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February 26, 2015



Early Bird Discount Ends Monday, March 2nd.
Register for NIAA Annual Conference Now to Save $50


More speakers and council and committee meeting agendas have been announced for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture 2015 Annual Conference to be held in Indianapolis, March 23–26, 2015.

Joining previously announced keynote speakers Jay Famiglietti, PhD, Associate Professor at University of California, Irvine and Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose presentation is titled "21st Century Water Security and Implications for Animal Agriculture" and Aubrey Bettencourt, Executive Director of the California Water Alliance, who will present "Grab Your whiskey – The Fight for Water in the 21st Century," will be Frederick Kirschenmann and Chris van der Loo.

Kirschenmann is a Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. Kirschenmann presents "Defending Animals and Water."

Chris van der Loo, Marketing Director for the Water Solutions segment of the Agriculture Division for Trimble Navigation, leads a team dedicated to developing high–performance solutions for the diverse Global Agriculture markets currently struggling with irrigation and water drainage challenges. van der Loo's presentation is titled "Irrigation Technology to Address Farmers' Varying Needs: Water Efficiency & Optimization, Improved Yields and Reduced Runoff."

In addition, Ms. Deb Kristensen, Partner at Givens Pursley, LLP, presents "When Animal Manure is Regulated like Municipal Dumps– Imposing RCRA Liability on Agricultural Operations" and Ms. Janet Riley, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Member Services at North American Meat Institute, presents "War of Words: Adventures In MythCrushing."

The two–day conference theme is Water and the Future of Animal Agriculture. There will be presentations and discussions focused on the issues of sustainability, water use, water regulation and water quality as it applies to animal agriculture and its place in the world.

Species and issue–based committees and councils will have an opportunity to examine and consider important questions specific to their concerns.

For example, the Animal Identification & Information Systems Council Agenda features Robert Fourdraine, PhD, Vice President of DHI Operations at AgSource Cooperative Services and Boyd Parr, DVM, South Carolina State Veterinarian and Director at Clemson University Livestock Poultry Health in its opening session. Mr. Neil Hammerschmidt, Program Manager, Animal Disease Traceability, USDA APHIS VS and Jack Shere, DVM, PhD, Associate Deputy Administrator, APHIS Veterinary Services will present "USDA Update on Implementation of ADT," and Mr. Ben Richey, Executive Director, USAHA will give an update on the Livestock Movement Website.

Also on the Animal ID Agenda is Mr. Jim Akers, National Livestock Marketing Association Government and Industry Affairs Committee Member who will present "ADT Implementation and Marketing Facility Proposed Rule – An LMA Perspective," and Mendel Miller, DVM, Assistant State Veterinarian, South Dakota Animal Industry Board with "An Industry Driven Solution to Implement ADT in the Pork Industry." Dr. Fourdraine will close out the meeting speaking on "Phase out of American ID in the Dairy Industry."

For more on the Annual Conference speakers and agendas, click HERE.

NIAA would like to thank Farm Credit, Brownfield Ag News, USDA, Merck Animal Health, GlobalVetLink, AllFlex, Pork Checkoff, Where food Comes From, NLPA, Livestock Marketing Association and American Veterinary Medicine Association for their partnership in the 2015 Annual Conference. Other sponsorship opportunities of the 2015 NIAA Annual Conference and for the NRSA Workshop are available. Contact Katie Ambrose at at NIAA at 719.538.8843, extension 14 for details.

Be sure to register before Monday, March 2nd to receive a $50 Early Bird discount for the Conference. For more information about the 2015 NIAA Annual Conference, Water and the Future of Animal Agriculture, being held in Indianapolis, IN at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis March 23-26 or to register online, click HERE or contact the NIAA by calling 719–538–8843 or emailing niaa@animalagriculture.org.

USDA Organic Aquaculture Label Could Hit Grocery Shelves in 2017, Government Says

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is closing in on a long-awaited organic certification standard for aquaculture, with the eco–label the industry has been pining for possibly appearing on farm-raised seafood in supermarkets by 2017. By Matt Whittaker, Undercurrent News, 02/23/15



New Video Challenges Myth About Water Use In Beef Production

The newest video in the Meat Mythcrusher series addresses one of the most commonly seen myths in the media: how much water it takes to produce a pound of beef. While one often cited statistic suggested it could take as much as 2,400 gallons of water, sustainability researcher Jude Capper, Ph.D., explains that the real data shows the amount is much smaller, it requires 441 gallons to make a pound of boneless beef – a fraction of what is often claimed and far less than many other popular consumer products.

"While higher numbers cited may have been accurate 30 to 40 years ago," Capper says, "the modern beef industry is so efficient in the way it feeds, breeds and cares for the animals that it is able to use far fewer resources today than ever before." Capper notes that many common items take significantly more water to produce including cotton t–shirts which take more than 700 gallons of water to produce or a car which can take 39,000 gallons to produce. Capper says consumers who want to buy the most sustainable beef should focus on corn finished as opposed to grass finished beef. Perishable News, 02/11/15

Poultry Owners Urged to Increase Biosecurity

Three worrisome strains of avian flu have been detected in birds out West. These viruses can cause serious disease in birds, and their appearance has prompted poultry veterinarians at The Ohio State University to recommend that Ohio's commercial producers and backyard chicken enthusiasts alike take precautions to protect their flocks.

It's important to note that these strains are not considered a human health concern, said El–Gazzar, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. This has been strictly an avian disease outbreak — human illness has never been reported in relation to this outbreak in North America, Europe or Asia, and poultry products such as chicken and turkey are safe to eat.

