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Articles from 2008 In May

June Fencing tip of the month: How does the grounding system work?

June Fencing tip of the month: How does the grounding system work?

Sponsored Content by Gallagher Animal Management Systems

The ground system of the Energizer is like the antenna or aerial or a radio. A large radio requires a large antenna to effectively collect sound waves and a high powered Energizer requires a large gound system to collect the large number of electrons from the soil.

When the ground system is perfect, the pulse can complete its circuit and give the animal the most effective shock.

Soil is not a good conductor so the elctrons spread out and travel over a wide area, including towards moist mineral soils. Dry soils have a very high resistance. If possible, choose an area for the Energizer ground site which is damp all year.

Research indicates 85% of all damaged electric fence Energizers have been damaged due to electrical surges or lightning coming from the utility side, not the fence side.

The problem in almost all cases is a result of inadequate grouding of either primary or secondary sources creating a surge seeking out the power fence grounding system and damaging the Energizer along the way. Inadequate grounding can also be the cause of some stray voltage problems.

The Ground Rule for Lightning Protection from the fence side is to have one continuous 12.5 ga. wire to join ground rods, use a minimum of three 6 ft. long galvanized ground rods, and place no less than ten feet apart. Use galvanized clamps for all ground connections.

Make sure they are placed at least 33 feet from any power supply ground rod, underground telephone or power cable.

Don’t use thinly electroplated or painted items or ungalvanized material because they rust quickly and create resistance.

Do use double insulated leadout cable where the wire from the Energizer to ground rods is likely to come into contact with soil, yards, water pipes or buildings.

A Lightning Diverter can be used to minimize damage to an Energizer from lightning strikes that are received on the fence system. The ground system for the Lightning Diverter should be connected to the center ground rod of the Energizer’s ground system to offer the minimum amount of lightning protection to the Energizer.

The ground system should be tested immediately after installation and then at least once a year.


Ronnie Green, Ph.D., Joins Pfizer Animal Genetics

NEW YORK (May 30, 2008)

Dr. Ronnie Green, a respected and noted expert in cattle genetics and genomics, has joined Pfizer Animal Genetics as Senior Director of Global Technical Services. In his new position Dr. Green will lead operations relating to technical support of the entire product portfolio and will work with key stakeholders to develop novel, customer-focused solutions based on cutting edge genomic technologies.

There are few people in this industry with more knowledge and expertise than Dr. Green, and we eagerly look forward to his leadership as we grow our team and service the needs of our customers and our industry, says Nigel Evans, vice president of Animal Genetics for Pfizer Animal Health. We're fortunate and delighted to have Dr. Green as part of our team.

Dr. Green's involvement with the beef industry spans more than 30 years. Most recently he worked as the National Program Leader for Food Animal Production with the United States Department of Agriculture. During his tenure he was responsible for facilitating and managing research covering genetics, genomics, physiology, nutrition, meat science and livestock well-being. While leading the national research program he managed over 30 federal research projects with many world-renowned scientists in multiple locations.

Dr. Green also served as a professor and researcher in Animal Science at Colorado State and Texas Tech Universities. Studies published during his tenure focused on genetic parameters related to carcass and meat quality and reproduction, as well as integrated ranch resource management.

Since 2003 Dr. Green has served as the Executive Secretary of the White House Interagency Working Group on Domestic Animal Genomics. He has also served as the chair of the USDA Animal Genomics Strategic Planning Task Force, appointed member of the U.S. Beef Improvement Federation Commission on the Future of Genome-Enabled Beef Cattle Improvement, and the chair of the International Bovine Genome Project Technical Committee.

A member of multiple industry associations, Dr. Green has served on the boards of directors of the American Society of Animal Science and U.S. Beef Improvement Federation as well as numerous task forces of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. In 2004 he was honored with a Brother of the Century Award, presented by Alpha Gamma Rho to the top one percent of its alumni with regard to their professional impact. In 2003 he received the U.S. Beef Improvement Federation Continuing Service Award.

