News Update
April 2, 2008

Camp Cooley Ranch to host The Texas Challenge II Event

Klaus and Bonnie Birkel, owners of Camp Cooley Ranch, Franklin, Texas, are encouraging Texas Angus breeders and the Texas Angus Association to raise funds to support Angus education, youth and research efforts through the Angus Foundation. Camp Cooley Ranch will again host and underwrite a celebration at the ranch on Saturday evening, April 26, at 5:30 p.m. featuring a Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) dinner and live entertainment. All Texas Angus breeders and supporters are invited to attend.

In January 2007, the Birkels pledged $250,000 toward the Angus Foundation’s ambitious Vision of Value: Campaign for Angus goal to raise $11 million by Dec. 31, 2011, if Texas Angus breeders and the Texas Angus Association raised $250,000 in matching funds at $50,000 per year for the next five years.

“Far exceeding anyone’s wildest expectations, Texas Angus breeders and friends not only rose to the challenge, but committed more than $250,000 in outright cash gifts and multiyear pledges in the first year alone toward The Texas Challenge. It is safe to say that Texas Angus breeders met the challenge,” says Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation president. “As a member of the campaign’s leadership cabinet, visionary Angus breeder and a philanthropist at heart, Klaus viewed it his responsibility to invest significantly in the Angus breed and help add value to education, youth and research for the benefit of future generations of Angus breeders in Texas and across the United States by supporting the Angus Foundation.”

After the overwhelming success of last year’s event, the goal has been increased to $1 million, with Texas Angus breeders challenged to raise another $500,000. By hosting The Texas Challenge II, the Birkels are again showing their dedication and commitment to furthering the success of the Angus breed.

As Klaus has previously stated, “I am devoted to this because I believe it is essential that we provide the next generation of young cattle raisers with the knowledge and skills essential to stay competitive and to make a business out of raising cattle. Additionally, there are still many open questions that research can answer about how to manage and raise cattle in a better way. Education and research must be continual and focused toward our industry’s special challenges. Bright young individuals must be encouraged to stay in this business and must see what is possible.”

“After last year’s success, the Texas Angus Association felt that we as Angus breeders and friends of the Angus Foundation could do so much more to support this worthwhile cause. We applaud last year’s efforts, but also recognize that we have a long way to go,” said Rocky Bunting, Texas Angus Association president. “I am confident that we will rise to the challenge of completing our goal, but it will take the support of every Texas breeder and friend of the Angus breed.”

With the ultimate fundraising goal of $1 million by Dec. 31, 2011, The Texas Challenge II allows donors the freedom to designate how their gift will be used by the Angus Foundation, with choices including educational programs, youth activities and/or bovine-related research. As a part of this fundraising initiative, a Texas Angus Association Scholarship Endowment Fund has been created to enable donors to support the next generation of Angus breeders with educational scholarships awarded to Angus youth from Texas through the Angus Foundation.

All funds raised through The Texas Challenge II will count toward achievement of the nationwide fundraising initiative Vision of Value: Campaign for Angus, which aims to raise $11 million by Dec. 31, 2011, to further support the Angus Foundation’s education, youth and research efforts. To date, more than $4.3 million has been dedicated to the campaign through cash gifts, pledges and planned giving commitments.

The Angus Foundation is the not-for-profit affiliate of the American Angus Association that funds and supports programs involving education, youth and research.

— Release provided by the Angus Foundation.

Feds Report Grim Economic Outlook

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed members of Congress this morning, telling a Joint Economic Committee that economic growth was likely stagnate and may even contract during the first half of the year, according to The New York Times.

Bernanke said while the forecast is accompanied by a high level of uncertainty, in the coming months he expects little growth, if any, of real gross domestic product during the first half of the year; inflation to moderate; unemployment rate to rise; payrolls to shrink; and home construction to fall. According to the article, Bernanke did not give any indication of further interest rate cuts and cited inflation as a serious concern.

British Scientists Create Human-Cow Embryos

Great Britain scientists have created embryos containing both human and bovine material, the country’s Times Online reported today.

Researchers at Newcastle University added human DNA to cow eggs that had their nuclei removed, according to the article. The group reported these “cytoplasmic hybrids” lived for three days and grew to contain up to 32 cells. According to Times Online, Newcastle scientists hope to grow these embryos for six days, then extract embryonic stem cells to aid in research of diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes.

The House of Commons is set to debate new laws next month that would regulate such experiments. The article reports it is already illegal to culture human-animal embryos more than 14 days, or to implant them into the womb — regulations expected to remain in the new legislation.

R-CALF Requests APHIS Withdraw Fever Tick Rule

Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) is requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reconsider its proposal to open the port at San Luis, Ariz., to lower the cost of importing cattle from Mexico. According to R-CALF USA, opening the port would make fever tick disease more readily accessible.

“Prevention of more widespread fever tick infestations is vital given the high cost that such an infestation would impose on the U.S. cattle industry,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “Cattle infected with tick-borne diseases suffer severe weight loss, a drop in milk production and possible abortion. Up to 50% of those infected may die, and those that survive will have a protracted recovery and may continue to serve as a source of infection for herdmates. In fact, it took the U.S. 55 years to officially eradicate fever ticks from the country after first establishing an eradication program in 1906.”

Citing news reports of increased efforts to address spreading fever tick infestations in Texas, R-CALF supports an aggressive program that it says “aims to, first, effectively contain and eradicate infestations of fever ticks in the U.S., and second, prevent the introduction of tick-borne illnesses into the U.S. through the strengthening of U.S. import standards.”

According to R-CALF, the spread of the disease within and outside the fever tick quarantine zone in Texas — which reached a historical high in 2005 — occurred immediately following the increase of more than 130,000 Mexican cattle imports into the U.S. through pre-existing ports of entry, between calendar years 2003 and 2004.

“R-CALF USA is extremely disappointed that APHIS has not fully evaluated all of the risks associated with this proposed rule, which clearly poses unjustifiable risks to animal health and to the economic well-being of the U.S. cattle industry,” Thornsberry concluded. “However, R-CALF USA would be eager to work with APHIS to ensure that U.S. import regulations reflect international standards and to promote an aggressive domestic program of fever tick eradication.”

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— compiled by Crystal Albers, associate editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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