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Senator discusses cattle imports

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Tommy

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Senator discusses cattle imports
By Steve Miller, Journal Staff Writer
RAPID CITY - Japan is not nearly as close to resuming imports of American beef as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has indicated, and reopening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle will make regaining Japanese trust even more difficult, Sen. Tim Johnson said here Saturday.

Johnson echoed comments by Herman Schumacher of Herreid, a panelist at a Rapid City ag forum sponsored by Johnson on the USDA's plan to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle March 7. Schumacher runs Herreid Livestock Auction and is a regional director for R-CALF USA, a cattle producers group that has filed suit to stop the border reopening. "The USDA has tried to sell us about 10 times since last summer that Japan is ready to come to the table," Schumacher said. "They're a long ways from there."

Johnson said the Japanese government appears more willing than Japanese consumers are to resume shipments of U.S. beef.

Japan and the U.S. banned beef imports from Canada after a Canadian cow was found with mad cow disease in May 2003. Japan banned imports of U.S. beef after mad cow disease was found in a Washington state cow in December 2003, even though that animal originated in Canada. Mad cow disease is known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

"The consumer backlash in Japan has been terrible," Johnson told the group of about 20 ranchers meeting at the Central States Fairgrounds. "They're scared to death."

Rick Fox, another panelist at the ag forum, said the Japanese fear is understandable. "There's nothing wrong with protecting your consumers. That's what we're trying to do," he said. Fox, a Hermosa rancher, is vice president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, an affiliate of R-CALF USA.

Johnson said the Japanese want to buy American beef. "But we can't certify that the beef we sell to the Japanese is American beef," he said. Johnson said implementing country of origin labeling would resolve that problem. COOL is now scheduled to take effect in late 2006 after a two-year delay that Johnson blamed on Southern congressmen.

Johnson said the United States at one point was exporting 10 percent of its beef, much of it to Japan and South Korea. "We have lost virtually all of that because of their concern about BSE," he said.

He said reopening the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle would result in a "tidal wave" of Canadian cattle that, coupled with the loss of the export markets, could devastate what has been a strong U.S. cattle market over the past several months.

Estimates vary widely about the number of Canadian cattle that would come across the border after it is reopened. The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association cites figures indicating about 900,000 Canadian cattle would come into the United States. But Fox said the real figure could be much higher because of the backlog of cattle and beef that Canada has not been able to export since May 2003.

In addition to damaging the cattle market, the border reopening will hurt consumer confidence in beef, according to a third panelist, Margaret Nachtigall of Owanka, who represented Dakota Rural Action at the forum.

"This would be the first time in history that a BSE-free country has opened up its borders to a country that has BSE," she said. Nachtigall said the USDA's rule redefining what constitutes a country at "minimal risk" for BSE will open the United States to beef from other countries that have BSE. "It won't stop with Canada," she said.

Johnson said the USDA has broken with accepted international standards for minimal-risk nations. "Nowhere in the rest of the world do they accept the definition we're applying to Canada right now," he said.

Despite objections from cattle-state congressmen of both parties, the USDA is moving "full-speed ahead" toward re-opening the border to live Canadian cattle, Johnson said.

Johnson and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns cites worries about large meatpackers closing plants here and moving them to Canada. Tyson already has announced plans to close four plants in the United States, saying it faces a shortage of cattle to slaughter.

"We don't want to see packing plants close, but the answer can't possibly be to allow importation of suspect meat," Johnson said after Saturday's forum.

"We want to keep our packers but not at the price of undermining consumer confidence and creating real risk in this country."

Johnson and Thune both say the United States eventually will again open its borders to Canadian cattle. But both say the move is premature until Canada proves it has stopped the spread of BSE in its cattle herd.

Johnson has sponsored a resolution of disapproval for the USDA's border rule. He admits that he faces an uphill battle to get it passed in the Senate, then the House. And he said there is little chance President Bush would sign it. But he said the resolution, now backed by two Republican senators and seven Democrats, would send a strong signal to the administration.

Thune hasn't signed on to the resolution of disapproval. But Thune has sponsored a bill that would delay the border reopening until USDA can certify that Canada is adequately enforcing its ban on feeding ruminant parts to cattle. The feed ban is considered the primary firewall to prevent BSE from spreading.

"We think that has a more realistic chance of getting action in Congress," Thune said Saturday, referring to his bill
 

HAY MAKER

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Tommy said:
Senator discusses cattle imports
By Steve Miller, Journal Staff Writer
RAPID CITY - Japan is not nearly as close to resuming imports of American beef as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has indicated, and reopening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle will make regaining Japanese trust even more difficult, Sen. Tim Johnson said here Saturday.

