hotbed of debate during the convention, however, existing policy upholding NCBA support of “captive supplies” was renewed. That policy was set aside during the group’s general membership meeting on Saturday, Feb. 5, however. Less than 20 members voted against renewing that packer ownership directive after it was debated for about 10 minutes. The approved packer ownership policy said, “Be it resolved, NCBA oppose federal legislation which would eliminate packer ownership/control of livestock because the legislation would eliminate value based pricing, reduces risk management options and/or eliminates a significant number of buyers of cattle in the U.S.” From a federal lands standpoint, NCBA members voted in favor of removing national grasslands management out from under the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). However, the policy did not state what other agency or agencies should take over that responsibility. Staff from NCBA’s Washington, DC, office said that policy is just stating the simple fact that current management of those lands is unacceptable and that USFS needs to either change their protocol or give it up to somebody that can manage them better. Some NCBA members indicated that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) might be better suited for that task. From a cattle health aspect, policy was tentatively passed to ask USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for rules that would allow regionalization of bovine tuberculosis areas within individual states an that cattle from and around the Greater Yellowstone Area be allowed to be shipped across state lines under the auspices of guidelines set forward by the Wyoming Brucellosis Task Force. The longest policy debate during the annual board of directors meeting, held the morning of Feb. 5, was over the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). After 15 minutes of debate the policy that was unanimously agreed to was “Be it resolved, NCBA opposes whole field enrollment in (CRP) in the next reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Be it further resolved, NCBA shall work to target new CRP acres in riparian corridors, in an effort to increase wildlife habitat and address water and air quality issues. Be it further resolved, NCBA supports giving farmers and ranchers the option of enrolling their expiring CRP acres in an incentive-based Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)-type program dedicated to keeping acreage in grassland for grazing or forage harvest.” Another conservation program policy that was passed was on asking USDA to allow custom operators to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in the exact same way that direct operators are allowed. NCBA members will be sent a mail ballot concerning all policy initiatives and directives that were passed by both the board of directors and the general membership. NCBA officials said those ballots will be sent by Feb. 18, and members will have at least a month to send them back. For the mail ballot to be formally utilized by NCBA, 20 percent of the members from four of the association’s seven regions must be returned. One non-policy vote of note happened when the association’s board of directors voted unanimously in favor of allowing the New Mexico Stockgrowers Association (NMSGA) once again be accepted as an affiliate member of NCBA. The state organization voted in favor of leaving NCBA last year, however, at its annual convention last November the group voted to reaffiliate. “This will probably be a yearly occurrence, at least in the near future,” said Caren Cowan, executive vice president for NMSGA.

