Fighting The Global Warming Scam

“Man-caused global warming is the biggest scam perpetrated against society since time began,” says Jay Lehr, science director for the Heartland Institute. “The whole concept behind climate change is fear and control.”

When you explore the facts, ice core samples for the last 900,000 years, and records from the last 5,000 years, Lehr explains the global climate has meandered through fairly predictable 1,500-year cycles of warming and cooling.

“The whole scam is based on mathematical models,” Lehr explains. He adds none of those models anticipated nor accounted for the global cooling in 2007 that basically erased the 100 years of global warming preceding it.

Lehr has studied global climate change for more than three decades. He’s an internationally renowned speaker, scientist and author who has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. More than that, he sounds downright normal.

Lehr was a featured speaker at the recent annual convention of the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raiser’s Association.

You’ve heard plenty about the much-publicized revelation of e-mails in November that called into serious question the credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and scientists behind the organization.

According to an article by H. Sterling Burnett for the Heartland Institute, the e-mails, “…revealed longstanding efforts to manipulate, hide and destroy scientific data that cast doubt on global warming alarmism. The late-November document leak also exposed pernicious tactics used to strong-arm the peer-review publishing process in order to keep skeptical scientists from publishing their findings.”

Of course, that didn’t stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from trumping Congress in December and declaring an endangerment finding for greenhouse gases (GHGs). Of its own volition, EPA essentially declared that GHGs threaten the public health and welfare of the American people and should be regulated via the Clean Air Act.

Keep in mind that EPA’s ruling came out a week after Climategate broke. Unsurprisingly, a number of states are suing EPA over the designation, and some federal law makers are working to get EPA to rescind its judgment.

How these supposed experts square their notions with reality is anyone’s guess. Reality like the fact that of the small number of glaciers man has studied, a third are shrinking, but a third are growing while another third remain unchanged. Reality like the fact that the polar bear population in North America – often used as the evocative poster child of manmade global warming destruction – has grown from 5,000 head in 1960 to 25,000 head today. According to Lehr, there are 22 clans of polar bears on the continent; 14 are growing and six remain stable. The two clans declining in population are those located in the coldest part of the continent.

“Temperature fluctuations during the current 300-year recovery from the Little Ice Age correlate almost perfectly with fluctuations in solar activity,” Lehr explains. “This correlation long predates human use of significant amounts of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas."

In fact, Lehr says increased GHGs are responsible for about 2 million tons of additional vegetation on the equator. “The increased growth in the rain forest along the equator has far outweighed whatever amount of vegetation was cut down by peasants in order to scratch some food out of the land,” Lehr explains. “There was a loss of rain forests and now there's a very significant advancement of green energy in rain forest.”

Spun another way, Lehr stresses carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane are not pollutants; they are absorbed by the atmosphere. Rather than increased CO2 increasing global temperatures, Lehr explains ice cores verify that historical increases in global temperature precede increasing levels of GHGs; more of them are released by the oceans as they warm.

Even the common measures of GHG emissions pinned to ag production are wrong, says Frank Mitloehner, University of California-Davis associate professor and air quality specialist (see “Modern Agriculture is the Solution” elsewhere in this newsletter).

The reason folks hear few of these facts, Lehr says, is that the media prefers to focus on alarmist rhetoric, cash-strapped scientific researchers are cowed into looking at global warming in order to get funding, there are piles of money to be made from trading carbon credits, and there’s lots of power to be wielded if you control people’s carbon footprints.

By the way, you likely remember hearing about the 2007 Oscar-winning movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” It supported a book by the same name authored by Al Gore. The movie documented the Power Point presentation of the book’s message that Gore has presented around the world. Lehr says there’s a scene in the movie depicting a forlorn polar bear swimming and swimming, looking for a glacier until finally, apparently exhausted, the bear begins going under, presumably for the last time.

It’s a fake, says Lehr – just computer animation, as are other scenes used in the movie. “Pity not the polar bear,” Lehr says, “They can swim 60 miles.”

Winter Keeps On Giving

“The extreme winter weather has exacerbated the seasonal decline in dressed weights of cattle slaughtered. The potential is high for dressed weights well below the 2009 levels,” Economic Research Service (ERS) analysts said in the most recent “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.”

