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Articles from 2009 In October


Beef

Roto-Mix Assists South African Customer with Feedlot Expansion

DODGE CITY, KANSAS… Roto-Mix was honored to assist Karan Beef with an expansion project for their Heidelberg, South Africa feedlot.

In the midst of a global recession, Karan Beef have taken a strategic decision to expand its operation by 30%! A massive achievement that has been attained by dedicated commitment of their team and valuable business relationships built up over the last 35 years.

One of the many such relationships is the Roto-Mix / Karan Beef relationship.

With the latest feedlot expansion complete, the challenge for the feed mill was to increase the output capacity by 30%. Not an easy task, as the feed mill was already running at 90% of the designed 120 ton per hour production. The only option was to increase the capacity of the feed mixer wagons.

During the original construction of the feed mill in 1997, Ivor Karan traveled to America to investigate alternative feed mixers to the ones that Karan Beef were operating at the time. On this trip 14 - 700-16 Roto-Mix units were bought and imported to South Africa. A strong bond was formed between Ben Neier and Ivor within the business relationship. Both Roto-Mix and Karan Beef are family owned and operated companies founded on similar core values, built up over many years from humble beginnings.

In 2001, four more 700-16 Roto-Mix units were added to the fleet, another two were added in 2002, with a further two Roto Mix units added in 2007. The initial feedlot expansion planning set out in 2008 was to take the feed mill capacity to 100%, and for this 2 more Roto-Mixers were required. However this expansion plan increased very quickly based on market requirements and opportunity. It was clear that the feed mill would have to increase beyond the original design capacity.

A decision was taken to purchase two 920-18 Roto-Mix units as opposed to the planned two 720-16 Roto Mix units. The 920-18 Roto Mix units have an increased volume capacity of 27% giving the potential to meet the feed mill growth requirement. Karan Beef approached Roto-Mix and asked that they travel to South Africa to assist with the evaluation of the larger Roto-Mixers. Ben is semi retired and was unfortunately not able to make the trip. However Rod Neier has followed in his father's footsteps and as President of Roto-Mix, LLC flew out to investigate with Karan Beef the possibility that the larger Roto- Mixers would in fact meet the capacity increase requirements. Myron Ricke - Scale Manager at Roto-Mix, LLC joined Rod to evaluate the current computer scale system.

Over four days Rod and Myron spent time with the team at Karan Beef.

Feeding time studies, mixing times, filling times, diesel usage and Karan Beef custom requirements were carried out and looked into. At the same time both teams evaluated the new computer scale system.

The system capabilities, data transfer and radio signal efficiencies were evaluated for the specific Karan Beef feedlot conditions.

The results pointed to what seemed obvious from the outset; replacing the fleet with the new 920-18 Roto-Mixers and upgrading the computer scale system is the answer to the capacity challenge at the feed mill.

A critically important point in the decision is the reliability and low maintenance of the Roto-Mix units. Some of the spares brought out with the first Roto-Mixers 12 years ago are still in stock and the workshop is able to offer the feed mill a running availability in excess of 90% on the Roto-Mixers! It is a testament to Roto-Mix workmanship and quality that every one of the 22 units in operation at Karan Beef, freighted from Dodge City to Heidelberg, were off- loaded, hooked up to the tractors and commenced with operation immediately without any problems or adjustments necessary!

With the work done it was off to Karan's Camp in the Timbavati. On each game drive Rod was treated to Ivor recalling memories of the previous two trips Ben and he were privileged to share. The game drives did not go by without the threat of negotiating and concluding business in predatory company however! On Saturday morning after a fantastic game drive Rod and Ivor sat down in the camp lounge and finalized the deal. An extra twenty 920-18 Roto-Mix units and computer scale systems were purchased. While Roto-Mix holds a dominant market share position in the American feed mixer market, this deal is their largest single order placed to date and gives insight into the size and importance of the transaction.

