News Update
March 29, 2006


Ranchers converge on Capitol Hill

More than 400 cattle producers from across the country are in Washington, D.C., this week for the cattle industry’s 2006 Spring Legislative Conference on Capitol Hill.

Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) will meet with members of Congress and key agency officials to discuss issues such as tax reform, property rights, environmental law, food safety regulations and animal health issues.

“While in Washington this week, hundreds of cattle industry leaders will be visiting with our nation’s policymakers to review top political priorities for our industry and explain the challenges we face each day on our operations back home,” said Mike John, NCBA president.


High cattle numbers soften retail beef prices

Consumers may see lower beef prices this grilling season, according to government economists and the latest cattle-on-feed report, Brownfield Network reported.

Ron Gustafson, economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), says that good demand is overshadowed by plentiful supply, and retail prices are already lower than they were a year ago.

“In February, our retail prices averaged $4.06 per pound for Choice beef; that’s down almost 2% from a year earlier,” Gustafson says. “We’re probably going to see process move down to the $3.90 mark as we move toward summer.”

Although not as strong as last year, retail prices are still strong from a historical perspective Gustafson says.


U.S. technical team finishes a bilateral trade meeting with Japan

During a two-day visit to Japan by a U.S. technical team, the two countries reached “some consensus” on corrective measures the U.S. will implement to prevent a recurrence of cases of ineligible beef exports, Kyodo News reported.

The countries agreed to continue discussions; however, neither indicated a timeline for Japan to lift its import ban.

Acting U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Charles Lambert, who led the U.S. technical team, called Japan’s reinstated ban “excessive” in comparison with the attitude of Hong Kong over a similar ineligible shipment, the Dow Jones Newswire reported in an article on

Hong Kong delisted one plant, while Japan closed the door to all plants. According to the Dow Jones article, Lambert said the U.S industry and lawmakers consider Japan’s reaction an “overreach” that punishes plants having no record of wrongdoing.


— Compiled by Meghan Soderstrom, assistant editor, Angus productions Inc. 

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