News Update
July 1, 2011

Statewide Beef Field Day July 30 in Auburn

The Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA), the Auburn University Department of Animal Sciences and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, are hosts for a statewide Beef Field Day July 30. This field day will be at the Auburn University Beef Teaching Unit and will start at 8 a.m. You do not have to be a member of BCIA to attend.

Topics will include a chute-side demonstration of proper tattooing techniques, freeze branding and how to administer herd health injections. In addition, there will be a discussion on seedstock marketing, a demonstration of online interactive advertising, a marketing tool to develop an annual advertising budget, and bull calf evaluations to make culling decisions. Faculty members from Auburn’s animal sciences department, along with purebred producers and BCIA staff will present these programs.

Registration fees are $25 by July 20, and onsite registration is $35. Mail registration fees to Alabama BCIA, Attn: Michelle Elmore, 40 County Road 756, Clanton, AL 35045.

For additional information, contact Michelle Elmore or call (205) 646-0115.

— Release by Donna Reynolds, Alabama Cooperative Extension.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Heat Stress in Cattle

With the weather forecast of temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s and the heat index expected to top 100 degrees in Iowa this week, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell reminds beef cattle producers that preparing for these weather conditions is vital to maintaining herd health.

Here are five steps to avoiding heat stress in your herd.

  • Plan ahead. After cattle get hot, it’s too late to prevent problems.
  • Don’t work cattle when it is hot. Finish working cattle before 9 to 10 a.m. in summer, and remember that during a heat wave, it’s best to not work cattle at all.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, clean water. When it’s hot and humid, consuming water is the only way cattle can cool down. Make sure the water flow is sufficient to keep tanks full, and ensure there’s enough space at water tanks (3 inches linear space per head). Introduce new water tanks before a heat event occurs so cattle know where they are.
  • Feed 70% of the ration in the afternoon. Heat from fermentation in the rumen is primary source of heat for cattle. When cattle are fed in the morning, peak rumen temperature production occurs during the heat of day when they can’t get rid of it. By feeding 70% of the ration in late afternoon, rumen heat production occurs when it is cooler.
  • Provide ventilation, shade and/or sprinklers. Environmental temperatures compound the heat load for cattle during a heat wave. Remove objects that are obstructing natural air movement. Indoor cattle will benefit from shade provided by the building as long as ventilation is good. Outdoor cattle will benefit from sprinklers to cool them off. Make sure cattle are used to sprinklers before employing them during a heat wave.

Factsheets on dealing with heat stress, resources and ISU Extension staff who can help are available on the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) website. Dewell offers more details on heat stress in a longer article on the ISU Veterinary Medicine Beef Extension website. Keep an eye on the seven-day heat stress forecast for your area at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service website.

— Release by ISU Extension.

USDA Designates Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

The USDA has designated counties in California and parishes in Louisiana as natural disaster areas.

California: The USDA has designated Glenn and Tehama counties in California as primary natural disaster areas due to losses to the 2011 olive crop caused by unseasonably warm weather followed by freezing temperatures that occurred from Nov. 23, 2010, through March 1, 2011.
Farmers and ranchers in Butte, Colusa, Lake, Mendocino, Plumas, Shasta and Trinity counties in California also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

Louisiana: The USDA has designated De Soto and Red River parishes in Louisiana as primary natural disaster areas due to tornadoes that occurred April 26-27, 2011.

Contiguous parishes and counties also qualifying for natural disaster assistance include:

  • Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine in Louisiana; and
  • Panola and Shelby in Texas.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas June 30, 2011, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low-interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of the losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

— Adapted from releases by USDA.

Mortality Management Featured at 2011 Ag Expo

To help producers successfully deal with this side of the livestock business, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension will be offering information and demonstrations on mortality management at the 2011 Ag Expo. Acceptable methods for mortality management are defined within Michigan’s Bodies of Dead Animals Act (BODA); Act 239 of 1982, as amended.

The law describes six alternative ways to handle mortalities. Traditionally, we looked at how we could dispose of the carcasses, such as burial, rendering, and incineration. While these traditional methods get rid of the mortality in an acceptable manner, they do not allow for the nutrients to be recycled. Alternatives such as composting and anaerobic digestion allow the nutrients to be utilized in the farming system.