Roto-Mix is a leading manufacturer of livestock feed mixing equipment for the beef cattle and dairy industries. Roto-Mix also manufacturers and markets a complete line of manure spreaders as well as compost mixers and spreaders for municipal and industrial applications. The Company is headquartered in Dodge City, Kansas and has an additional manufacturing facility in Hoisington, Kansas as well as an additional company owned store in Scott City, Kansas. Roto-Mix markets their product lines through a network of dealers located throughout the world and has distributed its products to over 35 foreign countries.

The Company has a distinguished reputation for innovative product development and holds numerous domestic and foreign patents. Roto- Mix offers the most complete line of feed mixers in the industry including Rotary, Auger and Vertical mixers in sizes ranging from 80 to 1,500 cubic feet.

Beef

Calf Scours Caused By a Variety of Pathogens

NEW YORK (Oct. 28, 2009) — One of the reasons why calf scours is such a challenging disease for producers is that it can be caused by a combination of two or more pathogens.

“There are four major pathogens that cause calf scours, and a host of minor ones,” said Jerry Olson, DVM, MS, senior veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health. “In most cases, more than one of the causative agents is involved in clinical scours.”

He added that diagnosis of the pathogen(s) involved in scours is challenging because the causative agent may no longer be present by the time the sample is collected and tested at a diagnostic laboratory, and some scours organisms also may be present in healthy calves. Postmortem exams also can be unreliable because dead animals often have intestinal bacterial overgrowth and/or postmortem tissue destruction.

While diagnosis based strictly on clinical signs is not possible, Olson noted some of the characteristics of major scours pathogens:

• Escherichia coli K99 should be suspected as a cause of scours in calves during the first week of life.

• Rotavirus serotype G6 and rotavirus serotype G10 also can surface in the first two weeks of life, but may be involved in animals a month of age or older. Infections involving either serotype of rotavirus often cause animals to have profuse watery diarrhea because the absorptive capacity of the gut is markedly reduced when the intestinal villi are blunted.

• Coronavirus usually causes more severe scours outbreak than rotavirus because it affects both the small and large intestine whereas rotavirus affects primarily the small intestine. Coronavirus primarily affects calves from one to three weeks of age. However, like rotavirus, it may occur any time during the first month of a calf’s life and beyond.

Both rotavirus and coronavirus are hardy organisms that can survive for months in moist, cool conditions.

Scours treatment is a frustrating proposition. “Infected animals very quickly have problems with nutrient malabsorption, excess secretion of fluids and intestinal inflammation,” Olson said. “Once these factors start to snowball, their combined effect is difficult to overcome.”

Olson advised that prevention is the most efficient approach to managing scours. Passive immunity created by vaccinating the dam and getting adequate quantities of high quality colostrum from these vaccinated cows shortly after birth are very effective in preventing diarrhea caused by E. coli, rotavirus and coronavirus.

Olson said that, ideally, for maximum protection of the calf, vaccination of the dam should take place far enough ahead of the “colostrum concentration” window that high levels of antibodies are present in the blood at its onset. This starts at about three weeks before calving, and peaks during the last two weeks before calving. This means that cows need to receive a booster at least three weeks prior to the IgG concentrating period.

ScourGuard® 4KC is the only vaccine labeled for protection against rotavirus serotypes G6 and G10. ScourGuard 4KC also aids in preventing diarrhea caused by coronavirus, E. coli K99 and Clostridium perfringens type C. Olson advised that first-calf heifers should receive a two-dose vaccination regimen, given approximately three weeks apart. The first dose should be administered in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, with the second dose given five to six weeks before calving. After that, an annual booster shot given five to six weeks before each subsequent calving is recommended.

Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal prescription medicines and vaccines, investing an estimated $300 million annually. Beyond the U.S., Pfizer Animal Health also supports veterinarians and their customers in more than 60 countries around the world. For more information on how Pfizer works to ensure a safe, sustainable global food supply with healthy livestock and poultry, or how Pfizer helps companion animals and horses to live longer, healthier lives, visit www.PfizerAnimalHealth.com.

