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Articles from 2006 In May


Take Some Time To Thank Our Veterans

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-- John McCrae, 1915

There are few things as moving to me as viewing a national cemetery. Seeing those rows upon rows of white crosses, seemingly standing at attention, timeless and stark reminders of the price of freedom and the supreme sacrifice made by America's best to preserve it. The crosses represent folks who all gave their innocence in service to their country, all giving something to their fellow citizens, and some giving all.

My dad and many of my uncles fought in World War II and Korea. My father, an infantryman whose name I proudly carry, landed at Omaha Beach, marched in the Liberation of Paris and was among the holdouts at Bastogne. My uncle Abe was also at the Bulge. My uncle Gene served in the Pacific, fighting the last holdouts on the Japanese home islands and witnessing firsthand the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

My situation isn't much different than most folks my age. Such was the sacrifice of what Tom Brokaw termed, "The Greatest Generation," that we all had firsthand contact of some sort with such heroes.

I've always been awed and humbled by such folks. But really I've been awed by all members of that generation -- a generation that when duty called they pitched in at home and abroad to preserve the institutions and the way of life that had been passed to them to uphold. Members of that generation are leaving us by the thousands each day.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, reports www.usmemorialday.org. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The National Holiday Act of 1971 set the official observance day as the last Monday in May.

Many folks, and I am among them, lament that Memorial Day isn't what it used to be. Many folks think the day is aimed at honoring all dead rather than just veterans. And, rather than being a time of remembrance and reflection, Memorial Day has turned out to serve as more a mark of the official start of summer vacation than anything else.

I agree this nation could do more to honor our fallen and those in service, and to honor these folks more while they live, with better benefits and services.

But I do think there seems to be a renewed spirit of respect among Americans for our veterans, and folks in uniform and their families. When you gather with your loved ones on Monday, take a few moments to invoke the memory of the millions of largely faceless folks who made it possible. Better yet, carry that spirit throughout the year by personally thanking the folks in uniform when you encounter them.

Aussie Predictions Shed Light On U.S. Beef Situation

The past five years have been extraordinary for the Australian beef industry. Peak prices were probably set in mid-2005, with the prosperity offsetting the effects of unprecedented nationwide drought. The Aussie beef industry though, expects its window of prosperity to begin narrowing. Yet, prices and prosperity will be buoyed by a number of key factors: Cyclically low U.S. production and sustained price strength in beef prices will encourage imports into the U.S.

The retention of additional market share in the Pacific Rim due to weak U.S. market presence.

Strong domestic beef demand and constrained domestic supplies. But with global competition heating up and U.S. domestic beef prices softening due to rising production, here's what the Aussies are expecting of the next several years, according to Meat & Livestock Australia: U.S. beef will reenter Japan in July 2006 -- reaching 30,000 metric tons (mt), for the remainder of 2006, or 25% of second-half 2003 levels and 40% (105,000 mt) of previous annual supply in 2007.

Canadian beef exports to Japan, which reentered Japan in December 2005, will reach 50% (10,000 mt) of pre-BSE levels by the end of 2006 and 75% (15,000 mt) in 2007.

U.S.-Japan import protocols will be renegotiated in 2008, with adoption of world animal health organization (OIE) 30-month rules allowing the U.S. to return to 90% (240,000 mt) of previous supply by 2009.

Japanese beef consumption gradually recovers from BSE scares, approaching 2000 levels by 2010.

U.S. boneless beef from under-30 (age-verified) cattle will reenter the Korean market in 2006 -- reaching 50% (75,000 mt) of pre-BSE levels by the end of '06, and 75% of previous supply in 2007.

The U.S. border will reopen to Canadian "cow beef" (but not animals 30 months and older) from the third quarter of 2006. This will cause significant quantities of Australian cow beef to divert away from the U.S.

Argentine beef will reenter the NAFTA market in January 2008 (with a 20,000 mt U.S. tariff rate quota). Brazilian beef will remain banned by NAFTA countries through the projection period (2010).

Total Aussie beef exports to the U.S. in 2006 will increase 13% over 2005 to 363,000 mt, 6,000 mt below the quota.

Composition of Australian beef exports to the U.S. will continue to be about two-thirds lean trimmings and one-third whole-muscle cuts.

Under the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, beef exports to the U.S. will remain below the 2007 quota (398,214 mt) and 2008 quota (413,214 mt), but could reach expanded quota levels before the end of the decade.

Competition from Brazil will be fierce in non-NAFTA markets, leaving Australian beef uncompetitive except in the higher quality end of the market. -- Clint Peck

A Few Words About That "Attitude Thing"

I'm one of the truly fortunate people. I actually love what I do for a living - working with the land, cattle and horses. Our family is healthy. I even have a hard time identifying with a lot of people who have had monumental obstacles - my parents and my wife's parents are happily married and have always been there for us.

I would guess on just about any blessing scale one could concoct, I'd be in the upper 1% of fortunate people in the world, probably even higher. With that said, I should be overflowing with gratefulness, sporting a smile that stretches from one end of the room to the next. But it isn't always like that.

The drought has a way of wearing a person down. The truck's transmission goes out. The hard drive on my laptop crashes for the second time in 8 months. Or the gate comes open on the sorted cows. Life throws challenges at you that can send you to the house at the end of the day with a foul attitude, and I've been known to take it out on family, friends, our interns, even the dog.

No one's ever accused me of being a quick study, but there are some absolute truths I've stumbled onto in my life. Few of them would be more important than the one that essentially says you and you alone are the one who chooses your own attitude.

