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R-Calf Fact-finding in Costa Rica

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feeder

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Any R-Calfers out there please check your e-mail and post the information about what they are learning down there. It is very interesting. I'm dumb at cutting and pasting things so if you could I'd appreciate it. The official web site doesn't have it posted yet. Thanks
 
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feeder said:
Any R-Calfers out there please check your e-mail and post the information about what they are learning down there. It is very interesting. I'm dumb at cutting and pasting things so if you could I'd appreciate it. The official web site doesn't have it posted yet. Thanks


June 27, 2005 Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: [email protected]



CAFTA-DR Fact-Finding Team in Costa Rica


(San Jose, Costa Rica) – An R-CALF USA fact-finding team assigned to visit specific Central American nations to research and analyze support for, and the impact of, the U.S.-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Friday, June 24. Members of the fact-finding team are: Dennis McDonald, R-CALF USA’s International Trade Committee chairman, and president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association; R-CALF USA Director and Missouri veterinarian Max Thornsberry, who also chairs R-CALF USA’s animal health committee; Joel Gill, R-CALF USA’s state membership chairman for Mississippi, who also is vice president of Mississippi Order Buyers and president of the Mississippi Livestock Marketing Association; and, Doug Zalesky, Ph.D., a Colorado State University bovine research scientist and cattle producer from Colorado.



Initial findings from the task force examined the areas of cattle herd health measures, costs of production, cattle genetics and breeding techniques, along with the potential for cattle production expansion in Costa Rica.



“Costs associated with vaccines in Costa Rica are a fraction of U.S. costs, often for the same product from the same pharmaceutical company,” said Thornsberry. “For example, Ivomec and Dectomax sell in Costa Rica for 60 cents a dose compared to $1.68 per dose in the United States.



“A worrisome fact is that various animal health products not permitted for use in cattle in the U.S. are commonly used in Costa Rica,” he said. “An antibiotic called Ditrim is forbidden for use in food animals in the U.S., but it’s a commonly used antibiotic in Costa Rica. Lepto vaccinations are supplied by the Costa Rican government, and other vaccines like anthrax, blackleg and pasturella are available at one-third the cost of similar products in the U.S.”



Zalesky noted that costs of production for Costa Rican cattle producers are substantially less – about one-third – than those incurred by U.S. producers.



“This is a consequence of cheap labor ($6/day), and low feed costs,” said Zalesky. “Costa Rican cattle can be kept on grass 12 months a year, with grasses varying in protein content from 12 percent to 22 percent, and no fertilizers are required due to the rich volcanic soil extending to a depth of 10 feet.



“Costa Rican cattle experience no climate change throughout the course of the year, which is a huge production advantage,” Zalesky continued. “With no winter feed costs and little stress from seasonal climate changes, Costa Rican producers incur far fewer management costs, and the calving seasons here are coordinated with the lush green grass, providing another economic advantage.”



Gill noted the genetic make-up of Costa Rican cattle rivals that of cattle in the United States.



“Frame scores result in mostly Yield Grade 2s that can compete on par with U.S.-fed cattle,” said Gill. “Costa Rican ranchers have imported semen from the U.S. and they use artificial insemination techniques widely to breed a Brahman cross cattle herd that is efficient and tolerates tropical diseases successfully.



“The finishing ration used in Costa Rica relies heavily on local feed and is a mixture of poultry litter, rice hulls, molasses, corn and a mineral supplement,” continued Gill. “Cost per pound of gain in Costa Rica is 15 cents. A big red flag went up in my mind when I discovered that meat, blood and bone meal are being fed to chickens and then the poultry litter is fed to beef cattle.”



McDonald noted that the U.S. Trade Representative told U.S. cattle producers during consideration of the Chilean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Chilean cattle imports to the U.S. would not increase by virtue of the FTA.



“We now know their imports into the U.S. increased 200 percent,” said McDonald. “Dr. Mantaro, a Costa Rican veterinarian, rancher and chief cattle procurement officer for one of the three largest Costa Rican packing houses, predicts that if CAFTA-DR is ratified and Costa Rica has free and unfettered access to U.S. markets, the Costa Rican cow herd will double within five years from 1.9 million head to 4 million head, with much greater capacity possible.