Johnson echoed comments by Herman Schumacher of Herreid, a panelist at a Rapid City ag forum sponsored by Johnson on the USDA's plan to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle March 7. Schumacher runs Herreid Livestock Auction and is a regional director for R-CALF USA, a cattle producers group that has filed suit to stop the border reopening. "The USDA has tried to sell us about 10 times since last summer that Japan is ready to come to the table," Schumacher said. "They're a long ways from there."

Johnson said the Japanese government appears more willing than Japanese consumers are to resume shipments of U.S. beef.

Japan and the U.S. banned beef imports from Canada after a Canadian cow was found with mad cow disease in May 2003. Japan banned imports of U.S. beef after mad cow disease was found in a Washington state cow in December 2003, even though that animal originated in Canada. Mad cow disease is known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

"The consumer backlash in Japan has been terrible," Johnson told the group of about 20 ranchers meeting at the Central States Fairgrounds. "They're scared to death."

Rick Fox, another panelist at the ag forum, said the Japanese fear is understandable. "There's nothing wrong with protecting your consumers. That's what we're trying to do," he said. Fox, a Hermosa rancher, is vice president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, an affiliate of R-CALF USA.

Johnson said the Japanese want to buy American beef. "But we can't certify that the beef we sell to the Japanese is American beef," he said. Johnson said implementing country of origin labeling would resolve that problem. COOL is now scheduled to take effect in late 2006 after a two-year delay that Johnson blamed on Southern congressmen.

Johnson said the United States at one point was exporting 10 percent of its beef, much of it to Japan and South Korea. "We have lost virtually all of that because of their concern about BSE," he said.

He said reopening the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle would result in a "tidal wave" of Canadian cattle that, coupled with the loss of the export markets, could devastate what has been a strong U.S. cattle market over the past several months.

Estimates vary widely about the number of Canadian cattle that would come across the border after it is reopened. The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association cites figures indicating about 900,000 Canadian cattle would come into the United States. But Fox said the real figure could be much higher because of the backlog of cattle and beef that Canada has not been able to export since May 2003.

In addition to damaging the cattle market, the border reopening will hurt consumer confidence in beef, according to a third panelist, Margaret Nachtigall of Owanka, who represented Dakota Rural Action at the forum.

"This would be the first time in history that a BSE-free country has opened up its borders to a country that has BSE," she said. Nachtigall said the USDA's rule redefining what constitutes a country at "minimal risk" for BSE will open the United States to beef from other countries that have BSE. "It won't stop with Canada," she said.

Johnson said the USDA has broken with accepted international standards for minimal-risk nations. "Nowhere in the rest of the world do they accept the definition we're applying to Canada right now," he said.

Despite objections from cattle-state congressmen of both parties, the USDA is moving "full-speed ahead" toward re-opening the border to live Canadian cattle, Johnson said.

Johnson and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns cites worries about large meatpackers closing plants here and moving them to Canada. Tyson already has announced plans to close four plants in the United States, saying it faces a shortage of cattle to slaughter.

"We don't want to see packing plants close, but the answer can't possibly be to allow importation of suspect meat," Johnson said after Saturday's forum.

"We want to keep our packers but not at the price of undermining consumer confidence and creating real risk in this country."

Johnson and Thune both say the United States eventually will again open its borders to Canadian cattle. But both say the move is premature until Canada proves it has stopped the spread of BSE in its cattle herd.

Johnson has sponsored a resolution of disapproval for the USDA's border rule. He admits that he faces an uphill battle to get it passed in the Senate, then the House. And he said there is little chance President Bush would sign it. But he said the resolution, now backed by two Republican senators and seven Democrats, would send a strong signal to the administration.

Thune hasn't signed on to the resolution of disapproval. But Thune has sponsored a bill that would delay the border reopening until USDA can certify that Canada is adequately enforcing its ban on feeding ruminant parts to cattle. The feed ban is considered the primary firewall to prevent BSE from spreading.

"We think that has a more realistic chance of getting action in Congress," Thune said Saturday, referring to his bill




This is just another reason I think we need M COOL,and we ought to be fast tracking it.....................good luck
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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More garbage reporting! Has anyone told this Senator we now have 22% more slaughter capacity! The Americans took the packing industry from us in the 70's and 80's now they ve got us by the short hairs! Thats why im investing in new packing plants! :mad:
 

SMS

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not only 22% more slaughter capacity, but feedlots are currently 20% vacant. The UTM feeder cattle are current in supply.

But what do you really want. The current proposal at CFIA is to remove all SRM's from animal food, but your packers are in an uproar. They say we can't do this, cause it is a north americian beef industry and the US doesnt have the same regulations. We go to move the bar up and get dumped on. We leave the bar at the same level as the US and get dumped on by un-educated senators like these...Come on guys, every one get on the same page and be clear of exactly what you want us to do.

