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September 18, 2014

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How Do We Measure Success: Optimizing and Identifying Key Metrics to Minimize Antibiotic Resistance

The NIAA Antibiotics Use and Resistance Symposium in Atlanta, GA is themed "Moving Forward Through Stewardship" and will feature sessions and presentations on "Prioritizing Issues of Public Health-Agriculture Interface," "Identifying Stewardship Opportunities," and "Developing Partnerships for Moving Forward." Another session will be dedicated to "Optimizing Measures of Success" identifying key measurements, systems and processes in minimizing antibiotic resistance in animal health and human health. For a complete list of this year's speakers and agenda, click HERE.

"Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance through Integration and Stewardship: A New Call to Action," is the title of the Keynote address by Dr. Lonnie King, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University, who will open the Symposium. The Symposium runs November 12–14, 2014. Registration information is available HERE.

The American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, (ARPAS) has approved 12 Continuing Education Units for the Symposium.

NIAA thanks Partners USDA/APHIS, Merck Animal Health, the National Pork Board, Zoetis, Georgia Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, Elanco, Auburn University, Qiagen, Innovacyn (Vetericyn), the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vance Publications, Dairy Business and Brownfield Ag News for their support of this Symposium. Partnership opportunities are available. Contact Katie Ambrose at 719.538.8843, extension 14.

Click HERE to register or go to

Spotlight on Antibiotics in Poultry Production

An extensive report by Reuters claims that antibiotic use in poultry production is posing a threat to consumer health because antibiotic use in poultry production is more widespread — and in lower doses — than originally believed. Feed tickets issued to poultry growers by feed mills served as the basis of the report titled "Farmeceuticals". Reuters said its reporters reviewed 320 documents generated by Springdale, Arkansas–based Tyson Foods Inc.; Pilgrim's Pride, Greeley, Colo.; Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Md., George's, Springdale and Park Ridge, Illinois–based Koch Foods.

In its response to Reuters article, Perdue said in a statement to Meat&Poultry: "Ninety–five percent of our chickens never receive antibiotics that are used in human medicine. We believe that demonstrates a responsible use of antibiotics, and responsible animal husbandry programs, in which consumers can have confidence. We found it unfortunate that the article failed to clearly distinguish between those antibiotics that have no use in human medicine— and therefore are not associated with concerns over antibiotic resistant bacteria in human health — and antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine. The article did not make clear that our company never uses human antibiotics in our feed, nor did it reflect our belief that antibiotics should not be used for growth promotion, to increase production or as a substitute for responsible animal husbandry." Meat & Poultry, 09/15/14

NTF Statement on CARB/PCAST

The National Turkey Federation issued the following statement regarding the federal government's release today of its Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) report and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report about antimicrobial resistance: "We are only beginning to evaluate these documents, but we are pleased that doctors are finally being recognized to be as important as, or even more important than, veterinarians and farmers in preventing the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Everyone has a part to play in keeping antibiotics effective for people and animals, but in recent years there has been an extensive debate about what can be done on farms to combat resistance and far less discussion about what should be done in hospitals and doctor's offices. Individual government agencies will begin discussing their plans on Friday, and we hope those plans further advance a comprehensive approach to this issue. The turkey industry remains committed to the safe, proper use of antibiotics in treating people and animals." National Turkey Federation, 09/17/14

Foster Farms Invests $75 Million in Salmonella Program

US integrated poultry processor, Fosters Farms, at the center of a major Salmonella outbreak this year, has invested $75 million to develop a program to reduce Salmonella at each stage of the production process. "Foster Farms is committed to the health and welfare of our flocks, because healthy chickens ensure safe, high quality poultry products," the company said. "Foster Farms prioritizes antibiotics that are approved by the FDA for disease treatment and prevention in poultry.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the Salmonella outbreak associated with raw chicken had ended at the end of July, following the implementation of the program. Foster Farms said that the CDC had confirmed that the company had reduced Salmonella to less than five per cent from an industry average of 25 per cent for raw poultry parts. The key elements of Foster Farms' bird health program are:

  • The company does not use any antibiotics for the purpose of growth promotion.
  • The company does not use antibiotics that are considered critical to human medicine such as cephalosporins or fluoroquinolones.
  • When antibiotics are administered to a flock, the duration is limited and all recommended withdrawal times are followed prior to processing.
  • Any veterinary treatment plan of the birds is developed in consultation with and overseen by a company veterinarian.

During the recent Salmonella Heidelberg issue, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that the frontline (first choice) and the most common antibiotics used to treat Salmonellosis were fully effective. Foster Farms' policy for responsible and humane veterinary treatment of the birds it raises was put in place before the Food and Drug Administration updated its own guidelines. The Poultry Site, 09/15/14

RUMA Publishes Paper on Antibiotic Resistance Issues in Livestock

A paper clarifying RUMA's (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture–UK) position on antibiotic resistance and how antibiotics can be responsibly used in UK livestock has been published. RUMA secretary general, John Fitzgerald, says the publication of the paper comes at a time when there is 'understandably' much debate on antibiotic resistance in human medicine and antibiotic use in human and veterinary medicine. Key points in the paper include an assertion scientific evidence increasingly recognises the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans comes largely from the over–use and mis–use of antibiotics in human rather than animal medicine. Read key points HERE. Farmers Guardian UK, 09/12/14

USDA Sued Over New Poultry Inspection Rule

Food & Water Watch alleges New Poultry Inspection System rules will privatize inspections and not be good for food safety: Food & Water Watch has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the federal government from implementing the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules. The group alleges the new poultry inspection rules would turn over key food safety inspection functions to poultry companies and would limit oversight by USDA inspectors.

