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USDA Deadline Passes

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U.S. Officials Mull Legal Options as Deadline Passes in Montana Cattle Case

Canadian Press, March 17, 2005



WASHINGTON (CP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department still hasn't decided how to respond to a court-imposed delay on Canadian cattle imports despite a judge's deadline Wednesday to set a trial date.

Montana federal Judge Richard Cebull extended the cattle ban two weeks ago, siding with R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, a protectionist ranchers' group long opposed to the beef trade.

Cebull gave R-CALF and U.S. officials 10 days to set a trial date but observers always thought it unlikely they'd ever agree. The judge could set out his own date in a court order as early as Thursday, a clerk said.

Agriculture Department spokesman Ed Lloyd said officials didn't plan to file anything Wednesday or make a public statement.

Government officials were given 60 days, or until early May, to file an appeal. A successful appeal, if it could be heard quickly, would allow the cattle trade to resume while the trial proceeds.

"We haven't made the determination on how to proceed at this point (in terms of) what's going to be the most compelling case to make to the court," said Lloyd.

"That's something we're looking at with the Department of Justice. I think there's still a number of options being looked at."

R-CALF had not submitted anything on the case by late afternoon, court officials said.

Cebull's ruling was a severe blow for Canadian ranchers, who've already lost some $7 billion Cdn since the beef ban was imposed nearly two years ago after the first case of mad cow disease was discovered.

Trade in Canadian cattle under 30 months of age, thought to be at the lowest risk for contracting mad cow, was finally supposed to resume March 7.

But R-CALF's lawsuit against the U.S. government, which contends Canadian cattle and beef products are unsafe, resulted March 2 in a temporary extension of the ban.

Ottawa has kicked in $50 million to help the industry look for other markets. Some Canadian ranchers predict it could be another 18 months before the U.S. border reopens.

They also worry that R-CALF will try to extend the ban to include boneless beef cuts that have been shipped across the border since September 2003.

At least four members of R-CALF have bought up cheap Canadian cattle since the U.S. ban took effect. The group's president says he sees nothing wrong with it.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Cattlemen for Fair Trade announced on Wednesday it has served the first five of over 100 notices of arbitration in Washington under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The CCFT is made up of over 100 family businesses from across Canada and says its collective losses total well over $300 million.

The group says it is seeking damages for violations of NAFTA, which have given an unfair advantage to the American cattle industry.

"It is clear that this is a trade and investment dispute, not a question of health and safety," said spokesman Rick Paskal in a release.

"The United States government itself now recognizes this fact. It has collected ample evidence to show that Canadian livestock does not present a health risk. Canadian beef is among the safest and highest quality beef in the world," he said.

© The Canadian Press, 2005
 

SASH

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Montana Judge sets trial date

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration will face off in federal court on July 27 with an American rancher group suing to keep the U.S. border closed to imports of live Canadian cattle because of mad cow disease concerns.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull in Billings, Montana, on Thursday set the court date to hear arguments that pit the U.S. Department of Agriculture against R-CALF USA, an activist rancher group.

R-CALF, which has been successful in two previous attempts with Cebull in restraining beef and cattle trade, is suing to stop USDA from allowing imports of young Canadian cattle. R-CALF has cited two more cases of mad cow disease discovered in Canada at the beginning of 2005.

Two weeks ago, Cebull granted R-CALF's request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily suspend a USDA plan that would have allowed Canada to export young live cattle to the United States for the first time since 2003, when mad cow disease was discovered in Alberta.

At the July hearing in Billings, the judge will hear arguments on whether to make the injunction permanent.

The U.S. government still has not decided whether to appeal the preliminary injunction. However, the National Meat Association, a group representing meatpackers, earlier this month filed an emergency appeal of the Montana decision with a federal appeals court in San Francisco.

U.S. meatpackers want quick access to the Canadian cattle, which they say are needed to keep slaughter plants operating efficiently.

USDA officials have said little about the government's legal strategy.

"They (Justice Department officials) have 60 days and I can't imagine that they would need that full period of time" to decide whether to appeal, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told reporters.

R-CALF also wants Cebull to stop U.S. imports of boxed beef from Canada.

The USDA planned to open the U.S. border on March 7 to Canadian cattle younger than 30 months old, saying those animals presented little or no risk for carrying mad cow disease. Scientists believe the brain-wasting disease needs several years to incubate within an animal's brain and nervous system.

On March 3, the U.S. Senate voted 52-46 to maintain a trade ban on Canadian cattle.

© Reuters Limited. All Rights Reserved.
 

rancher

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I hate to see that late of a court date, if we are going to open the border than lets do it now and let the market level out before the fall run of calves. How many of your 2005 calves will you Canadians keep back for your plants, or will you just sell to the high money giver even if they go to the USA feedlots?
 

whiteface

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It always amazes me how much credit we as cow/calf guys are given in regards to "who we sell to." Fact is, if the calves go through public auction as so many of them do, it really isn't up to me where they go, beit R-calfers, U.S. packers, or my next door neighbor. At public auction, they go to the highest bidder. Off the farm, they SHOULD go to the highest bidder, that's just good business. You Americans keep going on about how we "dump" our cattle in the U.S. but if you're dollar allows it and it usually does being worth more than ours, that's where the calves go you simply have more buying power than Canadians which also leads to our land being worth less which also allows for a wider profit margin for us Canadians if we are able to sell at U.S. prices...that makes it "cheaper" for us to produce calves, then you add value, create and maintain jobs and on it goes. I'd have to be missing something, I just can't be the only one who gets this. I don't think anyone here will purposely necessarily "try" to keep calves back for CDN plants, just maybe make them compete a little harder for the calves with the "threat" of sending them south. Have a good day all!
 

