News Update
Feb. 21, 2011

NCBA Statement Regarding U.S. House of Representatives Passing Amendments to H.R. 1 to Block EPA Funding

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall issued the following statement regarding the passage of three amendments to H.R. 1, legislation to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year, that if passed by the Senate will block funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate dust and implement its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule for the Chesapeake Bay and its nutrient criteria rule for Florida.

“I hope the activists turned government officials at the Environmental Protection Agency were listening to the very clear signal sent by the U.S. House of Representatives that enough is enough. Our elected leaders are growing weary of defending this agency that appears to be determined to put farmers and ranchers out of business. Burdensome, job-stifling regulations are never a good thing. But when you have a struggling economy on the verge of a rebound, government overreach is definitely not a way to stimulate job growth and economic recovery. On behalf of U.S. cattlemen and women, I commend Representatives Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) for leading the charge against overregulation and in support of economic growth in rural America and throughout the country.

“As a cattle rancher, Representative Noem understands that dust is a part of farming and ranching. … We are thankful Rep. Noem’s commonsense and knowledge of the agricultural industry prevailed in the House over attempts to regulate family farmers and ranchers out of business. Regulating dust on a farm or ranch is like regulating flour in a bakery. Quite simply, it is ridiculous. Almost every farm and ranch in the country would be found noncompliant for going about their everyday activities ranging from driving a truck on a gravel road or moving cattle from one lot to the next.”

— Release by NCBA.

Leaders of Congressional Committees with International Trade Jurisdiction Urge Taiwan to Restore U.S. Beef Trade

A bipartisan group of Congressional leaders on Feb. 18 called on Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in a letter to end his country’s unscientific restriction on U.S. beef exports.

In January, Taiwan began refusing U.S. beef shipments that contained trace amounts of ractopamine, a widely used feed ingredient that helps produce lean meat. Ractopamine is approved for safe use in animal feed in 26 countries, including the United States.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) reaffirmed in the letter that scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the safety of U.S. beef and that “there is no food-safety justification for these actions.”

“We urge you to take prompt corrective measures to restore trade and avoid further damage to our bilateral trade relations,” the Congressional leaders wrote.

Taiwan’s Department of Health in 2007 notified the World Trade Organization that it intended to establish a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine in cattle and swine. The trace amounts of ractopamine found last month on U.S. beef shipments were well below the MRL recommended by the Codex scientific committee and Taiwan’s own government agencies, and posed no threat to human health.

Still, the letter notes, “Taiwan authorities also have staged press conferences and public announcements that only exacerbated the problem and contributed to the inaccurate impression that the positive tests posed any kind of food safety risk.”

The Congressional leaders warned that Taiwan’s scientifically unjustified policy on ractopamine is having negative consequences on another major U.S. export — pork, all while Taiwan’s health authorities recognize that trace residues of ractopamine in both pork and beef do not pose risks to human health.

“The resolution of the ractopamine matter is critical to avoid serious negative consequences for our trade and broader bilateral relationship and to begin to restore the confidence necessary to permit resumption of the possibility of U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement discussions,” the letter concluded.

Taiwan in 2010 shattered its previous record for U.S. beef and beef variety export value by more than 50%, reaching $216.3 million.

To view the letter in its entirety, visit the Senate Finance Committee’s website at:

— Release by American Meat Institute.

USDA to Hold Meeting of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health

Animal disease traceability in the United States will be the primary discussion topic at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) meeting of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee March 4.

APHIS has spent much of the past year developing a framework for U.S. animal disease traceability. Through the framework, APHIS intends to implement a flexible yet coordinated approach to animal disease traceability that uses the strengths and expertise of states, tribes and producers by empowering them to find and use the traceability methods that work best for them.

APHIS conducted extensive outreach on the traceability framework and continues to seek input through the committee. The committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on the means to prevent, conduct surveillance on, monitor, control or eradicate animal diseases of national importance. In doing so, the committee considers public health, conservation of natural resources and the stability of livestock economies.

This and two other meetings, one scheduled for May 13 and the other for July 15, will be conducted as teleconferences and are open to the public, although public participants will be in listen-only mode. Those who wish to participate must send an e-mail through the access portal on the committee’s website at or to the committee directly at Participants should note their name, organizational affiliation (if any) and should identify the meeting(s) they wish to join. Participants will receive a telephone number and pass code to join the meeting. Questions and written statements for the committee’s consideration at the March 4 meeting should be submitted by or before March 1.

Notice of this action was published in the Feb. 18 Federal Register.

For the May and June meetings, questions and written statements may be submitted up to five days before those meetings.

For more information contact Michael R. Doerrer, CEO, veterinary services, USDA, APHIS, 4700 River Rd., Unit 37, Riverdale, MD 20737, or e-mail

— Release by USDA APHIS.

Calving Season Tips for Producers

As calving season begins, producers are keeping one eye on the weather and the other eye on the cows. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell shares five tips on helping calving season be as successful as possible for producers, regardless of the weather conditions.

  • Be ready — This is likely the most important aspect of the whole process. Clean calving areas, make sure plenty of bedding is available and gather supplies, including calf chains, calf puller, bucket, disinfectant, lubricant and heat lamps.
  • Watch females closely — You should be checking females on a regular basis — at least every four hours — for evidence of parturition. Losing a calf at calving because the cow was not assisted in time is like throwing away $600.
  • Milk colostrum from dystocia cows for immediate feeding — Dystocia calves, those born from difficult labor, will have a prolonged time before they stand and nurse, so it is imperative to have colostrum available immediately. Milk some colostrum from the cow while she is caught up to have it ready for that calf.
  • Segregate cows — Segregate cows into at least three groups — pregnant cows, neonatal calves and cows, and older calves and cows. Calves between 1 and 21 days of life are most at risk of disease, so keeping these high-risk calves separate from the others in the herd can decrease disease incidence. If you have a disease outbreak, be prepared to keep this youngest group of calves isolated from all other calves.
  • Consider calving later in the year — Calves do better when calved in the clean, dry and warm environment of June rather than March. Also, green grass will better meet cows’ energy needs during peak lactation.

For more information, producers can contact their ISU Extension beef program specialist or the Iowa Beef Center website at

— Release by ISU Extension.

— Compiled by Mathew Elliott, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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