Dr. Green grew up on a family commercial beef operation in southwestern Virginia. He received his B.S. from Virginia Tech, M.S. from Colorado State University and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. He and his wife Jane have four children and currently reside in Sutton, Nebraska.

Pfizer Animal Genetics is a business unit of Pfizer Animal Health, a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines. Pfizer Inc. is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company.


Pfizer Animal Health

Animal Genetics Business Unit

150 East 42nd Street

New York, NY 10017

For further information, contact:

Doug Ricke

Director of Marketing

(212) 733-7420

[email protected]


Mike Opperman

Charleston|Orwig, Inc.


[email protected]

Legislation Aimed At Freezing RFS Introduced

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced legislation to freeze the mandate to produce corn-based ethanol at this year’s level of 9 billion gals.

Hutchison said, “The ethanol mandate is clearly causing unintended consequences on food prices for American consumers. Freezing the mandate is in the best interests of consumers, who cannot afford the increasing prices at the grocery store due to the mandate diverting corn from food to fuel.”

Other senators joining Hutchison as cosponsors include: John McCain (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Wayne Allard (R-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ted Stevens (R-AK), and John Sununu (R-NH). The energy legislation signed into law last year establishes a mandate of 15 billion gals. by 2015.

Meanwhile, Texas cattlemen are continuing their efforts to help Texas Gov. Rick Perry convince the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a 50% waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate for ethanol produced from grain. Jim Schwertner, president and CEO of Capitol Land and Livestock, followed up his first letter to cattlemen (May 9 BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly) with a second letter this week asking for comments in support of Perry’s waiver request.

Schwertner says comments can be posted at under the “Take Action” button.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent and Burt Rutherford

What To Expect From Mandatory COOL

With a new farm bill now on the books, USDA soon should be rolling out all of the important info on mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) so that producers can begin preparing for the implementation data. While important, deadlines and details probably aren't what most producers are really curious to know, however.

The most obvious question is: “Will mandatory COOL decrease the importation of beef from foreign countries?” That’s primarily feeder cattle from Mexico and fed cattle from Canada.

Certainly, in the short term, nobody wants to be holding inventory if that inventory might be devalued, but I’ve had trouble with the cause and effect for quite some time.

For one thing, a very small percentage of the retail case consists of imported beef, the segment to which mandatory COOL applies. And with about 50% of our product moving through non-retail marketing channels, if there was a consumer preference for the “made in the USA” label, the non-USA product would likely be just shifted through the Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional (HRI) trade, which is exempt from the law.

The cost and benefits to the industry of the law’s implementation have been hotly disputed, and at least we’ll finally get a handle on those numbers.

But the reaction of our trading partners to implementation of mandatory COOL is likely to be the most interesting. As one analyst put it: “If there’s no negative impact on Canada and Mexico, it hurts U.S. producers. And if there is a negative impact on those countries, then mandatory COOL will be challenged through NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO).”

Once in the WTO, the U.S. will either win or lose. But by winning, we’ll virtually ensure our other trading partners will restrict access to their markets by establishing other marketing programs/non-tariff trade barriers that aren’t science based.

I tend to feel that the worst- and best-case scenarios being advanced are both detached from reality.

  • Will mandatory COOL mean an end to imported product from our neighbors? Probably not.

  • Will it mean billions of dollars in additional expenses that lead to dramatically lower prices for the cattle received: Probably not. It does mean that we’ll have to have our calves tagged at the time we sell them, which is something that likely would have occurred anyway in today's world.

  • Will it overthrow trade agreements and adherence to science-based principles by allowing countries to circumnavigate trade rules through what has euphemistically been called “marketing programs?” Probably not.
We certainly will be able to do a cost/benefit analysis over time, and there may be some short-term market implications that could be significant, even if short lived. But in the end, mandatory COOL will not have a significant impact on the price received for cattle because of the loopholes that were always in the law.