Beef

Boehringer Ingelheim Acquires Fort Dodge Cattle Products

Company greatly expands portfolio of products for beef, dairy cattle

St. Joseph, Mo. (October 26, 2009) – Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) announces that it has acquired certain Fort Dodge Animal Health vaccines, parasiticides and antibiotics for the BIVI cattle business in the United States and Canada.

The Fort Dodge products acquired include the well-established vaccine brands Triangle®, Pyramid®, Presponse® and TrichGuard®; Cydectin® brand parasiticide; the ToDAY® and ToMORROW® pharmaceutical products for the dairy industry; and the Polyflex® antibiotic. For a list of all acquired products and existing BIVI products, find the complete cattle portfolio at www.bi-vetmedica.com.

According to Colin Meyers, executive director of BIVI’s cattle business, the addition of these brands to the company’s cattle product line provide producers with a broader range of health solutions from a single source. “These products are strong, well-established brands that are highly regarded and utilized by veterinarians and beef and dairy cattle producers,” Meyers explains. “The Fort Dodge products are complementary to our existing BIVI cattle product portfolio and we look forward to continue to provide them to the U.S. and Canadian markets.”

As part of the cattle product acquisition, BIVI also is acquiring Fort Dodge manufacturing and other assets, and will continue its industry-leading research and product development efforts to bring additional health solutions to cattle producers.

“We know that maintaining herd health is essential to the bottom line of beef and dairy producers and the veterinarians who serve them,” Meyers adds. “Through this acquisition and our other ongoing efforts, we are committed to providing the highest-quality, most-effective products available.”

For more information on the full line of BIVI cattle products, see your Boehringer Ingelheim representative; call 800-325-9167; or visit www.bi-vetmedica.com.

Opinion: China To The Rescue On Global Warming

The headline alone would be enough to cause blood vessels to break among most hardcore global-warming advocates. Last year, China surpassed the U.S. in producing carbon dioxide (CO2). When one considers that the Chinese economy is only one- third the size of that of the U.S., it underscores their contribution even more.

Estimates are that by 2020 China will produce two times as much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the U.S. The bottom line is any global effort to reduce CO2 emissions requires China’s involvement, but China’s power rests upon the foundation of continued and significant growth.

The world is looking toward the upcoming world Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark as a breakthrough event. This will be the biggest push since the Kyoto meetings in 1997. Of course, Kyoto turned out to be a non-event because the U.S. wasn't aboard and China and India were exempted. Thus, Kyoto and its initiatives were rendered pretty much useless before the first signees emerged.

Denmark is supposed to be different because the Obama administration embraces the concepts that climate change is significantly manmade and that the world is on the verge of a cataclysmic collapse without quick, drastic action.

Cap and trade and the ensuing increase in energy costs if it were enacted might be marketable if it were part of a worldwide effort that could achieve the goals of reducing GHG emissions. But, without China, there can be no sizable reduction in GHG emissions. Thus, economically, developed countries will have a hard time selling the sacrifices without any hopes of achieving the stated goals.

Higher energy prices and tough economic times will make cap and trade a very difficult sale domestically, as well. Globally, the focus can’t continue to be a sacrifice of wealth and lifestyle; not as long as China is unwilling to participate. So, despite all the bluster that will precede the meeting in Denmark, the only viable option will be to pursue technologies that are economically viable; that is, using more natural gas, etc.

This will be seen as a major blow to the climate-change movement. It will make it impossible for the movement to separate its desire to lower GHG emissions from its desire to shut down free markets and what they perceive as greed caused by the unethical pursuit of profits.

Without China, any reforms will be inconsequential and harm competitiveness. And, there’s just not much stomach for that in today's economic and political environments.

Opinion: Global Warming And The “No Meat” Crowd

The key to selling any negative message is to surround it with as many true facts and good intentions as possible, and then focus on the legitimate components so that the questionable ones seem almost unimportant.

Most of the people in the climate-change circle are well intentioned; they’re environmentally conscious and have good intentions, though they may have a tendency to believe that man is almost always the source of the problem.

The same could be said for the environmental movement, animal welfare, and even the food-safety and nutritional movements. Their goals are generally good ones, and their concerns have at least some basis in truth. It’s true that good science is sometimes replaced with hyperbole and extreme rhetoric but, for the most part, their intentions are clear.

Still, I believe it would be a mistake to believe that we in livestock production are dealing with passionate, well-intentioned people who occasionally are misinformed about the issues. These movements/causes also have elements within them that are simply trying to eliminate animal agriculture and will use whatever means they can to do just that.

In the London Times online edition this week, a leading global warming expert, climate chief Lord Stern, advocates giving up meat to save the planet. He highlights methane production, and goes on to say that "People will need to consider turning vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change."

After discussing the wastefulness of meat production, he says that a successful outcome to the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen would be for it to lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases. He’s long predicted that people's attitudes would evolve to the point that eating meat would become unacceptable.

It’s nothing short of amazing when you read what the leaders of this movement are hoping to accomplish at this meeting. They’re talking about radical changes of monumental scope. Simple statements like halving greenhouse emissions by 2030 don't even hint at the impacts that such a proposal would create.

Of course, with global temperatures actually cooling and the computer models having to be manipulated on almost a daily basis to maintain the two main themes that man is at fault and that we are headed toward catastrophe, people are becoming increasingly skeptical. Throw in the fact that boosting taxes, lowering standards of living, increasing unemployment and the like wouldn't be popular even in great economic times, and one has to hope that the radical agenda will crash hard against political reality.

The leadership of the climate-change movement is well aware of these issues, and increasingly is talking about shaping public opinion in order to raise the urgency level.

Their mantra today can be summed up as “create a crisis to advance your agenda.” The bigger and more urgent the crisis the better, is the thinking. That’s because it enables one to eliminate debate and divergent opinions and justify bolder actions. Be prepared for both over the next 40 days.

Feedlot Wage Survey Released

A feedlot wage survey conducted by Gregorio Billikopf with the University of California with assistance from the Colorado Livestock Association reveals some interesting data.

The cowboys in the survey had worked from 1-23 years at the feedlot (average was a bit over six years). Length of employment is normally important in making wage comparisons, as employees who have worked longer tend to climb higher up the rate range within their pay grade.

There was no relationship, however, between length of employment in this sample and wages. Some of the highest paying feedlots were paying $15-$17/hour to their entry level cowboys while long-term employees of 10 and even 20 years were earning about $10/hour in other feedlots. The average pay was $12.63/hour; and 32% (n = 7) of the feedlots had differential pay for more difficult shifts.

For the month of April 2009, cowboy earnings ranged from $1,600 to $3,500 (average was $2,569). In addition to their regular pay, 70% (n = 16) of the cowboys were eligible to earn a bonus or incentive. The bonuses or incentives actually earned in April ranged from $0 to $266 (average was $128). When we count only those who earned some incentive, the average was $158.

Vacation ranged from 0 to 27 days/year. Among those who received some vacation, the average was 15 days/year. Two cowboys received approximately half their vacation as actual time off, and the other half as paid time in lieu of additional time off. Generally speaking, feedlot employers who were very generous with their vacation plan did not offer health insurance.

Of the feedlots 77% (n = 17) provided some sort of health insurance for the cowboys (e.g., health, dental, eye). This insurance cost the feedlot from $50 to $1,200/month (average was $445/month). Cowboys worked an average of 9.7 hours/day, and 6 days/week. Cowboys were generally paid on an hourly basis (68%, n = 15), while the rest were paid a salary. Retirement benefits were provided by 59% (n = 13) of the feedlot operations.

Housing was a benefit obtained by 18% (n = 4) of the cowboys, either directly or in the form of a monthly housing allowance.

