As of March. 14, 2012
Committee Advances Planning for Bison Gathering in Quebec
Key leaders involved in the planning of July's International Bison Conference in Quebec gathered in Regina on Thursday to review the final plans for the week-long gathering of producers, marketers and enthusiasts from around the world.
The schedule, finalized by the planning members from Canada and the United States, includes three days of educational activities, sightseeing, and culinary adventures during the conference. Optional pre- and post-conference tours will allow families to experience the difference of this unique corner of North America with train rides, tours and other activities.
The educational sessions will kick off with a plenary session featuring an interview of Ted Turner by the National Bison Association's Executive Director, Dave Carter. Following that session, the Curator of Archeology from the Royal Alberta Museum, Jack Brink, will lead attendees through the archeological history of bison in North America.
On July 26th, plenary speaker Dr. David Kohl of Virginia-based Agrivisions LLC, will discuss "Positioning Your Business for Agriculture's Next Decade;" U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan has been invited to serve as the keynote speaker on July 27th.
Details on all activities planned for the IBC are on the event website,www.bison2012.com and are being updated regularly. The Early Bird Registration for the IBC closes on April 30th.
Introducing the New NBA Bison Forum
The NBA is pleased to announce the new NBA Bison Forum. The Forum is a place for NBA's Active, Life, Allied Industry and Junior members to communicate online and share information.
The Forum is now live and can be accessed by logging in to the member's area and clicking on the Forum page, or just follow this link; http://www.bisoncentral.com/forum.
Once logged in, you can choose from a variety of topics that match your subject. To post a question, or comment, simply click the Post a New Forum button to ask a question. Choose the forum that most closely matches your subject, and click Save. Your topic will then be posted for others to comment on. To comment on a question or forum, simply click reply.
The NBA Forum is not a place for commerce. Please do not post animals, equipment or services for sale. Any such posts will be removed and the author banned from using the Forum. The NBA Forum will be closely monitored by the NBA staff. Further, please keep the discussion focused on the American bison so this forum is beneficial to all members. This is not a place to discuss politics, post jokes, socialize, etc.
Not registered as a user on www.bisoncentral.com? It's easy and just takes a few minutes to register. Instructions below:
- Go to www.bisoncentral.com
- Click on the Register link at the top, right hand side of the screen.
- Follow the directions, creating a username and password of your choosing then click "Create New Account"
- You will then fill in the Contact Information. This is what will appear in the online NBA Membership Directory.
- Next, click on the arrow to the left of "Buyer's Guide Listing" to open the signup for our online Buyer's Guide, where we send everyone who contacts the NBA looking for all things bison. The listing is free to you as a member and reaches tens of thousands of consumers visiting the NBA website. Fill in the fields that are applicable to your buffalo operation.
- Next, open the Privacy Settings to select what information you want to share with the public. These must be checked to appear on the website.
- You have the option of uploading a picture to appear on your member profile in the final step.
- Click the Save button at the bottom to retain this information.
Once logged in you will have full access to the NBA website and will see NBA member pricing in the online store, so be sure to log in before shopping to receive member discounts. Please send any questions to email@example.com.
Wholesale Slaughter Prices Slip in January
Wholesale slaughter prices for young market-ready slaughter animals slipped in January, but still remain more than $5/cwt above the levels in January 2011, according to the latest wholesale bison price report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Livestock Market Reporting Service.
According to the USDA report, slaughter-ready young bulls brought an average price of $393.08/cwt. in January, which was $5.36/cwt. below the level of the previous month, but still $5.36/cwt. above the average price in January 2011. Similarly, young heifers brought$378.94/cwt. last month, which was $4.63/cwt. below December 2011, and $5.10 above January 2011. Older bulls and cows were at $316.03/cwt. and $293.90/cwt. respectively last month. Those prices were slightly higher than the prices received in December 2011.
Although female animals constituted 57percent of the total USDA slaughter in January, that percentage of females was lower than in January of the previous two years. Also, the number of animals processed under USDA inspection year-to-date is marginally higher than at the same period in 2011.
The full USDA price report for January is available on-line at http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/nw_ls526.txt. The NBA five-year tracking summary is available on the association here http://www.bisoncentral.com/members/meat-price-summary.
Bison disappearing, this time thanks to demand from the U.S.
(From the Winnipeg Free Press)
Back in 1860, bison vanished from what's now Manitoba after years of indiscriminate slaughter south of the U.S. border.
Today, American demand for bison is again making it disappear -- not from our land this time, but from our restaurant menus and grocery shelves.
The meat of Manitoba's provincial symbol has become a scarce and expensive commodity in Winnipeg, where some butchers now sell ground bison for as much as $10 a pound (about $22 a kilogram).
The combination of a relatively low supply of Manitoba bison and an insatiable and growing demand has led ranchers in this province to ship more of their carcasses out of the province, where larger markets exist for what's suddenly become a luxury product.
"The U.S. is paying such a high dollar right now that most guys are shipping there. In the U.S., there's a huge shortage," said Len Epp, a rancher and president of the Manitoba Bison Association.
"In New York City, they're selling ground bison for $14 a pound. Nobody in Canada will buy it at that price. I think we're at our maximum with $10," said Epp, who raises 450 head outside of Stonewall.
The high U.S. demand seems to be driven by the perception of bison as a healthier alternative to fattier beef and, perhaps more subjectively, as a more humanely treated species of cattle.
But the low supply in Manitoba is the unlikely consequence of the BSE crisis of the last decade, when the United States closed its border to all Canadian cattle, including bison.
When bovine spongiform encephalopathy was first confirmed in Canadian cattle in 2003, Manitoba had approximately 130 bison ranchers, including several who had just invested large sums of money in their operations, said Walter Dyck, a rancher who raises 35 head of bison near Anola.
When the U.S. closed its border, Manitoba ranchers were stuck with a huge supply of animals. Many sold their stock at a loss and the local market was flooded with an overabundance of a suddenly cheap commodity: bison meat that bottomed out as low as $1.50 a pound.
While the border was closed, Manitoba consumers got used to inexpensive bison and the large supply enabled more Manitoba restaurants and supermarket grocery chains to begin selling the product.
Full story: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/big-on-bison-139567563.html
Montana's Bison Debacle Continues
(From the Jamestown Sun)
The convoluted mess that passes for bison management in Montana and adjoining Yellowstone National Park has been an embarrassment for as long as I've lived in this state, which is 26 years.
Back in the late '80s the State of Montana had to do something about bison overpopulation within the Park, when bison began spilling out onto lands in Montana. Many park bison carry brucellosis, a disease that causes cattle to abort their calves, and Montana ranchers went apoplectic at the thought of losing their "brucellosis-free" status with the federal government. (They later did indeed lose this status for a short time.)
The National Park Service (NPS), with its usual phobia regarding hunting, would not allow any hunting within the Park. So outside the Park, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks conducted closely supervised "hunts" where game wardens accompanied hunters. It became a media debacle, with animal rights activists trying to disrupt hunts, and creating an "Occupy Wall Street" scene in southwestern Montana.
The State of Montana and the Park Service tried other approaches: game wardens shot bison outside the park and the state donated the meat to Indian tribes. That seemed to placate the most vociferous critics, but the problem never really went away.
While NPS, with assistance from the Montana Dept. of Livestock, rounded up hundreds of bison every year and shipped them to slaughter each year, FWP offered a limited hunt outside the park that did little to contain bison numbers. (Some 3,700 bison currently live within the Park.) Hazing operations done by helicopter, snowmobile and horseback by Livestock did nothing but move bison back into the park. As soon as the Livestock personnel left the area, the bison wandered back onto lands outside the Park.
Full story: http://www.jamestownsun.com/event/article/id/154824/group/Outdoors/
Bison Attacks Trapper's Dog Team (Can.)
(From CBC News)
A trapper from Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta says he's lucky to be alive after a bison charged and trampled his dog team.
Robert Grandjambe, 50, had just checked his trapline Feb. 4 and was heading back to his cabin with his dog team when his lead dog stopped.
"I should have listened to my dogs," he said. "She stopped and she came back but I made her go again. But she was very uneasy."
They rounded a curve on the narrow trail and there was a bull bison charging straight at them.
"I never believed buffalo could run that fast," he said. "It was a big bull. He had his head down and I jumped. I bailed, and just as I bailed, I saw one of my dogs, the black dog closer to the back, he was flung up in the air."
Grandjambe says the bison was probably being bothered by wolves and mistook the dogs for a pack. He had seen signs of wolves while checking his lynx snares.
The bison stomped over the sled and dogs, ran about 50 metres down the trail and stopped.
"He was standing there, flicking his tail and licking his mouth," said Grandjambe.
His dogs survived the attack. Grandjambe said he got out of there as fast as he could and put distance between his team and the bison before stopping to untangle their harnesses.
Full story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/02/22/north-dogs-bison-attack.html
Cowboys Begin Roundup of Paynes Prairie Bison
The process of thinning the bison herd on Paynes Prairie is under way, with cowboys tranquilizing and removing from the prairie six of the massive animals as of Sunday.
David Hajos, the owner of Gateway Farms in High Springs, which is coordinating the roundup, said Sunday that his workers started removing the bison a few weeks ago.
"We've captured several already, and we're hoping to be done in a few weeks," Hajos said.
The bison will be moved to farms in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Gateway Farms is being paid $326 for each bison corralled.
The plan to remove the adult male bison from the 22,000-acre preserve was not received well by advocates of both animals and the prairie when it was first reported in September 2010, and some of them weren't happy to learn over the weekend that the removal process had started.
Prairie visitors saw cowboys on Saturday removing the animals, said Chuck Littlewood, who volunteers at the park and opposes the removal of the bison, which were reintroduced to the prairie in the 1970s while evidence shows they were there centuries ago.
About 70 bison currently live on the prairie, and it's estimated that half - all of the adult males - will be removed to keep the population down. Younger males will be castrated.
Officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park recommended thinning the herd because risks of escape and human interaction - and potential injury - were increasing as the number of bison grew.
Full story: http://www.ocala.com/article/20120219/ARTICLES/120219620
American Bison Looking For a New Place to Roam in Scotland
The owners of Scotland's only commercial bison herd are looking for a new home for their animals to cope with the growing demand for its meat.
Scott Shand and his wife, Shelagh, have established a herd of more than 40 American plains bison at a farm at Muchalls, near Stonehaven.
The couple launched their company Caledonian Bison into the commercial market in 2010, selling everything from bison burgers and sausages to steaks and mince.
However, the herd is poised to grow in size in the coming months and could soon double to 80 animals. The expansion means that the animals will need a much bigger area to roam and graze.
Ms. Shand said: "We're hoping with these years calves and bringing up more breeding stock from England that the herd will grow to about 80. We're bringing up 14 or 15 animals that will be breeding stock and some of them could have calves as well.
"We need to find somewhere else as new premises. We lease where we are and that's coming to an end.
"We'd like to stay in the area but we're looking more at hill land. It could be rough grazing areas that aren't utilized for other things. We've put a couple of appeals out but we need to be able put fencing and things in."
Input Sought for the S.D. Plan for Natural Resources Conservation
(From the SD Dept. of Ag)
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) and its partners are seeking public input for revising the Coordinated Plan for Natural Resources Conservation.
SDDA is hosting a series of meetings across the state to talk directly with the public and discuss a broad range of conservation topics that will be considered during the revision of the plan. Each meeting will have technical staff present to answer questions and to receive input.
The meeting will be an open house type format opened by a short presentation. Attendees are welcome to arrive at any time during the meeting hours. The same information will be presented at each meeting. Light refreshments will be served.
The meeting schedule is as follows:
Monday, February 27th
3-5:30pm, 3pm presentation
Tuesday, February 28th
5:30-8pm, 5:30pm presentation
Jones County High School
Wednesday, February 29th
5:30-8pm, 5:30pm presentation
Outdoor Campus West
Tuesday, March 6th
5:30-8pm, 5:30pm presentation
Galley Motel Banquet Room
Wednesday, March 7th
5:30-8pm, 5:30pm presentation
Highland Conference Center
Thursday, March 8th
5:30-8pm, 5:30pm presentation
East River Outdoor Campus Theatre
Monday, March 5th
5:30-8 pm, 5:30 presentation
Miller High School Theatre
For more information or to submit comments online, please visit the project website at
Livestock Traceability Bill Progresses in WA (From Capital Press)
Washington State Rep. Bruce Chandler says his bill on livestock information traceability has a "good chance" of going to the governor.
HB2456 received a do-pass recommendation Feb. 22 from the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water and Rural Economic Development. It now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
"The point is to allow the state vet to identify any source of disease outbreak or animal health issue and contain it as quickly as possible," he said. The Washington State Department of Agriculture did a good job of responding to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003, "but this is to improve on the response. Time is precious."
Feb. 24, is the last day for bills to clear policy committees. Feb. 27, is the last day for bills to clear fiscal committees. March 8, is the last day of the regular legislative session.
Full text: http://www.capitalpress.com/content/SB-Legis-update-022412
IN Senate Committee Backs Bill on Frivolous Lawsuits against Farms
(From The Republic)
An Indiana Senate committee has endorsed a bill that would require penalties against anyone who a judge decides has filed a frivolous lawsuit against a livestock farm.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 Wednesday in favor of the bill that would change current law giving judges discretion on whether to order the person filing a frivolous lawsuit to pay the farm's court costs and attorney fees.
Supporters of that change say judges are often reluctant to order such penalties against those filing nuisance lawsuits.
Environmentalists argue that such a change will have a "chilling effect" on those with legitimate complaints against sprawling, factory-style livestock farms. They say that Indiana already has a strong law protecting the property rights of farmers.
The bill now goes to the full Senate.
The New York Times Hosts Farm Bill Discussion
The New York Times has posted a series of essays on how to improve the 2012 Farm Bill, by eight different debaters. David Murphy of Food Democracy Now! calls for an organic farm bill, the leader of the National Farmers Union recommends an overhaul of the direct payment system, and other stakeholders weigh in with their suggestions of what to add to and eliminate from the new Farm Bill.
USDA Announces CRP Highly Erodible Cropland Initiative
USDA has announced a new conservation initiative targeting up to 750,000 acres of the nation's most highly erodible cropland, enabling producers to plant wildlife-friendly, long-term cover through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Through CRP, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
Beginning this summer, producers will be able to enroll land with an erodibility index of 20 or greater in the program on a continuous basis at their local Farm Service Agency county office. Land can be enrolled for a period of 10 years. In addition to this new initiative, USDA will conduct a four-week CRP general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6.
WI Community Group Seeking Bison for Annual Dinner
The Allenton, WI Area Advancement Association is seeking to connect with an area bison producer or marketer to supply the product for the community's annual Buffalo Feed fundraiser, scheduled for April 25th at the community's Town Hall.
According to organizers who contacted the National Bison Association this week, the Buffalo Feed is a popular annual event in the town, which is located in southeast Wisconsin. Organizers said they are having difficulty securing an adequate supply of buffalo meat for the community fundraiser this year.
The flyers promoting the event advertise: Bison Roast, Bison Meatloaf and Bison Pepper Steak Tips, with Mushrooms & Green Peppers. Any area producer wanting to work with the Allentown Association to supply meat for the feed is encouraged to contact event organizer Ron Hefter 262-629-9656.
Consumers Willing to Pay Premium for Organic
Consumers - especially those who occasionally or regularly buy organic chicken - are willing to pay a premium for organic version of the meat, according to a study conducted by the University of Arkansas' Center for Food Safety.
The extent of their willingness to pay the premium, however, depends on the type of organic label.
The results were published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
"Considering that consumers think of high price premiums as the strongest limiting factor when purchasing organic meat, it is then important to know consumers' willingness to pay for these products," said Ellen Van Loo, a doctoral researcher in the food consumer science unit at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Ghent University in Belgium and former food science graduate student at the University of Arkansas. "Willingness-to-pay estimates can also provide insights on how consumers value the organic attribute in meat products and can be used as input in analyzing the marketability of the products."
The surveys found that, overall, consumers would be willing to spend a 35-percent premium for a general organic labeled chicken breast and would pay 104 percent more for a USDA-certified organic labeled chicken breast.
Restaurant Sales Trends Strong In January
(From Nation's Restaurant News)
The restaurant industry's strong monthly same-store sales in December carried into January driven by favorable weather and solid traffic trends, according to the latest NRN-MillerPulse survey.
January same-store sales rose 4.9 percent, and while they dipped slightly compared to the 5.4-percent increase from the prior month, they represented a significant increase compared to the same month last year when same-store sales rose 1.7 percent, the survey found.
MillerPulse, an operator survey exclusive to Nation's Restaurant News, included respondents from about 60 restaurant operators in February regarding January sales, profit trends, performance and outlooks. Respondents included operators from all regions of the country and represent the quick-service, casual-dining, fine-dining and fast-casual segments. Those surveyed in February represented restaurants that booked about 15 percent of industry sales.
"January was another strong month also helped by weather," said Larry Miller, restaurant securities analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Atlanta, and creator of the monthly MillerPulse surveys and research. "The question is how sustainable are sales going forward, and my sense is that they are more sustainable than we thought possible several months ago."
Quick service, which includes both fast-food and fast-casual brands, was the highest-performing segment in January, reporting a 6.1-percent increase in same-store sales, matching the recording-setting month the category booked in December. Full-service restaurants, which include both fine-dining and casual-dining brands, also performed strongly with a 3.8-percent increase in January, down slightly from the 4.2-percent increase in December.
Miller's optimism on positive sales trends for the months ahead was echoed by a majority of operators who are predicting that February sales are going to better than those in January. A net 31 percent of operators surveyed felt that despite strong January results and favorable weather conditions, February sales were going to be even stronger. This number was calculated by the 48 percent of operators surveyed that thought February sales would be stronger minus the 17 percent that believes that February sales would be worse than in January.
In addition, operators are confident in their sales outlook over the next six months, with a net 26 percent projecting sales to improve over the next six months, which is up from the net 6 percent who felt the same way in December.
Full story: http://nrn.com/article/restaurant-sales-trends-strong-january?ad=finance&utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=
As of Feb. 19, 2012
Bison Coalition Launches National Mammal Designation Effort
Coalition leaders representing Private Producers, Tribal Leaders and Conservationists formally launched an effort in Washington, D.C. this week to have the American bison officially designated as the National Mammal of the United States.
National Bison Association Executive Director Dave Carter joined Jim Stone of the Intertribal Buffalo Council and John Calveli and Keith Aune of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Washington, D.C. this week to solicit support from 13 senate offices for the National Bison Legacy Act. The group received a warm reception to the idea at all of the Senate offices.
The proposed resolution would not require any federal funds, but would simply designate the bison as the National Mammal, and would designate a day each November as National Bison Day.
In the meetings with the Senators and Staff, Carter described ranched herds, tribal herds and public herds as the "three legs of the stool in bison restoration." Carter explained that private bison herds are growing because producers have connected with consumers around the unique attributes of buffalo meat. "This designation simply provides another platform for us to tell that story," he said.
Aune emphasized the conservation community and private ranchers are increasingly working together to optimize the environmental benefits of bison on America's grasslands.
And Stone noted that tribal herds often bridge the gap between the public herds and private ranching. "We see our herds as managed wildlife, but the history of our relationship to the buffalo has always been based on consumption," he said.
Several Senators have expressed an interest in serving as lead sponsors of the resolution.
Bison Not Covered Under New Single Ingredient Labeling Rule
Bison processors will not have to comply with the new single ingredient meat labeling rules being implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on March 1.
Phil Derfler, deputy administrator of FSIS told the NBA this week, "The new rules were established under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which only covers amenable species of animals. Since bison come into voluntary inspection under the Agricultural Marketing Act, they are not covered by the new rule.
The new regulation requires nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products. The regulation also requires nutrition labels on most ground or chopped meat and poultry products, with our without seasonings.
Bison Import Guidance Sheet under Final Review
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week provided the National Bison Association with a final draft of the "Import/Export Guide" that was developed at the request of the NBA in September.
In a meeting held with Fish and Wildlife Service during the Legislative Roundup in September, representatives of the NBA expressed frustration with the difficulty in locating and interpreting concise information regarding the agency's Import and Export Requirements for Bison. Tamesha Woulard, senior wildlife inspector for Fish & Wildlife, agreed to coordinate with the NBA in developing a single document covering all of the regulations.
The draft document under final review covers the regulations regarding both Plains Bison and Wood Bison. Once finalized, it will be posted on the NBA website in the Business Resources section, in the members' area.
Loss of a Friend
(From the Minnesota Buffalo Association)
It is with deep personal sadness that I share with fellow members that we have lost a dear friend and fellow buff aficionado. David Geis passed away at his home Thursday, February 16th with family at his side.
The wake will be held Friday, February 24th from 4-8 pm at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Sanborn, MN and the funeral will be held at the church on Saturday at 11 am.
Further details will be available Sunday, February 19th in the Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/ , and St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/twincities/
For those wishing to send condolences they could be sent to David's home where Dorothy will continue living to oversee farming operations: 14472 Grandview Avenue; Lamberton, MN 56152.
Growing Local: Eagle Rest Ranch- Burton Brown's Bison
(From the Chatanoogan.com)
One certainly would not describe Burton Brown as an "ordinary fellow" by any means. On his 400-acre ranch in Flintstone, Ga., nestled at the foot of Lookout Mountain behind a quiet residential community, Mr. Brown raises bison as well as Angus and Longhorn cattle.
It is clear that Burton is an avid history buff as he has gone to great lengths to preserve our history in many ways. When you pull into the ranch there is a large iron art sculpture of a buffalo.
Just as you go through the gate you also see an iron art sculpture of an eagle - hence the name Eagle's Rest Ranch.
Acquiring the land about 20 years ago, Burton and his wife, Ginger, made their home on the ranch undertaking quite a few hobbies as well as outreach programs. Burton's interest lies within the bison and cattle he raises and sells.
Along with the cattle are horses and miniature horses. Burton also has an interest in horticulture, "I had bought the Holsomback Nursery and I bought some very rare plants that were native to the Appalachians."
Visiting this farm is as though you are going back in time as you see bison roaming in the pastures of this magnificent farmstead. But the Browns' land suffered much destruction from the 2011 tornados last spring, "It was such a shame to see this place destroyed the way it was, there is so much work to be done," Burton sadly declares, "It will take years to clean all this up. Insurance would not cover the damage."
Burton lost many rare plants in the storm, "None of the structures were damaged and we did not lose any livestock - we are fortunate for that." He recalls feeling helpless as he watched the twisting of the trees and seeing them uproot.
Full text: http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/2/15/219552/Growing-Local-Eagle-Rest-Ranch--Burton.aspx
FWP to Allow Hunters to Enforce Bison Control Line
(From the Billings Gazette)
Montana's wildlife commission voted Thursday to authorize hunters to shoot bison that stray beyond extended "tolerance areas" north of Yellowstone National Park, an attempt by officials to ease resistance to bison roaming in more parts of the state.
The authorization also applies to areas outside the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian reservations, where state and tribal officials are negotiating terms for the transfer of 68 Yellowstone bison that are part of a disease quarantine program.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say that allowing hunters to enforce those tolerance areas is an adjustment to an Interagency Bison Management Plan change that expands the boundaries where bison can wander. It would allow hunters to shoot bison that stray beyond designated areas during or outside of the bison hunting season.
The authorization is meant to be a tool to complement other bison management efforts, such as hazing the animals back to the park, and not all situations may require the use hunters, FWP officials said.
It's not an authorization for hunters to shoot any bison that wanders outside the park, and the terms of the agreements with the tribes would come first before lethal force is used to remove bison that escape their land, commissioners said.
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/fwp-to-allow-hunters-to-enforce-bison-control-line/article_79d9aaf2-ed02-5305-8959-08d7837d3e8a.html#ixzz1mamM6nmN
Yellowstone Wolves Honing Bison Hunting Skills
(From KBZK News)
Wolf experts are all abuzz about new wolf dynamics taking place this winter in the park's backcountry.
Douglas Smith, project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project, says wildlife biologists now confirm at least two of Yellowstone's 10 wolf packs have now learned how to hunt bison.
"This is the scientific opportunity of the century to learn about wolves," explains Smith who has headed up Yellowstone's Wolf Project since it started in 1994.
Yellowstone's wolf population reached a peak of 174 wolves in 2003. Since then, wolf numbers in the park have been declining primarily because of a smaller elk population, the main food of the northern range wolves.
But this winter, both the Mollie Pack and the Mary Mountain Pack have turned their attention to bison. Smith says wolf biologists have been fascinated to watch the Mollie Pack transfer its bison hunting skills to one of its rival packs.
"It was shocking to us, we've never seen this before," said Smith.
Concern Continues to Mount Over Proposed Child Labor Rules
Concern is continuing to spread regarding new child labor rules proposed for the agricultural sector.
According to critics of the proposal, the proposed revisions to U.S. Department of Labor child-labor laws for limit the traditional role youth play on the family farm and gut programs such as the Future Farmers of America and 4-H Club.
One new rule would allow kids under age 15 to work only on their parent's farm. Another would keep children under age 16 from driving most power equipment. Nonagricultural workers under 18 would be banned from grain elevators, silos, livestock exchanges and auctions.
And the provisions also would stop children younger than 15 from working near "sexually mature" livestock, including bulls and boars or nursing cows and sows.
The current child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act establish a minimum age of 16 years for employment of hired workers in nonagricultural and agricultural occupations. However, the U.S. Secretary of Labor is authorized to provide regulations for 14 and 15-year olds allowing those young workers to work in "suitable occupations" (other than manufacturing or mining) as long as the work does not interfere with health, wellbeing, or schooling.
Workers age 16 to 17 are allowed to work in the ag and non-ag sector without hour or time limitations except in "certain occupations found and declared by the Secretary to be particularly hazardous."
In addition a series of Agricultural Hazardous Occupation Orders (Ag HOs) established through the years prohibit the employment of otherwise nonexempt hired youth under the age of 16 years in certain types of ag employment; including operating a tractor over 20 PTO horsepower, working in a pen or stall occupied by a bull, boar, stud horse, or sow or cow with newborn offspring; transporting and applying anhydrous ammonia; and handling agricultural chemicals classified as Category I toxic under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
The proposed new rules cover only "hired farm workers," but are unclear whether children of parents operating a farm that is owned by another entity are exempt from the law.
Groups concerned about the impact of the proposed regulation have created a new website, Keep Families Farming (http://www.keepfamiliesfarming.com/), gives you the chance to have an impact on this rule. The Keep Families Farming website allows you to submit comments that will be used to show the Department of Labor and the White House the importance of the family farm and the way this rule would fundamentally change the way of life in rural America.
That website is designed to provide updated information, and to collect information from families concerned about the impact of the proposed new regulations.
Start2farm.gov Online Portal Introduced
USDA, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has announced Start2farm.gov, a new online portal that helps provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.
Ag Secretary Vilsack Comments on Proposed FY 2013 Budget
(USDA Press Release)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the Proposed FY 2013 budget:
"The President and I believe that this is a make or break moment for the middle class. What's at stake is the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement. To keep that promise alive, we need an economy that makes, creates and innovates - an economy that's built to last.
"Over the past three years, USDA has worked with the Obama Administration to respond to the economic crises of 2008, put Americans back to work, and to rebuild economic security for the middle class.
"USDA has supported farmers, ranchers and growers so that last year they enjoyed record farm income. We have focused on creating jobs and building a foundation for future economic growth, especially in rural America, where unemployment is falling than in other parts of the country.
"The President's 2013 USDA budget helps us to continue this progress, supporting robust farm income and good jobs in rural communities.
"To help sustain record farm income, we will invest in research and development to improve agricultural productivity. The budget makes a 23% increase in funding for our premier competitive grants program to support the most worthy projects and continues support for in-house research and the land grant universities. We'll continue our efforts to combat destructive pests and disease that threaten crops and livestock.
Full text: http://tinyurl.com/7jwl6ta
New Trichomoniasis Cases Reported
(From the Delta Farm Press)
With the spring cattle-breeding season approaching, Trichomoniasis is rising to the forefront again for Arkansas' cattle producers.
Last year, a spike in cases of the bovine venereal disease prompted the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to implement emergency regulations requiring a testing of all bulls being brought into the state. The regulations also require a negative test for trich for any bull changing ownership. All bulls testing positive for the disease must go to slaughter within two weeks of the positive test. Similar regulations have been adopted by other states.
Once infected, the bull remains infected for life. There is no approved treatment for bulls.
Ninety-seven cases of Trichomoniasis were reported in Arkansas during 2011, said Jeremy Powell, Extension veterinarian for the University of Arkansas.
"That number had been increasing steadily since new regulations were set in place last year," he said, adding that in January 2012, four cases were reported, one in Howard County and three in Carroll County.
Full text: http://deltafarmpress.com/livestock/four-arkansas-trichomoniasis-cases-reported-2012-97-total-2011
Very Lethal Prion Species Found
According to a study published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a single prion protein that is at least 10 times more lethal than larger prion species has been identified by researchers from The Scripps Research Institute. The single prion protein causes neuronal death similar to that observed in BSE (mad cow disease).
This toxic single molecule or "monomer" tests the existing theory that neuronal damage is associated with the toxicity of prion protein aggregates called "oligomers."
Scripps Florida Professor Corinne Lasmézas, who led the study, explained:
"By identifying a single molecule as the most toxic species of prion proteins, we've opened a new chapter in understanding how prion-induced neurodegeneration occurs. We didn't think we would find neuronal death from this toxic monomer so close to what normally happens in the disease state. Now we have a powerful tool to explore the mechanisms of neurodegeneration."
The researchers discovered that the toxic form of abnormal prion protein, known as TPrP, triggered various forms of neuronal damage, ranging from molecular signatures very similar to that seen in the brains of prion-infected animals, autophagy - the self-eating of cellular components, and apoptosis - programed cell death. The team found that the most lethal form of prion protein was a specific structure known as alpha-helical.
Full text: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/241635.php
David Daniels Named New Ohio Director Of Agriculture
Gov. John R. Kasich has named state Sen. David Daniels, R-Greenfield, as the new director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Daniels has represented Ohio's 17th Senate District since January 2011. He is expected to be sworn in and begin his duties as ODA director Feb. 16.
Daniels replaces Jim Zehringer who was appointed to lead the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in November 2011. Chief of Animal Health and State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has served as interim director of ODA since November and will resume his previously held duties.
Full text: http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/david-daniels-named-new-ohio-director-of-agriculture/34543.html
Connecticut Conservation Innovation Grant Available
The Connecticut Natural Resources Conservation Service announces availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2012 will be approximately $192,000.
Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration.
Applications are due by March 30, 2012.
USDA Mississippi River Basin Partnership Project Announced
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals for conservation projects addressing water quality and wetland conservation in the Mississippi River Basin. NRCS is soliciting proposals from potential partners to enter into agreements with NRCS and to inform agricultural producers and landowners of the future availability of program funds through approved partnership projects.
Accepted projects would support conservation efforts already underway on agricultural operations in the basin, improve the overall health of the Mississippi River and help reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. NRCS is providing up to $37 million in new financial assistance through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) for projects in 54 priority watersheds in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Proposals are due by March 19, 2012.
Senators Seek Action on 'Mad Cow' Rule
(From St. Joseph News-Press)
Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt have joined with farm-state colleagues in seeking Agriculture Department action that will strengthen beef exports.
Their letter to the USDA has urged publication of a rule regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or its more recognizable name, "Mad Cow Disease."
The rule would comply with guidelines established by the International Organization for Animal Health and open markets abroad for U.S. beef.
The letter, dated Monday and signed by 31 senators, cited the case of Mexico, which since 2004 has not allowed imports of American cattle older than 30 months.
"Mexico has traditionally been one of the top export markets for U.S. beef," the senators wrote. "However, due to the 30-month age restriction, it is estimated U.S. beef producers are losing $100 million annually."
Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran also signed the letter...
USDA's Clifford Forecasts Animal Traceability Rule by Late Summer
John Clifford, chief veterinarian at USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, on Tuesday forecast a final rule on animal disease traceability by late summer.
Under a 114-page rule proposed last August, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The proposed rule encourages use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal ear-tags for cattle (see FCN Jan. 27, 2012, Page 20).
FSIS Delays Start of 'Big 6' Sampling Until June 4
(From Food Product Design)
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is extending the implementation date for routine sampling of six additional strains of E. coli, known as non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STECs) or "The Big Six," as adulterants to June 4, 2012.
The extension will provide additional time for establishments to validate their test methods and detect the pathogens prior to entering the stream of commerce.
As part of its zero-tolerance policy for E. coli O157:H7, FSIS will initially sample raw beef manufacturing trimmings and other raw ground beef product components produced domestically and imported, and test the samples for the serogroups O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 and O145.
North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share Program Available
The North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share Program (NCVACS) offsets the costs to N.C. value-added producers and processors for equipment purchases that are directly related to the processing, packaging, handling and production of value-added agricultural products made with N.C.-grown agricultural crops.
Applications must be received by March 1, 2012.
Read more: http://www.eatbisonmeat.com/webapp/GetPage?pid=568#ixzz1nSOu58UT
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As of Feb. 11, 2012
31 Senators Sign On To Support Bison on Trade
Nearly a third of the United States Senate signed onto a letter that was sent today to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk requesting that the USDA and the Trade office work to address policy issues that are impairing the export of bison meat to the European Union.
Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Dan Coats (R-IN) have drafted a letter to Vilsack and Kirk explaining the barriers being created by the current 20 percent tariff imposed on bison meat exported to the European Union, and by the emerging residue testing protocols being imposed on any bison processed under "EU Mode" in the United States.
"We support making bison a priority in America's trade agenda for the EU and other important regions," the Senators' letter reads. "Creating a favorable trade environment will help to ensure that U.S. bison exports receive predictable treatment from our trading partners. It will allow producers, processors, and other actors in the bison supply chain to make important business planning decisions that position the industry to compete successfully in international markets."
The issue of trade barriers first came to the Senators' attention during the National Bison Association's Legislative Roundup in Washington, D.C. in September. At that time, members of the NBA discussed the difficulties created by the 20 percent tariff, and by the emerging new testing procedures.
Not Too Late to Advertise your Bison Goods & Services
There is still time to advertise your breeding stock, supplies, and services in Bison World, the NBA's beautiful, color magazine that is distributed to all its members plus subscriptions on a quarterly basis.
It is a great way to establish your name in the business and to attract new customers. Ads start at just $100 per month.
Contact Bison World Editor & Advertising Director Marilyn Wentz immediately to get in on this opportunity, beginning with the April issue. Members can contact Marilyn at 303-292-2833, ext. 301 or firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline is TODAY!
Gold Trophy Bison Sale Showcases Best Producers
(From the Fencepost Newspaper)
Traditionally, when people think of the National Western Stock Show, they think of cattle. However, as the years have gone by, the bison show and sale has grown as people become more aware of the benefits of bison.
The 32nd National Bison Association Gold Trophy Show and Sale was held on Jan. 20-21 in Denver, Colo. There were 126 live animals and 27 carcasses that competed in the market class competition.
"Our market is growing because our customers appreciate the fact that bison ranchers refuse to compromise on the integrity of their animals," according to Dave Carter, National Bison Association Executive Director.
Producers from 12 states including Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, as well as producers from Canada participated in the GTSS.
The Grand Champion bull was exhibited by Bison Spirit Ranch out of Oak Lake, Manitoba Canada. The 1,158 pound bull, owned by Trevor and Jodie Gompf, sold for $11,000 during the sale. This ranch was also awarded the Rookie of the Year award. They also had the Reserve Grand Champion bull, who sold for $11,500.
The Grand Champion female was exhibited by High Country Bison, out of Austin Texas. This 1,071 pound female, owned by John Russell, brought $6,000. The Reserve Grand Champion female was exhibited by Wichita Buffalo Co., LLC, out of Hinton, Okla. The female, owned by James Steep, sold for $3,500.
The high seller in the sale was a 1,785 pound 2-year-old bull bought by the Wolverine Bison Company out of Humboldt, SK, Canada. The bull was owned by Mark Silzer, and sold for $23,000.
One producer from Colorado, the Cold Creek Buffalo Co., offered several animals in the sale. Boyd Meyer, who runs the ranch with his wife Allison, runs his Bison on the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyo. The ranch is right on the Colorado/Wyoming border, just to the east of Interstate 25.
Meyer has been in the business for more than 10 years, and has now built his herd up to include 800 cows. He has 3,700 total, including cows, bulls and feeder animals.
The bison were moved to the Terry Bison Ranch in 2006, where they can roam on more than 27,000 acres. Meyer uses a rotation grazing system with the bison, so the land is not overgrazed.
They have also learned that to move bison, you must have patience and a good plan. Meyer uses a truck with a protein supplement called cake to lead the buffalo where he wants them to go.
"When moving buffalo, it's just about being patient. You are not going to force them to do anything they do not want to. As long as you are patient, you are fine. If they run towards something they will hit it as hard as they can, so we try to prevent that. You can't treat or handle them like cattle or it blows up in your face. It took a good four or five years for me to get past some of the cattle handling I knew," said Meyer.
He takes pride in raising buffalo, and has a lot of respect for their power. "I enjoy the animal. They are very self sufficient, and majestic. It's amazing to me the mother nature side of things that they have figured out so well," he said.
Bison are easier to care for than cattle in terms of daily management, because they do not require assistance. He said, "When they are having babies, they stay away from you. There is no assisting them. They are calving on their own, which is a big plus."
Fences can be a problem with buffalo, as they can charge through just about anything. However, Meyer has found a pretty simple solution to this challenge. "Just keep them happy to keep them in. If they want out of anything, they will get out. I've seen them jump 6-foot fences flat footed. As long as you don't pressure them. And they are happy with feed, they are less likely to eat across the fence. If they decide they want out, you can't stop them," he said.
Meyer has his buffalo processed at Double J Meats in Pierce, Colo. The whole carcasses are then transported to Rocky Mountain Natural Meats in Denver, Colo., where they are fabricated. "They are the largest processor of bison in the country," said Meyer.
His product goes out to stores such as Whole Foods, King Soopers and Safeway, just to name a few. He finished 2,500-3,000 head per year, which includes his own calves as well as those that he buys.
Another producer who brought bison to the sale belonged to NebraskaBison.com, which operates out of Adams, Neb. The ranch runs 500 cows, where they finish out the calves and sell meat to Rocky Mountain chefs, retail stores and online.
The ranch was started in 1995, when Randy Miller, the owner, bought 20 heifer calves from Custer State Park. He shipped them to his ranch, and the herd grew from there.
At first, Randy Miller was in the bison business as a hobby. However, as the word spread, he found there was a growing demand for all-natural bison.
The mission of the company reflects their personal attitude towards producing a quality program.
"At NebraskaBison.com, our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality bison meat available. We believe in order to create this high quality product, our bison need to be raised and processed under a strict principle. This principle is three-fold. 1.) Our bison will always be grass fed and natural grain finished without the use of fillers, hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients. 2.) Our bison will always be humanely treated and processed with the utmost respect. 3.) Our bison meat is always dry aged, a process that is rarely used today. The dry aging process is what gives our bison meat the tender, juicy and exceptional flavor that our customers expect from NebraskaBison.com."
Those in the bison industry are excited for the future of the industry. It has grown substantially the last few years, and continues to grow.
USDA Seeks Applicants for FSMIP Funding
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) this week announced the availability of approximately $1.2 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2012, subject to final appropriation action by Congress, which would enable States to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. marketing system.
Eligible applicants include State departments of agriculture, State agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate State Agencies.
Applicants are encouraged to involve industry groups, academia, community based organizations, and other stakeholders in developing proposals and conducting projects.
Proposals must be received on or before March 23, 2012.
For further information contact: Janise Zygmont, FSMIP Staff Officer; telephone (202) 720-5024; fax (202) 690-1144; or email email@example.com.
OUR VIEW: It's The Bison's Time to Shine
(From the Mitchell, SD Daily Republic)
Legislators take a lot of heat about seemingly insignificant bills - the ones that establish state desserts, propose changes to the state flag, recognize constituents for noteworthy achievements, etc. Generally, such legislative efforts are regarded as a waste of time.
Our Legislature only meets during a few months each winter, after all, and there are certainly more important issues to consider during that short time. Nevertheless, at least one of the supposed "fluff" bills this session is worth supporting. That's Senate Bill 114, titled "An Act to designate the American bison as the state mascot."
The entire text of the legislation is simply this: "The American bison is hereby designated as the state mascot of South Dakota." The bill's champion is Sen. Tom Nelson, R-Lead, and we applaud him for his effort.
Why? Think for a moment about the place of the bison in the grand story of South Dakota. No other animal has had such a heavy influence on the history, culture and collective psyche of our state.
In pre-settlement days, American Indians tracked massive bison herds numbering in the thousands across the prairie. Lewis and Clark, upon their arrival in what would become South Dakota, reported bison herds stretching toward the vast horizon.
Bison numbers rapidly declined during white settlement, but some forward thinkers, including South Dakota's own Scotty Philip, stepped in and saved the animals from near extinction.
In modernity, bison have been a constant draw for visitors to South Dakota. At sites such as Badlands National Park and Custer State Park, there are few occurrences more thrilling than witnessing a herd of powerful bison roaming across the land.
Seeing a bison, aka "buffalo," transports the viewer back in time, to the romanticized period of America's westward advance. No other animal has anywhere near the nostalgic value.
Beyond their societal significance, bison also play an increasingly important role in South Dakota's agricultural economy. According to the most recently available data from 2010, South Dakota is the nation's leading bison producer, with 38,700 head located in the state. That's more than two times as many as the second-place state, Nebraska.
Yet, despite the bison's unquestioned status as an informal symbol of South Dakota, we haven't done much at all to formally recognize the animal's significance. Our state animal is the coyote. The pheasant graces our state quarter. Our license plates display the image of Mount Rushmore.
It's high time we give the bison their due. The bill designating the bison as the state mascot has already passed the Senate (without the vote of our District 20 Sen. Mike Vehle, we're sad to report), and we hope it sails through the House and gains the governor's signature.
Longer Days Could Help Bison Hunt
(From the Fairbanks, AK Daily News-Miner)
Warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours should help hunters looking for Delta bison.
Hunters had killed only 35 bison - 18 bulls and 17 cows - as of late last week. The state issued 105 drawing permits for the hunt, which opened in October and closes on March 31.
Delta area biologist Darren Bruning with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said only three bison have been taken since mid-December, a fact Bruning attributed to the January cold snap.
"Few hunters were out during the extreme cold weather that occurred during January in the Delta area," Bruning wrote in an email last Friday.
But that may change now that the cold snap has broken.
The Delta office has been receiving calls this past week from bison hunters inquiring about bison presence and hunting information, Bruning said.
"Warmer temperatures and increased periods of daylight should encourage more hunters to take to the field," he wrote.
This year's harvest is similar to previous years, with roughly the same number of bison taken, percentage-wise, at this point in the season, Bruning said.
"Past year's harvest patterns suggest that roughly half of the number of bison taken will be harvested prior to the first of the year and half after the 1st of the year," he wrote.
Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Growing daylight could help bison hunt
Bison Slaughter Planned If Migration Occurs
(From Associated Press)
Yellowstone National Park administrators plan to capture and ship to slaughter potentially hundreds of wild bison if they migrate into Montana this winter in a bid to reduce disease and control the population of the animals.
The captures could begin as soon as mid-February, park officials said.
The effort comes as neighboring Montana is proposing to let bison roam more freely in the 70,000-acre Gardiner Basin north of the park despite resistance from local officials and some cattle ranchers.
Although the moves by the state and park appear contradictory, officials say keeping bison numbers under control is key to increasing public tolerance for the animals.
A mild winter so far has slowed the bison migration. That could scuttle the slaughter plans if conditions persist.
But about 570 bison are close enough to Yellowstone's northern boundary that a significant winter storm could trigger them to move toward the Montana line, park and state officials said.
"We would still estimate 300 to 500 animals to be at the north boundary before the end of winter," said Yellowstone bison biologist Rick Wallen.
The slaughter would target female animals that test positive for exposure to the livestock disease brucellosis. About 50 bison would be diverted to an animal contraception research program.
Breeding Program Started for European Bison
(From the BBC)
A wildlife park in Hampshire is looking to start a captive breeding programme for Europe's largest mammal, the European bison.
The New Forest Wildlife Park has taken delivery of three young males.
It now has to find suitable females for the males, Janek, Wotjek and Leszek, to allow it to breed its own herd.
A spokesman said: "It's great to bring this animal back to the New Forest and to think that these young males will be helping to increase the population."
The park's bison are all aged between three and four years old and could grow to be 3m long, 2m tall and weigh up to 900kg.
The European bison (Bison bonasus) is Europe's heaviest-surviving land mammal and was extensively hunted after World War I.
By 1919 there were none were left in the wild.
The surviving 54 animals remained in zoos and private collections. Of these, just four bulls and three cows went on to found the current pure-bred population.
Interstate Shipment of State-Inspected Meat Moves Forward
Will 2012 be the year that qualifying North Dakota meat processors are allowed to ship meat to other states in a federal program authorized four years ago?
Andrea Grondahl hopes so.
A new Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, passed in the 2008 farm law, is still awaiting implementation, says Grondahl, director of the North Dakota State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program in the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
"We're doing everything as fast as we can," Grondahl says, noting the program is awaiting U.S. Department of Agriculture details within its Food Safety and Inspection Service. In the past month, USDA has named a new federal coordinator for the program, which may expedite the implementation, she adds.
North Dakota's state meat program is one of 26 like it in the country, says Grondahl, a veterinarian. The staff includes 14 people, including eight inspectors, two supervisors and a compliance officer.
The program inspects 14 Official State Establishments that do slaughtering and processing, as well as 85 Custom Exempt establishments.
For the Official State Establishments, the state provides continuous inspection on inspected slaughter days, and is "physically present at least daily at plants on inspected processing days." Products carry a "North Dakota Inspected and Passed" mark, and allow the plant to wholesale meat to retailers within the state.
Custom exempt facilities serve hunters and others who bring animals to a facility to be processed for a fee, and not for sale to the public. Custom exempt plants also include establishments such as grocery stores that buy "boxed meat" from federal or state plants, and further process products for retail sale.
Federal inspection is primarily for meat that is meant for interstate sale. Federal inspection charges a fee for bison and elk, but most inspections are free. One of the reasons the state program was initiated is that it is free for bison and elk.
State meat inspection started in October 2000, and grew rapidly.
Cattle numbers under the North Dakota program grew rapidly and then leveled off at about 800 to 900 per year today, although Grondahl believes there is room for growth. Hog numbers have increased since 2009 and are now at a record-high of about 400 per year. Meanwhile, elk and bison numbers have declined to fewer than 100 each in recent years.
Meat processing in the program hit a peak of more than 600,000 pounds in 2007, 2008 and 2010, but dipped in 2011.
Grondahl thinks the demand for state inspection will increase if the new program allows interstate shipping.
FSIS came out with a final rule for the new program in June. "You'd be inspected by state personnel, but it will have a federal mark on the products," she says. The new stamp will have a "SEND" indication, which stands for "Selected Establishment North Dakota." Designating that the product is from North Dakota is important for consumers who want to buy locally produced products.
Former agriculture commissioner Roger Johnson was one of the proponents of the new federal program. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., pushed for it, and current Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is a strong proponent.
Grondahl says only three states - North Dakota, Wisconsin and Ohio - have actively pursued participation in the new federal program. Some other states qualify for a similar program called the Talmadge-Aiken Act or T-A program. This created federally inspected plants that were manned by state officials.
Smith Looks for Farm Bill Progress in 2012
(From KTIC, NE)
Action on the Farm Bill could get underway in the near future. Last week Chairwoman of the Senate Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow announced the dates of four Farm Bill hearings being held in February and March in Washington DC.
On the House side, Third District Congressman Adrian Smith is already getting input from the state's producers. During a conference call with reporters, Smith says farmers have told him that they are willing to give up direct payments in exchange for a new risk management approach. Smith says this would similar to crop insurance programs, where there is producer participation while involving the private sector servicing those policies. He says this as a good option to move forward and get beyond direct payments...
As of Jan. 21, 2012
Attitudes, Prices Strong at National Bison Association Events
Optimistic attitudes among bison producers attending the National Bison Association annual conference and strong prices paid at the annual bison auction held at the National Western Stock Show here last week, both reflect the strong outlook for the buffalo business in the coming years.
"Attendance at our annual conference and the prices paid during the Gold Trophy Show and Sale both demonstrated that our ranchers and marketers have built a strong foundation for the continued growth of our business," said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association.
According to Carter, the more than 200 ranchers attending the association's annual conference here in late January included many newcomers to the business. He noted that attendees nearly overflowed one conference session featuring an opportunity for new producers to interact with long-time producers willing to serve as mentors.
"The bison business today is on solid footing because we have built a strong relationship with our customers based upon the quality of our meat, and the integrity of our animals," Carter said. "The general sessions and smaller workshops at our conference focused heavily on the steps needed to continue to build our business. The optimism among our long-time producers, and the energy of the newcomers to our business, combined to make for an exciting conference."
The optimism was evident on Saturday, as ranchers continued to demonstrate a willingness to invest in quality breeding stock to build their herds. Two-year old breeding bulls brought an average of $9,321 during the association's Gold Trophy Sale at the Stock Show, compared to the $6,650 average price paid at the 2011 event. Two-year old bred heifers averaged $4,050, yearling heifers averaged $2,856, and heifer calves sold for an average of $1,475. The animals entered into the special Ranch-Ready Pen of Five Yearling Heifers sold for an average of $2,950 per animal.
Bison Spirit Ranch of Manitoba, Canada swept the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion categories for bulls entered into the Gold Trophy Show. High Country Bison of Austin Texas garnered the Grand Champion Female award for a Two-Year Old Bred Heifer, and Wichita Buffalo Co., of Hinton, OK earned the Reserve Grand Champion Trophy for a Yearling Heifer. Rawhide Energy Station of Colorado earned several trophies during the judging, and gathered the points necessary to capture the Producer of the Year honors.See complete GTSS results here: http://www.bisoncentral.com/sites/default/files/GTSS%20Full%20Results%201.26.12.pdf
Members attending the bison association's annual conference also elected new officers to lead the group in 2012. The members elected Peter Cook of Indiana as President, Donnis Baggett of Texas as Vice President, and Amil Kleinert of Indiana as Secretary-Treasurer. Bruce Anderson of South Dakota was elected as director-at-large. And, the board of directors appointed Dick Gehring of Kansas to fill a vacancy created by Baggett's shift from director to Vice President.
John Flocchini, who led the association as president for the past two years-stepped down because of term limits, put will continue to chair the board meetings as Past President for the next two years.
At the association's annual awards banquet, Baggett was honored as Member of the Year for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the bison industry. Gail Griffin of Minnesota, who completed her final board term as past president was honored at the banquet for her service as well.
Rusty Seedig of Denver was posthumously inducted into the National Buffalo Hall of Fame during a special ceremony during the awards banquet. Seedig was one of the founders of the former Denver Buffalo Co. and was a pioneer in building the buffalo business prior to his death in 2010. The Hall of Fame is maintained in Jamestown, ND by the National Buffalo Foundation.