News Update
May 28, 2008

Attention Juniors:
Photo, Graphic Design and Writing Contest Deadlines Are Approaching Fast

Entries for the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) photo contest, graphic design contest and writing contest are due to the Junior Activities Department with a postmark of no later than June 1. Judging will be done in June, with the entries prepped for display at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Des Moines, Iowa, in July.

Contest rules are available at If you have questions or concerns contact the Junior Activities Department at 816-383-5100.

Visit BIF Meeting Schedule

Angus Productions Inc. (API) will provide online coverage of the 40th annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) annual meeting and research symposium. “Beef Beyond Borders” will be the theme of this international meeting, which takes place June 30-July 3 in Calgary, Alta., Canada.

The event is expected to attract more than 500 seedstock and commercial producers, feedlot operators, beef industry service providers, academia and industry experts. Participants will gather to share and learn from the latest research and innovations that contribute to beef cattle improvement.

Visit now to review the schedule, link to online registration and Calgary attractions, and access travel and hotel information. During the conference, API will provide summaries of sessions with proceedings, audio and PowerPoints as available.

The site is made possible through the generous support of Biozyme Inc. and its long-standing commitment to Angus producers and the Angus Foundation.

You can also be a part of the site by listing your farm or ranch on the seedstock directory page. Contact Rich Masoner (816-383-5239;, Sara Schafer (816-383-5212;, or Doneta Brown (816-383-5232; for details.

USDA Announces CRP Permitted Use for Livestock Feed Needs

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Tuesday, May 27, that USDA has authorized certain acreage enrolled under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to be available for hay and forage after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds.

“This action will provide much needed feed and forage while maintaining the conservation benefits from the nation’s premier conservation program,” Schafer said. “Eligible farmers and ranchers will be able to plan for harvest of forage after the end of the primary nesting season this summer.”

Prices for most field crops have advanced to record or near record levels in recent months, reflecting strong demand, tight supplies and competition for acres. The increased demand for commodities and resulting higher prices has affected the livestock industry in particular.

More than 24 million acres of land enrolled in CRP will be eligible for this critical feed use program. USDA estimates that this program will make available up to 18 million tons of forage worth $1.2 billion.

“In authorizing this critical use of CRP acres for forage, USDA is also taking strong measures to preserve CRP’s environmental benefits,” Schafer said. Eligible land may not be hayed or grazed until after the end of the primary nesting season. Also, some of the eligible land or forage of the land must be reserved for wildlife and any land that is used under this authority must have a conservation plan. In many instances, the removal of some of the grass cover will increase the diversity of the stand and provide long-term benefits for wildlife.

Further, the most environmentally sensitive land enrolled in CRP will not be eligible. The land will be subject to a site inspection to ensure compliance with the conservation plan. No rental payment reduction will be assessed on contracts being utilized for this critical use. However, a $75 fee will be charged to process the required contract modification.

Signup for interested CRP participants will begin June 2 at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. This modification for critical feed use is only for 2008. All forage use must be completed no later than Nov. 10.

Additional details including fact sheets, maps and statistics are available at

— Adapted from release provided by the Farm Service Agency.

NCBA Calls USDA Plan for CRP Acres Well-intentioned, but Wrong Solution

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced its opposition to USDA’s plan to open certain CRP acres to haying and grazing. NCBA supports managed haying and grazing of CRP acres during times of a shortage for hay and livestock forage due to drought or other emergency conditions, but only with a corresponding reduction in CRP payments. While the difficult conditions facing many cattle producers could certainly qualify as an emergency, USDA’s plan does not require a payment reduction in areas where these additional uses will be allowed.

Without such a reduction, livestock producers raising or obtaining their hay and forage from non-CRP land are placed at an unfair disadvantage.

“Cattlemen appreciate the fact that USDA recognizes the hard times we are facing in the livestock industry, and wants to provide some relief through this CRP plan,” says Colin Woodall, NCBA executive director of legislative affairs. “But this is just the wrong solution. Any CRP relief plan must maintain a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers, and put land back into production in a meaningful way.”

Woodall says the plan also fails to provide any significant, long-term relief for the nation’s dwindling supply of agricultural land and feed sources.

“Livestock producers cannot use this land for any haying or grazing until the primary nesting season ends, and then they have to be finished with any forage use by November 10,” Woodall says. “In most cases that’s a very limited window of opportunity, and it does not provide the kind of significant relief this industry needs.

— Adapted from release provided by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

DHS Lacks Evidence to Conclude FMD Research can be Done Safely on Mainland

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has neither conducted nor commissioned any study to determine whether work on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) can be done safely on the U.S. mainland, instead relying on a 2002 USDA study that addressed a different question, according to a report released by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).

During testimony on Capitol Hill last week, GAO investigators said the Administration relied on a flawed study to conclude the research could safely be moved to a planned, state-of-the-art facility near commercial livestock.

While the disease does not sicken humans, an outbreak on the U.S. mainland — avoided since 1929 — could have significant economic consequences.

FMD research has been confined since 1955 to the 840-acre Plum Island, N.Y., facility off the northeastern tip of Long Island. The facility there is outmoded and will be replaced by a National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility that also will study diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans.

While Plum Island is being considered as a location for the new site, Homeland Security officials are also spending considerable time and money holding forums at the mainland locations to convince residents the new lab would be safe.

— Release provided by American Meat Institute.

June 2 Is Deadline for Partnering with MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge

The deadline for companies to become charter members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Partnering with MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge is June 2. USDA will host an expo and media event to celebrate this endeavor June 10. Companies planning to submit Memoranda of Intent to participate in this campaign should do so prior to June 2 to be included as charter members.

For additional information, visit the USDA web site at or contact Jackie Haven at 703-305-7600.

— compiled by Tosha Powell, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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