The publishing of USDA's rule for reopening the border to Canadian cattle trade had the unfortunate timing of coinciding with the discovery of two new cases of BSE in Canada in just a nine-day period. BEEF magazine polled its readership with an e-mail survey to learn producer attitudes to the proposed reopening. Joe Roybal relates what we found in “Editor's Roundup,” page 4.

The year 2004 recorded the highest average calf prices ever, but many producers missed out on collecting all that was on the table. Ag economist Harlan Hughes says one factor that likely cost many producers thousands of dollars in potential profit was their herd's calving distribution. Learn about it in “Something's amiss with profit,” on page 8.

Large-animal veterinary practice in the U.S. is in need of an infusion of new practitioners, says columnist Mike Apley, DVM. In “Vet's Opinion,” page 20, Apley tells of the career opportunities, lifestyle rewards and new programs available for folks with a veterinary aptitude.

Stephanie Veldman's recent trip to Canada came at an opportune time for a reporter interested in learning how Canadian cattlemen are coping with the latest events in a 21-month-old ban on Canadian cattle exports to the U.S. Read her findings in “High Hopes For The Future,” on page 47.

The American populace apparently isn't the only domestic population going soft. Government and industry data seem to indicate America's fed cattle are faltering in the cutability department. At a time when muscle is growing ever more important, beef carcasses are getting flabbier. Wes Ishmael looks at the issue and what it means in “Gone Flabby,” on page 56.

Some of the most contentious issues ever to face the cattle industry loom in 2005. The man in charge of coalescing the mainstream industry's response is Terry Stokes, National Cattlemen's Beef Association CEO. Clint Peck reports on his talk with Stokes regarding those challenges in BEEF Chat,” page 62.