This is the second day of the annual summer Iowa Cattlemens Association summer conference and trade show. Evan Vermeer is a vice-president with the I-C-A. He says at a Monday policy meeting, “Animal I.D.” was a major topic. Vermeer says if it’s in effect in a “full trace-back system,” Animal ID makes Country of Origin Labeling easy to do, and he says members at the meeting were eager for Iowa to get into such a program and be ahead of the curve. Created in response to world trade markets concerned about Mad Cow Disease and where the meat supply comes from, COOL or Country of Origin Labeling is intended to track animals to where they were born and raised, right down to giving each animal a unique identification. Vermeer says USDA’s mandating Animal ID by the year 2008. He says Animal ID is “a good deal for traceback and for source verification, for age verification.” He says it’s a good idea to have the program in place so producers can hit developing markets, and says Iowa may be on track to implement the system even earlier than the national requirement. One session told about the new market reporting service that’s a joint venture of Iowa and Nebraska cattlemen, a member-only service that’ll let members call in bids and sales, and contract buyer activity. He says the producers were interested in that program. As for as record high beef prices being paid right now, Vermeer says farmers are understandably happy about it though they figure it can’t last. Vermeer says it’s been very profitable for a couple years and “It was due after a time of some expressed returns.” From a feedlot standpoint, he says farmers also have to pay a lot when they fill their lots with feeder cattle, and many feel “something’s gotta give here pretty quick.” They’re also talking about the state fair and the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement. The group’s interim policy meets today (Wednesday) to begin a process they’ll finish in December and take to lawmakers for next winter’s session. Vendors, market advisors and other organizations associated with farming and beef have more than 60 booths at the trade show. The annual cattlemen’s show is at a new location this year, the Ag Center between Ames and Nevada.
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