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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

October 30, 2013

COOL Defense Coalition: Legislative Interference on COOL Unwarranted

National Farmers Union (NFU), the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association and Consumer Federation of America sent a letter to the 2013 Farm Bill conference committee members Oct. 29 expressing continued strong support for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and opposition to any legislative changes to the law.

“Once again packer-producer organizations and their foreign counterparts that do not have the interest of U.S. family farmers and ranchers in mind have called for legislative interference on COOL,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Based on recent World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings, there is no reason for Congress to take action on COOL.”

A WTO panel affirmed the right of the United States to require COOL for meat products, but said that the USDA had to adjust some provisions in order to be fully compliant with WTO requirements. USDA followed a carefully considered, open and transparent process as it crafted changes to the rule, which provides consumers with additional information on where each of the production steps for cattle — born, raised and slaughtered — occurs. The final rule complies with the WTO ruling and is consistent with U.S. law.

“The agribusiness and packer-producer groups are merely trying to scare members of Congress into changing the law to benefit their bottom lines,” said the letter. “We strongly oppose such action. COOL is a top priority for our organizations. Any effort to change it in the farm bill would affect our groups’ support of that legislation.”

For more information, please view the full release here.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Passes the FUELS Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) appreciates the action taken by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Oct. 29 in passage of the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act (H.R. 311). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Eric Crawford (R-Ark.), was passed out of committee by unanimous consent and is now ready to head to the House floor for full consideration.

“The FUELS Act would ease the burden placed on farmers and ranchers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program,” said NCBA president and Cody, Wyo., cattleman Scott George. “Under the FUELS Act, the burdens of the SPCC regulations would be greatly reduced and family farmers and ranchers would be exempted from having to develop and implement costly spill-containment plans.”

SPCC regulations call for agricultural operations to develop an SPCC plan if the farm has an above ground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons (gal.) or a buried oil storage capacity of 42,000 gal. or more. Under the FUELS Act, the burden of the SPCC regulation is eased by raising exemption and self-certified levels for on-farm fuel storage.

The legislation exempts farms with a storage capacity of 10,000 gal. or fewer from having to develop an SPCC plan. The legislation also allows more operations to self-certify by raising the self-certification level to up to 20,000 gal. of fuels storage. Operations with greater than 20,000 gal. will still be required to have a Professional Engineer (P.E.) certified spill plan.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Farmers Rally in D.C. for Immigration Reform

Nearly 60 Farm Bureau farmers and leaders from 14 states gathered in Washington Oct. 29 to advocate passage of a new farm labor program as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Joining more than 600 business leaders during the Americans for Reform immigration fly-in event, Farm Bureau members spent the day on Capitol Hill talking with their congressional representatives about their need for a reliable workforce.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is urging Congress to pass immigration reform this year.

“Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Many farmers rely on an immigrant labor force and without reform, growers will begin to plant less labor intensive crops or go off shore.

“Simply put, either we import our labor or we import our food,” said Stallman.

Farm Bureau is urging Congress to pass an agriculture labor program with both short- and long-term stability. “It’s a way to keep our experienced workforce, while making sure we have access to a legal workforce through a streamlined and flexible guest worker program in the future,” said Stallman.

Americans for Reform is composed of conservative faith, law enforcement and business groups from around the nation. The group held more than 150 congressional meetings today on immigration reform.

For more information, please view the full release here.

AgriLife Extension Publications Available on Livestock Industry Impact to Ogallala Aquifer

Three publications analyzing the water use of the livestock industry in the southern Ogallala Aquifer region have been completed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists.

Water use in the Southern Ogallala Region has greatly exceeded the recharge rate for the past several decades, leading to a steady decline in the aquifer, said Steve Amosson, Regents Fellow and AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo.

This decline and water use in the agricultural sector had many stakeholders questioning whether the economic benefits to the regional economy justified the agricultural operations’ water use, Amosson said.

“Our studies of the livestock sector in the region are outlined in the three publications covering beef, swine and dairy,” he said. “Our findings indicate the direct water use — consumption and cleaning — of these industries have minimal impact on regional water resources, but the indirect water use via the feed consumed is or can be substantial.

“On the other hand, these industries are providing billions of dollars of economic activity and tens of thousands of employment opportunities in the region,” Amosson said.

The objectives of the study, supported by the federally funded Ogallala Aquifer Program, is to evaluate the impacts the various agricultural sectors are having on the Ogallala Aquifer, both in water use and economic impact, he said.

Contributing to the studies are Bridget Guerrero, former AgriLife Extension program specialist and now a West Texas A&M University assistant professor; Ted McCollum, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in Amarillo; and Ellen Jordan, AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, Dallas.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Select Sires Employees Complete New Employee Orientation

Twenty professional technicians, sales representatives and communications staff participated in Select Sires’ employee orientation hosted Oct. 15-16 at the Select Sires headquarters in Plain City, Ohio. Employees from eight member cooperatives, Select Sires Canada, Select Sires Inc. and World Wide Sires were present for the two-day event where they received superior education in serving Select Sires’ customer-owners. Extensive sales training took place on Oct. 17-18 for members of the sales staff.

“As always, this orientation provides new employees with an opportunity to receive the latest information and training, as well as visit our Plain City, Ohio, office,” said Lyle Kruse, vice president of U.S. market development for Select Sires. “At the end of these conferences, our skilled staff departs with the latest information to better serve Select Sires’ customer-owners.”

The participants were presented with in-depth information about Select Sires’ programs including the Program for Genetic Advancement™ (PGA™), Select Reproductive Solutions™ (SRS™), Select Mating Service™ (SMS™), StrataGEN®, Aggressive Reproductive Technologies™ (ART™) and Program for Fertility Advancement™ (PFA™). Instruction about the topics of reproductive solutions, fertility research, beef and dairy sire programs, cattle evaluation, herd-management products and Select Sires’ gender SELECTed™ process was given, as well as a detailed tour of the Select Sires headquarter facilities.


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