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Response to Gary Gilbert - Ludlow, SD

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Gary: "I thought Japan wanted assurances that beef they import was BSE free from countries that were BSE free but NCBA, packers, and USDA tell us that if we open our borders to meat from countries with known BSE problems, Japan will be more willing to take our beef. How could my thinking be so wrong."

I'll tell you exactly how your thinking could be so wrong. Canada has taken more stringent BSE precautionary measures than the U.S. has. Why would anyone set a BSE presidence for Canada that they were unwilling to live with themselves?

Japan knows we had BSE in the U.S., Japan knows we have Canadian cattle in the U.S, Japan knows we have traded cattle with Canada for many years, Japan knows that we are currently importing boxed beef from Canada, and Japan is finally acknowledging that cattle less than 20 months of age are safe from BSE.

How would opening the Canadian border to live cattle that are now coming down in boxes change Japan's opinion of U.S. beef based on these facts? It won't!

Keeping the Canadian border closed to Canadian cattle while we import Canadian boxed beef sends the message to Japan that we trust Canadian beef but we don't trust our processing facilities enough to remove the SRMs from Canadian Live cattle. How smart is that?

Either the BSE precautionary measures taken by Canada and the U.S. assure consumer safety for both countries or they don't assure safety for either country. Only a complete hypocrite would suggest that Canadian beef is unsafe while U.S. beef is safe when both countries are taking the same BSE precautionary measures and both countries have had BSE.

Japan is not being fooled by R-CALF's fear mongering rhetoric concerning BSE just so they can keep the Canadian border closed to live cattle.

The main reason Canada has found 3 cases of BSE is because Canada was looking for it and willing to pay the consequences of cleaning it up.

The "so called" contaminated Canadian feed that R-CALF is sinking their teeth into in order to justify keeping the Canadian border closed to live cattle, this contamination was mostly bird and mice remains and some of this feed originated in the U.S.

How many rocks should we throw at the Canadian ruminant feed ban from our glass house Gary?

The ignorance of R-CALF and their followers on these issues absolutely boggles the mind.

Gary: "After all, the packers, NCBA, and the Administration in Washington say we can't have COOL to let our citizens know where the beef comes from as it would cost too much."

The "Mandatory" Country of Origin Labeling law that you refer to is an absolute joke. This law exempted 75% of the imports into the U.S. and prohibited the means to enforce it.

R-CALF didn't tell you that they exempted 75% of the beef that is imported into the U.S. under the "M"COOL "food service exemption" did they? Ironically, this is what Leo called a good law and he helped write it.

20% of our domestic U.S. beef consumption under normal trade is imported beef. Of that 20%, 75% ends up in food service where it has been exempted from Country of Origin Labeling. That leaves a whole WHOPPING 5% of our total U.S. beef consumption labeled as imported beef.

Congratulations, you have just segregated a portion of our Mexican beef for our Hispanic population and you just segregated the high quality Canadian cattle for those who like to try novelty items. You segregated 5% of our total U.S. beef consumption at the cost of labeling all beef WHEN CONSUMERS NEVER EVEN ASKED FOR IT. Now remind me how this is supposed to benefit U.S. producers?

Then to top it off, "M"COOL proponents prohibited "M"ID from "M"COOL because these same producers that said consumers should have the right to know where their beef comes from didn't want to be burdened with proving what they demanded. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

If consumers were asking for U.S. product, they could buy the many branded beef programs available today as opposed to another government mandate to save producers from themselves.

"M"COOL was nothing more than a good concept that resulted in a poorly written law that will accomplish absolutely nothing except adding expense to the industry.

Gary: "NCBA says "loss of exports has cost us $75 per head", but they don't say who "us" is. Is it producers or feeders. I think not! Is it packers do you suppose?"

If packers never passed on the value they add to carcasses by exporting them, how do you explain fat cattle prices tracking with boxed beef prices? How do you explain the fact that markets move? Do packers have periods of generousity and periods of greed? Perhaps you can explain how large packers can manipulate markets and only have $26 per head to show for it as in Pickett vs. Ibp???

Perhaps you can also explain why R-CALF has considered sueing USDA for not allowing Creekstone to test for the Japanese market? If packers don't pass on the added value in the form of higher cattle prices, why would you file a lawsuit on behalf of a packer?

Funny how country of Origin labeling of "BEEF" is supposed to be beneficial to producers but our export markets only benefit the packers?

You R-CALF followers simply cannot keep your arguments straight can you? No wonder why you are confused.

Gary: "Packers, USDA, and NCBA have told us for years we have been overproducing, yet now they whine that they don't have enough cattle to kill. Where did all those doggies go? You see how confused I am"

Yes Gary, your confusion is obvious. The fact is that production has increased dramatically over the years. Do your calves still weigh the same as they did 20 years ago? The number of cattle that are slaughtered in packing plants has to be kept into perspective with increasing carcass weights. Don't suppose R-CALF told you that either did they?

What do you think has more of an impact on our cattle prices, the competition we get from poultry and pork or Canadian live cattle imports? Ask any retailer rather than someone claiming to be in the cattle industry and claiming not to be in the beef industry.

I have yet to hear R-CALF discuss beef prices relative to competing meat prices. Is that because they don't understand it or they don't want you to know the facts you need to form an educated opinion on the issue?

Gary: "Steve Dittmer and his Agribusiness Freedom Foundation is putting some pretty bad propoganda out on the internet, but refuses to acknowledge his funding for this organization. It is pretty obvious, but he assured me that none of our check-off money was being used."

Gary, do you feel more comfortable making your feeble attempt to discredit what Steve has stated rather than presenting opposing facts to prove him wrong? Why don't you show everyone where Steve is wrong rather than creating the illusion that he is being paid off?

Disproving him would be more difficult than discrediting him wouldn't it? As always, those who cannot debate, discredit.

I think the problem here is that you can't handle the truth about R-CALF and how reckless they have been to suggest that Canadian beef is unsafe when Canada has taken even more stringent BSE precautionary measures than we have. I guess you are willing to risk the integrity of 80% of our U.S. beef consumption (U.S. beef) to discredit 5% of our U.S. beef consumption (Canadian live cattle) hoping that we never have another domestic case of BSE. Talk about high stakes poker!

Unfortunately, R-CALF is simply too naive to realize the consequences of setting an unrealistic BSE presidence for 5% of our U.S. beef consumption that they are unwilling to live wtih for 80% of our U.S. beef consumption in the event that BSE is discovered here again.

Gary: "If anything good did come from losing our export markets, it gave U.S. consumers more choice and prime meat to eat instead of packer commodity beef. Do you suppose this has had anything to do with demand remaining high?"

According to the research on tenderness, there is only a 10% direct correlation between marbling and tenderness. I suggest you review the results of the Colorado State University taste test that compared CHB and CAB. CHB won in all categories and allows Select in the mix.

Scott Huber
Kadoka, SD
SH, thanks for replying to that letter.

For a rancher to be so ignorant of the facts on those subjects is equally sad and inexcusable.


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