It’s been a busy week in the cattle business. For many drought-stricken cattlemen, seeing water standing in the low spots was a wonderful and welcome sight. Others, however, are still looking skyward at a cloudless horizon. Here’s a roundup of headlines that made news in the beef business.

Rain Helps, At Least a Little--June has been good to a big swath of the country, at least as far as rainfall goes. All, that is, except California and much of the Southwest. However, much of the drought-stricken Southern and Central Plains have received much-welcome rains since Memorial Day weekend. While the rains aren’t a drought buster, they are certainly welcome. Click here for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Climate and Weather Center’s weekly update. 

Meanwhile, Drought Is Re-Shaping The Beef Map--This year, for the first time, Nebraska passed Texas as the top cattle feeding state in the country. It’s a turnaround brought on by a long-term decline in cattle numbers and an ongoing drought that has devastated the Southern Plains. That has caused the cattle industry to look north, reports NET Nebraska.

For more, click here.

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Who You Gonna Call?—When it comes to marketing your calves, 2014 and beyond look good for prices. But how many options do those high prices provide?

Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist, says cow-calf producers will enjoy record revenues and, for many, record net returns for the cow-calf enterprise. With calves bringing record prices, it may be tempting for cow-calf producers to become a bit complacent about calf marketing. Producers may see unprecedented calf revenues with little effort but it is important to take advantage of the opportunities in the current market to maximize net returns, according to the Oklahoma Farm Report.

Click here to read Peel’s take on 2014 marketing for calves and feeder cattle.   

10 Suggestions for Improved Feeder Cattle Production and Marketing--Production of feeder calves is the primary beef production system in Tennessee and the Southeast and the greatest source of agricultural income. However, a large number of producers are “leaving money on the table” by taking the path of producing what is the easiest, marketing when it is the most convenient and taking whatever price is offered for their feeder cattle, according to James Neel, animal science professor at the University of Tennessee.

Click here for Neel’s Top 10 tips on ways to improve your profitability. 

Study Shows Cattle Temperament Impacts Feedlot Management--A new study by Kansas State University has shown how the temperament of feedlot cattle has a big impact on the health and finished beef product. Through the study, K-State Associate Professor / Extension Specialist Bob Weaber found that cattle temperament can effect susceptibility to Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) and the carcass quality and merit from those animals.

"This typically found our measurements of behavior or temperament were heritable, there is a genetic component to that," Weaber told the Oklahoma Farm Report. "We found in our data, animals that are more temperamental typically have slightly heavier carcass weights, but slightly worse marbling scores, slightly a larger ribeye areas and numerically lower more favorable yield grades."

Click here for more information.  

Norovirus Is Leading Cause Of Foodborne Illness in U.S.--A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls norovirus the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the U.S. CDC estimates 20 million people get sick from norovirus each year, much of them from contaminated food in restaurants and says 70% of the cases can be tied to infected food workers.

Click here for more information from the American Meat Institute.

Click here to read the CDC report

Are You Guilty?—The American Meat Institute (AMI) posted a new article to Buzz Feed's community section featuring the "Ten Mistakes You Don't Want to Make During Grilling Season." The post offers several important food safety tips including the importance of using separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods, cooking burgers to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and assuming grass fed or organic burgers can be cooked less than grain fed.  Click here to see if you pass the 10-point test.

AMI's previous Buzz Feed post on 15 meat myths that need to be crushed for good has now been viewed 106,000+ times.  Click here to read the 15 myths.

Nebraska, South Dakota Forge Livestock Agreement--As producers move livestock to pastures for spring and summer grazing, Nebraska State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes reminds producers of their responsibilities when moving animals across state lines, reports the Midwest Producer.

"It is the producers' responsibility to make sure they are following the import requirements of the destination state," said Hughes. "I would suggest that producers call ahead to ensure they are meeting the state's animal health requirements, as well as federal animal disease traceability requirements."

To make that process easier for branded cattle traveling between Nebraska and South Dakota brand areas for grazing, Hughes announced the two states have developed a cooperative interstate commuter/grazing agreement. Click here for more information  

DOT Grants Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers--The U.S. Department of Transportation granted a one-year exemption to the Hours-of-Service requirement for the transportation of livestock.

The Hours-of-Service rules required all commercial motor vehicle operators, including livestock transporters, to take a 30-minute rest break for every eight hours of service. This is in addition to all scheduled stops not counting time for refueling and other breaks, reports Beef Producer.

Click here for more information.

Some Consumers Confuse 'Local' With 'Organic' Food--With more people buying local and organic food, consumers should know the difference between the two so they recognize what they're buying, but nearly one in five still confuse the terms, a University of Florida researcher says.

Newly published research, done in partnership with three other universities, aims to help local and organic food producers and sellers target their marketing messages to reinforce or dispel consumers' perceptions. The organic-food industry has spent millions of dollars building brand awareness, only to see some consumers confuse "organic" food with "local" food products, said Ben Campbell, a University of Connecticut Extension economist and the study's lead author, reports Rural Marketing News.

Click here for more information.

Unprecedented Effort Protects Prairie Chicken Habitat in Five States--The May 12 listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act helped fuel a surge in oil and gas company enrollments to conserve the species under special agreements spearheaded by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). To date, 160 oil, gas, wind, electric and pipeline companies have enrolled about 9 million acres across the five states that contain habitat for the bird’s survival, committing more than $43 million for habitat conservation over the next three years.

The five range states are Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Companies, landowners, farmers and ranchers that did not enroll by the listing deadline of May 12 may still enroll in and receive regulatory assurance under an accompanying Certificate of Participation. The companies are required to pay enrollment fees and these credits allow the companies to continue oil and gas production under certain restrictions while providing funds to mitigate impacts on prairie chicken habitat.

For more information, click here

For additional information about Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation, click here

 

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