CPoW board adds international cowboy to Board


map of russia

 CPoW board adds international cowboy to Board

From Medical Lake to Russia, Jim Wentland is a cattleman of many experiences

Earlier this year, the CPoW Board of Directors elected Jim Wentland to fill the Director District 4 position formerly held by Scott Nielsen . Wentland, who also serves as the President of the Spokane County Cattlemen, is a long-time cattleman currently living in the Medical Lake area. He is also an international cowboy, doing a stint in Russia in 2011 to help a private company develop their beef herd.

Wentland heard of the opportunity in Russia in one of the popular cattle industry newspapers, the Western Ag Reporter. Wentland was given a 90 day visa to work for AgroSystems near the town of Kaluga, Russia located two hours south of Moscow. A private firm was working to develop the beef cattle industry in the country, but Wentland said there were some significant challenges.

“Basically, the country had never had a beef herd, all they had was confinement dairy herds and no facilities for handing or working beef cattle,” he said.

Cattle management practices were also reminiscent of the former Soviet system, with an emphasis on job specialization and management systems that were not geared to be adaptive.

“They were vaccinating the dairy herd every week, which we were able to get them to back off to every three weeks. They also didn’t understand that cowboys need to be able to do a bunch of things, from build fence to doctor sick animals,” Wentland related. “But when I explained that, they insisted only a veterinarian could take care of the sick animals.”

Starting from an all-dairy herd, Wentland and the beef team attempted to change up the herd genetics by Artificially Inseminating 700 of the largely Semmital/Charlois herd with Angus Semmital and Brown Swiss genetics.

However, getting the herd genetics to take on more beef characteristics was only part of the challenge.

Ranch infrastructure like corrals, loading alleys and squeeze chutes all had to be added. Fencing and basic tasks like keeping water tanks unfrozen in the winter also posed new challenges.

“They didn’t have any tools to build fence and one day I went out and they were tightening barbed wire by stretching it back with a tractor and then hammering in two nails and bending them over to keep it in place. I looked at that and said, ‘You guys are going to kill someone’.”

Wentland mentioned to management that there were better tools available for the job, like fence stretchers, for easy purchase in the US. When his visa was extended for another seven months after a trip home, he brought back essentials like fence stretchers, work gloves and hammers that were unavailable for purchase in Russia.

But getting the ranch up to speed on tools and materials was only the beginning.

Educating Russian consumers about beef was a task the burgeoning industry would have to tackle if demand would increase for the product.

“Most people were used to just cutting a hunk off the cow when it died, putting it in a pot and boiling the crud out of it,” Wentland said. “When I went to the butcher and asked for a steak, they looked at me like I was nuts.”

Despite the difficulties, Wentland said he really enjoyed his time in Russia and was happy to have the opportunity.

“Not a lot of people pick up and go work in Russia when they are 65,” he quipped.”They paid excellent wages, it was a great experience and one of the best things I learned over there was patience.”

Wentland said the goal of the investor who owned the ranch was to increase his beef herd size from 2,300 to 3,500 by 2015. Wentland said he isn’t sure if the ranch is near making their goal.

“The investor who owned the ranch was really book smart, but sometimes you need to get a little manure on your boots,” he said.

Now that he is back in US, Wentland said he plans to continue his work with CPoW, Spokane County Cattlemen and his volunteer efforts as a 33-year 4-H leader.

“I would like to give a special thanks to Carl Grub for helping me stay interested in he cattle industry,” he said.


cpow beef donation

In addition to his international work, CPoW Director Jim Wentland (right) is also helping folks right here at home. Earlier this winter, Wentland helped to arrange a beef donation from CPoW to the Feed Medical Lake program. Wentland and member Dick Moore (left) are pictured here with Joanna Williams with Feed Medical Lake.


CPoW against import of Brazilian beef

foot and mouth pic

Foot and Mouth Disease symptoms

foot and mouth 2

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is caused by a fast-spreading virus, and all cloven-hoofed animals are susceptible to the disease. Nearly 100% of the animals in an exposed herd will become ill, and young animals may die of the disease. FMD is one of the most dreaded livestock diseases known. Susceptible animals include:Domestic Swine (Hogs and Pigs) ,Cattle, Captive and wild deer, Sheep, Goats, Bison,Elk,Llamas and Cloven-hoofed zoo animals–Iowa Dept. of Agriculture


Comments submitted to APHIS March 28

The Cattle Producers of Washington recently responded to potentially catastrophic plan by the U.S. Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service to start importing boxed beef from Brazil to the U.S., despite disease and food contamination issues in the country.

The proposal is available on www.regulations.gov  under APHIS-2009-0017.

The proposal would allow chilled or frozen beef from Brazil to enter the US food supply.To submit comments, visit the link and submit your own comments along with your name and address.