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Monday, February 14,2005

NCBA: Selective Canadian border policy passes

by WLJ
— Ban on 30-month-plus cattle asked for. — Japan trade contingency also requested. Despite hearing new information from a recently commissioned trade team to Canada, members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) preliminarily passed a policy supporting reentry of Canadian live cattle and an expanded category of Canadian beef into the U.S. starting March 7, but only after USDA agrees to 11 conditions. Under the policy directive, NCBA members asked Washington, DC, lobbyists to tell USDA to open the border to additional Canadian beef and live cattle only if the 11 stipulations were met. Those requirements are: • Prohibit the importation of cattle and beef products from cattle more than 30 months of age; • Assure that all Canadian firewalls to prevent BSE—specifically adherence to a ban on ruminant meat and bone meal (MBM) in ruminant feeds—are functioning properly; • No Canadian feeder cattle be imported until agreement is reached on harmonization of animal health standards between the U.S. and Canada, especially concerning bluetongue and anaplasmosis; • Movement of Canadian cattle into the U.S. be managed to minimize market disruptions; • Fed cattle imported for immediate slaughter must be certified to be less than 30 months of age at the time of importation; • Ban the use of fetal bovine serum from heifers imported for immediate slaughter; • USDA grades and stamps not be allowed on any imported beef product; • Canadian feeder cattle must be branded with a “CAN,” individually identified with an ear tag, certified to be less than 30 months of age at time of slaughter, shipped in sealed trucks from the border directly to approved feedlots, then moved directly in sealed trucks to slaughter; • Feeder heifers from Canada must be spayed; • USDA must work with primary U.S. trading partners to ensure that expanded export access for U.S. beef is not in any way jeopardized by expanded importation of cattle and beef from Canada; and • An agreement to reestablish beef and beef byproduct trade with Japan, South Korea and Mexico, including possible economic sanctions, be formalized before the Canadian border is reopened. The policy directive was unanimously approved by the policy division of NCBA’s board of directors and was unanimously upheld by NCBA members in attendance during the group’s general membership meeting Feb. 5. The unanimous passage of that policy shocked several industry onlookers, particularly as members of a nine-person trade team to Canada reported there was no evidence of a “wall of Canadian cattle” waiting to enter the U.S., the perceived shortcomings of the Canadian feed processing industry were incorrect and human and animal health is not being compromised if Canadian beef and cattle are allowed reentry to the U.S. The nine-member NCBA and university trade contingent, which visited Canadian feedlots, packing houses and feed mills during January, told NCBA members that USDA’s live equivalent figure of two million head of Canadian cattle entering the U.S. annually is greatly overstated and that the figure would most likely be a million head, or possibly less. Homer Buell, cattle producer from Nebraska and member of that trade group, indicated that feedlots in Canada are only 65-70 percent of total capacity and that calf numbers are somewhat restricted due to Canadian producers not calving out as many cows. Tom Field, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, was also on the trade mission to Canada and said that the feed manufacturing industry in that country is not as problematic as earlier reports indicated. He stated that Canadian feed mills all have dedicated production lines for ruminant and non-ruminant feeds, and that many of them will be moving to three dedicated lines, including a production line for only ruminant meat-and-bone meal and other specified risk materials (SRMs). In addition, Field said Canadian feed manufacturers indicated the proposal by the Canadian government to remove ruminant protein from all livestock feeds is a very serious proposal and that doing so would put the U.S. at a very serious competitive disadvantage. Scientifically there is no validity for doing that, however, public perception would be that Canada is getting ahead and addressing consumer concerns better than the U.S., Field indicated. “It’s unfortunate, but doing that would put the U.S. beef industry at a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “We weren’t real encouraging with them on that proposal.” In interviews with several leaders from the four-state group that initially drafted the policy directive, it was indicated that there are still major concerns from “grass roots” cattle producers that Canada’s recent history of having BSE in its cattle herd could unfairly and unnecessarily harm the U.S. industry, and that having additional “safeguards” in place insures the “future competitiveness of U.S. beef in a global beef market.” According to convention sources, the four states that had affiliate groups initiate the 11-point initiative were California, Montana, Texas and Iowa. Affiliates from Kansas, Nebraska, and nine other states put their backing behind the proposal upon presenting it to the group’s board of directors. The directive will be part of a mail ballot sent to all NCBA members on Feb. 17. Members will be asked to approve or reject all policy decisions passed at convention. For the ballot to be valid, there must be a 20 percent return from four of NCBA’s seven regions. The deadline for those ballots to be returned was unknown as of press time last week.

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Monday, February 14,2005

Long-range planning group named

by WLJ
The 15 newly appointed members of the Beef Industry Long Range Planning Group were announced in San Antonio, TX, last week during the meetings of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the Board of Directors of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The Beef Industry Long Range Plan has been a road map for increasing beef demand and enhancing the business climate for cattle and beef. “The current plan was adopted in 2001 and played an important roll in helping the beef industry increase demand an amazing 25 percent since 1998,” said Nelson Curry, 2004 CBB chairman from Paris, KY. The group, representing industry sectors from cow-calf to retail, will conduct its planning work during 2005 and present a recommended plan at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in February 2006. Members of the planning team are: Chair Dee Lacey, CA; Paul Avery, FL; Donnell Brown, TX; Brad Graham, NC; John Hayes, IL; Jack Hunt, TX; Steve Hunt, MO; Troy Marshall, CO; Jackie Moore, MO; Bill O’Brien, TX.; Robert Rebholtz, ID; Bill Rupp, KS.; Mike Thoren, CO; Richard Waybright, PA; and Roger West, FL. The previous Beef Industry Long Range Plan was developed in 2000. Jan Lyons, 2004 NCBA president from Manhattan, KS, said, “This plan will be a road map for our industry to a profitable future. Success happens when we focus our vision and our resources around one plan, one vision and one voice.” The Long Range Plan has served to focus the dues-funded policy efforts of the NCBA Policy Division as well as the checkoff-funded efforts of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils Division of NCBA on consumer and business climate demand drivers for cattle and beef. — WLJ

