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Hanta Yo

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The following is a reprint of an article in Feedstuffs on April 18, 2005 by Trent Loos.

Forget The Rear-view Mirror

The current division in the beef industry is dangerous ground in American Agriculture. I frequently see letters and commentaries bashing the activities of R-Calf. While I typically encourage others to speak their mind and get involved in the process, I, too, disagree with R-Calf. I am not critical because they are speaking up but because their leadership is steering their 14,000 members in the wrong direction.

I know many of the cattlemen that have joined R-Calf and they are dedicated to producing good cattle. The problem is that many of them have been convinced that they are just raising cattle and not beef. How can that be? If you don't understand this fundamental thought, you won't understand why the movement has gained such strength.

Many producers have been so mesmerized with R-Calf's public agenda, issues like fighting the Check-off, mandatory COOL, the Canadian border and packer contracts, that they miss the underlying threat of the organization, which affects the structure of our industry. I liken it to driving down the road in my Chevy truck and spending more time looking in the rear-view mirror than at what lies in the path ahead. The movement is about trying to prevent the advancement of the beef industry. They want to keep things the way they have been in the past rather than seek viable options for the future.

The systematic approach and horizontal coordination by many cattlemen in this country is perceived as a loss of independence. The common belief is that chicken and pig consolidation occurred because the packer gained too much control. Consequently, the hot-buttons that R-Calf has selected work extremely well in recruiting members that have no real understanding of who or why the group really started.

I would like to point out something that many people seem to overlook. The poultry and pork industries are vibrant in the United States. While we may not be fond of the structure compared to that of the past, these producers have not suffered the fate of the sheep industry. Today, the American Sheep Industry boasts about an inventory in excess of seven million head but as recently as 1948 there were sixty million sheep in the U.S. That is where the arrogance of today's cattlemen may cause problems because we are led to believe that the American Consumer has a specific taste for US BEEF. But how can we be sure?

The results of an Illinois School Lunch research project were recently announced. School kids admitted that they would consume the same amount of soy products formulated to taste like their meat counterparts. The soy substitute costs 2/3 of what the same meat item would cost. Researchers are working feverishly to create soybean imitations of meat items. They have been able to replicate the flavor and once the texture matches consumer expectations, what do you think will happen if they are 2/3 the cost of beef?

In another bit of irony, we cattlemen of the country couldn't image driving anything but our favorite brand of pickup. Many in the financial world have long said, "As goes General Motors, so goes America." General Motors once enjoyed a 60% market share with American consumers and now stands at an all-time low of under 25%. What about other American-made automobiles? Ford and General Motors face downgrades to junk status, or non-investment grade, because of falling profits caused by rising costs and market-share losses to Asian rivals. Ford's U.S. market share is at quarter-century lows, and GM is at its lowest point in 80 years. Nissans market share in the U.S. was up 24% at 985,988 units in 2004. During the same period Honda, Nissan's closest competitor, sold 1.3 million vehicles.

If the American consumer's desire for beef is to continue, everyone in the beef industry needs to realize that we are not granted the right to be cattlemen, we must earn it. I challenge anyone to name a product that consumers will purchase, regardless of cost, just to keep an industry from becoming extinct. There will always be a demand for preferred products produced in a least-cost manner. If you believe otherwise, you probably believe that Vatican City just contacted me about an opening they have.

The purpose of a rear-view mirror is not to determine where we want to go but rather to keep track of who is coming up behind us. As long as we have too many in the industry focused on the rear-view mirror instead of the windshield, we will be unable to address the real issues that challenge our longevity.

Trent Loos is a 6th generation United States farmer, host of daily radio show Loos Tales and founder of Faces of Agriculture, non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food.


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Hanta Yo

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Information on the 8th point (we're getting there!)


NCBA Update on 11-Point Directive on Reopening the Canadian Border to Live Cattle

At the Cattle Industry's Annual Convention in San Antonio, NCBA members passed an 11-point directive on the reopening of the Canadian border to live cattle. Accomplishing all 11 points is top priority for NCBA. Our volunteer leaders have made numerous visits to Washington D.C. since early February, we have dedicated three full-time staffers in our Washington, D.C. office as well as additional staff in the Denver office to work tirelessly on this directive. NCBA is aware of the importance of this issue. In an effort to keep all members up to date on the progress of this directive, we will be providing an update on each of the 11 points through Member eUpdates. Please look for future pieces to follow in subsequent eUpdates until all 11 points have been addressed.

Point 8: 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 an approved feedlot and moved directly in sealed trucks to slaughter.

