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News Update

January 4, 2012 site updated for 2012

The 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is less than a month away. Thousands of cattlemen from across the country will travel to Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 1-4 for to educate themselves, network, form policy and fellowship with other cattlemen and industry leaders. The convention includes joint and individual meetings by five industry organizations: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB), American National CattleWomen Inc. (ANCW), CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF).

Angus Productions Inc. (API) provides online coverage of the event at Visit the site now for an overview of the conference and hotlinks to the schedule, online registration, accommodations and further detail on event features.

Application for Young Cattlemen’s Conference Due Friday

Every year, the Angus Foundation sponsors one individual to attend the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). The application, due this Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, can be found at

The Foundation’s sponsorship covers flight costs and registration fees. The applicant must be between the ages of 25 to 50 and must also be a member of the NCBA.

YCC allows young leaders the chance to see firsthand and further understand all aspects of the beef industry. Attendees participate in a nationwide tour of the beef production chain from ranch to feedlot to packing plant, through marketing and regulatory affairs and finally ending at consumer foodservice.

“YCC is an incredible opportunity for a young Angus breeder to broaden their scope of the beef cattle industry,” says Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation president. “From their increased level of knowledge gained through participating in this comprehensive educational program, participants become more adept and effective communicators in promoting the benefits of beef consumption to an ever-increasingly health conscious consumer public.”

Recent tours have typically begun at the NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo.; then traveled to Swift & Co. headquarters, a feedyard in Kansas, a packing plant in South Dakota, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and seedstock operations in Virginia; before the trip ends in Washington, D.C., which includes stops at USDA, the Capitol, the White House and the Department of the Interior.

“With this investment by the Angus Foundation in the education of our young producers and members through invaluable experiences such as YCC, our Angus breed and beef industry’s future will continue to be bright for many years to come,” says Jenkins.

For more information on YCC, the Angus Foundation, or a list of previous Angus YCC representatives, visit

Farmers Feed US Launches in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware

A coalition of agricultural commodity groups and farmers from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware have partnered to launch Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed US ( beginning Jan. 3, 2012.

“The Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed US program is a tremendous opportunity to introduce the region’s consumers to the hard-working men and women who raise healthy, nutritious and affordable food,” said Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity. “We need to show that even though our systems have changed and our use of technology has increased, the farmer’s commitment to do what’s right has never been stronger.”

Open to residents of those three states and Washington, D.C., the program will offer consumers the chance to win one of four “Free Groceries for a Year” sweepstakes prizes, while introducing them to 10 of the region’s farmers.

“Farmers Feed US” is based on consumer research conducted by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) that proves that “shared values” are three to five times more important in building consumer trust than demonstrating competence. The program uses a variety of strategies to engage consumers with those who produce food, including featuring the region’s farmers in online video farm tours, earned and social media and television advertisements. Through this engagement, farmers will build public trust by demonstrating they share the same values as consumers.

Since July 2009, Farmers Feed US has been connecting farmers and consumers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. During that time, those programs have accounted for more than 1.35 million consumer sweepstakes registrations, with each one introducing consumers to farmers from their state. Additionally, the program has built a consumer “opt-in” list of more than 85,000 consumers in participating states, who have requested ongoing communication on farming and food, as well as social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter with more than 20,000 likers and followers.

Animal Scientists React to FDA Antibiotic Policy

The FDA announced last week that it would close hearings on the potential risks of “subtherapeutic” antibiotic use in food animals. This announcement means the FDA will no longer regulate the use of the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline in feeds for livestock. Though some object to the policy change, the FDA announcement actually comes at the recommendation of leading animal scientists.

In the U.S., many livestock producers give their animals low-levels of antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth. Some argue that this practice has led to increased antibiotic-resistant human diseases. When the FDA opened hearings on the issue in 1977, scientists lacked information on whether giving livestock antibiotics for “growth promotion” could lead to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in humans. Since then, animal scientists have shown that antibiotics can be used safely to promote growth and health in livestock.

According to the FDA notice, published in the Federal Register, “FDA’s thinking on this issue has evolved over the last three decades, and FDA now generally considers disease control and prevention claims to be judicious uses (in other words, therapeutic uses), especially when the drug is administered at the direction and under the oversight of a licensed veterinarian.”

This statement reflects the conclusions of many animal scientists working in animal agriculture and clinical research. In November 2011, after a scientific symposium on antibiotic use in animals, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) concluded “estimated farm‐to‐fork risk from on‐farm antibiotic use is extremely low.”

Rodney Preston, a retired animal scientist and member of the Federation of Animal Science Societies’ Committee on Food Safety, agreed with the NIAA conclusion. Preston said risk of antibiotic use in animals leading to antibiotic-resistant human diseases is “minimal.”

Scott Hurd, associate professor in veterinary diagnostics and production animal medicine at Iowa State University, called the FDA announcement “a good plan.” Hurd gave his opinion on the part of the FDA announcement calling for the livestock industry to begin “voluntary reforms.”

“What they’re really asking is for the pharmaceutical companies to remove the ‘growth promotant’ labels on their products,” said Hurd.

By instituting “voluntary reform,” the FDA may be encouraging drug companies to prove the effectiveness of their products on specific bacteria — without government interference — said Hurd. Once the companies prove that their products are effective, they could re-label the drugs as “therapeutic” under FDA guidelines. It’s a measure that promotes the use of scientific evidence, Hurd said.

The FDA announcement doesn’t mean regulations on antibiotic use will be relaxed. More regulations could be on the way, Hurd added. Hurd hopes to see more studies of potential antibiotic resistance on farms before and after antibiotic use in animals.

In their notice, the FDA made it clear that the end of official hearings on certain antibiotics does not mean the end of research into antibiotic-resistant diseases.

“FDA continues to view antimicrobial resistance as a significant public health issue,” wrote the administration.

Environmental Lawsuits Could Affect Agriculture This Year

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is currently involved in two major pieces of environmental litigation that will likely be decided in federal court in 2012. This could have major implications for future environmental regulations.

Earlier this year, NCGA joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay.

The farm groups stated the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority, that the science used by the Agency is flawed and that the regulatory process lacked transparency. The case has been filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania.

The outcome of this lawsuit could establish significant precedent for future water quality regulations throughout the country. Many corn growers are concerned that the Chesapeake Bay TMDL could be used as a blueprint for addressing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff in the Mississippi River Basin and other watersheds.

In recent months, EPA has begun to publicly question its own confidence in the agency’s water quality modeling, particularly for establishing localized nutrient allocations.

The second lawsuit involves pesticide registrations and their potential impact on endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a suit against EPA in 2011 alleging that the agency failed to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (FMFS) on hundreds of pesticide registrations potentially affecting hundreds of species.

EPA has lost similar cases in recent years and federal judges have often established buffer zones and product restrictions until interagency consultations between EPA, FWS and NMFS could be conducted. NCGA and other agricultural organizations are interveners in the CBD case to ensure that growers have a seat at the table in any potential settlement negotiations.


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