Below are the comments CPoW submitted in opposition to the proposal:

 This letter is to submit formal comment regarding the importation of beef from Brazil to the United States. The Cattle Producers of Washington are stringently opposed to this proposal due to the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease that could infect American herds. We are also concerned about the risk posed to U.S. consumers from Brazilian beef due to an uninspiring safety record in recent years.

One of the most pressing threats from importing Brazilian beef is the possibility of infecting American beef herds with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), as Brazil is not currently FMD free. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases have warned that FMD is one of the most “contagious agents in the animal kingdom” and poses significant threats to the U.S. food supply.

The U.S. has been free of FMD since 1929. The U.S. had nine outbreaks of the disease between 1870 and 1929, the most serious in 1914, infecting 170,000 cattle, sheep and swine in 3,500 herds. A 1924 outbreak required the slaughter and disposal of 109,000 farm animals and an estimated 22,000 deer. Were these numbers to replicate in modern day livestock herds, the damage would be even more extensive, as it would prevent the export of meat products from the US and put many producers of out of business.

Despite assurances that Brazil has the safeguards in place to send a disease-free product, recent incidents prove otherwise. In 2013, Brazil not only had a BSE positive cow, but failed to report the diseased animal for two days after discovering it. In addition, over 258,000 pounds of cooked beef from Brazil processed at a Chicago plant were recalled in 2010, contaminated with high levels of vermifuge, a drug used to control intestinal worms in cattle.

Arguments for the importation of this dangerous product are short-sighted and bring far more risk than reward. Some have argued that the Brazilian imports would help bolster U.S. beef supplies. Our argument is to let the market adjust itself, allowing American producers who can reliably provide a safe, disease free product to expand to meet demand.

We should not under any circumstances forfeit the health of our livestock industry or the health of consumers by importing product that is proven to be unsafe. Cattle Producers of Washington opposes any importation of Brazilian beef, live or boxed, and demands that Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reject this flawed proposal.


CPoW sponsors awards for March 12 FFA judging event

From Katlenia Vejraska, Sunny Okanogan Angus Ranch

The Sunny Okanogan Angus Ranch Annual FFA Judging competition on March 12 had a great turn out, with over 150 kids attending from 10 schools from around the State. The awards were sponsored by Cattle Producers of Washington. This years team division was won by Tonasket, Chelan took 2nd and Omak 3rd.  To determine the top team, the top 5 individual judging scores from each school are compiled to get a final team score.  Individual results: 1st – Stephanie Olivera, Chelan; 2nd – Daisy Al, Tonasket; 3rd – Dakota Saledo, Pateros; 4th – Garrette Tako, Cle Elum; 5th was a tie between Rose Walts, Tonasket and Apple Blanco, Chelan.  These are a great group of kids who are courteous and are great additions to our communities.  We enjoy having the schools and look forward to another year, see you all next March the day before the bull sale.

CPoW FFA judging

CPoW hits the Capitol, works issues


CPoW President Dave Dashiell at the Capitol

The Cattle Producers of Washington held another successful Legislative Days and Reception event on Jan. 30-31 last week, visiting with legislators and state agencies on issues affecting the cow-calf producer.
In addition to meeting with legislators and hosting a reception in the Columbia Room, CPoW and their lobbyist Jim Potts also met with the Washington State Department of Agriculture regarding Animal Identification and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding predator issues.
In addition, two bills supported by CPoW and the Science First Coalition were scheduled for hearings. The bills, SB 6288 and HB 2472 aim to clear up state law regarding the powers of the Department of Ecology by calling for site-based, source-specific evidence before DOE can take enforcement actions regarding potential pollution.
Overall, CPoW President Dave Dashiell said the event was a success and having cowboys at the Capitol made an impression.

“I think we got our points across. Everybody knew we were there because we weren’t dressed like regular government drones,” he said. IMG_1589


CPoW Legislative reception Jan. 30

washington state capitol


The CPoW Legislative Day will be held Jan. 30 with a reception for legislators at 6 p.m. in the Columbia Room. Members who are interested in attending leg day can contact CPoW via email: cattleproducersofwa@gmail.com

Read that label! COOL labeling in effect now!

meat labeling

Country of Origin labeling marking where an animal was born, raised and harvested is in the store now, as shown on this cut of meat. What is especially needed now is a huge amount of public support for COOL that will keep this labeling in place. Tell your friends and share this post with them!

You can also do a little reading to get yourself up to speed via this link from the USDA:

CPoW Legislative Day Jan. 30

Mark your calendars! CPoW will be hosting its annual Legislative Day on Jan. 30 in the Columbia Room in the Capitol building in Olympia at 6 p.m. This is a special opportunity to bend the ear of our lawmakers on the issues that matter to you. We are hoping for a hearty turnout of legislators and CPoW members this year, so watch this site and our Facebook page for additional details.