During the past decade, ERS analysts explain average monthly dressed weights declined an average of just under 4% (29 lbs.) from peak weights in the fall to seasonal lows in April-May. During last year’s mild winter the seasonal decline was 22 lbs.

It’s not just feedlot performance, either. As cattle were coming off wheat pasture in the Rolling Plains and Panhandle of Texas, Todd Baughman, Texas AgriLife Extension agronomist, observed, “The biggest thing from the wheat-cattle situation is that cattle are coming off wheat a bit light because of all the mud they’ve been dragging around.”

The ERS analysts explain that: “combined with dressed weights below year-earlier levels, the net placements falling below year-earlier levels thus far this winter will likely result in total commercial beef production below year-earlier levels through at least mid-year. If lower placements continue during the first half of 2010, beef production could also be below year-ago levels in the second half. Wholesale beef prices will receive support from lower beef production, especially with any increase in prices for beef middle meats, pork, and poultry.”

Also on the plus side is a drought map no one can remember seeing before – virtually no severe drought anywhere in the U.S. So, pastures should get off to a roaring start this spring.

A downside to this winter’s exceptional moisture, along with the physical challenges of fighting it, is the likelihood for more volatility in the grain markets with concerns of late planting and whatnot. The industry will get its first look at next year’s crop when USDA releases the Planting Intentions report this week.

Developing a Plan to Market Cattle, Manage Risk

img_4816.JPG “It seems the consensus in the market is that demand is a huge problem; however, the markets have upside potential with risk” said Matthew Diersen, in his opening statements at the Beef Cattle Risk Management Session I recently attended.

In this struggling economy, beef demand has taken a hit, as consumers have less disposable income to spend on high dollar beef cuts. However, Diersen, who has a Ph.D. in ag economics, encouraged producers to ride the economic storm as hidden opportunities are just around the corner for those who stick it out.

img_5322.JPG With a short supply of cattle, Diersen added that the USDA predicts the U.S. cowherd to start rebuilding in 2011. He presented numbers showing an average $40/head loss for cow/calf producers in 2009. Economists predict a $60/head gain in 2011, but looking at cash returns in 2005 at $150 to $200/head, Diersen said $60 isn’t going to encourage too many folks to get into beef production again. He also stressed the importance of watching market indicators for making educated decisions down the road.

Certainly, developing and writing a commodity marketing plan using the marketing options and insurance tools available to producers can be tricky and overwhelming. However, Diersen said having a plan serves as the roadmap for the ranch business plan and will help capture high prices and minimize risk when making decisions down the road. I had the opportunity to discuss these things with him in an interview, and I hope you will take a minute to listen to our segment below.

BEEF Daily Quick Fact:The protein in beef helps you maintain a healthy metabolism, but beef isn’t only useful in maintaining a healthy body. Studies suggest that the protein in beef may be help prevent many chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis. (Source: Spring into Shape at Beef It's What's For Dinner)

Market Strength Continues

Cattle producers are enjoying the stoutest market rally in recent memory – wholesale beef prices higher, fed cattle prices higher, feeder and calf prices higher, futures higher.

Although there was a sharp correction in Live Cattle and Feeder cattle futures last week, and seasonal highs may have been scaled, boxed-beef values are achieving levels unseen in more than a year.

Though domestic demand remains flat, exports continue to outperform earlier-year estimates. And as has happened since the BSE crisis, through the commodity bubble and last year’s global financial meltdown, SUPPLY continues to save us and now fuels the current rally.

“Fundamentals remain strong, and perhaps the tight numbers of beef cattle at every level have finally hit home with boxed beef cut-out values gaining $6 this week, reaching levels not seen since the summer of 2008,” analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) said Friday.

Auction prices continued to increase for steers and heifers last week – $1-$3 higher – especially for calves weighing 550-700 lbs.

Cattle feeders remain in more positive economic shape, too. “Cattle feeding margins were positive for January and February of this year, and, if fed-cattle prices remain at current levels, margins could be positive for several months,” say USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) analysts in the most recent “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.”

According to ERS’ High Plains Cattle Feeding Simulator, breakeven prices will range from $87 to $89/cwt. through May 2010. “Any further declines in feed prices could also improve this outlook, although increasing feeder calf prices will reduce margins,” the report says.

