Beef industry assesses upcoming challenges

US - The state's beef ranchers are preparing to deal with many challenges in the coming year - from higher corn prices to uncertain export markets to increasing costs of doing business.
calendar icon 15 December 2006
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During the past few years, beef producers have faced numerous obstacles, including rising fuel and energy costs, and positive tests for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in December 2003 and June 2005.

One result of the BSE discoveries was the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System, the stated purpose of which is to allow "for more rapid, coordinated and efficient disease response."

The USDA recently decided to keep the program voluntary. "The feeling amongst our membership is that's the preference," said Matt Byrne, executive vice president of the California Cattlemen's Association.

From CCA's annual convention Nov. 15-17 emerged a list of policies related to industry issues, one of them being the NAIS, Byrne reported.

The association, said Byrne, supports a voluntary ID program, along with education and information about it.

"Animal ID is an issue we're going to have to face," said Jack Hanson of Susanville, a beef rancher for more than 30 years. "There are a number of unresolved questions in the middle of that issue."

Source: Capital Press

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