Visitors to Ag Expo will have opportunities to learn about all methods through presentations, posters and demonstrations. Highlights of the event will include demonstrations every morning beginning at 11:00 AM, where visitors will go to the MSU composting site and see active open pile composting of sheep (Tuesday, July 19), beef (Wednesday, July 20) and horse (Thursday, July 21) mortalities. Afternoon demonstrations offer a first-hand look at carcass reduction equipment, vertical mixers and in-vessel systems. See the expo schedule for times and days. To participate in the tour, arrive at the Michigan Ag Expo grounds 30 minutes prior to the tour and meet at the mortality management tent just inside the east gate to board transportation.

Anaerobic digestion, new to the BODA Act in 2008, provides another method for mortality management. However, farmers will not be able to use this practice until state of Michigan rules are in place. On Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Kirk from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will join MSU researchers to discuss the new anaerobic digestion rules and best management practices for this system.

There is more than one way to manage dead animals. The information provided during Ag Expo will help producers determine the method that best fits their operation.

MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sponsors Ag Expo. It runs from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, July 19-20, and 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, July 21. Admission to the grounds and parking at Farm Lane and Mt. Hope roads are free.

To learn more about the educational sessions being offered at Ag Expo this year, visit the Ag Expo website at For more information on mortality management, contact Dale Rozeboom at 517-355-8398.

— Release by Marilyn Thelen, MSU Extension.

Regulation Blocking Genetically Engineered Food Animal Development, Report Finds

A cumbersome and time-consuming federal regulatory process is stifling commercial investment in the development of genetically engineered (GE) animals for food and has serious long-term implications for agriculture and food security in the United States, reports a task force of experts led by a University of California-Davis (UC Davis) animal scientist.

“Although humans and animals have been consuming genetically engineered food from plants for years, images of genetically engineered animals open new and often contentious debates about the issue,” said Alison Van Eenennaam, the report’s lead author and a UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology.

“Some of the controversy regarding GE animals stems from issues of regulatory oversight of research, development and post-approval marketing,” she said.

In the report, various stakeholders point out strengths and weaknesses in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory approach. The task force members address:

  • thoroughness of the premarket product review process for safety and efficacy;
  • potential for withdrawing FDA endorsement after a product has been approved;
  • need for public transparency in the review process;
  • the FDA’s lack of authority to consider ethics and other social concerns;
  • reliance on data produced by the corporation seeking approval; and
  • lack of provision for environmental review.

The task force also determined that the issues are clouded by the potential for opposition groups to delay or obstruct approval by co-opting regulations and concerns about labeling requirements. At this time, the FDA cannot require that food labels include information about production methods, such as genetic engineering, unless that process results in a material difference in the product.

The report, published by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, examines a proposal by the private firm AquaBounty to raise and sell genetically engineered salmon as a test case. The “AquaAdvantage” salmon carry a Chinook salmon gene, which enables them to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon.

The report, The Science and Regulation of Food from Genetically Engineered Animals, is available free of charge on the council’s website at

The U.S.-based Council for Agricultural Science and Technology is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies and nonprofit organizations that interprets and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector and the public.

— Release by UC Davis.

Kansas Cattleman Fears Government Intervention

“Even with its imperfections, free trade is relatively more equitable than regulated and subsidized markets, which retard innovation and distort production and market signals,” said Frank Harper, president-elect for the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) and a member of the Board of Directors for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

While testifying Tuesday during a hearing on the state of the livestock industry hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Forestry, Harper firmly stated that KLA and NCBA members oppose attempts to narrow the business options or limit the individual freedom of livestock producers to innovate in the management and marketing of their production. Specifically, Harper expressed concerns about the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock and poultry marketing, which was printed in the Federal Register in June 2010. Several of the provisions contained in this rule were either defeated or withdrawn during consideration of the last farm bill. He said U.S. producers are concerned the GIPSA rule would greatly expand the role of government in marketing livestock and eliminate producers’ ability to market livestock to capture the benefits of their efforts to improve the quality of their livestock.