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Monday, February 14,2005

Merial, Boehringer Ingelheim ink co-marketing deal

by WLJ
Merial and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. announced a co-marketing agreement for the MERIAL SUREHEALTH calf-preconditioning program that the companies hope will create a more robust offering of eligible products. The SUREHEALTH program features management practices that add value to feeder calves throughout the production chain. “Our goal is to offer the best combination of health protocols and products inside a comprehensive calf-preconditioning program,” says Jim Van Proosdy, Merial senior director of large animal sales. “By combining the product lines of two reputable animal health companies with a set of proven preconditioning protocols developed by the beef industry, we believe that we’re offering the best calf-preconditioning program in this country.” As part of the agreement, the number of qualified products will grow to include brands from both Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica and Merial. These include, Bar-Vac 7/somnus, Bar-Vac 8, Pulmo-guard Pasteurella and Pulmo-guard MpB (Mycoplasma bovis) vaccines; Caliber, Elite, Express, RELIANT and RESPISHIELD brand vaccines; IVOMEC (ivermectin) and EPRINEX (eprinomectin) brand endectocides; and CORID (amprolium), an optional prevention/treatment for coccidiosis. “We are very excited about the SUREHEALTH co-marketing agreement,” says Derek Groff, cattle segment director, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. “By working together with Merial, veterinarians and producers will both benefit, as these new product options will provide greater flexibility with proven performance-based products. Together we are better able to assist cattle producers in achieving and surpassing their productivity goals.” In total, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica will market 10 vaccines and Merial will market another 16 cattle products inside the SUREHEALTH program. The 26 products can be mixed and matched as long as they meet the minimum requirements for SUREHEALTH certification. Each company will sell its own brands used inside the program, but both companies’ sales forces will implement the program. “We’re proud to support such an important industry initiative and to see it make economic sense for our customers and their customers,” says Van Ricketts, DVM, manager, Merial Veterinary Professional Services. “In the last four years, calves certified through the SUREHEALTH program have added value to many participants in the beef industry, from the cow/calf producer to the veterinarian, to the livestock marketing center owner to the feedlot.” The SUREHEALTH calf-preconditioning program was introduced in 2001, and says it is the only nationwide veterinarian-certified preconditioning program to offer a 21-day limited warranty on cattle that adhere to program specifications. For further information on the SUREHEALTH program and a full listing of eligible products and protocols, see www.SUREHEALTH.com. — WLJ

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Monday, February 14,2005

Quasi-federal ID program proposed

by WLJ
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is proposing a national animal identification system that would enhance animal health surveillance and give the agriculture industry oversight for the system.“The proposal gives cattlemen one more tool to control their own destinies,” said Allen Bright, cattle producer from Ellsworth, NE, and chairman of NCBA’s Animal ID Commission. “It would provide a reasonable timeline for creating a private system and go a long way toward resolving concerns about confidentiality.” NCBA approved the plan during the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. It must still be approved in the coming weeks by members voting by mail ballots. Key to the proposal would be a multi-species ID service and data base––including cattle, swine and sheep––that would allow USDA and state veterinarian disease surveillance access. Oversight would be provided by livestock industry representatives. The plan would provide a number of avenues for producer participation, directly or through a service provider or data trustee. It would be designed to protect the privacy of producers and be flexible to accommodate differences in production methods. Additionally, NCBA will seek financial incentives, including a tax credit, for participating industry segments, and eventual coordination with international ID systems to prevent disruption of trade. “NCBA members have long recognized the need for an effective animal ID system and have expressed the desire to be intimately involved in the creation and management of such a system,” said Bright. “Cattlemen have been involved in efforts to create a national system for years, and we’re getting closer to implementation of a producer-led system.”

