Close
Home » Articles »   By WLJ
 
 
Monday, January 10,2005

Pacific Rim delays Canadian beef reentry

by WLJ
South Korea said the discovery of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada, the third known infection among North American cattle, may delay a resumption in beef imports from the country. South Korea earlier banned imports from Canada and the U.S. following BSE infections. South Korea consumed 443,000 tons of beef in 2004, the fourth largest in Asia after China, India and Japan, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). “We’ve been banning imports of Canadian beef since May 2003, and resuming imports from Canada may be delayed further,” said Kim Kyu, a veterinary officer at South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The ministry last year held talks with Canada on lifting the ban, pending assurances the meat was safe. China and Japan have not formally announced what its plans for Canadian beef are, but the lack of any action last week was said to mean both countries would probably wait to reopen its borders to Canadian beef until the situation with the U.S. is resolved. Mexico stays open While Pacific Rim and several other overseas countries have further delayed reentry to Canadian beef, Mexican officials said last week there are no plans to tighten its restrictions on beef coming from Canada. Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry said in a statement it would maintain its existing ban on Canadian imports of live cattle, plus high-risk beef products such as cranium, brain, eyes and spinal cord., but that certain bone-in products would still be allowed across the Mexican border. “We will follow the investigation underway by health authorities in Canada,” the ministry said. New sanitary controls allowed Mexico to resume importing lower-risk beef products in August 2003. Mexico’s beef imports from Canada totaled approximately 70,000 metric tons in 2004. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 10,2005

Rock Springs Ranch bull test

by WLJ
The 60 day average weight was 968 lbs. with a progressively concentrated ration, currently maintained at 30 percent. Shipping fever was at a minimum this year, but some low level respiratory infection briefly resurfaced. The highlights of the 60 day progress report show the Black Angus led by test bull #116 with an ADG of 4.13 lbs. He is owned by Henson Cattle Co. of Enterprise, OR. Tied for second are bulls #108 and #119 with an ADG of 4.11 lbs. Bull #108 is a Jan. 22 calf sired by Hyline Travel Agent. He is owned by Ye Ole Bovie Ranch, Mountain Home, ID. The #119 bull is an Algoma Fame R7 son born Sept. 16, 2003, owned by Blue Mountain Angus, Prairie City, OR. Red Angus bull #301 is still out front with a 4.41 lbs. ADG. He is a PAR-LOC New Era 1757K son born Feb. 25. Second place Red Angus is bull #302 with an ADG of 3.86 lbs. He is a March 20 calf sired by Lorenzen 2320. Both bulls are owned by the Morin Ranch, Hereford, OR. Gelbvieh are led by the #604 bull with an ADG of 3.38 lbs. He is a Jan. 18 calf sired by D9076 Supreme J969. Following is the #602 bull born Christmas Day and sired by ECC 509Y. Both bulls are owned by The Bull Mart, Burns, OR. Still leading the Shorthorn on test is the #502 bull, a March 5 calf with an ADG of 3.06 lbs. currently weighing 921 lbs., sired by Wolf Ridge Samson and owned by the Moe Ranch, North Powder, OR. The second annual Rock Springs Test Sale is scheduled for March 28, 2005. Butch Booker will be the auctioneer for the sale. For further information contact Bob Ebbers at 541/372-2991. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 10,2005

