The international market for U.S. beef not only dominated the 2005 headlines, but the attention of beef producers as well, making it by far the No. 1 story for cattlemen this year.

“There's no doubt the international trade situation, particularly reopening the Japanese market, was the main issue in cattle feeding country this year,” says Richard McDonald, Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) president and CEO. “And we got an early Christmas present when Japan announced in mid December it would reopen its market to U.S. beef from cattle under 21 months of age.”

While reopening the Japan market was a top priority for cattle feeders, there were other big issues TCFA faced.

“This was a positive and pivotal year for cattle feeders,” McDonald says. “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the beef checkoff is constitutional. And a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reopened the U.S. border, leading to normalization of trade with Canada.”

In addition, McDonald said the BSE firewalls in place in the U.S. are working. “This gives cattle feeders, as well as our consumers here in the U.S. and internationally, strong reassurance that the U.S. beef supply is safe,” he says.

The Top Ten Stories

  1. Japan announced it would reopen its market to U.S. beef from cattle under 21 months of age.

  2. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the beef checkoff is constitutional.

  3. BSE testing continues to show the U.S. has a successful BSE prevention program. So far, 548,786 high-risk cattle have tested negative for BSE.

  4. Development of a national animal ID system moves closer to reality.

  5. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision reopened the U.S. border, leading to normalization of trade with Canada.

  6. Mandatory country of origin labeling was delayed for two years.

  7. The first domestic case of BSE was identified in a Texas cow.

  8. The rebuilding phase of the cattle cycle began in 2005, ending the longest cattle cycle on record. The past cattle cycle lasted an unprecedented 15 years.

  9. CAFTA-DR, a free trade agreement with several Central American countries, passed.

  10. Overseas beef markets slowly reopened to U.S. beef, including Chile, Egypt and the Mideast.
    TCFA release