“Presently only one-half of the Costa Rican beef production is consumed within Costa Rica, and the balance is exported,” McDonald said. “Any additional production will be exported, and the target is U.S. markets.”



Other information discovered by the fact-finding team includes the fact Costa Rica universally uses a hot brand animal identification system that requires each animal to be branded at the point of sale – a system that allows for immediate trace back of all cattle.



“At the point of sale, the owner’s brand is put on the animal upside down, which negates his ownership,” said Zalesky. “The animal’s hide carries the record of ownership of that animal. Here in Costa Rica they use a hot wire to brand the hide, and I have yet to see a smudged brand.”



Costa Rica requires all imported meat products to be labeled as such in the retail case. Interestingly, when visiting a PriceSmart grocery outlet in San Jose, task force members viewed a banner in the store that declared a Costa Rican ban on all U.S. meat and poultry products, including canned and cooked U.S. meats.



“We’ll be meeting with Costa Rican embassy staff to discuss this ban and the basis for it,” commented McDonald.



PriceSmart is an American-owned company headquartered in San Diego.



“We greatly appreciate the hospitality and honesty of the Costa Rican producers we’ve met during our visit here,” said McDonald.



The task force will travel to Nicaragua on Tuesday, June 28.



Note: Photos of the team are available in .jpg format. Contact R-CALF USA if you would like a copy.



# # #



R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA’s membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 18,000 strong – are located in 48 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
 

Murgen

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“We’ll be meeting with Costa Rican embassy staff to discuss this ban and the basis for it,” commented McDonald.

Couldn't be that they read some of RCALF's press relweases and decided that RCALF was right, that meat from a Country with BSE, should be banned!
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Oldtimer said:
(San Jose, Costa Rica) –

. . .a Costa Rican ban on all U.S. meat and poultry products, including canned and cooked U.S. meats.

Dang, that sounds a lot like the stories told by Canadian truckers/travellers/workers who had to dump their roast beef sandwiches in the garbage bin before they could cross into the USA. . . :wink:
 

feeder

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Thanks OT for posting that. The drug prices and the outlawed drug caught my eye.
 

S.S.A.P.

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One could question the R-calf comments resulting from their 4 man, 3 day whirlwind tour...... to investigate the entire cattle industry in Central America

right Oldtimer? Does this sound familar?

Oldtimer posted:
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:37 am
.....NCBA's barstool study team .....

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:36 pm
.....NCBA in their whirlwind 3 day barstool inspection of Canada .....

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:12 am
.....Why did NCBA's " investigative team of experts" miss all this in their 3 day barstool investigation of the entire Canadian feedban?......
 

Bill

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S.S.A.P. said:
One could question the R-calf comments resulting from their 4 man, 3 day whirlwind tour...... to investigate the entire cattle industry in Central America

right Oldtimer? Does this sound familar?

Oldtimer posted:
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:37 am
.....NCBA's barstool study team .....

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:36 pm
.....NCBA in their whirlwind 3 day barstool inspection of Canada .....

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:12 am
.....Why did NCBA's " investigative team of experts" miss all this in their 3 day barstool investigation of the entire Canadian feedban?......
Big difference is that R-Calf and the words Fact-finding hardly belong in the same sentence.
 

HAY MAKER

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About StatePaper.com







Phyllis Fong

USDA's Gutsy Inspector General Deserves Gratitude From Cattle Industry, Consumers





By ED HOWARD

June 27, 2005



It is a shame that Phyllis Fong can never be elected to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.




Fong is the Inspector General of the USDA. She has the kind of guts that deserve to be honored by every cattle state.

In fact, she deserves a tip of the hat from every hamburger-eating, steak-grilling carnivore in the country.

Fong is the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She might have gone through her career as a faceless bureaucrat, if she did not take her duty seriously.

It was Fong who did the right thing and ordered a definitive Western blot test to find out whether a cow had been infected with BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease.

Two other types of tests previously done by the USDA showed conflicting results. The department said there was no need for further testing because the test in which the USDA had the greatest faith had come back negative.

Fong was not satisfied with that conclusion. Neither were a lot of consumer advocates and people in the cattle industry.

So, Fong took the administrative bull by the horns and personally ordered the Western blot test. It came back positive. That result was confirmed after tests were performed at the world's pre-eminent BSE laboratory in England.

It is important to note that Fong ordered the definitive test on her own initiative after the first two tests drew conflicting conclusions. The positive mad cow finding announced Friday sent the USDA, the cattle industry and many of the countries that import American beef into a collective dither.

In the wake last Friday's disclosure that the cow did have mad cow disease, critics blasted the USDA for keeping it secret for seven months.

Johanns' initial reaction to Fong's initiative puzzled a lot of people. He was annoyed!

"From my standpoint, I believe I was put there to operate the department and was very disappointed," Johanns told reporters.

Johanns had not been informed Fong authorized the test, and that it was underway, before he was notified.

Our guess is that Fong had doubts about whether her superiors, including Johanns, would have nixed the more sophisticated test.

There is an old saying that applies to the public and the private sector: It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission.

By our lights, Fong should not need forgiveness. She should get a medal, or something, from the USDA.

Since Johanns' angry reaction to her initiative makes praise of her praiseworthy initiative unlikely ... Fong should be honored by the cattle industry, or cattle states, or those hamburger chompers and grillers of steak.

After all, Fong must have been right.

Here's why:

When the British test confirmed the cow was infected with BSE, Johanns quickly announced that, from now on, the Western blot test (remember, that is the one Fong ordered) would be used whenever there is suspicion of mad cow.

The USDA began testing cows after England suffered an outbreak of mad cow disease in the 1990s. The disease killed some 150 people. The initial USDA procedure included the Western blot. It was in place when the United States recorded its first and only BSE case to that point in 2003.

That case resulted in 50 nations banning American beef imports, costing the industry approximately $3 billion in exports. Many countries have yet to lift that ban, even though the infected cow came from a herd in Canada. Japan's ban on U.S. beef has been the subject of lengthy negotiations.

Since the 2003 case, the Western blot test has only been used by the USDA when specimens from an animal were so degraded that they could not be evaluated by the less sophisticated test.

In the face of the positive BSE finding on Friday, Johanns said: "The protocol we developed just a few years ago to conduct the tests might not be the best option today. Science is ever evolving."

Later, he ordered use of the Western blot testing that Fong had demanded.

The cow, slaughtered in November, was born before the 1997 U.S. ban on feeding ruminant protein to ruminant animals, Johanns said. It was considered a "downer" that was unable to walk and had not entered the human food supply, he added.

"This animal was blocked from entering the food supply because of the firewalls we have in place," Johanns said.

A USDA public relations person, Ed Loyd, offered the understatement of the day when asked why the first, positive test had not been announced.

"In hindsight, reporting it would have been the thing to do," he said.

Beef producers and consumer organizations have reacted angrily. Consumer groups say the USDA's incorrect results offer further proof that testing has been inadequate. The beef industry complains that the system is unpredictable.

The action Fong took on the testing controversy wasn't the first time she had acted definitively on behalf of consumers and producers.

Fong had previously written an analysis that ripped the testing program. She said scientific sampling was not possible because it was voluntary, that it did not test enough healthy-looking cattle, and did not make certain that cattle that died on farms, and that sick but walking cattle, would be tested.

Johanns emphasized Friday his literal certainty that American beef is safe.

"This is as straightforward as I can get it. The BSE threat to humans in this country is so remote that there's a better chance you'll get hurt crossing the street to get to the grocery store than by the beef you buy in the grocery store.

"Frankly, it is a remarkable testimony to the effectiveness of the interlocking safeguards that one case of BSE is discovered among 388,000 samples collected in the past year. All the necessary steps were also taken to protect public health.

"None of the concerns I have outlined impacted public health, which of course is our top priority. So there is absolutely no question in my mind that Americans can and should continue to be very confident in their beef supply."
 
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Anonymous

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The question of relevance should be what we have to gain by trading with Costa Rica in comparison to what we have to lose.

R-CULT always focuses on the losing side of trade - Imports, rather than the whole trade equation.

Prior to BSE we had a $1.3 Billion dollar beef and beef by product trade surplus while these guys are bitching about trade. Imagine that?

Sure glad we now know that Costa Rican government pays for vaccines and the brands aren't smeared.

Keep donating those calves!


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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SH, "The question of relevance should be what we have to gain by trading with Costa Rica in comparison to what we have to lose."

