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April 9, 2014

NIAA Thanks Annual Conference Planning Committee

NIAA would like to thank the 2015 Annual Conference Planning Committee members.

2015 NIAA Annual Conference Planning Committee:
Dr. Michael Coe, Animal Profiling International, Inc.; Ms. Kathryn Britton, Where Food Comes From/IMI Global, Inc and Dr. Nevil Speer, Individual Member (not pictured).

NIAA Honors Retiring Board Members, Council and Committee Members at Annual Conference

At the recent NIAA Annual Conference held in Indianapolis, IN, the organization honored its out–going board members and council and committee members.

Retiring board members:
Dr. Tony Frazier, State Veterinarian, Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, pictured with Ms. Katie Ambrose, COO of NIAA. Also retiring (not pictured) is Mr. Travis Justice, Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation.

Retiring Committee and Council Leaders:
Presented by NIAA Board of Directors Vice Chair Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Ms. Eileen Kuhlmann, University of Minnesota, Small Ruminant Committee; Dr. Matt Cochran, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Animal Health & Emergency Management Council; Ms. Sherri Webb, National Pork Board, Animal Care Council, and (not pictured) Dr. Lindsey Holmstrom, Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M University, Animal Health and Emergency Management Council

4 Reasons Why Aquaculture Can Aid Global Food Security

In the whitepaper, "Aquaculture's Prominent Role in Feeding a Global Population," contributors Michael Tlusty, Ph.D, director of Ocean Sustainability Science at the New England Aquarium and Neil Sims, co–founder of Kampachi Farms LLC, said this disconnect is due in part to terrestrial agriculture being around for approximately 10,000 years. In addition, aquaculture is using common property resources, which leads to the displacement of people already using those resources. California Aquaculture Association, 2015

Algae: The New Antibiotic?

To the average observer, algae may look like a slimy mess. But in the green–tech world, they're versatile workhorses that can be converted to biofuels, air purifiers and electricity. Now a Michigan startup is harnessing it as a feed additive to address the pervasive problem of unnecessary antibiotics use on healthy animals in factory farms—a problem that's led to the rise of antibiotic–resistant bacteria (also known as superbugs) that are a threat to global public health.

Algal Scientific is extracting beta glucan—a chain of simple sugars—from algae for use as an immune system support and alternative to antibiotics. CEO Geoff Horst says that the substance works by supporting the immune system via stimulating the growth of white blood cells. Dubbed Algamune, Horst says that his product is more potent—as well as cheaper—than the versions derived from yeast, since it's more bioavailable. By Kristine Wong, Modern Farmer, 04/06/15

FDA Dietary Guidelines Confuse Ag Industry

The Food and Drug Administration's latest dietary guidelines are causing confusion for some in the agriculture industry The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a scientific report with proposed recommendations that has added to that confusion. Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs and member services at the North American Meat Institute, said the report is a concern and that she believes that the committee went beyond the scope of its charter, which is to focus on nutrition.

"They dove into environmental issues, and they really did not have the expertise to do that. They had no environmental experts on their panel; they had nutritionists," she said. "It's a little like going to a dermatologist when you need cardiac care. You may be a scientist, but you're not the right kind of scientist."
Riley also described the report as confusing.

Riley was among many speakers at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture's annual conference in Indianapolis. She also shared common myths consumers believe about the agricultural industry and emphasized the importance of being engaged and telling the facts. By Amie Sites, AgriNews, 04/07/15

Manure Rules May Affect Livestock Producers

Deb Kristensen has seen firsthand the dairies affected by the U.S. District Court judge's rule that dairy manure is a "solid waste" under the Environmental Protection Agency's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Kristensen, partner at Givens Parsley LLP, talked about the decision during the National Institute for Animal Agriculture's annual conference in Indianapolis.

The ruling is a burden facing producers as it allows the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to be used to regulate animal agriculture. "It's a challenge because it has never been applied to agriculture before," Kristensen said. Although the case took place in Washington, it potentially could happen in other areas where agriculture is prevalent because it's a federal decision, Kristensen said. By Amie Sites, AgriNews, 04/07/15

When Does Nitrate Become a Risk for Humans?

