Looking Back to Twenty Years Since the Cow That Stole Christmas

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Don Close about the cow that stole Christmas.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is talking with Terrain’s Chief Research and Analytics Officer, Done Close, about the cow that stole Christmas in 2003.

This coming weekend will mark 20 years since the announcement of the first case of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), or Mad Cow Disease, in the United States. The U.S. cattle industry was impacted for years after the announcement of BSE in the country.

During this time, Close was in charge of risk management for Aztec Feeders in the Texas Panhandle.

“From a risk-management perspective, it was a living nightmare,” Close said. “Just the uncertainty of what to do, the initial free-fall in the market. We couldn’t move cattle. You didn’t know what to do.”

Close said Canada had its initial outbreak of BSE the May prior to the U.S. outbreak. Immediately, Close said the U.S. cut off all importation of live cattle from Canada.

Although the U.S. would not buy live cattle from Canada, Close said the U.S. was able to purchase Canadian beef at a tremendous discount.

Over in the U.S., Close said the markets were good and therefore, an abundance of cattle were going to slaughter. After BSE hit the U.S., Close said there was an immediate pause in the movement of cattle.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

CLICK HERE to listen to the full conversation with Don Close about the cow that stole Christmas on the Ag Perspectives Podcast with Ron Hays.

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