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Monday, February 14,2005

Product News

by WLJ
BioIngenutiy unveiled Dr. A. Bruce Johnson, Ph.D., known throughout the world as an animal production nutritionist and technical marketing director, has launched BioIngenuity LLC, an animal nutrition and health products management and consulting business. BioIngenuity LLC is designed to assist companies in the areas of research management, product development and strategic planning to bring new livestock production products to market. BioIngenuity LLC can be reached by calling 952/474-4187, www.bioingenuity.com or bjohnson@bioingenuity.com. New roto-spreader trailer mount Today’s new nutrient management regulations require precise application of all waste disposal. The Roto-Spread 362-12 offers complete control with variable hydraulic flow controls. Features include a high-density polyethylene on floor, sidewalls and end gate to prevent rust out. The two 30" diameter high-speed vertical beaters with spinners, flighting and chisel point kickers assure precise application. For more information call 620/225-1142 or visit www.rotomix.com. West Nile virus treatment Colorado Serum Company is proud to introduce a new product for the treatment of West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses called West Nile Virus Antibody, Equine Origin. Unlike any other West Nile Virus antibody treatments, Colorado Serum's new product is concentrated, purified, and ready to use straight from the bottle, offering veterinarians an easy and safe tool in treating horses infected with WNV. Construction of new trailer plant M.H. Eby Inc., which manufactures aluminum semi-trailers for livestock, has begun construction on a new plant in central Iowa. Completion of the facility is scheduled for mid-2005 and will include 33,000 square feet of integrated manufacturing space, along with office space and room for retail sales of parts and equipment. The plant is projected to create 40 new jobs. In addition to its semi-trailers it produces aluminum truck bodies, trailers and agri-transportation equipment for livestock, horse and farm commodities, and retail parts and accessories. Software aids estrus synchronization The Iowa Beef Center (IBC) at Iowa State University (ISU) has released an updated software program to assist producers in making choices in estrus synchronization of their beef herds. The Synch04 edition of the Estrus Synchronization Planner has several new features and is now available to producers. Like past versions of the software, the Synch04 edition assists producers with planning and implementing complicated synchronization programs. This edition also features 22 estrus synchronization systems in three categories, including fixed-timed AI, estrus detect with clean-up AI, and estrus detect AI. A daily activity calendar is generated once producers select their system and breeding dates, and a budgeted cost analysis is performed for the different synchronization systems. The software is available for $35 by contacting the Iowa Beef Center at 515/294-BEEF, or by downloading an order form at www.iowabeefcenter.org. Producers can also learn more about the software at an upcoming webcast, scheduled for Jan. 27. New president at Coast To Coast labs Coast To Coast Laboratories, a company that supplies antimicrobial suppressants to the farming community, is pleased to announce the following promotions. Burt Sookram has been named to the position of president; Tom Stevens has been named to the position of vice president Sales and Marketing East Coast; and Mark Soblom has been named vice president Sales and Marketing West Coast. Muti-use, versatile t-post driver The Man Saver T-Post Driver was developed by Dan Rohrer of Rohrer Manufacturing in response to fence builders who complained about the backbreaking work of driving posts. Rohrer developed the wonder tool in less than a month. The first Man-Saver has been successfully expanded to include a new line of customized, interchangeable sleeves that enable the air-powered post driver to drive almost any wooden or metal shaped posts on the market up to 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Rohrer Manufacturing can manufacture customized sleeves utilizing sample posts provided by customers, ensuring a driver solution for posts of all shapes and sizes. From rocky soil to hardpan, the Man-Saver works in the most difficult soil conditions and driving posts becomes a safe and easy one-person job, for use in agriculture, farming, vineyard and highway. For further information contact Dan Rohrer 541/548-7746 or 800/438-7599, access code 03. Farmstead planning guides available Building on a country acreage or expanding a farm? A new CD-ROM from MWPS, Farmstead Planning Handbook, provides a step-by-step full-color guide through the entire process, from concept to construction. The CD runs on both PC and Macintosh computers. Farmstead Planning Handbook CD-ROM explains and shows how to locate, plan, and build or expand an agricultural site, from a small acreage to a large operation. It also considers relevant related issues such as odor and dust control. More than 100 drawings, photographs, and diagrams plus tables, bulleted lists, and an expansion plan example clarify and enhance the descriptions. Farmstead Planning Handbook CD-ROM and the free 2005 MWPS catalog and other low-cost and free MWPS materials may be ordered online at www.mwpshq.org, by e-mail at mwps@iastate.edu or 800/562-3618 or 515/294-4337. New Web site has parasite information Merial introduces a cutting-edge resource in parasite control education with the launch of IVOMEC.com at www.IVOMEC.us.merial.com. Designed for people involved in the cattle, sheep and swine industries. IVOMEC.com is an easy-access site that accumulates a wealth of resources for those involved in livestock production. IVOMEC brands provide solid parasite protection and treatment for livestock. Merial is committed to continuing to offer endectocide products to the cattle, sheep and swine industries that help achieve better results. For more information see www.IVOMEC.us.merial.com.