According to Randy Blach, CattleFax CEO, speaking at the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association convention two weeks ago, the price run has everything to do with domestic demand stabilizing, supplies dwindling and exports picking up some steam. Blach is bullish about where the market is heading now and over the next few years. CattleFax looks for calves to be worth another $30-$40/cwt. when they hit a cyclical peak in 2013-14.

“If you’ve got the feed resources, I don’t know that I’ve seen a better time than where we’re at right now to grow numbers,” Blach says.

The summary below reflects the week ended March 26 for Medium and Large 1 – 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb. (calves), and 700- to 750-lb. feeder heifers and steers (unless otherwise noted). The list is arranged in descending order by auction volume and represents sales reported in the weekly USDA National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary:

Summary Table
State Volume Steers Heifers
Calf Weight 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs. 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs.
Dakotas 31,800
SD
ND

$127.62
$128.86

$119.94
$119.43

$110.35
$109.95

$114.87
$112.58

$109.01
$108.27

$100.90
$100.76
KY* 27,700 $117.15 $107.87 $101.72 $102.70 $97.12 $90.87
MO 22,300 $125.62 $116.49 $108.94 $109.76 $105.19 $97.29
OK 22,000 $126.74 $117.50 $109.69 $110.31 $105.54 $97.76
TX 19,200 $119.59 $112.60 $105.47 $107.53 $102.62 $95.89
NE 18,500 $133.62 $124.18 $110.39 $117.00 $110.31 $99.98
KS 12,600 $128.36 $117.15 $109.19 $114.23 $103.38 $97.57
AL 9,200 $119.05 $108.39 $95.976 $103.62 $96.00 $87.336
IA 9,000 $126.73 $114.46 $107.77 $113.39 $107.30 $94.45
Carolinas 8,500 $100-120 $97-111.50 $86-98.50 $84-106 $81-97 $78-88
AR 7,900 $121.80 $114.25 $107.524 $105.67 $99.34 $95.984
TN* 7,500 $116.30 $105.66 $98.07 $101.54 $91.03 $87.20
VA 5,900 $117.70 $110.24 $97.42 $96.29 $91.38 $87.67
GA*(***) 6,000 $103-121 $96-113.50 $85-101 $90-107 $84-97 $79-84
FL* 5,100 $106-128 $96-111 $90-1084 $91-104 $88-1022 $87-1054
NM 5,100 $122.19 $108.06 $106.32 $109.53 $103.04 $93.56
MS* 4,700 $110-120 $98-1103 $93-1025 $94-1061 $89-983 $85-915
LA* 3,800 $109-123 $100-118 $98-1134 $102-112 $98-1082 $90-1004
WA* 2,900 $125.84 $115.61 $101.02 $112.40 $100.154 $98.12
MT 2,500 $123.212 $115.99 $103.316 $116.00 $111.65 $95.96
CO 2,000 $127.94 $122.044 $108.02 $115.86 $101.794 $92.417

* Plus #2
** None reported of the same quality at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
(?) As reported, but questionable
NDNo Description
1500-600 lbs.
2550-600 lbs.
3600-700 lbs.
4650-700 lbs.
5700-800 lbs.
6750-800 lbs.
7800-850 lbs.
8850-900 lbs.

New D.C. Animal Group Poses Danger for Ranchers

This little beauty will be quite a bit different than any of my previous columns. This is about an organization calling itself Global Animal Partnership (GAP). The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Members of the board include Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the U.S. and Steven Gross from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Neither of these groups are friends of animal agriculture. While USDA's Ag Marketing Service says this group's five-step approach was a natural extension of the Organic Standards, some of the standards can be considered ridiculous. These include: no cattle shall go through an auction barn, no cow shall be hauled within 12 weeks of calving, and no rodents in the barn (I can’t seem to keep them out of my house!)

GAP's stated goal is to facilitate and encourage improvement in animal agriculture. Sounds something LIKE the government man that stops by the ranch and says, "I'm here to help you."

To read the entire article, link here.