Well, we know nitrates are a problem. Everywhere we look, EPA and others tell us how terrible nitrates are for the environment. But, as usual, there are two sides of the story. If you believe the Board of Water Works of the City of Des Moines and its complaint against three upstream Iowa county drainage districts, you can only conclude nitrates are a significant health problem for the 500,000 citizens of Des Moines, because their water is polluted by farmers' use of nitrogen fertilizers.

The complaint claims health risks are caused by the farmers' nitrate. One health risk is the creation of "blue baby syndrome," or methaemoglobinaemia. DMWW cites the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act standard of a maximum contaminant level of 10 mg/L, or 10 ppm (1ppm=one inch in 16 miles), and that it is being violated by drainage district discharges.

Where does the EPA 10 mg/L (10 ppm) standard come from? The University of Nebraska paper produced by 9 individuals, copyrighted by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, provides an answer. It concludes the connection between nitrate ingestion and blue baby syndrome is based on studies conducted in the 1940s in the Midwest. The water used in testing on babies was rural well water and was used to make baby formula. By Gary H. Baise, PORKNetwork, 04/01/15

Coalition Seeks To Rescue Sheep Station from Closure

For years, the U.S. Sheep Station in Dubois, Idaho has been at the forefront of conducting peer–reviewed research on rangelands, livestock and sagebrush ecosystems. Over the past few years, though, there have been attempts to eliminate funding for the Station.

Supporters believe that would be a fatal blow to ongoing efforts to balance the interests of the physical and human environments in the West. They contend that the Station not only addresses critical food security and wildlife habitat issues, but consistently applies sound science to understand issues including the symbiotic relationship between managed grazing, fire suppression and healthy populations of sage grouse. AMHealthmaster, April 2015

Canada Expands Poultry Restrictions as Avian Flu Spreads to More U.S. States

Canada's food inspection agency has expanded its warning to Canadian travellers after two new cases of avian flu were confirmed in the United States.The highly contagious poultry influenza has reached Montana and South Dakota. Canada has restricted bringing raw poultry and poultry products, as well as raw pet food, across the border from affected areas. The disease was also found in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. The Vancouver Sun, 04/03/15

A Whopper of a Pickle for HSUS

What happens when you send an investigator for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to a pork farm to do some undercover work? They get educated – in a positive way. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) shares a video of a former HSUS who changed his agenda after being exposed to gestation stalls, something the activist group has been working on banning in several states.

While the former investigator asked to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation from his old acquaintances, CCF shares these direct points from his video interview:

  • "When they're not in crates, they [sows] fight each other. With gestation crates, they can't bite each other…They're in a safe spot."
  • "I have to believe they [HSUS] know the pigs would prefer to be in gestation crates…but choose instead to push the anti–gestation crate legislation because of what it would do to the pig farming industry."
  • "Objectively, HSUS should be for gestation crates if they're honestly, truly for animal welfare." Drovers CattleNetwork, 04/02/15

USDA Awards Grants to Address Water Quality, Availability in Agriculture Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 21 grants totaling more than $10 million have been awarded to universities to support critical water problems in rural and agricultural watersheds across the United States. The awards were made through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Water for Agriculture challenge area and the National Integrated Water Quality Program.

"Water is our most precious resource, one that is essential for both human survival and well–being and for our ability to grow our crops and livestock," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "By funding research, extension, and education for citizens and the agriculture community, we are able to proactively create solutions to water–related issues like drought and its impact on food security." USDA News Release, 04/07/15

Biosecurity Key to Fighting Animal Disease

Even though there has been less PEDv activity this winter, Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council says it doesn't mean producers should relax their biosecurity measures heading into the spring and summer. "What we need to do is keeping doing all the good things we've been doing to try and control it," she says.

She says farmers need to work with their veterinarians to be prepared and diagnose unusual disease situations early to prevent them from spreading across the country. Listen to 3:50 video interview HERE. By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News,03/31/15

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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.