The new farm bill did eliminate some of the negative repercussions of the first bill, however, and ultimately we’ll be able to answer the questions: Did it make us more competitive in a global beef market? Did it increase the value of the calves we sell? Did it add costs, value or some combination thereof?

And, finally, given the political capital and clout that the industry expended on it, was the effort justified, or would both sides have been served to direct their efforts in other areas? My instincts tell me the value or cost of mandatory COOL will be debated for some time.

I hesitate to say mandatory COOL was never really what the debate was about, because many feel very strongly that the law will either benefit producers or kick us down the slippery slope of government intervention in the marketplace.

I would say that mandatory COOL was just symbolic of debate on a greater industry question that probably needed to be held and still is largely undecided. That is, do we want to be a leader in a global beef industry, or do we want to have protected access to our domestic market? Are we willing to give up control for protection from the marketplace? If our goal is to meet consumer needs, and protect our viability and sustainability, do we believe the marketplace is the best mechanism to achieve that? Or do we believe government intervention and control is the solution?

The answer is critical to how each producer develops his or her business model for the future. With the industry dealing with the costs of ethanol subsidization, the increasing political power of the environmental movement, and the consequences of forced consolidation, this question must be answered.

Fuel Prices Forcing Big Retirement Of Trucks

An article in the New York Times this week cited a report by America’s Commercial Transportation Research group that says 45,000 tractors, or more than 3% of the nation’s tractor fleet, have departed from U.S. highways since early last year, reports That surpasses the early ’80s shakeout when deregulation, a recession, high interest rates and the second Arab oil embargo resulted in the loss of 33,000 tractors.

In addition, the Times article cites a Commerce Department report that says nearly 24,000 used, over-the-road tractors have been exported to other countries in the last year. The weakness of the dollar is one reason more trucks are going abroad, many of them to Russia. Thousands of truckers have sold their rigs because of the soaring price of diesel, which spiked 22.6¢ to a nationwide average of $4.723 this past week.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Time magazine reports that strikes and blockades over the price of fuel are spreading across the continent. French drivers are paying $8.67/gal. for “super,” compared to $7.10 in January 2007; and a gallon of diesel averages $8.54, up from $5.35 just a year ago.

In the UK, diesel costs $11.50/gal., with the average cost of a gallon of gas running to about $8.70.

The situation would be even worse if it weren't for the considerable appreciation of the euro and the British pound against the dollar over the past year, the article says, which has partially offset the price escalation in dollar-traded oil.

Incidentally, state and federal taxes currently make up just 11% of the pump price in the U.S., while taxes in France and the UK account for an average of around 70%. See the article at:,8599,1809900,00.html?cnn=yes.


Kemin Hires Marc Hoopingarner as Key Account Manager in Southeastern United States

DES MOINES, Iowa – May, 30 2008 – Jeff Murphy, vice president of sales for Kemin AgriFoods North America, announces the appointment of Marc Hoopingarner as the Key Account Manager responsible for Kemin sales development in the territory which covers Delmarva, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina.

Murphy said, “Kemin is experiencing an exciting period of growth with the launch of a new product in January and several anticipated product launches later in the year. These activities have increased not only our product base but also our customer base. Marc’s sales experience and established working relationships with producers in the area makes him a valuable asset to our team.”

Doug Macklin, who previously serviced these accounts, will now focus solely on managing the Kemin account managers in the East Region in his role as East Region Sales Manager.

Prior to joining Kemin, Marc worked as the Southeast Territory Manager for Motomco, Ltd. where he worked closely with producers to implement, maintain and service rodent control programs. For five years prior to joining Motomco, Ltd., Marc served as marketing associate for Sysco West Coast Florida working in foodservice sales. Marc also served five years in the United States Air Force as an aircrew life support journeyman. Marc resides in Clemmons, NC, with his wife and 9 week old daughter.