The feedlot operations averaged 6,800 head checked per day per cowboy. For most (64%, n = 14), this number had changed little from three years ago, while the remaining feedlots were about evenly divided between those who were checking more or fewer head. The one-time capacity was an average of 45,750 head/feedlot. Pen checking time averaged 4.6 hours/cowboy (ranged from half an hour to 8 hours).

Horses were used by 86% (n = 19) of the feedlots. Of those using horses, 58% (n = 11) require cowboys to provide their own mount, with the rest (42%, n = 8) flexible on this matter. Some cowboys were limited to two horses (42%, n = 8). Others had some limits, but could bring at least three mounts (47%, n = 9). Finally, a couple of feedlots had no limits (11%, n = 2).

Quite a few cowboys (42%, n = 8), even those who provided their own horses, were tested or evaluated in terms of their riding abilities. This is an excellent practice in order to avoid future injury to riders, Billikopf says. “I recommend a multifaceted test including riding ability, working with cattle, handling horses, loading horses into trailers, and ability to groom and saddle.” Most (68%, n = 13) cowboys were expected to provide their own saddle.

In terms of labor supply, 9% (n =2) found it much more difficult to find cowboys than three years ago; 36% (n = 8) more difficult; 18% (n = 4) the same; and 18% (n = 4) easier. An additional 18% (n = 4) had no need to hire new cowboys. Of those who found changes in their ability to hire cowboys, 93% (n = 13) felt these changes were externally caused; while one feedlot (7%) felt they had made changes in their operation that made it easier to recruit.

“This is a critical point in labor management,” Billikopf says. “Some operators have found a combination of management practices that help them attract and retain good employees even while there are labor shortages. These include giving job sample (i.e., practical) tests to applicants to make sure the very best are hired, establishing a wage structure within which excellent employees can climb, creating effective incentive pay opportunities that benefit employee and farm operation, and supplying plenty of opportunities for open two-way communication, to name a few.”

General labor related issues of concern, besides ability to find people, were: finding quality employees; managing compensation; safety; employee retention; housing; insurance; and agricultural working schedules.

For additional info on employee management, go to www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/.
-- Gregorio Billikopf, University of California

Know USDA Cull Cow Grades Before Marketing Culls

Some culling of beef cows occurs in most herds every year. Industry audits generally show that cull cows, bulls and cull dairy cows make up about 20% of the beef available for consumption in the U.S. About half of this group (or 10% of the beef supply) comes from cull beef cows.

Whether culling due to drought or to improve herd productivity, it’s important to understand the values placed on cull cows intended for slaughter, says Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension cattle reproduction specialist.

USDA’s Market News Service reports on four classes of cull cows (not destined to be replacements), divided primarily on fatness. The highest conditioned cull cows are reported as "Breakers.” These are quite fleshy and generally have excellent dressing percentages. Body condition score 7 and above is required to be "Breakers.”

The next class is a more moderate conditioned group of cows called "Boners" or "Boning Utility.” These cows usually fall in the body condition score grades of 5-7. Many well-nourished commercial beef cows would be graded "Boners.”

The last two grades are the "Leans" and "Lights.” These cows are very thin (body condition scores 1-4). In general, these are expected to be lower in dressing percentage than fleshier cows and more easily bruised in transport than cows in better body condition. "Lights" are thin cows that are very small and would have very low hot carcass weights.

Leans and Lights are nearly always lower in price per pound than are the Boners and the Breakers. "Lights" often bring the lowest price per pound because the amount of saleable product is small, even though the overhead costs of slaughtering and processing are about the same as larger, fleshier cows. Also, thin cows are more susceptible to bruising while in transit to market and to the harvest plant. Therefore, more trim loss is likely to occur with thin cull cows than with those in better body condition, Selk says.

Producers who sell cull cows should pay close attention to the market news reports about the price differentials of the cows in these classes, Selk advises. Cull cows that can be fed enough to gain body condition to improve from the Lean class to Boner class can gain weight and gain in value per pound at the same time. Seldom, if ever, does this situation exist elsewhere in the beef business.

Therefore, during the fall and early winter, market your cull cows while still in good enough condition to fall in the Boner grade. If cows are being culled while very thin, consider short term dry lot feeding to take them up in weight and up in grade. This usually can be done in 50-70 days with excellent feed efficiency.

Rarely does it pay to feed enough to move the cows to "Breaker" class. There is very little, if any, price per pound advantage of Breakers over Boners and cows lose feed efficiency if fed to that degree of fatness.

For the cows you do keep in the breeding herd, it’s important to manage them properly during the winter, Selk adds.

First-calf heifers have historically been the toughest females on the ranch to get rebred. They’re being asked to continue to grow, produce milk, repair the reproductive tract, and have enough stored body energy (fat) to return to heat cycles in a short time frame. Two-year-old cows must fill all these energy demands at a time when their mouth is going through the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth.

If these young cows are pastured with the larger, mature cows in the herd, they very likely will be pushed aside when the supplements are being fed in the bunk or on the ground. The result of these adverse conditions for young cows very often is a lack of feed intake and lowered body condition. Of course, lowered body condition in turn results in delayed return to heat cycles and a later calf crop or smaller calf crop the following year.

Long-term data clearly show that the average two-year-old is about 20% smaller than her full-grown herd mates. There is little wonder that the younger cows get pushed away from feed bunks, hay racks, or supplements fed on the ground. The results of the size differences and the need to continue to grow are manifest in the lower body condition scores often noted in the very young cows. In addition, the very old (10 years of age and older) cows are experiencing decline in dental soundness that makes it difficult for them to maintain feed intake and therefore body condition.

If pasture availability will allow, it makes sense to sort very young cows with the very old cows and provide them with a better opportunity to compete for the feed supplies. By doing so, the rancher can improve the re-breeding percentages in the young cows and keep the very old cows from becoming too thin before culling time.
-- Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University Cow-Calf Corner

McDonald’s E-Mail Hoax Up From The Grave … Again

Just in time for Halloween, one of the world’s top email hoaxes has again arisen from the grave. First appearing in 2002, the email is a chain-style communication designed to encourage recipients to boycott McDonald’s, claiming that the fast-food chain sources its beef from South America.

The email exhorts recipients to send the message to 10 others, and those 10 to each send to another 10. “By the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over 3 million consumers!” it says.

The email has appeared under the attribution of both the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and a Texas A&M University professor, both of whom have disavowed the email. But the email continues to resurface every two years or so. One of the latest versions is currently circulating in Canada and claiming that Canadian McDonald’s is sourcing South American beef.

Here is the 2004 e-mail:

McDonald's claims that there is not enough beef in the USA to support their restaurants. Well, we know that is not so. Our opinion is they are looking to save money at our expense. The sad thing of it is that the people of the USA are the ones who made McDonald's successful in the first place, but we are not good enough to provide beef.

We personally are no longer eating at McDonald's, which I am sure does not make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an impact felt. Please pass it on.

Just to add a note, all Americans that sell cows at a livestock auction barn had to sign a paper stating that we do not ever feed our cows any part of another cow. South Americans are not required to do this as of yet. McDonald's has announced that they are going to start importing much of their beef from South America.

The problem is that South Americans aren't under the same regulations as American beef producers, and the regulations they have are loosely controlled. They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures that have been banned here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can also use various hormones and growth regulators that we can't. The American public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may be putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old McDonald's.

American ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the world and this is what Americans deserve to eat. Not beef from countries where quality is loosely controlled. Therefore, I am proposing a boycott of McDonald's until they see the light.

I'm sorry but everything is not always about the bottom line, and when it comes to jeopardizing my family's health that is where I draw the line.

I am sending this note to about 30 people. If each of you send it to at least 10 more and those 300 send it to at least 10 more … and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over 3 million consumers! I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you?

Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.


Now, For Some Facts. Here’s what BEEF magazine published on this matter back in 2004:

“First of all, McDonald's buys almost 1 billion lbs. of beef from U.S. producers each year.

“Second, there has been a serious shortage of lean beef trimmings in the U.S. due to fewer beef and dairy cows going to market. Ground beef accounts for nearly 50% of total red meat consumption, and lean ground beef is clearly preferred by the retail customer.

“The McDonald's proposal two years ago was actually to test a small amount of beef from Australia and New Zealand in some of its markets. Those countries export fresh, frozen and chilled beef to the U.S. under an already established tariff rate quota (TRQ) system. This system caps the amount of beef imported from all countries not included in FTAs.

“With regard to South America (a moot point in this argument), a couple of points need to be addressed.

“Virtually all South American beef is produced without ‘growth regulators.’ It's why Brazil and Argentina can export beef to the European Union. Also, more than 90% of Brazilian and Argentine beef is grass-fed. That means the concern about feeding animal by-products is a non-issue.

“Because of foot-and-mouth-disease issues in Argentina and Brazil, fresh beef from those countries is not eligible for export into the U.S. Only thermally-treated, processed beef from Brazil or Argentina (the primary South American beef producers) is allowed for U.S. import. When was the last time you ordered corned beef at McDonald's?

“It is possible to import fresh beef from foot-and-mouth disease-free Uruguay, which has a 20,000-metric-ton slice of the TRQ pie.

“Perpetuation of a false and ignorant hoax does nothing to help anyone in the U.S. cattle business. What we need is accurate information and qualified opinion, not emotional rhetoric like this chain letter spews.

“Should our first desire not be that all people worldwide have at their disposal an adequate supply of safe, wholesome and good-tasting beef to mix into their diets?

“Then, let's duke it out for market share. With people eating beef, U.S. producers can prosper in a global marketplace.”

A Vet's Perspective on the Animal Care Debate

russ-daly-in-action.jpg Today, my dad and I are headed up the road to Artesian, S.D. to help our neighbors wean their calves for today's sale in town. I think it's a great resource to team up with neighbors, whether it be borrowing equipment or sharing labor forces. Anyway, it has started raining again, and I think I'm going to be wishing I was back inside blogging instead of working cattle in the mud and rain; however, this blogging/cattle ranching business is truly a balancing act, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do both. Before I head out to the ranch, I thought I would share a conversation I recently had with South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service Veterinarian, Russ Daly. Daly, DVM, met with me last week to discuss this ongoing battle between the animal rights activists and farm and ranch organizations. The SDSU Extension Service is currently working on developing an outlet to share unbiased information about agriculture with consumers, and although they are still in the planning stages, Dr. Daly had plenty of thoughts on this particular subject. Read on to learn what he has to say about the animal care debate.

“The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service has always been an unbiased source for the general public to count on,” said Daly, DVM. “We take this responsibility very seriously and feel that our extension educators and specialists have a great ability to interact with the public to explain our modern production practices, so they can better understand where their food comes from and how it is raised.”

"Everyone knows the quote, ‘They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. We need to show the general public, in an unbiased forum, that farmers and ranchers truly care and are putting the animals and the environment first in their businesses.”

“It’s going to become increasingly important for producers to stay up-to-date on the most current research regarding animal care practices that. Things like timely euthanasia and adequate pain management are practices the public is looking at, too. We need to be transparent in our work, and if there is something on your operation you wouldn’t want consumers to see, then maybe that’s something to improve upon.”

For quality information on best animal handling practices, Dr. Daly recommends checking out the position statements listed on the websites for the American Association for Bovine Practitioner’s and the American Veterinary Medical Association. While the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service works to provide an educational program to reach non-agriculture groups, food producers can work on improving their own operations for the better, and together, these efforts will help to regain trust in America’s farmer and rancher. I appreciate Dr. Daly for speaking with me on this topic and providing today's food for thought. So, what efforts are you making at your operation to improve for the better?

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: The cattle industry is a family business. Eighty percent of the cattle businesses have been in the same families for more than 25 years; 10 percent fore more than 100 years. (Source: Beef Facts)