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December 18, 2014

Proceedings and Photos from the 2014 Antibiotics Use and Resistance Symposium are now available on the NIAA Website at

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Cooperative Resources International

NIAA Antibiotics Use and Resistance Symposium Presentations and Proceedings Available on NIAA Website

Proceedings from the NIAA Antibiotics Symposium are now posted on the NIAA website HERE. Videos of the presentations and PowerPoint handouts are also posted. A White Paper on the critical issues discussed will be available in January 2015.

USAHA and NIAA: Request For Proposal for Livestock Movement Requirements Web Portal Development, Population and Maintenance

The Unites States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA) are accepting proposals to produce and maintain a web–based public resource portal for determining specific requirements applicable for moving various animals from one state to another.

In October 2013, USAHA passed a resolution requesting the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services and the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials collaborate with USAHA and private and public stakeholders to create and maintain an easy–to–use, publically–accessible resource that compiles identification, documentation, disease–specific, and other movement requirements for livestock moving interstate.

A leadership team, including federal, state, and industry partners, has been created to guide the project. USAHA and NIAA will be the co–host organizations. USDA funding has been approved for initial creation and start–up of the system. This will be paired with industry funding for continued maintenance of the system.

The user interface to the resource will be a freely–accessible (no log–in required) web page, accessible from any browser. Extra consideration will be given to tools that are mobile phone and tablet friendly.

Proposals must be recieved by 5:00 pm CST on January 5, 2015. For complete details, click HERE or go to the NIAA website homepage at

Rabobank Poultry Report Q4 2014: Avian Flu Looks To Shake Up 2015

Rabobank has issued a new report on the global poultry industry, looking at the impact of avian flu (AI) on the international poultry sector in 2015.

In the report, published by Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, the bank says that global issues such as avian flu and trade restrictions remain on the horizon for 2015 and will have a big impact on global poultry trade. Regions affected by avian flu outbreaks, like the EU and Canada, will suffer from lost export markets and this will affect local prices.

Despite this, the outlook for 2015 for non–affected regions like Brazil and U.S. remains strong. They could benefit from ongoing bullish market conditions such as strong demand, low feed costs and high competing meat prices, and therefore capture some export market share from EU and Canada.

"A key concern for the coming months is the spread of avian flu, which has become a global issue in recent months. Several avian flu strains are already endemic in several parts of Asia and Mexico, and the disease is increasingly spreading globally via wild birds," explained Rabobank analyst Nan–Dirk Mulder.

Rabobank says that avian flu virus pressure will become a global issue for the industry after new high pathogenic avian flu outbreaks in the EU, Canada, India and Egypt add to existing cases in East Asia and Mexico. Affected regions will therefore continue to suffer from economic damage and temporary lost export markets with lower local prices especially for dark meat. In the longer term, Rabobank advises, industries need to prepare for ongoing disease pressure, especially in times of bird migration. This will require higher levels of biosecurity and reconsideration of existing business models. PR Newswire, 12/15/14

There Aren't Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Early last year, a study by the international ocean conservation organization Oceana made waves by reporting that one–third of all seafood sold in the United States was mislabeled, according to DNA testing. Consumers were understandably upset to learn that their wild red snapper could be cheap, farmed tilapia or that their wild salmon was actually raised in a tank. Fish fraud, it seemed, was rampant.

In the not–so–distant future, however, the reverse may hold true: Consumers may be aghast to find out that their sustainably farmed halibut was actually trawled from a commercial fishery. After all, seafood remains one of the last types of foods that we harvest from the wild at a commercial level, and fully 90 percent of the world's fisheries are deemed overexploited or exhausted. This year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture surpassed wild capture as our main source of seafood for the first time. That makes 2014 the year of "peak wild fish."

A joint OECD–FAO report shows that the global appetite for the fruits of the sea will grow over the next several decades. With wild fish supply flat, aquaculture is filling in the gap and taking pressure off our oceans. Since the 1990s, aquaculture production has more than tripled, and today, more than 200 species of fish and seafood are raised in farms. By Marian Swain,, 12/05/14

Thirty Meat and Poultry Executives Join Together to Tell Story of the 'Amazing' Meat Supply

Thirty C–Suite level executives from meat and poultry companies big and small have added their voices and faces to a new video highlighting facts about today's amazing meat and poultry industry. The video called "Amazing Meat" shares the numerous benefits of the U.S. meat supply delivered by the industry's leaders themselves including affordability, nutrition, food safety, animal welfare and more. It was produced by the American Meat Institute (AMI).

"This video is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to show the consumers who we are, what we do and how we do it. Our bountiful, safe and affordable meat supply is something we are fortunately able to rely upon without thinking much about the people or the hard work that made it possible. We are happy in this video to show consumers the people behind the products," said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Member Services Janet Riley. In addition to business executives, leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University, makes an appearance in the video to explain the progress that she has observed in animal handling in meat and poultry plants. The new video also includes a companion brochure, The Amazing Meat and Poultry Supply available both online and in print. American Meat Institute, 12/15/14

Animal Scientist to Discuss Genetically Modified Animals

Alison Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis, will speak at 7 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The title of Van Eenennaam's talk is "Genetically Modified Animals: The Facts, the Fear Mongering and the Future."

The first genetically engineered animals were produced almost 30 years ago, although to date no genetically engineered food animal has come to market, Van Eenennaam said. A comprehensive regulatory evaluation is required for such animals, triggered by the use of recombinant DNA technology in their development. All required regulatory studies for the fast–growing "AquAdvantage" Atlantic salmon, the first food animal to undergo regulatory review, were completed in 2009. However, the application has been lingering in regulatory limbo for more than four years awaiting a decision by the FDA.