The longer the americian beef producer rants and raves over how dangerous Cdn beef is, the more packing plants get built. I was at a information meeting this last weekend. Ranchers Own will be starting construction in April and up and running by Dec/Jan. Construction company has been hired, water and sewer permits in place and financing in place. Once built this plant will handle up to 900 hd/day of cows and bulls. It will be the most modern plant in north america. It is being built to EU/CFIA standards. The next step will be to add on a processing kitchen and smokers. Then we will add on a bio reactor and use the animal waste to produce power. It is also discussion of adding a bio deisel production capabilities. This plant will be another rancher owned and controlled plant. In a couple years the Canadian beef producer will be in complete control from breeding to plate, with complete trace back. This will give us full access to any market in the world with the best beef in the world. It will make an awesome combination that no other beef producing country will be able to compete with...LETS GET THEM PLANTS BUILT and BEAT the RCALFER's AT THEIR OWN GAME....
 
A

Anonymous

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At least that's one thing similar with this and the old Ranchers. Tommy, OT and HAYMAKER still find more old news, more distorted reports and even out right lies to bring to us and then rag on Canadians for disputing them.
 
A

Anonymous

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Anonymous said:
At least that's one thing similar with this and the old Ranchers. Tommy, OT and HAYMAKER still find more old news, more distorted reports and even out right lies to bring to us and then rag on Canadians for disputing them.

You guys in Canada need to get some better press agents and lobbyists- or form an organization that supports "your" cattle industry and cattlemen without trying to turn it all in to a New World Order...........
 

fedup2

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Not trying to be a smart @ss here but have an honest question. You Canadians are always commenting on how your new packing plants are going to hurt U.S. producers. How? Wouldn't more packer competition help cattlemen here?

Have a great week.
DJ
 
A

Anonymous

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You guys in Canada need to get some better press agents and lobbyists- or form an organization that supports "your" cattle industry and cattlemen without trying to turn it all in to a New World Order...........[/quote]

From article at the top of page:

"The consumer backlash in Japan has been terrible," Johnson told the group of about 20 ranchers meeting at the Central States Fairgrounds. "They're scared to death."

Our lobbyists are working where it counts, in Washington! Not worrying about some one said at this gathering of 20 ranchers.

20 RANCHERS??????? That's all that turned out to hear the Senator and his R-Calf panel. Things must be slipping big time in the R-Calf Heartland!
 

Kato

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More plants here won't help American cattlemen if plants close in your country because of lack of supply. It will give us more bidders on our cattle, but reduce the number of bidders on yours.

If you were sending cattle north to be slaughtered it might help, but would probably only help those cattle producers in the border states, since they are closest. And the senators in those states want the border closed. Makes a lot of sense, eh?

I wonder if those same senators would lobby as hard for a closed border if the only packers within a thousand miles of them were in Alberta? :roll:
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Im thinking that if the border was to remain closed you'd likely see more US packers moving to Canada, making the beef business big business in Canada. R-calf is doing a damn good job of making this happen! :clap:
 

Sandhusker

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Im thinking that if the border was to remain closed you'd likely see more US packers moving to Canada, making the beef business big business in Canada. R-calf is doing a damn good job of making this happen! :clap:

If you truly believe this, MR, you should donate to R-CALF. Maybe become a member! If your hand is still to sore, I'm sure Mrs. MR can write out the check! :wink:
 

fedup2

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Kato said:
More plants here won't help American cattlemen if plants close in your country because of lack of supply. It will give us more bidders on our cattle, but reduce the number of bidders on yours.

If you were sending cattle north to be slaughtered it might help, but would probably only help those cattle producers in the border states, since they are closest. And the senators in those states want the border closed. Makes a lot of sense, eh?

I wonder if those same senators would lobby as hard for a closed border if the only packers within a thousand miles of them were in Alberta? :roll:

Thanks for the response kato. I doubt plants will close here due to lack of supply. If demand is falling like agman points out, we already have enough cattle & we can expand fast enough to take care of our needs.
Before you see all the plants in Alberta and cattlemen having to ship a thousand miles, I am positive you will see many more smaller plants here. That means competition and packer competition is good.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Have a great week.
DJ
 

Kato

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I know of at least one that has already closed, because the equipment from it is going to Manitoba for the new Rancher's Choice plant.

Whatever, this almost two year disruption of what had been a fully functional market is bound to cause things to be rearranged on both sides of the border.

Who comes out better for it has yet to be seen, but I think Canadian cattlemen can only benefit from how things have developed so far. The worst pain is over now, and we can look forward to the future. 8)
 

SASH

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I think Canadian cattlemen can only benefit from how things have developed so far. The worst pain is over now, and we can look forward to the future.

I agree 100%. The more plants we can get up and running the better off we will be in the long run. This could just be the best thing that has happened to Canadian cattle producers in years. By keeping the value added in Canada and partnering in the slaughter and distribution of our beef, producers will be way farther ahead than we were shipping raw product to the US.
 

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