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That's an unfair question, rancher. Most folks I know have to sell their calves in the fall just to pay down bills accumulated since spring. When we sell, we don't care where they go as long as we're paid fair value for them. And the buyers sitting there buying them aren't volunteering any information as to where they're going or who bought them.
 
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Release No. 0096.05

Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623

U.S. GOVERNMENT REQUESTS APPEAL IN MINIMAL-RISK RULE CASE

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2005-The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, today filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asking that the court overturn the decision issued by the U.S. District Court in Montana that granted a preliminary injunction to delay the implementation of USDA's minimal-risk regions rule, which would re-establish trade with Canada for beef products and live cattle under 30 months of age.

USDA's rule is the product of a multi-year, deliberative, transparent and science-based process to ensure that human and animal health are fully protected. We remain confident that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule, in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada, provide the utmost protection to both U.S. consumers and livestock. We also remain fully confident in the underlying risk assessment, developed in accordance with the OIE guidelines, which determined Canada to be a minimal-risk region.



#
USDA News
 

rancher

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This one says June 27th

WASHINGTON, Mar 17, 2005 (The Canadian Press via COMTEX) -- The trial on reopening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle is set to start June 24.

A federal judge in Montana, Richard Cebull, set the date Thursday, court officials said. Two weeks ago, Cebull sided with a protectionist ranchers' group, R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, in its bid to delay resuming the cattle trade as scheduled on March 7.

Cebull gave both sides 10 days to set a trial date but set his own when they couldn't agree.

U.S. Agriculture Department spokesman Ed Loyd said Wednesday that officials are still considering how to respond to the R-CALF lawsuit.
 

Aaron

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If the USDA appeal is successful, I would just about guarantee that the traffic going south will be non-stop, with American and Canadian trucks shipping as many calves south as possible before the June 24 trial date.
 

whiteface

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Aaron who have you got pictured as your Avatar??!! Looks almost like Dave Longshore but he's been out for awhile. Wouldn't be you would it and my eyes are just going? If it is you, who are you standing behind in front of the Agribition curtain? Have a good day!
 

Bull Burger

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rancher said:
I hate to see that late of a court date, if we are going to open the border than lets do it now and let the market level out before the fall run of calves. How many of your 2005 calves will you Canadians keep back for your plants, or will you just sell to the high money giver even if they go to the USA feedlots?

Rancher, that's what I think is so idiotic about the court case. Most of the R-CALFer's are the type that sell their calves right off the cow because if they weaned 'em they might get out or die.

It was set up to be a practical start to normalized trading on Mar 7. Everyone in the cattle business, the producer, feeder, packer, and retailer were ready. Prices were great. Now what happens if they change the start date to Oct 15?
 

rancher

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Rancher, that's what I think is so idiotic about the court case. Most of the R-CALFer's are the type that sell their calves right off the cow because if they weaned 'em they might get out or die.


That little comment says you don't know jack sh$$ about the R-calf people. I say 99.9% of R-calf people know more than you do about cattle. You sure show your smarts with your wise mouth.
 

Les

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rancher it is better to show your smarts with your wise mouth than your dumb ass :eek:
 

Aaron

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That would be I, whiteface. Wish that was the Agribition curtain! If I had had the money in 2003, it probably would have been. Actually that picture was taken in front of a blue tarpulin that we strung up in our 4-H barn during our local fair a couple years back. Usually take pictures outside in front of a white board fence, but it rained like crazy that weekend in August.

Don't know if you read this thread I made a few weeks back,
http://ranchers.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=421 Wondering if you do have any sons off of that bull this year.

Also wondering what people are saying your way about the increase to a $5/cow WHE fee for the CHA. Heard a few people around here that were ticked last year about the CHA not dropping it's fees in light of low prices. I didn't mind so much, but this year....I am more then just a little peeved at CHA. Also wondering where the Digest has the nerve to hike it's subsciption prices to $45. Does the Digest use subscription money to pay for all the free Links it sends out to commercial producers? Switching to Ted's magazine this year. Ok...end of rant. :D
 

Bull Burger

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rancher said:
That little comment says you don't know jack sh$$ about the R-calf people. I say 99.9% of R-calf people know more than you do about cattle. You sure show your smarts with your wise mouth.

Hey there rancher, cool down a little. I'm smack dab in the middle of R-calf people everyday.

I don't care if 99.9% of R-calfers know more than I do about cattle. I started with nothing, make a good living and don't have to go to town every day to a job.

rancher said:
That is a lie, I look the orgin tags on most all I buy.

That's great! You're probably in the .01% that does. :wink:
 

SMS

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Here is how i see things going to happen...

USDA and the Bush Administration have to implement the rule as published. This is cause they cannot be seen letting one judge overturn a federal trade policy. If this happens then all trade agreements the US goverment does not mean anything. It sets a precidence.

This means that RCalf is really fighting your own federal treasury and we all know you can't win that one. But then I aint an RCALF member and am a Canadian so maybe I have frost bite on the brain and dont know anything about cattle...but thats the way i see this all settling out in the end. The only question is how long will it take before the US treasury bankrupts RCALF.
 

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