Status: As stated in the rules released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on February 22, 2005, all animals are required to be branded with a "CAN", and removal of official Canadian ear tags is prohibited (tags are required by Canadian law). Feeder cattle must be shipped in sealed trucks and the seal must be removed by officials at the final destination. Movement to slaughter is also in sealed trucks. Canadian cattle may not be shipped with non-Canadian cattle from the feedyard to slaughter. Age determination prior to shipment will require a third party to validate age, and can be made using dentition or valid documentation.

Analysis: USDA responded to the voice of NCBA's members by including this language in the rules released on Feb. 22 for re-establishing live cattle trade with Canada.

Bottom Line: This directive is currently being met.


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mrj

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Thank you for posting those, Hanta Yo. I get that update and thought they were excellent, but haven't learned to cut and paste stuff like that.

You left out the "Overherd" comment, which I thought was so indicative of the difference between the style of NCBA and R-CALF in member information:

A caller on the NCBA TV program on BSE last week insisted that Canada does not have a feed ban in place. That, of course, is totally false. I heard her also identify herself as from WY, and as an R-CALF member! From her tone of voice, it sounded as though she did not believe the facts of that situation as explained to her, either, poor thing!

MRJ
 

rancher

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MRJ said:
Thank you for posting those, Hanta Yo. I get that update and thought they were excellent, but haven't learned to cut and paste stuff like that.

You left out the "Overherd" comment, which I thought was so indicative of the difference between the style of NCBA and R-CALF in member information:

A caller on the NCBA TV program on BSE last week insisted that Canada does not have a feed ban in place. That, of course, is totally false. I heard her also identify herself as from WY, and as an R-CALF member! From her tone of voice, it sounded as though she did not believe the facts of that situation as explained to her, either, poor thing!

MRJ


I never heard her say she was an R-calf member.
 

Tom S

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Loos"I would like to point out something that many people seem to overlook. The poultry and pork industries are vibrant in the United States. While we may not be fond of the structure compared to that of the past, these producers have not suffered the fate of the sheep industry."

Have to agree with Loos on that one. The chicken producers have not suffered the same fate as the sheep producers.They, the poultry farmers got wiped off the map. Except for a few thousand pasture and farm poultry flocks there are no independant chicken producer farmers left. There's still a significant number of independant sheep producers left.
Guess your saying beef should go the way of chicken.
 

HAY MAKER

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rancher said:
MRJ said:
Thank you for posting those, Hanta Yo. I get that update and thought they were excellent, but haven't learned to cut and paste stuff like that.

You left out the "Overherd" comment, which I thought was so indicative of the difference between the style of NCBA and R-CALF in member information:

A caller on the NCBA TV program on BSE last week insisted that Canada does not have a feed ban in place. That, of course, is totally false. I heard her also identify herself as from WY, and as an R-CALF member! From her tone of voice, it sounded as though she did not believe the facts of that situation as explained to her, either, poor thing!

MRJ


I never heard her say she was an R-calf member.



I didnt hear her say that either rancher,I think Maxine is just trying to make R CALF look bad again................good luck
 
A

Anonymous

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I think she said they were cow/calf people- but I can imagine in MRJ's mind that makes her a "poor thing" if she can't keep up with or doesn't understand or agree with the "NCBA policy of the day"....

I'm getting to believe that I should apply for a big money flight controller job in South Dakota-- all those black helicopters must be clogging up the airways something terrible.......... :wink:
 

rancher

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Oldtimer, if you get your hands on one of those black helicopters fly it my way, you fly and I will shoot. (Coyotes that is!)
 

Hanta Yo

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MRJ said:
Thank you for posting those, Hanta Yo. I get that update and thought they were excellent, but haven't learned to cut and paste stuff like that.

You left out the "Overherd" comment, which I thought was so indicative of the difference between the style of NCBA and R-CALF in member information:

A caller on the NCBA TV program on BSE last week insisted that Canada does not have a feed ban in place. That, of course, is totally false. I heard her also identify herself as from WY, and as an R-CALF member! From her tone of voice, it sounded as though she did not believe the facts of that situation as explained to her, either, poor thing!

MRJ

Here you go, MRJ,

OVER HERD!

" ... Canada doesn't have a feed ban ... " Comment from Wyoming producer during April 21, 2005 NCBA Town Hall meeting, hosted on RFD-TV.

This quote is just another example of the misinformation that is being perpetuating in the industry right now only adding to the confusion by producers. Canada most certainly does have a feed ban. The reality is the Canadian cattle industry implemented a feed ban in 1997 -- the same year as the U.S. and with the same requirements. Both NCBA and USDA sent teams to Canada to investigate the situation and found them to be in compliance with this feed ban.

OVER HERD is a look at noteworthy quotes appearing in the daily news media related to the cattle industry.


