China opens to Canada; how about U.S.?

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) officials are anxiously waiting to learn what China’s opening of its market to Canadian beef means for U.S. product. After all, Canada and the U.S. have the same “controlled risk” designation from the World Organization for Animal Health.

The Chinese market has been closed to U.S. product since December 2003, and USMEF estimates the value of China for U.S. beef exports to be more than $200 million/year.

Early reports indicate the Canada/China agreement will be a staged process starting with access for beef from cattle under 30 months of age, as well as beef tallow for industrial use.

Steve Foglesong, Illinois cow-calf producer, cattle feeder and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), says China remains the only major market completely closed to U.S. beef imports.

“Over the past three years, and two administrations, we’ve seen little progress in opening the Chinese market to U.S. beef. While the Administration has said this is a priority, they have failed to take action, despite the fact that China represents one of the largest potential growth markets for our industry,” he says.

JBS to buy Arizona feedlot

JBS S.A. plans to acquire McElhaney Feedyard, Welton, AZ, for $24 million through its JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC, subsidiary. Five Rivers is already the world’s largest cattle feeding organization, boasting a one-time capacity of 838,000 head. McElhaney Feedyard, which has a one-time capacity of 130,000 head, is located near a JBS packing facility in Tolleson, AZ.

FDA looks at antibiotic phaseout?

Citing its contribution to drug resistance in humans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has produced draft guidelines for reducing antibiotic use for growth promotion in livestock (www.fda.gov/downloads/AnimalVeterinary/). FDA’s proposed framework aims to limit the use of “medically important antimicrobial drugs” in food-producing animals only to cases considered necessary for assuring animal health, and only with veterinary oversight or consultation.

FDA says it’s most concerned about medically important antimicrobial drugs approved before 2003, and that are used in food-producing animals to increase production, are available over the counter, and are given continuously through the feed or water to entire herds or flocks of animals.

“Such limitations would reduce overall medically important antimicrobial drug use levels, thereby reducing antimicrobial resistance selection pressure, while still maintaining the availability of these drugs for appropriate use,” FDA says.

FDA says it wants the recommendations to be implemented in a way that protects human and animal health, but doesn’t negatively impact animal health or disrupt livestock production.

Groups ask for comment extension

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Meat Association (NMA) are requesting an extension to at least 120 days of the public comment period for the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing. Announced June 18, the proposed rule suggests major changes to the way producers can market their cattle (see the rule at edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-14875.htm).

In a letter to GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler, NCBA President Steve Foglesong, Astoria, IL, emphasized the need for additional time to thoroughly analyze its potential legal and economic impacts on U.S. cattle producers.

“The USDA Secretary referred to this as one of the most sweeping reforms of the Packers and Stockyards Act. As such, it’s extremely important that we thoroughly understand the rule and both its intended, and unintended, consequences on the U.S. cattle community,” Foglesong says.

SRM Endowment Fund Raffle

The Society for Range Management (SRM) Endowment Fund is raffling a Charlie Russell bronze entitled “Father Ranger”; a 10X felt hat from Rand’s Custom Hats in Billings, MT; and an SRM custom-engraved, .270 caliber rifle with scope donated by Sharp Brother’s Seed, Healy, KS. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20, with the drawing to be held in conjunction with the 2011 SRM meeting in Billings in February 2011. Ticket holders need not be present to win.

To purchase a raffle ticket and support SRM, contact Rod Heitschmidt at 817-579-0959 or heitschmidt@att.net.

“Temple Grandin” DVD

The DVD version of the HBO biopic “Temple Grandin,” which is up for 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, goes on sale Aug. 17. The DVD offers bonus features that include a “making of” featurette and audio commentary from Temple Grandin. While the DVD will list for $26.98, it can be pre-ordered for $21.95, with no shipping charges, at www.templegrandin.com.
The HBO production debuted Feb. 6 and chronicles Grandin’s developmental and early professional years, as she overcame the challenges of autism to become one of the world’s top designers of animal-handling facilities, an award-winning author and a prominent advocate for autism rights.