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Angus Productions Inc.

June 20, 2011

On Hold

Spending Measure Puts ‘GIPSA Rule’ on Hold

Language in ag funding bill stops development of final regulation. Cattlemen's groups come out on both sides of the action — for and against.

House lawmakers on June 16 approved an agriculture funding bill that prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from finalizing its proposed regulation on livestock and poultry marketing contracts. The House voted 217-203 to pass legislation that funds USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and related agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which begins Oct. 1, but denies money for USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to promulgate the livestock and poultry marketing regulation.

Industry groups weighed in on the outcome, with some happy and some disappointed. We share two positions, that of NCBA and that of R-CALF. Read more.

Senate Votes to End Ethanol Tax Breaks

The U.S. Senate passed legislation June 16 calling for the repeal of tax credits and tariffs for ethanol production. In a 73-27 vote, more than half of the Senate's Republicans joined Democrats in approving an amendment to end a 45¢-per-gallon subsidy for ethanol plants and a 54¢-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. The subsidies, amendment proponents argue, have been a significant driver in higher corn prices.

Now the amendment, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), will advance as part of an economic development bill. Read more.

Chuck Grove

Chuck Grove

Association Perspective

Put birth weight EPDs in perspective.

As I attended bull sales this spring, one very obvious trend was the added value cattlemen place on low-birth, high-CED (calving ease direct) genetics. Consistently, "heifer bulls" are sale toppers and the high-averaging group.

Obviously, a live calf is the most important trait to any producer. After all, a large dead calf has a distressingly low growth rate! Just as obvious, no one enjoys pulling calves in the middle of the night — or at any other time, for that matter.

All of this is plain old common sense, right? Maybe, but have you ever compared Angus expected progeny differences (EPDs) with those of other breeds using the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) adjustment factors to estimate across-breed EPDs (see Table 1)? Read more.

Producer Input Sought for 2011 Beef Quality Audit

Cattle producers are being asked to provide input to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) by taking a short, 10-minute survey at

The 2011 NBQA, led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University, is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector; face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners; and, for the first time, cattle producers — including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators and seedstock producers. Read more.

Coverage of BIF Symposium Available Online

Angus Productions Inc. (API) is providing online coverage of the June 1-4 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Research Symposium and Annual Meeting at

Widely recognized as the leading forum for the exchange of ideas between those who create technologies for breed improvement and those who put such technologies into practice, the symposium was hosted on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman. Experts from the United States and abroad discussed a range of topics — from recent hair-shedding evaluations to international database options to incorporating genomics into genetic selection tools.

Visit the Newsroom at to read summaries of the sessions, view the proceedings papers and PowerPoint presentations that accompanied the speakers, and listen to audio of the sessions. Visit the Awards page for bios on the award winners. And, finally, visit the Photos page to browse through galleries of photos from the post-conference tours and the meeting itself.

The site is compiled by API and is made possible through the sponsorship of BioZyme Inc. through its significant contribution to the Angus Foundation. For more information about API or event coverage, contact Editor Shauna Hermel at 816-383-5270. For more information on BIF, contact Executive Director Joe Cassady at 919-513-0262.


Integrating Molecular Data Into
National Cattle Evaluation

Serious cattle breeders of all stripes seek tools for genetic selection. Commercial cow-calf producers want tools for mitigating risk when choosing which bulls to buy. Seedstock breeders — the suppliers of those bulls — want tools that hasten genetic progress. Expected progeny difference (EPD) values are widely used tools for genetic selection, but they will become even more valuable, says University of Nebraska animal scientist Matt Spangler.

"Genomic information holds the promise to not only increase the accuracy of EPDs, but also add new and novel traits to our suite of traits included in national cattle evaluations," Spangler stated during the 43rd annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) symposium in Bozeman, Mont.

Inclusion of DNA marker information into EPD calculations promises three primary benefits, according to Spangler. They include increased accuracy of prediction for young animals (before a phenotypic record can be collected), shortened generation intervals and calculation of EPD values for novel traits. Examples of novel traits might include feed efficiency, disease susceptibility, end-product healthfulness, or other traits for which there is little if any collection of phenotypes. Read more.


What’s Inside …

In this June edition of the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, you'll find valuable articles devoted to the management, marketing, and health and nutrition of your beef enterprise. Select from the tabs at the top of the page to access this month's entire offering by category. A few select features include:

News Briefs …

The American Angus Association and its subsidiaries generate a wealth of information to keep members and affiliates informed of what's happening within the industry as well as with the programs and services they offer. Click here for easy access to the newsrooms of the American Angus Association and Certified Angus Beef LLC and the Angus e-List archive.

Your Health

Grip Strength Is Indicator of Overall Health

When Richard Bohannon does physical therapy with his stroke and cancer patients, the one thing he always makes sure to check is their grip strength.

While not yet widely used in the medical community, a grip strength test can be an important screening tool in assessing a person's overall health, says Bohannon, a professor of physical therapy in the Department of Kinesiology at the Neag School of Education.

"Weakness is one of those cluster signs of frailty," says Bohannon. "There are other things, like unintentional weight loss and a particularly slow gait, but grip strength gives you an overall sense of someone's vitality. It is reflective of muscle mass and can be used to predict things in the future like post-operative complications and even death." Read more.

Grants Available

Animal Welfare Approved offers grants for farmers to make welfare improvements on farm.

Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is calling for proposals for its 2011-2012 Good Husbandry Grants. Now in its fourth year, the Good Husbandry Grants program has funded nearly 100 projects across the country to improve farm animal welfare. Certified farmers and those who have submitted an application for AWA certification may apply for up to $5,000 to apply toward projects such as mobile housing, breeding stock and on-farm processing equipment.

Slaughter plants working with or seeking to work with AWA farmers are also eligible for funding. Read more.




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