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News Update

July 6, 2012

Dean of Nebraska College of
Technical Agriculture Retiring

When Weldon Sleight arrived in Curtis in 2006, he looked around him at a rural Nebraska that was struggling, many youth leaving hometowns never to return. He set out to help reverse that trend by transforming a tiny college that had fought off its own near-death experiences into a catalyst for rural entrepreneurship.

Six years later, as Sleight prepares to retire as dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, he can point to a number of improvements that are helping the college give rural Nebraska new ways to survive and even thrive.

For more information and the full release,

Experts: Outdoor Cooking, Food Safety Important for July 4 Celebrations

On July 4, many people will be firing up their grills and cooking food to eat outdoors, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts offering advice on both fire and food safety.

"People need to take extra care if they're planning to grill outdoors, especially if it's in an open area such as a public park," said Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension specialist in family development and resource management in College Station. "Everyone should still be vigilant when it comes to outdoor cooking fire safety, especially since three out of four households have an outdoor grill, and cooking out is a huge July 4th tradition."

The National Fire Protection Association data show that from 2005-2009 U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires each year involving charcoal and gas grills and other means of outdoor cooking. These included approximately 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires, causing an average of 15 deaths and 120 injuries annually and $75 million in direct property damage.

For more information about safety tips and the release, click here.

Nebraska Cattlemen Urges Caution with Fireworks
During Current Drought

As the Fourth of July holiday season approaches, Nebraska Cattlemen warns that wildfire danger is a major threat and urges caution and common sense, accordingly, with fireworks.

Summer heat and inconsistent rainfall in the past months have pushed many parts of Nebraska into moderate and severe drought. Sparks from fireworks can ignite wildfires, especially in dry fields and grass pastures, and with a small amount of wind, these fires can spread very quickly and cause severe damage. Nebraska Cattlemen urges firework users to follow all safety guidelines to ensure a safe holiday.

For more information on the current drought, go to

Registration Opens for the 2012 USAHA/AAVLD
Annual Meeting

Plans are well underway for the 116th United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and 55th American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) annual meeting. The meeting will take place Oct. 18-24, 2012, at the Greensboro Sheraton Hotel in Greensboro, N.C. The event brings together leaders and stakeholders from across the country to address the most pressing issues in livestock and poultry disease, regulations, diagnostics and research in the United States. Registration is open to anyone interested in the mission of USAHA and AAVLD to safeguard the health of the U.S. herds and flocks.

USAHA and AAVLD will feature a joint plenary session Monday, Oct. 22, entitled "Science, Economics and Politics, Oh My!" The session will bring a thought-provoking look at key issues affecting animal agriculture today. Richard Breitmeyer, director, California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, will moderate the morning session that will feature leading talks on the evolving front of food and fiber production.

For the full release and more information, click here.

USDA Steps up Residue Testing in Meat, Poultry, Eggs

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that later this summer it plans to start using a new testing method for meat, poultry and eggs that will allow it to test for dozens of chemical and drug residues from a single sample. The agency will also increase the number of samples it tests.

"The new testing methods being announced today will help protect consumers from illegal drug residues in meat products," USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen said in a statement on Monday. "By allowing us to test for more chemical compounds from each sample, these changes will enable USDA to identify and evaluate illegal drug residues more effectively and efficiently."

One of the multi-residue methods being implemented for veterinary drugs will allow the agency to screen for chemical compounds that include several types of legal and illegal drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and growth promoters. In the past, FSIS would have collected 300 samples from 300 cows and looked for just one chemical at a time. Under the new system, one sample may be tested for as many as 55 pesticide chemicals, nine kinds of antibiotics, various metals, and eventually more than 50 other chemicals. In all, FSIS will assess more compounds per sample using several multi-residue methods.

For more information and the full release, click here.

North Dakota Stockmen's Association Statement About WTO Ruling on Country of Origin Labeling

The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its final ruling on the United States' mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law, upholding an earlier decision that COOL violates WTO trade agreements.

North Dakota Stockmen's Association (NDSA) President Jason Schmidt issued this statement regarding the WTO Final Ruling on Country of Origin Labeling:

"North Dakota stockmen and women are proud of the cattle we raise and the high-quality beef we produce. The North Dakota Stockmen's Association supports COOL. It must, however, be implemented in a way that benefits U.S. beef producers and gives consumers the information they seek without disrupting beef markets or causing retaliation from important U.S. beef customers, like Canada and Mexico. The NDSA urges Congress and the Obama administration to show their support for America's farmers and ranchers by moving swiftly in making the necessary adjustments to bring COOL into full WTO compliance."

Tim Starks Brings Fresh Perspective as New President of Livestock Marketing Association

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is pleased to announce Tim Starks as president for the 2012-2014 term. Unlike many past presidents, Starks did not grow up in the livestock auction marketing business. Starks grew up on a farm and ranch operation near Cherokee, Okla., where for 30 years he was a customer of the local auction markets.

For more information and the full release,

2013 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards

Applications for the checkoff's fifth annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards are now being accepted. This year will again recognize four outstanding individuals/organizations in the following categories: Beef, Dairy, Marketer and Educator. The process for the 2013 BQA Awards has changed this year. The award applications can now be found at and must be submitted via the online forms. Award applications are due by Aug. 10, 2012.

Lexie Madden Crowned Miss Wyoming

Congratulations to Lexie Madden, daughter of Lex and Jamie Madden of Torrington Livestock Commission Co., as the newly crowned Miss Wyoming. Lexie will be representing Wyoming in the Miss America 2013 pageant.

Lexie's platform during her reign as Miss Wyoming is "Raising Awareness of the Importance of Physical Activity in Youth." She will also serve as an ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network.

In addition to her duties as Miss Wyoming, Lexie will be busy attending classes as a senior this fall at the University of Wyoming.

Be sure to tune in to the Miss America 2013 pageant, broadcast live from Las Vegas in January, on the ABC television network.


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