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Well-known member
Feb 13, 2005
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Harris Ranch vs CAN border

California feeder-packer opposes March opening of Canadian border

By Dan Looker

Successful Farming magazine Business Editor


One of the nation's largest vertically integrated beef businesses opposes
reopening the U.S. border to imports of live Canadian cattle younger than
months of age next month, fearing negative effects on consumer demand and
more delays in regaining Japan's export market.

"We think it's short sighted," said Bruce Berven, vice president of
marketing for Harris Ranch Beef Company. He worries that even more
about mad cow disease in Canadian cattle might weaken consumer confidence
beef safety.

"When they hear additional publicity about Canadian cattle coming into
U.S., that will elevate concerns about BSE (bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, or mad cow disease), Berven explained to Agriculture

Earlier this week Berven told a group of visiting farmers from Iowa and
North Dakota that he doubts the border will open to live cattle on March
as the USDA has proposed. The farmers were visiting some of California's
most successful value added producer-owned businesses on a two-day tour
organized by Iowa's Ag Ventures Alliance.

Harris Farms in Californias central valley is one of the nation's largest
agribusinesses. It grows onions, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, cotton,
and runs a feedlot with more than 100,000 head capacity, the largest in

It processes all of those cattle through its Harris Ranch Beef Company
packing plants. It supplies steaks to high-end restaurants, hamburger to
McDonalds and natural hormone-free beef to specialty grocery chains.
is former executive director of the California Beef Council.

Because it's vertically integrated, Harris Ranch might seem unaffected by
USDA plans to reopen the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle next month.
like most large cattle feeders and packing companies, Harris Ranch is
hurt by the current beef market, Berven said.

With the border closed to Canadian live cattle, feeder cattle prices are
higher than they would be with that supply. But Canadian boxed beef is
already coming into the U.S., putting downward pressure on prices packers
get for their product.

"We're in the middle of the squeeze," Berven said.

Yet, his company doesn't support opening the border, as most packers do,
because of concerns about consumer perceptions. More than many players in
the beef industry, Harris Ranch is close to consumers. The business
pioneered selling branded microwaveable beef products. And with its
located right next to busy Interstate 5 that links Los Angeles and San
Francisco, it gets even more public exposure. If consumers see its cattle
standing in mud, Harris gets angry e-mail.

Berven is also concerned about trade issues. He thinks allowing Canadian
cattle in, when Japan is considering accepting cattle younger than 17 to
months of age, will allow Japan to put up more resistance to buying U.S.
beef again. Before the discovery of one case of BSE in the U.S. in late
2003, Harris was exporting beef to Japan and South Korea.

Opening the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle now, Berven said, "Is
not the right thing to do."

A delay in implementing the minimal-risk rule, announced by Agriculture
Secretary Mike Johanns earlier this week, will push back the resumption
imports of live Canadian cattle older than 30 months of age.

haymaker- Why in the H$ll would it cause consumption to go down, beef consumption in Canada hasnt went down its actually went up after BSE. Maybe the packer/feeder from California should get his facts straight before he starts shooting his mouth off! :!:
As far as I can figure, the more beef there is, the lower the price, so demand for beef should go up because more people will be buying.
Just about done, only 14 more to go. Yippee! Sad thing is, they're going to drag it out till the end of March. Sure would be nice to get some bull calves, only have 10 so far. Not too much trouble, had four backwards ones and pulled a couple of other ones. Every one has made it, knock on wood! The other night a cow calved just after chores, and holy cow is it a monster! Bugger got up and sucked on his own, though. How are you making out? How's your hand?
We ve got about 45 calves now only another 180 to go. Had a couple I had to treat for navel infection today, think there momas were licking at them too much. we had 4 yesterday and its been slow since then. We ve been having good big calves but they are really long Limos so they slip out easy. Its gonna be cool tonite so I won't get a whole lot of sleep. My hand is still darn sore, stiff and hard to bend but it feels better than it did the other day. It will get better I hope.
California feeder-packer opposes March opening of Canadian border

Imagine that. His competition to the north is running out of beef to process and he wants to keep the border closed. No ulterior motives, there. (tic)

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