Yep. The "Cattleman's Journal" has it drawn out pretty good. What is interesting in the povery levels and the average income of those countries. To make it simple for you, SH, not many of them can afford beef - not even the lean old stuff let alone grain fed US.

SH, "R-CULT always focuses on the losing side of trade - Imports, rather than the whole trade equation."

Oh, really? :lol: Where do you get your information from? FYI, R-CALF has been pointing out that we don't seem to have any interest in trade deals with beef importing countries. R-CALF is also in record for backing private BSE testing, a practice that would of opened up our former number 1 customer over a year ago.

SH, "Sure glad we now know that Costa Rican government pays for vaccines and the brands aren't smeared."

I remember when the Creekstone deal was hot, you and Agman were trying to tell us that, by funding testing of the domestic supply and not product from the US, Japan's testing requirement of us was a trade barrier. If the Costa Rican Government is subsidizing vaccines for the domestic herd and not for beef we sell there, isn't that the same deffinition of a trade barrier?
 
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Sandhusker: "What is interesting in the povery levels and the average income of those countries. To make it simple for you, SH, not many of them can afford beef - not even the lean old stuff let alone grain fed US."

I thought I read somewhere where it was the tourism industry in Costa Rica that was being targeted for exports which creates a much bigger picture than R-CULT will present regarding Costa Rican residents.

Same ol' R-CALF!


Sandhusker: "Where do you get your information from?"

When have you ever seen R-CALF present a breakdown on export values vs. import values of live cattle, beef, beef by-products and hides?

They don't because it would defeat Bullard's argument that our industry would be in a favorable position without trade. Rather, they just bitch about imports.


Sand: "R-CALF is also in record for backing private BSE testing, a practice that would of opened up our former number 1 customer over a year ago."

Of course they would support Japanese consumer deception. Deception is the name of their game!

To date you have not offered one stitch of evidence to prove that the Japanese parliament would have allowed tested beef from cattle under 24 months of age. You just keep throwing that out like an old shoe and you can't even back it. Same -O you!


Sand: "If the Costa Rican Government is subsidizing vaccines for the domestic herd and not for beef we sell there, isn't that the same deffinition of a trade barrier?"

You gotta be kidding me?

That's not even worthy of a response!


~SH~
 

mrj

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SH, when you indicated it is the tourism industries in Costa Rica and the other nations involved in CAFTA, you nailed it pretty well.

From the MCBA eUpdate, June 28,'05: Bogus Claim #8 'People living in these CAFTA nations cannot afford U.S. beef, therefore there really is no market for our products."

Mythbusting FACTS: *Opening export opportunities is how we build future markets. {MRJ: members of NCBA know better than to live only for today and tomorrow, but look to the future as well}

*Trade experts agree this region is a growth market for high quality grain-fed beef that only the USA can provide to hotels and upscale restaurants.

*U.S. Meat Export Federation regional market analyses state that the Central and South American region is 'currently a market for both muscle meat and variety meat products, is a developing market for U.S. beef exports with potential for growth.'

*For example, the Dominican Republic is a middle-income country whose most importnt sector is tourism, accounting for nearly $1.5 billion a year. It is to the tourism industries in these countries which U.S. product will be targeted following the implementation of this agreement.

{This may be appropriate here, too. MRJ.}

Bogus Claim #5: 'Visiting the CAFTA nations right now would be an effective way to become involved in this trade negotiation process."

Mythbusting FACTS: *CAFTA has been negotiated during a long-term process and signed by all seven countries. The time to question CAFTA was before and during the negotiating process, not after the agreement was signed. The opportunity to affect the outcome for the industry has long since passed.

*That's why NCBA very closely monitored the negotiating process and those serving in Trade advisory capacities were intimately involved in the process with our negotiators.

*NCBA was also keenly aware of the situation in Central America via numerous meetings and discussions with Central American beef producers before and during the long negotiating process. During these discussions, NCBA made it crystal clear that we would not accept anything less than dity free access to the Central American market by a date certain. These numerous discussions also gave us a clearer understanding of what might evolve in the Central American market for beef after the agreement goes into effect.

{Also, please remember that this agreement removes tariffs on US beef, and that Central American beef has been virtually to actually tariff free coming into the USA. Leveling the playing field and especially on our high quality fed beef for the restaurant/tourism trade makes supporting this deal a no-brainer, IMO.