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Monday, February 14,2005

Obits

by WLJ
Willard R. Sparks Willard R. Sparks, a leading professional agricultural economist, successful businessman and commodities trader, died Jan. 30 of throat cancer at his home in Memphis, TN. He was 68. Sparks was widely known for starting the agricultural consulting firm Sparks Cos. Inc., now known as Informa Economics, whose customers included multinationals such as Cargill, General Mills, Quaker and Ralston Purina. His company's daily commodity briefings, market analyses and research studies were among the industry's most widely read. He sold the company to Informa Economics in December 2003. Thomas M. Shuff, an independent broker at the Chicago Board of Trade who worked with Sparks for 27 years, said Sparks was one of the first to use mathematical models and computers to predict commodity prices. "He was a true pioneer and innovator in the field of agricultural commodity analysis," Shuff said. "He was one of the first people to see the need for risk management in ag business and in agriculture." Sparks also played the dominant role in coordinating the first large sale of soybeans and some of the largest U.S. grain sales to the Soviet Union in the 1970s, Shuff said. Sparks was an early shareholder of Refco, Inc., one of the world's largest futures-commission merchants, said Phillip Bennett, president and CEO of Refco Group Limited, LLC, in New York. "He was regarded as a leader in the ag economics advisory world and had a unique relationship with food companies in North America," Bennett said. Sparks was an important partner and share holder of the futures-derivatives business developed by the Refco Group over the last 30 years, Bennett said, and was a significant contributor to Refco's global franchise. Sparks held memberships at the Chicago Board of Trade, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Kansas City Board of Trade and the New York Cotton Exchange, where he served on the board of managers for several years.. He actively supported the arts and education. He served on the boards of the Memphis Arts Council, Tennessee Arts Commission, International Brangus Breeders Association and the Tiger Club at the University of Memphis. He once served as chairman of the Board of Visitors at the University of Memphis. Upon his resignation from that position, the university renamed its Bureau of Business and Economic Research in his honor.. Prior to starting Sparks Cos., he had been the president and the director of research and trading at Cool Industry, a major grain and cotton exporter. Sparks was born in Dibble, OK, and spent much of his boyhood working on his family's grain and livestock farm. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. Dr. Keith E. Gregory Cattle reproduction pioneer Dr. Keith E. Gregory passed away on Sunday, Feb. 6, at the age of 80. Keith had a tremendous influence on beef cattle breeding during the last half of the 20th century including breed and heterosis evaluation, crossbreeding and composite populations, selection for twinning, and multidisciplinary approaches. Keith was honored for his lifetime contributions to animal breeding and genetics by being named to the USDA/ARS Hall of Fame in September 2004. The following is part of the news release about the induction: "After a 43-year career with ARS, Gregory is being recognized for his contributions to beef cattle genetics and breeding. His research has helped shape the selection procedures and breeding systems used to capitalize on the benefits of crossbreeding in the U.S. beef cattle industry. “Gregory was the first director of ARS' Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. Through his leadership and vision, a multidisciplinary research program was established that is now internationally recognized. As a collaborator, Gregory continues to offer guidance on a research project that is investigating the selection of specific cattle for breeding purposes based on those animals' increased likelihood of giving birth to multiple calves." Condolences can be sent to his wife at their home: Mrs. Wanda Gregory, 1834 Home Street Hastings, NE 68901.

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