Tyson suspends some beef operations

by WLJ
— Four plants shut down for 3-5 weeks. — Washington plant to single shift. Tyson Foods last week announced it was temporarily shutting down all shifts in four of its cattle/beef processing facilities and suspending one of two shifts in another facility. The company’s formal statement said the shutdowns are expected to last three to five weeks. There was some indication, however, that one or two plants may be “dark” for a longer period of time. The four operations suspending all shifts are in Denison, IA; Norfolk and West Point, NE; and Kuna, ID. The second shift is being discontinued at Tyson’s cattle facility in Pasco, WA. Officials with the company said continued negative processing margins, tight cattle supplies and the absence of key export markets were primary reasons behind the decision. Despite boxed beef movement being better than expected for December, company sources also said they considered 2004 domestic beef demand “lackluster,” and that it needed to pick up before bringing all plants back on line. "We have been running at less than 75 percent of capacity over the past two months, which is 10 to 15 percent below historical levels,” said Tyson Chairman and CEO John Tyson. The operational suspensions are expected to reduce the company's weekly cattle slaughter by 25,000-30,000 head, compared to pre-holiday levels. Cattle market analysts said that at full throttle the five processing facilities affected by the shutdowns could account for 9-10,000 head daily, but that level hasn’t been seen in over four years. U.S. fed cattle marketings were down more than eight percent in 2004, but Tyson said it expects cattle numbers to increase in the coming months. Also, Tyson anticipates the reopening of the U.S. border to Canadian cattle in early March will especially benefit Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest processing operations. Following last Thursday’s announcement, the company cut the top end of its fiscal 2005 earnings guidance by five cents a share. Tyson now expects fiscal 2005 earnings of $1.15 to $1.40 a share, compared with a November estimate of $1.15 to $1.45 a share. The company still expects the majority of its earnings to occur in the last six months of the fiscal year. A Thomson First Call mean analyst estimate projected earnings of $1.29 for fiscal year 2005, ending in October. The company still has all shifts operating at its beef processing facilities in Joslin, IL; Emporia and Finney County, KS; Dakota City and Lexington, NE; and Amarillo, TX. Several market analysts expected the company to ramp up processing chain speeds at a couple of those facilities, especially if boxed beef prices saw a $5-8 increase over the next few weeks. Most sources said it would be easier for Tyson to pick the processing volumes on existing production lines than it would be to reopen plants and not operate at close-to-maximum speed. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