Still, producers and poultry owners should take all necessary measures to protect their birds, El–Gazzar said. Backyard poultry owners should consider keeping their birds in enclosed covered runs for the next several months or until the threat from the viruses passes, he said. By Sam Custer, The Daily Advocate, 02/21/15



Ways to Integrate Poultry with Pasture Species

With the right tools for alternative feeding systems and pasture enrichment, farmers can successfully incorporate poultry into free–range, multi–species pasture or agroforestry production, based on the results of a USDA–ARS Arkansas study. The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE)–funded project (LS10–226), "Integrating Free Range Poultry with Ruminant and Agroforestry Production in a Systems Approach," looked at the various ways pasture can be used as a resource in ecological poultry production.

"In ecological poultry production, using a pasture resource effectively can be key to sustainability. You can use the pasture to its full benefits, but the challenge for farmers is to know how to do it," said Anne Fanatico, an assistant professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. World Poultry, 02/24/15

McDonald's Bringing Back Chicken Selects Amid Increased Focus On Poultry


McDonald's Chicken Selects will begin appearing at restaurants for at least a limited time starting in early March.The company discontinued the product, which is made with fried strips of chicken tenderloin , back in 2013 during efforts to streamline its menu. The reintroduction of the selects comes just two months after analysts predicted beef prices would continue to rise in 2015, paving the way for more chicken–focused meals.

One analyst tells Bloomberg that the addition of Chicken Selects to McDonald's menu, even if it's only for a limited time, falls in line with anticipation that poultry would be more heavily featured in the fast–food realm this year. "The restaurants are expected to have more chicken features and to run the promotions for a longer than normal period," Farha Aslam, an analyst for Stephens Inc. tells Bloomberg. "This is expected to support chicken prices." Consumerist, 02/19/15



Pork Stands Out in a Sea of Carbs

Think dietitians are only interested in pork nutrition? They also want to know about pork production practices, sustainability and more."The conversations around pork have changed," said Adria Sheil–Brown, manager of nutrition communications and research for the Pork Checkoff. "We were reminded of this when we recently attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference in Atlanta.

"Having a pork producer there makes it more real for attendees," said Pedemonti, who helps bridge the disconnect between farmers and consumers. "People still imagine a farmer as a picturesque old man in overalls and don't realize that producers today are nutritionists, scientists, environmental stewards and so much more." Pork Network, 02/18/15

The Good Microbes

Have you eaten your yogurt today? Has your doctor suggested you include a source of probiotics in your daily diet? If so, you certainly are not alone. Probiotics, also known as direct–fed microbials (DFMs), are sources of live, beneficial microorganisms, typically specific strains of bacteria or yeast. In human health and nutrition, professionals and consumers increasingly recognize the benefits of some probiotics for improving digestion, health of the gastro–intestinal tract and overall immunity. The same applies to cattle production where, while not new, probiotic use is gaining credibility and acceptance. By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork, 02/18/15



Map: Do you live in Sheeplandia or Goatopia?

My fellow Americans, we are a nation divided. Democrats and Republicans. Rich and poor. But perhaps the biggest divide of all? Goats versus sheep. 2012 data from the USDA Agricultural Census trace the distinct geographies of American sheep and goat production, which you can see HERE. Goats rule the pink counties, sheep are plentiful in the green ones, and there are plenty of both in the pinkish–greenish places in between. Hover over a county to see the raw numbers. Looking at the map, the plains and mountain states are Sheeplandia, where sheep generally outnumber goats. The southeast, on the other hand, is a veritable Goatopia. The two animals live in harmony on the west coast, Southwest and Texas. By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 02/20/15

USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production. NIFA will fund the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

"The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative was created to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face as a society, such as hunger and food security, health, climate, food safety, and bioenergy," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "We are now in AFRI's sixth year, and already the program has made strides in advancing agricultural science. I am extremely proud of the work NIFA has funded thus far, and excited to see what groundbreaking research, education, and extension projects will result from this year's funding. These projects provide funding for the critical research, training, and assistance that ultimately strengthens rural America and our economy." USDA News Release, 02/20/15



FDA Warning Letters: Drug Residues, Seafood HACCP and Mislabeling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warnings to three beef producers, one pork producer, a seafood processor and a biscuit manufacturer in its latest round of warning letters. In each letter, FDA requested that the companies provide written responses detailing steps taken to bring the facilities into compliance with food–safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence.

Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law. Food Safety News, 02/23/15

Common Cause Supports First Amendment in Livestock Bill

SB 221, Report Livestock Injuries to Law Enforcement, Senator Cliff Pirtle, R–Roswell, New Mexico, would require a person who has made a video or digital recording depicting an injury to livestock to submit the recording to law enforcement within twenty–four hours. The requirement to provide any pertinent recording to law enforcement "could be construed by the courts as an unconstitutional prior restraint," which refers to a limitation on free expression before such expression actually takes place. Common Cause New Mexico, along with several other groups opposed this legislation in the Senate Conservation Committee today which passed by a 6–4 vote. It will next be scheduled for a hearing in Senate Judiciary. By Heather Ferguson, Common Cause New Mexico, 02/2/15


The above news articles are provided by the individual sources identified in each article and are not a product of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. Intended for personal, noncommercial use only.
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The National Institute for Animal Agriculture provides a forum for building consensus and advancing proactive solutions for animal agriculture-the beef, dairy, swine, sheep, goats, equine and poultry industries-and provides continuing education and communication linkages for animal agriculture professionals. NIAA is dedicated to programs that work towards the eradication of disease that pose risk to the health of animals, wildlife and humans; promote a safe and wholesome food supply for our nation and abroad; and promote best practices in environmental stewardship, animal health and well-being. NIAA members represent all facets of animal agriculture.