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News Update

May 4, 2012

Angus Producers "Come Home to Kansas" this Fall

American Angus Association members and supporters have a chance to "Come Home to Kansas" during the 2012 National Angus Conference & Tour (NAC&T). Scheduled for Oct. 3-5, the event will headquarter in Wichita, Kan., and includes trips to both the Flint Hills and the western region of the state.

"This year's NAC&T is full of informative speakers, inventive cattle operations, and, most of all, beautiful Kansas scenery," says CEO Bryce Schumann. The event will be hosted by both the American Angus Association and the Kansas Angus Association, with sponsorship support by Land O' Lakes Purina Feed LLC.

Rodney Nulik, Purina director of production livestock marketing, is a Kansas native and is proud to be a part of the NAC&T again this year. He says, "Experience tells me that, no matter where it is held, the NAC&T will be another 'can't miss' event."

The 2012 agenda consists of a one-day conference, including industry-leading speakers and educational seminars, and two days of tours, which will feature the state's historic Angus genetics. The conference portion begins Wednesday, Oct. 3, and the first tour stop — McCurry Bros. Angus of Sedgwick — takes place that evening.

"Angus enthusiasts from across the nation will learn something new, view elite Angus genetics and create friendships during the conference and tour," says Shelia Stannard, Association director of activities and events. "We have a wide variety of items lined up; there is something for everyone at this highly anticipated event."

The Flint Hills tour on Thursday will be Sankey's 6N Ranch, Council Grove; Fink Beef Genetics, Randolph; Lyons Ranch, Alta Vista; and historic Cottonwood Falls. Friday's tour of western Kansas will feature Pratt Feeders, followed by stops at Gardiner Angus Ranch, Ashland; Giles Ranch, Bucklin; and Stucky Ranch, Kingman. Other herds will be on display at many of the tour stops, and CAB is sponsoring a portion of the tour meals.

Registration will be available at Early registration is $150 per person and due Aug. 20. After that date, registration increases to $175 and the final deadline is Sept. 10. However, walk-ins are accepted as space is available.

Attendees are encouraged to make their own hotel reservations at the Double Tree Wichita Airport, which is the headquarters hotel. Call 1-800-247-4458 and ask for the American Angus block to get the negotiated rate.

For more information about the NAC&T, visit; or contact the Activities Department at 816-383-5100.

Youth Beef Quality Assurance Training Available Online

Beef industry youth have the opportunity to become certified in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) online at no cost. The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University (K-State) has launched a Youth Animal Care Training program.

The BQA program teaches participants about implementing best management practices to help enhance herd profitability and improve consumer confidence in high-quality beef products. With increased public attention on animal welfare, BQA enables youth and producers to demonstrate their commitment to food safety and quality.

The program features free online educational training modules for youth through high school age. By participating in the training, youth can improve their knowledge of animal handling, animal welfare, antimicrobial-residue avoidance and food safety. After a training package is completed, a certificate is available for printing. Through the support of Beef Cattle Institute sponsors, the training packages, certification and electronic record of training are offered to youth at no cost.

"Animal handling, welfare, and disease prevention and control are very important management concepts to anyone who raises beef cattle," said Dan Thomson, assistant dean of outreach for K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. "As we move forward, it's essential to teach our industry youth these practices early on so they become more routine and instinctive."

Youth can work through the multimedia training modules at any time. Once all the modules within a package are completed and the quizzes are passed with 80% accuracy or higher, a certificate is available. There is no time limit or deadline to complete the modules and quizzes.

The program is designed to provide valuable online training in various areas of animal care. Each package is different in the length of time it takes to complete all of the modules. However, each module ranges from five to 20 minutes long.

The current training packages are:

• Youth Beef Quality Assurance (28 modules)

• Youth Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (31 modules)

Youth need to re-certify every three years to keep their certificate for BQA up-to-date. The system will send an email a month before the certification is up as a reminder to re-certify.

"As an educational program, BQA helps producers, including young cattle producers, identify management practices that can be improved," said Ryan Ruppert, senior director of BQA at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). "The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. BQA is all about continuous improvement, and these modules get the future farmers and ranchers off on the right foot for a lifetime of improvement in beef production."

The efforts of BQA have been instrumental in recent successes that continue to rebuild and sustain beef demand. Through BQA programs, new and experienced producers recognize the economic value of committing to quality beef production at every level, not just at the feedlot or packing plant, but within every segment of the cattle industry.

"Youth are not tomorrow's leaders; they're today's leaders. We must provide them with the tools to help them learn and move the industry forward," Thomson said.

For more information about Youth Animal Care Training, see

How Far Has Food Safety Come in 150 Years?

Throughout the year, and this month in particular, USDA celebrates 150 years of existence. The legislation that established USDA was signed on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln. At that point, food safety wasn't a major concern for the People's Department.

The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease. This led to the passing of legislation providing for meat inspection. Through the years, Congress passed the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Egg Products Inspection Act, which the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforces.

Inspection changed from a sight, smell and touch approach to a more science-based method when Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) was implemented between January 1997 and January 2000. Science and technology improvements have allowed our inspection to evolve as well, with the implementation of new policies such as testing ready-to-eat meat and poultry products for Listeria monocytogenes, applying stricter Salmonella and new Campylobacter performance standards to raw poultry products, and declaring that six additional serogroups of pathogenic E. coli (in addition to E. coli O157:H7) are adulterants in non-intact raw beef.

FSIS is in the process of fully implementing a dynamic, comprehensive data analysis system called the Public Health Information System, or PHIS. This system will allow the agency to collect, consolidate and analyze data in a more efficient and effective way, ultimately leading to better protection of the public's health and a more preventative approach toward inspection.

New FMD Vaccine Approval Expected Soon

With recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks reported in Taiwan and China, many livestock producers are growing increasingly nervous about the possibility of the disease occurring in the United States. FMD is one of the world's most contagious animal viruses and an outbreak in the United States could cost more than $50 billion, experts estimate.

Soon, however, a vaccine will be available that could ease those fears. The new vaccine is expected to be licensed for use in the next few months.

The vaccine has been developed under top security by scientists at Plum Island Animal Disease Center. "This is probably one of the most important innovations in the last 60 years in foot-and-mouth disease," says Luis Rodriguez, research leader of the Plum Island foreign animal disease research unit.

Currently used FMD vaccines are not practical because of the inability to distinguish vaccinated animals from infected animals. The new vaccine technology will include an antibody test that will enable regulators to tell the difference, the researchers say.

The new vaccine will also offer significant safety advantages since it does not use the whole live virus and cannot replicate, according to Larry Barrett, director of Plum Island, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security installation.

A part of the foot-and-mouth virus is placed in a vector and the vaccine works by triggering an immune response. When the vaccine is injected into the animal, it provides the relevant genetic information the animal's immune system needs to fight the disease virus. FMD affects animals with hooves, including swine, cattle, sheep, goats and deer. The United States has not had an FMD outbreak since 1929.

"The animal actually makes the vaccine inside its body by producing the FMD protein necessary to create an immune response," Rodriguez says. "I think it's going to revolutionize the way we look at FMD vaccines around the world today."


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