"Part of this delay has been occasioned by political interference from both activists and competing fishing industries, sending a message that the science–based regulatory oversight as embodied in the FDA review process is subject to political intervention," Van Eenennaam said. "This regulatory roadblock has had a chilling effect on investment in the development of genetically engineered animals in the US, and the technology has started to move to other countries with a more favorable policy environment. KTIC Radio NE, 12/15/14

Evolutionary Geneticists Identify DNA Involved in Horse Domestication: 'Speed Gene' is a Recent Mutation

For the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 15, evolutionary geneticist Ludovic Orlando from the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen, together with colleagues, examined the DNA taken from 29 horse bones excavated in the cold regions of Taymyr Peninsula in Russia. The bones date back to between 16,000 and 43,000, years ago, which was long before the domestication of horses.

By comparing the ancient DNA of the wild horses with those taken from five present–day domesticated horses, the researchers found that some genes that are present in today's breed did not exist in their ancient counterparts, suggesting that these are recent mutations. The speed gene, for instance, which can be attributed to one of the most notable characteristics of modern–day horses, was found lacking in ancient horses and thus a relatively new mutation. The researchers particularly identified 125 genes that produced traits ancient breeders could have found very ideal in the horses they chose. One group of genes was associated with cardiac strength, coordination, balance and skeletal muscles, which enabled the horses to pull plows, run fast and be used for chariotry. By Rhodi Lee, Tech Times, 12/17/14

No Magic Bullets, But Pork Industry Research Builds Toward Future Solutions

National Hog Farmer has a long tradition of delivering research–based information targeted specifically for our pork producer readers. Our December issue, arriving in your mailboxes soon and posted on the website, is devoted to the most–current research published within the last year to help support our industry. There are a lot of great minds working hard to solve many of the challenges pork producers are facing.

Sometimes these technical papers are not necessarily "light reading," and require some additional interpretation. It's always good to keep the results of each study in perspective, too. It may take a series of methodically done studies to reach a practical conclusion that can immediately be put to work in producers' barns. By Lora Berg, National Hog Farmer, 12/12/14

Joint Statement by NCBA and PLC on Senate Passage of Funding Bill

The $1.1 trillion omnibus package passed by the Senate today held several strong wins for the cattle industry. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan and Public Lands Council President Brenda Richards remarked on Senate Passage of 2015 Funding Legislation: "We greatly appreciate Congress' passage of this important legislation which contained a number of critical provisions that will support the viability of our industry for the year to come. The bill made a major step in addressing over–burdensome regulation from the EPA by withdrawing the Interpretative Rule as part of the Waters of the United States proposed regulation. The rule, which attempts to clarify farming and ranching provisions under the Clean Water, adds uncertainty rather than explanation for landowners and threatens fines of up to $37,500 per day. While not a complete fix, this is a critical step in addressing the strong concerns farmers and ranchers have with this regulation." Beef USA News Release, 12/15/14

The New Food Police

As the Food and Drug Administration's Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Taylor bears responsibility for almost all of the food consumed in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people here — roughly one in six — contract a foodborne illness each year. Of these, 128,000 will be hospitalized; 3,000 will die. When food makes people sick, Taylor's agency is a handy fall guy: Why did they let this happen?

For decades, the FDA has been under fire for failing to prevent contagions, for focusing on pharmaceuticals at the expense of food, for inconsistent safety standards. The agency has been criticized on the one hand for weak enforcement, on the other for bullying small producers. "The FDA is no friend of the farmer," says Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm–to–Consumer Legal Defense Fund. By Jesse Hirsch, Modern Farmer, 12/15/14

Classifying Bison as Livestock Would Doom Restoration

United Property Owners of Montana (UPOM) appears to be laying the groundwork for a campaign to change the law to suit its purposes. UPOM wants to transform wild bison into livestock whenever the state acts to restore wild bison to their historic range. But UPOM's arguments are flawed. UPOM claims that the existing classification of wild bison as wildlife leaves Montana private property owners helpless to prevent bison from entering their property and gives them no recourse for any damages they may cause. This argument ignores the provisions of an existing law that was enacted by the 2011 Montana Legislature for the very purpose of establishing protections for private property when wild bison are transplanted onto private or public land.

The change in classification would shift jurisdiction over such bison from Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to the Montana Department of Livestock, an agency established to protect the state's livestock interests. Unlike FWP, the Department of Livestock has indicated no interest in restoring wild bison to their historic range and has no statutory mission to do so. By Tim Preso, Missoulian, 12/15/14

As Beef Industry Deals With Drought, Researchers Eye Less–Thirsty Cattle

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, "will increase significantly again in 2015" because of drought in the Southern Plains. Researchers from Oklahoma State University are using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study how to make herds more resilient for future droughts.

Megan Rolf, an OSU animal scientist, said the purpose of the grant is two–fold. Researchers are looking at the amount of feed and water certain breeds of cattle consume, with the long–term goal of developing cattle that are more adaptable to certain climate conditions, including drought. The group is also working to expand the Mesonet's cattle comfort index, a tool that shows ranchers how climate conditions are affecting their herds, she said. By Logan Layden, State Impact OK, 12/15/14

Patent Issued for 'Peanut Brittle' Livestock Vitamin Supplement

A candy–like coating that protects vitamins and other micronutrients given to cattle and other ruminant animals from being prematurely digested by bacteria in the animal's digestive system has been issued a U.S. patent. The coating, which is compared to peanut brittle, was developed by Kansas State University researchers Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry, Tom Herald, food chemist and adjunct professor of grain science and industry, and Matthew Greenquist, former graduate student. The coating provides an easy, inexpensive method for delivering undiluted dosages of vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients to livestock, a K–State announcement said. Beef Producer, 12/16/14

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.