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News Update
Nov. 7, 2005

Researchers Predict Beef Tenderness

University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) researchers are developing a process to predict meat tenderness.

The group is targeting the protein calpastatin, known to regulate meat tenderness, with a biosensor. According to the university, the researchers developed a biosensor using a technique for measuring interactions between proteins. The sensor can accurately detect calpastatin levels in approximately five minutes, compared to current methods, which take up to three days.

The biosensor has been tested on processed beef, and the group plans to test the technique on unprocessed beef as early as next year, an MU release noted.

N.D. Lifts Health Certificate Requirement

North Dakota’s state veterinarian has lifted a health certificate requirement for beef cattle, bison, sheep or swine transferred from Montana to North Dakota auction markets, The Associated Press reported.

The veterinarian had announced the requirement in August, after an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Montana. She said Wednesday that the risk of the viral disease has diminished due to colder weather, the article noted.

However, because of the potential for disease transmission through direct contact, livestock from Montana counties with operations quarantined because of VS must be inspected and have a health certificate and permit number before coming to North Dakota auction markets. Horses also must be inspected by a veterinarian.

Farm Income, Cost Forecasts Released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has updated its Farm Income and Costs briefing room, which provides indicators of economic performance for the U.S. farm sector and major crop and livestock farm groups.

It has also released its perspective regarding 2005 incomes earned within the farm sector of the U.S. economy, by farms within the sector and by households of farm operators. Household earnings from off-farm sources will also be presented in the updated forecast of 2005 farm sector and business-level income.

Visit www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/farmincome for more information.

FSA County Committee Elections Begin

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Nov. 4 the election period for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees will take place from Nov. 4 through Dec. 5. Ballots to eligible producers were mailed Friday.

FSA county committees help ensure FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers. Committees provide input on commodity price support loans and payments, conservation programs and disaster assistance. Most committees consist of three to five members and may have one or more appointed advisors to further represent the interests of minority and women farmers and ranchers.

Agricultural producers, who participate or cooperate in any FSA program and are of legal voting age, can vote. A person supervising and conducting the farming operations on an entire farm, but not of legal voting age, can also vote.

Eligible producers should contact their local FSA offices if they do not receive a ballot. All ballots must be returned to the voter’s FSA office or be postmarked by Dec. 5.

For more information visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pas.

— compiled by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc.

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