In its lawsuit, Food & Water Watch claims the new inspection system violates the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), a law passed in 1957 that gives USDA the authority to protect consumer health and welfare by assuring that poultry products are wholesome, not adulterated, and properly marked, labeled and packaged. The organization alleges that NPIS violates a number of statutory requirements, including the PPIA's prescription that federal government inspectors, and not poultry slaughter establishment staff, are responsible for condemning adulterated young chicken and turkey carcasses. The suit states that the NPIS rules also violate the PPIA's requirement that federal inspectors supervise slaughter establishment reprocessing, which is done to avoid the condemnation of adulterated birds. WATT Ag Net, 09/12/14

FDA Seeks Comments on Two Issues Related to Drug Approvals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is inviting public comment on a pair of potential changes in policy regarding approval of drugs used in food–animal production. Each public comment period opened September 9. The first proposed change would modify the procedures and requirements for the approval of combination drug medicated feeds. Currently, according to background information from the FDA, the use of multiple new animal drugs in the same medicated feed requires animal drug sponsors to seek approval for each new animal drug in the combination and seek a separate approval for the combination drug itself.

Also beginning on September 9, FDA is seeking comments on potential changes to conditional approvals for new animal drugs. Currently, conditional approvals are only available for new animal drugs that are intended for use in minor species or for minor uses, such as rare diseases, in major species such as cattle. A conditional approval, according to FDA, allows a drug manufacturer to market its new animal drug before submitting the effectiveness data necessary for a full approval, but after proving the drug is safe in accordance with the full FDA approval standard and showing that there is a reasonable expectation of effectiveness. By John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian, 09/08/14

Building a Better Animal

In South Dakota, there are four times as many cows as there are people, so it should come as no surprise that the state is a hub for animal biotechnology. This new and promising sector of the biotechnology industry stands ready to help solve many of the challenges facing the animal agriculture community today. But some fear these benefits never will be realized because of political interference, misinformation spread by anti–science activists or delays in a very rigorous approval process.

Animal biotechnology allows scientists to develop livestock that possess valuable genetic properties that can help improve human and animal health while also increasing livestock productivity. These scientific advancements will be the focus of a unique Livestock Biotech Summit Sept. 16 through 18 in Sioux Falls. By James C. Greenwood. Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 09/12/14

AGree Releases Five Papers on Achieving Productivity, Profitability, and Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture

Meeting the food, feed, fuel, and fiber needs of a growing and increasingly prosperous world, and doing so in a manner that also maintains and improves environmental quality, is one of the grand challenges facing humankind in the 21st century. Drawing on diverse expertise among landowners and producers, supply chain leaders, and nonprofit organizations, AGree's Productivity, Profitability, and Environmental Outcomes Workgroup is developing a set of consensus strategies and recommendations for policy and action that will drive transformative change in U.S. agriculture to meet this challenge. The development of "Point of View" papers on various approaches to simultaneously advancing productivity, profitability, and environmental outcomes has been a significant component of developing consensus recommendations and strategies. The papers offer diverse and insightful perspectives from leading producers and other practitioners and experts at the intersection of agriculture and conservation in the United States. By Deb Atwood, AGree, 09/12/14

PEDv Comes to Utah

According to officials with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has now come to Utah. Earlier this week officials announced tests conducted by the USDA's National Veterinary Service Laboratory confirmed the presence of the fast–spreading virus at the Circle Four Farms in Beaver County, Utah.

Circle Four Farms is one of the biggest hog farms in Utah and one of the largest in the country. Its production facilities house 74,000 sows, 156,000 nursery, and 454,000 finishing spaces. This announcement marks the first confirmed case of PEDv in Utah. Experts estimate around 8 million pigs have been killed across the country since the disease was first identified in U.S. hog herds last April. Acting State Veterinarian Dr. Warren Hess has advised Utah pork producers to "remain vigilant regarding their animal biosecurity practices on their farms." By Angela Bowman, Pork Network, 09/05/14

2014 Shrimp Imports to US Set Volume Records Through July

Shrimp is pouring into the US market. US customs import figures for shrimp of all types through July show the highest volume on record, with total quantity reaching 657.2 million lbs. By John Sackton, Seafood News, 9/11/14

Free-Range Solar Lamb or Chicken!

More and more farmers are combining their sheep, chickens or other poultry with rows of solar panels and producing a double output of food and clean, home–grown power.

"It is clear that renewable energy can support profitable farming, underpinning traditional agricultural production with additional returns that make businesses more resilient," Vice President of the National Farmers Union Guy Smith, said. "Solar farms can indeed be multifunctional, simultaneously meeting food and energy needs as well as enhancing biodiversity. Only a negligible land take is required to make a major contribution to Britain's clean energy needs, so the future looks bright for solar grazed lamb and free–range solar chicken." Farming UK, 09/11/14

Appreciation for Creation of FFAR

Appreciation for its role in creating the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) and for appointing the founding board of directors was forwarded to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week by a diverse group of national and state organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association.

"With an ever expanding global population and increasing demands for nutritious food and other agricultural products, increased investments in food and agricultural research, extension and education are essential to maintaining our nation's food, economic and national security," the letter stated. The new foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation and partnerships critical to boosting America's agricultural economy. American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter, 09/12/14

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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.