Agriculture groups urge quick reform of CRP rules

by WLJ
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) needs to refocus on improvements to water and soil quality, according to a news release from four grain-related organizations. Those organizations urged the USDA that substantial changes need to be made in the CRP to sustain growing demand for grains and oilseeds. The CRP should shift away from whole-farm enrollments, the four organizations said in a joint statement submitted in response to USDA’s request for comments on long-term CRP policy. Under the CRP, enrolled acreage is idled under 10- to 15-year contracts, with USDA making annual rental payments and financing up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing ground cover or other approved conservation practices. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) and North American Millers Association (NAMA) said there is “compelling evidence” that USDA should not simply reenroll the 16.1 million acres represented by CRP contracts scheduled to expire in 2007 and 6.1 million acres in 2008 The organizations recommended that USDA consider allowing a “large number” of the current contracts to expire, and only reenroll or extend those that provide the most significant environmental benefits. They noted that many soon-to-expire CRP contracts represent acres that do not meet USDA’s current environmental-benefits criteria used to evaluate CRP bids. Further, heavy CRP enrollment, particularly in the plains states, has had a devastating impact on some local economies. In addition, the organizations said the CRP has given short shrift to enhancing water quality, which they said arguably is U.S. agriculture’s top environmental challenge and currently accounts for only eight percent of the “non-market” benefits of the CRP. “To enhance the intended benefits of the CRP, idled acres should focus on filter strips, buffers and the most environmentally sensitive lands, with a strong emphasis on substantially improving water quality,” the four organization said. “To make a significant long-term impact on soil erosion, conservation practices should be targeted to working farmland and assist farms to implement soil conservation practices.” The NGFA, NOPA, NAEGA and NAMA said that fewer whole-farm enrollments in the CRP would reduce economic pressure on tenant farmers, which currently account for 70 percent of U.S. agricultural production and whose economic structure will “do much to determine if U.S. agriculture can remain competitive.” There is strong evidence that the CRP and other U.S. farm programs have artificially inflated land values, the organizations said. But the CRP is particularly “pernicious” because its payments flow solely to landowners and the program puts the U.S. government in direct competition with tenant farmers bidding for land, making rental land scarcer and more expensive. The four groups recommended that USDA allow some whole-farm CRP enrollments to be bid back into active production, without penalty, to enable producers to capture opportunities from the current strong demand for grains and oilseeds while at the same time allowing those acres to be “feathered” back into production, thereby easing the transition to a lower-sized CRP. The organizations also urged that the environmental benefits index (EBI) used by USDA to evaluate CRP bids be modified because it currently give equal weight to soil erosion, water quality and wildlife benefits. “Given the environmental challenges facing U.S. agriculture, equating wildlife benefits to the issues of soil erosion or water quality is irresponsible and not a good use of scarce economic resources,” the four organizations said. “Water quality is one of the most critical issues facing U.S. agriculture and this is where the CRP can make a significant contribution by focusing enrollment on buffers and filter strips.” The groups urged USDA to more carefully evaluate the CRP benefits related to wildlife compared to the economic impact of idling land on local economies and U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in global markets. “A common argument used to defend the CRP is that it is creating a niche industry catering to hunters and fishermen,” the organizations said. “Our members certainly are involved in and support these activities. But should those activities be subsidized through government payments?” One of the most troubling aspects of the CRP cited by the organizations is the damaging economic impact it has on local economies. The groups strongly urged that USDA strictly abide by the stipulation that no more than 25 percent of available land in a county be enrolled in the CRP. The groups cited specific counties where CRP enrollment has reached 40 percent because of measurement error or other mistakes in policy implementation. “Policies need to be chosen very carefully so we don’t take away the lifeblood of communities that are still closely tied to production agriculture,” the organizations said. In addition, the NGFA, NOPA, NAEGA and NAMA recommended that USDA increase the size of the CRP to 39.2 million acres (from 36.4 million acres) as a ceiling, not as a mandate, noting that continued CRP expansion will hamper U.S. agriculture’s ability to produce and compete in global markets. The organizations warned that the size of the CRP already has adversely affected the availability of land to build and grow an economic foundation for the grain, livestock, milling and processing sectors of the U.S. economy. “Creating overall growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture will be much more difficult if the United States becomes a big importer” of commodities for feed, animal and industrial uses. Noting upcoming farm program policy deliberations for the 2007 Farm Bill, the four groups urged USDA to “proceed cautiously” so as not to idle vast amounts of acres in the CRP for another 10 to 15 years. “We encourage an approach that reflects the administration’s commitment to free enterprise and support for U.S. agricultural growth,” the organizations concluded. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

American Wool Trust extended

by WLJ
The U.S. Congress recently approved the Miscellaneous Trade Bill, which includes language calling for a two-year extension of the American Wool Trust. As ranking member of the finance committee, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) led the effort in the Senate along with Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) in extending the trust through 2008. The American Wool Trust, which was established in 2000 in agreement with the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), utilizes a portion of the wool tariff to advance the marketing potential for U.S. wool, improve wool quality and enhance production information. The Trust has been the instrumental factor in the success of the ASI wool programs over the last four years. The ASI Wool Council has strengthened competition for U.S. wools as well as narrowed the price margins between many U S. and Australian wools to the smallest margin since World War II. In addition, ASI’s support of U.S. wool marketers and warehouses has led to an unprecedented international demand for local wool. “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments we have achieved through the Wool Trust and of our services to U.S. wool growers as well as the domestic mills,” stated ASI Executive Director, Peter Orwick. Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) of U.S. House Ways and Means Committee secured approval for the Wool Trust extension last month. “We appreciate Chairman Thomas’ work with Senators Baucus and Thomas to ensure the wool package, which will continue to provide benefits to U.S. wool mills and suit manufacturers and equitable benefits for U.S. wool growers,” added Orwick. This newest budget provides for programs in the areas of wool-clip certification, poly-contamination reduction, new wool-product development and producer information and research. “With U.S. wools being utilized by eight or more countries now as well as the U.S. military and domestic mills, the extension of the Wool Trust Funding is an exciting opportunity for the ASI Board of Directors,” concluded Orwick. The Miscellaneous Trade Bill now awaits the President’s signature.

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

Australia blocks Brazilian beef

by WLJ
Australia has suspended imports of beef from Brazil after a suspected case of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD). The case has been reported on a property in a state of the country which had been recognized as HMD free. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Warren Truss said Australia has only ever imported a small sample of Brazilian beef for processing, but all import permits have now been canceled. “We do not import beef from Brazil in any quantities and so there's no likelihood of there being significant quantities coming into Australia," he said. “But any risk is too much risk in these circumstances, and so all import permits have been canceled forthwith.” Truss said a full review of arrangements for importing Brazilian beef will ensure Australia's animal health status is not compromised. “We'll need to look overall at our approach to imports from Brazil,” he said. “Once there's a better understanding of the extent of this outbreak in Brazil we'll have a better idea of whether there are any parts of the country from where imports might be safe. But until we're absolutely certain that there are no risks associated with imports from Brazil there'll be no import licences issued.” — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

Beef Bits

by WLJ
Promo boosts steak sales A recently-concluded 15-week retail promotion resulted in a spike in sales of steak cuts most commonly grilled, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The promotion was said to have contributed to a 2.2 percent gain in unit sales over the summer and an 8.2 percent increase in dollar sales. Radio advertising and in-store promotions, as well as a partnership with Kraft's A-1 steak sauce, which gave away grills to contest winners, were some of the high points of the promotion. The promotion ran in 44 U.S. markets from May through Labor Day and was funded by the $1 beef checkoff program. Canada banning implanted veal Canada will no longer accept veal or veal products from calves that have been implanted with hormones effective Jan. 5. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has created a flowchart that reflects these new requirements. The Veal Implant Decision Flowchart should be used in establishments that slaughter calves intended for export to Canada to determine the eligibility of veal and veal products. Canada defines calves as those with a hide-off carcass weight of 180 kilograms—396 lbs.—or less. The export certification requirements for veal and veal products intended for Canada have not changed. Hardees, Carl’s Jr. earnings jump CKE Restaurants, Inc. recently announced its third quarter net income rose to $13.1 million, a $12.2 million increase over the prior year net income of $939,000. Same-store sales grew for the sixth consecutive quarter at company-operated Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants, increasing 7.9 and 4.5 percent, respectively. Consolidated revenue increased for the fifth consecutive quarter to $348.9 million, a 4.2 percent increase over the third quarter of 2003. As of Nov. 1 CKE Restaurants, Inc., operated a total of 3,183 franchised or company-owned restaurants in 44 states and in 13 countries, including 1,017 Carl's Jr. restaurants, 2,047 Hardee's restaurants and 101 La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants. Chain features pastrami burger Carl's Jr. this winter unveiled a new Pastrami Burger in more than 1,000 restaurants nationwide. The decision to offer the new burger was made after similar products were becoming customer favorites at several western state restaurants, including The Hat in Los Angeles and Crown Burgers in Salt Lake City. The Carl's Jr. adaptation features an all-beef patty topped with thinly sliced pastrami, red onion, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato and mustard, sandwiched between two toasted, seeded buns. The new burger is going for a suggested retail price of $3.79 for a single and $4.79 for the double version. Scotland boasts largest burger A Glasgow, Scotland, restaurant, Baloo Burger Company, has introduced a 10-pound cheeseburger that contains seven pounds of prime Scottish beef, a head of lettuce, 12 slices of cheese, six tomatoes and a family-size jar of mayonnaise. It is said to contain 7,000 calories, costs about $100 (65 pounds sterling), and must be ordered a day in advance to allow time to bake the 18-inch sesame-seed bun. The burger itself takes 90 minutes to grill. It is believed to be the largest burger in the world, beating out a Pennsylvania burger that contains six pounds of beef. Beef production down In its monthly slaughter report, USDA said commercial red meat production for the first 11 months of 2004 was 41.5 billion pounds, down three percent from 2003. Accumulated beef production was down seven percent from last year, USDA said. Veal was also down 12 percent. McD’s wins marketing award McDonald's Corporation was honored earlier this month as the “Marketer of the Year” by Advertising Age magazine, for the brand's marketing achievements around the world in 2004. The award was presented in part for the company’s development and utilization of the “I’m lovin’ it” ad campaign. In choosing the award winner, Advertising Age weighed a number of criteria, including a company's business performance, strong leadership, advertising creativity and marketing effectiveness. Over 750 EU BSE cases in ‘04 European officials reported recently that a total of 767 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) have been confirmed in the region between January and November this year. The United Kingdom has reported 325 cases; Spain 114; Portugal 75; France 50; Germany 41; Belgium 10; Poland nine; the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy each with seven; the Netherlands five; and Slovenia two. Since the end of November, Spain has reported another 17 cases of the disease, bringing it’s total for the year to 131 and 507 since the disease was first discovered.

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

BSE improved U.S. pork market in 2004

by WLJ
— Export, domestic demand both helped. While the Dec. 23, 2003 confirmation of BSE being found in a cow located in Washington-state turned the U.S. cattle industry on its ear, the U.S. pork industry found the ramification from that situation much more to its liking. According to Chris Hurt, livestock economist at the University of Purdue, that single case of BSE was almost singlehandedly responsible for one of the biggest pork market turnarounds in U.S. history. Hurt remembers that the U.S. hog market started out 2004 with cash prices mostly in the $30 range. By April, prices had risen significantly as export demand kicked in. The last few weeks of the year, market hog prices have stayed above $50 per cwt, with some instances of 55 reported. Hurt said U.S. pork producers enjoyed a major boost in export sales this year because of the BSE case that closed most foreign markets to U.S. beef. Japan, the largest customer for U.S. pork, increased sales by 10 percent in 2004 according to Hurt. Mexico, however, was the big surprise increasing their purchases of U.S. pork by over 70 percent. “The Mexicans stopped buying U.S. beef and replaced it with large amounts of pork,” Hurt told Brownfield. Hurt said U.S. consumer demand also played a role. Faced with record high retail beef prices, consumers turned to pork. “Retailers also featured pork more this year as an alternative to high price beef,” he said. As a result U.S. pork prices have remained at profitable levels most of the year and Hurt predicts they will continue to remain high well into next year. He also said he expects consumer demand cooling a bit in 2005 but remaining strong enough to keep cash hog prices at profitable levels. He is predicting a buildup in hog numbers by the end of the third quarter of the new year and that may result in the first serious downturn in hog prices. He also expects trading relations between the US, Canada, and Japan to normalize in the new year which will lessen export demand for pork. A couple of other meat market analysts however, said that prospective third quarter market pressure might not be as great as once thought, particularly with USDA’s most recent hog report showing Dec. 1 sow numbers at a very similar level to last year. “We didn’t appear to expand the number of producing sows at the end of this year, and that means the number of pigs to be born this spring for marketing later in the year won’t be as large as once thought,” said David Logan, analyst with LL Ag Commodities, Indianapolis, IN. “Not having as large of a supply as expected should be more than enough to keep the (live cash) market in the $50s, at least. There could still be some residual hesitance in beef demand also, and that could keep pork demand and prices both elevated.” — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