Every motivational speaker makes that case in one way or another - it isn't the circumstances that matter but how you respond to them. The following quotes are ones I routinely reference to keep my perception in line and my attitude positive: "A pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks." - Michael Levine

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James Compare what you want with what you have, and you'll be unhappy. Compare what you deserve with what you have, and you'll be happy." - Evan Esar "Optimism is an intellectual choice." - Diana Schneider

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13 If we are honest with ourselves, things are probably better than they seem. -- Troy Marshall

Take Some Time To Thank Our Veterans

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. -- John McCrae, 1915

There are few things as moving to me as viewing a national cemetery. Seeing those rows upon rows of white crosses, seemingly standing at attention, timeless and stark reminders of the price of freedom and the supreme sacrifice made by America's best to preserve it. The crosses represent folks who all gave their innocence in service to their country, all giving something to their fellow citizens, and some giving all.

My dad and many of my uncles fought in World War II and Korea. My father, an infantryman whose name I proudly carry, landed at Omaha Beach, marched in the Liberation of Paris and was among the holdouts at Bastogne. My uncle Abe was also at the Bulge. My uncle Gene served in the Pacific, fighting the last holdouts on the Japanese home islands and witnessing firsthand the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

My situation isn't much different than most folks my age. Such was the sacrifice of what Tom Brokaw termed, "The Greatest Generation," that we all had firsthand contact of some sort with such heroes.

I've always been awed and humbled by such folks. But really I've been awed by all members of that generation -- a generation that when duty called they pitched in at home and abroad to preserve the institutions and the way of life that had been passed to them to uphold. Members of that generation are leaving us by the thousands each day.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, reports www.usmemorialday.org. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The National Holiday Act of 1971 set the official observance day as the last Monday in May.

Many folks, and I am among them, lament that Memorial Day isn't what it used to be. Many folks think the day is aimed at honoring all dead rather than just veterans. And, rather than being a time of remembrance and reflection, Memorial Day has turned out to serve as more a mark of the official start of summer vacation than anything else.

I agree this nation could do more to honor our fallen and those in service, and to honor these folks more while they live, with better benefits and services.

But I do think there seems to be a renewed spirit of respect among Americans for our veterans, and folks in uniform and their families. When you gather with your loved ones on Monday, take a few moments to invoke the memory of the millions of largely faceless folks who made it possible. Better yet, carry that spirit throughout the year by personally thanking the folks in uniform when you encounter them. -- Joe Roybal

House Members Pressure USDA For NAIS Detail

The main issue in House consideration of the ag appropriations bill was animal ID. A number of members stated their frustration that the U.S. doesn't have an animal ID program in place and criticized USDA. The bill prohibits USDA from spending any money in FY 2007 for its animal ID program until USDA sends the House Appropriations Committee a "complete and detailed plan including, but not limited to, proposed legislative changes, cost estimates and means of program evaluation." The committee said USDA has been sending "mixed signals" as it relates to animal ID.

The House overwhelmingly defeated (389-34) an amendment by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) that would have eliminated all funding for the animal ID program. -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

Western Cow-Calf Resource Manual Now Available

The recently updated "Cow-Calf Management Guide and Cattle Producer's Library" is now available from the University of Idaho (UI).

Published as a three-ring binder filled with various decision-aiding worksheets and more than 230 research-based fact sheets on all aspects of beef-cattle production, the manual addresses such major topics as reproduction, nutrition, management, finance, genetics, drought, quality assurance, health and pasture. Material is peer-reviewed and revised annually by the Western Beef Resource Committee, a team of state Extension beef specialists and educators from 12 western states.

The manual is available for $95 as a printed binder that includes a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM alone can be purchased for $35. Manual owners can also buy revised fact sheets each year. To order, contact the UI Department of Animal and Vet Sciences at 208-885-6345, cowcalf@uidaho.edu or www.avs.uidaho.edu/wbrc. -- Joe Roybal

U.S. BSE Surveillance Surpasses 720,000 Head

USDA's Enhanced BSE Surveillance Program continues to test targeted animals identified as most likely to have the disease. Since June 1, 2004, the program has tested 720,079 cattle and has found only two confirmed cases, evidence that U.S. safeguards are working and the prevalence of BSE in the U.S. is extremely low. Testing 268,500 animals can detect BSE at a rate of 1 in 10 million adult cattle at a 99% confidence level. -- NCBA "Capitol Concerns" newsletter

USDA Plans Risk Management Session On Energy

USDA plans a June 27-28 conference in Kansas City, MO, to examine risk-management issues and strategies as they relate to alternative energy production and use in ag. The conference will focus on maximizing profits in a higher energy cost environment; renewable energy enterprises on the farm; protection against supply, production and price fluctuations for small alternative fuel production plants; new energy-related risk management tools; and government policies that encourage or accommodate new risk management strategies. Find more info or register at www.farmfoundation.org or www.usda.gov. -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent

Senate Energy Plan Aims To Promote Sustainability

Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive energy proposal this week. "Energy Development for a Growing Economy" aims to promote energy independence by increasing the use of renewable fuels. The proposal would give the president authority to increase the renewable content of motor fuel to 25% by 2025. In addition, 25% of vehicles sold in the U.S. would run on ethanol, biodiesel or alternative fuels by 2010. The proposal also would require 10% of electricity in the U.S. come from renewable resources by 2020. -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent