|Rancher Bradley Dallyn, who lives north of Provost, Alberta along Highway 899 walks toward one of several new-born calves on Good Friday. ©Provost News Photo. Print version in March 30 edition of The Provost News. Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.
Albertans On Right Track Building Packing Plants
The News Directs Six Questions to Six
Montana Ranchers Over Border Closure and BSE
With the re-opening of the U.S. border to live cattle over the bovine spongiform encephalopathy issue not taking place as expected, The News talked directly to six ranchers in Montana in in-depth telephone interviews.
The six ranchers were picked at random and they are:
James C. Berthelson of Berthelson Ranch of Browning, in County Glacier (has 100 head of cattle);
John Fritz, of John R. Fritz Ranch of Chester, in the County of Liberty (200 head);
Wayne Wiederrich, of Yeska Ranch of Saco, in the County of Phillips (500 cows and generally runs 80 to 100 Herefords every year);
John Rimel of Moose Can Gully Ranch out of Missoula, in the County of Missoula (25 head, a non-viable economic unit);
John Michael III, of Michael Angus Ranch of Livingston, in the County of Park (is a registered Angus breeder, has 125 mother cows); and
Alicia Moe, whose husband Rich was too busy with calving in bad weather to come to the phone. They operate Moe Ranch near Two Dot, in the County of Wheatland (400 pairs cow/calf).
|The Provost News question 1: There have been a handful of cases of BSE found in Canada with a total herd of about 15.09 million cattle. The United States has an estimated 95.8 million head of cattle. Even though no cattle in the USA have been reported with having BSE, do you believe that BSE doesor could exist somewhere in cattle in the USA?
Berthelson: No, sir. I do not.
Fritz: I think it could, it could be anywhere.
Wiederrich: Yes I do. It boggles the imagination that it doesnt show up at random. I feel the cattle were destroyed beforehand (and not marketed), or not found.
Rimel: I would hope not. Theres not enough information to say. Theres a tremendous fear out there that a case will pop up. On March 10 I was at a conference and the issue was on the Canadian border and about whether it ought to be re-opened. A gentleman on the panel in Montana had travelled north and inspected Canadian producers and industry and surveyed what was in place and he felt that the border should be re-opened and that Canadian inspections were being done. I have to say his feeling was not shared by a lot in attendance.
Michael: Id be foolish to say no. Its a rare thing. Theres a potential there.
Moe: I would say there could be some BSE. You can never say never.
PN question 2: Many Canadian ranchers are hurting financially because of the border closing and estimates are that it has cost the Canadians over $6 billion, not including spin-off industries. One Alberta rancher here told us shortly after a Montana judge made a recent ruling to keep the border closed to live cattle that the Canadian cattlemen will remember this for a long time. He said its sad, the human nature displayed and that the U.S. cattlemen have benefitted for two years and that they should not only think of themselves. How do you respond to that?
Berthelson: That Canadian border is just a g**damn line. There aint no difference between you people and our people. Its just a line . . . but its all politics, pardner.
Rest of interviews and story in March 30 edition of The Provost News.
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