Brazil seeks to add to meat lead in ‘05

by WLJ
Brazil’s meat industry is looking to consolidate on a spectacular year of growth in 2004, cementing its position as the world’s largest meat exporter. Beef, chicken and pork exporters saw orders grow despite a recent import ban by Russia, its largest client, and continuing restrictions on Brazilian meat in the Far East. Meat shipments are expected to total $5.8 billion in 2004, some 42 percent higher than 2003, with physical sales expected to reach 4.2 million metric tons, 23 percent higher than the year before. The challenge for Brazil’s industry is to take advantage of the continuing sanitary problems in competing countries and the inability of others to respond to the opening of new markets. "It is extremely likely that Brazil will remain in the lead during 2005 as long as there are no major disasters,” said Jose Vicente Ferraz of the Sao Paulo-based FNP consultancy. The confirmation of a possible outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) in the beef state of Mato Grosso do Sul would represent just such a disaster. State officials are denying the outbreak, saying that tests only came back positive because the cattle had been recently vaccinated. But Brazil's major export rival, Australia, has already announced a ban on beef imports in what local officials see as an attempt to increase international concern over the possible outbreak here. Meanwhile, Russians continue to ban imports of Brazilian meat, except from the state of Santa Catarina, following a HMD outbreak in the isolated Amazon region in September. Brazil should remain the world's main beef exporter next season because of limited cattle stocks in Australia and the U.S., its two main competitors, said Ferraz. In Australia, producers are just recovering from three years of drought. Meanwhile, the U.S. lost major market share after the discovery of BSE there in 2003. One negative factor, however, is the continued strength of the Brazilian real, which is biting into the country’s competitiveness. The beef industry’s main challenge will be to open new markets next year, said Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes, president of the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC). “We export to 143 countries but we don't sell to the top paying countries,” he said, referring to the U.S., Japan and South Korea, which account for around 50 percent of world exports. Exporters must work hard to convince these states to lift the sanitary barriers to its produce, he added. Brazil exported $2.2 billion in beef in the first eleven months of 2004, up 66 percent on the year before. Exports should continue to grow next year, but not at the same rate as this year, said Pratini. Avoiding losing markets due to sanitary barriers will also be key for chicken exporters next year. “The great challenge over the next year will be to hold on to what fell into our lap,” said Julio Cardoso, president of the Brazilian Chicken Exporters Association (ABEF). The Avian influenza epidemic that spread across Asia cut the capacity of China and Thailand to sell to Japan, one of Brazil's key markets. To maintain markets, Brazil must invest much more in sanitary checks and balances as well as improving ties with importing countries. Exports are expected to rise 10 percent on top of the 2.4 million tons forecast for this year. Brazil's pork exporters are slightly more conservative about the future, forecasting that international sales will hold steady in 2005. In 2004, exports are expected to total 500,000 tons, bringing in $737,000 in revenues. “But we desperately need to diversify our client base,” said Pedro Camargo Neto, president of the Brazilian Pork Exporters Association. Specifically, Brazil must reduce its dependence on Russia, which has been regularly imposing restrictions on local exports for the past few years. Despite the problems, Russia imported 263,500 tons of the 459,000 tons exported from Brazil in the first eleven months of 2004, said Camargo. The industry's targets will be Asian and eastern Europe, he added.

