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News Update

May 7, 2012

Atlantic National Merit Award Deadline Extended

Still need scholarship money for college? The scholarship deadline for the Atlantic National Merit Award has been extended to May 15 for National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members who have participated in the Atlantic National Angus Show, Timonium, Md.

Applicants must be an active member of NJAA or the American Angus Association; high school graduate or senior in good standing; 18-25 years of age as of January 2012; and available for personal interview May 25, 2012, at 8 a.m. in Timonium.

The Atlantic National Angus Foundation sponsors the recognition program for junior members needing financial assistance while continuing their education. This award is based on the junior's involvement in the Angus industry, their community and the Atlantic National Angus Show. Since the effort began, the Merit Award has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to juniors.

Click here for more information or to apply.

NFU Releases Free Cooperative Education Curriculum

Families, communities, and businesses large and small depend on the spirit of cooperation to succeed. National Farmers Union (NFU) is introducing a special curriculum to highlight 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.

"Cooperation is at the heart of America, from its largest cities to its smallest towns," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "Schools, organizations and community leaders are invited to use these lessons. The co-op curriculum is available to everyone for free."

A White House Community Leaders Briefing hosted by the National Cooperative Business Association took place May 4 where NFU Director of Education Maria Miller and others raised awareness of the cooperative business model. Farmers Union members have helped organize hundreds of successful cooperative businesses, some of which are Fortune 500 companies.

The curriculum provides six separate lessons each for collegiate and adult students. The lessons are written to introduce how cooperation works to help individuals accomplish as a group what they could not on their own.

To download the curriculum, visit To learn more about ways to use the curriculum, contact Miller at

Links Between Animal Health and Food Safety Studied

The head of Purdue University's Department of Animal Sciences was on a team of experts who examined the relationship between the health of agricultural animals and consumers' increasing demand for safe food. The report is being released today, May 7, in Washington, D.C.

Alan Mathew co-wrote "Healthy Animals Make Confident Consumers" with five other members of a task force organized by the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).

"This was our attempt to review the literature regarding animal health and food safety and determine what research needs to be conducted to determine the connection between the care and health of food animals and food safety," Mathew said.

Task force chair Scott Hurd, associate professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State University and former deputy undersecretary for food safety for the USDA, will detail the report in presentations at the Russell Senate Office Building, Longworth House Office Building and the headquarters of the International Food Information Council Foundation on May 7.

The report cites challenges agriculture faces in meeting some consumer demands while maintaining animal health and food safety. Mathew noted that among the topics of the report is consideration of outdoor vs. indoor livestock production and the potential effects on animal health and food safety. Mathew said some studies, for example, have shown differences in the levels of the bacteria Campylobacter and Salmonella, which cause foodborne illnesses in people, between outdoor and indoor production.

At the same time, the report notes, consumers want "virtually risk-free food" and expect farmers and processors to provide it.

The authors offer several recommendations for research in animal health and food safety.
Co-authors of the report are Barbara Masters, a veterinarian and senior policy advisor with Olsson Frank Weeda law firm in Washington, D.C.; Steve Oliver, a professor of animal science at the University of Tennessee; Rod Preston, animal science professor emeritus at Texas Tech University; and Randall Singer, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.

The peer-reviewed report will be available online beginning May 7 on the CAST website at where the complete text may be accessed free of charge.

New BQA Videos Available for Cattle Producers, Educators

The beef checkoff's Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program recently released two educational videos geared toward cattle producers and quality assurance educators.
The first of the two videos titled "BQA Cattle Handling Tips for Cow/Calf Producers", was created to demonstrate how to handle different types of cattle (bulls, cows, heifers, calves, and pairs) on cow-calf, stocker and seedstock operations. Experts Ron Gill, Curt Pate, John Maas, and others take producers though different production settings and the changing cycle of a cattle operation to understand how the handler and the cattle react to these differing situations.

The second of the video series titled "BQA Facilities Design" was created to help farmers, ranchers and cattle feeders of any size operation better understand how to properly design facilities to best suit their needs.

"The BQA program continually strives to help producers better their operations, whether it be with animal care, cattle handling or recordkeeping," says Andy Salinas, cow-calf producer from Marion, Mich., and vice-chair of the industry's producer education committee. "These instructional videos are just another way to teach producers about best management practices to ensure beef quality and keep consumers putting beef on their dinner tables."

Both videos can be viewed at or on the National BQA YouTube channel.
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