The AgriFoods businesses of Kemin focus on Total Nutrition® to help customers achieve a highly effective, consistent system of profitable animal production. Total Nutrition focuses on understanding nutrients and nutricines and their appropriate application in animal feeds. Kemin coined the term “nutricine”, a vital component of Total Nutrition, to identify ingredients that are essential in combination with good nutrition and solid animal husbandry, to maintain profitability while enhancing the health and well being of animals.

Kemin – Inspired Molecular Solutions™

Founded in 1961, Kemin Industries Inc. ( provides health and nutritional solutions to the Agrifoods, Food Ingredients, Pet Food and Human Health and Pharmaceutical Industries. Kemin operates in more than 60 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Erin Mitchell, 515-559-5349, [email protected]

Charlotte Jacobs, 515-248-4020, [email protected]

Senate To Consider Farm Bill Again

When the Senate returns next week after its Memorial Day recess, it will consider the farm bill (H.R. 6124) again with the trade title included. The House passed this bill before leaving for the recess. President George W. Bush can either veto the bill again or sign it into law. If the President vetoes the bill, the House and Senate will have to vote again to override. With the strong override votes in the House and Senate last week, it’s expected the veto would be overridden.

Just as he’d promised for weeks, President Bush on May 21 vetoed the near $300 billion farm bill that Congress passed in a landslide vote. At least that’s what everyone thought until it was discovered that Title 3, a 34-page section on trade, wasn’t included in the bill sent to Bush.

The surprising omission, attributed to a gaffe made during the bill’s printing process, sent majority-party leadership scrambling for solutions. The mistake also took the sting out of the House’s 316-108 quick override of Bush’s veto. The Senate followed with an override of its own, 82-13.

The flawed bill sent to Bush shows Congress “can even screw up spending the taxpayers’ money unwisely,” noted Dana Perino, White House spokesperson.

There were early concerns about how best to legally square the clerical blunder. Despite calls for Congress to pass the farm bill again – and send it to Bush unabridged – Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, Democratic majority leader, claimed such an approach was unnecessary. Excluding Title 3, the new farm bill is now law and should be immediately implemented, said Reid after consulting with constitutional law experts.

Following the May 21 veto, Deputy USDA Secretary Chuck Conner told reporters “this massive spending package – coming at a time of escalating food prices and gas closing on nearly $4/gal. – in our opinion is simply unacceptable. The President stated time and again that he would not accept a farm bill that fails to reform our farm programs at a time when farm income and crop prices are setting records. He has remained true to his word.

“It is irresponsible to ask the American taxpayer, who is struggling to make ends meet, to subsidize farm couples and those who make more than $1 million a year. Simply put, this is bad policy and it is unfair policy.”

Conner insisted that as more details of the “spending bill” surface “we learn more about the taxpayer abuses and unsound policies in the bill. Just recently, it was brought to light that a $170-million earmark for the salmon industry was slipped into the bill in the dead of night. It joins other egregious earmarks.”

In his letter, Bush listed some of those: “$175 million to address water issues for desert lakes; $250 million for a 400,000-acre land purchase from a private owner; funding and authority for the non-competitive sale of national forest land to a ski resort; and $382 million earmarked for a specific watershed.”

Before calling on Congress to extend current law, Conner claimed last-minute changes to the farm bill had been made. This includes the “so-called ACRE farm subsidy program that will likely result in tens of billions of dollars of new government outlays in the future… Under our cost analysis, if we return to $3/bu. corn – and that’s much higher than the five-year average market price for corn – this bill would have an additional $10 billion of outlays just for one crop. We’d have similar proportions for wheat, soybeans and rice.”
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent; and David Bennett of Farm Press

USDA Permits CRP Use For Livestock Needs

USDA this week authorized certain acreage enrolled under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to be available for hay and forage after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds.