Memember also, the fact that there are some very wealthy citizens of these nations, and that CAFTA is going to encourage more democratic direction of government and lifting the lower income citizens up, which cannot help but improve their purchasing power in the future. MRJ}
 

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So we're going to open up a back door for South America's largest herd on the planet so that we can provide beef to tourists? :shock: Come on, that is on the same level as the "sound science" arguement. :roll: Your best market in the whole area is tourism? Tourism? Geeeeeeze.

This whole thing is simply supplying the multi-nationals with another source for cheap beef so they can bypass US markets. (and with no COOL and a USDA stamp, get away with it completely) Their producers are not a bunch of primitives living in mud huts - notice how they are AIing and already exporting half of their production? Their cattle is NOT what you see walking around the streets of Calcutta. They've got good grass and cheap labor, subsidized vaccines (some illegal here), but we need to open up to them completely so we can feed the tourists?
 
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Anonymous

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Sand: "So we're going to open up a back door for South America's largest herd on the planet so that we can provide beef to tourists?"

What does "SOUTH" AMERICA have to do with a "CENTRAL" AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT????


Sand: "This whole thing is simply supplying the multi-nationals with another source for cheap beef so they can bypass US markets."

BEEF EXPORTS FROM THESE "CENTRAL" AMERICAN NATIONS ARE ALREADY COMING IN WITHOUT TARRIFFS AND THEIR TRQs have never beef filled.

WHERE IS THE THREAT???

It's in your "import blaming" imagination, that's where!

The "CENTRAL" American countries in this trade agreement are not major beef-producing nations, and their imports have never been threatening to U.S. beef.

What this is about is reducing our tarriffs to these nations.

Once again, you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Rather you just parrot the R-CULT lines of deception to stop imports of any kind while you jeoprodize our export markets. TYPICAL!

Let the fight begin!


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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SH, "What does "SOUTH" AMERICA have to do with a "CENTRAL" AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT???? "

If you knew more about this agreement that you are in favor of, you wouldn't ask such silly questions. Do a little homework.
 
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Anonymous

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Sandman, it's obvious who needs to do the homework.

You were obviously unaware that these countries have unfettered access to U.S. markets now. In contrast, we have high tarriffs we are paying to export to them.

Why the heck would you object to reducing tarriffs to these export markets that currently have unfettered access to U.S. markets?

Only an import blamer!


~SH~
 
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Anonymous

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~SH~ said:
Sandman, it's obvious who needs to do the homework.

You were obviously unaware that these countries have unfettered access to U.S. markets now. In contrast, we have high tarriffs we are paying to export to them.

Why the heck would you object to reducing tarriffs to these export markets that currently have unfettered access to U.S. markets?

Only an import blamer!


~SH~

And now we are going to start paying US tax dollars to Central American farmers to subsidize them so they will not ship sugar to the US, so the farm state congresssmen will buy on and support this agreement.......STINKS to high heaven-- Some big money being put out there to get this passed- which usually means the little guy and US agriculture ends up getting the shaft.......
 

Sandhusker

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~SH~ said:
Sandman, it's obvious who needs to do the homework.

You were obviously unaware that these countries have unfettered access to U.S. markets now. In contrast, we have high tarriffs we are paying to export to them.

Why the heck would you object to reducing tarriffs to these export markets that currently have unfettered access to U.S. markets?

Only an import blamer!


~SH~

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Oh, geeeeeeeeze.

I guess the NCBA never mentioned that CAFTA will allow any country to funnel their beef thru the Central American countries and have it be counted as allowable under CAFTA?
 
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Anonymous

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Sandman: "I guess the NCBA never mentioned that CAFTA will allow any country to funnel their beef thru the Central American countries and have it be counted as allowable under CAFTA?"

What's to stop them from doing that now if that's what they wanted to do?

MORE "SKY IS FALLING" RHETORIC!


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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~SH~ said:
Sandman: "I guess the NCBA never mentioned that CAFTA will allow any country to funnel their beef thru the Central American countries and have it be counted as allowable under CAFTA?"

What's to stop them from doing that now if that's what they wanted to do?

MORE "SKY IS FALLING" RHETORIC!


~SH~

Once again, if you actually knew anything on this deal, you wouldn't ask such silly questions. You sure are vocal on an issue you don't know much about. :lol:
 

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