KLA Speaks Against GIPSA Proposal

A proposal by the federal government to license and regulate cattle feeding operations is being met with stiff resistance from the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA). In a letter to the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), KLA Cattle Feeders Council Chairman Red Miller, Satanta, KS, expressed strong opposition to the agency's proposal.

In December, GIPSA told KLA members they were considering feedyard regulation to prevent fraudulent activities similar to those alleged in the case involving Missouri cattleman George Young. Falsified cattle feeding ventures initiated by Young and discovered in 2001 cost investors and banks an estimated $100 million.

KLA contends licensing and regulating feedyards would not have stopped Young from selling the same cattle repeatedly to different parties.

“Instead, it would burden honest folks with more government red tape,” says Miller, manager of Miller Feedyard, a family-owned operation.

KLA faced a similar situation in the past. In 1977, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of KLA and its member, Solomon Valley Feedlot, in a case challenging GIPSA's decision to increase regulatory authority over feedyards.

Miller suggested GIPSA invest its time and resources improving the administration of existing regulations, specifically the packer trust provision, instead of taking on more power.

KLA members have expressed concern with the federal agency's lack of action in the Future Beef Operations (FBO) bankruptcy case. Miller said better GIPSA enforcement of the law would help producers owed money by FBO recover their investments in a more timely fashion.

Hay Hotline To Continue

Nebraska Ag Director Merlyn Carlson has authorized the continuation of the Nebraska Hay Hotline. It now will be known as the Hay and Forage Hotline to reflect that all types of forage can be listed.

The Ag Department will update the database regularly, removing postings older than 90 days. Once removed from the list, hay and forage suppliers can call the department to be re-entered and to provide updated information.

Producers who have forage to sell or donate may call to be included in the database of available supplies. Those in need of forage, should call to request the database. The sellers' list is available at: www.agr.state.ne.us/hayhot/hayhotline.htm on the Web. The list will be updated each day or as new information is available.

The hotline will be available as long as drought conditions persist. The free service is for all buyers, sellers and donors; the toll-free number is 800/422-6692.

Battling The EU Ban On Growth Promotants

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is meeting with other trade groups to explore the formation of a coalition to fund and pursue strategies — including litigation — that would help force the European Union to overturn its ban on U.S. beef produced with growth promotants. NCBA members voted at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention to instruct the board of directors to pursue such action.

The association's Washington, D.C., office will coordinate the effort; and Gregg Dowd, NCBA's new chief economist, likely will lead the project.

New Beef Plant in Oklahoma?

Ranchers from five states are working with the 21st Century Alliance to form a cooperative that would build a beef-processing plant in southeast Oklahoma. Based in Manhattan, KS, 21st Century Alliance is an organization of ag producers that processes and markets its members' commodities. Its projects include a flour mill, two dairy enterprises and a factory that makes particleboard from wheat straw.

The proposed beef-processing plant could process about 400 head/day, primarily cull cows from cow-calf herds.

Trouble Continues In Russian Market

Another U.S.-Russia trade battle is brewing because Russia is prohibiting all meat imports to stimulate its domestic production. U.S. producers still are recovering from last year's ban on poultry, which pressured the beef- and pork-futures markets.

Billions of dollars in U.S. beef, pork and poultry exports are at risk. Russia was the top market for U.S. poultry before the ban, the fourth-largest market for pork and the sixth-largest for beef.

West Coast Port Workers Settle Dispute

On Jan. 22, the International Longshoreman's Union and the Pacific Maritime Association announced their memberships had ratified a six-year contract. It went into effect Feb. 1.

The deal ends a labor dispute that closed 29 ports on the West Coast in September. President Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to force the ports back to normal operating conditions. The issue concerned cattle producers because more than 50% of beef exports and virtually all U.S. hides depart for Asia through those ports.