A Systematic Approach to Bull Buying

With the onset of bull buying season, having a systematic approach to finding and identifying the "right" bull is imperative. Bull selection is the most critical factor for genetic improvement in cow-calf herds, as the influence of the bull impacts both the immediate calf crop as well as future calf crops through the performance (and costs) of his daughters. Consequently, bull selection warrants careful planning and preparation, well in advance of any sale or visit from an AI representative. Consider the following steps to assist in the bull-buying process:

1. Identify Herd Goals- Herd goals serve as the foundation for sire selection and provide guidance as to traits with the most relevance. Defining the production and marketing system, along with management strategies and environment are key factors that warrant consideration:

* Will the bull be used on heifers, mature cows, or both?

* Will replacement females be retained in the herd?

* How will the calf crop be marketed? (at weaning?, backgrounded?, retained ownership? sell females?)

* What are the labor and management resources available?

* What are the feed resources and environmental conditions of the operation?

 

2. Assess Herd Strengths and Weaknesses- Fundamental records are necessary to identify herd strengths and weaknesses. Basic performance parameters such as calving percentage, weaning percentage, weaning weights, sale weights, carcass merit, feed usage, etc. are necessary to serve as the basis for assessing areas of strength and those needing attention.

To read the entire article, link here.

HSUS Calls Ag Response “Paranoid”

Increasing efforts by animal rights groups in the U.S. to restrict livestock industry practices are defended by the head of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle, who recently spoke with Brownfield said: “All of our campaigns related to food animal production are about humane production standards, humane transport and humane slaughter. I mean, I defy anyone to show me any statement where we say we want to eliminate animal agriculture.”

Pacelle says concerns in agriculture that HSUS campaigns to crack down on irresponsible dog breeders, like the one in Missouri, have anything to do with livestock agriculture are unfounded. Pacelle says, “It’s an irrational and paranoid response.”

Pacelle says the goal of HSUS is not to shut down livestock production but to improve the treatment of animals raised for food. Members of ag groups in states such as Ohio and Missouri continue to work toward stopping what they say are HSUS attempts to eventually shut down livestock production in their states.

To read the entire article, link here.

Breeding the Perfect Bull

There once was a bull, an astonishing bull with a handsome, wide muzzle, stunning scrotal circumference and a square frame solid as a sycamore. He was the son of Cherokee Canyon, the grandson of Make My Day, a noble pedigree. The cowboy who designed him, who chose the semen, selected the dam, prepared and inseminated the uterus, named him Revelation. “We don’t intend to present this bull as divine,” the cowboy, Donnell Brown, would write in his 2005 sale catalog, “but we do count it a blessing to have raised him.” Brown was a salesman by nature, but not given to hyperbole. He believed in his heart that Revelation, at just a year-and-a-half old, could become the most storied bull in the history of the Red Angus breed. Finally, after decades of tinkering: might this be the masterpiece?

Every October, cattle buyers from all over the United States gather near Throckmorton, in north-central Texas, where the R.A. Brown Ranch has been selling breeding cattle for more than a century, and where as many as 800 head will go at auction in a single day. Fathers, sons, grandsons—the ranch has passed through five generations. Donnell Brown, 41, is the current cowboy in charge, and at the 2005 R. A. Brown Ranch Bull & Female Sale he sold Revelation to a Houston businessman with a weekend ranch for $12,000.

To read the entire article, link here.

Now It's CowGate

It is becoming difficult to keep pace with the speed at which the global warming scam is now unravelling. The latest reversal of scientific “consensus” is on livestock and the meat trade as a major cause of global warming, one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to eco-vegetarian cranks. Now a scientific report delivered to the American Chemical Society says it is nonsense. The Washington Times has called it “Cowgate”.

The cow-burp hysteria reached a crescendo in 2006 when a United Nations report ominously entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” claimed: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.” This led to demands in America for a “cow tax” and a campaign in Europe at the time of the Copenhagen car crash last December called Less Meat=Less Heat.

To read the entire article, link here.

"Streamlining" Manure Nutrient Management

Livestock manure has always been an important source of fertilizer for crops in Ohio. However, Ohio agriculture is under increasing environmental, social, and economic pressure to apply manure in ways that maximize the utilization of nutrients, protect surface and ground water, and provide assurance to the public that steps are being taken to prevent pollution from affecting their health and the environment.

While many of Ohio's livestock operations have developed written plans or strategies to properly utilize manure, the majority have not. There are many possible reasons for this lack of planning. However, few producers have had the expertise, training or tools needed to help them develop their own nutrient management plans.

To read the entire article, link here.