Read more
Monday, January 3,2005

Canadian rule announced

by WLJ
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last Wednesday announced Canadian live cattle destined for slaughter and all classes of Canadian beef would be allowed reentry into the U.S. starting March 7, pending no more positive cases of BSE are found north of the border before that deadline. Questions surrounding Canada’s ability to meet the no more BSE infection criteria surfaced later that day after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that preliminary testing indicated a 10-year-old cow could be infected with the disease. If confirmatory tests come back positive for the disease, it is unlikely Canadian producers will be allowed to ship live cattle into the U.S. and that at least some Canadian beef may be banned again from entering the country. USDA officials indicated a new case of the disease north of the border would definitely jeopardize the reentry of Canadian live cattle and bone-in beef, but were unclear whether or not they would reinstate the ban on beef products currently being allowed to enter the U.S. “I’m sure we will be pressured to eliminate all Canadian cattle and beef imports for a little while, but whether those requests are warranted will be looked into only if the Canadian cow is confirmed to be infected with the disease,” an aide to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Ron DeHaven said. Under the new beef import regulations, USDA has agreed to allow “minimum risk BSE regions” to export cattle to the U.S. pending they are 30 months of age or younger and that beef from cattle of any age would be allowed entry if all “specified risk materials” (SRMs) were removed. Minimum risk BSE regions, according to the International Office of Epizootics (OIE), are areas of the world where less than one confirmed case of BSE has been reported within a seven-year period. Canada has had only one in-nation confirmed case of the disease, which puts them in the “minimum risk” category. The formal announcement of the new rules isn’t scheduled to be published until the Jan. 4 issue of the Federal Register, which is when a 60-day comment period will be opened to the public and Congress, USDA officials said last Wednesday. The implementation date for the new Canadian import rules has been set for March 7. “Public comments will be taken into consideration, but the rule could be implemented even if those comments warrant some sort of a change. That change could be made mid-stream,” an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) spokesperson told WLJ. “That 60-day period basically gives Congress 60 days to file an objection to the rule, which means the rule could be kept from being implemented on the target date. That’s highly unlikely, but it could happen and we need to give some time for congressional review.” Another USDA spokesperson, Andrea McNally, said all beef, including bone-in product, from cattle born prior to USDA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations banning ruminant proteins from ruminant feed would be allowed entry into the U.S. In addition, she said there would be an indelible mark, such as a hot or freeze brand, that would remain with Canadian live cattle through the time they are slaughtered in the U.S. “Cattle from Canada will be clearly and permanently marked so that they don’t enter the U.S. breeding herd,” the spokeswoman said. “If Canadian females do enter the herd, U.S. producers will be in violation of U.S. law and be subject to severe penalties.” She added that Canadian feeder cattle that enter the U.S. at 30 months of age or younger can be slaughtered in the U.S. if they are older than 30 months of age, but verification of their age upon entering the U.S. must be provided at the time of slaughter. As expected, the new rules were met with mixed reactions. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and National Meat Association (NMA) called last Wednesday’s announcement a step in the right direction but said it still felt short of meeting the U.S. industry’s needs. R-CALF USA, on the other hand, was still urging USDA to contemplate recent scientific findings on BSE transmission to humans. NCBA and NMA said that USDA needs to allow all classes of Canadian live cattle to enter the U.S., but primarily cited the need for slaughter cows over 30 months of age to be delivered from Canada to packing houses in the northern half of the U.S. There have been several instances where Northwest and northern Plains cow processors have started short shifting processing chains or shutting down operations altogether because of the shortage of older cows. According to R-CALF, USDA has not taken into account recent scientific research indicating the prions responsible for causing the disease can be harbored in muscle tissue, specifically the tongue, and that the disease can permeate some of the membranes of the human intestinal tract. In addition, the group is very concerned with news that Canadian feed has been reportedly found to contain ruminant meat-and-bone meal (MBM), which the U.S. has banned from cattle feed since 1997. MBM is considered a viable vector for BSE transmission. USDA officials said R-CALF received notification Dec. 23 of the proposed rule changes and its pending placement in the Federal Register, per a ruling from a federal district court in Billings, MT. When asked if they would pursue any further legal action against USDA and the final beef import rule, R-CALF leaders said it is a definite possibility, particularly if Canada’s confirmatory testing shows the most recent suspect cow is infected with the disease and USDA continues to allow cattle and beef from Canada to cross the border. Prior to last week’s announcement from CFIA, USDA insiders weren’t aware of any concerns that might jeopardize the new rules being implemented in early March. They said the U.S. Office of Management and Budget investigated and reviewed the final rules, and that should make any legal challenges against them “less relevant.” CFIA said confirmatory test results were expected in three to five days, which means the results could be known on New Year’s or sometime over that weekend. CFIA said U.S. authorities were notified of preliminary test results and said it went against its normal policy of reporting only confirmatory testing results. “Given the unique situation created by the (U.S.) border announcement .... it was decided that the most prudent action would be to publicly announce the available information and provide stakeholders with a full understanding of the current situation,” CFIA said in statement.

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

© Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use, without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. 2008 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.