"This action will provide much needed feed and forage while maintaining the conservation benefits from the nation's premier conservation program," said USDA Secretary Ed Schafer. "Eligible farmers and ranchers will be able to plan for harvest of forage after the end of the primary nesting season this summer."

More than 24 million acres of land enrolled in CRP will be eligible, and USDA estimates up to 18 million tons of forage worth $1.2 billion will be made available by the move. No rental payment reduction will be assessed on contracts being utilized for this critical use. However, a $75 fee will be charged to process the required contract modification.

Additional details including fact sheets, maps and statistics are available at

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) spoke out against USDA’s move. NCBA says that it supports managed haying and grazing of CRP acres during times of a shortage for hay and livestock forage due to drought or other emergency conditions, but only with a corresponding reduction in CRP payments.

“While the difficult conditions facing many cattle producers could certainly qualify as an emergency, USDA’s plan does not require a payment reduction in areas where these additional uses will be allowed. Without such a reduction, livestock producers raising or obtaining their hay and forage from non-CRP land are placed at an unfair disadvantage,” NCBA says.

“This is just the wrong solution. Any CRP relief plan must maintain a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers, and put land back into production in a meaningful way,” said Colin Woodall, NCBA executive director of legislative affairs.

Woodall says the plan also fails to provide any significant, long-term relief for the nation’s dwindling supply of agricultural land and feed sources. “It’s a nice gesture by USDA, but unfortunately it doesn’t amount to much more than that,” he added.

Smart strategies to save on fuel costs

With the rising cost of fuel, many people are looking for ways to make their vehicles more efficient.

“There are a number of simple things to do to save a few dollars on your fuel budget,” says Carl Pedersen, North Dakota State University Extension Service energy educator. He says all vehicles are different and will experience various levels of savings, but there are a few of the basics that work for all types of cars and trucks.

Here are some of the ways you can lower your fuel costs:

Make sure your air filter is clean. Clogged air filters make your engine work harder, burning more fuel to create the same amount of power. Replacing a clogged air filter can save up to 10% on fuel costs, or up to 35 cents a gallon.

Check the air pressure on your tires. Tires that aren’t inflated to the proper level may reduce mileage per gallon as much as 3%. Properly inflated tires also last longer and are safer for you and your family. Paying attention to tire pressure could save you up to 10 cents per gallon. Overinflating a tire results in uneven tire wear.

Slow down. Most vehicle mileage drastically begins to drop off at speeds in excess of 60 mph. As a general rule, every 5 miles an hour in excess of 60 mph is costing you an extra 20 cents a gallon.

Calm down. Aggressive driving, rapid acceleration and braking can affect fuel mileage. By avoiding such behavior, you can see savings up to 30%. That could be a savings of more than $1 per gallon.

Remove extra weight. Those bags of traction sand you left in the bed of the truck or trunk are reducing your mileage. Extra weight will affect smaller cars more than larger vehicles, but removing extra weight, especially in excess of 100 pounds, can improve mileage from 4 cents to 7 cents a gallon.

Car pool. Combining trips with friends, family or co-workers not only saves gas money, but wear and tear on vehicles as well.

Be leery of “gas-saving” claims. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested more than 100 fuel-saving products and has found none that significantly improve fuel mileage. In fact, a number of them actually caused damage to the engines in which they were used.

Make sure your car is maintained according to manufacturers' recommendations. Driving a car with the check engine light on or one that obviously is not running properly can affect mileage drastically. An improperly functioning oxygen sensor can make the engine use as much as 40 percent more fuel. At $3.51 per gallon, that would be the equivalent of paying an extra $1.40 for every gallon of gas used.

Reduce extra wind resistance. Using a loaded roof rack increases fuel consumption.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, choose one that is more fuel efficient. According to the federal government Web site, a person driving 15,000 miles a year can realize a savings of $878 per year by driving a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon versus one that gets 20 mpg. That is a savings of more than $4,388 in five years.

For more tips on cutting your fuel costs, visit these Web sites: