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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

July 30, 2014

House Passes Bill to Modernize Endangered Species Act

July 29, the House passed H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act, by a vote of 233 to 190. The Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) strongly support the legislation, which combines four bills previously marked up by the House Natural Resources Committee and will be beneficial to updating and improving the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).

“The ESA, while designed to protect species from endangerment of extinction, has proven to be ineffective and immensely damaging to our members’ ability to stay in business,” said Brice Lee, PLC president and Colorado rancher. “During the nearly 40 years since the ESA was passed and over 25 years since Congress last reauthorized the law, our industry has come to recognize the Act as greatly flawed and outdated. Less than 2% of species placed on the endangered species list have ever been deemed recovered.”

H.R. 4315 will require data used by federal agencies for ESA listing and proposed listing decisions to be made publicly available and accessible. The bill also requires the Interior Secretary to report and comprehensively track all litigation costs associated with the Act. Furthermore, the bill caps hourly fees paid to attorneys that prevail in cases filed under ESA, consistent with current law.

“Environmental activist groups have a habit of suing the federal government to force the listing of a species, then suing to prevent species delisting, even after recovery goals have been met,” said Bob McCan, NCBA president. “Their legal expenses are often reimbursed by the American taxpayer. By comprehensively tracking all costs associated with the ESA and capping the attorney fees, we can limit the incentive those groups have to file suit and keep the federal agencies accountable for the taxpayer dollars being spent.”

Finally, the federal government will be required to disclose to affected states all data used in the ESA decision making process. It also ensures that “best available scientific and commercial data” used by the federal government will include data provided by affected states, tribes and local governments.

“The ESA has not been reauthorized since 1988, and is in great need of modernization,” said McCan. “While not a complete fix, this piece of legislation takes some of the necessary steps to repairing this broken law.”

Increasing Herd Size, Beef Production Are Focus of
Aug. 28 High Plains Nutrition & Management Roundtable

The 2014 High Plains Nutrition & Management Roundtable will be Aug. 28 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) West Central Water Research Field Laboratory near Brule. The theme is “Focus on Cow Herd Size and Beef Production.” Keynote speaker Tom Brink, founder and owner of Brink Consulting & Trading, will discuss “Creating Valuable Calves that Feedlots Really Want.”

The High Plains Nutrition & Management Roundtable is an annual meeting hosted by the local chapter of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS), which comprises beef industry professionals from Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado who share a common interest in improving the beef industry through improved nutrition and management practices. Each year, the meeting is hosted in the tri-state area by professors from Colorado State University (CSU), University of Wyoming (UW), and UNL, along with industry professionals who want to share emerging technologies, peer-reviewed research and ideas. The goal is to maintain an open dialogue between the academic, industry (or private sector) and producer segments who are in pursuit of making better beef for our consumers.

To register, go to, click on meeting info button at top of page, then click on “2014 meeting registration” link for a registration form that can be filled out and mailed. Instructions are on that web page. Registration is $40 for preregistrations received by Aug. 15. At the door cost will be $50 per person.

For more information, please view the Angus Journal Virtual Library calendar of upcoming events here.

Voluntary ‘Best Practices’ Model for
Ag Youth Employment Published

Given the changes in agriculture in recent years and the lack of updated guidance for youth employment, a new voluntary “best practice” model policy has been developed to help fill this gap. It can be adopted in both employment and nonemployment settings to help safeguard young farm workers.

“Model Policy: Youth Employment in Agriculture,” addresses age- and developmentally appropriate assignments, training needs for adolescent workers, and ideal supervision and mentoring by adult workers. This approach is consistent with new trends in agriculture to use certification systems, safety audits and voluntary safety standards in addition to the regulatory process.

The policy, recommendations for its use and resources are posted at

Mary Miller, registered nurse, master of nursing and young worker specialist at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, working with Barbara Lee, director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, led development of the policy, beginning with discussions at the National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) annual conference in Washington D.C., and continuing with a survey of employers and a task force of NCAE members. The process resulted in a template that can be customized and adapted for individual companies that employ young workers. The policy process continued the conversation about youth safety after proposed changes to federal agricultural child labor laws were withdrawn by the White House in April 2012.

A manuscript about the policy and its development is featured in the current Journal of Agromedicine (issue 19-3). The abstract can be viewed at

Appeals Court Affirms COOL

Eleven judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Appeals Court) denied the request by the American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and other meatpacker lobby groups for an injunction that would have halted enforcement of the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law.

While the decision to uphold the denial of the preliminary injunction was unanimous, the Appeals Court ruled 8 to 3 to reinstate the specific judgment by the original three-judge panel of the Appeals Court that decided in March that COOL did not violate the groups’ First Amendment free speech protections. The specific First Amendment question resolved by the July 29 ruling was whether the original panel had used the proper standard for determining when the Constitution allows compelled commercial speech.

“This ruling reinforces our long-held belief that COOL is fully compliant with our U.S. Constitution and our congressionally passed COOL law,” said Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) CEO Bill Bullard.

R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Food & Water Watch, and the Western Organization of Resource Councils are interveners in the original lawsuit filed against COOL by the meatpacker lobby and jointly filed a friend of the court brief (amicus curie brief) with the appeals court in support of COOL.

The appeals court flatly rejected the assertion that the only purpose for COOL was to satisfy consumers’ “idle curiosity.” To the contrary, it found that COOL information “has an historical pedigree” and listed many other statutes that require COOL information on various products, including the Tariff Acts of 1890 and 1930, the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939, the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, and the American Automobile Labeling Act.

In addition, the Appeals Court referenced statements by congressional members indicating that COOL served a food-safety interest by enabling consumers to make purchasing decisions based on such factors as United States’ supervision of the entire production process for health and hygiene and by containing the market impact of a disease outbreak which COOL can do by enabling consumers to avoid products from countries where an outbreak may occur.

In his concurring opinion, Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh found that the government has a substantial interest in providing COOL information and stated that COOL “is justified by the government’s historically rooted interest in supporting American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers as they compete with foreign manufacturers, farmers and ranchers.”

Kavanaugh further opined that this substantial interest in COOL is obvious, even if the USDA did not articulate it during the litigation. He stated it was likely that USDA did not expressly articulate its “clear interest in supporting American farmers and ranchers in order to justify this law, apparently because of the international repercussions that might ensue.”

“We are pleased with this strong COOL decision and equally pleased that consumers will continue to be able to choose to purchase beef that is exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States,” said South Dakota Stockgrowers Association’s President Bob Fortune.


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