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stuart_regCOLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The drought that has sizzled the Southwest in 2012 and carved an even bigger gash into the national cattle herd size will have a lasting effect through 2015, said Brett Stuart, market analyst for Cattle Fax, at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.

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With a dry growing season this year, barns of livestock producers are going into the winter with lower than normal stocks of hay. Challenging weather has also made the availability of hay scarce, pasture supplies short and hay prices have risen as a result.

It’s important for hay buyers to beware of the quality and weight of the hay they are buying according to Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is reminding local farmers and ranchers that through a simple permitting process, they are allowed to bale hay from highway rights-of-way.  There are over 135,000 mowable acres along highway rights-of-way in the state.

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You don’t hear of too many September graduations. But then again, there aren’t that many MBA programs that consist of ranch visits, meats labs and sales sessions.

Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) launched its Master’s of Brand Advantages program in late 2010 and the first class will receive their degrees at the company’s annual conference in Sunriver, Ore., later this month. The second class is in progress.

“Meat experience in sales is not as in-depth as it used to be,” says Deanna Walenciak, CAB marketing director. “As our industry has changed, there are not as many people working their way up through the cut shop to sales.”

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to offer services to farmers whose livestock and crops were damaged in the devastation brought on last week by Hurricane Irene. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is deploying personnel and resources to assist the efforts by federal, state and local authorities in response to the hurricane.

"We continue to closely coordinate with many partners to meet the immediate and plan for the long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Irene," said Vilsack. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses caused by this massive storm. USDA is ready to provide food, emergency assistance and other resources to the affected areas."

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Breeding beef cows by appointment on one day brings a shorter calving season and a uniform crop of high-quality calves.

“Existing technology is on the shelf and ready to use,” David Patterson, University of Missouri beef reproduction specialist, told cattle producers at a conference in Joplin.

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