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National Cattlemen's Beef Association

9110 East Nichols Ave. Suite 300
Centennial, CO 80112
303-694-0305 - phone
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-347-0228 - phone

www.beefusa.org
 
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Anonymous

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rancher said:
Oldtimer, if you get your hands on one of those black helicopters fly it my way, you fly and I will shoot. (Coyotes that is!)

Might need it- we hauled the cows north last week and threw out on grass-about 40 were still left to calve- but the neighbors around the pasture are saying they are really having a coyote problem with calves- state trapper and chopper has been in and flying- getting quite a few, but I'd like one of those black copters with the gatling gun in them......The way it felt today- I should have started calving in Feb- definitely warmer........
 

rancher

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Who is your trapper that flies with the state chopper? Think ours does your area too, but could be wrong.
 
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Hanta Yo said:
MRJ said:
Thank you for posting those, Hanta Yo. I get that update and thought they were excellent, but haven't learned to cut and paste stuff like that.

You left out the "Overherd" comment, which I thought was so indicative of the difference between the style of NCBA and R-CALF in member information:

A caller on the NCBA TV program on BSE last week insisted that Canada does not have a feed ban in place. That, of course, is totally false. I heard her also identify herself as from WY, and as an R-CALF member! From her tone of voice, it sounded as though she did not believe the facts of that situation as explained to her, either, poor thing!

MRJ

Here you go, MRJ,

OVER HERD!

" ... Canada doesn't have a feed ban ... " Comment from Wyoming producer during April 21, 2005 NCBA Town Hall meeting, hosted on RFD-TV.

This quote is just another example of the misinformation that is being perpetuating in the industry right now only adding to the confusion by producers. Canada most certainly does have a feed ban. The reality is the Canadian cattle industry implemented a feed ban in 1997 -- the same year as the U.S. and with the same requirements. Both NCBA and USDA sent teams to Canada to investigate the situation and found them to be in compliance with this feed ban.

OVER HERD is a look at noteworthy quotes appearing in the daily news media related to the cattle industry.


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National Cattlemen's Beef Association

9110 East Nichols Ave. Suite 300
Centennial, CO 80112
303-694-0305 - phone
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-347-0228 - phone

www.beefusa.org

Hanta Yo- Could the misinformation or the confusion of the information out there about BSE and the border possibly be because of national Ag groups that have ever daily policy changes and government departments (USDA- FDA) that have not followed their own rules and guidelines- and have been caught actually violating or failing to enforce their own regulations?......

Rumors were running rampant down here about broken down Trans-X trucks that were found by mechanics to be carrying hanging beef- Canadian slaughter houses that were violating the US rule of killing OTM and UTM in the same plant- Canadian SRM removal that was inconsistent- feed bans, etc--- Most were not believed- thought to be just like MRJ's black helicopters circling over South Dakota--- until our own USDA was caught allowing packers to import "banned beef" , became wish washy and flip floppy on what they consider SRM's, agreed that they had made a mistake by trying to open the border to OTM's, and came out with contradicting "sound science" policies on under 20 month exports to Japan and under thirty month imports from Canada as being safe......

I can definitely see why their is confusion--- Thats why I believe it should go to trial and ALL the information should come out......Let the Judge decide on merit-- not the politicians on economic and political benefits-- the health concerns for both consumers and the US cattle herd make this a decision that needs to carefully evaluated and not just on the bureaucratic whim of the day.......
 
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Anonymous

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rancher said:
Who is your trapper that flies with the state chopper? Think ours does your area too, but could be wrong.

Not sure- think his first name is Pat-- fairly new-- the old fella that was here for years just retired a couple years ago-- used to have fun hunting with him, trying to get some of these "smart" river bottom coyotes........
 

rancher

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MRJ- can you prove she said she was an R-calf member? I just can not remember her saying that. If she didn't, then you are spreading false rumors, and if she did then I am sorry for asking for the proof.
 

cowsense

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OT......you definately are getting desperate when you start posting local coffeehouse gossip and rumour in your increasingly futile attempts to justify r-calf so called policy. Surely you must place more value on your integrity than this crap indicates!
 

Bill

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Flip-Flopping Didn't Go Away With John Kerry.

Flip Flopping and Hanging Judges Latest Twists in Border Case
Colorado Springs, CO April 28, 2005

We've talked about the preposterous new claim by R-CALF that they didn't really say there was a threat to human health by opening the Canadian border. We're used to politicians claiming that we only imagined what it was we saw on the tape. We don't buy the flip-flop at all. But if someone did, what are the implications?

