~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday September 26, 2008!A service of American Farmers & Ranchers, Johnston Enterprises and KIS Futures!
-- Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Announces Resignation
-- COOL Countdown- AFBF Worries About USA Only Label
-- More COOL Countdown- Senators Write Schafer on USA Only Label.
-- Still More COOL Countdown- TCFA Asks Their Members to Comment to USDA
-- Johne's Disease Testing Brochures Free to Producers
-- HR 6598- It Could be a Lameduck Issue
-- Sierra Simpson Joins us In The Field
-- Looking at our Agricultural Markets...
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Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Announces Resignation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Terry Stokes, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says he will resign from his position following the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention, January 31, 2009. Stokes joined NCBA 12 years ago as chief financial officer. He was appointed CEO in 2002. During his tenure as CEO, NCBA grew revenues 41 percent. Membership grew more than 17 percent in the past three years. Stokes said representing cattlemen and championing their cause has been the greatest honor and the most fulfilling job of his career, but he explained it also is all-consuming. He said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and exploring new opportunities.
We talked Thursday afternoon with Scott Dewald- top hired hand of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and he praised the work that Stokes has done for cattle producers in his role at the NCBA. Dewald says that if he had to give him a grade during some difficult times, he would give Stokes an "A."
We have Scott's comments on our website- to be found at the link below.
COOL Countdown- AFBF Worries About USA Only Label
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The American Farm Bureau Federation told the Agriculture Department it is concerned that even after the new mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) program takes effect on Sept. 30, there still may be no exclusively U.S. labeled meat available to consumers.
In a letter this week to USDA Undersecretary Bruce Knight, AFBF President Bob Stallman said Farm Bureau is concerned about USDA's interpretation of COOL, as passed by Congress. USDA's interpretation would allow marketers to use a less-demanding "mixed origin" or "from multiple countries" label, even for meat that was exclusively U.S. born, raised and slaughtered. Instead, AFBF believes meat that is exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. should carry an exclusive U.S.-origin label.
The President of the general farm group adds that "Farmers and ranchers
are being told by some processors that unless they check the
multiple-origin label box (to certify the origin of their animals) on
their product affidavits, they will be audited. This information is
completely discouraging to a producer, not to mention the fact that it is
not a true statement."
More COOL Countdown- Senators Write Schafer on USA Only Label.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U.S. Democratic Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota and his Republican colleague, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, organized their colleagues as a total of 31 Senators signed off on a letter to demand the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) improve the interim final rule for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Johnson and Enzi are asking that the rule, which is scheduled to take effect September 30th, more closely follow the intent of Congress. (the complete letter can be found on our website with the full list of Senators that signed the letter)
"Although this proposal is a substantial step forward after six years of foot dragging by the Administration and the USDA, certain parts of the rule must be revised," said Johnson, who authored the COOL provision in the 2002 Farm Bill. "We did not come this far with COOL only to shortchange American consumers, farmers and ranchers as they finally await implementation in the coming days."
"Congressional intent could not have been more clear - provide labeling so consumers know where their food is from. Proponents of COOL have come a long way and the benefits of the law should not be compromised because of semantics. Consumers, farmers and ranchers deserve more and I urge the USDA to clarify its rule," said Enzi
Still More COOL Countdown- TCFA Asks Their Members to Comment to USDA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Texas Cattle Feeders Association has asked their members to submit comments to the USDA on the COOL Interim Final regulations before the Tuesday deadline of September 30.
Their President and CEO, Ross Wilson, has detailed the procedure of how to submit comments electronically to USDA- and the organization offers some "suggested" ideas of what might be offered to the Department about the COOL regs. TCFA begins by saying in their suggested comments to "As USDA develops a final rule and considers options for the implementation of country of origin labeling, I ask that you adopt regulations that minimize the cost of this program to producers."
The TCFA also suggests that their members urge USDA to fully accept the
industry agreed to affidavits to certify country of origin by the
livestock owner, saying that "The affidavits build upon normal business
records used in the industry and provide a workable and efficient means of
declaring country of origin." The group also suggests that visual
inspection of cattle will confirm animals that come from either north or
south of the border- and that this is a cost effective way to segregate
those animals at the point of harvest.
Johne's Disease Testing Brochures Free to Producers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It is estimated that one out of 10 cows going through a livestock auction facility has Johne's disease, and a vast majority of producers selling these animals have no idea that they are infected with Johne's disease. Producers simply know that the animals are thin and have unresponsive chronic diarrhea. In the case of dairy cows, milk production is also significantly down, and, in the case of beef cows, weaned calves are also lighter than they should be.
Johne's disease experts maintain that dairy and beef cows are leaving herds way too fast-before they are tested for Johne's disease. They note that producers who have culled one or more animals for unresponsive chronic diarrhea combined with reduced milk production and thin condition should suspect and test for Johne's disease.
The problem is that animals that have the disease but you have not
identified as a carrier are sheding huge amounts of the infection through
their feces. While many in the cattle industry think of this as mostly a
"dairy" problem- the damage to beef herds that have the disease is
significant as well. Johne's-infected beef cows are known to produce less
milk resulting in lighter calves at weaning and can be slower to breed
HR 6598- It Could be a Lameduck Issue
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It is possible that the House could debate and vote on the HSUS supported HR 6598, the Prevention of Horse Cruelty Act. The bill would criminalize the knowing possession, sale, delivery or transport of horses for slaughter for human consumption across state lines or international borders, punishable with fines and prison terms from one to three years.
We talk about those possibilities on our Friday Beef Buzz from the Radio Oklahoma Network- with our guest being Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. NCBA considers this a frontal attack by the animal rights groups against animal agriculture- as well as an attack on private property rights as this measures seeks to criminalize intent to sell a horse to a third party who might then process that animal for food- to be consumed in Europe, where horse meat is culturally acceptable.
We have had emails come in on both sides of this issue. One lady by the
name of Lisa that has her own blog on the abuses by owners of their horses
writes "100's of racehorses a week are being sent to slaughter because
they don't run fast enough. Horse slaughter is an easy way out for a horse
owner who is irresponsible for their horses. There is over breeding, and
then when the horse owner over breeds his horse and decides he doesn't
want them, he can send them to be slaughtered, even the foals."
Sierra Simpson Joins us In The Field
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On our Saturday morning segment on News9, KWTV, we will be talking with Sierra Simpson- our current Oklahoma Beef Ambassador- about the upcoming National Beef Ambassador Contest that will be in Oklahoma next month.
The contest is set for the Oklahoma City Marriott on Northwest Expressway October 9-11, with Sierra and other young people competing for the right to be a National Beef Ambassador in the coming year.
You can see details of what the 2008 Beef Ambassadors have been up to- as well as learn more about the contest that will be happening here in Oklahoma City in just a couple of weeks- we have the link to Beef Ambassador website below.
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