August 31, 2015

Canada and Mexico Ready To Debate Retaliatory Trade Against U.S.

Canada and Mexico may be the U.Ss closet geographic neighbors, but both are miles away from the U.S. in terms of how they view Country of Origin labeling. Unless Congress can repeal the rule, all three countries are scheduled to present their findings of economic damage in front of World Trade Organizaiton next month, after which the World Trade Organization will rule on the permitted level of trade retaliation Canada and Mexico may undertake. Cattlemen Association’s Director of Government and International Relations John Masswohl will be one of the presenters and he says Canada will stick by their claims of nearly $3 billion in damages.

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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has says the real possible damages incurred by Canada and Mexico is closer to $ 91 million than $3 billion Canada alone is claiming. Masswohl says the U.S. isn’t giving a realistic damage estimate

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The U.S. House has already passed a bill fully repealing COOL, but the U.S. Senate is undecided. A group of 14 Senators including North Dakota Senator John HOeven have proposed a voluntary program. Masswohl says that won’t be good enough given the standards he’s read

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The Senate appears set to take up the issue when they return September 8th.

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U.S. Cattle Herd Expansion Underway, According to USDA

cattleThe Semi Annual Cattle Inventory Survey was released by USDA on Friday, and for those who still questioned whether the U.S. Cow herd is growing, they got some answers. USDA Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam:

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Importantly, note industry analysts, the rate of heifer retention is high. In fact, the number of heifers placed into feedlots in relation to the number of steers is the lowest on record:

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In the Cattle on Feed report, which is issued separately from the semi annual inventory numbers, The slow pace of marketing in June finally caught up:

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Shagam noted the expansion is just getting started and with big margins over the past few years and the elimination of drought in the Plains states, he expects herd expansion will only increase from here.

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Avian Flu Vaccine Not A Magic Bullet

TurkeysSince December 8th of last year, Avian Influenza in the United States has resulted in the deaths of more than 48 million chickens and turkeys.  Hot weather has stopped the virus for the moment, but experts say that could change when the fall migration season starts and wild birds once again fly over the nations’ midsection.  At the moment:

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That’s Dr. David Swain with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Southeastern Poultry Lab.  Dr. Swain announced during a Senate Ag Committee hearing that prospects for a vaccine are improving:

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So far, that vaccine has tested well.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack telling the House Ag Committee that so far, the efficacy rate is nearing 100% in chickens and they are hopeful for similar results in turkeys. It sounds hopeful, but experts caution, an effective vaccine is nice to have, but it’s not a magic bullet

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Indonesia, Viet Nam, and China have all utilized avian flu vaccines, but says Dr Swain:

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The avian flu vaccine would work similar to a human flu vaccine, meaning that even if all birds in a flock are vaccinated, one could still get the disease.  Experts say that means they would all still have to be euthanized, even though they had already been vaccinated.  Additionally, there are other consequences to consider.  Meetings with trade officials in other countries say they may look unfavorably on meat from vaccinated birds.  USDA Chief veterinarian John Clifford:

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That means:

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Which will also take money to make, bottle and administer and may not even prevent the producer from having to eradicate their flock.  In short, officials say they are making steps but a solution to the problem is still a long ways off.

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