“Over the years, I have invested in genetics that have helped me improve the quality and consistency of the calves I produce. To capitalize on this investment, I retain ownership of my calves and feed them in a commercial feedyard,” said Harper. “This allows me to market my calves through U.S. Premium Beef (USPB), Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) and other programs that allow me to earn premiums for my high-quality cattle. I fear the GIPSA rule will force me to sell cattle for the same average price as everyone else. My investment in superior genetics would be lost.”

Harper told the committee that the GIPSA rule would require the buyers of his cattle to justify paying more than a standard price for his livestock. Consequently, if Harper’s competitors don’t agree with the justification, the packer may be sued. He said “common business sense” concludes that the packer no longer would be interested in paying premiums in fear of litigation. Harper said cattlemen and consumers will be negatively impacted the most.

“It is clear to us the proposed rule will make forward contracting and other alternative marketing arrangements subject to so many regulatory hurdles and legal risk that the effect, whether intended or not, is the elimination of these marketing options,” said Harper. “Without the consistent supply provided by these arrangements, processors likely will be forced to reduce or eliminate branded and natural beef programs that have helped lead resurgence in beef demand. Consumers will be forced to go without their favorite beef brands.”

— Release by NCBA.

Dining Services Partner with Virginia Tech Meat Science Center

Through an innovative partnership, Virginia Tech Dining Services is serving meat products that have been raised and processed on campus. The dining centers have been using meats purchased from the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Meat Science Center for more than a year, serving customers quality products sourced within two miles of the central campus in Blacksburg.

The Meat Science Center is an on-campus processing facility where meat is harvested and inspected. Meats produced there are fully certified by state inspectors according to USDA standards and are sold to public consumers by a division of the Meat Science Center called Plantation Road Meats. The animals are raised on Virginia Tech properties at Plantation Road and the university’s neighboring Kentland Farm.

“The students here at the university have been requesting locally sourced food selections, and we have been able to provide that through this great relationship,” said Ted Faulkner, senior associate director of Dining Services. “It is truly amazing to know that some of these items we are able to offer in our dining centers are raised, processed, prepared and consumed by our very own students.”

Meat Specialist Mark Stevenson describes the relationship with Virginia Tech Dining Services as a “win-win-win” because Dining Services is “able to buy quality local meats and serve them to its customers, students get experience in harvesting and production, and it provides a desirable outcome for researchers,” Stevenson said. “It’s a benefit to everyone.”

The partnership with the Meat Science Center has also been a positive shift for sustainability initiatives. “This is the first time that these venues have utilized closely sourced meats with such frequency,” said Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator Elena Dulys-Nusbaum. “The Farms And Fields Project venue in Owens Food Court has historically been the only venue to do this consistently, but our growing relationship with the Meat Science Center has closed the gap on the distance factor of some of the meat products we are serving.” Dulys-Nusbaum said this is an exciting transition, “utilizing some of the work happening at our very own university.”

Many different products from the Meat Science Center have been used in the dining centers, including fresh hams, pork loin roasts, steamship rounds of beef, sirloin roasts and ground beef. Initially they were used only for special events, but have now progressed to become regularly featured menu items.

The Virginia Tech Dining Services chefs made a trip to observe the products and procedures at the Meat Science Center. “We were thrilled with the quality of meat they were cutting and the care with which they were processing the products,” said Carolyn Bess, assistant director of Dining Services. The chefs were able to sample different types of meats that will be seen in dining halls in the future. “We look forward to developing utilization for specialty sausages and smoked bacon,” Bess said.

The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student’s life outside the classroom is represented through the division’s departments.

— Release by Stephanie Paradiso, Virginia Tech.

— Compiled by Katie Gazda, editorial intern, Angus Productions Inc.

Having trouble viewing this e-list please click here.

Sign up for the Angus e-List
(enter your e-mail address below)

You have the right to unsubscribe at any time. To do so, send an e-mail to Upon receipt of your request to unsubscribe, we will immediately remove your e-mail address from the list. If you have any questions about the service or if you'd like to submit potential e-list information, e-mail For more information about the purpose of the Angus e-List, read our privacy statement at

API Web Services
3201 Frederick Ave. • St. Joseph, MO 64506 • 1-800-821-5478