Now someone is actually asking, "So if we take R- CALF literally, and they didn't raise the question of human health, then where did the judge get all this stuff about 'genuine risk of death for U.S. consumers' and 'catastrophic risk of danger to the beef consumers in the U.S.?'"

That would mean the judge came up with all that stuff on his own. Said judge, with R-CALF claiming it never said anything like that, is left dangling in the breeze. Flip-flopping can leave your allies hung out to dry.

You see, the National Meat Association (NMA) filed suit to intervene in the Canadian border case. R- CALF's brief, filed in answer to NMA's request, said, "R-CALF has never argued that there was a great risk to human health from resumed imports of cattle and beef from Canada."

NMA's reply brief argues that the admission by R- CALF that they never said there was a human-health risk, combined with their ignoring the existence of the Harvard Risk Assessment, "shows R-CALF has abandoned any health-based reason for its lawsuit."

Since the judge based most of his opinion for the injunction on the danger to human health, and now R- CALF is claiming there is none, and an injunction has to be based on the opinion that a case is likely to succeed on the merits, it would appear the key pins have been knocked out from under the injunction. To quote NMA's attorneys, "We now see that there was no factual basis for the District Court's conclusions, having apparently been created out of whole cloth by the Court itself."

NMA is reasoning that if you eliminate the human health elements, R-CALF's case rests mainly on technicalities and environmental issues. Environmental issues, you ask?

If you didn't read the whole lawsuit, a whole section of R-CALF's original suit detailed how the border shouldn't be opened because the EPA had not done an environmental impact statement assessing the environmental effects of all those trucks hauling Canadian cattle to U.S. feedyards or packing plants. They also claim the EPA should have assessed the impact of "feeding and holding" those cattle. (We assume "holding" must imply, "What are they going to do with all that manure?")

I kid you not. It's really in there, in a lawsuit filed with an actual court, regarding the Canadian border and the beef industry in two countries - except for the definition of what "holding" implies. We added that. Did we tell you R-CALF is taking not leaves, but whole chapters from its Liberal Activist Group (LAG) associates?

Question is, did the attorneys for Public Citizen or the Sierra Club or GRACE (Global Resource Action Center for the Environment) come up with that one for them? If they succeed on this one, can you just see the environmental groups using that as a precedent to keep us from hauling calves from Florida to Kansas because of the environmental damage? Don't even make me think where all that could lead!

So, first R-CALF claims they are trying to keep the border closed in part because Japan wouldn't trade with us if they thought Canadian beef was in our beef supply. Then they said the Japanese didn't tell them - at least not real, official Japanese government types - that not opening the border with Canada would damage the changes of trade with Japan.

Then R-CALF said the border should remain closed because of dangers to human health. Then they said they didn't say that.

But long before all this, they said the real reason the cattle market was up was because the border was closed, and for that cattlemen should thank R- CALF. So what are we to believe?

R-CALF's flip-flopping reminds us more of struggling fish flopping around on the beach than cowboys. And Cebull's being hung out to dry by R- CALF's latest flip-flopping gives a whole new meaning to the expression, "hanging judge."
 

agman

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Tom S said:
Loos"I would like to point out something that many people seem to overlook. The poultry and pork industries are vibrant in the United States. While we may not be fond of the structure compared to that of the past, these producers have not suffered the fate of the sheep industry."

Have to agree with Loos on that one. The chicken producers have not suffered the same fate as the sheep producers.They, the poultry farmers got wiped off the map. Except for a few thousand pasture and farm poultry flocks there are no independant chicken producer farmers left. There's still a significant number of independant sheep producers left.
Guess your saying beef should go the way of chicken.

Reposnse...With the sheep industry just a shadow of its former self, one-tenth its previous size, there can't be too many independent sheep producers left. In contrast the chicken industry has grown by a multiple of nearly 10x during the same period. Independence has benefits and costs. In some cases, such as the sheep industry, that cost can be the equivalent of extinction of the entire industry. Are you willing to pay that price? Have a great day.
 

Sandhusker

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I don't know if you can compare sheep with chicken. There is virtually no demand for sheep meat where I live. In fact, I had to hunt for it in Omaha.
 
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cowsense said:
OT......you definately are getting desperate when you start posting local coffeehouse gossip and rumour in your increasingly futile attempts to justify r-calf so called policy. Surely you must place more value on your integrity than this crap indicates!

I agree that this is coffeeshop gossip and rumors- but there are more and more people that are buying into them... This is because they can no longer trust the government agencies (USDA- FDA) that were set up to protect them and police the rules in place --and the everyday flipflop and inconsistencies of policy amongst the NCBA have left them baffled as to what to believe.......That is why I believe it needs to proceed to a trial and have a Judge lay out the border opening rules and set up a policy to police that it is being followed......
 

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